Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Come on get happy
Lately, I've been seeing a string of comments on social media as well as a rash of fully blown articles regarding the current state of happiness in the advertising business.
I'm sure you've seen them as well.
In essence, they argue that since we do not toil in the fields, or manufacture flanges, or change diapers on incontinent seniors, or drive 18 wheelers across the fiery hot plains of Kansas, we should all thank our lucky stars and kiss the brief-making gods who have deigned us worthy of creating banner ads and highly skippable Youtube prerolls.
After all, we, the blessed, get to roll into work in our cargo shorts and flip flops.
We can stop what we're doing and play ping pong or foosball on the company-provided amusement machines.
We can eat swag bagels and bialys left on the kitchen counter by overly cheerful media reps hawking their flimsy, unverifiable wares.
Did you know there are starving children in China who don't get swag bialys?
We are in the creative business.
And damnit we ought to stop our bitching and griping.
I have no reason, other than my close-to 1500 blogs posts, to believe these Polly Pollyanna's are directing their vilification at me, but I do. So let me offer a counter-counter perspective on the matter.
First, as a matter of credentials, in my 44 years on this earth I've worked some monumentally shitty jobs.
I delivered newspapers through the sleet, snow and humidity of upstate New York. I've been a landscaper. A fry cook. An Accounts Payable clerk. A forklift driver. One summer, I worked in the kitchen of a hospital and using nothing but my hands, a year's worth of Brillo Pads, and scalding hot water, scrubbed shoulder-high pots clean. I've been a bartender, a waiter and a mailroom clerk. And when I was moonlighting, did ALL three simultaneously.
As such, I have every right to moan about the sad state of affairs in what should be our gleeful adventures in the Creative Field.
And therein lies the fault of so many of these happiness peddlers -- the supposition that we still work in a Creative Industry.
This puts the straw in the straw man argument.
I don't know if you've been inside an advertising agency lately, I have. In the past 12 years I've stepped inside close to a hundred. And I'll tell you without hesitation, there is little Joy in Mudville.
With rare exception, we're not Creatives anymore.
We're imaginative strategy regurgitaters.
We're planner pleasers.
We're manifesto makers.
We're 24-hour brand turnaraound specialists.
We're the crafters of Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™.
We work at the behest of marketing careerists who leverage whatever talent we might possess to further their ascension up the corporate ladder.
Know what would make me happy, Polly?
The return of Creativity to the Creative Department.