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21 Bennett’s Hill,
B2 5QP

If you win, do you get to keep the prize?

When I was young my dad always had his mantras that he shared with me.

One of them was “Work hard and win, because when you win you get to keep your prize forever.”

And for all my years I have always followed this advice.

When I was 9, I made a superb summer project in science and I won a technology book that I still have to this day. It’s so out of date now it’s actually funny!

Back when I was 11, I made an Easter hat and won a chocolate hamper! OK, so I don’t have that hamper any more because I ate it, but if I hadn’t it would still be here – admittedly covered in white fluffy mould, but you get the point.

At 15 years old, I played pool for my town and won a shiny trophy that sits in my study. Looking at it now, it probably cost about £3 but it’s the sentiment that matters right?

And there are many other examples I could quote about winning, especially with the team at G&T. And yes, for some of those we have heavy, expensive trophies that we now use as door stops.

But I am now sadly realising you don’t always get to keep what you win – no matter how hard and fast you play to get it. I’d love for my dad to be always right, because he usually was, but this time I have to call bullshit on that particularly mantra.

Last year we got the great news that we’d won an account that we’d worked damn hard to secure. The win was for a contract to span 3 years on paper. We were so excited to get started and make some waves.

And waves we did make!

But after just 7 months, we were told it’s all being taken away.

Was it something we did? No.

Was it something we didn’t do? No.

Was it something we saw coming? No.

We couldn’t help feeling it was the old cliche of “It’s not you, it’s us” yet again…

In my +20 year career, I have seen this happen many times to all manner of creative, digital, data, etc agencies. And frankly it doesn’t get any easier to shake it off, put it down to ‘life’ and move forwards.

“Work hard and win because when you win, you get to keep your prize forever.”

Being totally honest, we have never had a client move away from us for poor performance or poor service. We’re so proud of that and fiercely protect the accolade.

However, when we told our team that this had happened, the look in their eyes was like telling your family they are not going on holiday tomorrow, but it’s not their fault so it’s ok.

But it’s not ok, it’s heartbreaking.

Maybe we are too emotional about this sort of stuff, but if there’s no emotion behind what you do, what have you actually got?

I’ll leave that hanging there.

On the flip side, because there is always a flip side to every situation, it gave us time back to work on our own comm’s and to quote my dad once again, “You get out what you put in” – and this mantra definitely still holds water!

The advertising world can be a fickle and shallow beast at times, but as long as you are ahead of where you were this time last year, you’re winning.

And that is a ‘win’ nobody can take away.

As King Henry said at the walls of Harfleur, “Once more unto the breach”.