Back in the day when I was but a lad I had a panic attack. I was a teenager in junior high school back in Ontario. It was something that was looming for many years and one day it struck me. What am I going to be when I grow up? That was in the time where I thought that “what am I going to be” was based on my occupation.
Our junior high had a questionnaire that would help guide us rudderless youth to a career. The questionnaire had circles on it. You filled in the circles with a pencil and the teacher sent the tests to some place where they scanned our answers and sent you back careers that fit your answers.
Mine: Nurse or advertising executive. No joke. That was the answer.
I’ve always been fine around blood (long story) so helping people who are sick or injured seemed fine. I’m a helper after all. Then an English teacher (hello Ms. Byers!) took me aside and told me I write well and should pursue a career as a writer. And I thought to myself, how in the world would I make a living as a writer?
I started to explore advertising and people like Leo Burnett—the man responsible for creating the likes of Tony the Tiger, Pillsbury Doughboy, Jolly Green Giant, Maytag Repairman, Marlboro Man, and Charlie the Tuna. Pardon the Burnett pun but I was hooked.
I fell in love with great advertising. I like reading about the greats in the business like David Ogilvy
or Bill Bernbach.
And our agency has had the privilege to work with some of the top writers in the country including Jim Hunter, Randy Diplock and Dale Bochon.
I’ve also had the opportunity to learn parts of the craft from some pretty remarkable teachers, including David Martin from Hyphen Communications and my friend David Edward from Strategic Initiatives.
Advertising was a good choice for a career, although admittedly I would have made a pretty great nurse. You can guarantee I would have had a creepy bracelet with my name in baby blocks and a stuffed rabbit clipped to my shirt, and ultra white sensible shoes.
Oh dear. I may have made the wrong choice.