what do you want to be when you grow up?


Last night the illustrious and talented Tonic Creative Director, Heidi, and I took a trip up north to participate in the GEMS career week program. We were there to talk about advertising. What our industry is about, what we do, what other people at our agency do and how we got to where we are today.

But on our way up to GEMS, the conversation was painting a less than ideal picture of working in advertising. The past couple of years have really thrown the MadMen for a loop. And there are ton of articles, blog posts, tweets, etc. that go into this (so i won’t). 

The grand conclusion: no one has the answer. most days that makes advertising an interesting space to play in. most days, not all - I often feel like a broken record, telling people (internal and external) why we need to change the way think - build experiences, not banner ads. 

But I digress…Interestingly, we were the ones who were inspired by the women we met. They were curious and interested. They had a ferocious appetite to learn…and learn some more. 

The more “we,” the advertising industry, tap into those curious voices, the more we will be able to evolve…into what?  who knows. but when we stop asking the provocative questions (of ourselves and consumers) then we stop being relevant…that’s when we lazily go back to hanging out in our little silos (account management, planning, creative, traditional, digital, tech) and create “stuff”…not “value.”  Consumers want value. Full Stop. 

Not sure I have a point here - but to say that I’m the one who learned the most last night…to question, question again…and keep asking “why & how.” Grinding through the day-to-day that can be easy to forget. 

Regardless of your process, approach, mantra, tag line, etc…the future of advertising will be defined by the questions we as an industry ask….and sometimes, it seems like the MadMed don’t want to do that because it’s uncomfortable. 

I’ve never seen a brilliant brand story that was based on a “comfortable” proposition. 

And if you want a glimpse into life on the uncomfortable side and be truly inspired by the work of GEMS, watch Very Young Girls (trailer) and/or read the book Girls Like Us