Hating What You Do at Big Agencies

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I drive to work down a little two-lane road that runs along the Rio Grande. It divides dozens of estates and horse farms along its path. There are no stop signs, no traffic signals. And the speed limit is 25 mph. It is very relaxing to take this route to work versus the freeway. I was thinking this morning, while I was cruising along this old cottonwood-lined road, that this drive represents another reason you can do great creative at a little agency in a smaller city. Relaxing helps you think. You can concentrate on possibilities because you feel free to explore. So why don't more people come to small agencies to do great work? It's simple: We advertising pros aren't the gamblers we like to think we are.

I've talked to more than a few people who envy where I live and the work they’re seeing come from our shop. They say they know we're going to do great work. I’ve asked some if they’d like to join us. Some surprise me by saying they can't take the chance. They stay at a big agency doing work they hate. I can’t help but feel they fear relying on themselves versus a big name agency, in a big name city, with big name clients. I can imagine they fear they'll tell someone what they work on and no one will recognize the work. I don’t understand why someone would rather work on a million dollar spot that is a mediocre idea, than something they’re proud of that only runs in a local market. Some have actually told me they're afraid they won't get to cash in big if they work at a small agency.

All of this is okay by me. Great work can and does happen at the big agencies. But a big agency isn’t as much fun. So every morning I get in a sports car made for speed. I get it up to about third gear and I drive to a small little agency where we put the pedal to the metal.
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