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Two giant companies are merging into a behemoth. They hire me to write a manifesto honoring the union. It must be celebratory but reassuring too. People from both sides are scared, fearing redundancies. The new sales force needs a clarion.

I ask to be paid a modest sum. The project manager counters but promises more work if things go well. Work is scant. I’m hungry to write. And this assignment is in my sweet spot.

Over the course of two nights, I write like a man possessed. I read the mantra over and over, barely whispering, making sure each word sounds just right, feels right, is right. Changing a pronoun. Altering a line break. Technically, a word is just a little thing. But each one is in fact a puzzle piece. They either fit together properly or they don’t. It’s hardly the Iliad. But it’s what you do.

Finally, I press, “send.” And off it goes into the ether.

If you would like to see what I wrote or want me to write something for you, hit me up. I’m ready, willing and super able!

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Regarding the creation of advertising, I’m very good at three things: copywriting, creating big ideas and presenting them. Even my detractors, bless them all, would grant me that. If pressed they might also tell you I’m efficient and have never missed a deadline; that I curate my work and put it into cohesive and winning presentations, always with options.

This is what I do well.

I’ve been told I have a bunker mentality. I believe in healthy competition. Best idea wins. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to get there. Which is fine. As long as the client gets a world class omelet. That’s been my experience.

After presenting work, the best outcome is when your audience (peers or clients) argues about which campaign they like best. If the work is fantastic then who cares what they choose? I believe in options. And so does every client. You never want a meeting when the outcome is ‘we need another meeting.’ Make damn sure you know the horse will drink the water. Some creative directors think good work is its own reward. That has not been my experience.

So, if you want to win a pitch, save a client, or simply demand fantastic work please hit me up. I’m available for consultation, freelance or long term projects. I’m fluent in new media and know how to reconcile data. Adept at even the trickiest verticals i.e. enterprise software, healthcare, life sciences, etc. Flexible pay and logistics. References upon request.

May we have a conversation?

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Crazy good…

Nothing suits me more than writing a good manifesto! I know I am not alone. Most copywriters get off on writing manifestos. At least they’d better. Writing such documents is at the heart of what we do, and can do, for our clients.

Most of you know what I’m talking about. For those unawares, a manifesto (aka mantra or anthem) is the bringing to life in words the highest and most noble aspirations of its subject.

Yes, it is advertising copy but in the best sense of the word. Recall Apple’s great script to the modern world: Think Different. Consider the lines that first and forever defined Nike to a generation: Just Do It. We know these iconic tags because we fell in love with the manifestos. Frankly, neither line would have lasted this long, or even gotten out the door, if not for their beloved manifestos.

The power and glory of a brilliant manifesto cannot be overstated. They raise the hairs on the back of your neck. They make CMO’s smile. They win pitches. Most of all they change things: attitudes, behaviors, even lives.

At least the good ones do.

Into these haloed paragraphs we put everything we know or think we know about writing, about persuading, about life. Here you won’t find speeds and feeds, racks and stacks or friends and family. None of that. These are the best neighborhoods in Adland. No trespassing!

May I write one for you? https://steffanwork.wordpress.com/

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Gods of Advertising is on backburner so I can devote more energy to completing a manuscript as well as writing for my clients. Perhaps you? Services include copy writing, brand manifestos and creative direction. I’m passionate about helping clients develop powerful creative business ideas. Consumer or B2B, versatile in the trickiest verticals. This is my portfolio

Do you have a writing project you would like to discuss -professional or personal? I am also available to help other writers with their work, as an advisor, editor or mentor.

Connect here, via Linkedin or Steffan1@rcn.com – Let’s have a conversation!

I look forward to hearing from you!

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Some years ago, I had the pleasure of conversing with Alex Bogusky before he became a demi-God of Advertising.

We were at a vendor-sponsored pool party in Cannes. Unlikely as it seems, both of us were not really digging the scene. He seemed to prefer a quiet discussion versus living it up in the shallow end. I was more torn on the issue but also more than happy to oblige him.

For the record, later that week, Alex and his namesake agency would win handfuls of Lions, including the Grand Prix for a charming spot from Ikea called Lamp. Crispin Porter and Bogusky were in the middle of an epic run making them perhaps the most famous ad agency on earth.

But Alex wasn’t interested in talking about prizes.

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Like a lot of executive creative directors (myself included), he’d come to Cannes simply because he could. However, he now admitted to being unsettled by the attention he and his agency were getting. He confessed that this would likely being his last time at Cannes.

“Steff,” he said, “we’ve got plenty of swimming pools in Miami.” (This was before CP&B moved its main office to Boulder.) Then he added, “I find that I like doing work more than celebrating it.”

I’m paraphrasing from memory, but this was my favorite bit. Ironic commentary coming from the man who would later write Hoopla (a book about fame in marketing), and probably win more Lions than any other person or agency in the United States.

Yet, to me, Bogusky’s ambivalence about all of it seemed indicative of a higher power beginning to work in his life: that making work, really good work, was more important than drinking champagne and toasting about it.

Bigger picture Alex was also discovering the persistent headache and clashes of conscience that hedonism invoked. Lessons I would learn the hard way.

Later that year, Alex resigned from his agency to pursue other interests. Now he’s taking back the creative reigns at his namesake agency. Prodigal son returning or is something else going on? I know I’m not the only one who looks forward to finding out!

Author’s Note: A version of this story appeared previously in ReelChicago