Chapter 12

Pecked to Death by Ducks

Presenting and protecting your work

ABOUT 20 PERCENT OF YOUR TIME IN the advertising business will be spent thinking up ads. Eighty percent will be spent protecting them. And 30 percent doing them over.

A screenwriter was looking out onto the parking lot in front of Universal Studios one day. It occurred to him, said this article, that every one of those cars was parked there by somebody who came to stop him from doing his movie.

The similarity to advertising is chilling. The elevator cables in your client’s building will fairly groan hauling up all the people intent on killing your best stuff.

When word gets around the client offices that the agency is here to present, vice presidents and assistant vice presidents will appear out of the walls and storm the conference room like zombies in Night of the Living Dead, pounding on the door, hungry arms reaching in for the layouts, pleading, “Must kill. Must kill.”

I have been in meetings where, after the last ad was presented, an eager young hatchet man raised his hand and asked his boss, “Can I be the first to say why I don’t like it?”

I have been in meetings surrounded by so many vice presidents, I actually heard Custer whisper to me from the grave, “Man, I thought I had it bad. You guys are, like, so dead.”

You will see ads killed in ways you didn’t know things could be killed. You will see them eviscerated by blowhards bearing charts. You will see them garotted by quiet little men bearing agendas. ...

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