Monday, January 2, 2017
The Deadliest Pitch
I hate to start the New Year on a negative note, but I suspect 2017, the official Chinese year of the shitgibbon, will give us plenty of negative notes so we might as well get used to it.
Besides, ever since I heard this story it has been eating me up. And considering my considerable girth that's no small task.
Turns out a woman in Japan, working for Dentsu, a giant advertising company, committed suicide when she could no longer keep up with the grueling workload.
First off, we're talking about advertising. Nothing should be grueling about advertising. Let's not forget our products are frivolous TV commercials, meaningless interweb scavenger hunts, and the occasional print and outdoor board, shiny print pieces meant to bait witless consumers into a frenzy of mindless consumerism.
We're not curing cancer. In most cases we're pimping it. With brown fizzy sugar water. Hormone injected meat tubes. And carbon burning 400 horsepower crossover vehicles.
It's just huckstering. And it doesn't merit grueling anything.
It was reported that the young woman put in 105 hours of overtime in one month. That's roughly 25 hours a week. Meaning she put in about 65 hours a week, for four weeks straight.
Sadly, this is not unheard of. Years ago, while working on a pitch, I maintained that pace for about 9 weeks.
The whole team did. And it was brutal. And nerves were frayed. To the point where one creative director, unhappy with the specifics of one highly forgettable storyboard, literally turned to the art director and in full tantrum mode, blasted...
"Frame #5 is all wrong. It's supposed to be a male dog. Where is the dick on the dog? Have this redrawn and put a damn dick on the dog."
Oh yeah, that happened. If I'm lying, I'm dying.
Of course, I'm not dying. And don't plan to off myself in the pursuit of writing the great American 15 second BOGO spot or the world's greatest Call to Action.
Because after all these years in this business, I now have something that unfortunately the overworked Dentsu employee did not.