Dear Me, On My First Day of Advertising #20: Greg Cotten

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Dear Butthead,

Congrats on breaking into the business. Now I know you’re itching to make like a tree and get to work. And win a bunch of awards. And show your CD you’re worth the relocation package. But I gotta break it to you – you still have much to learn. To help you out, I’ve put together some advice from the future. Stay true to these principles and you’ll never lose. Well, almost never. Which is still pretty good.

1. Don’t be a dick. Even to other dicks. You end up in a circle jerk with everyone in this business sooner or later.

2. You’re in sales. You may not wear suits or even carry business cards, but you’re selling your ideas, your clients’ products and yourself. Learn to do it well.

3. Write and concept in the morning. It’s when you’re sharpest.

4. Learn to kill your babies. The time you spend fighting for a dead idea is time you could be coming up with the winning one.

5. National agencies respect regional work when it’s done well. Just look at what Sukle has done with Denver Water.

6. Take pride in every project. The smallest ones can have the biggest impact.

7. Stay away from unicorn jokes. They’re going to hit their peak in about 2011 and won’t age well in your book.

8. If you comment on the Egotist, own it. If it’s too negative to own, there’s probably a better way to say it.

9. But always give it one last lookover before hitting Post. Same goes for Emails, Uploads and Tweets.

10. Marry Sarah Stock. Who am I kidding? You’ll know that immediately.

11. Pander to the woman in your life.

12. Only put your best work in your book. Even if your book feels light at first.

13. Embrace social media. Learn it all. Well, except for MySpace. In fact, delete your MySpace account altogether.

Now, Butthead, I know you’re too high to grasp all of this right now. So if you need a refresher, here’s my advice - make friends with Jim Glynn. He knows this stuff better than anyone and can state it a lot more eloquently than me. Or you. Or whatever.

Good luck, kid. Make us proud.

To read the entire 2013 'On My First Day of Advertising' series, click this.


You had me at Butthead, Greg. Short and sweet, well done (albeit inaccurate, as, from what I've seen, your head doesn't literally resemble human ass).

well said

Nice job, oh and Butthead, you will be known as Butthead in the ad world from now on, Butthead.

Saw 10, threw up in my mouth a little. Saw 11, spat it out laughing. Well done sir. And may I say, on the subject of pandering, that as the first employee I ever had you taught me a shit load about being a good manager. Actually, an average one at first. Ever onwards, and in 2015 maybe you'll get that Hover Board you always wanted.

#1. Great advice. Don't be a dick. Seems so simple but it can be such a slippery slope that ends in nothing but bad things. And you are so right, this is a huge freaking little industry we work in. You will cross paths with that person again, bet on it.

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