5 truths that advertising taught me about life!
Well, I am neither an ad veteran nor an award-winning copywriter but I am this: 'A girl who grew up watching ads more than TV shows and dreamt of working in an ad agency and making ad films that will be played at least a dozen times' (well, I got more than a dozen thousand hits for some of my ads on YouTube, guess that counts).
I won’t say I have all the experience and pompousness to tell you that these are the most important truths in advertising life but I do have the courage to tell you that these are the five most essential truths (there may be more but for now, these prove sufficient for adulting) that helped me survive life, in general. And, I believe it would surely do you good if you understand these (and also share it around) sooner than learning these through trial and error (Ain’t nobody got time for that!)
1. ‘YOUR’ CREATIVITY IS ‘YOUR’ IDENTITY
2. YOUR TALENTS HELP YOU RISE ABOVE THE REST
To survive in any industry you need to be good at your job but to excel in it, you need to be talented. Am sure you’ll agree (If not, give me a chance to convince you). Especially in advertising, your talents will tell more about yourself and what you can achieve than what your job description says you can do. I know a lot of fellow copywriters who draw so well and some art directors who narrate a script effortlessly and some account managers who have crazy ideas. I, a copywriter who lives with words, love everything design. I love a good logo, an interesting painting, an obscure photograph and even the way a kettle is designed. You’ll find me doodling my ideas on my notepad first before typing out my script on MS Word. So, I used my other talents and interests to my advantage in my current role as a copywriter and made a difference in what I did. When a mere PPT was enough for a client presentation, I made a video. When there was a jingle in the script, I sang it. When there was no art director for a last-minute job, I designed the layout. All of this helped me rise above the rest and be remembered for not just a job well done but a job done excellently!
Flare-ups are so common when you have to make a point but you can’t seem to get the other person to agree. If it’s a game, there’s an umpire or a referee to point out the problem-areas, but this is life. You need to be a judge of your actions. I have seen so many ugly fights over briefs and in meetings but they were never personal (at least, most of them). The same people were seen sharing a cigarette the next hour or going for lunch the next day. Am saying, keep the fights, egos and prejudices within ‘workable’ limits but never burn the bridges. Focus on winning the game than avenging your opponents. You might want to toss the brief at your client or slam the door on your creative director or beat the living sh*t out of your lazy art/copy partner. But hold on, don’t do it just yet! Because, you WILL meet the same person again in your life and that time you will have to (for some strange karmic reason) depend on them. So, it will only do you good if you remained in their good books. Just imagine, your senior colleague in the current agency who you called names and had an ugly showdown with, turns out to be your creative director in the next agency! That surely sucks, doesn’t it? So, hang on to that bridge, even if it’s rickety but never burn it down, for you’ll have to cross it sooner than you expected!
4. HARDWORK ALWAYS PAYS.
Right now, this seems like a clichéd statement that I took out of a quotes’ book or found it carved on the stone tablets of time immemorial. But it’s true, not just in advertising but in life as well. You would have heard your teacher say it a thousand times or your parents would have nagged you with it or that stand-up comedian would have boasted about it while making his life look so effortlessly cool! All said, hardwork IS really the game changer. Be consistent in what you do and focus on getting better at what you do, constantly. You may not see the results immediately but you will see it when it matters the most. (I guess, I kind of made hardwork sound like weight loss). I am not saying you should die working your a$$ off but it’s ok to break your back a little but never lose your balance. Anyway, to come to the point: When I was assigned something, I was dedicated to it and always took it up as my sole responsibility to see it through from start to finish, by whatever means I could. I must say, it led to the right people noticing it and in turn, I got more and more opportunities to rise up and prove my worth, and I can confidently say that I never disappointed them. Work hard even if no one is around you. Believe me, someone important is watching your every move. (Didn’t mean to scare you, but agencies do have CCTVs).
5. THE BEER AND BIRYANI ARE A BRIBE NOT A BONUS
This is a phrase agency folks are tired of hearing and am sure everyone believes this just like how the glamour of stardom blinds us from seeing the pain behind it all. Yes, I won’t deny that we have one too many parties a month to celebrate little triumphs, big victories, birthdays, farewells, nominations, promotions, pitch-work weekends, intern initiations, late night sessions, just-for-the fact-that-it’s-Friday sessions, and lots more! (The empty liquor bottle towers adorning as desk-décor, literally, stand as a proof to that). BUT…behind it all, we have struggled. We have toiled, we have bruised and we have bled. I, like every adman/adwoman, will swear by that the parties are really an intoxicating bribe and are actually distractions from all the pain and dread we go through to bring out one good ad to life. So, the booze and biryani at the end of a loooooong hard day is indeed a motivation to push us into yet another week of deadlines and minefields (Cheers to migraines, acidity and kidney failures!). We all need some ‘tips’ to carry the luggage of life, even if our job is to be a bell boy. Take any thrills and pleasures as a mere bribe to do your best in life but not as a bonus. Choose your booze and biryani of life in limits, indulge a little to push yourself ahead a little more!
Well, that’s it folks! I have laid out the five truths of life I have learnt during my time in advertising (as a copywriter. Let’s assume it may differ if you are a visualizer or an account manager or a producer or an illustrator). I stuck by, still do, these 5 points in any situation which has helped me somewhat define my identity, often rise above the rest, always have a sturdy bridge to cross, count on my hardwork that has so long paid all my bills and stay on a full stomach with enough booze and biryani to keep me motivated in life! I hope you find these useful like I did and may you have a use for these 5 valuable lessons in your life. After all, advertisements mimic life and we mimic advertisements.
Cut! Now, that’s a wrap.
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