The importance of first principles

i remember as a cub copywriter in new york i had one thing on my cubicle wall. it was Tony Brignull’s piece that accompanied David Abbott being inducted in the D&AD advertising hall of fame in the UK. And in it he wrote that Dave Abb’s biggest strength was that he never deviated from first principles. he always sold whatever he was selling real hard. and that made a big impression on me. i thought that was a good idea. stay pure. i still like that idea.

Funny part: AMV were an investor in the agency i worked at, owned by Ed McCabe. And one day David Abbott came to visit. And he walked to my cube and introduced himself. And he noticed i had tony brignull’s speech on my wall. He looked at it and smiled. And then he said “Are you sure that’s such a good career move?” and motioned towards my boss’s office. i replaced it the next day. Thanks David!

UPDATE: does anyone perchance have a copy of the 1986 D&AD annual? i’d love to put Tony Brignull’s piece on the blog. David Abbott was getting the President’s award that year.

5 responses to “The importance of first principles

  1. Only makes sense. If you really, really want to sell something. You’ll find a creative way to do it.

    And clients pay you to really, really want to sell their stuff.

  2. It should be “clients pay you really really well so that you really, really want to sell their stuff”.

  3. it didn’t mean JUST a desire to sell stuff. that’s a given. and shouldn’t be predicated solely upon payment.

    it was more referring to never getting away from what works. and never getting bored with the fundamentals of what we do. i’ll see if i can find the piece. it was really good.

  4. Well no, if it was only predicated on payment then we’d be mercenaries willing to sell anything. And I don’t think that’s a person I’d want to hire. This was a post about principles after all wasn’t it?

    So I’ll rephrase: If you do what you love – it doesn’t guarantee success, but you have a much greater chance of success. And look at that, clients pay us to do what we love. (and ideally we love their products).

    I’d like to read it Vinny, if you can find it.

  5. i’ll try and find it dan. it was a really well-written piece.

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