Monday, December 8, 2014

The Stupid Bowl

If you're married to (my condolences) or know of anyone who works in the Creative Department of an ad agency there's a good chance you are not seeing much of him or her these days.

It's Super Bowl Crunch Time.

And ad agency personnel are scrambling like mad to get their spots produced and polished in time for America's early February orgasm. They -- the creatives -- should be in edit bays and sound studios eating overpriced sushi and acting like royals.

Sadly however, some, many, are still struggling to get an idea out the door and through the client gauntlet of ineptitude.

That's right, The Big Game™ is less than two months away but because of the enormous pressure and the rampant committee-think that governs the corporate landscape, many agency staffers find themselves back at the drawing board.

Perhaps it's a sign of my declining career, but for the first time in many years I don't find myself caught up in this moronic morass.

At one time I would salivate over the prospect of landing a Super Bowl spot and would gladly endure the pain associated with the strategic changes, the revisions, the rewrites, and the endless do-overs.

The opportunity to knock one out of the park on a magical Super Bowl Sunday could make or break a career. Some have cemented a spot for themselves in advertising history. Like the creators of Apple's "1984", or's "When I Grow Up" or more recently, Dodge's "God Made a Farmer."

That time, like a schticky, Vaudevillian episode of Seinfeld, has long passed.

The glory has been replaced with a Monday morning chorus that has been singing the same refrain for the last decade.

"The game was OK, but the commercials sucked."

They may be right.
They may be wrong.
Who am I to say?
It's not like I sit at my desk and relentlessly and often carelessly pass judgment on every single issue of the day. Oh wait…

The point is, this year I have no skin in the game. And I couldn't be happier.

Not long ago, I was toiling in the offices of a major agency. I happened across a conference room, where on foam core boards, many potential Super Bowl storyboards were pinned and competing to be the prized agency recommendation.

Next to each script there was a colored Post It Note: red from the Creative Director, blue from Planning, yellow from Account Management, green from Media, magenta from Finance and orange from Human Resources.

Each department head had weighed in on how to 'improve' the spot. And all the notes had a recurring theme:

"Make It Funnier." 

I'm not sure how a copywriter and an art director can deliver on that consensual request. I'm only sure that in their efforts to appease the lowest common denominator, interdepartmental scrutiny, the spot got less funny.

1 comment:

Cecil B. DeMille said...

I don't even know why today's creative directors exist. I miss the ones with spines.