The Student Section v. 7. "If you're going through Hell, keep going."
Surprisingly, the quote above was not by some famous ad guy. It was credited to Winston Churchill — but it’s pertinence in the ad world is palpable. How many times in this business are you riddled with doubt, insecurity and despair? It’s commonplace. I’m certainly not immune to those emotions.
This happened recently with a talented art director here at Jigsaw. We were working on a campaign together and after 2 or 3 presentations and revisions, we were still not hitting the mark for the client. We had a meeting internally to discuss options where new ideas were blurted out. It all seemed kneejerk and premature, but we had to solve it.
This art director went back to his office, devastated and unsure what to do. He followed the direction of one of the ideas that was blurted, did a couple layouts and presented them. They just weren’t right. The kneejerk concept was flawed. He hit bottom. Amateur psychiatry ensued.
But here’s the amazing thing: He knew in his gut that this wasn’t the right concept. Yet as a young art director he followed our direction. His initial instinct that the concept was wrong, was actually right. He should have followed his instincts. He then picked himself up off the bottom, we talked about what to do and he went into his office and brought back something absolutely beautiful.
The thing is this: Younger creative people should not be afraid to take initiative in the face of their peers and creative directors and account supervisors. I can not tell you how many times when a person followed their gut they came up with something resonant, authentic, and above all, right. Better to take initiative and be wrong than to take absolutely no initiative at all and wait for direction.
He was, most certainly in advertising hell. All he had to do was keep moving, and he found the end of the tunnel, and a creative solution that was spot on.