My first job in advertising lasted two weeks. I was assigned to a dog food account, had to rewrite can copy, trade ads, brochures – almost everything. I was dreaming of creating amazing commercials and the reality was a 80 words of can copy.
There were no concepts, no strategies, no deep thinking. Just shipping work, hour after hour, day after day. Later in my career, I spent sometimes months to develop one campaign. The first two weeks of my advertising career, I shipped more than 50 items.
4 days in, I had to write an ad for a national pet magazine, my first chance to communicate with hundreds of thousands readers. I worked on this ad for 3 days, spent the weekend in the office. When I showed the ad to my Creative Director it was a huge mess. He dropped on my desk and muttered : “You worked it to death.” He asked me to start fresh.
I never forgot this advice. I’ve worked on web sites that felt like they were worked to death. Commercials that were worked to death. Copy, projects, campaigns.
When your creative product feels worked over, it is not good.
I was happy to leave after 2 weeks to start my career in a creative agency, including pay cut. I felt more at home in my new home. But I never forgot the lesson I learned in my first advertising job.