The Best Piece of Advertising Writing You’ve Never Read
Linds Redding has died, according to the San Francisco Egotist. Don’t worry if you don’t who that is. I didn’t either until today, when some creatives I follow began Tweeting and Facebook about him. In fact, I still know very little about him. There are no full-on newspapers obituaries that I can find. Just some biographical fragments from his website and that of the San Francisco Egotist, which had published him. These bits and pieces tell me Redding was a British-born art director who toiled for agencies in London and Edinburgh and, eventually, New Zealand. He left advertising to create an animation studio. About a year ago, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. That’s it — except for one thing.
Back in March, Redding published one of the best pieces I’ve ever read on the pressure-cooker of creativity and commerce that is advertising. His “A Short Lesson on Perspective” is a must-read at any time, and all the more so right now when we need reminders not to take ourselves too seriously.
The essay begins in somewhat familiar territory, with Redding recounting the “Overnight Test” that he and his partner used to determine whether anything they’d come up was good. They’d wait until the next day to see what they had. This approach worked pretty well for some time, but then the business began to change and the beancounters realized “we could just do three times as many jobs in the same amount of time, and make them three times as much money.”
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