On Disappointment…

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonWell, the charmed streak my beloved Irish enjoyed all season long came to a crushing end last night.

The pundits said we were overrated and they were right. They said we were lucky and they were right too.

Still, hope dies last. Or as the Spartan philosopher Epictetus wrote in his remarkably readable The Enchiridion: “dum spiro, spero”: “While I breathe, I hope.”

Hope is a crucial currency in advertising. In a world of endless pitching, hope keeps you coming back despite the disappointments, the rejections and the outright failures.

But last night’s disappointment wasn’t solely limited to the game. Midway through the first half, a TV spot we produced well over four years ago at the now defunct Element 79 aired for Lay’s potato chips. Which means two things. First, that despite canning all of us at that agency, Frito Lay has yet to find something better and second, those three actresses are positively killing it on residuals. Still, it’s tremendously disappointing and judging by a Facebook post and the comments that followed, the sting of that injustice still rankles.

The only way to deal with disappointment is perspective. It’s always perspective. As a Notre Dame friend of mine posted last night, “Who would have thought we would have a disappointment on January 8th?” We were blessed with an improbably charmed run, and a raft of storylines that warmed the heart and fueled the imagination, with both Notre Dame’s football season and our work on Frito Lay at Element 79. And it ended, as things inevitably do. Now the only proper response for that experience is gratitude.

So despite the sting and the disappointment, I am grateful. For a brief and shining moment, a wonderful group of magical people were center stage at the show.

Today, the hard work of getting back there begins again.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

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