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Don’t You

OOH …Here’s One Thing

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OOH …Here’s One Thing


by Jim Johnsen,
Managing Director, Johnsen, Fretty & Company





Don’t You

I love my job…and I hate my job

I love my job because I get to work with hard charging entrepreneurs that have often built something out of nothing.  Many of these men and women have left the 9 to 5 scene, given up the sure thing in hopes of grabbing a little fame or fortune or both.  Most of them have stories that would make even the most intrepid risk takers run for a job application at Big Blue.  But through tremendous perseverance, sometimes brains, a fair helping of “natural born salesman” and many years of baked beans, these people have built and grown sizable and valuable out of home advertising businesses.  And the best part, many of them find their way to our office to see if we can help them “monetize” their lifetime of hard work…or raise more money so they can supersize it.  I don’t think there is a client we have worked with over the years, and I think Steve and Gabe would agree, that has not impressed the shit out of us, for what they have endured and what they have grown.  As the man once said, ‘gettin’ rich ain’t easy’.  Now as to character, the industry has a way of attracting.  I have had the good fortune to work with lots of characters.  Never dull.  No strangers to adversity and usually battle hardened.  Often funny and colorful to boot.

Okay Johnsen, enough with the preamble, where you going with this.  Well, I’d say the deal business is unlike anything else out there across the commercial spectrum.  We operate a never ending roller coaster.  We give our clients very specific instructions before they get on, we make sure they have secured all loose items of clothing and change in the pockets, we fasten their seat belt and then we climb aboard with them.  There hasn’t been a single ride where there were not moments of elation and moments of barfing.  When the ride finally comes to a conclusion they invariably say two things to us. First, “wow, thank you…I had no idea” and second, “how the hell do you guys do that everyday?” Lest you think I am looking for an attaboy…I’m not. As Alec Baldwin said in Along Came Polly, I signed up for this mishegas, nobody put a gun to my head. (Okay, it’s a loose paraphrase).  

Wow, I’m lost Johnsen.  What’s the point?  The point is, when you do a deal with someone as your client, you get to know someone…pretty damn well.  You see them under pressure and they see you under pressure.  Rinse and repeat.  If you think about some of the best friendships you have formed in your life, I’d venture a guess that they often flow from a shared intense experience, no?  After all the screaming and sweating, who doesn’t love the OB-GYN at the moment their baby is born?  

So what’s not to love?  That thought came to me the other day as I stuck the key in the ignition and drove away from a delightful closing lunch with a 75 year old client.  Once the deal is over and our job is done, life sets in.  There are more deals to be done, more clients in the midst of triage and the old ties naturally fall away.  Sure the Christmas cards still get sent and the occasional emails get dropped, but the closeness that comes from the shared intensity is gone.  Part of the job I guess, but I am jealous of those outdoor guys that are going fishing with the advertising client they have had for 20 years.  Maybe someday…



Securities transacted through StillPoint Capital Member firm FINRA/SiPC

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  1. Ross says

    A very unique industry that few are brave enough and fortunate enough to be part. Well said!

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