As a career-obsessed, 20-year-old Penn State student, I have a lot of it.
However, it wasn’t until I was given the opportunity to intern here, at Ogilvy CommonHealth, that I truly understand the power of that passion and how it can significantly impact a company and all its products. I believe—and so should you—that the passion each and every Ogilvy employee has is the foundation to the success of this company. And I can tell you, in my six weeks so far here, there is no short of it.
However, sometimes, in the day-to-day drab, it is easy to ditch that passion you feel for your career, throw up your arms and say, “I give up!” So, I believe sharing with you some of the admittedly unconventional, but surprising and refreshing experiences I have had here, will reinforce your belief in all that extra effort you put into your work.
Example 1: The One Word War
During my very first week here, I was invited to sit in on a meeting. It included account and creative staff members and the client (on the phone). The meeting was to discuss messaging and concepting. It began smoothly, steadily going page by page through some work that had already been established.
But then, the forward progress hit a stopping point. This point was at one word, in a seemingly random sentence, on the page: specifically, it was the adjective “powerful.”
One person voiced their opinion—a belief that the word should be changed to “best,” and then—wham! A monsoon of debate and arguing ensued before my eyes. It didn’t matter who the person was or what position they held; if they were in that room, they had an opinion and they made sure everyone heard it.
Unknowingly to me, this word held the future of the campaign in its hands. From what images would be used to what the booths would look like to what feeling the word would make someone feel; each word took on an enormous persona. For the rest of the allotted time and then some, this debate continued on! No one would give in or come to a consensus. This adjective had to be perfect to each person in the room and no one would stop until that was certain.
And I have to tell you it was incredible to watch! In fact, it was probably the best thing I could have witnessed in my first week because after that I knew that if I did not want to strive for perfection in every detail of my work, I would not be successful in this business.
And what was even more astounding—later that afternoon, I found two of the debaters sitting together STILL fighting over which word is better.
…I’m still not so sure if there ever was a winner.
Example 2: The Pitch
When you work in Creative, you always have to be ready to sell your ideas…and sell them well. Even if it is a beautiful summer Friday afternoon and there is a creative team regroup…and your boss decides to attend; if you want your work to make it, you always have to be ready.
Sitting in this meeting, I was—admittedly—already daydreaming about the weekend, assuming everyone else in the room had a similar mindset. Meanwhile, each art director, with his or her copywriter partner, stood up and explained their concepts. Critiques were made, compliments were paid, and on the meeting went.
Then up came a controversial concept, one that no one could agree whether or not it had what it took to move on. It was at this point, where it was so easy to just throw it aside or just let it fall, where things became awesome.
The art director who came up with the concept stood up and, with every explicit word he could think of and combine together, spoke feverishly to his idea. With every word, I swear, I could feel his love and excitement for this idea and I think everyone else in the room did also.
These are the moments, I have come learn, that can drive potential to unheard of heights. It would have been so easy for that team member to sit back and let the others kill his idea. Although it was one of many, he stood by each one like he would never get this chance again.
So, what’s the takeaway here?
Well, I believe that these little instances are perfect examples of why your passion is needed and appreciated in this industry. Whether it’s a full-blown war over an adjective or a heartfelt speech on the possibility of an idea moving closer to being selected, there is never an inappropriate time to have passion for the work.
And, in fact, there should never be a moment that you are caught without it.
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