Hug your ad agency once in a while. It’s better than you think.
July 23, 2008
I feel so blessed to be part of a vital agency. Hard work getting Euro RSCG Chicago back into respectability but so worth it. Back in ‘04 most people wrote this place off for dead and delighted in kicking the corpse. Gratifying then to be so damn alive.
Let’s talk about gratitude. Lots of people piss and moan about their jobs, and it’s no exception in advertising. The fact that our business features a creative department means the bitching can be awfully creative. All you have to do is go online or read the trades. This agency is done for. That is agency is in trouble. Can we pause from all that…
I recall a group meeting at my former employer, Leo Burnett during a dark period, perhaps just after one of another countless reorganizations. (Beware Reorga, the fiend from upper management!) Anyway, the whole creative department had assembled for a so-called “Town Meeting” to discuss what happened and where we were headed, etc.
After numerous scathing and paranoid remarks from the creative troops, one soldier elected to tell a story. It went, more or less, as follows:
A long time ago a group of farmers gathered under a huge, old and withered tree in the center of a vast plain to escape the noon sun. As they ate lunch the farmers began talking poorly about the old tree.
“What good is this tree,” said one, “it bears no fruit at all?”
“And just try milking it for sap!” bellowed a second man.
“And the wood is too gnarled for chopping,” spoke another.
On and on this went, until lunch was over and they all ventured back into the field and forests to continue working.
That night a terrible storm arose and lightning felled the giant tree, incinerating it.
The next day, when the sun was at its highest, the farmers hiked to the spot where the tree once stood. As the sun beat down upon them, they saw what had happened and what had been taken from them. It was here where they had sought and found shade. It was here they had all communed with one another. It was here they found support, community and relief. Weeping now, they all realized that these things were just as important as fruit and wood and sap. They had the tree for granted. And now it was gone.
While you get you hankies out let me sum up. The point of the story, I felt then, was to remind all the cynics and naysayer just how special a place their agency was. Though she may have fallen on hard times she was not down…and we should all be thankful for that and for all the agency had done for us –including, I might add, allowing everyone to gather under its branches and complain about it!
Food for thought, next time you’re sucking on a Starbucks with your buds, hating on the agency.