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The first mistake most ad-makers fall into is they try to come up with ideas that their partner likes.

This is not a suggestion that you become an intransigent jerk. (I’ve tried that. It’s neither efficacious nor much fun)

Rather this is a suggestion that in coming up with ideas you realize that what you’re after isn’t something that’s been done before that is easily comprehensible by others, but something that hasn’t been done that sounds impossible, looks difficult and feels implausible.

The most important place to look is where other people don’t.

In order to make a great ad (or any piece of communication) you must first have something to say.
If you find that something to say in a place other people haven’t looked, what you’ll say will more likely demand attention than will something said by someone who has looked in the same places everyone else has.
Great ads open windows in people where they didn’t think windows could be.

Clothe Yourself in Humility. You’re Not Curing Diseases.

Dear Students,

It is incongruous, I know, for an arrogant prick like myself to urge the valuing of humbleness on you.

But get used to it.

There is much you can learn from people whom failure has taught.

Humility is important. If I may be permitted to say so, humility is the fashizzle.

It is especially valuable to an ad-maker.

Because humilty earns you trust.

With trust you get to do what you want.

Without trust you only get to do what you’re told to do, and you’ll be watched over while you do it. Which sucks. You don’t want even a minute of that.

Good ad-makers understand the value of what they make.

Clients almost never do.

But explaining how important what you do is, although it sounds as if that would be helpful, isn’t ever taken to be by those being explained to. Never. No way. It does not happen.

Says the numbskull who has tried it. More than once.

This is where the advice comes in.

Clothed in arrogance by an appreciation of the value of your contribution you cannot help but earn distrust.

But clothed in a humility that pushes away any sense that what you do is important or difficult or world-changing (even though making good ads is) cannot help but show the client that you see what you do the same way he does.

Which builds trust.

I resisted humility.

My face wore the belief that I could write what others couldn’t.

And it lost me trust.

Put on humility. Lead with it.

It won’t change your work. Just the look in the eyes of the people you show it to.

Next , The Value of Arrogance