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.

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