The Best of April - Horror Stories From Advertising

I don't think I will ever run out of gossip. I have officially been away from the advertising agency for 6 months, but I have stories to last a lifetime!!!

Back in December 2006 - Panic Attack began planning her annual client meeting. This is an opportunity for all of the guys in one organization to get together, figure out their advertising strategy for the next year, and budget for everything. That's all well and good - except the meeting is consistently held in Hawaii. What actually happens is the clients show up, go golfing, and expect the advertising agency to foot the bill for everything. Whatever.

Panic Attack truly wishes that the clients will one day develop a sincere desire to care about their advertising... but it's been 15 years and I seriously doubt that anyone can teach the old dogs new tricks. Her hopes in December 2006 were that if we could get some nice gear from the major TV networks to use as prizes for participation in team-building events for the clients... the guys would actually give a crap.

I had worked at an NBC affiliate TV station years before, and still had some contacts at corporate. I volunteered with, "Let me make a few calls to my contacts... maybe there's some promotional items to be shared with us." BEFORE I EVEN FINISHED MY SENTENCE - The Boss broke in with, "We can't help you." Gee - thanks for answering for me, bitch. Bless Panic Attack - she looked at The Boss and said, "Let her look into it. I don't expect anything, but if Conqueress can come up with SOMETHING that would be great!"

Par for the course - immediately after the meeting I was summoned into The Boss's office for a closed-door meeting. "I am sick of your can-do attitude. You're just going to let people down and I'm not going to defend you. If you want to try to make this happen, I won't support it with time or energy from the Media department. You need to make those call in your free time on your dollar." This woman actually wonders why people hate her? My response? "Fine."

"Don't let me catch you on the phone with anyone that's not on your client list. I won't hesitate to search the phone logs to make sure you're not making those calls on the company dollar." "Okay." "You just need to do your job and not try to help anyone else." "Umm..." "I've tried to pull stuff off like this before and failed. Your small-town mentality won't work on big city corporate people. They don't even want to deal with someone like you - you don't even have a degree!" I want to tell her that she FAILED because she treats everyone like a second-class citizen and no one in power over a situation wants to do favors for angry little Nazis. I left thinking that as kids we are taught to help others and to try to be effective members of society. I can't and WON'T stop doing what I think is the right thing to do, especially just because an angry hateful bitch told me to stop.

In the mornings during MY drive to work and on MY lunch break, I made MY phone calls to MY contacts on MY phone using MY money. I spoke to the assistants of CEOs and Media Directors in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles - and every person was wonderfully pleasant! Everyone had questions about what kind of event was going on, who the clients were, what types of goodies I was wanting... and I always replied with, "I don't want to be picky since beggars can't be choosers. It would be nice to give our clients gifts representative of your appreciation for them advertising on your stations for over 20 years."

Two weeks later a HUGE box arrived from NBC. It was filled to the top with awesome gimmies - embroidered baseball caps and duffel bags, branded note cubes and martini glasses, silk-screened mini laptop mice, engraved stainless steel pens, 1 Gig thumb drives on lanyards, sealed DVDs of special programs... and that was just in the top half of the box!

The next week another HUGE box - this time from Comcast. Embroidered jackets, polo shirts, leather-bound embossed notepads... CBS, ABC stuff followed soon after.

Panic Attack was giddy. When the April trip came - several team building events were ready for the clients with incentives of giant duffel bags filled to the top with goodies for people who actually participated. And they did participate!

The Boss still hated me. I would chuckle to myself just thinking about how she had taken home the phone records to check on my calls... wasted hours trying to catch me NOT following directions. I was glad to have done it on my own time, and to have proved her wrong - AGAIN!


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