Monday, May 23, 2011

Advice on Stress in Advertising

Dear David,
I like my job very much. I work in advertising and the people I work with are fun and interesting but management can be very arrogant and difficult and changes direction all the time. And the clients are always disorganized and don't know what they want. Plus always treat us like underlings. You worked in advertising. How did you handle it?
~Distressed Daily

Dear Distressed Daily (I love your name),
I worked for many years as Worldwide Creative Director for Revlon at Grey Advertising in New York. Every year Advertising magazine published a list of the ten worst clients in the business. Revlon was always number one.

I used to tell my staff, pretend you are a nurse in a mental institution and the patients think they are in advertising. Your job is to keep them calm and non-violent. Agree with them, smile, speak slowly and calmly, never get angry. These meetings are their therapy. And remember, you are a nurse, not a doctor. These people are never going to get well. It always worked fine.

We were paid very well to do these jobs and when leaving a meeting I would say to my senior writer, "What were you thinking about?" and she would say, "My jewelry, and you?" And I would reply, "My real estate." And we would sweep away.

(Cast of Mad Men image via

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