Sorry, we don't have room for your friends. The business has a million management supervisors who are as paranoid and delusional as George Costanza. And you think Kramer is weird? You should see some of the creative people we have in the business. I once had a wonderful creative director, Steve Gordon, who jumped out of a speeding car at 32nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan because he was afraid to ride downtown and show his work to a client.
Kramer? What do we need with Kramer?
As for Elaine, she has the I-told-you-so soul of a client. Can't use her in this business -- she's too confident. There's still no room in the ad agency business for intelligent women who are confident. They make everybody nervous.
So you're on your own, Jerry, baby. It will be better that way, trust me.
Speaking of clients, you're going to have to learn to deal with them from a very different position than you've occupied in the past. How does subservient hit you?
Here's all you have to know about clients. They're exactly like the NBC vice presidents you've been dealing with for years, with something added -- power.
The ad business is a lot like show business -- more specifically, the movie business. You're going to run into a guy who will hire you with great fanfare because he wants to be the first guy to hire the Jerry Seinfeld ad agency. That's sort of like that old Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie "Pillow Talk."
You'll get the account and you'll have to do all those things that we ad guys have learned to do over the years. He'll want to show you off to his board, and then you'll have to take a tour of the factory.
You're not going to love that part, Jerry. Because while every home office is in a major city like New York or Chicago, all the factories are in towns that are straight out of "Deliverance."
Things will go great with your first account. That is, until one day the same guy who wanted to be the first to hire you wakes up and realizes that he can be the first guy to fire Jerry Seinfeld. That's when its like the movie "Dead Man Walking."
You'll also find yourself doing a great job for one of your other clients, selling lots of product. Great! Then one day, the guy who hired you calls to say, "Guess what? Thanks to the great job you've done, I just got a great job at another company. Too bad they don't advertise."
His replacement will be someone who, on your first meeting, says, "I never did like your show and I think we have to have a review of all your work."
That person will fire you. They will be fired soon after. Too late to do you any good.
Then there's the morning paper. You're going to have to stop reading it. Because every day you will read about another merger. On the day one of the companies that is merging is one of your clients, you're going to have to work hard to keep your breakfast down. Your company never comes out ahead in one of these mergers. They always consolidate the account at another agency. But they do manage to send you a neat letter thanking you for your great contribution.
Then there's the cannon fodder problem. You're a star, Jerry, which means you'll get into a lot of shoot-outs for advertising accounts. Most of the time, you will be there because they want to watch you present. Ninety percent of the time you haven't got a chance -- they will have already promised the account to their next-door neighbor.
Now there are a few things you must do in advance to assure your success in the advertising business.
The first is fire your PR person. No one is going to be interested in what you have to say anymore. I would like to give you a list of the most successful people in the ad business, but no one knows their names. Anonymity leads to success in advertising.
The show you did a few weeks ago about being caught in the Puerto Rican parade is a good case in point. It was funny, but it antagonized the Puerto Rican community. Which means you just blew any chance you would ever have to get the Rums of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican Tourist Board accounts. You haven't been in the ad business for a minute yet and there are already two accounts that won't touch you with a 10-foot pole.
Think back, Jerry. Remember those hilarious shows you did about Japanese tourists and businessmen? Oops, there go Sony, Panasonic and Toyota.
But I feel I'm being much too negative. There are good things about advertising. For example, if you are incredibly successful and work 24 hours a day, you can earn as much in a year as you used to get from a single half-hour show.
But we're not talking monetary satisfaction, we're talking psychic satisfaction here. And, Jerry, when you write your first 30-second commercial -- in which you have to show the product, mention the product name, sell someone on actually buying the product and still be entertaining, relevant and memorable -- it does give you a rush.
I know you're used to a bit different pacing, like a half-hour build to get your laughs. That leads me to believe perhaps you have a bright future writing those hourlong infomercials about Ginzu knives that appear on cable in the middle of the night.
But, again, I don't want to discourage you. In fact, I've got this great deal to welcome you in the business. Now I don't know how to tell you this, but the name Seinfeld is too, er, er, New York. That's it! Too New York for some clients.
So I suggest you drop it. Call yourself Jerry. That's it, Jerry Inc.! And I just happen to have a nifty sign and some stationery with that name I can give you a great deal on. I won't be needing any stationery, because I'm getting out of the ad business. NBC has offered me more money than I've made in all my years in advertising.
I've come up with this pilot show about myself and three of my friends in the agency business. We sort of walk around and don't do much. We sort of talk about obscure things, act goofy and, well, yada yada yada.
Mr. Della Femina is chairman of Della Femina/Jeary & Partners.