David Farmer is one of our RCC’s newest members. Below is his background, based on an interview with a publication that he shared with us. Return here for a future blog in which David shares “5 Things You Should Do To Upgrade and Re-Energize Your Brand and Image.”
My path to becoming an advertising executive on the creative side of the business came by accident. Growing up, I always enjoyed art, but I didn’t know how to make a career out of it. My father was a business executive in the oil and gas industry, so I had no idea about the advertising world. In my junior year at college, I decided I didn’t like studying law and switched my major to art.
My dad thought I had lost my mind. Then I read a book about how to build a great art portfolio. I built my portfolio and went to Madison Avenue in New York to meet with advertising agencies. I landed a job in the art department on my sixth interview. This was before the days of creating graphic art on the computer.
We used to hand-draw mechanical art. I had never done this before, but I did have an aptitude for learning. A seasoned artist took pity on my and took me under his wing the first week. He really showed me the ropes and mentored me.
During my first couple of years in the creative department, I was a typical “temperamental creative artist” and focused on developing award-winning campaigns. One thing I learned early on was to see things through the eyes of your potential customer first, and then your client. After that, the value of how to sell an idea. How did I learn this? I was at McCann Erickson and worked under Jesse Ceasar, the guy who came up with the iconic ad campaign and slogan “Put a Tiger in Your Tank” for ExxonMobil. I watched his process; how he led the creative teams and the clients. He was an absolute master of developing and selling ideas that worked. He really understood what the customer was looking for, then he sold it well.
From then on, my goal was to prove you could do both, be creative and create ads that work. When I got to the position of leading creative departments, I tried to teach them to look at art to get interest rather than being an art form and teach them not to make the same mistakes I had when coming up in the business. Too many young advertising creatives do work that makes them laugh, but it ends there. I always focused on effectiveness. Most creative folks hated that because it’s too hard. A fart joke is easy, making people want to smell it is the hard part.
My skills aren’t just about creative art but building trust and winning new business. Once you can figure out how to make rain, your value becomes exponential.
After years of seeing ad agencies just trying to make a buck without focusing on client success is what led me in large part to leave that world and create Ad Giants. We’re a subscription-based, full-service agency experience at prices small businesses can afford.
We simplify the marketing process by connecting small business owners and/or entrepreneurs with a proven advertising executive who then uses their decades of experience to create a customized marketing strategy with vetted resource partners and tools. All the work is managed on a simple technology platform so owners can keep apprised of the work being done on behalf of their businesses.
I didn’t build Ad Giants just for the money. It’s about helping the millions of small businesses that are targeted daily by a slew of “make a buck” marketing people out there. Any business, no matter how big or small needs a solid marketing strategy.
What advice David offers to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
“Really get involved with your clients. Understand their pain points. Be a true partner to them versus just some person that produces cute work. Think strategically and use your business knowledge. Think about clients’ business models and how you can help them realize actual growth. Creativity happens in every aspect of business.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Farmer is the CEO of Ad Giants. He can be reached at (616) 834-4562.