Book Review: A big life (in advertising)

Just finished, A Big Life (In Advertising), an autobiography of Mary Wells Lawrence, a Bill Bernbach protegee from the early days at DDB who started her own agency, Wells Rich Green, back in the late 60s-early 70s. They did a lot of great, famous campaigns like "plop, plop, fizz, fizz" for Alka Seltzer and "I love NY." As somebody who has started a creative agency, it's a pretty inspiring story that I, personally, could really relate to. But even if you haven't started an ad agency, it's still pretty entertaining. Rather than bore you with details, here are some key takeaways (for me, anyway)...

Key Takeaways:

1. You need to have a serious ego to make it big in this business. It takes hubris.

2. At one point, she is talking about WRG working for Procter & Gamble. If you follow the ad biz, you know that P&G are known as brilliant marketing scientists who have an unbelievable track record of using methodical brand building practices to dominate markets for consumer packaged goods. According to Mary, however, P&G understands that breakaway ideas are real and don't always follow predictable models. To that end, they always keep "one or two of the more intuitive and instinctual agencies" on their roster. This resonated with me, because while Traction does have a great strategic process to uncover insights and opportunities for our clients, our work is definitely intuitive and instinctual. Blink validated that notion for me the first time, but it's great to have that validated again.

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