Monday, February 9, 2015

Don't shoot

Some of you will recognize this photo.

It was used in on the cover of National Lampoon with the headline, "If you don't buy this magazine we'll shoot this dog."

Intentionally provocative then, industry appropriate now.

By that I mean, it is Saturday morning as I write this blog. This is the fourth weekend in a row I am working. My current assignment requires me to be in the office so it's even more onerous. I haven't had a day off in a month.

Normally that would not bother me in the least. As a freelancer, I enjoy getting booked, solving an agency's problems, outsmarting today's crop of entitled kids and waiting by the mailbox for my fat paycheck.

But, for the last 30 or so odd days, I have been working with a gun to my head.

24 hour turnarounds.
Soft check ins.
Hard check ins.
More feedback.
And another check in, you know, just to take your temperature.

It would be one thing if this were the standard practice at one ad agency, but this is happening at every ad agency. All of them. This is what our industry has come to. And if the work from this year's Super Bowl was any indication, it's not a good thing.

I feel like my legs have been chopped off beneath me.
I want to be hugged by my daddy.
And I wish somebody would hold my head under water and drown me before the next check in.

I'm going to share a dirty little secret.

I do a lot of work for a small independent agency still located on Mid Wilshire. For the longest time we've had a standing unwritten agreement. They hire me for a day's worth of thinking on any given project. They don't have the budget for long term bookings.

So they will often give me a project and say, "put a day's worth of thinking against this and get back to us in a week."

Guess what, I don't give them a day's worth of thinking. In the course of a week I often give them more. I think about the assignment. I let the juices stew. I take the challenge with me into the shower, the pool and onto the 405. And a week later, I usually have something good to show for my time.

I win.
They win.
The client wins.

I've shared this video before and I'll share it again because it bears repeating and I like the idea of you walking around with the musical ear worm in your head.

This explains why instead of game-changing ideas, we keep getting clocks.

No comments: