Wednesday, April 5, 2017
I had a dream last night.
I had a dream the night before and the night before that, but I woke up and forgot those dreams. I couldn't tell you one lick what they were about. But last night's dream was quite fascinating, filled with mystery, Easter eggs and thinly-veiled commentary about the business most of us are in.
First the main character of the dream -- Alex Bogusky.
Alex, for those who don't know, is an industry icon. Responsible for culture changing work and the subsequent rise of CPB. He is a charismatic man, able to move mountains with his silver tongue and his youthful energy. In the dream Alex is as manic, as driven and as charming as he has ever been.
He wouldn't remember me, but years ago, he and I spent a weekend on a panel judging an advertising contest in NYC. I'll never forget his pronouncement, "All this work sucks, we shouldn't award any of it." Clearly he made an impression on me.
Back to the dream where I am summoned by Alex to a sprawling house in Santa Monica. Once there, I see some colleagues from many years ago -- stellar creatives who shall remain nameless.
Alex greets me. He tells his assistant to bring us some yogurt, those cool containers where you flip the granola into the flavorless yogurt. You know, the good ones with the granola nuggets and the large chunks of chewy fruit.
He gives me a tour of the shabby house. The carpet is worn out. There's no furniture. And I remember walking into a downstairs bathroom, where I found a maggot-infested raccoon carcass.
"All this is gonna change. We just signed the lease. We're just getting started."
And with that he gave me the Pitch.
He had secured VC funding as well as contracts from several major advertisers. And he was starting up an agency right here in Santa Monica. Moreover, the agency was going to be strictly old school. Driven by creatives. Void of of all the Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™. And committed to doing the kind of ground breaking work that we, a hand-selected group of veterans, wanted to do.
Even though I have taken a blood oath never to return to agency life, Alex made it sound so tempting. Plus, I was flattered. I am easily swayed when I'm flattered.
He gave me a big bear hug and told me to be there Monday morning, 9 AM sharp, to meet the first client.
As I turned towards my car, he added...
"Don't forget to wear a tie."
As dream recollections go, sometimes bits and pieces and tell-tale clues arrive way after the fact. The name of this new agency struck me. In keeping with the old school motif, Alex was going to name the agency Roberts, Louis & Stevenson.
Sounds appropriately goyish, doesn't it? The astute among you will also recognize the moniker of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, who, in addition to writing The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, also penned Treasure Island.
Treasure Island, for those looking for subconscious clues, is a swashbuckling tale of boat rocking buccaneers.
I leave you Chiat/Day alumni to draw your own conclusions.