There’s something awful in my basement. Or at least my wife thinks it’s awful. Lurking down there are half a dozen bankers boxes and a filing cabinet filled with samples from my 17+ years in advertising.
There are print ad proofs, cassettes of old radio ads, VHS tapes with TV spots … and piles of direct mail. Oh, the piles! One batch is for Microsoft to introduce the “new” version of Word in 1995. Another hanging folder contains bookmarks for AAA of Southern California. (The idea was to stick them in your Travel Guide as you planned your road trip to Yosemite or Vegas. Hey, it was their idea.) Yet another blast from the past is the 1994 agency holiday card that I designed. It’s always the last piece I show in my book, and it never fails to get a smile from a potential client.
And that’s what I keep reminding my wife. These piles of paper stored next to the furnace, with their cracking rubber bands and their fading “John Sample” addresses, are my calling cards in the freelance world, the tangible evidence that I’m a person who can solve marketing problems. They give clients peace of mind and make them think, “Phew, we’re in good hands. He’s handled this kind of challenge before.”
So I’m not ashamed to say I hoard. I’m proud of all the work I’ve done — even the bookmarks. I’ll gladly show any sample in there to anyone if it might get me an assignment. Now, if I could just get those wretched account people to pass along some results …
When Ben H. is not busy hoarding, he moonlights as a copywriter with The Hired Pens. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.