Strange Ducks #2 - Step Shelton
An ad agency in its truest form.
A person knows they’re officially working in the ad business when they conclude the world would be better off without advertising; also that the agency where they’re employed is possibly controlled by a pack of dangerous escapees from a local mental hospital.
Such was the case at the first real ad agency job that I landed in 1990.
After spending a year hanging out and working in Buffalo, NY after graduating college in 1987, I finally decide to make the move to the “Big City.”
Which in my case was Port Jefferson in Long Island, NY, where I could crash at my sister’s apartment for a few months. From there I had a plan to get a big New York City ad agency gig which could then afford me a swanky Manhattan apartment.
Unfortunately reality had different plans for me.
Much to my dismay, I learned that Port Jefferson was far away from NYC. It was about two plus hours from Manhattan. Being flat broke as I was, affording the commute every day wasn’t feasible. These setbacks made me painfully aware that I was a hopeless rube.
However I did know how to create newspaper ads, so I spent the next two years bouncing around between various local Penny Saver paste-up and layout jobs. Thanks to my pluck, and luck, I eventually transitioned to the up-and-coming world of desktop computer enabled design and layout jobs.
That’s what helped me land a gig at my first “real” ad agency which was called “Step Shelton.”
Their main clients were Tri-State area car dealerships located in the New York City region.
Even though it was a job laying out ads for car sales in an agency of only about twenty people that was located in Farmingdale, it was one whole county and one hour closer to NYC. I considered this a step up into big leagues.
After a month I discovered is was more of a step sideways into the minor leagues.
This was due mostly to witnessing the antics of the guys who ran the joint.