Friday, July 2, 2010

Five things I think I think about books

1. Account people should carry books: Account people have a big role in strategizing, selling and even creating work. Yet agencies hire them based on their resumes. How stupid is that? If I was responsible for hiring account people - and I'm not - I would demand to see their books.

2. Copywriters need to show copy: When I graduated from the Creative Circus, my book was full of visual solutions. And creative directors asked me for examples of copy. And I thought, "Pft. Whatever. Old dude doesn't get it." Now I'm on the other side of the desk. And I have to ask to see copy. And I know the kids think I am hopelessly hopeless. But that's the way it goes. Yes, concept is king. But I don't know too many agencies in Denver who can afford to hire writers that can't write.

3. Books are really hard to put together: Not the first time I've said this. The coolest stuff out there is integrated and experiential. And it's really hard to communicate that in a fast, fun book. I have no good solution. But I share the pain.

4. Sometimes books don't tell you as much as you think they do: A friend of mine, a creative director at a well-known agency in Seattle, told me that there are two types of genius writers. The geniuses who come up with the first ad in a campaign and the geniuses who come up with the 50th. (Actually, he didn't phrase it that way. I brushed the quote up because I can't f'ing help myself.) Both skills are equally valuable. But they're different. It's hard to tell from a book who did what.

5. Books favor the occasionally great, not the consistently good: Your book may have five campaigns in it. I know people who have five A+ campaigns and pretty much everything else they've ever touched sucks. And I know people with B books, but everything they ever do is a B. Who do you hire?

[Ed. - I'm illustrating this post with a Facebook photo of me looking at portfolios at NDAC Connect. Crossposted on my blog and on Karsh Connect.]

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