Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunshine Boy


You know the drill.

It's Thursday, my wife's favorite blogging day.

Every Thursday I post a letter from AsiaDate.com and my retort to the Asian Mail order brides seeking a Sugar Daddy here in the states.

Today is letter #5 in a series that will soon become a new book.

Enjoy...


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

As the world turns


Fair and balanced.

Now that Fox News has abandoned their motto, their slogan, their guiding North Star that manifested itself in every story ever presented, I thought I'd pick it up and start using it.

You see, last week on Facebook I posted a rare picture of my daughter Rachel, who is now in the village of Molo somewhere in Kenya. As part of her UW (University of Washington) Public Health study abroad program, she's helping improve farming technologies, water distribution and preventive medicine to people who would otherwise not have access.

It's Tikun Olam in action.

However, as the father of two daughters I am also obliged to give some airtime to the younger sibling, Abby, who has been known to keep quite the score card.

To that end, I give you a picture of a kippah or yalmuke or for the gentiles out these, Jew Beanie, that my daughter bought for me while she was in Jerusalem.

I'm not big on Judaica.

I don't own a Passover plate handed down from generations of Siegels who smuggled it passed the marauding Cossacks.

I don't have a tallit bag that once belonged to my great, great, great grandfather, Schmuley, Hyman or Itzhak.

And the menorah we use for Chanukah came to us from the local Pick & Save.

I'm just not religious enough (at all, actually) to appoint any value to any of that stuff. Particularly in light of what an angry god has bestowed upon us: suicide bombings, mass shootings, the 405 Freeway and the reeky, villainous clotpole I like to call Precedent Shitgibbon.

But this, this is something different.

Not only because I like the way the knitted wool covers my noggin and has a warming feel to my cueball head. But because my globetrotting daughter thought enough to bring me back something from the Motherland.

In the fair and balanced spirit, she also brought my wife something beautiful from Athens.

A long, flowing silk scarf featuring authentic Greek mosaic patterns. The yarmulke did not have a label on it.

The scarf did.










Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Most interesting


Is there anything better than being right?

I don't think so. And I'm willing to knock back a case of XX beer with anyone willing to argue to the contrary. Particularly when the topic is ad campaigns and the public's taste or distaste.

Last year, almost to the day, I wrote this regarding the Dos Equis Beer ad campaign:

Just recently, the agency handling the Dos Equis account retired the Most Interesting Man in the World. I suspect some Big Data mining executives and Digital Content Strategy Innovators came to the conclusion that people who drink beer want to see a younger, hipper spokesperson. Maybe a guy with a lumberjack beard, who can dance.

They literally took the best asset the brand had and put it on a one way death rocket to Mars.


We have yet to see what they will do to replace the Most Interesting Man in the World. But I'm going to go out on a limb and predict it will be a lot less interesting.

Turned out my prediction was quite prescient. 



Not only was the new Most Interesting Man in the World less interesting than the previous Most Interesting Man in the World, the client was less interested in the Most Interesting campaign and more interested in the work of another agency that hadn't created the original Most Interesting Man in the World campaign.

Oh how I would have loved to be in the room when the planners, strategists and Big Data gurus, who suggested the colossal fuck up, had their asses handed to them for showing that grizzled old man to the curb.

"But, but, people in the focus groups wanted someone younger."

"Why does he say he doesn't always drink beer?"

"Shouldn't Stay Thirsty be Stay Quenched?"

My heart also goes out to the creative teams who gave birth to this campaign, a rare golden goose of a campaign, only to watch it get butchered at the hands of know-nothing schmucks, who frankly would be better off serving in some Congressional role (see yesterday's post.)

There is hope however. Because if I can be right on this issue perhaps one day I will come across an article that reads:

Agency abolishes open office plan and Long Table of Mediocrity™ in favor of individual offices. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

There are twatwaffles amongst us


I work with smart people.

This was confirmed on two separate occasions, on two separate gigs, just last week.

Chances are you work with smart people too. Particularly, if my analytics are correct and you toil in advertising. Or marketing. Or advertising/marketing. We can delineate the two and draw paths between the two fields and give each its own definition. That's how smart we are.

We take complex business challenges and create elaborate, multi-pronged, multilevel, multichannel solutions with their own mini-strategies, purposes and agendas. We parse out language and draw distinctions between campaigns, buckets and directions. We have the ability to shapeshift and alter the landscape for our client's products and services.

And we make banner ads.

The point is -- though I make fun of our business on a daily almost hourly basis -- our industry is chock full of smart people who possess a broad and deep wealth of knowledge and can carry on a conversation about any topic found on any random episode of Jeopardy.

From art to architecture.
From geology to gemology.
From scat to scatology, oh, we can go deep in scatology.

I hold all this in stark contrast to the twatwaffles we have been sending to Washington, DC.

Hardly a day passes when I don't read some asinine comment from one of our esteemed Congressman that makes me think, "Who dropped you on your head in the delivery room?" and "shame on your parents for force feeding you lead paint sandwiches."

These people are just plain fucking dumb.

"I'm not worried about climate change. If things get really bad, Jesus will take of it."

"Women have built in self-defense mechanisms. So they can't get pregnant if they are raped. And even if they could it's a blessing from God."

"The Earth is only 6,000 years old."

"There is no global warming. Look, look at this snowball I brought in to the Congressional hall."

It's got me scratching my hairless head.

It's as if they rounded up all the kids in high school and college who never went to class. Put them on a bus with all the lifeless Assistant Managers I ever knew working at Dennys, TGIF and Cheesecake factory. And teamed them up with the rock-headed idiots who bring vicious pit bulls to the dog park.

And said, "Congratulations gentlemen, here are the keys to the People's House. You may commence leadership."






Thursday, June 15, 2017

More AsiaDating



The AsiaDate chronicles continue, with the fourth in a series. Or maybe it's the fifth.

For a further explanation, please see the posting on previous Thursdays.

Today we meet Xiumei, don't ask me how to pronounce it.

She's kind of unique in that she is not a strong superwoman, that's the last thing I need.

She likes to cook breakfast, that's the first thing I need.

And despite her affinity for old fashion telecommunications equipment (lower right hand corner of the photo), she OWNS a Maserati dealership.

Hello.




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Welcome to Cannes 2017



King Bed Superior Sea View Suite
Intercontinental Hotel............................................................1,042.75

Room Service Orange Juice...................................................€17.50

Turn Down Service.................................................................€38.95

In Room Massage
(tip not included)....................................................................€125.00


Dinner at le Park
Red Mediterranean prawns gently cooked
sweet onion sobrassada, kumquat, coral juices......................€54.00

Chocolat au lait Surabaya.......................................................€19.00

Bottle of Chateau D'Esclans...................................................€238.75

Plate of grapes and Beaufort D'Ete cheese............................€95.50

Weekly yacht rental
The Takara (cruising speed 16kts)
Cabins for 5.............................................................................€145, 000.00


Memo explaining salary freeze and no end of year bonus............priceless

Oh and this...


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Taking requests


I'm blushing.

I'm blushing because I'm flattered. This blog has grown and grown and continues to grow. So much so that some folks are even taking me seriously. I don't know why anyone would consider my opinion worthwhile, but on occasion they do. This surprises me. But it surprises my wife even more.

The growth has been so spectacular that now I am fielding Requests.

"Hey Rich, you should do a post about the shitty bagels in the lunchroom."

"Why don't you write about the crappy parking situation?"

"Please post something about work/life balance."

It should be noted all these requests come from ad brethren toiling at the sweatshops...er, ad agencies throughout the land. Since AgencySpy shut down the anonymous comment section, I somehow have been tasked to carry the torch for the Ad Proletariat.

It should also be noted that I've touched on the Work/Life balance many, many times in the past. And don't know if I have much to add on the subject. But, I'll try. Because so much of the sturm and drang of this situation, more specifically the late nights, the lost weekends and the non-existent holidays, fall under the following.

"Your mismanagement is not my emergency."

Allow me to elaborate.

The toughest part of being a Creative Director, and this applies to all the various creative director levels (too many to count), involves scheduling. Hell, deciding which work fits the bill or answers the strategy is easy.

The real art of creative directing involves syncing up all the schedules, the internal meetings, the tissues sessions, the pre-approval meetings with the client and the final presentation.

What I did, or insisted on doing, was giving copywriters and art directors, Time. Working all the schedules backwards, accounting for weekends, setbacks and strategic changes, so that my teams rarely had to punch the clock when they'd rather be punching the bar.

Sometimes it worked.

Sometimes it didn't.

My old Chiat/Day boss (let's just call him Steve) had the whole thing down to a science and really was master of his domain. This mostly stemmed from his willingness to use the most powerful word in the English language -- No.

ACCOUNT GUY: Steve, the meeting is tomorrow at 3. Is the the team ready?

STEVE: No.

ACCOUNT GUY: What do you mean, No?

STEVE: I mean, no. The work isn't good enough yet.

ACCOUNT GUY: But tomorrow is Thursday, what do I do about the meeting?

STEVE: Cancel it.

And scene.




Monday, June 12, 2017

Good Morning, Nairobi.


What's your daughter doing on this fine summer morning?

Donning a green apron? Making her way to the local Starbucks? Ready to whip up a day's worth of five dollar Frappacella's or Ice Mochachino's for the coffee elite?

How about your son? Is he at sleepaway camp? Or maybe he got a job with a construction crew and is pounding out framing walls for a dining room extension at some McMansion in Brentwood?

Right now at this very moment, my daughter is stepping off a prop jet, held together by duct tape and used Bazooka bubble gum, in Nairobi, Kenya.

Not the fantasized version of Kenya found at Epcot center. The real Kenya. The one that's 15, 580 kilometers away.

In a few hours she'll be introduced to nyama na irio, gana and ugala, which is best described as cornmeal brought to a boil until it becomes a grainy dough that has the consistency of a heavy brick.

Moreover, she'll grow to love it. Or she'd better because she's not in Nairobi on a layover, on some stepping stone to a luxury resort in the Seychelles. No, not my daughter.

She's gonna be in Kenya for a solid three months. Studying for her Public Health program with the University of Washington.

She'll be in the city.

She'll be in villages.

She'll be wherever people with deadly contagious disease are.

I've been told there's nothing to worry about. That she is is good hands. And that she has taken all the precautions necessary for a long haul in Africa, including vaccinations for malaria, typhoid, Bubonic plague and yellow fever.

But relaxing and setting my mind at ease is just not in my nature.

So I've researched every way I can to monitor her situation. I have the US Ambassador to Kenya on speed dial. I know the quickest routes to and from East Africa. And I've linked up with my daughter on every internet-based app known to man, including Instagram, what's app, and Skype.

I tried to secure a unique handle for myself: @Anxiousdad44

But it was already taken.

Wake me when it's September.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Meet Myra



This is Myra, funny name for an Asian mail order bride.

But Myra is unlike the 347 other mail order brides I have received letters from.

She's special.

And handy.

So let's get to #4 in my continuing Thursday series of correspondence with black-eyed Asian ladies hoping to become Mrs. Siegel II.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

From Russia With Love

( I am quite busy and traveling. So I am reposting an old favorite from 2014. Seeing as former FBI director James Comes will be testifying about Russia tomorrow, I thought this was oddly appropriate.)




Last year at this time, anticipation was building for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

This was a heaven-sent birthday present to someone like me, who likes to poke fun of the Motherland.

Also as a second generation American who is from considerable Russian descent, there's nothing I like better than to have a laugh at the anti-Semitic, vodka-swilling dumbkoffs who were at one time our mortal political enemies.

Russia, like North Korea, is the photographic gift that keeps giving.

So you can imagine my orgasmic delight when just a few days ago, a Facebook friend put up a link to a collection of photos from a Russian dating site. If you're not quivering now, take a deep breath, soon you will be.

Let's start with the 200 lbs. female (in the red dress pictured above) laying next to the 300 lbs. Baltic Blue Gruper was one of my favorites. I'm pretty sure her Saturday Night Dance Card filled up quite quickly.

This came from one eager suitor:

"First, I shall take you to the smelt farm, where we will dine and take in the aroma of millions of smelt. Then, Dashka if I may call you that, we will push my 1957 Volga (needs a new carburetor) to a little club I know near the Barvika River. We will drink. We will dance. And I will get my front teeth knocked out in bar fight to protect your honor. Because that is how lovely you look to me." 

Oh God Rich, I can hear you saying through the Interwebs, please share more of these pictures.

Please.




That's not just any axe.

That's a family heirloom, passed down to her from her great, great grandfather, Grigori, a Kossack who made a name for himself pillaging schtettles and bringing home stolen booty from the huts of old Jews. Klavdiya might consider using the trusty weapon for something other than cutting flowers. Maybe to track down some feral pigs or a slow-moving moose. Eat something for god's sake.





There's an old maxim that women love a man with a sense of humor. From my single years, I know this to be true and can attest that in my youth scores of women simply threw themselves at me. Not sure men are looking for women with a sense of humor, however. Dressing up as a steer or a cow, there's some gender issues going on here, doesn't ring my horny bell. Maybe it works for drunken Russian guys, who knows? Also, what's with the flower pot on the couch?

And then there's this.




I've been married a long time, and admittedly unfamiliar with the process of Internet dating, but I am very confused about the multiple women in one picture motif. How would a potential soul mate  respond to an ad like that?

"Hello I am Petrov. I am most interested in the girl wrapped in the Persian Rug. No, not the Persian rug with the circle patterns. The Persian Rug with the star shapes. The one that is tied to the Birch tree."  

If I were a prick and wanted to see my web traffic soar tomorrow as I am sure it will today, I could promise to put up the link to SIXTY THREE more of these classic Cyrillic beauties on Wednesday's R17 post. But despite what some people say, I am not a prick.

Enjoy.

You're welcome.



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The UnAmazing Race to the Bottom


Smell that?

That's desperation. And it's so pungent it's coming through my ultra high definition 4K monitor with the 75Hz pixel refresh rate.

Last week, while trolling...er, reading the posts on linkedin, I noticed several Creative Resource Managers and/or recruiters looking for freelance copywriters.

If you've ever seen one of these postings you know it's like a dead elephant carcass on the Serengetti, attracting vultures, hyenas and all manner of advertising carnivore trying to snag a morsel. I've seen the anxious comment thread reach well into the three digits.

"Pick me."

"I'm perfect for this assignment."

"Please give me this gig. My dog is on life support. And my family has been reduced to eating Sneaker Soup and Stolen Ketchup Packet Sandwiches."

I don't play these games.

Or, if I do leave a comment it's of the snarky, I-don't-give-a-fuck variety. For several reasons. There are any number of freelance copywriters out there who are better. There are freelance copywriters who have more produced work in their book. And there are many more freelance copywriters out there who are easier to look at and make for better eye candy, male or female.

But the number one reason I don't participate in these scrounge scrums is I have my dignity.

I'm not about to beg. And certainly not for the opportunity to write the manifesto for your new kale-infused toothpaste. Or the banner ads for your new vegan cat food. Or the brand activation units for your opioid induced constipation remedy.

I still have a shred of dignity. Other colleagues, not so much.

Recently, I saw an enterprising young copywriter quoting her obscenely low day rate over the inter webs. When you consider the late nights and all the incumbent strategic changes that go with the typical assignment, it effectively puts her labor on par of the night watchman who spends his graveyard shift walking the empty hallways and trying to reach level 138 on Candy Crush.

No, thank you.

I'm wrapping up a job today. And rolling into another one tomorrow. And if it ever gets to the point where I find myself side by side with other desperate copywriters gnawing on rotting elephant meat, I'll know it's time for this 44 year old to hang up the cleats.

Besides, I hear advertising is a young man's (or woman's) game anyway.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ship of the Damned


Last week, I read that Carnival Cruise Lines had put their advertising account up for review.

This made me sea sick.

Not because of any disaster-ridden vacations gone awry. No shuffleboard accidents. No onboard food poisoning. No hurling off the starboard side. None of that. I've never been on a cruise and unless my family decides to pour my ashes out over the Pacific, have no intention of ever being on one.

But I did work on a previous review for this crown jewel account years ago.

I had been contacted by this guy in Florida who was working for one of the large agencies. He sent me an email and said he had seen my work on linkedin, no doubt through the algorithms generated by this blog.

I don't know why but we agreed to a shamefully low day rate. I figured I'm working remote. It's a cruise ship. People laughing, gambling, and eating their own body weight in crappy lasagna, how hard can it be?

Oh I was so young (44) and naive.

No sooner had the digital ink dried on the W9 and NDA, did Florida Joe start cramming my email box with "concepts" he wanted me to write up.

You know that old canard about the copywriter sliding headlines under the doorway of the art director and expecting ads to be layed out by noon? This was 180 degrees of that.

This guy managed to mine every cruise ship cliche. There were lots of portholes. Plastic water slides. And people sunbathing on the upper deck, they were all in red and blue bathing suits -- you know, branding.

My favorite "idea" that came over the transom from Tallahassee was the Fun Police.

This was to be a series of commercials that showed the Carnival Cruise Fun Police in action. They would patrol the boat and hand out tickets to people having too much fun. Or, not having enough fun. To be honest I don't remember. And why would I?

I did my best to take this force-fed turd and turn it into something, but alas I must have failed. Because this art director, and I use that term lightly, ended up stiffing me for not turning his straw into Cannes gold.

This whole ugly affair happened ten years ago. But as I mentioned in a recent blog, I don't make for a very good victim. So every once in a while I will send this clown from the clown state, a past due invoice. With daily compounded interest and the money I might have made had I invested in Uber or Snapchat, I figure he now owes me $7,381.92.

I will never collect on the money. But he will never stop hearing from me. Nor will he ever know how many times I have shared this story (and his name) with my significant network of colleagues.




Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Grong of my life



It's Thursday.

You know what that means. If you don't know what that means, I suggest you re-read the posts from last Thursday. And the Thursday before that.

It's time for another AsiaDate letter. Before we get to that you should know that it costs me $3.50 every time I respond to one of these computer-generated phishing expeditions. Moreover, when the "ladies" respond it costs me another couple of bucks to open up their letters.

To that end I've put some dough on my PayPal account and have started to dive deeper.

No one said "love is cheap."

This week's letter comes from Chengrong.





Wednesday, May 31, 2017

In search of Larry


Yesterday, I spoke about how we are living in the UnGolden Age of Car Advertising. Most of it sucks. And I don't see it improving any time soon.

Let me tell you about a better time.

I had the good fortune of coming up in the business when Rubin Postaer & Associates was hitting its stride. When every ad coming from the Brentwood headquarters was an award winner. And when every month saw a reciprocal jump in sales.

Both of which made for a very happy Honda client.

Much of the credit belongs to the incredibly talented people in the Creative Department. But even at a young impressionable age and from my lowly viewpoint in the windowless mail room, I could see the success all started with the unwavering tutelage of one Larry Postaer.

I rarely ran in to Larry during my days at the agency. He was always quietly holed up in his office. So what I knew of him came secondhand from the staff, who would tell stories.

Stories about how Larry would mercilessly kill their work.
Stories about his somewhat ruthless demeanor.
Stories about his ceaseless demand for excellence.

But the stories were always tempered with admiration. And begrudging reverence. Because these copywriters and art directors knew -- they absolutely knew -- that if and when their work cut the mustard with Larry, it would sail on through to production.

There would be no gut check with the account people. No review with the planners to make sure the "work was on strategy." And most importantly, no meddling from the junior clients, who might dare to suggest a different car color or ask a stupid question.

Client: Our target audience doesn't go to museums. Does the car have to be in a museum?

Larry: Yes.

End of discussion.

Today, many people talk about the demise of advertising and its diminishing effects and want to point the finger at media fragmentation. I would suggest otherwise.

I believe it's more in the realm of leadership fragmentation. There are too many "leaders." Too many constituents. Too many levels. Too many goddamn internal reviews.

We need fewer cooks in the kitchen.

And more chefs, like Larry Postaer.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

This will get me unhired


It should comes as no surprise, but this blog is actually nothing more than unabashed self-promotion.

And it works.

I can't tell you how many people call me out of the blue, say they've been reading RoundSeventeen and then ask if I'd be available for a gig.

Today's post is going to knock that number down by one.

Because after reading this, there's a good chance the agencies, the creative directors and maybe even the clients will say, "I don't want Siegel working on my car account."

Frankly, I don't care.

Because I look out onto the vast wasteland of car advertising and feel the need to say what needs to be said.

"WITH FEW EXCEPTIONS, IT SUCKS!"

Bland.

Inept.

Banal.

Vacuous.

Moronic.

Forgettable.

Uninteresting.

Stop me when I've hit a false note.

I don't even need to name the brands. And frankly it wouldn't matter. They're all the same. I can't tell the _______ spots from the _______ spots. Which look remarkably like the __________ campaign.

It's as if they're all reading from the same playbook. All trotting out the same formulas.

Formula 1 -- Open on shot of car coming straight at camera. Add beat-driven European house music. Intercut with impossibly-attractive models in expensive, fresh-pressed clothing. End with stupid line about Driving Loud or Drive Your Passion or We Speak Driving. Big Logo.

Formula 2 -- Slow thoughtful music. Long lingering shots of car in slow motion. Celebrity-read aspirational tripe ripped from the journals of Walt Whitman or an unused Tony Robbins motivational tape. Big Logo.

Formula 3 -- Obtuse story about obtuse people with obtuse fetishized collections. We follow two hipsters, Jeremy and Sunshine as they criss cross the country in their new _______  Crossover vehicle, finding and buying antique tubas. End on couple putting large tuba in their large cargo area. Big Logo.

I've seen it all. What I don't see amongst the billions of dollars being wasted on on such video eyewash is anything resembling persuasion. I can't remember the last time I saw a car spot and said, "oooh, I wish I had that car" or "I wish I had a car with that thing" or "I wish I knew more about that thing on that car."

Am I saying I could do better?

In this day and age when copywriters and art directors are given 24 hours to crack a brief. When they are expected to work at the Long Table of Mediocrity™. And when every goddamned original idea must get past the watchful eye of a 27 year old planner with proven consumer insight and uncanny expertise way beyond his or her years.

No, I'm not sure I could do any better.









Monday, May 29, 2017

Caught on tape


I'm a big believer in cameras.

Years ago, following an incident with a man-child neighbor that involved my lawn, rock salt and $600 worth of replacement grass, I decided to install a security system. My wife and kids thought, and still do, that I was crazy.

But like all Siegels, I do not make for a very good victim.

The cameras went in and thanks to the magic of video I have a pretty good idea who the culprit was.

Years later, the good people at Nest came out with newer, fancier security cameras that record in fabulous HD. And because they did their due diligence and confabulated the flik flaks with enhanced HTML-Java 9, DSC technology, those cameras can also record in wonderful infra-red.

Meaning my little Culver City castle enjoys round the clock surveillance.

This came in handy last week.

I was walking to my car and just to the left of my walkway I noticed a Mount St. Helen's-sized mound of dogshit. Not only was this multi-part hill of excrement huge, it was moist. You don't have to be a forensics graduate of the FBI Academy to know that it was left there not too long ago.

So I cancelled my afternoon appointment and went back in the house to go to the videotape.

There were a lot of cars passing on the streets. Lots of moms pushing their $300 Swedish-made baby strollers. And a lot of Mexican guys in vests plastering doorsteps with coupons from the local dry cleaners, pizza shops and real estate officers.

But then, there was also this...



Jackpot.

Here's the deal.

Dear skinny, cavalier lady with the little brown Siberian Husky. You'd be better start bringing plastic baggies on your dog walks and remove the massive dumps from my lawn or I will find out where you live and in the middle of the night gladly return the favor.

Oh, and I don't have a dog.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Gone Phishing



As mentioned last Thursday, I have stumbled onto a new thing. With my wife's begrudging permission, I have embarked on a digital love adventure.

I started screening free letters from AsiaDate.com. And I started replying.

You may remember years ago, I published a book -- that none of you bought -- called Tuesdays With Mantu, My Adventure With A Nigerian Con Artist. In it, I replied to those ubiquitous Nigerian Scam Emails, you know:

"I have been left $12 million dollars by my uncle Mbuto, but need your assistance getting the money out of the country."

That was then.

This is now.

I received so many positive reviews of last week's AsiaDate correspondence, I've decided to give Thursday over to a continuing series. So with no further ado, meet Jaime.



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Change is afoot


In addition to self identifying as America's crankiest Freelance Copywriter, I'm also a canary in a coal mine.

Allow me to explain.

Being out here, with no corporate safety net and wasting my days cold calling potential clients, I have excessive time and opportunity to make meaningless observations on our industry. Exhibit #1: RoundSeventeen.

Towards the end of 2007, I noticed a shift in the wind. My permalance gig at Chiat/Day had come to an unexpected close. The landline had stopped ringing. And the marketplace was gripped with fear.

By 2008, true to my prediction, we had gone into a full-on freefall.

It's ten years later, and I've got a tickle in my canary throat. Things are changing in adland. Particularly, and I'm no Nostradamus for saying this, for advertising agencies.

Two weeks ago, my partner and I were contacted by a large firm.

They had been invited to a pitch for an up-and-coming brand that had real upside potential. We worked out the logistics and the finances and then proceeded to dig in. We did taglines, brand platforms, outdoor boards and OOH, and a bevy of the obligatory brand activation units.

More importantly we did it from the comfort of my home in Culver City. In between bursts of creativity, there was the jocularity of finding fun shit on the Internet, a quick run to the store for more coffee and of course, the legendary sandwiches from Jackson Market.

More pleasantly, there weren't any daily check ins. No interruptions by planners. No gun-to-the-head deadlines. And no gawd awful "thought starters." (I've been doing this for more than 25 years. I know where good ideas come from. And where they don't come from.)

When the deck was presented it was met with laughter, enthusiasm and wild appreciation.

"These are such great ideas."

"There so much here, we don't even know where to start."

"You guys hit it out of the ballpark."

Not to sound immodest, but I've enjoyed this euphoric experience at many ad agencies in this past. Probably in direct proportion to the amount of times I've seen work go down in the flames of corporate cretinism.

But what's noteworthy here and why holding companies should be at DefCon 5, is all this didn't place at an advertising agency.

We, and I suspect this will be happening a lot more in the future, were working at the behest of a PR Firm.

Suck on that Marty.








Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Better Empower and Share


If you're like me you've noticed there's a lot of Better in the air. Not so much in our lives. Precedent Shitgibbon and his band of clueless amateurs threaten to pull the plug on civilization on a daily, almost, hourly basis. So things aren't actually Better.

But we're definitely hearing a lot more Better. And I choose to capitalize the word because there's a distinctive gestalt about it, particularly from a marketing point of view.

It's only May and I've seen campaigns for Better cars, Better laundry detergents, Better burgers, even Better butter.

It's as if planners and strategists all came out of the same focus groups and meetings and rushed to their keyboards because they had, through grit, rigor and determination, uncovered the holy grail of 2017 -- Better.

And I'm guilty party to it. If you want commercials, campaigns or brand activation units about Better, I'm your man. You better believe that.

Just as I was your man in 2016 when the collective gestalt was all about Empowering.

There were Empowering Toaster Ovens.

Empowering Toothpastes.

Empowering SUV's.

Even Empowering Mosquito Repellents.

Hell, it was pretty clear that in 2016 people felt they had lost all control over their lives and by golly this nation's makers of garden hoses, post-it notes and microwavable breakfasts were going to fix all that and Empower the people.

But before there was Better, and before there was Empowering, there was Sharing.

In 2015, we Shared so much.

Who could forget all those Shareable moments when we gathered round the Tostitos Scoopable Chips and shared A Whole Lot of Awesome™ and our favorite Tostitos Dips, including Roasted Garlic, Spinach and Salsa Con Queso.

I may not remember who was playing in the NFC Conference Championship Game that year, but the memory of being with friends and family and other Tostitos Brand Chip Lovers will be with me for a lifetime and probably one I Share on my deathbed.

Who knows what kind of thoughtfuckery planners have in store for next year.

One thing is for sure, I'll be there with my keyboard, my dark roasted coffee and my exorbitant day rate to pimp the hell out of that shit.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Congratulations, you won.



The other day somebody told me I won.

I had put up a snarky remark on one of the social media political sites. I won't bore you with which one, I make so many snarky remarks I can't remember which snark-enhanced missive had earned the victory. I only know that I won.

And not some cheap trinket that one could easily secure at a carnival midway. Nor some gaudy zirconium-encrusted belt coveted by hairless, steroid-enhanced "professional" wrestlers given to ranting and raving at MAGA crowds.

No, I had won something bigger. More substantial. Something enormous.

I won the Internet!

Naturally, I thought it was too good to be true. But I didn't hear it from just one person, I heard it from many.

"That's brilliant, you win."

"Sir, you have won the Internet today."

"ROFL, LMFAO, the Internet belongs to you today, buddy."

Pretty intoxicating.

Not only to receive the glowing praise of total strangers but to also find out that my affinity for cracking wise can result in some type of astronomical cash prize. If I won the Internet, it's gotta be worth something, right?

Not so fast, Sparky. Turns out it has as much value as an advertising executive promising a client "brand loyalty" or "this FFDKK -- Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knack™-- will engage the consumer and stimulate meaningful and fruitful brand dialogue."

And then it struck me, actually it struck my friend Paul, who had also seen that I had won the Internet, that it should mean something. This is actually a good idea for Google. What if, during the course of the day, Google randomly awarded $100 or even $1000 to a computer-curated comment deemed to have won the Internet.

It wouldn't be hard to do. Nor would it be expensive. Pffft, those people are just printing money up there in Mountain View, home of the $21 Tiny Artisanal Croissant.

Moreover, by the end of the year, Google will have compiled a Best of the Best if the Internet. That can easily be turned into...wait, what is that the kids call it these days...oh yeah, Content.

Best of all, this new brick-and-mortar prize awarding approach will increase competition. People will go out of their way to craft smart, witty, razor-sharp repartee. And it will weed out the losers. Discouraging wannabees from clogging up our interwebs with dull, facile, yawn-inducing comments and replies.

Because, as Kamau Bell put it after witnessing grown white Republicans crossing swords with their new Saudi friends, "If you can't be funny in 2017, you can't be funny."