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December 17, 2007
Thank you Lürzer’s Archive

Thank you Lürzer’s Archive for showing us lately that advertising can still amuse. Thanks Archive for showing the art in communication arts. Thank you for making the industry look good to the outsiders who flip through magazines at Barnes & Noble. And I appreciate that you represent the world, and less of the American bubble. And hats off to however many years you’ve been doing it, including the 13 or so you’ve inspired me. But above all, thank you for stepping it up recently, and reminding me what I signed up for.

I signed up for the craft not the craft service. I signed up for images and words that make people talk about the power of those images and words. I signed up for companies that come to me to take a risk with their investment, because wild success is usually impossible without risk. I signed up to enlighten people, even if just a little, about something that could improve their lives. I signed up to follow in the footsteps of Lee Clow, Bob Barrie, Jamie Barrett and Dan Weiden, then lead with some footsteps of my own. I signed up to take some chances.

Taking chances can be imprudent, but should not be impudent. Taking a chance is often the spark that triggers the boom. Chances raise eyebrows, while not taking them raises doubts. Taking chances requires calculation, solidarity, and willingness. Taking a chance, the right chance, should be the only agenda. And if you don’t take a chance with your marketing, you won’t get any press.

Press is free, but only if your work is so good you don’t have to pay someone in PR to make it happen. Press can be negative, and that can be positive. Press can be negative, period. Press is always next door to advertising, so a "good neighbor policy" makes a difference. But most of all, press is what the masses digest in order to form their beliefs, not advertising. Press, however, is more and more often being questioned.

Questioning yields answers and further questioning yields epiphanies. Questioning is playing devil’s advocate, but in conservative circles is the devil’s game. Questioning is part quest for knowledge, part shunning the status quo. Questioning should include: "Is the old medium dead?" "Is the new medium putting the technology ahead of the content?" "This work that’s on the table – is it boring?" "Are we playing it so safe that there's no risk in this investment?" "Or is this investment mostly about generating brand exposure? Isn’t that boring?" "Would this work get us new business?" "Is this work artless?"

When we’ve answered all of these questions, and everyone working on this client is too tired too argue anymore, do we actually like the work ourselves, would we pay it any attention, would we be newfound believers in the brand, and would we now want to buy the product ourselves, as consumers? Geez, that’s a tall order. What work accomplishes all that? Well, hopefully it’s somewhere in your office. In a recent issue of Lürzer’s Archive.

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After roughly 15 years in advertising -- at places such as TBWA Chiat/Day, Leo Burnett, Euro RSCG, and JWT -- Britt Benston now works independently for a few fantastic clients. He has also come up with and designed iScreenwriter, a highly functional mobile screenwriting application available at Apple's App Store early this fall.

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