Friday, May 3, 2013

The best of the web

One of the beautiful things about the web, is that amid all the dreck there are gems.

Not every blog is about how to enhance your social media presence or five ways to increase traffic to your site. 

Not every app is juvenile game designed to distract you from the important things that are happening in the world around you. 

And not every video is a 15-year old girl showing you the uh-may-zing top she got for cheap on her latest trip to the mall, or some pseudo-celebrity's masturbatory exercise in self-exploitation.

Sometimes you find things like this and you can just take pleasure the talents, passion and craftsmanship of the subject and the filmmaker.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why I hate advertising

There are reasons most copywriters have half-written novels or screenplays in their desk drawers, and art directors are always leaving agencies to become film directors. Advertising can be an ugly and infuriating business.

Like any job most days are okay, some days spectacular (see yesterday's post) and then there are days when crap like this happens.
  1. After approving all the creative work, pr and media placements; the client fires you, claiming breach of contract and tries to stick you with over a million dollars in bills to the media and other vendors.
  2. You're on the set waiting for a "famous" actor to show up. When his limo finally arrives there are two hookers with him in the back seat and he says he won't go on camera until we pay them.
  3. You find out some trusted ex-employees are contacting your clients trying to woo them to their agency.
  4. In the middle of presenting a new campaign, the client takes off her glasses, buries her head in her hands and says, "you guys just don't get it, do you?"
  5. You've just shot two days on the stage in L.A., have wrapped and are heading to a location in New Mexico when the client calls and says, "We're not making the cars in those colors anymore."
  6. You show up at a trade show to meet with a prospect only to find out his brand name has been misspelled on the credentials packet you sent him.
  7. Your two biggest clients are bought by other companies within the space of 18 months.
  8. You lose a pitch only to see the spot you presented on the air six months later.
  9. A great copywriter, who's currently working on a very important campaign, walks into your office and says she's leaving to go to Leo Burnett... tomorrow.
  10. You realize some creative director in New York gets paid half a million dollars a year while approving spots like this...

It's a great business.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why I love advertising

After graduating from the University of Michigan and turning down Harcourt Brace Jovanovich for a position as an editorial trainee at Roofing and Siding Monthly, I was having a conversation with a former creative director who asked me, "Have you ever thought about advertising? You might be good at it."

Thirty years later, I find it hard to think of any better advice that I've ever received over the course of my career. Here are just a few of the reasons.
  1. I get to write everyday.
  2. I usually get paid for it.
  3. My words help clients' businesses grow.
  4. I arrived home after being fired from JWT only to find a telegram in my mailbox from then CEO, Burt Manning, congratulating me for being the agency's print copywriter of the year.
  5. Seeing a pro bono client cry when she heard her radio spot for the first time.
  6. It's one of the few professions where you can roll a client's test car and get a promotion.
  7. No two days are ever alike.
  8. Where else can a Latin major help convince a client to spend $80,000,000 on a campaign featuring Mickey Mouse.
  9. Dabney Coleman
  10. The Colorado 500
  11. A very long list of funny, talented, professional coworkers, many of whom are still friends after all these years.
There are more, but these are some of the more memorable ones. And now on to the next 30 years of creating ideas that sell.