Monday, June 2, 2014

Vault Week Part One

Today I start Month 4 of a gig I landed way back in February. On my birthday, no less. It was a great present.

The office is close to my house, quite possibly the most important of all job criteria.

I've already produced about a dozen or so spots, though they are of the hard sell, keep-the-revenue- flowing variety.

And the place is buzzing with energy, growth and young people who look at me and wonder, "what Don Draper's grandfather is doing in the building?"

I must be doing something right because they keep extending me. And though I'm not looking for a gig today, there's no reason to let up with the self-promotion. It's the one of many things I've learned in my ten years of freelancing.

If I may mangle Mamet's classic soliloquy from Glengarry Glen Ross, the secret to successful salesmanship is all about ABO.

Always Be Opening.

That is, always be opening new doors to new opportunities. You know, because eventually the folks who currently employ me will tire of my schtick, see through the facade and kick this old man to the curb.

That's not the nature of freelancing. That's the nature of advertising.

In the past two weeks, I've had to turn down work from 3 other agencies. Little confession, as much as I like getting booked on a job, I get a disproportionate amount of satisfaction having to decline it.

You see, it's great to be popular. It reminds me of high school when all the hot girls would beg me to take them to the dance. That might be a little revisionist history, but the point is, and I'm sure most 44-year old writers will concur, it's good to be in demand.

Moreover, the plethora of work allows me to redirect some of the overflow to my copywriter friends. With the hope that one day, one of these losers will repay the favor. Though I'm not counting on it.

And so today, and indeed all week, I'm pimping myself. I'm going to the vault and finding work that I've always been proud of and displaying it for your amusement/ridicule.

The first item I pulled from the Vault is the billboard you see above. It was one of many I did with Steve Levit for Castlemaine XXXX, an authentic Australian beer. And though it won all kinds of rewards I distinctly remember how I struggled with the wording of the idea.

I knew there was good pee-pee joke in there and literally tried dozens of different combinations. We settled on this even though it violates the 7 word maximum for outdoor boards.

It still bothers me to this day. If I could jump in the time machine and go back 20 years, I'd omit the parenthetical phrase and let the reader use some imagination to close the loop.

Of course if I could go back twenty years I also wouldn't have bought a house so close to the freeway.

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