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Posts Tagged ‘Advertising Agency’

Well, after six years of ambling along here, punctuated only by four job offers from the same agency (who obviously thrive on rejection), it has been announced that I am to have my review. On Friday.

Now: I don’t WANT to have my review on Friday – and the reason for this is simple. I see-saw violently between craven, chuckling, moist-eyed delight at any and all praise; and a rich spectrum of emotion at anything even wearing the small pocket-handkerchief of criticism. These emotions are:-

  1. “Fine. I’ll leave then. I’ll just fucking GO!”
  2. Something akin to that teen romance classic “Well you can’t break up with me, because I’m breaking up with you” when I get MY objections to all and sundry in first, in order to render their disapproval meaningless.
  3. A Raffles air of “My dear chap, I couldn’t give the slightest testicle hair of a shit about the opinion of these intellectual midgets.” (to be twinned with a supercilious smirk that would make Maria von Trapp punch a baby.
  4. Hot-headed, red-faced, prickling rage of “No but that’s SOOOOOO unfair, right. That is just SOOOOOOOO not true and it is just rubbish, yeah? And, oh GOD! That is SO out-of-order, because do you know what, yeah? I WROTE THAT PRESENTATION BACK IN MAY!” that would shame an eleven year-old girl.
  5. Cold, shark-eyed vengeance on those who have criticised the way that I roll my eyes in front of junior clients.

Of course, in my mind, I have decided that when I enter The Room for the review, I shall be wordlessly nodded over to the guillotine, hastily erected in the corner for one day only (Fearless Leader sitting at its foot, knitting and cackling toothlessly), and will shuffle my head into place, not with any noble thoughts or words akin to “It is a far, far better thing…” so much as “But I DID feed back on the creative recommendation for Russia before the deadline. This is SO unfair…”

If I am still employed/here on Friday, I will, of course, present the unlovely truth for your enlightenment and disdain.

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American Diva Planner has left the agency – in fact, she was asked to leave…

Hers is a particularly sad story: not because she didn’t see her demise coming (I think she did), but because she saw it coming and simply couldn’t alter her behaviour in such a way as to prevent it – like being tied to the railway tracks, and watching the engine approaching. She had a very lofty view of herself and her discipline – and once (unfortunately) when asked by someone whom she viewed as her junior for her mobile number, she replied (without irony) “You? You don’t get MY number!”. This wasn’t a one-off: she used not to do things that she viewed as beneath her (which, it must be said, were viewed by pretty much everyone else as absolutely within her job description), and used not to concern herself with actually translating her thinking into creative work (which, for example, Good Friend at Work and I spend the bulk of our time doing) – indeed, when I was talking to her after she had been fired, she actually said “I don’t care about the creative work”.

This disengaged and detached view of Planning doesn’t cut it any more – if it ever did – either with clients or agencies, and her death knell was sounded by being asked off a piece of business for the third time. Eventually, there’s no way to remain employed if clients don’t want you on your business.

So: she’s with us for another couple of months, and I’ll miss her when she’s gone. I’ll still see her, I hope (she’s a lovely, generous and funny woman – and she throws the best parties known to man) and I hope that a life as a consultant, which is what she’s going to do, will suit her better and bring her more satisfaction.

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I don’t really care massively about how houses are decorated. Like everyone else, I have preferences and things that I will not tolerate (wet look tiles, chintz, deep pile carpets – nothing too contentious), but I can’t get too excited about looking at the subtle differences between fourteen shades of “White” from Farrow and Ball with names such as “Suet”, “Linen Petticoat”, “Mrs Danver’s Teeth” and “Dame Maggie Smith White”. This is not to say that UAG is going to get her way and see the downstairs rooms of my new house painted “Duck Egg Blue” (“That sounds shit, love.”), but as long as everything is fairly recessive and serves as a good way to house the things I like, I am happy.

But today, an announcement was made at work that made my heart sing: the office is to be redecorated. This is great news NOT for the decoration that is to come, but the decoration that is to be replaced. The most recent example of “Let’s make the space more creative” (which has now run longer than “The Mousetrap”) was to give the staff free rein on the decoration of the pillars that run the length of the first floor. These ran the gamut from the half-hearted (occasional run-outs of “interesting use of graphics”), to the embarrassingly teenage (hundreds of shots of heavily made-up lips) to the tentatively themed (album covers) to the energetically creative (an oak tree, complete with added branches and terse-looking owl) – but the worst of these was the one nearest to me. Needless to say: I had nothing to do with it – partly because of my above-stated ambivalence, partly because of my refusal to get involved with anything that might involve a committee – so I have only got myself to blame. What emerged was horrific: a pillar covered in large and small boxes of breakfast cereal, which was named – DEAR GOD! – “The Deadly Cereal Pillar”.

Words cannot describe the fury and disgust that I felt on the first day, and every day after, that I saw that atrocity. Over time, some of the boxes peeled off and fell to the floor, so that the one thing that could have been said of it (“At least it’s neat”) was no longer true. Anyway: this is all over now. Today, the Front of House staff moved in and started pulling the remaining boxes off the pillar, in preparation for the weekend of decoration – and whatever this weekend holds, it cannot be comparable to the horror that has been: even if it’s just a simple wash of “Stilton Mould”, “Kristin Scott Thomas’ Back” or “Dinner Gong Beige”.

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Having just returned from there, I can confirm that The Standard Hotel in New York is the coolest place in the world.

Not only were Lady Gaga (like all celebrities: “smaller than you’d think”), Jennifer Lopez and David Lynch there, but (as dedicated readers will know): my presence there ensured that it was the epicentre of cool for the whole week – which must have been nice for them.

The whole thing went very well: my talk on “Specific Creativity” (soon to be a smash-hit mini-series, starring Nicole Scherzinger and Jim Davidson) was well-liked (to the extent that I’ve been asked to do it again for a session in – disappointingly – London), and the other speakers (mainly from the worlds of TV and film-making) were fascinating.

The interview also went well. It was a first for me to be interviewed by Americans (not one of whom, to be fair either said “I love your accent” or started talking like Dick van Dyke in “Mary Poppins” when I first spoke to them), but it was brilliant: like being stroked by warmed ostrich feathers. Every thing that I had done, every thing that I had said, every piece of work I showed them elicited an (unironic, I am fairly sure) “Awesome”. I began to get a little embarrassed and started my trusted tactic of undermining myself and suggesting that, actually, with a following wind, a ham sandwich and a laptop, a trained badger could have done as much, if not better – but this back-fired with renewed invitations to look at the awe-inspiring quality of what I had done, had been saying, and had been producing. It’s now all got terrifyingly real, and I am starting to get calls from someone who proclaims herself to be that agency’s “Head of Talent Management” (the one bum note in the whole thing), which means that I’ll have to make a decision of the bowel evacuation/lavatory desertion kind shortly. Stay tuned.

 

 

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I’m going to New York the week after next where I’m going to combine some lecturing on Advertising Planning (something which is filling me with so much dread it is only really now that I am confronting the fact that I am doing it – SHITTING HELL!) with an interview at another agency.

It’s a more famous agency than the one that I currently work at, but no better (worse in many areas); and the money is a lot better, but I am almost certain that I don’t want to work there. My work situation at the moment is pretty perfect: I’ve been promoted to the Board, given a pay rise to go with it, and they are really good about my home situation (basically letting me work from home as and when I need to in order to accommodate the children) – so I don’t really know why I’d leave. On the other hand, Old Friend at Work is right when she says that I may as well turn up, specifically if I don’t want the job (which is when I tend to perform at my best), and see it as ego-stroking and practice if nothing else.

Anyway: that’s half the gig. The bulk of it is this lecturing that I am doing (largely in the spirit of “Run towards what makes you scared – and given that, as I run towards this, I can almost feel myself shitting myself, I think I’m embracing the spirit of that dictum pretty well), and that’s three days of lecturing, leading workshops, Q&As and all that stuff that makes me feel like self-harming. The other speakers are all from different areas (screenwriters, film producers, TV executives, journalists) and we’re all speaking on the theme of “Engagement through Story-Telling”, so I am under no illusion that my slot will be the point at which people make their phone calls and grapple with their iPads.

Ah well: “What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger” as terrifying, proto-Nazi Nietzsche coined it. We shall see.

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Latest Client comment.

“Could we be accused of encouraging the exploitation of dwarves?”

By suggesting IN A COMMERCIAL that THE IMAGINARY Snow White bought herself a new dress? No, no I don’t think we could.

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