Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Steam 'em and gleam 'em.

I've often said, "it's harder to do bad advertising than it is to do good." And I don't know if you've noticed lately, but there is a lot of bad advertising out there. I've been watching the NCAA basketball tournament, so I know.

There's a couple who are so averse to talking about their retirement plans they go to extreme lengths not to talk about it. The wife purposely messes up the windows. The man busts the gutter and throws his car keys over the fence. Oh the hilarity.

There's another cloying version of the McPick Two jingle.

And there's car porn. Lots of car porn. On beautiful, dimly lit urban streets. On windy mountain roads. And streaking across desert flats. All accompanied with the worst voiceover copy that seems to have been written by a brain dead committee of twelve.

I don't have anything on the air, but I'm just as guilty for polluting corporate boardrooms as anyone else. It's how I put food on my family's diner table.

Decks and Checks.

What makes bad advertising so difficult is that it starts out bad --mostly because the client has asked for something bad -- trying to cram 10 lbs. of horseshit into a bag clearly designed for only 5lbs. of horseshit.

And then it only gets worse. There are meetings. Revisions. More meetings. More horseshit.

And then, when the turd has been finely polished, it is offered up before the Media Department, the new overlords of the advertising kingdom.

"These are great, but we only bought 15 second spots. Can you make these work in 15 seconds?"

Of course we can. Because we are professionals. We see problems as opportunities. And we relish a good challenge.

I'd like a different kind of challenge.

For once I'd like a Creative Director to look over the work, turn to me and say, "Can you push it even further? Can you give it more edge? Can you increase the tension and make this thing -- could be a spot, a print piece, or even a digital idea -- more impactful? Can you do that Mr. Creative Guy?"

But, as a fellow trench-dweller, you know that's not what happens. The changes we're asked to make are of a more mundane nature.

The client doesn't like the word, tangy. Or, plus. Or, affordable.

We don't have the budget for an elephant, can it be a very large dog?

Can you say the name of the product in the first 6 seconds?

When I started writing this blog, I jokingly named it RoundSeventeen as a hat tip to the ridiculous number of changes we need to make in order to get a Skip Ad on the air or on a YouTube preroll. Seventeen seemed excessive. And properly connoted the dysfunctional nature of the creative process.

That was way back in 2009.

Today, a piece of work can go through 17 rounds of revisions before I take my noontime swim.


Stephen said...

Yes. Very yes.

Salty said...

I don't think of writing ads as a creative process anymore. It's actually more like taking a shit, so your metaphor is clearly accurate. By thinking of it that way, I can amuse myself with the reactions of people behind me in the human centipede of advertising.

"This is pretty good, but it needs more oomph!" Fine, I'll put extra hot sauce on my Gordita at lunch and excrete something for you by 5.

"There are just a few little things I don't like." I'll lay off corn for a few days.

"I don't like most of this. Can you try something like completely different?" Sure, but my bowels thrive on routine so get ready for some out-of-the-box shit.

I just made myself smile.

Anonymous said...

I recently counted 9 layers of approval for a campaign. The winner wasn't what was best, it was what was left.