Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Friendly Fire

One of the tropes large ad agencies like to trot out to their global clients is their "vast international host of creative resources and assets."

This, along with their mastery of social media and emerging digital platforms, is simply laughable.

Served up from the same industrial-sized vat of bullshit that gave birth to the open office plan and its resultant "increased collaboration and architecturally-induced sparking of new ideas and next generation thinking."



Years ago, when I worked at Chiat/Day, my partner and I were often sent to the NY office to help out on pitches and assignments. We often flew business class. We often stayed at the SoHo Grand. And we often abused the hell out of our per diems.

"I'll have a double shot of your 18-year old single malt. And for dinner, I'd like your second most expensive steak stuffed inside your most expensive steak."

It was sweet.

But it wasn't very productive.

When we strolled into the office we were met by glares and enough territorial rage to fuel the #7 line all the way to Flushing.

The NY staffers didn't want us there. They didn't want our help. And they didn't want to hear stories about how cool it was to work alongside Lee Clow.

Now with the benefit of hindsight, I understand why.

Years later, I took a position with Y&R, where the perverted concept of inter-office collaboration was twisted beyond recognition.

When I was hired I was under the impression that we, the Irvine office, would be in charge of the Jaguar account. What I found out was, every ad, every idea, every campaign, was a jump ball. Not with other agencies. But with the Y&R office from London.

Every three months or so, a team of their whiskey-sodden wankers would pop across the pond and share with us their latest gems.

And instead of expressing their gratitude for bailing them out of World War II and saving the British Empire from a 1000-year Reich of soggy sauerkraut and secondhand schnitzel, these dentally-challenged chaps took a massive dump on all our work. And they did it in that grating British voice that clearly justified the first shots at Lexington Concord.

If memory serves I believe Ian or Nigel or Winthorpe referred to our ideas as "groaners."

Surely you think I'm exaggerating and telling this story for self-serving purposes. But thanks to Google search I was able to locate an image that will give you an idea of the kind of work generated by Y&R's "vast international host of creative resources and assets."

That's right.

The lads from London, or as I liked to call them, the Hacks from Hounslow, wanted to do an entire campaign of Jaguars painted like Jaguars.

To their credit they hadn't proposed illustrating the Jaguar face on the bonnet. You know, because they wanted to keep it classy.

Next time you hear the words global and collaboration, do yourself a favor, walk in the other direction.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Whiskey Sodden Wankers. The Roxy, '97.