Dear Incoming Students, A Test to Help You Discover if You Have an Aptitude for Working in Advertising.

1) Which of these two shells is best?
Take 10 seconds to think about it, but make sure no one can tell you’re thinking about it.
If anyone can tell you’re thinking about your answer, forget it, your gifts lead elsewhere.

2) The 10 seconds was a trick.
If you used the whole 10 seconds to think about it, forget it, your gifts lead elsewhere.

3) If you answered the question in less than 10 seconds and no one could tell you were thinking about your answer, forget it, your gifts lead elsewhere.
People who do well in advertising wouldn’t answer a silly question like that.

4) If you knew not to answer the question but have an opinion about where shells come from you think you could argue to a winning conclusion, forget it, you’re a lawyer, go buy an expensive suit.

5) If you can’t care less what I’m talking about but have kept reading this far because you always finish what you start, forget it. Being someone who starts what they finish, while a fair predictor of success in most fields is a waste of energy in creating advertising. It’d be a shame to not put that trait to work in a field where it’d shine though. Politics.

6) That’s it. End of test.










7) To be good at advertising you have to know it without anyone telling you.
There is no way to know without doing it.
The only two common characteristics I’ve seen in great advertising people–and you’ve got to have them both: First, curiousness. Then, being a little cracked.

p.s. It’s early for homework, but I’m going to offer some for you A students out there. Read this book before you get here in August.

FourArguments For The Elimination of TV by Jerry Mander

Taking a class in making commercials after reading Mander’s book will provide you with a clear view of how closely good & evil are bound together in this life and in this business.

Dear Summer Readers, An Assignment You Will Enjoy:

About a year ago I touted George Saunders’ In Persuasion Nation, a collection of short stories set in a world not far distant in time from our own in which life is not as we know it, in large part because of advertising.
I repeat my suggestion of its surpassing worth.
Here is another work of fiction to stand next to it.

Then We Came To The End by Joshua Ferris

It’s a first novel by a guy who had to have worked in a Chicago ad agency in the last decade.
His book is fiction but he gets the directions right on Michigan Avenue–even down to the irresistable pull of the PotBelly Sandwich Shop in Illinois Center.
It’s a book about people at an office in which the characters are humans, not caricatures.
Great sentences.
I finished it at the beach.
Goes down like a slush margarita.