Posts Tagged ‘Advertising age’

I was chatting with my mentor, Dave Trott the other day.

It’s always an enjoyable refresher course in many things.

In June 1980, he opened Gold Greenlees Trott.

Very shortly afterwards, I was fortunate enough to be the first creative bod Trotty hired (it was a serendipitous event but that’s a story in itself).

I worked for him until late 1989.

He taught me pretty much everything I know about advertising.

But only a fraction of what he knows.

However, he also taught me about many other things.

If you read his brilliant blog or equally brilliant books, you can’t fault his unerring logic and common sense.

They relate to advertising, for sure, but they’re lessons in life, ways of being.

I soaked all this up for almost ten years.

But he was never my boss.

He reminded me of that the other day – “I wasn’t a boss, I was a coach, that’s why it worked for you. I didn’t make you do anything, just showed you how to do what you wanted to do – the rest was all you.”

A big distinction, and I’ve experienced ‘bosses’ subsequently.

They boss people around, tell them what to do and what not to do, bollock them if they do something wrong (and are usually stingy with praise if they do something right).

Trotty never did that.

He didn’t FORCE any of us to do ANYTHING.

Instead he hired people who wanted to do what he wanted, and showed them the way.

If anyone, for a second, doubts the validity of that management style, the GGT he created went on to be voted by USA’s Ad Age magazine as ‘The Most Creative Agency In The World’.

I’m incredibly proud and blessed to have played a part in that, and it’s a lesson I’ve tried to live by as a manager of people.

It sure beats trying to bully people into doing things they simply don’t want to.

So maybe the expression shouldn’t be “Like A Boss”.

But “Like A Coach”. (more…)


Read Full Post »

Stardate February 12th 2554

Advertising Age

Let’s be absolutely clear from the off – I’m the wrong side of 20.

Therefore you might say my views are biased (but surely if a point of view is not biased, it’s not a point of view).

Why are there so few experienced people in creative departments?

Agencies love to been seen as cool and trendy so let’s hire some far-out digital dude who rolls with the kids.

Not CEOs mind, oh no, because THEY need to be responsible. For example Michael Roth was almost 60 when he GOT the top job at IPG. Was there no 25-year-old financial whizz-kid that could’ve done Roth’s job?

Can you imagine an agency hiring a 60-year-old ECD?

I think there’s a sense that in order to be creative in advertising you need to be childishly irresponsible, but personally, I’ve never met a client that would happily put his or her millions in the hands of someone they thought irresponsible.
And I always thought it was smart to listen to and learn from people who had more experience than me.

I’m not entirely alone – I recall a rumour that Mother, one of London’s best agencies hardly in need of help, put in an audacious bid to hire the late great John Webster, at the time in his 60s. They obviously recognized that, if you retain your enthusiasm for the business, experience only adds to it.

But by and large, advertising is one of the few creative industries I can think of that doesn’t always respect experience, at least in the creative department.

Looking at other creative businesses, the current biggest grossing music act is not this year’s Jimmy Osmond, Justin Bieber (thank God) but The Rolling Stones, and Madonna is the biggest female still.

I recently read a great response to a reader’s whingeing letter about Sir Paul McCartney in Q magazine. It said, “he wrote Paperback Writer, he made St Pepper and The White Album. He was in the chuffing Beatles! He can look as foolish as he damn well pleases.” Lovely.

But gosh, I still read…magazines???  How passé…

Don’t get me wrong – I love my i-pad. But I love magazines too (and I’d think twice before swatting the bloody mosquitoes here with my i-pad)

Ricky Gervais has become a global *fill in adjective here* in his mid-40s and said recently on CNN “why didn’t I do this when I was younger?” To which his missus Jane replied, “Because you wouldn’t have been any good at it”. It takes a good deal of experience to insult everyone in Hollywood in 3 hrs.

In publishing: apart from the short brat-pack period where it seemed the only people getting book deals were people who’d never written a book before, the best selling authors continue to be the ones with a proven track record.

Scorsese, Pacino and DeNiro et al still seem to be doing ok in the movies too.

So it’s clear creativity is not the preserve of youth.

I may be wrong, but from the outside, age doesn’t seem to be such an issue in those creative industries.

My dear ex once said to me “age is a privilege not everyone is fortunate enough to attain” (I wasn’t sure whether it was a threat but it sounded profound, so I assume she stole it!).

But, the very few obvious exceptions aside, where do the experienced and talented creatives in advertising go to?

Be careful before you disagree – you’ll be posting your own sell-by date.

Blog off.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: