Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Real Internet

Last week, I returned to the Baldwin Hills overlook. It had been a while since I made it up The Hill and now that we are falling into Daylight Savings Time it appears my late afternoon 7 mile hikes will become even more infrequent.

I always go well prepared. A camelback full of water. An iPhone full of juice. And a tiny iPod full of randomly selected songs.

Occasionally, one of the songs is not a song at all. But an old radio spot that managed to find its way into my iTunes library.

One of those spots, for Earthlink popped up out of the blue. I wrote it at a time when China was still following the path of Mao Tse Tung and Russia had just awakened from its drunken experiment with Bolshevism.

I decided to bring this to your attention because there has been a lot of press lately about good clients/bad clients, good agencies/bad agencies.

When I wrote this spot, I had the good fortune of working with one of the best clients -- Claudia Caplan, who is also a good friend. Prior to the Earthlink assignment, I knew of Claudia because she had made a name for herself as one of the top copywriters in Southern California. She had won all kinds of awards and her work was featured in many of the ad annuals.

This gave me a chance to see -- and steal -- her writing style. Always sharp, always intelligent, always well-crafted.

Long story short, we hit it off right away. I'm here to tell you there is nothing better than to have a former copywriter or art director, someone who "gets it" and knows what it takes to come up with ideas, as your client.

We had a good run on Earthlink.

We did smart, funny work. Messed around with animators for some very interesting TV. Increased their subscriptions. And even won a few awards. Then, as it always does, the brass at Earthlink brought in some MBA hack from Coca Cola who quickly demanded we 'lobotomize' the campaign.

I think we all know how that story ends.

Nobody does radio anymore.

I'm still plugging away as a 44 year old freelance copywriter.

And Claudia has some big wig job in NYC. She has tried to explain to me what she does, but when I hear words like disintermediate and shifting platform development, the hair in my ears tends to bunch up and I drift off to fantasies about Derek Jeter's fiancé.

I'm not saying I wish Claudia would get fired from her job and become the next CMO at a large brewery or automaker and hire my partner and me to create the next campaign, but I'm not not saying that either.

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