Have I been shooting myself in the foot relentlessly for decades? Early in my career, I took to heart Stan Freberg’s idea of offering “more honesty than the client had in mind.” As a full time employee at what was then Tatham, Laird & Kudner, (now Havas), and then at FCB and Sturm Communications, as well as during my nine-year “full time freelance” stint at DDB, I always tried to stick to that goal.
I felt the value these agencies got from me, beyond the brilliant advertising ideas, was that I readily shared my thoughts with upper management about how the agency was doing, what it was doing wrong and how to fix things. Sometimes my “suggestions” were given consideration. Sometimes they got me in hot water.
I recall one time when I was full-time-freelancing at DDB, I resided in Beyond DDB, the “integrated marketing” branch of DDB, where all the stuff that the “regular” creative didn’t want to deal with got done. I’m talking about direct mail, promotions, business-to-business advertising, event marketing, all the stuff that wasn’t a TV spot or print or radio ad.