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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  How’d You Get In: Bob Winter


How’d You Get In: Bob Winter

Posted on May 14, 2009 and read 4,159 times

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Over the past six months we’ve looked at some pretty fascinating stories about how people got into the business. And what we’re finding is that creative people also have some really interesting stories about what they did before getting in. Often times, the two are closely linked. Such is the case with this weeks feature, Bob Winter. The Leo Burnett Chicago Creative Director worked PR for Davy Jones (yes, that Davy Jones) before getting his big break with the help of the ad department down the hall.

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bobw Howd You Get In: Bob Winter






It was not a graceful entry, to be honest. More like I accidentally leaned on a door that was ajar and fell into a room full of ad guys.

After struggling through business course after business course for years in college, a professor took me aside one day and said, thoughtfully, “Bob, statistics is not for you.”  He told me to learn what I love, which at the time was a surprisingly foreign idea to me. But that’s how I found the school of journalism and a whole new world of things I actually really did love, and wasn’t horrible at.

The first job I was offered was in PR, at one of the smaller agencies in Chicago. I helped coordinate a publicity tour for Davy Jones from the Monkees (hey, hey we’re the monkees!). And in between scheduling mall appearances for the tiny man with the tambourine (great guy, by the way) I would pitch ad ideas to the copywriters in the ad department down the hall. They helped me build my book and begin to learn how to craft and sell great work.

One day I got a call from a recruiter at DDB who asked me to come show my stuff, and I worked like crazy on my book for two weeks and somehow tricked them into giving me a job. Three months after I started I was shooting a commercial for the Superbowl. It wasn’t a great commercial, but I was making something. And people were going to see it. And it was exciting. And i felt like the luckiest guy in the world. And so it began.

I was in. So I guess the story should stop here. I’ll write more about my times at DDB and Goodby and Burnett when they add the column ‘what i did next in advertising after i got in.’ I’m sure you’re dying to know.

Looking back on it, sometimes I wish I had figured it all out sooner. That I had found advertising as a career before trying to study business in college and gone to an ad school and really dove into it early on. But the years of exploring and trying different things were part of the process for me I think. I probably would have gotten better at it faster, or I might have, but i don’t know if I would have had the passion that comes from discovering something you really love after churning away at something you really don’t.

And the truth is I really do love it. And I feel lucky every day.






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