Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Grumpy McGrumpster

I'm not sure what this picture has to do with the today's topic but I stumbled across it when I Googled images for "Creative Director" so I am sure I'll find some kind of stretched metaphor at the end to tie it all together.

But today I'd like to talk about Creative Directors or at least the twentysomething year old kids who so liberally flaunt that title.

Have you seen an ad agency org. chart these days? In addition to Creative Directors, there are Group Creative Directors, Executive Creative Directors, and Chief Creative Officers. And then there's the digital folks who have their own twisted nomenclature.

The bureaucracy is so thick, Madison Avenue has become K Street (the search engine is in the upper right hand corner of your browser.)

In my day (and yes I'm very aware of how dated that makes me sound, but I don't give a rat's ass because the casual sprinkling of obscenities makes me appear fucking younger) titles meant something because they were earned.

It took me 15 years to work my way up from Mailroom Clerk to Media Estimator to Junior Copywriter to Recruitment Copywriter to Copywriter to Senior Copywriter to Associate Creative Director to Creative Director. Yes, I worked hard. But I also got incredibly lucky. My most visible, well-known campaign almost died at 2 AM the night before the presentation. And even after 15 years, I still had no clue how to manage a creative department. In fact, I sucked.

Now I see kids graduating from VCU or Miami on a Monday, get a job on Tuesday, produce a crappy banner ad on Thursday and demand a promotion on Friday. That may be a bit hyperbolic but it's not that far off the mark. If you were to pump me full of Noah's Mill bourbon I might even name names. Or at least slur them.

But it's a Saturday morning and my better angels have the last word on this matter. Of course you could do your own litmus test. Next time you're at a party or some awards show and you run into some millennial who fancies himself or herself a Creative Director, ask them what famous work they've done. When you hear the crickets, that's your cue to excuse yourself for another Gin Rickey.

Now I've boxed myself into a corner with no smooth transition to a snappy ending that explains the Hitler/Chaplin visual.

Awww shitsticks!


geo said...


Hopefully you can see the link above. Cover art from Criterion's re-release of "The Great Dictator."

Your point about title inflation also pertains to agencies. You hear about a "hot" place. Most often, when you examine their work, you see they've done very little. Somehow they got press and gave the impression of cool.

Jeff said...

You know how many VP's it takes to screw in a light bulb? I'll tell you after I announce these new promotions. Titles, like tattoos, used to mean something. They had to be earned. But when you can get one after working only a week at an agency, and the other at the mall, the currency is definitely cheapened. I was just talking about this with my ACD. Or was it my CD? Maybe it was the CCO? The GCD? Ah, I remember. It was the VP of Maintenance Engineering.

glasgowdick said...

Currency is the operative phrase Jeff. Agencies hand out titles so they don't have to hand out cash. The $100 Christmas bonus I got while I was a Mailroom Clerk was the biggest xmas bonus I EVER got.

Oh wait, once an agency supplied sardines to the Save the Dolphins Cause and made the donation in my name.

I'm still touched by that gesture.