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Hi, it’s me Jon again. If you and I have had a conversation anytime in the past three years (and I believe we have), we likely covered two of my favourite topics: advertising & BBQ. Maybe I told you about Manning The Q, the Instagram account I run with my brother where we post our greatest BBQ hits and failures. Maybe we talked about what I’m cooking on these days: right now, a Traeger Pro-Series 34 and a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18.5 inch. And maybe I talked way too long about it. Sorry not sorry.  

On a recent pulled-pork endeavour, while embracing and enjoying the details of the process, I realized how similar my hobby hustle is to my day hustle. If you’re a person who feels your purpose in life is to make stuff, this is for you.

Here’s some advice for people who make ads or BBQ or a mixture of both.

Because in the end, the process you take to make something is just as important as the end product whether it’s beef or a brief.  

Jon Manning - BBQ Creative - Traeger

5 things BBQ can teach you about advertising

(as told by a guy who succeeds and fails at both)

1. Process and practice are just as important as the outcome

Maybe you saw this one coming. Being prepared and practiced for what you do and how you do it—BEFORE you do it—is a really good life skill to have. This is about discipline. Whether I’m running through daily writing exercises or nightly BBQ research, I’m practicing the act of creating before I do it. This prepares me for obstacles and increases my likelihood of success in creating killer headlines or make-you-weak-in-the-knees pork.

2. Accept you can’t control everything

The last point may have you thinking I’m a bit of a control freak. And you’re right, but here’s the counterpoint: I also know I can’t control everything. I have to accept that, and you do too. It’s just as true in advertising as it is with BBQ: the unexpected happens. Just, like, roll with it, man—like a clean blue BBQ smoke. Seriously though, learning how to adapt on the fly is a great way to stop things from sucking. A few hiccups along the way doesn’t mean success is impossible. Wow, hold on, I just blew my mind.

Jon Manning - BBQ Creative - Jalapeno Ribs

3. It’s all creative, just not the way some people think

This is a structured process. Yes, BBQ and advertising are creative pursuits. But there’s a purpose. You’re taking raw ingredients and putting them together in new ways to create desired outcomes. Sometimes that’s awareness of an issue, and other times it’s making sure your guests walk away praising your low & slow wizardry. Either way, you’re being creative for a reason. You’re using that creativity to solve a problem.

4. Never settle. That sucks.

I recently made the best pulled pork of my life. I am forever changed. And I can’t wait to do it again, but better. Every time I create, whether in ad or BBQ, I learn something. So yes, be happy with where you get, but get friggin’ pumped at the idea that the knowledge you gain on every attempt will help you improve on the next.

5. Celebrate when it’s good

I have to admit something. I can joke about it, but actually taking a moment to appreciate good work is something I have a hard time with. In this past year alone, I’ve made some of the best ads and BBQ of my life.

My first thought upon realizing success is usually, “ok, great, what’s next? How can I be better?” And that’s good, but it’s just as important that you take time to appreciate when things go right. Especially because that’s not always the case.

Savour the flavour, my friends, savour it!

Jon Manning - BBQ Creative - Roast

There you have it, two completely different practices forced together by the power of blog. If you’re into BBQ, give my Manning The Q a follow, and if you’re into advertising, follow our CB accounts to see what we’re up to next.

Thanks, and have a smokin’ day. Okay, I’m done here.

Interested in seeing how Jon can fire up your next ad campaign? Send him a message at

About the author

Jon Manning
Jon believes in using strategic creativity for good. He’s seen its power at work, and he’s been the one to make it work on numerous occasions. A family man at heart, Jon brings a collaborative spirit to every project he’s on, helping to create the type of environment that allows for everyone—clients and coworkers alike—to produce simple, profound solutions to complex challenges.

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