Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not a Humblebrag

I am now sliding into my third voluntary week away from work. I am afforded this because this past year has been unusually busy. Perhaps the busiest in my dozen years as a freelancing mercenary.

I'm seeing a lot of articles lately about ageism, maybe people don't know I'm an over-ripe 44 years of age.

In any case, I'm not complaining.
Ok, I am complaining.

You see over the course of the last 12 months I've written hundreds of scripts, penned another 50 concepts for digital, laid down a bunch of manifestos and even cranked out a few banner ads. That is, I've come up with ideas for all of the above.

None of it got produced.
Not a single one.

This all became painfully apparent when, the other night at an Angels baseball game, my nephew asked me what commercials I had on the air right now. I hemmed and hawed and quickly changed the subject.

"You want another Corona?"

I don't have anything on the air. And haven't for a while. The last time I produced anything President Bush was standing on an aircraft carrier and my shares of MCI Worldcom became toilet paper.

Look, when it comes to ideas, I shit the bed as much as the next guy. Mine are just a little more expensive. Similarly, and not to sound immodest, once in every 50 at bats or so, I can hit one out of the park. In fact, on one particular assignment I'm sure my partner and I had done just that.

The specifics are unimportant. The agency, the client, the creative directors can all rest assured I'm not going to divulge any details.

But I've been around the block. A few times. I've judged shows. Picked up a few awards here and there. I've pitched and won new business. And had the great fortune to work side by side with legends in the business like Lee Clow, Steve Hayden and David Lubars.

I know a good ad when I've seen one. Or written one. This one was good. And could've been great. Not because it was mine, it wasn't. It was a true collaboration where my partner said one thing, I said another, he said something else. I ignored that. Then tweaked the 30th thing he said. And voila, the spot was born.

It was pure.
It was simple.
It was funny.
And it was based on a human truth that everyone will recognize. Or would have.

But now it's dead.

Why? Because in the assemblage of a 279-page deck, it somehow got lost in the shuffle. Passed over for some nonsense with a cool hippety-hoppity soundtrack or a buzz worthy brand engagement unit that was not buzz worthy in the least.

I don't think a client ever saw it.
I don't think the lead Creative Director ever saw it.
In its final indignity, the paper the idea was printed on never even made it to the recycle bin. It got tossed in with the trash and quickly smothered with last night's cold Pad Thai Noodle.

Want to know why 99% of the advertising on TV sucks?
It's because 99% of the great ideas never make it out the door.

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