Saturday, October 16, 2010
I'm re-re-reading Jerry Della Femina's "From The Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor" a look at advertising in the 60's and 70's.
I remember reading it the first time in 1969, in my senior year in college and I knew I wanted to be in advertising. Of course, I got sidetracked into newspapers and corporate PR for 15 years, but that's another story. "FTWFWGYPH" is a bit dated, but a great book anyway.
Anyway, without anybody's permission, I want to share this passage from Chapter Eight "Fights Headaches Three Ways":
"There comes a time when all agencies are created equal and that time is when Jerry Della Fenmina & Partners, which maybe is billing $20 million, has a four-color ad in Life magazine next to a four-color ad from J. Walter Thompson, which bills maybe $640 million and has thousands of employees. No consumer sitting in the barber shop is going to know the difference in the two agencies behind those ads. Media are the great equalizers.
"We're as good as anybody in Life or on NBC. We've got it made. We're right up against them and nobody knows it. Nobody ever said 'I won't buy a Corum watch because Della Femina isn't billing what J. Walter Thompson is'. They really can't beat us - except in the quality of the ad or commercial. And that's what the game is all about."
I love Jerry Della Femina.
Big agencies with deep pockets and status accounts can attract the brightest stars in the business. But sooner or later, no matter how big or small you are, stripped to its bare essentials, it all boils down to a couple of people with pencils and a blank piece of paper.
And you can compete with anybody.