Monday, November 1, 2021


Though chronologically impossible, I'm still old enough to remember the Space Race and our rush to put a man on the moon. In less than a decade, since JFK announced the intention in 1961, this country had done just that.

I watch the current debacle in Congress and wonder how the hell does anything get done? You could argue it it doesn't. We simply don't do big things anymore.

There are no bullet trains that traverse the nation.

There no solar powered desalination plants being built along our two coasts.

There are no flying cars.

There are no In-and-Out Burgers without lines that snake around the block.

We do have free porn, pocket phones that demand our attention 25/8/366 and about 10 billion Brekkie photographs floating around in the ether.

Why you may ask? If the current rift in the political class is any indication it's because there are too many cooks in the kitchen. A dilemma best demonstrated and immortalized in the following video...

It's why the Build Back Better program is, as former Adweek Editor Barbara Lippert so aptly put it, a framework stuffed inside a framework wrapped with framework. 

And, as you might expect, the same phenomena afflicts the ad world -- Too Many Cooks.

 It's hard to get two people to agree own anything. It's exponentially harder to get 3 people on board. And 4. And 5. And you can keep working your way up until you reach the legendary Death by a Thousand Cuts.

It's why we are all playing Small Ball. We're tweaking here, twisting there, optimizing a little here and re-optimizing there. And fooling ourselves that brands can be built with tweets, banner ads and 30 second commercials on YouTube that are quickly reduced to 1 &1/2 second commercials, as millions fumble for their mouse or trackpad to click the SKIP ADS Button.

By the time you read this perhaps the neutered, de-optimized Build Back Better program will be signed and delivered. I doubt it. The battle could drag on for another two weeks, maybe a month. 

In other words, the same amount of time it would take you to think of the last big ad campaign/idea/digital stunt/banner that turned the advertising world on its head.

We used to do big things in America. And in advertising. But now we don't.

Too. Many. Cooks.

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