Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Bolshevization of Advertising

I make no secret of my disdain for the current way of doing business.

I'm not a fan of open plan seating.
Burgeoning corporate hierarchies.
Or the absurd fascination with digital marketing, to the exclusion of tried-and-true media like TV, print or outdoor boards.

But my mama didn't raise no fool.

And if I'm going to continue to put expensive organic food from Gelson's supermarket on my dinner table or send my daughter's to ridiculously overpriced universities, I've got to adopt, adapt and survive.

The latest trend in adland seems to have been ripped straight from the pages of Karl Marx. It's a new brand of collectivism.

The thinking goes like this: if having one art director and copywriter is good for solving a problem, then  having 50 art directors and 50 copywriters can only mean solving the problem 50 times faster and 50 times better.

It's similar to my approach with cough medicine. If one teaspoon is good, then 4 tablespoons of the codeine-enhanced nectar can only be better. Most the time however it results with me falling head first into my bowl of whole wheat rigatoni.

But here's the the problem with working this way -- it doesn't work.

Don't take it from me, take from this odd computer-generated voice with the ironic Russian accent:

While I'm more comfortable working alone or with an art director, particularly one who can come up with the funny, I'm more than happy to participate in this Soviet-style search for solutions. Particularly if someone is paying me a decent capitalist-style day rate.

However, I can't but feel sorry for the today's young creative trying to make a name for himself or herself. Because if you can't take ownership of the work you can't claim ownership of the rewards.

Bolshevism didn't work for Mother Russia, I doubt it's going to enjoy much success in the halls of Mother, Crispin Porter or BBDO.


Adam Regan Photography said...

Couldn't agree more. It's like watching 8 year olds play soccer. Everyone from both teams clustered in a tight huddle moving up and down the field, and hardly anyone getting a real glimpse of the ball.

Unknown said...

Interesting thought, Rich. The video seems to point to an opinion that partnerships (and working individually) work for creativity but larger groups, not so much. I used to have a boss that said, "if you and I thought alike, we wouldn't need one of us". I can think of many successful creative teams made up of individuals who think in different ways.

Joshua Weltman said...

My father, Dr. Gershon Weltman lectures on engineering and ethics at UCLA. He sometimes prompts classroom discussions with a question known as, "The engineer's dilemma." - If it takes one woman 9 months to make one baby, explain why nine women can not make a baby in one month? Nice to know absurd academic logic problems have somehow become best business practices at advertising agencies. It's like management by Monty Python.