//** * * */

Ten tips for a better work environment in advertising.


It’s not one of those listcicle articles. I’m fed up with this kind of wisdom-on-a–paper-napkin crap. You kids need real sustenance, not advertising applesauce. You're gonna chew, and you're gonna like it.

If I had a nickel for every article with titles like the one above that I've seen posted recently by friends and strangers alike on various social media channels, I'd have enough to make up for the raises I didn't get in my past jobs.

We really don't need another article like this ever again. The problem as I see it is this: The Linkedin posters and the CEO’s with vanity blogs either can’t tell you or don’t know how to tell you what the problems really are.

One post I read today today called the creative people “freaks.” Such stunning condescension. Perhaps they are completely unaware that this is a name many in the creative department endured as a taunt throughout high school. Or perhaps they don’t care. Either way it’s problematic.

What I think is happening is that instead of being direct (or blunt) these types of articles are written by people who are hiding behind platitudes and vapid comments rather than saying anything of substance. Because monkey see and monkey do and do and do again until it's doo doo. That's what making a copy of a copy does.

So let's sum it up once and for all, for real, with no witty bullshit sayings or Gladwellesque smarminess and just be done with it. We all know what the problems are. Hopefully this will come closer to articulating it in plain words so everyone understands. Even CEO's.

Since I know most of you don’t like to read, I’ve included the Too Long, Didn’t Read summary after each point.

Point 1:
Treat people like people. People with lives who wish to enjoy life outside work. Because people who enjoy their outside lives tend to be better at their work. You’d think this is a no-brainer but remember, the majority of CCOs and ECDs in advertising are sociopaths. They have no families or if they do they avoid them because they are married to work.
tl:dr: Inspiration comes from out there. Spend as much time out there as possible.

Point 2:
Compensate people fairly. Reward them for their hard work and their excellent work accordingly. This means raises. This means ponying up the money to buy them the award they won for your shop. This means occasionally giving them extra time off, or flying them to an award ceremony, or not calling them on a Sunday afternoon.
tl;dr: People jump from relationship to relationship because they are unsatisfied.

Point 3:
Rewarding someone for laughing at the right jokes and being seen in the hallway at the appropriate time, or throwing someone under a bus to make themselves look better is not and should not be considered good or hard work. This is politics. If you are an ECD and don’t understand this concept, I don’t believe you. You are either a sociopath who doesn’t care about your department, or you are naïve. And I don’t think you reached the top by being naïve. The people who get by on politics and backstabbing should be banished once and for all from the work environment. They should have their names underlined in red like they’re on the Do-Not-Fly list.
tl;dr: Fire the political hacks and sociopaths. They don’t need to go any further up the ladder.

Point 4:
Stop looking at notcot/youtube/vimeo/yes ye y’all/creativity/archive/CA for “ideas.” You are ripping shit off and it’s pathetic. More importantly, you’re a fucking creative. Believe it or not, the newest and greatest is in your own head and it's something people haven't seen yet. It’ll take a lot of work to get it out, and lots of people will be afraid of it. It’s your job (or your cd’s if you work at a shop that won’t let you present your own work) to sell it. That’s why they call it work.
tl;dr: Stop creating wanks that have already been done just to get a write up in Wire or FastCo or Forbes. Make ads for the public.

Point 5:
Fire all CCO's who spend more time writing for Forbes than CCO'ing.

Point 6:
Often the seemingly lazy are just bored. Give them meaningful work. Actually, give everyone meaningful work. If the billable hour model structure isn’t working, find another model. If you’re a creative and you’re tired of kindergarten busy work, start looking around for another shop.
tl;dr: Hoop jumping is for the circus.

Point 7:
Accept no B.S. from anyone. Be critical but don't criticize. Don’t allow the term “hater” to enter the building. If someone’s being a dick for no reason, then tell them off. If someone is giving constructive, albeit brusque criticism and feedback about your work, consider yourself lucky they cared enough to make sure you created the best work possible. If you don’t agree, defend your work. If you can’t defend your work, think about the feedback and admit they have a point if you’re wrong.
tl;dr: Put your fragile ego aside. Feedback is a good thing. Don’t force people to smile. Force them to behave.

Point 8:
Don't mistake a giant gangbang, or a micromanaging boss for collaboration. Don’t make the word “collaboration,” fit your warped image of it. Small teams have and will always do best when they have some ownership of their idea. When they feel they have ownership, and when the idea is ready, collaboration will follow naturally. It may be collaboration in unexpected ways, it may not be a chance for you to put your greasy fingerprints on it. Get over it, Mr. Or Miss ECD. You make four to six times the rest of your underlings.
tl;dr; The Beatles created the best music in the world. They were four people. Or two teams, if you prefer.

Adland® is supported by your donations alone. You can help us out by buying us a Ko-Fi coffee.
Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
Files must be less than 1 MB.
Allowed file types: jpg jpeg gif png wav avi mpeg mpg mov rm flv wmv 3gp mp4 m4v.
unk's picture

Ai, some truth there. Thanks for the reminder.