Earthy: I like down-to-earth people, earthy wines, and Earth, Wind & Fire.
Funny: As a young copywriter, I remember trying to be funny. I had to get a joke into an ad somewhere—anywhere—to prove how damn funny I was. A lot of young writers fall into this trap so I'm probably not that special, but my point is later in my career I stopped trying to be funny and tapped into ideas with real truths and insights. Suddenly, the work got better...and funnier.
Duty: They say advertising is NOT brain surgery, but some days it feels like it.
Celebrity: One of the highlights of my career was Howard Stern reading one of my Heineken radio scripts on air and then spending a good minute afterward insulting it.
Speedy: I work fast. I like to come up with a lot of ideas without getting too married to one idea enough that I can't let it go.
Airy: I like to keep things light at work. It's really easy to get caught up in all the egos/stress/deadlines of our profession, but at the end of the day, it's not rocket science. It’s brain surgery!
Shiny: My personality. Oh definitely.
Frenchy: A few years in Paris and my whole aesthetic changed. I learned to appreciate architecture and fashion. Everywhere you looked there was some ridiculously beautiful church or famous sculpture. There was so much creativity swirling around that city, it was impossible not to feed off it. Advertising was different, too. Less client mandates. In our little Colgate group, we had an unspoken mantra: If you want to sell your ideas, don't ask the client's permission. Go out and make them. That was empowering and transformative. Oh, I also learned how to cook better, which is definitely an art, but I only did that so I wouldn't have to talk to waiters.
Zippy: I can write zippy stuff in less than 140 characters or non-zippy stuff such as B2B website copy. Although I add a pinch of zip to that, too.
Scary: We were shooting a Charmin spot with Verne Troyer and we went to his hotel to pick him up. In the lobby, I held the elevator doors open for him and they suddenly closed just as he was entering. Learnings? Mini-me humps more than just lasers.
Hissy: Take the ego out of your work and work life and you'll have less of these.