October 31st, 2022

Our very own Kristen Bedard Johnson talks to Shots about how the pandemic put paid to some of the bullishness that has plagued the industry.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last fifteen years working in production: the battle to the top of the advertising pyramid requires the human constitution of a serrated knife’s edge. It’s a fast-moving industry and not for the faint of heart.

Once you’re there, your time at the top is short-lived. You’re only as good as your last commercial.

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last three years: I’m a spoon, not a knife.

This is inconvenient for me because being aggressive in advertising is a highly rated value. Historically, there has always been a specific kind of bravado, a bold swagger that bordered on braggadocious, that is consistently rewarded and celebrated. More recently, with the pervasive loss of agency of record, this hubris morphed into something that feels more sinister. The opportunity to create trust while building a brand over time disappeared and was replaced by one-off campaigns that must be successful or else people lose their jobs. The stakes for every project are agonizingly high, understandably fueled by fear, which is usually compensated with an exertion of control. The strongest wins. And there is a very clear picture of what strength looks like. 

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