- Lauren Finn, June 2010
Do your best. Then do it again.
I couldn’t tell you how many times the copywriters wrote the tagline. We lost track of the most recent creative brief. There were files saved as “final print ad” “final, final print ad” and even, “no really, this is the final print ad.” Nothing felt better than finally getting the hard earned approval of K.O. and Russell. Nothing was more frustrating when it was revoked not twelve hours later. But they were right. Every voice that critiqued the creative or the questioned the brief, every sentence that began, “but what about…” was right. Every time it felt like we were starting from scratch we were really one step closer to producing the best of our combined capabilities.
More than we wanted to know.
Premiums. Deductibles. Agent-based models. Renter’s. Auto. At this point, the eleven of us are confident in our chances of becoming future agents if this whole advertising thing doesn’t work out. But for now, we’re still pretty gung-ho for Plan A. Having State Farm as a client emphasized one of the cooler aspects of advertising: the fact that at any given moment you’ll have the opportunity to become a mini-expert on just about anything. Certainly some clients will undoubtedly be cooler than others, but each experience allows you to completely immerse yourself in something you probably never would have otherwise. It also adds to that breadth of knowledge I’m convinced would make ad-people the most successful game show contestants of all.
Who to pick for the company dodge-ball team.
Some people need absolute silence to work. Others need music. Some thrive working through the night and there are those, (you know who you are) who don’t fare quite as well in the wee hours of the morning. In our microcosm of the agency world we learned a lot about ourselves, but we also learned what we look for in a teammate. There are times to lead and times to follow and distinct ways to do both. While we all value different qualities the one thing we know for certain is that whomever we’re working with, better be cool enough to spend 26 consecutive hours with.
Ask any creative and they’ll recall a particular moment when K.O asked for a lighter while reviewing a mockup. We were certain he was about to set it on fire. Luckily for our fragile egos, he didn’t, but he also didn’t approve. It’s pretty intimidating to stand up to someone you respect but it’s a valuable skill to develop, especially on the creative side. The criticism we adhered to far outweighed the work we defended but we learned to be passionate in our arguments. We chose our battles and stood by the work we thought was best. For this particular client, we were the target. So although we may not have had the experience, we knew the target more intimately than anyone with experience could. We learned how to sell our work and how to distinguish the essence of what we were saying from how we were saying it. You’ll never win a battle if you don’t know how to choose the right one.
You have to be a little insane to agree to work on AAF during the last semester of your college career. The dedication required borders fanatical. The expectations are high and the chances of having a social life are low. There will be nights when you question your choice in majors and moments you wonder how you got yourself into this mess in the first place. But then, there will be a night where it all comes together. And those twenty minutes (and the celebratory hours after) make every second that came before completely worth it.