There’s a Choice. There’s Always a Choice.
When I graduated from college, a friend of my Dad asked him what I planned to do. “Dennis is going into advertising.” At this, his friend fell silent so my Dad asked what he was thinking. He said “Well Bernie, he went to a good school, got good grades, his older brother is a Navy pilot…aren’t you a little disappointed he’s choosing…advertising?” My Dad replied “Fran, what are you saying? We’re lawyers!”
My Dad told that story for years, collapsing into gales of laughter every time he hit the punchline. And it always played because advertising has long had an image problem. At its worst, ours is a business of conmen and hucksters, spittle-lipped sharpsters in sharkskin suits selling false promises and impossible dreams.
But at its best, advertising fuels the mighty American engine of commerce, stoking the sales that drive our economy, and every now and then, our culture as well, like the concept of the designated driver.
The value of advertising, like any human endeavor, lies in the values you choose. The graphic above represents two options: the outspoken “Brand Guru” Peter Arnell ( the one on the left ) and charming and successful CEO/CCO Linda Kaplan-Thaler ( the one on the right ). The linked interviews with each of them represent two distinct industry views and one stark comparison.
Give them a quick once over then ask yourself: which do you choose?
2 thoughts on “An Advertising Compare and Contrast…”
The scene: Cgo Ad Woman of the Year luncheon, 1992. Honoree: Maureen Moore, Cramer Krasselt. The speech closes with this piece of advice on how to succeed in advertising: “Hire nice people.” Her gist was that life’s just too short. Maureen got a standing ovation and I knew then I wanted to work with her some day. Unfortunately, that day never came. Not long after, Maureen passed away unexpectedly…in the office. It’s been 17 years, and I still remember what she said and what she stood for… so I choose “nice.”
It was interesting that today’s blog about choices coincided with the removal of JWT Chicago from our professional landscape. I guess we know which side won there, huh?
As for the response from Carol Dunne about Moe Moore, in ’92 I was one of her Ad Center students and about to head to Minneapolis for my first big job. I also happened to be at the same luncheon for the “hire the nice” speech. The reason I was there was because Moe paid my ticket, not to mention those of many of my classmates. From spending countless hours coaching books to extending invitations to networking events like that luncheon to giving money to every single homeless person she saw on the street, nice was just how Moe rolled.