You know, I wasn’t going to write about this, but this sh*t really got me heated.
Dear Advertising Students (Including Myself) and Juniors,
You are not a big deal. No one cares what you have to say about Advertising; especially considering your meager portfolio probably only contains one or two good ads that show potential, not talent. Perhaps you have completed an internship at a very well recognized agency. Good for you. You should feel good about that and I fully congratulate you because it means that maybe you are on the path to success. But I do not believe that you can sit there, with only a few banner ads to your name as officially produced work, and judge an agency as having “Crap Work” when you yourself have no award-winning work to your name.
Obviously with this blog I am exploring Advertising and often critiquing it myself, and I think it’s incredibly important to stay current and stay critical so that your ideas are fresh. However, I would not for a second allow my ego to get so large that I can’t see all the hard work that goes into every campaign— which is why it’s so important to have a great idea in the first place so that your time is not wasted.
Even those ads which I criticize, I still have enormous respect for the people behind them because they have worked very hard to get where they are, and I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t say anything that you wouldn’t be willing to say to someone’s face. Despite all my faults, I am not a two-faced person. I don’t ass-kiss if I think the compliments are undeserved. I will tell you what I did and didn’t like about your work with sincerity because I would hope that someone else would tell me the same, always with the intent of getting better.
I’m getting a little sick, however, of hearing the other students in this school sit comfortably behind Twitter accounts, and Tumblr blogs, patting themselves on the back for a print ad they created in Photoshop that has never run and never been proven to be effective. Although I can’t speak for every school, if the students here are anything like the larger population, then we’re all a bunch of bobble heads; meaning, we are students with heads so large that our necks threaten to snap underneath either the weight of our collective egos, or by the hands of the higher ups who are sick of hearing us critique the work of others as if we are even playing in the same league.
My parents raised me to be humble, and by that I mean they beat the snark out of me if I back-talked. They taught me that when applying to a job, I should always be willing to do any task assigned to me without complaint. If you want to make it in this world, you have to be willing to put yourself aside and give others their due notice. Have respect for your elders, kids, because it’s more than likely that even their bad work is better than yours on your best day.
I’m not saying you should assume that everyone knows better than you because there have been times when my instincts told me that my elder’s advice was outdated, but even so, learning from these people has given me a firm foundation for how Advertising has worked and should work in the future. The core concepts haven’t changed just because the technology has and the reasons people share memes are still similar to the reasons that people used to tear ads out of magazines and newspapers.
I am fully aware that I am not an authority on this topic and my opinions often reek of youthful inexperience, which is why I’m thankful that anyone at all would take in what I have to say. I know that I have not yet proven myself in Adland. Through this exercise I can only hope that I am training myself to be able to one day look back and say with confidence, “You did good, kid.”
Until that point, I look to the people who know better than I do for advice so that I can observe and soak up every little success and mistake then ask myself, “How could it have been done better?” I assume that every ad person, no matter how old or experienced, asks themselves the same question after every campaign is completed. Every business should be about progress and improvement, and pride is the enemy of these goals. Just because you’ve scored a few goals, doesn’t mean you’ve won the game. Don’t get cocky, get better.
An Adland Embryo