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June 25, 2011
'Can I Fax You The Check?': Memorable Lines from the Trenches
 
Back in the Tarnished Age of Advertising — approximately 17 years after the Golden Age died — I owned a small “boutique” ad agency. It was after those glory days when all account execs at the bigger companies had a drinking problem, even if they didn’t, because every day at lunch they either drank, or pretended to drink, five martinis. Martinis were reasonably priced; call girls...not so much. But procurement was part of the job, too.

I ran a humble little shop, no martinis, no extra goodies for the clients other than an occasional “Thank You” gift basket, and we had good clean fun. Usually. Sometimes it was more exasperating than fun, but those were the times I was gifted with lines that I will remember to the end of my days. Some of the things people said were so good I took to using them myself. I’m regifting here. Feel free to use at will.

“Yeah, it does seem expensive, doesn’t it? But … that’s what it is.”
We gave my prepress guy a lot of work so I could almost always predict his pricing. The one time it seemed way out of line I questioned him, and that’s what he answered me. At the time I was a bit shocked, but I will be forever grateful to him for handing me the ultimate answer to anyone questioning my price on a project. That’s what it is. Deal.

“I do my own advertising.”
Cold calling is never fun, but when my AE called a local, three-branch bank after seeing their awful ads in the paper, the bank president’s answer practically became our company tagline. Duh! We can tell you do your own advertising. That’s why we called you! The AE said she would have laughed out loud if the man hadn’t said it in a somewhat menacing, South Philly/Mafia voice. Best to be prudent.

“I have the check right here. Can I FAX it to you?”
Speaking of exasperating, I spent WAY too much time collecting money. I called a client who promised to put a check in the mail twice before to finally cough it up. That line really broke the tension, let me tell you. After my guffaws subsided I told her, “Don’t FAX it, don’t mail it, I’m coming right over to get it!” I wanted to get that check in my possession before her next bright idea popped up. Carrier pigeons make me nervous.

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Rhonda Wenner is a Very Old Advertising Person who has been there, done that, and seen quite a bit.
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