What I Learned This Year 2012

Inspired by posts on The St. Louis Egotist.

What I’ve learned in 2012, as a student, copywriter and a person.

You better love it.

Honestly, I love this business. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here. If you don’t, #GTFO.

Your diploma is cover charge.

If you think that your diploma means anything when it comes to working in this industry, it doesn’t. The industry is about what you can do and not being a complete asshole. That’s pretty much it. It’s like a walled garden. If you have talent, drive and seem cool enough to have a beer with or roadtrip with, you’re in. After your first job, no one really cares where you went to college, at least not as much as you do.

Coke isn’t the goal.

Doing a TV spot for a huge, international client isn’t what everyone’s doing. The logo on the finished product doesn’t really matter. When you’re in the industry, it’s about doing the best work possible, for each and every client.

Twitter is useful.

I’ve been on Twitter a little more than a year, not sure why I waited so long. It’s useful to learn and share about anything. Use it more. That doesn’t necessarily mean tweet more, but use it more. Engage people and provide good content, that shouldn’t be too hard if you want to work in advertising.

Brands suck at Twitter.

A handful of major brands failed at Twitter this year. Wait, people a lot like you and me failed at Twitter this year. So, check what account you’re tweeting from and pay attention to the news. It’s really not that hard.

Meet people.

Your friends probably aren’t as cool as people in this industry. If they are, do they supply free food and beer nearly as often? The college kid in me is telling you to go to events. Rebus, SMCSTL, SMCSTC, AdSaint, Ad Club St. Louis, the list goes on and on. Look at the #ShitToHit. Hit it. And when you get there, grab a beer and start talking to people, don’t be awkward.

Coolfire Media throws the best parties.

A snippet of my interaction with Coolfire this year: Set off fire alarms with a fog machine at Plush (sorry). Party at the Pinewood Derby. Watch RT dominate. Party in costume. Watch Nelly perform. Win scholarship from money raised from Pinewood.

“Oh, but we throw awesome parties too!” Prove it, invite me. This is really a call for more agencies to open up and have fun. The world didn’t end today, let’s party next year.

Be better than you say you are.

This industry is competitive, accept it. Audi, yes, the carmaker, is often touted as a company that “Under-promises and over-delivers.” Do that. Just try to be great at what you do, be confident in selling your personal brand (What’s my buzzword count so far?), and then shut up.

Happy Holidays.

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A Career in Copywriting

You probably don’t know what you’re doing. If you do, you’ve become boring. Live a little.

So, how does one decide on being a copywriter?

I had it all figured out at the end of high school; my path to success was set. I knew exactly what I was going to do, at the ripe old age of 18. Undergrad, med school, residency, more grad school, residency and paychecks, that was my plan. I was set to be a doctor, more specifically, an anesthesiologist. Luckily, I realized how much I had left to learn about life–I still do and always will. I’m truly enjoying my career path, towards being a copywriter in the ad business. It wasn’t an straight road here, but I’ve finally found what I was built to do. I’m not a marketer or advertiser, I’m a thinker, problem-solver and storyteller. Now that I finally don’t have everything figured out, I’m starting to use both sides of my brain to unravel life as it comes my way.

I wanted to be a lot of things when I was a kid, a lot of distinctly different things. An anesthesiologist as you already know, an architect, biomedical engineer, police officer, weapons analyst at the CIA, the list truly does go on forever. Looking back through the years, through the multitude of perfect careers, one thing has remained. The only thing that I’ve always wanted to do is solve problems. How I was going to solve said problems has been the biggest variable. Pursuing a career as a copywriter is a chance to solve problems for brands, using words. Every campaign, every TV spot and every banner ad is trying to solve a problem, that’s what I’m wired to do. At this point in my career, I’m comfortable saying that I’m a copywriter. This is what I was built to do. (Copy)writing may be a fickle mistress, but I love her just the same.