Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Star Stories: Marcus Brown

Photo courtesy of Matt Baker

One of the best things about blogging is that you get to meet amazing people. Marcus Brown is one of these amazing people. He does a lot of stuff, but as a start you should check out his blog: The Kaiser Edition. He ain't German, but he lives there. And his story of how he got into advertising is pretty damn awesome.

Now then, I have to admit that I have no idea about graduate programs and the likes. Never heard of them, let alone been on one so if you wanted to find out how to 'best get through one and then get a job in the advertising world' this isn't the article for you. Sorry. In fact I was a little surprised that Sam asked me at all, but ask me he did.

So here we go.

One day, back when the Internet was black and white and I was standing in front of an industrial photocopying machine I got a call from a man who spoke German badly. He wanted to know if I had ever thought about working in advertising. I asked him if there was any money in it and he said yes and I then informed him that I had just, that very minute, been thinking about a career in advertising and isn't life funny like that. He agreed and invited me in for a chat about the internet and commercials and things.

I had no idea who this man was, I had never heard of Ammirati Puris Lintas and I had always thought that people who do advertising must be complete and utter tossers with the attention span of goldfish. That was 10 years ago and I can confirm that nearly all people in advertising are complete and utter tossers with the attention span of goldfish.

I was actually determined to turn down any job offer and go back to being a freelance artist/ graphic designer/ web developer who just happened to also work in a photocopy shop. I did, after all have my principles.

I arrived at the agency and was guided by the man who had invited me (one of the partners) into a little room where he asked me if I wouldn't mind helping building the internet department for APL and if I could do stuff in Macromedia Flash. I informed him I'd never used Flash before. This unsettled him a little and he left the room only to return with a PowerBook and went on to inform me that in around an hour we had a presentation to give and he had informed his partners that I was the famous 'Mr.Brown' (I was an artist back then and was enjoying a little coverage in Frankfurt) and that there would be moving pictures and things would happen when we rolled over things with the cursor (can you make something go 'beep'?)

So I had less than an hour to learn how to use Macromedia Flash and design a presentation with moving pictures and rollovers but completely void of any content. “Just make sure it looks really sexy; that was my brief. The fate of an entire department depended on it; depended on Macromedia Flash.

Later I was asked if I would like to take the job. Remember those principles? "fuck'em" I said yes.

It's a true story. That's how I got into advertising.

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