A Classic Story

I’m going through old resumes – yes I’ve saved them. They go back decades. There’s one that an old friend still teases me about. I was following the advice of a magazine article I’d read on how to write a resume. It was the thinking of the day that you should write a little summary of your career before diving in to your specific job history. I wrote:

Mine is the classic story. I began my communications career ten years ago in the mailroom of Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Toronto. After only two weeks behind the mail cart, I was hired as traffic coordinator in the broadcast traffic department. My subsequent traffic and writing experience at O&M secured me a copywriting job at CFUN Radio in Vancouver.

From the media side of the business, I move to the client side (Western Canada Lottery Corporation, Winnipeg), and back to the agency side (Creative Solutions, Vrlak Robinson Hayhurst, Vancouver). I then joined Palmer Jarvis Winnipeg as Associate Creative Director. I am currently working as a freelance writer/producer in Vancouver, specializing in native and environmental issues.

During the span of my career, I have written several award winning commercials for a number of clients including Harley Davidson Canada, Pizza Pizza (Toronto) and the Western Canada Lottery Corporation.

Here’s some of the story behind the story of how I launched my advertising career. I was living in Toronto working as a waitress at the Belair Café (It’s still there!) in the fashionable Yorkville neighbourhood. I was making decent tips and had won the favour of the militant French chef who ran the kitchen. We could be fired for sneaking one of the freshly baked potato chips or if there was any brown showing in the lattes we made. But I soon tired of serving the beautiful people who draped themselves over chairs and treated me like, well, a waitress.

I had just finished reading a book called Subliminal Seduction by Wilson Bryan Key, all about how advertisers manipulate us into buying their products. Apparently advertisers used subliminal messages, like inserting pictures of wolves having sex onto the ice cubes in a tall glass to make you buy more rye. I was young and impressionable, so I was fascinated by it. I went knocking on the doors of three major agencies: J Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam and finally O&M.

While I have no evidence that any subliminal techniques were ever used while I was at O&M, I do have the umbrella to prove I worked there.


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