Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Man O'Manifesto


It has now been more than 8 months since I wrote my last manifesto.

And I do believe we are entering a new era of advertising.

An era I am calling The Age of the Antifesto.

I for one couldn't be happier.
People hate the manifesto. And that's fine with me, because I hate writing them.

There was a time I was being brought in to agencies to crank out two manifestos in a week. That became three. And then the three manifestos a week quickly became three manifestos in three days. Three days quickly became one day.

And on one occasion I had a client ask me for a new manifesto in 45 minutes!

Was it any good?

Good is in the eye of the beholder.

It assumes a standard. 
A standard that…

See how easy it is to slip into that crappy pseudo-important tone of voice?

When manifestos had their heyday, back in the 90's, I had the good fortune to be working with Mark Fenske, who was, and is, a writer's writer. Mark is a naturally-built middle linebacker, standing 6'4" and weighing in at a very decent bowler's score.

As such, he manhandles words as if they were a skinny punter from the Czech Republic.

I still have some of Mark's old manifestos in my files.
And refer to them when the going gets tough.
Or steal from them when the deadline gets impossible.

In any case the pendulum is swinging back the other way.

Not every company can be like Apple. Nor should they be. Computers impact people lives. Scented candles, restaurant-style tortilla chips, online hotel aggregators, do not.

Smart CEO's who want to sell their shit are contacting ad agencies to help them sell more of their shit. And they're doing so without the aid of some hastily-written, easily-ignored corporate poetry.

Yet, weeks from now, sure as the deals that won't last forever, I will be asked to write some aspirational horse-hockey for some delusional CMO who believes his company's dohickey or whatchamacallit can rescue mankind.

Ignoring the most common of common sense.

Because the Soda Pop Pushers, Mayonnaise Makers and Fast Food Vendors who are crazy enough to  think they can change the world, are the ones who won't.


1 comment:

George Tannenbaum said...

In my experience we've undergone the following descent.

We started with Manifestos, which were big, bold tomes.

Then we switched to Minifestos. A few days work and a couple hundred words.

We finished with Minute-festos. As much crap as you can write in 60 seconds.