Sunday, May 2, 2010
On Friday morning, I received the most unexpected and without a doubt, one of the nicest emails I have ever received. I'm still awfully smiley and incredibly happy to have received it.
Because it is not every day that you get a letter praising your writing and recommending you highly from the former CEO of Leo Burnett, Mr. Geeting. This is the advertising agency behind all of those wonderful food mascots like the Jolly Green Giant, Toucan Sam, Tony the Tiger, and my darling, most favorite, the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Backtracking briefly, Mr. Geeting, along with his wife, was a guest speaker for my advertising class who worked for Leo Burnett. Copywriting in the world of advertising was always a more subdued interest of mine. Subdued in the sense that I knew I would be good at it, but for some reason never gave it much thought. It's funny though because as far as my major, journalism, goes I never enjoyed writing a hard news lead or story that strictly relied on facts. At my community college, I wrote film reviews that were fairly popular and at my university, I have a fashion column that is equally popular, but I had to lobby hard to be allowed to write.
Anyway, they told our class about their lives working at Leo Burnett, and how working there was very similar to the show Mad Men. It all seemed very jet set to me, discussing how one would fly off to London at a moment's notice and then spend 50 grand on a dinner with famous celebrities at the table. Being a girl who is constantly envisioning stories in her head, all I could think of when I heard this was "Imagine the stories behind this time!"
I asked them questions and got to speak with both privately afterward which was lovely, but I didn't think anything of it because most afternoons after advertising, I do my internship work immediately (10 minutes) after I get out of class.
A few weeks later, our class was assigned to present our sustainability campaign in front of a panel of judges. This assignment had made me miserable for weeks because my group had some kinks in the armor (read: didn't communicate well) and everything came together last minute, which I try to avoid having happen because I like to be prepared. Usually.
In any case, when we gave our presentation, I did not want the judging panel of my professor, boss at my current job, and several prominent members of marketing companies including the Geetings to know that the day before this presentation I had felt like crying and throwing in the towel. If there was nothing I could do, it was to dress well and be well-versed in what I would say.
I wore my best suit (pinstriped with a pencil skirt), stockings, heels, and my ever-present red lipstick and memorized what I would say without using the cue cards. Speaking in front of crowds never scares me, which is a blessing. I know lots of people who are terrified of doing it. When I get up in front of a crowd, I tend to move around a lot, use my hands to gesture, and smile and try to get the room to laugh. Once they smile at you, you get them comfortable and things are all gravy from there!
This presentation was fair, at best, but hey, I did what I could. At the end, Mr. Geeting mentioned briefly, "I do like your fashion column, Heather."
"Thank you!" I blushed and stared at my heels.
"Though, of course, that won't be taken into final consideration on the judging process." He teased and I nodded in agreement. Of course it wouldn't!
Long story short, my advertising team and I faired average in the end and our campaign did not win to go on to the implementation phase. This was fine with me. I knew it wouldn't win and besides, I would have much rather have seen another team's take top honors. The Geeting's went on their separate ways and I didn't think I'd hear from them again.
Friday morning arrived, the last Friday of the month. I decided to check my school email account. 22 new emails. This was only after 2 days of not checking (a lot for a school address).
Among the group was an email from my editor at the school newspaper from Mr. Geeting addressed to me. She forwarded it along to me and the letter was tremendously nice.
I can't mention most of what was in it because of confidentiality reasons, but I can mention the following:
1) I have a very strong future in the world of advertising
2) Moving to San Francisco is a good choice, but eventually I need to put New York into my travel plans.
3) Many, many references to Mad Men, even describing me as a potential "Mad Woman" (the BEST compliment ever!)
4) More praise for the column (eventually I'll start putting old articles I've written on my blog because I'd like you guys to read it!)
I was on cloud nine. Fully and utterly.
I still am. Ahhhhh, this is so brilliantly amazing!
Like I said before, copywriting and I were not always on the same page. How strange that is. I think this is something I should move to pursue.
I greatly like the idea of being a "Mad Woman."
Love to you all,