Early in my career, I was presenting a new commercial to a client. I was pretty excited about it and felt it was a great spot. As I was explaining, enthusiastically, why we did things a certain way, the client interrupted me and said, “Hey, you act like you own our business!” I said, “Well, I kinda do”. It was the best compliment he could have given to me.
In small town advertising, relationships mean a LOT. For 32 years, I mothered each and every client. I bossed them around, argued with them, pushed them, got involved as much as I could in their business and in most cases, they became personal friends. I remembered birthdays and anniversaries, lugged cases of beer into offices, accommodated them at any hour. They knew I was deeply committed to their success.
The young ones I left behind don’t share my approach. They come to work at 8 and leave exactly at five. They do their job and go home. They seem to be uninterested in forging a friendship, become a partner, or to rise to a different level of excellence. The new “leadership” is more interested in billable hours and talking more than listening.
To be good in advertising, or any other profession, you can probably just show up and that might be enough. But to be remarkable and be respected, you need to give a damn, have passion, love the process and be excited about your work. If all you care about is the money, honey, then you’ll never be amazing.