Monday, January 22, 2018


I had an interesting conversation not long ago with my buddy Josh. He had been working as a writer/producer/consultant on MAD MEN, but left the glamorized world of fictional advertising and returned to the considerably less glamorous real world of advertising.

If you can call it that.

Josh wanted my take on what was going out there. And seeing that I was a veteran nomad, who has worked in agencies big and small, near and far, shitty and even shittier, I was pleased to oblige.

Our conversation began and ended with a conversation about Ad Like Objects.


I told him to reach for the recline button on his Herman Miller chair and sit back for this doozy.

You see, agencies don't like having work rejected. It's demoralizing. It's expensive. And it creates all kinds of frictions between agency employees, who we all know are creative and all have a hand in the development of the work. So, in order to not have work killed they have cleverly come up with a solution. They don't show work.


Yes, they have eschewed that option and instead chosen to present Ad Like Objects, which, as the name would imply, are like ads. But of course they're not. They're fuzzy, vague, superficial entities that represent a way we could go. Or not go. That all depends on the whim of the client or if the strategy has, changed is not the word they use...evolved, yes that's it...the strategy evolved.


The storyboard, the comp, the script, the mock up, I explained, are all part of the past. Replaced by the handle, the platform, the direction, and a nebulous thingie that could, or not, be something to be pursued. This results in less contentious meetings and produces the thinnest veneer of progress. Most importantly, it allows for the illusion of the ball being moved forward and for timesheets to continue to bloat exponentially.

Josh, who is exceedingly smart, particularly considering he's an art director, wrote the term on his white board for posterity's sake.

And noted quite accurately, that considering our time in the business and the muddied future of the agency model,...

"That makes us, you and I, Ad Like Objects."

1 comment:

Tonimoroni said...

The 'adcept'. I mean, what is that? Is it like 'the account man ad'?