The Number One Most Important Secret Trick to Making Great Ads Can Be Learned by Cooking Catfish for Breakfast.

Dear Students,

To make ads is boring silly work.

I won’t teach it.

If you want to make great ads.

That’s different.

Here’s what you do.

Catfish

Get a cast iron skillet.

The one I use is nearly as old as I am. (we pass along cooking instruments in our family, not art or real estate)

Heat the shit out of the skillet.

Put two catfish fillets in. (marinate them in something that has the words Cajun and spicy on the label first)

You’ll hear a popping sound when they hit the hot metal because you took my advice on how hot to let the skillet get.

Now, here comes the secret number one most important trick that you’ve endured the reading of this recipe for:

Forget that you’re cooking.

Go into another room. Read the paper. Do the crossword.

The amount of smoke created in blackening catfish will tempt you, if you stand there watching it, to pull the pan off the fire before perfection has been created because you will think Gadzooks, this is not what a kitchen should look like, this is not what cooking looks like on tv.

In the same way, when you are making a great ad, the distance your mind will deviate from what seems like advertising will scare you.

Don’t give in.

Erase from your mind the thought that you are making an ad.

Even when the smoke alarm goes off don’t pull your pan from the fire.

Great ads are like great breakfasts.

They’re different from what normal people make.

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Every Company Has a Problem They Are Pretending Isn’t a Problem. That’s the Problem to Go After.

Aim at that problem with the advertising you create.
The client will fight you. He wants a problem addressed that he thinks is not his fault or a weakness in his product.
The agency planners will fight you. They want the problem addressed that the client told them was the problem.
The sales managers will fight you. They have taught themselves that the words “sale” and “lowest price anywhere” must figure prominently in everything.
The audience will say (but not out loud) “finally”.