49. Perseverance and Work Brings Joy of Success
During Brent Kuhn’s 40-plus years in advertising he brought the 30-minute infomercial to the mainstream, greatly expanding direct response advertising. Before founding Bennett, Kuhn, Varner (BKV), he worked for leading ad shops McCann-Erickson and Tatham-Laird & Kudner. Now in active retirement, he continues to pitch new clients as Vice Chairman of BKV.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Bolstered by the confidence he gained as a 10-year-old watching his father prepare for business meetings, Brent says he learned how to do well in interviews. Self-assurance overcame his less than stellar academic background and landed him a job at an ad agency that typically only recruited from top-notch schools.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
As a boy, Brent often watched his adman father rehearse his client sales pitches and presentations, whetting his appetite for advertising. Later, a client at Christian Children’s Fund—“one of the two most brilliant people I ever met in advertising”—gave him courage to go out on his own.
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
Brent cites two lessons: Perseverance is the key. “It is so easy to give up, to get demoralized,” he says. At those times, he recalls his father’s axiom, “Smarter guys than you have failed and dumber guys than you have succeeded. The difference is work.”
On His Bookshelf
Ogilvy on Advertising, by David Ogilvy
Brutal Simplicity of Thought: How It Changed the World, by M&C Saatchi
Reading for Pleasure: The Gunslinger Series, 7 books, by Stephen King
Connecting With Brent Kuhn
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