Are you familiar with the sad plight of Johnny Football? Johnny Football was Johnny Manziel’s nickname when he burst upon the national sports scene as an all-world quarterback at Texas A&M.
Alas, Johnny Football couldn’t wait for the big bucks that went hand-in-glove with signing an NFL contract. So, Johnny quit after his sophomore year and entered the NFL draft.
I’ll let you read the poignant tale of how Johnny sat and sat, waiting on draft day for some team to claim him (while a heartless ESPN team trained its camera on him as he squirmed, fretted and suffered until the Cleveland Browns finally drafted him as the 23rd selection.
Johnny Football floundered in the NFL, throwing only two touchdown passes in two seasons He got cut and has not been picked up by anyone else.
Today, at the tender age of 23, Johnny Manziel is being called the Lindsay Lohan of football. He’s plagued with drug and alcohol addiction, and has had countless clashes with the law. His dad fears for poor Johnny’s very life.
I bring up this true downer of a story because, we too, have hired PR’s versions of Johnny Football. These were sure-fire, can’t miss superstars with superb credentials and impeccable references. And each one flamed out in very high-profile ways. Here are three, quick anonymous examples:
– A project manager who possessed the exact combination of skills needed to organize our multiple, fully integrated accounts. Sadly, Johnny Project pissed off everyone he worked with, excelled at backstabbing and actually told a client we weren’t qualified to handle a new assignment. He was escorted to the elevators within 30 days of joining us.
– A senior client-side executive who had managed countless CEOs, high-level crises and global thought leadership programs. We were positive Johnny Corporate would provide a critical, client-side perspective to everything we did. Sadly, Johnny Corporate also came equipped with a patronizing, “I know better than you” attitude and was pretty much ignored by our senior management team. Johnny Corporate beat us to the punch, and left before he could be cut.
– Last, but not least, was the sure-fire management supervisor who joined us from a global agency and had managed countless Fortune 500 accounts. But, sure enough, Johnny Big Agency was used to working in a hierarchal culture and, within the first week, was complaining that Peppercomm didn’t have its own research and measurement departments (which we now possess, thank you very much) and pretty much expected his underlings to do all of his work. Johnny BigAgency simply couldn’t cope in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial culture and quickly returned to the safety, and security, of an aircraft carrier-sized, multi-layered global firm.
Every agency has hired a Johnny Manziel, and survived to fight another day (or play another down, if you will). So, do me a favor and share your Johnny Football story. We all have one.