Some Light Reading

The other day at lunch, I read Paul Arden’s It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be. It’s kind of a hodge-podge of tips and insights about working in advertising, and a quick read.

Here are random quotes I would have underlined if I weren’t borrowing the book:

Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.

If you ask the right question, you get the right answer.

Know your client’s aims. Most clients are corporate people protecting their own mortgages. They mistakenly see ideas as a risk rather than an advancement to their careers. Therefore their motivation might be quite different from their brief to you. Find out what the client’s real objective is.

It can’t be judged by description. It needs to be done (made) to exist.

The person who doesn’t make mistakes is unlikely to make anything.

The way to get unblocked is to lose our inhibitions and stop worrying about being right.

If you get stuck, draw with a different pen. Change your tools. It may free your thinking.

Get out of advertising. To be original, seek your inspiration from unexpected sources.

We all want to be proud of the company we work for. If you find people talking down [your agency], take issue with them…or, as a friend of mine did, fight somebody for talking disparagingly about the company he worked for. [this one seemed stupid at first, but then I began thinking that if you don’t take offense when someone knocks your agency, then you must agree with them. Which begs the question, why are you still at that agency? And fighting other ad people, that sounds good to me. I’ll warn you, though, I’ll throw lots of leg kicks and try to take it to the ground]

If you can find a way of summing up what the client wants to feel about his company but cannot express himself, you’ve got him.

Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. If instead you undersell, pointing out the possible weaknesses and how to resolve them, should they occur, you are not only building a trusting relationship with your client but you’re able to solve any problems.

What do you do when your client won’t buy? Do it his way, then do it your way.

If you know the your client’s logo or product has to be big in an ad, don’t hope that it will fit in the corner somewhere unobtrusively. It won’t. Start your layout knowing that it’s a problem to be solved as an integral part of the ad.