Thursday, June 29, 2017

My Little Yanje

 Holy crap, it's Thursday already.

You know what that means, more adventures in

Today we meet Yanji (Angie) a serious and honest woman with a keen eye for good looking men like myself.

Yanji could be the One.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Richy Rich Rant Part 2

Yesterday I went off on Rich people.

I didn't finish my rant.

So today's post is also about rich people.

I suppose another reason why I've been obsessing about the uber-wealthy is because there was a good deal of discussion about the newest ad campaign from E-Trade.

Some colleagues thought it was ill-advised and poorly strategized. Others thought it was funny, memorable and effective. I don't often say this as a confirmed curmudgeon, but I'm in the camp of the latter.

I love this work.

I love this work because it is bold.

It is clear.

And it has a POV.

The last point being the most important because so much advertising work out there doesn't.

I can't tell the Applebees spots from the Chili's spots.

I can't distinguish between Hyatt and Hilton.

I can't figure why I should be driving a Lexus.
And not an Acura.
Or an Infiniti.

But the folks at E-Trade, more specifically their agency Mullen, smartly picked a foil -- douchey rich people who are supremely douchey.

The guy who parks his Lambo in two spots. The woman in First Class who complains the champagne is flat. The President of the United States who promises to work all the time but is on the golf course every weekend working on his short game.

These are universally hated people.

And though none of us want to be like them, we'd all like to have that kind of Fuck You money in our pockets and in our 401K accounts.

I've read the comments of the naysayers who claim the strategy is way off. Or that the inherent messaging is fuzzy and not in a good way.

And this is where I think so many Creative Directors get tied up in their own shorts. Or skirts.

Because as much as we'd like to believe in brand loyalty or higher purpose advertising, I'm with Bob Hoffman, I don't believe it exists. Consumers are not consuming our messages the way we think they are. They don't chew twice. And they're not digging into all our complex back stories. There's just not enough real estate in the average brain for all that.

The takeaway is simpler and more like an elevator pitch.

"Oh E-Trade. They're the company that can help me get rich faster."

If I were a CMO, I'd take that in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Rich Rant about the Rich

I've been thinking about rich people quite a bit these days.

Probably because the Richy Rich assnugget in the White House seems more concerned about how he and his swamp buddies can acquire more money than they could ever spend in a lifetime.

Or a dozen lifetimes.

Buried below the headlines about Russia, witness intimidation, and obstruction of justice, there are daily tales of how this craven jizzknobbin is stripping away all our protective regulations, turning his cadre of pals into international ambassadors and pimping Trump trash all over my social media feed.

Take the new healthcare bill that came out of the Senate last week.

I'm far too ignorant to dive into the weeds about the ins and outs of health insurance, I have a hard enough time figuring out how our deductibles work, but the new TrumpCare bill and the proposed tax cuts amount to a windfall for wealthy people.

Why do people who have billions of dollars need millions more?

Or even thousands more?

Last week, my wife and I boarded one of those Hornblower-type boats for a sunset cruise around Marina del Rey. It was a birthday party for a friend. And attended by the usual assortment of West LA affluentials.

Not rich, but not wanting to be richer if it comes at the expense of people getting fed, clothed and cared for.

What about the guy who owns the behemoth in the picture (See above)? Does he need a million dollar tax break? A 10 million dollar break? A 100 million dollar tax break? Why? So he can have two helicopters and one on standby if the other is in the shop?

It's fucking disgusting.

And I share the rage of Bernie Sanders. Particularly when I see disabled and terminally ill people dragged from the corridors of the US Senate because they took a stand (albeit seated) for their rights.

Look, I don't like paying taxes anymore than the next guy.

I'd rather keep that money in my pocket so I could pay off my daughter's college tuition. Or fix the rotting pergola in my back yard. Or get out of my 2007 Lexus and into a car with air conditioning that actually works and a retractable moonroof that actually retracts.

But I also like knowing there are policeman, fireman, and men and women in arms ready to defend the country. And that shit costs money. So I'm willing to pay my fair share.

What I'm not willing to do is stand by and watch poor people lose their welfare in favor of the government redistributing money in the form of a WealthFare™.

The thing that will Make America Great Again is when we stop caring about lining our pockets and start caring about our fellow citizens.

I'll get off this soapbox now.

Oh look, new soapboxes are on sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Lying Lion

For the umpteenth year in a row I did not win one of these.

Fact is, I don't even own one of these.

Not one.

You might, but I don't.

And I never will.

Oh I had a few noteworthy pieces of work that might have won, but they didn't. And I don't blame the judges.

Because the sad truth is, the judges never saw the work.

Let me peel another sour grape and explain.

It turned out that work we thought was being boxed up, laminated and sent to France to compete against the world's best advertising (a phrase that means nothing to nobody but us navel-gazers) missed its flight.

And by missed its flight, I mean executives in the top echelon of the ad agency thought our English word-heavy campaign would not play well in the international circles of cheese-eaters and rose wine drinkers.

Unbeknownst to myself and my partner, the work never made it to the cargo hold of a Boeing 767.

I might have been bitter about it then, but I'm more than thankful now.

The truth is I'm not big on festivals.

Of any kind.

I don't enjoy being in large crowds.

I don't have a body built for Capri pants.

I don't like being surrounded by second hand smoke.

I have little use for grown men in Trilby hats.

I never ate a snail and have no intention of starting.

And yachts make me yak.

Finally, to complete this little humblebrag (of sorts), even if our work did win, I'd be hard pressed to shell out $300-$400 for a gold plated metal trinket that would now be in a box with Lulus, Tellys, ANDYs, ADDY's (Regional and National), OBIEs, Webbys, Beldings, CLIOs and One Show Pencils, on a shelf somewhere in my garage.

Wedged in with all the camping equipment that reeks of bacon fat and mosquito repellent.

Mmmmm, bacon.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunshine Boy

You know the drill.

It's Thursday, my wife's favorite blogging day.

Every Thursday I post a letter from and my retort to the Asian Mail order brides seeking a Sugar Daddy here in the states.

Today is letter #5 in a series that will soon become a new book.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

As the world turns

Fair and balanced.

Now that Fox News has abandoned their motto, their slogan, their guiding North Star that manifested itself in every story ever presented, I thought I'd pick it up and start using it.

You see, last week on Facebook I posted a rare picture of my daughter Rachel, who is now in the village of Molo somewhere in Kenya. As part of her UW (University of Washington) Public Health study abroad program, she's helping improve farming technologies, water distribution and preventive medicine to people who would otherwise not have access.

It's Tikun Olam in action.

However, as the father of two daughters I am also obliged to give some airtime to the younger sibling, Abby, who has been known to keep quite the score card.

To that end, I give you a picture of a kippah or yalmuke or for the gentiles out these, Jew Beanie, that my daughter bought for me while she was in Jerusalem.

I'm not big on Judaica.

I don't own a Passover plate handed down from generations of Siegels who smuggled it passed the marauding Cossacks.

I don't have a tallit bag that once belonged to my great, great, great grandfather, Schmuley, Hyman or Itzhak.

And the menorah we use for Chanukah came to us from the local Pick & Save.

I'm just not religious enough (at all, actually) to appoint any value to any of that stuff. Particularly in light of what an angry god has bestowed upon us: suicide bombings, mass shootings, the 405 Freeway and the reeky, villainous clotpole I like to call Precedent Shitgibbon.

But this, this is something different.

Not only because I like the way the knitted wool covers my noggin and has a warming feel to my cueball head. But because my globetrotting daughter thought enough to bring me back something from the Motherland.

In the fair and balanced spirit, she also brought my wife something beautiful from Athens.

A long, flowing silk scarf featuring authentic Greek mosaic patterns. The yarmulke did not have a label on it.

The scarf did.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Most interesting

Is there anything better than being right?

I don't think so. And I'm willing to knock back a case of XX beer with anyone willing to argue to the contrary. Particularly when the topic is ad campaigns and the public's taste or distaste.

Last year, almost to the day, I wrote this regarding the Dos Equis Beer ad campaign:

Just recently, the agency handling the Dos Equis account retired the Most Interesting Man in the World. I suspect some Big Data mining executives and Digital Content Strategy Innovators came to the conclusion that people who drink beer want to see a younger, hipper spokesperson. Maybe a guy with a lumberjack beard, who can dance.

They literally took the best asset the brand had and put it on a one way death rocket to Mars.

We have yet to see what they will do to replace the Most Interesting Man in the World. But I'm going to go out on a limb and predict it will be a lot less interesting.

Turned out my prediction was quite prescient. 

Not only was the new Most Interesting Man in the World less interesting than the previous Most Interesting Man in the World, the client was less interested in the Most Interesting campaign and more interested in the work of another agency that hadn't created the original Most Interesting Man in the World campaign.

Oh how I would have loved to be in the room when the planners, strategists and Big Data gurus, who suggested the colossal fuck up, had their asses handed to them for showing that grizzled old man to the curb.

"But, but, people in the focus groups wanted someone younger."

"Why does he say he doesn't always drink beer?"

"Shouldn't Stay Thirsty be Stay Quenched?"

My heart also goes out to the creative teams who gave birth to this campaign, a rare golden goose of a campaign, only to watch it get butchered at the hands of know-nothing schmucks, who frankly would be better off serving in some Congressional role (see yesterday's post.)

There is hope however. Because if I can be right on this issue perhaps one day I will come across an article that reads:

Agency abolishes open office plan and Long Table of Mediocrity™ in favor of individual offices. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

There are twatwaffles amongst us

I work with smart people.

This was confirmed on two separate occasions, on two separate gigs, just last week.

Chances are you work with smart people too. Particularly, if my analytics are correct and you toil in advertising. Or marketing. Or advertising/marketing. We can delineate the two and draw paths between the two fields and give each its own definition. That's how smart we are.

We take complex business challenges and create elaborate, multi-pronged, multilevel, multichannel solutions with their own mini-strategies, purposes and agendas. We parse out language and draw distinctions between campaigns, buckets and directions. We have the ability to shapeshift and alter the landscape for our client's products and services.

And we make banner ads.

The point is -- though I make fun of our business on a daily almost hourly basis -- our industry is chock full of smart people who possess a broad and deep wealth of knowledge and can carry on a conversation about any topic found on any random episode of Jeopardy.

From art to architecture.
From geology to gemology.
From scat to scatology, oh, we can go deep in scatology.

I hold all this in stark contrast to the twatwaffles we have been sending to Washington, DC.

Hardly a day passes when I don't read some asinine comment from one of our esteemed Congressman that makes me think, "Who dropped you on your head in the delivery room?" and "shame on your parents for force feeding you lead paint sandwiches."

These people are just plain fucking dumb.

"I'm not worried about climate change. If things get really bad, Jesus will take of it."

"Women have built in self-defense mechanisms. So they can't get pregnant if they are raped. And even if they could it's a blessing from God."

"The Earth is only 6,000 years old."

"There is no global warming. Look, look at this snowball I brought in to the Congressional hall."

It's got me scratching my hairless head.

It's as if they rounded up all the kids in high school and college who never went to class. Put them on a bus with all the lifeless Assistant Managers I ever knew working at Dennys, TGIF and Cheesecake factory. And teamed them up with the rock-headed idiots who bring vicious pit bulls to the dog park.

And said, "Congratulations gentlemen, here are the keys to the People's House. You may commence leadership."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

More AsiaDating

The AsiaDate chronicles continue, with the fourth in a series. Or maybe it's the fifth.

For a further explanation, please see the posting on previous Thursdays.

Today we meet Xiumei, don't ask me how to pronounce it.

She's kind of unique in that she is not a strong superwoman, that's the last thing I need.

She likes to cook breakfast, that's the first thing I need.

And despite her affinity for old fashion telecommunications equipment (lower right hand corner of the photo), she OWNS a Maserati dealership.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Welcome to Cannes 2017

King Bed Superior Sea View Suite
Intercontinental Hotel............................................................1,042.75

Room Service Orange Juice...................................................€17.50

Turn Down Service.................................................................€38.95

In Room Massage
(tip not included)....................................................................€125.00

Dinner at le Park
Red Mediterranean prawns gently cooked
sweet onion sobrassada, kumquat, coral juices......................€54.00

Chocolat au lait Surabaya.......................................................€19.00

Bottle of Chateau D'Esclans...................................................€238.75

Plate of grapes and Beaufort D'Ete cheese............................€95.50

Weekly yacht rental
The Takara (cruising speed 16kts)
Cabins for 5.............................................................................€145, 000.00

Memo explaining salary freeze and no end of year bonus............priceless

Oh and this...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Taking requests

I'm blushing.

I'm blushing because I'm flattered. This blog has grown and grown and continues to grow. So much so that some folks are even taking me seriously. I don't know why anyone would consider my opinion worthwhile, but on occasion they do. This surprises me. But it surprises my wife even more.

The growth has been so spectacular that now I am fielding Requests.

"Hey Rich, you should do a post about the shitty bagels in the lunchroom."

"Why don't you write about the crappy parking situation?"

"Please post something about work/life balance."

It should be noted all these requests come from ad brethren toiling at the, ad agencies throughout the land. Since AgencySpy shut down the anonymous comment section, I somehow have been tasked to carry the torch for the Ad Proletariat.

It should also be noted that I've touched on the Work/Life balance many, many times in the past. And don't know if I have much to add on the subject. But, I'll try. Because so much of the sturm and drang of this situation, more specifically the late nights, the lost weekends and the non-existent holidays, fall under the following.

"Your mismanagement is not my emergency."

Allow me to elaborate.

The toughest part of being a Creative Director, and this applies to all the various creative director levels (too many to count), involves scheduling. Hell, deciding which work fits the bill or answers the strategy is easy.

The real art of creative directing involves syncing up all the schedules, the internal meetings, the tissues sessions, the pre-approval meetings with the client and the final presentation.

What I did, or insisted on doing, was giving copywriters and art directors, Time. Working all the schedules backwards, accounting for weekends, setbacks and strategic changes, so that my teams rarely had to punch the clock when they'd rather be punching the bar.

Sometimes it worked.

Sometimes it didn't.

My old Chiat/Day boss (let's just call him Steve) had the whole thing down to a science and really was master of his domain. This mostly stemmed from his willingness to use the most powerful word in the English language -- No.

ACCOUNT GUY: Steve, the meeting is tomorrow at 3. Is the the team ready?


ACCOUNT GUY: What do you mean, No?

STEVE: I mean, no. The work isn't good enough yet.

ACCOUNT GUY: But tomorrow is Thursday, what do I do about the meeting?

STEVE: Cancel it.

And scene.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Good Morning, Nairobi.

What's your daughter doing on this fine summer morning?

Donning a green apron? Making her way to the local Starbucks? Ready to whip up a day's worth of five dollar Frappacella's or Ice Mochachino's for the coffee elite?

How about your son? Is he at sleepaway camp? Or maybe he got a job with a construction crew and is pounding out framing walls for a dining room extension at some McMansion in Brentwood?

Right now at this very moment, my daughter is stepping off a prop jet, held together by duct tape and used Bazooka bubble gum, in Nairobi, Kenya.

Not the fantasized version of Kenya found at Epcot center. The real Kenya. The one that's 15, 580 kilometers away.

In a few hours she'll be introduced to nyama na irio, gana and ugala, which is best described as cornmeal brought to a boil until it becomes a grainy dough that has the consistency of a heavy brick.

Moreover, she'll grow to love it. Or she'd better because she's not in Nairobi on a layover, on some stepping stone to a luxury resort in the Seychelles. No, not my daughter.

She's gonna be in Kenya for a solid three months. Studying for her Public Health program with the University of Washington.

She'll be in the city.

She'll be in villages.

She'll be wherever people with deadly contagious disease are.

I've been told there's nothing to worry about. That she is is good hands. And that she has taken all the precautions necessary for a long haul in Africa, including vaccinations for malaria, typhoid, Bubonic plague and yellow fever.

But relaxing and setting my mind at ease is just not in my nature.

So I've researched every way I can to monitor her situation. I have the US Ambassador to Kenya on speed dial. I know the quickest routes to and from East Africa. And I've linked up with my daughter on every internet-based app known to man, including Instagram, what's app, and Skype.

I tried to secure a unique handle for myself: @Anxiousdad44

But it was already taken.

Wake me when it's September.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Meet Myra

This is Myra, funny name for an Asian mail order bride.

But Myra is unlike the 347 other mail order brides I have received letters from.

She's special.

And handy.

So let's get to #4 in my continuing Thursday series of correspondence with black-eyed Asian ladies hoping to become Mrs. Siegel II.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

From Russia With Love

( I am quite busy and traveling. So I am reposting an old favorite from 2014. Seeing as former FBI director James Comes will be testifying about Russia tomorrow, I thought this was oddly appropriate.)

Last year at this time, anticipation was building for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

This was a heaven-sent birthday present to someone like me, who likes to poke fun of the Motherland.

Also as a second generation American who is from considerable Russian descent, there's nothing I like better than to have a laugh at the anti-Semitic, vodka-swilling dumbkoffs who were at one time our mortal political enemies.

Russia, like North Korea, is the photographic gift that keeps giving.

So you can imagine my orgasmic delight when just a few days ago, a Facebook friend put up a link to a collection of photos from a Russian dating site. If you're not quivering now, take a deep breath, soon you will be.

Let's start with the 200 lbs. female (in the red dress pictured above) laying next to the 300 lbs. Baltic Blue Gruper was one of my favorites. I'm pretty sure her Saturday Night Dance Card filled up quite quickly.

This came from one eager suitor:

"First, I shall take you to the smelt farm, where we will dine and take in the aroma of millions of smelt. Then, Dashka if I may call you that, we will push my 1957 Volga (needs a new carburetor) to a little club I know near the Barvika River. We will drink. We will dance. And I will get my front teeth knocked out in bar fight to protect your honor. Because that is how lovely you look to me." 

Oh God Rich, I can hear you saying through the Interwebs, please share more of these pictures.


That's not just any axe.

That's a family heirloom, passed down to her from her great, great grandfather, Grigori, a Kossack who made a name for himself pillaging schtettles and bringing home stolen booty from the huts of old Jews. Klavdiya might consider using the trusty weapon for something other than cutting flowers. Maybe to track down some feral pigs or a slow-moving moose. Eat something for god's sake.

There's an old maxim that women love a man with a sense of humor. From my single years, I know this to be true and can attest that in my youth scores of women simply threw themselves at me. Not sure men are looking for women with a sense of humor, however. Dressing up as a steer or a cow, there's some gender issues going on here, doesn't ring my horny bell. Maybe it works for drunken Russian guys, who knows? Also, what's with the flower pot on the couch?

And then there's this.

I've been married a long time, and admittedly unfamiliar with the process of Internet dating, but I am very confused about the multiple women in one picture motif. How would a potential soul mate  respond to an ad like that?

"Hello I am Petrov. I am most interested in the girl wrapped in the Persian Rug. No, not the Persian rug with the circle patterns. The Persian Rug with the star shapes. The one that is tied to the Birch tree."  

If I were a prick and wanted to see my web traffic soar tomorrow as I am sure it will today, I could promise to put up the link to SIXTY THREE more of these classic Cyrillic beauties on Wednesday's R17 post. But despite what some people say, I am not a prick.


You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The UnAmazing Race to the Bottom

Smell that?

That's desperation. And it's so pungent it's coming through my ultra high definition 4K monitor with the 75Hz pixel refresh rate.

Last week, while, reading the posts on linkedin, I noticed several Creative Resource Managers and/or recruiters looking for freelance copywriters.

If you've ever seen one of these postings you know it's like a dead elephant carcass on the Serengetti, attracting vultures, hyenas and all manner of advertising carnivore trying to snag a morsel. I've seen the anxious comment thread reach well into the three digits.

"Pick me."

"I'm perfect for this assignment."

"Please give me this gig. My dog is on life support. And my family has been reduced to eating Sneaker Soup and Stolen Ketchup Packet Sandwiches."

I don't play these games.

Or, if I do leave a comment it's of the snarky, I-don't-give-a-fuck variety. For several reasons. There are any number of freelance copywriters out there who are better. There are freelance copywriters who have more produced work in their book. And there are many more freelance copywriters out there who are easier to look at and make for better eye candy, male or female.

But the number one reason I don't participate in these scrounge scrums is I have my dignity.

I'm not about to beg. And certainly not for the opportunity to write the manifesto for your new kale-infused toothpaste. Or the banner ads for your new vegan cat food. Or the brand activation units for your opioid induced constipation remedy.

I still have a shred of dignity. Other colleagues, not so much.

Recently, I saw an enterprising young copywriter quoting her obscenely low day rate over the inter webs. When you consider the late nights and all the incumbent strategic changes that go with the typical assignment, it effectively puts her labor on par of the night watchman who spends his graveyard shift walking the empty hallways and trying to reach level 138 on Candy Crush.

No, thank you.

I'm wrapping up a job today. And rolling into another one tomorrow. And if it ever gets to the point where I find myself side by side with other desperate copywriters gnawing on rotting elephant meat, I'll know it's time for this 44 year old to hang up the cleats.

Besides, I hear advertising is a young man's (or woman's) game anyway.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Ship of the Damned

Last week, I read that Carnival Cruise Lines had put their advertising account up for review.

This made me sea sick.

Not because of any disaster-ridden vacations gone awry. No shuffleboard accidents. No onboard food poisoning. No hurling off the starboard side. None of that. I've never been on a cruise and unless my family decides to pour my ashes out over the Pacific, have no intention of ever being on one.

But I did work on a previous review for this crown jewel account years ago.

I had been contacted by this guy in Florida who was working for one of the large agencies. He sent me an email and said he had seen my work on linkedin, no doubt through the algorithms generated by this blog.

I don't know why but we agreed to a shamefully low day rate. I figured I'm working remote. It's a cruise ship. People laughing, gambling, and eating their own body weight in crappy lasagna, how hard can it be?

Oh I was so young (44) and naive.

No sooner had the digital ink dried on the W9 and NDA, did Florida Joe start cramming my email box with "concepts" he wanted me to write up.

You know that old canard about the copywriter sliding headlines under the doorway of the art director and expecting ads to be layed out by noon? This was 180 degrees of that.

This guy managed to mine every cruise ship cliche. There were lots of portholes. Plastic water slides. And people sunbathing on the upper deck, they were all in red and blue bathing suits -- you know, branding.

My favorite "idea" that came over the transom from Tallahassee was the Fun Police.

This was to be a series of commercials that showed the Carnival Cruise Fun Police in action. They would patrol the boat and hand out tickets to people having too much fun. Or, not having enough fun. To be honest I don't remember. And why would I?

I did my best to take this force-fed turd and turn it into something, but alas I must have failed. Because this art director, and I use that term lightly, ended up stiffing me for not turning his straw into Cannes gold.

This whole ugly affair happened ten years ago. But as I mentioned in a recent blog, I don't make for a very good victim. So every once in a while I will send this clown from the clown state, a past due invoice. With daily compounded interest and the money I might have made had I invested in Uber or Snapchat, I figure he now owes me $7,381.92.

I will never collect on the money. But he will never stop hearing from me. Nor will he ever know how many times I have shared this story (and his name) with my significant network of colleagues.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Grong of my life

It's Thursday.

You know what that means. If you don't know what that means, I suggest you re-read the posts from last Thursday. And the Thursday before that.

It's time for another AsiaDate letter. Before we get to that you should know that it costs me $3.50 every time I respond to one of these computer-generated phishing expeditions. Moreover, when the "ladies" respond it costs me another couple of bucks to open up their letters.

To that end I've put some dough on my PayPal account and have started to dive deeper.

No one said "love is cheap."

This week's letter comes from Chengrong.