How I gatecrashed my way into advertising

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Important Note: always use the front door.
By Rainmaker

I pushed my way into the advertising industry in a case of mistaken identity. It seems all turbans are one and the same.

My friend Malkeet Singh was working as a Copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather and McCann Erickson had expressed their interest in hiring him.

Malkeet told me this and told me to try my luck. I showed up at McCann Erickson bent on getting my foot in the door.

They didn’t bother checking my background (4 years as a bartender and occasional 12-string pub folkrock singer) and I got hired as a ‘Creative Assistant’ for RM250 a month.

I operated a bulky 35mm projector, made coffee, listened carefully to job briefs and basically hung around volunteering snappy headlines to anyone who would listen or eavesdrop.

In four months there was a massive exodus of creative staff who followed the Creative Director to a new independent shop.

The creative heart of the agency was reduced to two Art Directors and me in the middle.

There was no stopping after that.

At my first industry creative awards night at the Hilton, I had my name on over 20 awards.

When Malkeet came over to congratulate us, my boss did a double-take but it was too late to get rid of me!

*This article is taken from the book Rainmaker: Making brands and people famous and furious for three decades. To get your copies, email [email protected]. Copyright © 2021 Sledgehammer Communications (M) Sdn Bhd.

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This piece was the Editor’s Note for MARKETING WEEKENDER Issue 315

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