It’s time to bring back the fun.

Think back to the time before you actually worked in advertising. Whether it was a few years ago or more years ago than you’d prefer to think about, chances are pretty good you imagined it as just about the most fun thing you could do and still get paid.

Maybe it was Darrin Stephens whipping up magical ideas on Bewitched that sold you on the business. Or Michael, Elliot and Miles Drentell from Thirtysomething. Perhaps it was Tom Hanks in Nothing in Common who attracted you. Or maybe you were drawn in by stories told by your parents or relatives who worked in the business. For some of you, I bet there was even an inspiring professor or mentor.

Wherever and whenever the love originated, one thing was for certain — there was love. Or at least the promise of love.

If you’re like me, the fantasy included being surrounded by whip-smart, unpredictable and wildly creative people coming up with groundbreaking ideas that clients would find irresistible and consumers would love and remember.

Your fantasy may have also included being rewarded for your instincts, being respected for your creativity and working with colleagues and clients who shared your “go for it” attitude.

What you probably didn’t imagine —and I certainly didn’t — were endless email threads, indecipherable spreadsheets, meetings about meetings, creative briefs that were neither creative nor brief, turf wars, giant egos and people afraid to take a chance on a new idea.

So when I started my own agency a few years ago, I saw it as a chance to build the agency I had always imagined. A place where anyone can have a good idea, where everyone has fun, where we talk straight with clients and each other, where it’s OK to say “I don’t know,” and where we respect research but also trust our gut.

It’s not the sort of agency everyone feels comfortable with. But as I’ve matured I’ve learned you can’t be all things to all people, so it’s best to be everything you can for the people you like.

If that’s been your advertising fantasy, perhaps we should talk.


Posted by Andrew Smith, president of initiate-it, a fully committed, fully prepared, full-service agency in Richmond, Virginia. Andrew founded initiate-it in 2011 after spending 20 years learning the business from inside large and small agencies and in-house corporate marketing departments.

Initiate the conversation by contacting Andrew Smith.