When I was a kid, among the many backbreaking jobs my dad did, he built block foundations. Dad was never the architect, the owner, or even the tenant. He was just a laborer. But every time he drove us by one of the many buildings in town he worked on he told us “I laid that foundation.” As kids, all we saw was the gas station or the storage building. As we grew up, we understood Dad was humbled and honored to be a part of something bigger. As I was driving through my rural hometown yesterday with my little brother, we both pointed at a modest building and said at the sam time “there’s one of dads foundations.”
For the past several months, the agency I work at has been working on an ambitious project for one of our clients. Everyday as we’ve been watching the folks who are making this thing, it dawned on me that most of these guys won’t ever get acknowledged for the their contributions. And even though they know this, they’re giving it their all anyway. The success of projects like this aren’t about the folks with the fancy titles, but the builders who lay those invisible block foundations.
The union boys who will move the 1-ton table “2 inches to the left” then move it back again, and still manage a smile. The account executive in her pencil skirt & on the floor, peeling the last remnants of masking tape minutes before the doors open. The run-of-show girl who will skip dinner to stay behind to stock the shelves with product. The sleep-deprived new dad graphic designer up in the wee hours redesigning the entry signage for launch night. The media buyer begging for an extensions after being told it’s not possible for the 10th time. The security guard who will hold court in the December waterfront wind from sunup to sundown. The print producer who will vow to get the truckload of palettes on site and on time (and will pull it off at the 11th hour). The sound engineer who will remain un-phased by an outage on launch day when everyone else is freaking out. The social media dude working through his Thanksgiving meal to weed through thousands of event photos. The second-shift fabricators in a hot welding shop who started over on Saturday to rebuild something for Monday. The experiential marketing team separated from their families during the holiday to make sure the show runs. The art director who will spend a half of a year working on this knowing that he’s not budgeted to go to see it in person, but will still say “that’s ok, just happy to help.” The clients who put their job on the line to approve a location they where advised against, among a thousand other risks, none of them small. All to help build this collective vision.
It’s this behind-the-scenes village of people that do it because they take pride in their jobs. They might not get a pat on the back, but they know this project is theirs. We hope they do their loved ones a favor and show them the foundation they’ve laid, whether in person or virtually; that they give them this opportunity to share in their pride. Let them see that they helped build something that hundreds of people are waiting in a 3 hour wait deep in December.
Hats off to the builders & creators for the launch of their labor of love;
THE MUSEUM OF FEELINGS
It humbles me to have spent 16 years at Ogilvy (home to some of the most talented creative masons imaginable) with partner Radical, Tait, Rockwell, Edelman, PHD, OPR, Geometry & the biggest partner of all, SCJohnson.