Years ago when I was an account supervisor at Campbell Mithun, I had a great boss who was mentoring me to take over one of the agency’s largest accounts, International Dairy Queen. His name was Joe. He was a straight shooter, managed his clients with aplomb and loved teaching young account people to become great account managers. I adored the man.
It was a great honor to become the lead account supervisor because IDQ had been a client of the CM’s for more than 35 years. There was rich history with the account – we were known for shooting beautiful television commercials and adding exceptional post-production effects. I wanted to make sure everything went smoothly on my watch.
IDQ would annually host a three-day meeting for its Dairy Queen franchisees. At the time, there were more than 5,000 DQ stores operating in the US and Canada. Sandwiched between franchisee meetings and new product updates (hot eats and cold treats) was “the agency presentation.” This was CM’s time to shine. It was our turn to unveil new creative, recommend limited-time promotions and sell preliminary media plans for more than 100 TV markets. It was a big deal.
As the new account supervisor, I was bit nervous about the presentation. Joe provided excellent coaching, identifying potential franchisees who liked to stir things up. I presented to the franchise leadership group in the morning against a backdrop of new chocolate-flavored Blizzards. The audience loved the new work and appreciated our marketing ideas to promote various products. The media plan received a tepid response.
Joe wanted a recap when I returned to the agency that afternoon. After my briefing, he suggested I write a letter to the chairman of the leadership group. In reviewing my draft, he took me to task on how I used the word, “anxious.”
As in, “I am anxious to hear what you and the other franchisees think of our TV media plan.”
Joe gently chastised me for using the wrong adjective. He told me that anxious should be used only when its subject is worried or uneasy about the anticipated event. Anxious is related to the word anxiety; it traditionally means “worried, uneasy.” It’s often used, though, where eager or keen would be more appropriate. Given the fact the franchisees loved the creative and product promotions, did I really want to convey uneasiness about our media plan? No, I did not.
A quick edit with “eager” repaired my sentence. The franchisees approved the media plan (they just needed more time to review), and nearly 20 years later, I never have to think twice about using the proper adjective.
– Tom Wilson, President, Risdall Marketing Group