It’s true. Maybe the best advice I ever received about business came from a bumper sticker. I guess that also partly explains why I chose advertising, the art of slogan writing and persuasive pictures, as my livelihood.
I can’t remember the first time I saw that bumper sticker, but I imagine it like this:
I was riding with Dad in the ol’ green Maverick. He would use that confined time to espouse about all the great ponderances of the mind: “Elvis will always be king.” “The Dodgers should have never left Brooklyn.” “Archie Bunker should be president.” I would sit and listen. (OK, half listen). I’d blankly stare out the window, my head bobbing up and down in agreement as if I was learning great secrets of the world. Then it happened. Just as he was barking about the designated hitter and baseball’s demise, a VW Bug with a bumper adorned with pop culture philosophy puttered out ahead of us. One bumper sticker encouraged me to “Save water. Shower with a friend.” I didn’t quite get that one. But another one hit me right between the eyes. “Question Authority.” I stopped nodding my mock agreement. My brow furled a bit. I looked at my dad and asked, “Why?” One word. One sentence. One revelation. And you know what? After he briefly looked at me like I was from another planet, he answered. He told me why. And I understood.
So now, at ADCo, when a company says its cog is better, we ask why. When they say their quality is the best. Or they’re fastest. Or they’re going to be the biggest. We ask why. We keep asking why until we understand. Then we go to work.