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A Copywriter Writes

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DAN WATSON

Kiwi copywriter.

Illustrator on the side.

This blog is filled with stuff that simply comes to mind that's too long to tweet.

It's mostly my observations as I try to make it in the advertising industry. It keeps me writing and, hopefully, gets you reading.

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  • September 20, 2011 12:37 pm

    It’s Largely Luck or, Sometimes Father Fate Wants To Give You A Leg Up

    So the other week, as I have previously pointed out, Yew Leong Tan dropped by Lucideas for a chat.

    He spoke to us about his illustrious 23-year career working at Leo Burnett Malaysia for 16 of them, eventually becoming Executive Creative Director with Yasmin Ahmad. He spoke specifically about the amazing work he and Yasmin did for Petronas.

    I also learned a secret to how they sold that amazing work.

    It wasn’t the hours. Although, that probably would’ve helped.

    It wasn’t superior Powerpoint presentations. However, I’ve been told that Smart Art and animations can arguably make or break your client meeting.

    I wasn’t really any major skill that anyone can simply develop over the course of their career.

    It was mostly luck.

    Hmph. Well, shit.

    Being more spiritually inclined. Yew Leong called it ‘God’s Will’.

    He said it was a good idea, yes. But it was also persuasively presented.

    To open-minded clients.

    Whom they had a trusting relationship with.

    That’s quite a few factors.

    There was one particular idea that wouldn’t be where it is today without a stroke of luck.

    Many industry professionals will be familiar with the TVC Tan Hong Ming in Love.

    In 2008, it won at Cannes, the Clios, D&AD, the Media Spikes, the Kancils, the Andy Awards, One Show, the Asia Pacific AdFest, the CUP Awards plus many others.

    What’s interesting is the charm and charisma that cherries the idea was born out of luck.

    Let’s note that it takes a rather humble creative to admit this.

    What’s magic about this is as they were filming, the bell rang and little Ummi came out and what happened next was totally unscripted. The look of happy shock on Hong Ming’s face was genuine and perfect. The only bit of direction given was when Yasmin told them both to walk away (her voice was cut out obviously).

    Again, this would never have happened if they didn’t randomly decide to film by the classrooms and filmed by a tree on the field as originally planned.

    It just happened.

    Everything fell into place of fate’s own volition.

    I doubt this is first nor the last time you’ll hear a story like this. I know I’ve heard it more times than Charlie Sheen’s had sex.

    Industry stars have called the secret to successful work all sorts of name; modestly referring to it as luck, God’s Will, an alignment of stars, or a very intricate pattern of wearing unwashed lucky underwear every second day after lunch time except on Tuesdays.

    Knowing this I suppose we can all relax a bit, knowing that sometimes our successes are out of our control.

    Having said this, that’s not to actually say you can’t work towards it.

    Considering the above stories about the ECDs at Leo Burnett Malaysia, easily persuading a client helps if they’re open-minded, which helps if you have a trusting relationship, which takes a lot of work to achieve.

    The random decision to film Hong Ming near the classrooms led to Ummi wandering onto the shoot early, which led to her unscripted admission of considering Hong Mong her boyfriend, triggering his priceless expression of shock and delight. The icing on the cake was Yasmin’s direction to walk away, an on the spot decision which comes from years of experience making films.

    So yes, I suppose I do agree that a lot of the time when creating great work, things simply fall into place.

    But it is the insertion of your hard work and dedication that positions those things directly above where you’d like them to fall.

    1. danwrites posted this