We were really lucky to have Jerry Della Femina speak at our class two semesters ago after being inducted into the One Club Hall of Fame. Jerry is famous for quite a few great campaigns in the history of advertising and a memoir about the industry. Before he was one of the original Mad Men, Jerry was a door to door vacuum salesman. His lecture found a way of relating that to students who are just beginning to get their feet wet in a shrinking industry and a rough economy. A few of his insights included:
• As a salesman, you have 10 seconds to say something important. In advertising, you have even less time.
• Choose the right media — never sell vacuum cleaners in a neighborhood that doesn't have carpets. Know your market.
• When selling, talk softly. Let the people listen to you and help them to understand what you are saying. Perfect advice for long copy ads.
On getting into the business now when it's getting smaller and more difficult to enter:
• Make yourself indispensible and do what you have to do. The harder you work, the more unique your talents, the more desirable you are to agencies.
• Now is the best time to get in — when the industry is booming, no one will pay attention to you.
• Freedom is just another word for nothing to lose.
Jerry, thank you so much for your words of wisdom and for taking time out of your busy schedule to pass them on.