Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Staying awake at a media lunch.

       In my early days in advertising in Chicago, I used to love to go to media lunches, where the food is good, the drinks are free, and media reps try to convince you why their magazine or TV network is perfect for your clients. I was dressed up anyway and eager to learn, so I went.

      The older, more experienced writers and art directors shied away from these events because they were attended mainly by the "suits"--- account executives, clients, and media people --- and the talks were unvarnished sales pitches, although often multi-media and colorful.

      Often I'd sit next to Rance Crain, the editor of Advertising Age. We were both young and in a fast-moving business, and had good discussions over the chicken and peas. Rance told me he'd publish articles I wanted to write about starting out in advertising, if they were any good. I sent him about six pieces, which he published. Then I ran out of things to write about. Rance is now the publisher of Ad Age.

      In the October 10, 2011 issue, he wrote a column about Jack Connors, a founding partner of Hill Holiday Connors Cosmopolos, the most successful agency in Boston. In the column, Rance said building an agency isn't a matter of size but of attitudes. He quoted Jack: "You know, it's like anything else. There are trappers and there are skinners. To be a trapper, you've got to put on snow shoes, you've got to go out in the cold, you've got to set those traps, and then you've got to go back and see if there are any animals in them. And it's cold out there." He said most people choose to be skinners, because you can stay warm and don't have to be tramping about.

     Jack Connors said that his agency's ability to handle rejection was one of its keys to success. What valuable lessons for all of us, whether we're building an ad agency or a career.

    First, we have to be willing to go out in the cold, and do the tough jobs others rather not do.

    Second, we have to be able to handle rejection. I'm still having trouble with that. Even though I know it's simply the other side of the success coin.

    With experience, both should get a tad easier.  I hope you achieve success in something you love, as Rance and Jack have.

                                       Best wishes, Harvey the trapper.

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