I love advertising.
I know it’s not cool to say that anymore.
Maybe it once was, back in the day. In the seventies or eighties.
But not now.
And I also know there can be a lot not to love.
Like how we’ve all become numbers on a spreadsheet. Numbers that sit with other numbers and try to apply creative skills to problems generally lacking in any genuine strategic or client insight.
I could go on.
But to me, criticizing advertising is just too easy. It’s like shooting bass in a bathtub. Like wanting to change things about your partner after you’ve married them.
Ain’t gonna happen.
I also feel like a lot of people doing the criticizing are forgetting what advertising has done for them. How lucky they are to work in this industry.
I certainly haven’t.
With the help of some big-hearted creatives in Australia, advertising took me from a lowly job in the Australian social security department to a glamor agency overlooking Sydney Harbour. That’s culture shock, right there.
Then it took me from Sydney to New York, where I met my future wife.
Advertising also took me to the Emmys, then to London and one of the best agencies in the world. I had a ringside seat working on one of the biggest phone brands on the planet as its market share plummeted.
You can’t buy an experience like that.
Then I boomeranged back to New York.
Along the way, I worked with world-class directors. World-class talent. Celebrities, even. I posed in front of the Playboy Mansion with my arm around a Russian billionaire who may or may not have been wearing Einstein’s watch. And then later got yelled at by Hugh Hefner, but that’s another story.
I also got to work with incredible people. Say what you want about the industry, but it is populated by some of the most curious, interesting and eccentric people you would ever want to meet. (And also some you might not want to meet.) One thing it never is is dull. I’ve made some of my best mates, people who I know will be my friends long after my time in Adland is over.
Most of all, advertising gave me the self-belief that if I set my mind to it, I could make anything happen. Which is why I’ve just released my third novel.
Maybe I’ve just been lucky. Maybe I’ve made my own luck, to a certain extent.
But even now, when advertising has shown me her bitchy side, laid me off in the middle of a global pandemic and kicked me to the curb, I can’t hate her. She’s been too good to me.
And I also know that she has something else in store for me. I just don’t know exactly what yet.
That’s another reason why I love advertising.