15 of #52n52 - PICK ME: Breaking Into Advertising & Staying There by Nancy Vonk & Janet Kestin
Breaking into advertising is obviously a tough nut to crack or they wouldn’t have written a book about. I’m really not one to ask about this as: (1) I didn’t go to school for advertising/design/writing/what-have-you (2) I didn’t even go to school (3) Since I didn’t go to school, I didn’t intern anywhere & (4) I had no aspirations as a kid to one day be a creative director – no way, not ever.
It may sound cliché, but what me got to where I am today and what keeps me from shagging golf balls; is blood, sweat, tears, the ability to laugh at myself and a life outside the office.
I broke into this business by via the backdoor. I came into advertising after having worked 6 years as a rep/buyer/marketing director in the action sport industry before I took my first advertising job. For me, there was no school affiliation, past internship, or spec work to rely on – just my street smarts. So, a book focused solely on “breaking into” advertising via the above didn’t really apply to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do and work my ass off daily to get better at it. But, I took risks and put myself out there and said fuck fear and just went for it. My skill is I have a knack for creating ideas and communicating them to people, but just cause I can do that didn’t mean that an agency recruiter was going to spot me at the mall and sign me to a contract as a creative. Far from it (but, wouldn’t that be something?!?). Let alone, pick me out of a file cabinet full of others with the same skill set.
No, I cut my teeth smiling & dialing for an agency in their new biz department hoping against hope that some brand manager would pick up the phone and just listen. I beat on doors pitching creative ideas that didn’t exist yet, but were cobbled together with quick glances of what I saw on that person’s desk or wall. I searched out the communication weaknesses, found the story gaps and put the missing pieces in place that would move the needle, nod heads, and turn skeptics into evangelists.
Maybe you need a book to tell you that, but I was less than impressed by Vonk & Kestin’s 240 pages of PICK ME. If you want a cheaper version (read: FREE) of the book, check out http://ihaveanidea.org/askjancy/ where they got the material for this book.
Where PICK ME does strike a chord are the interviews from some of advertising’s greatest creatives like, Neil French, Mike Hughes, Chuck Porter, David Droga and Bob Barrie. It’s in these interviews where you’ll read about guts, courage, and the fearlessness I believe it takes to crack the nut of getting a gig as an advertising creative.
Lastly, I’ll quote a McCann CD I met while honeymooning in Paris. After we sat and bullshitted over a cup of coffee asked me what I was doing for a beautiful afternoon in Paris. I said, “my wife and I are going to Père Lachaise Cemetery” and he said, “you know what they say about cemeteries – they are full of people who thought they were more important in life than they actually were.” At which point, I kindly excused myself and went back to living life outside of the office.