Doing any kind of great advertising is very, very hard.

In a recent exchange between Littlejohn and me, he wrote the seemingly obvious statement above.

It got me thinking. The phrase “great advertising”, whatever we mean by it, gets bandied about quite freely. Most of us who labor in advertisingland aspire to it. Very few of us ever accomplish it. Even if we spend our entire careers working “very, very hard” to create something great.

Some of us have had a “great idea” at some point. I think I have. I remember the distinct physiological reaction when it happened. Adrenalin. Chills. (Of course, I’ve had that reaction with what were really only “very good” ideas as well.)

If you’ve ever experienced the conception of a great idea, you know how rare it is, how hard you have to work to put your brain in the position to conceive the idea, and, how unlikely it is that you will be able to bring that great idea to fruition in the real world.

Fewer of us have successfully conveyed that potentially great idea to our partner, if we have one, or to our CD.

Of those who have done that, fewer still have then been able to execute the idea, even at the conceptual stage, so as to capture or retain the greatness of the idea.

And far fewer yet have proceeded to present and sell the great idea to our clients.

And keep it sold long enough to get it produced.

Finally, for those fortunate few who have sold, and kept sold, a great idea, only a fraction of those people have been able to successfully retain the greatness during the process of realizing the great execution of the great idea.

It is this creative/political minefield, in which the odds are so lopsidedly stacked against even the most talented creative, to which, I think, Littlejohn alludes.

Which, once again, underscores the wisdom of Chairman Jimmy’s advice: “Enjoy the process. The result is usually a letdown.”

Of course, he doesn’t tell us exactly HOW to enjoy navigating this nearly impossible obstacle course. Anybody have any insights into this “how?” question?


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