Thursday, October 15, 2020

Say goodbye to the boondoggle

I know I've said it before but I'll say it again, "advertising just ain't as much fun as it used to be."

And by 'used to be', I'm clearly referring to a time long, long gone. 

Like in this picture when I (the one on the left) still had hair. This picture was snapped while filming some Earthlink commercials in NYC, a few weeks before the 9/11 attacks. I'm almost positive we were booked on the same American Airlines flight #11 from Newark to LA as one of the ill-fated planes. I don't know which flight the chimp was on for his return home.

We were shooting commercials in the basement of an old church and had two full sized chimpanzees on the set. They were siblings. And quite inseparable. 

If they were separated, they would let you know it in an awesome display of raw strength, banging on their cages and howling louder than a jet engine. The trainer allowed us to pick up the large 75 lbs. monkey, but had warned us not to look in the eye of the chimp, lest he mistake it for an act of aggression. Furthermore he pointed out that the chimp had the strength of 10 men. I don't know what I was benching at the time but I didn't want to press my luck.

The Director on these Earthlink commercials was Chris Smith, who has a slew of must-see movies to his name (including one of ours, HOME MOVIE) and was one of the Executive Producers on last summer's monster pandemic hit, "Tiger King."

I mention all this because part of the joy of working in advertising is the call of the wild world of adventure. Through advertising I traveled quite a bit. Stayed in places I never thought I would. And had experiences that made all the shitty parts of advertising (focus groups, salary freezes, office politics, and The Long Table of Mediocrity™) somewhat bearable. 

That, it seems, has all gone away, like so many empty bottles of useless Minoxidil. 

Thanks in large part to Grandpa Ramblemouth's cockwomble handling of the Covid virus.

A few weeks ago I was in production. An astounding statement all on its own, considering how few copywriters and art directors actually get to say that. I might have mentioned that the entire production was done remotely via Zoom meetings and the magic of modern day technology.

Sadly, the same applies to post production, which again was another one of those unspoken perks of the biz. It's all being done remotely.

That means no royal treatment at the edit house or the sound mixing facility. You ad veterans know what I'm talking about.

"Our chef is doing hand curated omelettes this morning. Would you like one made with free range eggs, dry aged cheddar, and select premium mushrooms we have flown in from a secret French village that is so hidden it escaped the clutches of Nazi Germany?"

"Yes I would. And can I get a Diet Coke with that?"

Well, that's all going by the wayside. Because if clients can get quality work produced without busting open the piggy bank for the lavish treatment of Creative Department divas, you can be sure they're not going back to that once we 86 the Covid.

There will be no more:

Banana/strawberry smoothies

Mid Afternoon massages

And late night sushi platters from Nobu

I don't know. If I were a kid coming out of college I'm not sure I'd consider a career in advertising. I hear there's good money to be made in HVAC repair.



Unknown said...

Bottles of Opus One at the Sundance Film Festival with our own Jr Acct Director Chauffeur.

Rich Siegel said...

Almost forgot about that night.

"Waiter, more wine..."

Good times.

Rocket Ron said...

So true! It went downhill after 9/11. But now the shit hit the fan. I am learning After Effects & got a handle on Premiere Pro. I also built a studio in the garage, bought a killer Canon 4k camera & a 4k drone. Yup, you have to do it all these days. So Rich if you need anything let me know!

pattystacker said...

Great commentary Rich! And you can add to HVAC: “front-end developers”