One of the reasons that advertising is such a hard business is because it is public. The nature of the game is that you see who has it and who doesn’t – creative is put up on the wall, strategies are presented to the team and the client always knows who to blame. Your performance, whatever your job within advertising, is obvious to just about everyone. It’s also tough because, for all of the complaining the goes on at my blog and at others about the sub-par people who have wormed their way into the business, there are a lot of people in advertising who are really, really smart.
And I am not.
The mitigating factor in all of this is that advertising people love to give advice. The best advice that I got was to ask the advice of someone you respect…you rarely like the response you get from that person you respect, especially if you show them some of your work, because it is usually something along the lines of “this is not great.” But if it were great, you wouldn’t need to ask. And anyway, they’ll help you make it great, which is more than you will get from people in other lines of work.
At any rate, all of the above happened to me today. Showed someone I respect some of my – admittedly rough and early in the process – ideas and I got the above response. Along with some great thoughts on how to make it better.
A minor bruise to the ego, sure, but I knew that the work wasn’t there and I felt like I was flailing. Now I feel like I at least have some direction, though I am not going to book my flight to Cannes right yet. Maybe next week.