Monday, August 13, 2012
The Write Stuff
Lately, I have been back on the agency circuit, popping in and out of various ad agencies, large and small.
Or in the parlance of prostitutes, I've been 'doing the ho stroll.' The comparison is not all that labored. After all, I'm willing to pimp out my ideas to any needy agency with a brief in one hand and an over sized check in the other.
And since I've been visiting these various agencies (five if I've counted correctly) I've noticed a tidal wave of change in the Creative Department.
They're all kids!
Mind you, I've always been aware that the Creative Department was getting younger and younger as the hair gathering at the bottom of my shower drain was getting thicker and thicker. And I understand the need to bring in fresh faces who are much more in touch with pop culture than I could ever be. But I always believed that pool of youth needed to be balanced with an equal distribution of seasoned writers and art directors who knew a little something about craft.
Apparently, I was wrong.
With my own daughters away at Jew Camp, I've enjoyed an extra dose of free time. So, being envious of their youth and curious about their credentials, I did a little digging. And I checked out this new confident crop of creatives, who are more than eager to boast about their achievements via social media.
Holy Diaper Change, Batman!
Most of these youngsters, who now call themselves professional writers or art directors, weren't even in the ad business three years ago.
They were folding shirts at The Gap or playing field hockey for their college intra-mural team. Now they're stewarding global brands and bringing their formidable life experience to bear down on complex billion dollar marketing challenges.
It's as if someone in Accounting or HR said, "I like the way that new intern never leaves the coffee pot empty and always brews a fresh batch, let's make him (or her) a Creative Director."
I know this little rant is inviting a certain predictable response along the lines of, "Shut up old man" or "Shut up very old man". But the truth is, I'm just making an observation, I'm not complaining at all. And I'm not commenting on their work. Because the other truth is, some of them, not all, are actually talented.
But if you were to check the linkedin profiles of these kids, particularly the copywriters, who in effect are my competition, you'd see what I saw: links that don't work, ghastly grammar, and sloppy portfolios and resumes peppered with typos. Did I say peppered? I meant smothered.
You'd also see what I didn't see: writing.
Nothing in the way of great headlines. Or long body copy. Or evidence of a passion for the written word.
But like I said, I'm not complaining. Because when an agency is staffed by writers who don't write, there is often a time when they need one who does.