Ad Legend Luke Sullivan Gets To The Point:
HOW TO SUCK LESS!
This wasn’t so much just a talk about advertising. If anything, it was about how Luke Sullivan has himself sucked. But in doing so he has discovered certain truths about human nature.
None of us want to suck. We want to do work that inspires. The fact is that the trappings of our everyday lives conspire to deliver us to suckage. Our own nature is the devil.
That was the takeaway of February 10th’s sold-out talk with the iconic writer. Fear, laziness and arrogance are the enemies of greatness. We all have those qualities. The key to sucking less is in how we manage them. It was the same plainspoken, Midwest honesty that made his book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This.” into the industry bible that it is.
See, Luke Sullivan thinks you’ll always suck. Clients will suck. Deadlines will suck. Circumstances will suck. But it’s how we change ourselves that makes the difference. The power to suck less is right in front of us. It starts by meeting the devil head-on. By taking an unflinching look at the true amount of fear, arrogance and laziness in our lives. We have been given the gift of creativity, and yet somehow, we resist it. Of course, sometimes the devil is in the emails.
“I challenge you to occasionally delete your boss’s emails,” Sullivan directed. “You’d be amazed at how free it makes you feel in the chest.” He argued it’s the partial attention we give to the work in the midst of the phone, email and office chatter. That’s what drives the suck.
Our devotion to craft is what saves us.
“The effort and struggle stands over the work like a benediction,”Sullivan quoted in one of the more poignant moments of
the evening. He was talking about building quality. Attention to detail (where, ironically, the devil is not). And the importance of working painstakingly, for long stretches at a time.
“Get quiet. Be inward looking. Be slightly happy. Use no effort. Then just start. Simply write what the ad already wants to say.” It was as if he was reading directly from his book.
At the end of the night, one thing became clear: This wasn’t a talk about advertising. It was about what we can do to change ourselves as creatives and as people. That’s the key to sucking less. And it’s right in front of us.