I love it. Take it out! Part 1

21 Sep

ImageI got my first job in advertising by showing up at an agency with a two page short story I had written about bikies. I still remember one memorable phrase I concocted. It went something like ‘their jeans were so dirty, they could only be removed with a blow torch.’

The amazing thing was not only did I get in and meet with the Creative Director, but he gave me a job on the very lowest branch of the agency tree: the despatch department, run by a fiery red-faced ex army guy they called Sarge. I wanted to write. To create. I was on cloud 9 or maybe even 10.

For the first few days, the CD would acknowledge me. Smile. Ask how I was doing. That stopped soon after. But it was a great place to work. Big clients, global agency. A bunch of creatives around, artists, writers, producers, editors, designers. I loved it.

Then they promoted me to media accounts. Yike! That wasn’t my bag, so they put me into media planning, under a benevolent media genius who will remain nameless, but let’s call him Daniel Boyce. One day he called me into his office and asked me ‘so how are you liking it here?’ I was momentarily blinded by his striped shirt and the harbour view behind him, and blurted out without thinking ‘I don’t like it.’ Daniel fixed me with a steely glare, just as the phone rang. ‘Daniel Boyce.’ He said into the mouthpiece in a cultured accent, glancing at me with what I perceived as contempt. “I’m going to get fired.’ I thought, but no. Daniel put down the phone and asked me why I wasn’t happy in media planning. I told him that I wanted to write. To be a copywriter. To be a creative. The phone rang again. Same rigmarole. Then, ‘Thanks for being honest. Everybody lies to me around here.’

The next day I was relocated to the TV/Broadcast unit where ads were recorded and edited, pilots were made and new business pitches run.

We had two theatres and a big meeting room. I was able to watch actors, writers, engineers create, edit and senior executives pitch for new business. Something different everyday.

It may have been airlines and soft drinks but it was wondrous to me …

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