Wednesday, September 7, 2016

SuperDesk™, Revisited

Last week, the SuperDesk™ and the agency where it is currently parked, the Barbarian Group, were in the news again.

I don't know anything about the Group.
I don't know the work they do.
I don't know the Creative Directors there.
And I don't know if I'll ever do any projects for them.
I'm guessing I won't.

But I am intimately familiar with their iconic SuperDesk™ and perpetually amused how the brass at the Barbarian Group tried to pawn this tool of the sweatshop culture upon the other Barbarians. And it explains why I am not surprised to hear of the continuing woes of the agency.

If we've learned anything from this architectural monstrosity it's that people who work in advertising are the most cynical, skeptical, and leery people on the planet. And they see this Escher-like ribbon of collaboration malarkey for exactly what it is -- Bullshit.

And guess what overpaid, pollyanna, concoctors of corporate Kool Aid (I'm talking to you, ad leaders) that's exactly what you want in an ad person.

Because people who can spot bullshit from across state lines are your best bet to create real advertising and real communications that will resonate with real people.

You want the doubters.
You want the eye rollers.
You want the ones who are willing put their foot down, look a planner or a client or a CEO in the eye and say, "we can spend 100 million dollars on this, or 100 billion, but people are not going to eat their pizza backwards. They're just not."

We sell ourselves to clients as experts in the human condition. We tell them we examine all the data, we produce magical insights and change the business landscape with our disruptive inescapable truths™.

Well, digging for game changing truths requires the ability to sort through the spin, discarding the hubris and calling out the bullcockery.

Years ago, when I was at Chiat/Day --possibly the most annoying phrase ever written -- they moved us into the famed binocular building in Venice. Before the big transition, Jay brilliantly announced we were going to pioneer the Virtual Office™. Unless you're a fan of carnival midway games, it was all just a sham.

We, the employees, were going to a virtual office only because there wasn't enough space for us to have real offices to go to.

There's an old maxim that says: you can't bullshit a bullshit artist.

To that I would add...

To assemble the best team of bullshit artists you need people who can spot bullshit.


Salty said...

The problem is one letter. The letter 'u.' I shall demonstrate.

Ideal: "We need people who can spot bullshit for miles."

Reality: "We need people who can spout bullshit for miles."

Bob Fremgen said...

Rich, I actually eat my pizza backwards.

Nate Davis said...

"You want the doubters.
You want the eye rollers."

Love this--feels like a riff on "Here's to the crazy ones." Ah...probably not an accident. Well played sir!