Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Mast from the Past

Last week, Publisher Michael Wolf announced that Adweek would no longer look like Adweek. In keeping with the times and the changing media landscape, the magazine was being overhauled.

This makes me sad for several reasons; it seems like this is one more nail in coffin of print and it marginalizes the parody MADWEEK, that we (Jim Jennewein, Tom Parker and myself) published -- dare I say it -- over twenty years ago.

Much of the writing is as Dick Sittig put it, "sophomoric" and dated, but truth be told the writing wasn't the noteworthy accomplishment here. You see, Jim, Tom and I were all young copywriters with a belly full fire and an industry full of rich satirical targets. What strikes me is that we managed to pay for, publish and hand distribute 5,000 copies of this full length parody magazine.

Mind you, the year was 1989 before any of us had a laptop or a digital camera. Type had to be set (after hours and on the sly), film had to be processed, vendors had to be paid, and the pick up truck had to be loaded up with gas for a full day of drop offs along Wilshire Blvd. (where the ad agencies used to be.)

It was quite the endeavor. If it were being done today, some kid who never walked a mile in the snow to get to school, would have slapped together a PDF and shot the whole thing out as an email blast before lunch was even warm.

While MADWEEK was a logistical nightmare, it was one of the most rewarding experiences. Not only because we were (for a brief moment) the talk of the town, and we landed our pictures in the NY Times, but mostly because we did it on our own dime. 

So there were no pollyanna clients, no second-guessing account executives and no North Manchester, douchebag hat-wearing planners to say, "before we do this, maybe we should do a focus group."

PS. I've managed to scan the entire magazine and will answer any requests with a complimentary copy.


Ellen November said...

Those were the days my friend. Awesome piece.
My daughter and her friends asked me what my first job was. Paste-up artist I replied. What's that they asked. That was a laborious task done with xacto knives, rulers, wax and paste-up board. Instead of copy and paste, you waited up to a day for type to be delivered with veloxes. Wow there went the type house. Great piece Rich.


Shoot me a digital copy. I'd love one. Stop N Sue is still my fave, oh and your classified were brilliant. JJ

Anonymous said...

I still have a copy. It's in a box in my office that has followed me around from agency to agency.