Let It Be

How to succeed in advertising
Image: Eric Koch

The talented painter Stuart Sutcliffe decided if he was going to take his passion for art more seriously, he’d have to give up playing bass in his band. A necessary sacrifice for Stuart but a disaster for the group. With gigs already lined up, they needed a solution fast.

One of the other guitarists in the band had always filled in when Stuart had previously neglected to show, so he was the natural choice. The eighteen-year-old wasn’t happy but realised it was the right thing to do for the group. And so, Paul McCartney picked up the bass and he and his band went on to have quite a successful career in the music business.

Egos can be great at giving us boundless confidence and endless ambition but they can also lead us to monumental cock-ups. Whether as a grad on their first day or a board member twenty years in, we all have to make decisions every day. But occasionally, those decisions are based on what we think is best for us, instead of the job at hand.

This approach helps no one. Successful agencies succeed through teamwork. Putting the ambitions of a pitch or project before yourself will lead to more success for the company and eventually you. And if you’re more giving of your time and talents then more people will be more inclined to return the favour.

Doing it for yourself will not only jeopardise the work but also your reputation. In a world where teamwork rules, there’s no space for people who put themselves before everything else. Sometimes you have to make short-term sacrifices to gain the long-term benefits. Looking after number one inevitably looks after no one.

Please Please Me, Washington Coliseum, 1964


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