When I was growing up in San Diego, I used to work summers at the Del Mar Fair. I worked in the Garden Show Pavilion, selling orchid bulbs to fairgoers. I was given a sales script and a culturally questionable kimono to wear over my street clothes. Very quickly, I discovered that it was more effective (and far more enjoyable) to go off script. I had a lot of fun getting to know the people who ventured my way. And I sold a ton of orchids. Looking back on that now, I think that may have been the very literal seed of my career in advertising.
I sell things. That's the simple truth, whether it's an orchid bulb, a tourist destination, a car, or a shoe. Yes, I tell stories. And yes, I live for the big idea. But I also love the basic challenge that all advertisers must embrace: to make brands meaningful to their audiences, and to inspire audiences to stop and listen to a brand's story. It's the thrill of that challenge - and how advertising has continued to evolve to meet it - that's kept me in this industry for over a decade. I still really like to get to know people. And I still sometimes go off script. But thankfully, I no longer have to pitch wearing a kimono.