Ad land weirdness and not being a dick

Rob Estreitinho
Oct 6, 2014 · 3 min read

I usually say agency land, ad land and all their variables are a love/hate place to be. At least to me, they have always been that way for 5 years now.

One day you love it, the other you feel like going postal. Then you feel like a 14-hour workday for that project is completely worth it. Then the other day you just feel like planting potatoes on the countryside. To make things worse, this is not necessarily cyclical – sometimes these feelings overlap.

I guess it’s normal in a weird way, being “weird” the keyword here.

It’s not a general rule of thumb but the weirdest people I know in agencies tend to also be, in one way or another, the people I respect the most. It can be either because they’re the boldest thinkers, the most obsessed doers, the most chaotic speakers or the most focused writers. There’s no rule other than their ability to provoke some sort of uncomfortable feeling of “that dude’s not quite right (and yet I can’t stop paying attention).”

Like weird art you can’t explain but love.

In agencies there is no room for normal because normal people have normal thoughts and normal thoughts produce boring work. No client wants boring work. No agency should want it either.

Weird is a thing with which we understand someone’s open mindedness to the world. Being weird means pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable, a trait that’s essential for strategists, creatives, true advertising men in the sense that Dave Trott defines them – those who say “fuck you” to their role and just want to violently learn the business from end to end.

Weird then opens our minds to new combinations and on a broader sense to an interesting path of not being a dick. Weird-powered open mindedness should help us take a few mental leaps as to how we work and live, and avoid some recurrent mistakes that human instinct tends to provoke.

Like assuming that all we know is above what everyone else knows. That all the people we know are the very best people you can know. That the books we read are the very best books you can read. That the way we spend our time is the very best way we could spend our time. That the ideas we have are the very best ideas you can have. That our self-entitlement for things is obviously justified. But yours obviously isn’t.

Weird is not a proxy for being a nice person and it definitely doesn’t mean you can’t be (or in fact aren’t) a dick. We’re not perfect nor should we be, because perfect – like normal – is boring. But the principles of being weird – or lack thereof, because anything goes – resemble in a (not so coincidental) way the open mindedness of the best thinkers I admire and the mental flexibility of the nicest people I know.

Agency life for humans

Rants, provocations, the occasional insight. No jargon allowed.

    Rob Estreitinho

    Written by

    Notes to self.

    Agency life for humans

    Rants, provocations, the occasional insight. No jargon allowed.

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