Saturday, January 14, 2012

Please give me a report card.

          To be in advertising and marketing, you're being judged constantly. If you like report cards, it is the perfect place for you.

          In advertising, you're being judged even before you get an assignment. Your boss is deciding whether you're the right one for the job. Then you start doing the ad or commercial, and you're judged again. Not just your work; you. How well did you do? Then you're judged on how you present it, how the ad is produced, how the client feels about it, and if it gets a response from customers.

         Even though sales depend on a lot more than the advertising --- the price and the distribution and the competition, to name three things --- you're judged on how the advertising sold the product. It never ends.

         It's not just that you're judged, it's by whom you're judged. Your bosses, your clients, your peers, and even your family.

         And when it's all over and you've done a great job, you're still in an anonymous business. The people who create the advertising don't sign their names. So the public can't even give you credit.

         That's why, if the work was good, you'll be judged again. This time by your peers in one of the many awards shows, including the Lions, the Clios, the Addys, the Caddys, the New York International Film Festival,  the Silver Microphones, the Tellys, the Webbys, and more.

         The first time my work was nominated for a Clio, my art director partner Marty Lieberman and I were sent to New York by our agency. The ceremonies were at Lincoln Center, and then it was very fancy. The formalwear companies were bigger winners than the creative people. Marty bought a designer tux; mine was a rental.

         The Clios tried to be like the Oscars, opening envelopes and so on. In fact, the Clios had to change their trophy because they looked too much alike.

         When I got back to our hotel that night, the phone in my room was ringing. It was Marty, laughing hysterically. "I'm all blue", he said. The dye from his tux apparently bled all over his legs.

         I tried not to be too judgmental.

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