Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I'd like to teach the world to ...


Last week I saw an ad.

If the folks at Big Data are correct, last week I saw 9,837 ads. This one caught my attention. Mostly because it's a return to Old School Advertising.

It's based on a human truth. An insightful acknowledgement of how people experience Coca Cola.

It doesn't spoon-feed. It doesn't lay everything out there as if it were a catalog. In fact, it hinges on something that isn't there. It trusts the consumer will put the pieces of the puzzle together.

And it targets everybody. Well, everybody who has ever enjoyed a ridged bottle of Coca Cola the old fashioned way, ripped from an oversized red cooler box and still dripping from the frigid waters.

This ad so effectively stirs the emotions it makes me want to pop the cap off of an icy Coke and set it beside my breakfast bowl of unsweetened steel-cut oatmeal.

The irony of all this is that I didn't see this ad, or the other two in the campaign, on a billboard. Or the back page of magazine. I saw it on LinkedIn. In a post about advertising.

If that doesn't sum up the sorry state of our industry, I don't know what does.

Instead of doing big, bold, intelligent advertising, we're "creating content." Useless blather that doesn't get read, doesn't get used, doesn't make an impact and doesn't make a donkey dick dent in the universe.

Instead of making magnificent mass communications, we're micro-targeting. Even micro-microtargeting.

"This next campaign is aimed at half African-American/half Asian American women, aged 27 & 1/2 to 28 & 1/4, who work in the architectural field, drive underpowered crossover SUVs, work out 3 times a week and self identify as non-religious, but spiritual."

And instead of finding and creating new ways to tease, cajole and persuade the public, the way Coca Cola has masterfully done, American marketers have sliced their budgets in half, slashed agency fees,  undermined the AOR model, embraced banality and made a mockery of modern marketing with the ridiculous reductive philosophy of....

"Let's just put something up on Instagram."



Monday, April 29, 2019

A different platform


I hear ideas.

I'm not talking about the occasional flashes of marketing brilliance that will catapult my client Harry's House of Catheters into the stratosphere, I'm talking about real world ideas.

Maybe you've heard them too?

Free healthcare for all!

Oh great, after I've spent the better part of my 44 year old lifetime shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars for insurance I never used, now some clown wants to make it free?

I probably shouldn't be saying this as it I might be tempting the gods, but I've never spent an entire night in a hospital. Ok, there was that one time my wife was giving birth. But typical of my luck, she got the bed (and the epidural) and I had to sleep on a slippery reclining faux leather chair that didn't fully recline.

What about free college for all!

That seems to be the soup de jour. Of course it raises its seductive head only weeks after I make the final tuition payment on my youngest daughter's expensive out of state college edumecation.

I swear the day after they lower me into the ground or spread my abundant ashes in the Upper Grey's Meadow campground, doctors will announce a new prostate cancer test that will eliminate the need for a 'momentary exploration of my Lincoln Tunnel.'

It wouldn't be right of me to be spending so much time complaining about the state of the world without offering up some ideas of my own. They may not be the most unique ideas, I'm looking at you biodegradable straws, but what they lack in originality they make up for in pragmatism.

SERVICE -- I don't want to wade into Israeli politics, but you have to admit when it comes to national spirit these guys know what they're doing. Every Israeli kid, the minute they turn 18, has to serve in the military. We should steal a page from their playbook.

I'm not suggesting we re-instate the draft. I'm saying every 18 year old kid has to give back to the country that has given them so much. They can be in the Forestry Service, the Coast Guard, or even the local sanitation department. Not only will this free labor go a long way to easing some of our national problems it will smack that entitled smirk off so many millennial/Gen Z faces.

TRAVEL -- Another thing the Israelis do right is engender the notion of pride. With the Birthright program my daughters both hopped on a plane and spent a collective month in Israel and its neighboring countries. They will both tell you it was an eye opening experience.

American kids, particularly the ones sporting the red golf caps, are insolent in their self imposed isolation. They don't know how the world works, nor it seems are they interested.

"Murica, Fuck Yeah" 

We could put a dent in this willful ignorance. What if countries like Ireland, Germany, Italy, Ethiopia, China, India, Norway, etc., all offered their own version of a Birthright program.

Moreover, what if they partnered with Ancestry.com and showed every 18 year old kid reaching for a tiki torch or a white hood, that before there was America First, there was first your grandparents and great grandparents washing their clothes on rocks and struggling to make ends meet in countries you can't even spell.

And finally...

DOGS -- I love dogs. I love my dog. Your dog, maybe not so much. Particularly if it insists on barking all the goddamn time.

If there's one thing this world needs -- and I know because I have tried every device known to man -- it's an effective repellent that can be operated with a single push of a button or even an app on my iPhone that will make a loudmouth, barking dog who doesn't understand that people are sleeping off 1/2 bottle of Knob Creek bourbon at 6 in the morning, to shut the fuck UP!!!








Thursday, April 25, 2019

Tale of Two Cities


O-HI-O.

There's a lot pride emanating from the great state of Ohio. But as you'll soon see, none of it comes from its junior Senator Rob Portman, a man of little, no less than a little, less than less than little, a man of no fucking integrity whatsoever.

In other words, another GOP Senator.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


4.25.19

Senator Rob Portman
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Portman,

I may be a Wheel of Fortune Whiz Kid in a room full of Jeopardy Tournament Champions, but when it comes to smarts, you sir give Louie Gohmert and Devin Nunes a run for the money.

I'll get to my point as soon as I explain that you are letter #52 in a series of hand written missives to GOP Senators I started a year ago. I am certainly glad I waited until this week to address the junior senator from Ohio. Because this week you took a rightful seat next to other dim bulb luminaries in the halls of Congress.

Of course, I am referring to Precedent Shitgibbon's latest nomination to the Federal Reserve Board, the esteemed economist and CNN panel punching bag Steven Moore. A man so clueless and lacking in diplomacy that he once said...

"You want to live in Chicago. You don't want to live in Cincinnati or Cleveland or these armpits of America like that."

Like I said, I may be a few peas short of a casserole, but to my fuzzy recollection, those two cities are in your state of Ohio.

"Midwest Armpit Cities for a thousand, Alex."

You would think those would be fighting words, wouldn't you Rob?

I'll bet if some assclown called Trenton the hairy asshole of North America, Chris Christie would be bounding from his beach chaise lounge, douse the offender with tangy BBQ sauce and gobble that poor bastard up as a pre-meal appetizer.

But you?
You said nothing.
Not one word.
Where's your home state pride?   

In fact when a reporter pressed you on the issue, you handed it off to one of your spokes-pieholes, who muttered, "Moore's statement isn't great."

Want to hear some more not-so-great statements from Mr. Moore? Today's NY Times has a bevy of them. Like this gem...

"There's a new oppressed minority on college campuses these days and it is not women, blacks, Latinos or gays....No, the group that has fallen into great disfavor is the white male."

Yes, because soon white males will not be 95% of the CEO of America's Fortune 500. Soon that number will drop to a perilous 94%. Think of the devastating effect that will have on our country clubs, private jet and yacht manufacturers!

Want more Moore?

With regards to women and basketball, "Here's the rule change I propose: No more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer vendors, no women anything. There is, of course, an exception to the rule. Women are permitted to participate, if and only if, they look like Bonnie Bernstein."

I took the liberty of Googling Ms. Bernstein and can safely say she would have nothing to do with a man who apparently shops for suits at the local Goodwill store.

Finally, one more from Mr. Bore.

"No one seems to care much that co-ed sports is doing irreparable harm to the psyche of America's little boys."

In this respect he may correct, as evidenced by Steven Moore and the entire tribe of Trump troglodytes, it appears America's little boys never grow out of being America's little boys.

And so, being the little spineless toady you are, there's a 93.8% chance none of this will have any effect on you and, like you have in the past, will vote along the lines of your bully president. You wouldn't want him tweeting something mean about you. Or your state's armpit cities.

In short, Rob, you're going to approve Moore to the Federal Reserve Board.

Which impossibly, leaves me thinking even less of you.

Best regards,

Rich Siegel
siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City, CA 90232






Wednesday, April 24, 2019

We're going to Shakey's


It sure was fun, while it lasted.

Holy shit, it's lasted close to six months. I've been stringing Brother Michael John along for almost half a year. taunting him, mocking him and enticing him with the promise of a big pay day.

If you recall, three weeks ago we had gone from him recruiting me to join the Illuminati to his most recent generous offer to track down my wife Vajayjay Hertz, who had run off to Nigeria to marry Mantu Abraham.

Both, by the way, are characters I had created and given email accounts to, in order to yank Michael's chain.


Brother Michael seems unperturbed by the recent events and assures me his private detective can still track her down. he just needs the $1200.


So now it's time to up the ante. And provide more "evidence' of the existence of Mantu and Vajayjay.


Michael is getting impatient. I would be too, after 6 months.


I can delay him no longer. It's time to pony up the money.


There is a hitch. Really?


Of course I seize every opportunity to have another bite at the apple.


Mmmm, mojo potatoes.


Parting is such sweet sorrow.



I can't imagine what is going through Michael John's head right now, but I do know that $1200 USD are not padding his wallet as he once imagined.

The scammer has been successfully turned into the scammee.

Now what do I do with my free time?




Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Rock and Roll Will Never Die


Rockin' Through Troubled Waters was just released by Don Jung.

The author just so happens to be "The CPA to the Advertising Stars." (at least in Los Angeles)

I'm not sure Don ever called himself that, but those of us who couldn't tell the difference between an earned tax credit and a long term depreciating asset, sure do.

You can imagine how thrilled I was when -- about 15 years ago -- the man who worked his accounting magic for industry luminaries agreed to help me find every legitimate deductible expense sanctioned by the IRS.

"You work out of your home, so any supplies you buy for your office are fair game. Did you buy pencils for example? If you're gonna have pencils, you're gonna need a pencil box, someplace to keep those pencils, right? And pencils don't sharpen themselves, do they?" 

The man is an income-deducting genius.

Well, you can also imagine my hesitation, when not long ago, Don asked me for some advice. He had written a book. It was memoir about his life as a young man and his dealings with many of the bands that have come to define rock and roll, including: the Doors, the Eagles, Jefferson Airplane, the Grateful Dead and Jimi Hendrix. And because I had published three books, he wanted me to read his manuscript and offer any advice.

Oh great, I thought, people are just dying to hear how you got a $138 tax refund for Jim Morrison's leather pants in 1967.

Naturally, I agreed.

And naturally, I was off base.

Way off base, like Bill Barr on the Mueller Report off base.

You see, in his youth, before he was seduced by the titillating allure of capital expenditures and the moleskin covered books of the tax code, Don worked as lighting and sound technician. And found himself at all the fabled venues of Sunset Blvd.

In other words, Don was there.

In the green rooms, on the stages, at the forefront of a revolution that still ripples through our pop culture. As if that weren't enough, it was the 1960's and 1970's, man. War, assassinations, sex, drugs and of course, rock and roll.

There are pictures. There are anecdotes. And there are priceless peeks behind the curtain that will change the way you look at rock's greatest legends.

Whatever expectations I had before opening the book were shattered by the time I turned the last page. It's an easy, fascinating and personal read that manages to hurl the reader back in time and offers a front row seat to a show that will live on in the memory for a long, long time.

Through it all I learned an important lesson:

Never judge a book by its author.




Monday, April 22, 2019

I Know Nothing


On that very cold January 12th day when I walked into my first day of work as a Mailroom Clerk at Needham Harper & Steers, it was clear that with regards to advertising, I could safely say, "I know nothing."

I had no idea there were separate departments.
I had no idea how an agency operated.
I had no idea that agencies work at the behest of clients.
I had no idea how ads got made.
I has no idea I had no idea.

Despite having a freshly minted sheepskin from Syracuse University, if asked a question, my only response would be, "I know nothing."

Today, some _____ years later, including several stints at Chiat Day, time served at BBDO, Bozell, Y&R, Saatchi & Saatchi, and 15 years of toiling in the trenches as a freelancer at every dayrate-annualizing, time-seizing, soul-pulverizing ad agency across the land, I have come full circle.

I know nothing.

You'd think with that wealth of experience I would be well schooled in the precepts of modern marketing.

You'd think that since I studied and apprenticed with the industry's best, including Lee Clow, Steve Hayden, David Lubars and John Doyle, I would be a fount of marketing sagacity.

You'd think after hunting, securing and stockpiling two milk crates worth of certificates, cheap metal trinkets and dog-eared press clippings -- now gathering dust and dead mosquito carcasses in my garage -- I would be primed to hit the public speaking circuit and share my accumulated and lauded wisdom with today's advertising up and comers.

But the truth is:

I know nothing.

The engines that once drove advertising, insight, charm, persuasion and simplicity, have been replaced by data, more data, micro-targeting, Linkedfluencers and something called,  "content marketing."

I had to ask my wife, who used to sell space for Harvard Business Review, to define "content marketing." Why? because...

I know nothing.

She fumbled for a bit, because apparently she knows nothing, too. So I Googled the term. I was directed to several videos by an unshaven, hyper-hustling billionaire who didn't make much sense. But ended with the thought that 'quantity is more important than quality.'

I know nothing. 

Even the process of making advertising has become a mystery to me. What was once important isn't any longer.

Creative people used to be given time to stew and think and experiment. Now, a brief is given at 9 AM and ground breaking results are expected by noon.

Creative people used to be given solitude and space (aka offices) in order to practice their craft. Now they're given 3 square feet at the Long Table of Mediocrity™. And forced to purchase their own noise-cancelling headphones.

Creative people used to leverage their creativity and help clients make big, bold memorable statements on the largest stages available to mankind. Now we tinker with Frivolous Fuckwadian Digital Knick Knacks™, and proudly post them on a remote corner of the internet that no one will see, click or care about.

I know nothing.

Here's what I do know -- and I don't think it's ever going to change -- as a focus group of one, a jaded 44 year old who has some disposable income and consumes a fair amount of media in print, on TV and on the internet in all its various platforms:

If it's not interesting, I'm not interested.


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Lay Down Sally


According to my flimsy math, this is the 50th letter in my yearlong Thursday Thrashing series. Only three more to go.

This is Martha McSally. She represents the great state....er...of Arizona. She wasn't elected by the people. She was chosen to replace Jon Kyl who was chosen to replace John McCain.

And while at first she might appear to be a true patriot, appearances can be deceptive.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.18.19

Senator Martha McSally
B40D Dirksen Senate Office Building 
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Senator McSally,

Let me start this letter with a thank you for your service. 

I have to imagine that people like you, who have served in our military, might be jaded by that. On the other hand, I have never met anyone who does not appreciate appreciation. And I believe your 22 years in the Air Force deserves recognition.

Furthermore, you have my respect for not only for standing down our enemies, but also for standing up for what's right. 

You went up against the Department of Defense and in a landmark case, McSally v. Rumsfeld (I like the sound of Anything v. Rumsfeld) struck a blow for women's rights, particularly those who were being asked to subjugate themselves while serving in places like Saudi Arabia -- home of Bone Saw Diplomacy.

As if all that weren't enough, you've always shone a disinfecting light of attention on the issue of sexual harassment. As the father of two daughters, I applaud your efforts. 

You make Arizona proud.

All of which begs the question, how can someone as principled as you, turn a blind eye and a silent mouth to what we see transpiring with the current administration?

How is it, for instance, you have nothing to say about Robert Kraft -- a friend and patron of your president -- who was recently caught up in a sex trafficking scandal while at a rub 'n tug palace once owned by Mara Lago member, Cindy Yang, aka Grandma Handjob?

What say you on the matter of Jeffrey Epstein -- another friend of Precedent Shitgibbon -- who was convicted of assaulting and raping 40 underage girls? And what about the sweetheart prison deal he received from former US attorney Alex Acosta, who now sits in the White House Cabinet as our current Secretary of Labor? 

If you had any balls, you'd be knocking down Acosta's door and dragging his sorry pencilneck ass out to the street.

And finally, only because it's the most recent example of the fascism that has come to America, there is Herr Trump's ban on transgender soldiers. 

One day 13,000 soldiers serving in the US military are fit for service. On the front lines. In faraway places. Ready and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country -- you know, the one that celebrates Equality.

And the next day, because some hamberder-eating clown makes an oversized autograph on a green binder, those dedicated warriors are unfit for service?

Did they suddenly lose the ability to shoot straight? 

Did they suddenly forget how to fly a plane?

Did they suddenly draw a blank on the intricacies of command and control communications operations?

No. 

They simply became unfit because some porn-star banging, truth-mauling, condo-shilling, lard-ass con man woke up one day and said they were unfit. 

And you did NOTHING.

That's the thing about principles, McSally. If you have them, they don't show up in spurts like new the next season of Game of Thrones or Better Call Saul

They're there 24/7/365.

Where are your principles, Martha?
Are they on hiatus?

Best regards,


Rich Siegel
siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City, CA 90232


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

The Illuminati Chronicles --Chapter 2, The Private Detective


Just a little recap.

A week ago I tried to end my correspondence with Illuminati Recruiter/Scammer Michael John by telling him my wife Vajayjay Hertz (I laugh every time I write that) had left me and run off with a Nigerian man, Mantu Abraham.

Unwilling to let go, my scammer offered to get my wife back to me by hiring a private detective. That turn in the story was too good to ignore.


Of course he has important Illuminati affairs to tend to, so I can't put the whole burden on him and offer my own brand of assistance.



He assures me my efforts are unnecessary.
The payment however is necessary.



No so fast buddy, I'd like to know a little bit more about the private detective we're getting.



His focus on my money however remains laser-like, despite the non-sensical haberdashery.


And so it's time to throw another curveball at him. Vajayjay is on the move.


And that's where we are at. 

Will the schmatta factory in Gabon succeed?

Will $1200 be enough to cover the costs of the private detective?

Will the scammer ever realize he has been turned into the scammee?

Tune in next week.




Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Money, money, money


There are a lot of rising new stars in the Democratic party. While the press seems to focus on a few, who have a nose for the camera, my money is on this one - Katie Porter.

Harvard Law School graduate and professor, she is the first democratic woman to be elected in California's 45th district. A notoriously conservative district that is home to the Red Hat Brigade and every fast food restaurant chain known to mankind.

Last week, Ms. Porter took Jamie Dimon, the slimy CEO of JP Morgan to Bone Town. Dimon, who should have been thrown in jail for the 2008 recession he and his cashmere wallet bankers foisted upon us, is one unctuous motherfucker.

With TV cameras rolling, Ms. Porter brought up the case of an entry level worker at the JP Morgan bank. That worker is paid a paltry $16.50 an hour. I seem to remember a time when Fortune 500 workers were paid salaries and didn't have to punch a clock. Then again, at 44, I'm old.

That entry level worker's salary works out to $35, 070 a year. Not a lot to live on. Particularly after food, rent, car, health, utilities, child care and one ply toilet paper. In fact, that worker finds herself $567 in the hole every month because of the shortcomings.

Ms. Porter calmly asked Mr. Dimon if had any solutions to this problem. He did not.

Really? Because last week, JP Morgan reportedly added 3.7 BILLION dollars of profit to their bottom line thanks to the Shitgibbon Middle Class Tax Cuts. I'll let you Google their total profits for 2018, but make sure you have a fibrillater nearby.

If you took that additional $3.7 billion profit and divied it up to each and every one of the 256,000 employees that make up JP Morgan well...

$3,700,000,000 windfall /256,000 employees = $14,453.12 per employee.

I gotta believe $14K that would make a difference in the life of an employee making $35,000 a year. Wouldn't you Mr. Dimon?

Math is hard.

I wish Congresswoman Porter had gone the extra step and looked at his finances.

Jamie Dimon makes $31 million dollars a year. That's just salary and doesn't include all the goodies rich bastards like him take home every fucking day. If you were to do an apples to apples comparison:

$31,000,000/ 2000 hours (40 hours a week X 50 weeks) = $15, 500/hr.

In other words, in less than 3 hours, Mr. Dimon makes as much as the entry level worker earns in a year! Let's look at how those three  hours play out.

9:20 AM -- Dimon arrives at JP Morgan headquarters. Would've arrived earlier but the limo got caught in Midtown Manhattan traffic when it almost hit a homeless encampment.

9:35 AM -- Executive Assistant brings Dimon his iced coffee and blueberry/cinammon bagel (yuck) Jamie yells at her because there aren't enough blueberries in his bagel.

9:45 AM - 10:15 AM -- Dimon inquires about his new Phillipe Stark designed 400 foot yacht with its own onboard volcano.

10:30 AM -- Dimon retreats to his Executive Bathroom and applies a generous slathering of Just For Men Touch of Grey with the QuickFix™ applicator to his carefully coiffed head of hair.

11:00 AM -- Dimon notices his iPhone needs recharging. He plugs it into the USB port. Then plays Angry Birds for the next 60 minutes.


Lunch

And that's how it is this fine April 16th, the day after we've all submitted our taxes, in Captain Fuckknuckle's America. 

The rich get richer.

And the poor get shabby, red, machine-stamped golf caps while being force fed the half-assed notion that one day with enough grit, determination and sweat equity one day they too will be enjoying champagne wishes and caviar dreams. 



Monday, April 15, 2019

My daughter the art director?


I know this kvelling thing can get a little old.

Particularly for readers of RoundSeventeen. Who come here for red hot rants on the rancid state of our industry. And not for some saccharine sweet homage to children, who, let's face it are a colossal and expensive pain in the ass.

So you'd think last week's posting about the cool bag my daughter Abby had designed would have been enough. But it's not. And in the spirit of my blogging friend and fellow old timey copywriter George Tannenbaum, I will trudge on.

Because last week my daughter Abby, a senior at University of Colorado who graduates in just three short weeks, completed her final project. And when I say she completed the project, of course, I mean we (as in the entire family who nursed her through all the ups and downs of the endeavor) completed the semester-long assignment.

We didn't so much as help as we did listen to the travails of her scouring the state of Colorado for willing subjects, all of which will become clear in a moment.

I know paternal and professional pride play a big part in what's going on right now. But even if I were to discount my feelings by 25 - 50%, I would honestly say this is an incredible piece of work. Her professor suggested that the project could be taken to a willing publisher and expanded into a coffee table book. I'll go even one further and suggest it could be a Netflix documentary.

It requires no further explanation. And so I invite you to take a look.

https://www.thedaughtersofesther.com

This represents hours of work. Rearranging schedules. Research. Equipment rental. Design. And of course, writing. And so, even more impressive than the final piece, is knowing and witnessing all the work that went into it.

If I worked as hard as she does at age 22, I wouldn't just be in the Advertising Hall of fame, I'd have my own wing.

Last week, I was brimming with pride because my daughter had a seemingly-genetic ability to turn funny ideas into funny shit.

This week, I'm simply in awe. Because my daughter has something I don't.

The ability to turn a singular idea into beautiful, amazing and moving art.



Thursday, April 11, 2019

The last word goes to VaJayJay


Today, we conclude the Illuminati tale of Michael John, a Nigerian scammer who really thought he was going to swindle me out of 150 bucks to join the Illuminati.

Of course, there is no Illuminati. And even if there were they would not be soliciting random people via email nor would they promise them new houses and millions of dollars in cash. I mean how long could they keep that up.

I kept Mr. John hopeful for more than 4 months. But felt it was time to pull the plug. And possibly start yanking the chain of another Nigerian Illuminati scammer. I have a boatload of offers.

In any case, on our last visit...



Did Honey Grams/ Money Grahams dissuade him? No it did not.


But the mixup up did cause some marital discard. 

A great deal of marital discard. 

Between myself and my fictional wife, VaJayJay Hertz, who also has a fictional yahoo email account.



I suspect, Michael, if that's really his name, will be writing me some angry emails. And that's the whole point. To piss them off. To waste their time. And to distract them from scamming other people. 

I'm like some kind of avenging superhero fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

I need a superhero name.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

UPDATE: Though I had intended to stop, this was just too good to pass up. Brother Michael has thrown a new twist in the story that is worth sharing.



I'll show him Dick Hertz is serious.


He wants his $150 and he wants it bad.


An agent? 

OK, now I am curious.


We enter Raymond Chandler territory.


If this were a screenplay, this would be the beginning of Act II. Stay Tuned.




Wednesday, April 10, 2019

That's her bag


I'll be the first to admit that I take great pride in my ability to make things.

Well, not actual things like a shoe, or a hat, or even a bookshelf, though I have assembled many Ikea bookshelves, including the Schshlisht™, the Flukenshlossel™, and the intricate Herkendoogle™.

The things I make are more ethereal: ads, books, movies and memes. Lots and lots of memes.

With Captain Fuckknuckle in office for at least another year and a half, I don't see that ending anytime soon. Particularly when he bloviates about windmills causing cancer. That just screams for some good old fashioned mockery.


And so it should comes as no surprise that I would be as pleased as a Republican being handed a #10 envelope stuffed with cash when I discovered my youngest daughter has the same thing-making inclination.

Just the other day, I came across this bag in the kitchen (see photo above). Mind you, I live with three women, so I don't pay a lot of attention to their assorted baggery, but this one caught my eye.

It was a birthday present from Abby (the youngest) to Rachel (the oldest.)

"Where did Abby get that I asked?"

"She made it," replied my wife.

I loved the design at first. But when I found out Abby had conjured it up, I knew I had to write about it.

Maybe I'm reading too much into it but I find it funny.

It's dark.

It's declarative.

And it's dripping with cynicism well beyond her years.

In other words, it's so Siegel.

My daughter, I think I'll keep her.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Pay me my money


I cashed a check last week.

Well, that's hardly news, right?

In 15 years of freelancing I've cashed a lot of checks. But this one was different. It was for $1763.28 and it might have been the sweetest $1763.28 I've ever deposited in my account.

Faithful readers might remember my tale of being shorted by a major holding company several months ago. A payment discrepancy they had attributed to the "annualization" of my day rate. To this day, I have no idea what that means. I only know that several middle managers cited it as the reason why the amount I was invoicing was not the amount I was being paid.

Being of Half Scottish/Half Jewish descent, you can imagine how this did not sit well with me. You see, Mr. or Ms. Middle Management, I'm not really interested in your company rules. I don't work for you. I work for me. I'm not running a charity, I'm running a business. And I have one inviolable rule:

If I work 18 days, I get paid for 18 days.

There's really nothing else to talk about. I don't care about your "annualization" policies. I don't want to hear about your "pay periods." Nor do I want to waste another moment talking to someone who doesn't have the power to purchase a paper clip.

So I did what I have always done in the past. I went over their heads. Way over their heads. I made my case to the holding company CFO.

The internet is great that way. With enough persistence and imagination, you can find anyone's email address. Two weeks ago I was corresponding with the VP of Membership admissions at Mara Largo.




Years ago, when I was trying to finance the purchase of my sister-in-law's townhome, I ran into all kinds of red tape and financial no-no's. So I wrote a letter to the Chairman of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, enclosed a DVD copy of "It's A Wonderful Life" and Fed-Exed it to the Chairman. I made what I thought was a very compelling case and asked if he wanted to be remembered as Mr. Potter, the evil banker.

He did not.

Freddie Mac relented and bent the rule in my favor.

Similarly, the holding company saw the error of their ways and issued me the make good check. The check was accompanied by a very stern letter from someone high up in the organization. It clearly stated that there was no remaining balance and that the company owed me nothing more.

I suspect that also means they owe me no more phone calls and that I will not work there again.

And that's fine, snarky edited comment goes here.

Because:

If I work 18 days, I get paid for 18 days.


Monday, April 8, 2019

What About Bob?


It has occurred to me -- with some gentle prodding -- that I had never written a Roundseventeen post about Bob Kuperman, one of the original Doyle Dane Bernbach Mad Men who had a tremendous impact on my career.

Although, he almost didn't.

After a rocky start in recruitment adverting, plus a couple of years of journeyman work at Abert Newhoff & Burr, I finally had a portfolio worth showing to Chiat/Day. At least I thought I had. They were staffing up and I somehow managed to land an interview with the famously cantankerous Kuperman.

He was sporting a man ponytail of hair and a Hawaiian shirt that featured every color from Pantone 1- Pantone 1,000,000. I'm sure that shirt now sits in a bin at the Goodwill store on Venice Blvd. And has for the last 25 years.

At the conclusion of the interview we exchanged pleasantries and Bob said to call him in a week. Excited? You're damn right I was excited. This was going to be my big break. I knew once I had my foot in that door, my life would change. Hell, the agency would change.

Chiat/Day/Siegel.
Chiat/Siegel/Day.
Siegel/Chiat/Day.

I nervously picked up the phone.

"Hey Kupe. It's me, Rich Siegel. You interviewed me last week."

"Oh yeah, hey Rich."

"You told me to to follow up."

"Listen, I liked your book a lot. But we're not hiring any art directors right now."

CLICK

Just one more layer of thick skin necessary for a life in advertising.

It would be another two years before I actually got in. And I'm not sure Bob and I ever spoke of what had transpired. We didn't have to.

We clicked in a way only two crabby, transplanted New York Jews can click.

He was opinionated. I was opinionated.
He was contrarian. I was contrarian.
He was fearless. I was fearless.
He was a rich, powerful man. I was opinionated.

While Bob intimidated others, he didn't intimidate me. In Bob's forthright no-nonsense approach I found someone who could and would champion my work. When I partnered with John Shirley the admiration grew even deeper. And Bob came to us for various pitches, including Chivas Regal and Callaway Golf.

In fact, before the big presentation, he whispered to John and I, "if we win this account, I'll get you each a set of top of the line Callaway clubs." 

Those clubs are gathering dust in my garage, behind all the weightlifting equipment.

Bob pushed the work in the right direction, the direction that made clients nervous and take risks. More importantly, he went to bat for me, and others. I will never forget that.

I miss those salad days at Chiat.
I miss working with Lee.
And though Bob and I occasionally trade barbs on Facebook, I miss the one on one contact.

"Get out of my fuckin' office, you frickin' hard-on."

You just don't hear those terms of endearment much anymore.


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ADDENDUM. Here's the manifesto for the Chivas Regal campaign that we never sold, but should have sold. Bob loved it. And so did my mother.



Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Pride of Florida


This is Senator Rick Scott. You might recognize him as the former governor of Florida. Or you might think you've seen him as the villain is some cheap, downmarket, over the top horror film. In essence, the perfect metaphor for Florida.

In any case, Senator Rick is the subject of our next Thursday Thrashing letter (I believe we're up to #51.)

As you'll soon see, Ricky has been in the news lately. And we can all expect great things from him.

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4.4.19

Senator Rick Scott
716 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Scott,

We often hear God Bless America at sporting events. We hear it at the end of big dramatic speeches. We even hear it after someone sneezes...well, a variation on it. I would suggest we don't need to hear it anymore.

Because God has already blessed America.

Think about it. 

God has already given us a Commander in Chief who is tall, slender (at 239 lbs.), a lover of all people, a truth teller, and, as we will get to in a moment, a stable genius. 

Our Big Gulp Cup truly runneth over.

At his side, God has also given us 53 US Republican Senators who do his providential bidding. I've made it my mission to write a letter to each and every one of these men and women who are nothing less than God's warriors on Earth. You are letter #51, but let's remember you are late entry into the Senate. 

Let us also not be discouraged by that, because God, in all his wisdom, has verily shone his grace on all of us. And by that I mean, last week, you, Senator Rick Scott, a disciple of decency, dedication and dignity, were chosen by our divine leader to spearhead the effort to replace Obamacare.

"Lord, we are not worthy of your love."

What have we done to deserve such grace? 

How much bounty can be bequeathed to one people? 

Many know that you, along with other stable genius, George W. Bush, were co-owners of the Texas Rangers baseball team. What most people don't realize is that your unmatched business acumen was forged in the world of healthcare.

In 1987 you, along with major financing from Citicorp, attempted to buy HCA, Hospital Corporation of America, worth close to 4 billion dollars. The attempt fell short, but you, Rick Scott, determined to find your fortune in the misfortune of others, were undeterred. 

And in 1994 you became the CEO of Columbia/HCA, the "single largest for-profit healthcare company in America."  

Mmmmm, unregulated profit.

That's the kind of single-minded drive, determination and callous capitalism that made this country great. And it's the kind of senatorial leadership we so lack these days.

Oh sure, there might have been the occasional FBI investigation. The fraud. The corruption. The anti-kickback violations. The illegal deals with homecare companies. The false cost reporting. And the pharmaceutical irregularities that resulted in thousands of dollars of under the table payments. 

But have we learned nothing over the past year? And the futility of prosecuting these frivolous "process crimes?"

The important thing, and I think you and everyone else in America who owns a red golf cap will agree, is that you have what it takes to turn dialysis into a dollar. 

You know how to profit from pancreatic cancer.

You have the gumption to make lemonade out of lymphoma.

That makes you special Rick.

And because Captain Fuckknuckle has chosen you to spearhead this new spectacular healthcare system that will be the envy of the world, that makes us blessed.

Best regards,

Rich Siegel
siegelrich@mac.com
Culver City, CA 90232

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

My Vajayjay Hertz


Ladies and gentlemen, the Priory of Sion, a secret society founded in 1099 and said to include Sir Isaac Newton, Botticelli, Victor Hugo (founder of Hugo Boss) and Leonardo Da Vinci. The Priory of Sion have a mysterious relationship with the Illuminati.

I'm not going down that Rabbit Hole, but I invite you to revisit mine.

In my last email to Micheal John, my Illuminati recruiter I apologized for all that I have made him endure and offered to up my payment and include some pastries. Medicine goes down better with pastries.


Apparently he is not a big fan of rugelach and wants to get his money (my money.)


You have to give him credit for his persistence. He's not quitting until he closes the deal.


Three days pass and I am convinced I have lost him.


Alas, just as I had suspected he was away on official Illuminati business. Perhaps a confab with the Priory of Sion.



Time to play a new foil and bring my wife Vajayjay Hertz in on the action.


You might think that shorn dachshunds, Brazilian landing strips, Horn & Hardatt pastrami sandwiches, Vajayjay Hertz and Honey Grahams not money grams, would be enough to put this guy off the scent. 

But you'd be wrong.

Tune in next week for the conclusion of the Illuminati Ruminati.