Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Where's the beef?

You may have noticed I took last week off. Why? Well here’s a quick list of possible reasons:

Camped out all week to secure my place in line for Twilight.

High drama and layoffs at CosmoDemonic.

Came to the sudden realization that the Microsoft Vista campaign is brilliant.

Spent last week in a conference room listening to standard CD lecture #12 (We Must Understand our Client’s Point of View.)

In training for Black Friday.

Just busy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

There are rumors

Mac sites are abuzz with stories that Apple is going to be super aggressive (going rogue?) this Black Friday. The details are sketchy. But the fan boys are getting excited.

Even if Steve doesn’t toss free nanos to the crowd, this should be a BF for the record books. Retailers are so desperate for our money that they’re going to be offering all sorts of insane deals. Free merchandise! Deeeeep discounts! Happy endings in the back room!

But I don’t need the promise of a HJ to get excited about Black Friday. To me it’s one of our high holy holidays. You see, I’m not a very religious person, so I have to cling to the secular celebrations. Days when we as a people decided to go bat shit crazy. Days like Super Bowl (I mean the Big Game), Cinco de Mayo, St Patrick’s Day and of course, Black Friday.

I love everything about it. The noise, the deals, the crowded parking lots. I even love the crowds. There is something exciting about losing yourself in a massive mall of humanity. And then there’s the promise of fulfillment. Laser printers for $99. Laptops for under $400. iPhones for only [TOO LOW TO MENTION!].

So this November 28, do yourself a favor and head to a mall near you. It’s a great way to help our economy and join together with your fellow consumers.

A BF Safety Message
If you are planning on purchasing a Nintendo wii this Black Friday, please be careful. People will do almost anything to get a hot holiday gift on Black Friday. People like me. (I have a number of heavy metals tools in my trunk that would make excellent weapons.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 7-What to bring on the first day.

Okay, you’ve set your alarm, laid out your work clothes and you’re all ready first your first day as an advertising creative. Or are you?

What are you going to bring to the office? You’re going to be spending a lot of time in that tiny cube. You’d better bring some things from home to make your stay more comfortable.

Stuff for the walls
The walls of your cube are like your locker in high school. You’ll want to add decorations to make you feel more at home and let your coworkers know just how interesting you are. A calendar is a good start. But why stop there? Hang up ads pulled from Archive, retro postcards and typography posters. If you have a family, put up their picture. If you don’t, hang up photos of attractive strangers. Remember, nudity is frowned on at work unless it’s the artsy, black&white stuff.

Stuff for your desk
Your agency will supply you with office supplies, but you’ll want to bring some stuff from home to mark your territory. The type of desk toys depends on your position. If you’re an AAE, you’ll want to stick with professional equipment. Creatives can go for the Hello Kitty Pen and Pencil Set.

Emergency supplies
I’m not talking about water space blankets. Every person in advertising needs an emergency kit. It should include the following:

Stick of deodorant
In case you forget or need to recharge before an EOD meeting

Morning breath/Post lunch breath

Band-Aids and Advil
The only time the first aid kit in the break room will be empty is when you’re bleeding to death or suffering from a head-banging hangover.

Clean dress shirt/blouse
Always keep a clean top at the office. You don’t want to walk into a meeting with a giant coffee stain on your shirt.

Office parties, drinks after work and late nights make these a necessity if you’re single (or tend to stray).

After you’ve collected all your supplies, stuff them into a leather satchel (suit) or an Army Medical Bag (creative), and you’re all set for you first day.

Oh, and be sure to bring a pen and pad.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Your father's right kids

You get the call. The Creative Director wants to see the whole staff. You drop everything, minimize your porn windows and rush to the conference room.

Sometimes it’s a new job. Sometimes it’s a lost/won account. And sometimes he/she just wants to talk.

CD’s love to tell stories, and their staff is the perfect audience. They come when called. They can’t say they’re too busy. And they laugh at all your jokes.

If you’ve ever worked for a story-telling CD, here are a few titles that may sound familiar:

This Is How Advertising Works

When I Was At The Hot Shop

They Stole My Brilliant Idea

All Account People Are Lazy Morons

All Creatives Are Spoiled Children

Why I Deserve My Huge Salary

Things Were Better Before Photoshop

Working At Home Is Not Really Work

When I Was A Junior

We Must Service Our Clients

I’m Under So Much Pressure.

I Totally Understand Things Like Youtubes And Facespace.

I Remember When We Had To Send Copy To The Typesetters

I Remember Airbrushing

My First Job In Advertising

Radio Is NOT A Dying Medium

Internet Advertising Is Just A Fad.

Everything Was Better In The 80’s

Pet Project Status Report

I Worked With [AD GOD] When He Was Just An Intern

Did I Ever Tell You About The Time I Directed William Shatner?

Monday, November 10, 2008

We deserve a break

Okay, I think the whole world needs to take a few days off. I mean look at what we’ve all been through in the past few weeks:

1. The end of a 2 year campaign that had us checking CNN polls every few seconds.

2. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression

3. The Phillies won the World Series.

4. I think there was even some sort of dress-up holiday in there too.

And today I went to Target, and the store was filled with…Holiday stuff!


It’s too much. I’m not ready to face to holidays yet. We all need at least a week of sitting by the pool sucking on margaritas.

Friday, November 7, 2008

10 reasons why I'm glad the election is over

No more Wolf Blitzer!

No more heart palpitations when poll numbers “jump” .02%.

SNL can go back to sucking.

Can focus on more important news.
Who is Hillary Duff dating these days?

Don’t have to read headlines that contain the word, “hammer.”
McCain hammers Obama on economy.
McCain hammers Obama on Ayers.
Palin hammers Obama on possible Martian connection.

Can repair friendships with Republican friends.
I don’t really think you’re a fascist.

No more Joes!

I can actually get some work done.

I can go back to making snarky comments about advertising instead of making snarky comments about politics.

When I hear the name Palin, I’ll think of Michael.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What if?

So the election is over and the headlines have all been written. But what if things had turned out differently? What would yesterday’s papers have looked like?

Here is what I think we might have seen if a few of those red states had stayed red.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Our endorsement is…

Yes, that’s right. Creative Beef is endorsing Barack Obama for President. It’s a controversial choice, but that’s the kind of blog we are.

I know this post is a little late, but that doesn’t mean I was waiting to see who won.

Don’t be so cynical.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get Out and VOTE!

In January, 1999 Wired magazine launched us into the year 2000 with one of its best covers ever.

Today we begin a new era that is just as unknown as the one we faced eight years ago.

Take a deep breath. Cross your fingers. And get ready to jump.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

The help get you in the spirit, here are some truly terrifying Hallowen headlines:

Halloween Headquarters
Spooky Savings
We’ve “slashed” our prices
Bargains Goo-lore
Devilish Discounts
Undead Deals
Satanic Sale
Blood-curdling Bargains
Night of the Living Deal
Zero Percent Fright-nancing

Death of the :30 spot?

So Obama's infomercial got better ratings than the World Series. And it was 30 minutes long!

As a copywriter who has spent days trying to fill a :60 radio spot, this is quite an impressive job.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Upwardly Mobile

As an urbanite, I spend a good deal of time traveling up and down in elevators. So for the benefit of all, I am presenting:

The Elevator Rules

If you only have to go up one story, use the stairs.
Exercise is good for you!

Do not apply perfume/cologne just before boarding the elevator.

No phone calls.
He did? No way! Again? I think I’m losing…I’m back!

Do not burp.
If you burp into your mouth and exhale through your nose, we can still smell your garlic fires.

If you have freight, use the Freight Elevator.

If you accidentally hit the wrong button, live with it.
Do not force the whole elevator to visit your favorite floors.

Figure out the direction the elevator is traveling before boarding.
Try checking the illuminated arrow on the wall.

Cover all sneezes and coughs.
Especially on a Friday.

Do not carry on loud conversations.
Unless it is about graphic sex.

You may not hold the door open for longer than 3 seconds.
Not nearly enough time for your friend to grab a bottle of water out of the break room fridge.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Presentation-Chapter 2

The Deck

Any successful pitch has to begin with a deck. This is a Power Point presentation (Keynote for the fanboys) that will outline your marketing strategy. It has to be at least 90 pages long. Despite it’s length, its root message is very simple:

Your company is great!

This strategy will reinforce the greatness of your company.

Did we mention that your company is great?

So with so little to say, how is it possible to create a lengthy presentation? It’s surprising easy as long as you stick to a few simple rules.

Ask questions, then answer them.
It’s really easy to come up with the answers when you’re the one asking the questions. You can focus on all your client’s positive attributes and avoid the deep dark secrets.

What does Xcorp do?
Make great cookies.

How do your customers see you?
Warm, friendly and cheap.

Are there any better cookies out the market?

Repeat everything
Repetition isn’t just the key to advertising, it’s the key to decks. Remember, anything that isn’t said at least three times is never remembered.

You make great cookies.
You make great cookies.
You make great cookies.

You should use repetition even when you’re making a simple statement. Just make sure to use different words. Example:

We will strive
We will work hard
We will succeed in making Xcorp the best company on the planet.

No only does this add pages to the deck, it also creates a comforting rhythm that will lull the client into submission.

Statistics are very important, and you will want to list a lot of them.

A beginner might think that it is logical to put a group of statistics on a single page. That is a mistake. If you’re ever gong to reach 90+ pages, each stat must have its own page. Example:

30% of the focus group liked the cookies.

20% of the focus group hated the cookies.

50% of the focus group was confused by the question.

Then you can sum up.


So in conclusion:

30% of the focus group liked the cookies.

20% of the focus group hated the cookies.

50% of the focus group was confused by the question.

Follow these simple rules and you will have a deck that is so mind-numbingly boring, that the client will approve anything just to get out of the room.

Monday, October 27, 2008


It happens to the best of us. You check and you check, but sometimes a typo gets through.

In the old days, there was a dedicated group of people called proofreaders. Masters of spelling and grammar, these folks worked hard to make sure that no mistake made it to print. But that was a long time ago. Today, most copywriters have to proofread their own work. (Or maybe an assistant rubber stamps an OK on the layout.) And the result is more errors making it into the outside world.

Which would be ok if it wasn’t for the Letter Writers. This is another dedicated group of people who make it their business to send letters to a company whenever they see a typo. I have seen some of these letters, and believe me, they are not meant to be helpful. They are meant to prove that the letter writer is far superior to the idiots who work in the advertising biz.

For example, I once saw a headline that was supposed to read, “Bread at its best” get printed as “Bread at it’s best.” Now that’s a pretty bad mistake. But I think we call all agree that it was a MISTAKE. Unfortunately, I saw a file filled with letters that the client received. They all said that same thing. “Was your ad supposed to say, “Bread at it is best”? Yup, that’s what we meant to say! We not knows how to speaks correctlies!

Now I am not saying that it’s wrong to point out a typo. People point out mistakes in this bog all the time. (In fact, that was the inspiration for this post.) And I even have friends who email me when they find a screw-up (Hi Laura!). The problem with the Letter Writers is not that they point out the typos, but that they point them out to the client! Some clients take this shit very seriously. And it can hurt someone’s job.

P.S. Knowing my luck I am sure that this post is filled with typos. Since I am my own client, feel free to find them all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Fun

Okay, it’s crunch time. You and your partner need to concept some killer ideas. So find an empty conference room, pull out the sketch/legal pads and start concepting.

Whoa there, speedy. You might not want to rush into this. Like a fine wine, good creative takes time to develop. But what can you do while you’re waiting for inspiration to strike?

20 Ways to Waste Time When You're Supposed to be Concepting

Call an AE and ask for more information.

Flip through old copies of Archive and CA. Stop every few pages and say, “why can’t we do shit like this?”

Go on a 15-minute rant. Suggested titles:
This Place is Fucking Killing Me
Account People Are Lazy
If I Ran This Agency, Things Would be Different!
I Need to Put my Book Together

Check out the latest videos on YouTube

Check out the latest episode of You Suck at Photoshop.


PS3, Xbox360, Wii


Get a coffee at Starbucks! Don’t go to the one in the lobby. Go to the one that’s six blocks away.

Steal a few beers out of the Creative Director’s private fridge.

Instant focus group. Call Libraries all over America and ask them what they think about your product.

Have a leisurely meal at a sit-down restaurant. Do not talk about the work. It’s bad for indigestion.

Acoustic guitar+trash can=ROCK BAND!!!!

Throw pencils at the ceiling.

Throw pencils at your partner.

If it’s late, pretend you’re Indiana Jones and explore the agency. Remember, the best treasure is hidden in the boss’s desk.

If it’s even later, look for computers that still have their email aps open. Read a few emails (or send some).

Go to the gym.

Have sex.

Call your CD and ask if you can show your stuff tomorrow EOD.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What were we thinking?

I hit on this topic yesterday, but I don’t think I did it justice.

It’s a strange phenomenon. It happens when creatives are working far too late. The lack of sleep combines with the pizza and coffee (or beer) to create a bizarre mental state. There are 3 levels:

Level 1
People are nodding off. Long periods of silence are interrupted by shouts of “What if we…” All ideas seem like crap.

Level 2
You want to go home, but you can’t. So your brain’s survival instinct kicks in. Suddenly shit ideas look ok. And ok ideas look good. Lots of stuff gets pinned to the wall during this stage.

Level 3
The pizza is long gone. Your brain is running on fumes. A strange feeling of euphoria sets in. You laugh at everything. At this point a half decent idea seems like the most brilliant thing in the world. You haven’t just done the work, you’ve fucking nailed it! Go home get some sleep.

The next morning, blurry-eyed, you hobble into the conference room to review your late-night genius. But wait. What happened? The ideas that seemed so killer last night have lost their shine. You’re now looking at a bunch of weird concepts that don’t really work. Like these:

The No Idea-Idea
Just the product and the logo! Or no logo! It’s so simple. It’s so clean!

The Work in Progress
Amazing illustration goes here. Brilliant, poetic copy goes there.

Apple Amnesia
I think I may have seen the black silhouette look before.

The Logistical Nightmare
We film in all 52 states and at both poles!

Ain’t Gonna Happen
It’ll only work if we can get Tiger Woods to sing with David Bowie.

SNL Skit
Totally hilarious :28 spot with no connection to the product or strategy.

Way Off-Target
I think 10-15 year-olds will get the “Where’s the Beef” reference.

Way Too Current
Joe the Plumber jokes are going to be big for at least two years.

The In-Joke
Everyone knows what it’s like to work in a New York advertising agency for a creative director who wears Hawaiian Shirts and likes to tell stories about his Mom’s big orange cat.

We Are the World
A spot about a bunch of creatives sitting around at 1am trying to come up with a great idea.

Sample headline: The only people too stupid to use this product are Creative Directors named Steve.

Hyper Truth
Our Double-Cheese Pizza will clog your arteries and kill you. But it’s a tasty death.

Noob Error
Uh, we submitted that same idea last year.

Didn’t Read the Brief
You might have mentioned that the product is new.

It Writes Itself!
No it doesn’t.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

More ideas please

So you worked really hard. You racked your brain for hours. You stayed up late. You did research. You even got the whole group together for a 3-hour gangbang. And you struck gold. 20, no 30 great concepts. All of them on-strategy, innovative and doable.

You present them to your CD. You hold your breath as he/she studies every ad. This time he/she’s gonna be happy. This time he/she’s gonna say you’re done. But the CD doesn’t . Oh, he/she likes a lot on the work. He/she even says it’s a “Good start.” But he/she would like to see some more, tomorrow.

Groan. More work? But you’re tapped out. You dug deep, you can’t dig any deeper. WHY GOD, OH WHY?

I hear you. We all want to be done with our projects. We want to get a brief, come up with ideas and send them off. It gives you a sense of closure. I mean, you don’t wash your car and then decide to wash it again, do you?

But this is not a post about how shitty it is to ask for more work. This is about the need for review. Unless your CD is a total asshole, he/she is actually doing you a favor. They’re giving you more time to refine your ideas and to come up with new ones. And that’s a good thing. Sometimes we are in such a hurry to finish a job that we rush the ideas. “Ok, that’s another one! Next!”

But when you are given a time to take a second look at your work, you start to notice a few things.

Headline that seemed hilarious at 1am after several meetings with “MJ”
-Not so funny today

Kick-ass layout
-Looks a lot like Apple’s new campaign

Million-dollar TV idea
-Uh, client only has $30K.

Really cool logo design
-If you turn it sideways it looks like a penis

Another day lets you toss out your “What Were We Thinking?” concepts. It also gives you time to do a little fine-tuning. Change the color, shorten the headlines, and tweak the layout. And you mind be able to take that idea that just didn’t quite work and turn it into something great. As for the “new” work, it doesn’t always have to be that new. Usually you’ll have a bunch of ideas that never went anywhere. Pull out your notes and look for some gold in the reject pile. And take another hard look at your original concepts. That little ad in the corner could lead into a whole new direction. Or it could be the first in a campaign. It might even lead you to the BIG IDEA.

So the next time your CD ask you to go back to the idea pool, get pissed, cruse their name, then get to work. Remember more time=better ideas.

Asking for more ideas is NOT always a good thing. For example:

Ever-changing Strategies
If the client, CD, or Account people keep changing the message, you get less time to work on your concepts. And the final work is often done at the very last minute.

Same thing. Nothing is more painful then finding out you wasted a night’s work because someone cut-and-pasted from the wrong file.

Too Much Time
“It’s October, and the layouts are due in March. Lets have 27 rounds until then.” This is a great way to create work that is over-designed, over-written and over-thought.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pause please

Everyone who needs a break from the election, please stand up!

Okay, so it’s not just me. I enjoy following the ups and downs of politics, but Jesus, we need a break. Every day it’s a new sound bite. Then the response to the sound bite. Then the analysis on the sound bite. And just when you think it’s all over, it’s Saturday night and time for Tina Fey to appear on SNL.

What we need is an all-star break. (For those of you who don’t know, the all-star break is when the regular season is put on hold for a few days, so that the all-star game can be played.) The candidates could stop campaigning for a couple of days. And we could watch politicians battle it out on the playing field. Who wouldn’t want to watch Al Gore take on Bob Dole in a cage math? Or see Hilary and Sarah fight it out with pool cues? We could even have a “Homerun Derby” where politicians attempt to top each other with more and more bullshit.

The truth is we need a break from politics so we can get back to focusing on what is important in this country.

I mean what has Brittney been up to? Has anyone flashed a breast on TV? Is Paris Hilton seeing someone new?

Priorities people. Priorities.

Mojave Monday

Much has been written about Microsoft's massive campaign to promote Vista. I've even mentioned it a few times myself. But Apple did it better and funnier. And I bet it didn't cost them $300 million. (Note: Adhack is NOT a Mac Fanboy. He is writing this post on a PC.)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Joe the Friday

Okay, this is a stretch.

Yesterday, everyone was talking about Joe the Plumber. (“Everyone” may be a slight exaggeration.) To me, Joe the Plumber sounded like a children’s book. Joe the Plumber and the Magical Wrench. Joe the Plumber and the Musical Toilet.

So that got me to thinking. How come our industry doesn’t have its own children’s books? Aren’t we good enough for storytime?

So here are some suggested titles for a line of kid’s books with ad folks as the heroes:

John, the Copywriter Who Couldn’t Spell

Susie the Color Blind Art Director

Doris the AE Who Secretly Wished she Was a Creative

Dennis the CD Who Showed Up At Afternoon Meetings Drunk

Alice the Supply Stealing Freelancer

Dave the Hacker Who Gave Everybody CS3

Mark the Intern Who Gave Half the Office Chlamydia

Paul the Idea Stealing Creative

The Little Idea That Didn’t Go Anywhere.

Lisa’s Big Birthday Party That Had to Be Canceled Because Of a Rush Job

The Big Scary Client Who Turned Out To Be a Coward

Josh the Creative Who Liked To Wear Ties

The Big Scary Conference Room

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ad Quiz #1

You are what you eat

This simple test will reveal the type of advertising professional you are. It’s quick, easy and extremely scientific. You only have to answer one simple question.

What is your most common lunch?

a. Brown Bag from Home
b. Fast Food
c. Pasta/Chicken/Steak plus wine at a restaurant
d. Vodka
e. Sushi
f. I don’t have time to eat

Pick your choice then read below.

a. Brown Bag from Home
You are an extremely practical person. If you’re a creative, your ideas tend to get that “It’s pretty good” response. Your stuff is never in the top 3, but never out of the top 5. If you’re an account person, you are the old reliable one, who does all the work and never gets promoted.

b. Fast Food
Rush, rush, rush. You live life in the fast lane. You love impossible deadlines and quick turnaround times. Your day is a dizzying leap from one crisis to another. Oddly enough you have combined this heart-pounding lifestyle with a diet that tends to choke your arteries.

c. Pasta/Chicken/Steak plus wine at a restaurant
You are either very successful, very rich, or very good at faking expense reports.

d. Vodka
Ah, the loveable office drunk. There was a time when every agency had one. Clients would snicker while a red-faced CD would try to slur their way through a presentation. Today drinking on the job is generally frowned upon. But who knows? Thanks to the popularity of Mad Men, we may all soon be back to swilling scotch and lighting up Luck Strikes.

e. Sushi
You are the type of person who loves ceremony. I base this on the fact that sushi lovers can never just eat sushi, they have to make a big deal about it. “We’re going for sushi!” “We had sushi Saturday night!” And they have to talk about the kinds of sushi they had. And how it compared to other sushi they have had in the past. You never hear people talking that way about other types of food. You don’t hear people say, “We’re going for cheeseburgers!” “This cheeseburger reminds me of the ones I had in this little shack in Osaka.” “Let me show you the proper way to eat cheeseburgers. After each bite, you have to clean your palate by taking a french fry and dipping it in the bowl of red sauce they give you." “Do you like mustard on your cheeseburgers? I prefer secret sauce.”

f. I don’t have time to eat
You are an amazing person. You have somehow managed to put your work responsibilities ahead of self-preservation. (You probably don’t get much sleep either.) However, this response does have a small credibility issue. If you don’t have time to eat, when do you find the time to read blogs?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Presentation-Chapter 1

Presenting creative ideas to the clients is one of the most difficult aspects of the creative’s job. Any activity that combines public speaking, acting and business schmoozing is bound to cause a few heart palpitations. But never fear, The Beef is going to give you a complete guide to presentations. It will explain how to making your ideas shine (and your coworker’s ideas…uh…not shine).

A creative presentation is like theatre, neighborhood theatre, but theatre none the less (dinner theatre if food is being served). And the first part of any successful theatrical production is:


What? Costumes? Dude, your analogy sucks already.

Ok, calm down. To successfully present your ideas, you have to appear confident and professional. Your daily attire of shorts, flip-flops and ironic T-shirts is not going to impress the big bosses. So you will have to dress to impress. This means pants AND a long-sleeved shirt AND even shoes. If your client is very conservative you might have to wear a sport coat or even a t-i-e. Women aren’t off the hook either. Save goodbye to the cargo pants and tank-tops and hello to long skirts and blouses. (Note: If your client is a perv, you can stick with the tank-tops.)

Helpful Hint
If you have a conservative client who requires you to dress-up, you need to practice wearing your presentation clothes BEFORE the presentation. If you show up at the meeting in clothes you have never worn before, you are bound to look like some awkward teenager who has forced into formal clothes for a relative’s wedding or funeral.

Ok, you bought some new clothes, you wore them to Home Depot to get comfortable in them. You’re set, right. Not so fast. What if you work for a hot shop? You can’t walk into a presentation looking like a Xerox salesperson. No, for outside-the-box types the dress code is radically different.

Hot shot creatives need costuming too, it’s just a different kind. The trick here is to dress DOWN from your normal work clothes. Trade in your jeans for ripped jeans. Toss out the flip-flops and go barefoot. Spike your hair, show your ink, go nuts.

What you are trying to create is a creative persona.

Woman have a number of looks to choose from, everything from emo to dominatrix.

Men’s options are more limited. In fact there’s only one. If you want to look cool in a presentation, you must try to dress like a 15 year-old skateboarder. I have no idea why looking like a guy whose only goals in life are to get baked and hang out at 7-11 makes clients respect your ideas. But hey, it’s their money.

Helpful Hint
There is an age limit to the skateboarder look. Nothing is more pathetic than a middle-aged man in a Volcom T-shirt trying to pass himself off as a kid. You are not going rail sliding after work. You are going to drive home in your BMW , eat pasta with your wife and watch American Idol.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Ok. I admit it. My last few post have been a bit of a downer. It’s been a tough couple of weeks (401K? What 401K?). But now that the market has gone up, up, up, everything is fine again.

But as someone pointed out, I was a little bit hard on the managers.

So to pay for my crimes, here are the 25 biggest creative lies:

1. I can’t start until I have ALL the information.

2. I can’t do anything until I have the right specs.

3. I can make that change to the copy. But it’s grammatically incorrect, and the client will get letters from English teachers.

4. I’m so swamped, I couldn’t possibly get to it until next week.

5. I think I got food poisoning from something I ate at the bar last night.

6. It’s only my second beer.

7. I’ll have it for you at the EOD.

8. I can’t do that in CS2. If you want me to do it, you’ll have to get me CS3.

9. Of course I checked the spelling in the dictionary.

10. No, I’ve never smoked pot.

11. There’s no way I can put all that in a thirty second spot.

12. I have to leave early. My wife/husband called and said it was really important.

13. I have a dentist appointment.

14. I wasn’t surfing the web. I was doing research.

15. I was up to 2am working on that copy.

16. I can’t work late. I have really important plans.

17. If we got rid of the Creative Directors and Account People, this job would be so much easier.

18. We weren’t talking about you.

19. I majored in English.

20. I wasn’t staring down your top. I was just thinking about something.

21. My band is going to start playing gigs soon.

22. I am artist. You are a suit.

23. I will never sell out.

24. If I make that change, the ad will suck, sales will plummet and we’ll lose the account.

25. Blog? No. Like I’d have time.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Late Late Show

Ah, working late. The long hours, the bloodshot eyes, the crappy pizza. Your boss would like you to believe that it’s a normal part of the ad biz. It’s like the tradeoff for not having to wear ties. Well I am sick of hearing this bullshit. So I am going to speak the truth:

If your boss regularly makes you work late, he or she is a shitty manager.

Think about it this way. Let’s say you own 10 factories that make brake pads or something. Three or four times a month, one of your factories has to stay open all night to meet their production numbers. Now, do you think the manager of that factory is genius? Is he kicking ass? Or do you think he’s an idiot who doesn’t know how to schedule his people? Right.

Now your boss does not want you to figure out that they suck at their job, so he or she will try to confuse you with a number of alternative reasons for the late nights.

It’s the staff’s fault.
Uh, you mean the staff you hired? Wow, you really suck at judging people.

You guys weren’t giving me what I was looking for.
Unless I am confused, giving clear, concise instructions to the staff is the manager’s job.

You guys went in the wrong direction.
You sent us that direction! And you didn’t decide on the “right” direction until the night before the presentation.

It’s the client’s fault
It’s your responsibility to create a good working relationship with the client. That’s why you get the free lunches, first-class travel and six-figure salary.

You people didn’t manage your time properly.
How could I with your endless status meetings?

And finally:

Hey, that’s advertising.

So the next time you’re at the office until 1am, remember why you’re there. Your boss (the guy who makes three or four times as much as you do) fucked up, and you are covering his ass. And to thank you, your boos is going to yell at you and tell you it’s your fault.


Friday, October 10, 2008


Sorry I was so dark yesterday. But times are tough.

So today I want to send a message of hope. A small idea that you can cram inside your head and pull out whenever you need it. It’s helped me before, and I hope it can help someone out there.

Whenever you feel like you are trapped in a shitty job. When you’re staring at the screen at 11pm and you know you’re going to be there till one. When you walk into the office, and the boss screams your name. When you take the blame for the big screw up. When bad days, turn into bad weeks, bad months and bad years. Remember this:

It is just a job.

Let me repeat:

It is just a job.

This is not Japan. You will have many jobs in your lifetime. One day you will get fired or you will quit. And when that day comes, you will no longer be defined by the petty office politics that dominate your life today. One day the boss who controls your world will be just another person on the street

So the next time you’re driving home through empty streets at 2am, remember that it is only temporary. One day you will be free.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

sample requests

The economy is shit. The market is shit. And that means just one thing. The employers hold all the cards. Want to tell your boss to fuck off? Well get ready for unemployment. Hiring freezes are the norm these days. Every agency is on hold, waiting to see what’s going to happen.

In the meantime, the petty tyrant in the corner office is now a real tyrant. He/she can get away with murder. I mean what are you gonna do, quit? So hold on tight and get ready for some really insane requests:

“Would you mind taking a pay cut until the market goes over 10000?”

“We need some people to come in this weekend and do some mounting. Are your kids available?”

“Could you return your holiday bonus?”

“The GM needs some people to mow his lawn.”

“Item 1: Raise freeze. Item 2: Senior staff is going on a corporate retreat.”

“You’re not getting an expense check this week, because you misspelled the name of the restaurant.”

“Say you love Sarah Palin. SAY IT!”

“Forget all that first-name bullshit. From now on, call me Sir.”

“We’ve changed our Paid Time-Off system. We’re sure you’ll find it to your liking. Hee hee hee.”

BYOD Bring your own donuts

“Office hours are now 8am to 11pm.”

The following programs will be terminated: Pizza Parties, Human Resources, Health Insurance.”

“From now on all performance reviews will be done in the nude.”

“Mandatory logo tattooing will begin on Monday.”

“If you don’t vote for McCain, we may have to lay you off.”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

That One

As a "wordsmith" I thought I should chime in on McCain's use of the phrase. "That one" in last night debate.

Personally, I think it was a rude thing to call the Senator. But I am alarmed by the trend of summing up political events into shorter and shorter sound bites.


"We have nothing to fear, but fear itself."

"Read my lips, no new taxes."
George Bush

"That one."
John McCain

Sarah Palin

Sometimes shorter isn't better.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When time are bad

Let’s face it, yesterday sucked. Even the bosses are nervous, and that’s never a good sign. So to help cheer everyone up, here’s a list of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard in an ad agency.

Make it pop.

Try to cut through the chatter.

Everything is a priority.

Think about over the weekend.

Flush it out.

Try to come up with some more.

Why is it blue?

We should have a meeting.

Schedule a conference call.

I think the client wants more chest-beating.

Here’s what you’re gonna do.

Can you combine the two?

It seems a little too conceptual.

Look, the client’s never gonna change their mind.

Same-old same-old.

They just need to see something.

Just sign it.

It’s a rush job.

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Working" the weekend

Well, it’s Sunday night, 11:54pm and I’m just getting around to writing Monday’s post. Why so late? Did I have to “work” this weekend?

Well, I didn’t have to go to the office. No all-day Saturday cram session before the big presentation. No one from the agency called or texted.

But believe me, I worked. It was one of those, “I’ve got a shitload of stuff due Monday, and the only way I’m even gonna come close is to do it on the weekend. It’s the kind of weekend work your boss doesn’t count. You weren’t at the office, so you weren’t working.

And that pisses me off.

Creatives are paid to come up with ideas. So whenever we are thinking about work, we are working. A few weeks ago, I stayed home with a cold. But I had headlines due, so I worked for about 3 hours and sent them to the boss. But it still counts as a sick day! We never get credit for the hours we spend thinking about the stupid shit we’re working on. How many times have you spent your entire commute trying to come up with one more killer concept? How many lunches have you spent starring at a notebook or sketchpad trying to come up with gold? How many times have you been watching a movie or TV show and the working part of your brain suddenly screams out, “Hey, that would make a great radio spot!”?

I am sick of this whole, “It’s only work if you’re sitting at your desk” bullshit. I mean why do we even have an office? We text people who sit 10 feet away from us. They might as well be at home. Or on the other side of the fucking globe.

The only reason we have physical offices is so old, last-generation Madmen can point at a big phallic building and say, “That’s all mine ladies. And the little people inside are all mine too.”

I’d write more. But I gotta work.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The worst job in advertising

There are a lot of crappy jobs in copywriting. But the worst has got to be naming things.

Naming products, events or programs is an art form. There are companies out there that specialize in this type of wordsmithing. But lots of clients and agencies like to save a little money and have their copywriters produce lists of names. (They usually don’t stop at copywriters. They’ll ask every one at the agency to “pitch in” and come up with some names.)

So how do you begin? Well, you take out your legal pad and start writing. Write down anything that comes to mind. The trick is to produce A LOT of names.

Here are some categories to get you started:

Foreign Terms:
Uno, domo, chow

Descriptive Terms:
Fast, new, econo, red

Combo Words
Econofast, Playtunes,

Once you’ve exhausted those categories, you can move on to these:

Friend’s Names
Marc, Doris, Frank

Words from Star Trek
Tachron, trilithium, Spock

Made-up Words
Fripty, gromine, druckty

After you’ve come up with about 100 words, take a look at your list. You’ll probably notice that almost all of your words suck. And the ones that you like are totally obvious.

But who cares. They're gonna end up using a name the client’s teenage son came up with, so turn in your list and go home.

Even if it’s 11am.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Where's the Beef?

Freelance deadline
New business pitch
Holiday print campaign
And I can feel a cold coming on


see you tomorrow

Ad hack

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Memo Tuesday

From: CosmoDemonic HR Department
To: Staff
Re: Illness

The cold and flu season is already here. So here are a few tips on how you can stay well and not miss work.

Avoid other people. Stay away from your friends. If you have a spouse, do not touch them. If you have kids, get rid of them.

Take a tip from the germ-phobic community and wash your hands a lot. I mean a lot. 20-30 times day. And don’t forget to use plenty of hand sanitizer.

Get a flue shot. In fact, you might want to get two or three. Doctors say this can be dangerous, but hey, what do they know?

The verdict is still out on zinc, Airborne and Echinacea, but that doesn’t mean you can use them. And don’t forget to take mega doses of vitamin C. If your urine isn’t a healthy shade of burnt umber, you’re not taking enough.

Even if you follow all these rules, you may still get sick. So here is a quick reminder of our sick day policy:

You get 5 sick days a year. You DO NOT have to use them all. If you have some left over at the end of the year you’ll get…nothing. But try not to use them all anyway.

It is our official policy that you should remain at home if you are sick. However, keep in mind that it is also our “official” policy to reward hard work, promote from within, and not sexually harass hot interns.

If you do have to stay home be sure to call your supervisor. Give him or her details of your illness. Don’t leave anything out. (Even if it involves the bathroom!)

If you have to be out more than a day, you might want to request that some work be sent to your home. If you are going to be out more than two days, your position will be given to someone who isn’t so weak.

Stay healthy, or else.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Things to do on Sunday night

The weekend is almost over (boo). So now it’s time to take care of all the shit you were supposed to get done over the last two days. Remember what you said on Friday?

“I am not going to fuck around all weekend. I’m going to get my work done and leave Sunday evening totally free.’

Well it’s Sunday evening, and you haven’t done shit. So turn off the TV, grab a fifth beer and get to work.

Work on your portfolio.
This job is never done. You either have to start it. Or if it’s done, you have to revise it.

Do the work you were supposed to do on Friday, but you didn’t.
It’s a scientific fact that none no one is capable of working after 3:30 on a Friday.

Send emails to freelance clients telling them that you are almost finished with their assignment.
Almost finished, almost started-same thing.

Charge phone, iPods, Bluetooth earpieces, etc.

Do your laundry.

Monday is not tank-top and Speedo day.

Work on your Secret Project.
You thought we didn’t know about it, did you? We are a blog, we know all.

Mentally prepare yourself for the week ahead.
I recommend making up a new nickname for the boss. (Dickweed, Asshat, Captain 80’s)

Get a good night’s sleep.
Use booze or pills.

Promise yourself that next weekend you will definitely NOT put off everything till Sunday night.
Repeat each week.

Write your blog post.
Uh, hey how about another list!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Advertising perks that aren’t really worth it.

Free Lunches
An hour spent talking shop with your co-workers. Or worse, TWO hours listening to the client talk about the renovations on their beach house.

Office Parties
Free food and free drinks. But you have to pretend that this is your idea of fun. Plus a sexual harassment lawsuit is always a Jager-shot away.

Free Agency T-Shirts
The “Property of CosmoDemonic Creative Department” shirt really looses its appeal after they lay you off.

Free Product
How many tubes of toothpaste do you really need?

Late-night Pizza

Other bloggers have already written about this so I’ll just add one thing. Who’s the fucker who always orders the veggie pizza?

First Class Travel
At the end of a 16 hour shoot, there is very little difference between the 4 Seasons and Motel 6.

Free Internet
The internet is not a “perk.” It’s a necessity.

Free Tickets to Sporting Events
Actually, that’s pretty cool.

Free Tickets to Sporting Events, But You Have to Sit in the Section Where Business People Network.
Oh shit. Shut the fuck up Lance. I can’t concentrate on the game while you’re trying to convince your client to buy six more units of Fleet enemas.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We are too big too

Okay, so here is the “bailout” plan summed up for simple people like us. The US government will take $700 billion in taxpayer money and give it to the financial industry to save their sorry asses. They may have made terrible decisions. They may have made really stupid mistakes. They may have committed crimes. But we have to do this because…THEY ARE TOO BIG TO FAIL.

But if you ask me, there is another group that is too big to fail. It’s the advertising industry. Imagine for a second what would happen if we stopped oiling the wheels of capitalism. People wouldn’t know what to buy. They would wander the aisles of supermarkets and malls with no one to guide them. They would be happy with their current cars. They wouldn’t worry about their weight. They would realize that fast-food tastes like shit.

And think about the social outcome. An army of virtually unemployable people would suddenly be out on the streets. With nowhere to go, it wouldn’t be long before they turned to violence or religion.

So here is my bailout plan. Every man, woman and junior art director in advertising will be given $1 million. (Jane, you figure out the Canadian equivalent.) And we will continue to do what we do best, convince people to buy shit they don’t need. Thus securing the future of the capitalist world.

Now if the powers that be are concerned that we are not to be trusted with that kind of cash, let me point out that we have made some terrible decisions (New Coke?) We have made some stupid mistakes (Jerry and Bill spots). And we have committed crimes so heinous, we won’t even confess to them on an anonymous blog,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

20 things to think about while your boss is talking to you.

1. My god, your nostrils are huge!

2. How did you rise to this level in your career? Was it dumb luck, or are you related to someone?

3. Why do you always smell like that?

4. I should quit right now. I should quit right now. I should quit right now.

5. Things would go so much smoother if you just stayed at home.

6. Give me the job and the due date. Then shut the fuck up.

7. Do you have any idea how much your staff hates you?

8. What is with your hair?

9. Why do you make three times as much as I do when I’m twice as smart?

10. Do you even know what YouTube is?

11. Do you ever fantasize about me? Ick!

12. Please don’t use hip-hop terms. It makes me cringe.

13. I wonder what sort of weird, freaky shit you get into outside the office.

14. Why do you keep repeating the same things over and over?

15. I can’t believe you get paid to do this.

16. Is the fact that you are my boss prove that the universe is completely unfair or simply in a state of chaos.

17. Do you realize that the hipper you dress, the sadder you look?

18. Am I going to turn into you one day?

19. Do you actually believe any of the shit you say?

20. When can I get up and leave?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 6-Freelancing
So you did a bunch of interviews, but the phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook. Well, these things take time. And luckily, you did get one phone call. An agency has asked if you would like to do some freelancing, and they want you to start tomorrow!

So what are you waiting for? Put on some jeans and your most ironic t-shirt and head to your first professional advertising gig.

You have arrived.
Well look at you. Your own cube. The crappy hand-me-down computer that no one else wants. You have totally made it. Hey, who’s that next door? It’s your cubical neighbor! Maybe you should pay them a visit. Well, that didn’t go so well. They were kind of…cold. It’s not your fault. You see, as a new freelancer, you are sort of a ghost person. No one is sure if you’re going to be there for a day or a decade. So people tend to be cautious about making attachments. (Note: If you are a wildly attractive man or woman this is not true.)

So with no hope of human interaction, you might as well get to work. What will you be working on? Usually when an agency hires freelancers it’s because they are swamped. So there will be lots of work to do. Copywriters may find themselves writing tons of TV scripts (cool) or even naming a product (shitty). Art Directors may find themselves working on layouts that some other AD started. (If you find yourself completing another AD’s layout, one of two things will be true. One, the other AD will have not labeled his layers. Two, the specs will be WRONG.)

So now that you’re a freelancer. It might be a good time to look at the Pluses and Minuses.

The Money-WOW! Look at that day rate! You’re making a fortune. Who cares if you never get a full-time gig? This is way better!

You don’t get health insurance. So you either have to self-insure, or you have to real careful crossing the street. And you might want to give Grandma a call and see if anything runs in the family. If you can’t talk to Grandma because she is dead, you definitely need health insurance.

I can work anytime I want!

You work anytime they want you. Dry spells can be loooong.

Shit! I finally got a fulltime job. Now I have to stop freelancing!
Uh, no you don’t. You see all creatives continue to do freelance work even after they become salaried employees. (Account people don’t get to do this. We figure they make their extra money buy skimming off the media budget.) Many creatives are quite open about doing freelance work, at work. They’ll use company printers to print their layouts. They’ll spend most of the day working on a pitch. I’ve seen creative duck out early when the agency is in full crisis mode, because they have a meeting with their freelance client. You’d think people would get in trouble for this, but almost no one ever does. The Creative directors are probably too busy doing their freelance jobs to notice.

A note on permalance.
Sometimes, when and agency is very confused, it will pay a freelancer for years. This is called permalance. You get all the benefits of a fulltime gig and the high pay of a freelancer. If you ever find yourself in this position, stay there.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Origin of Marketing Terms

Volume 1-
Definition- The use of repetition to create a brand identity in the mind of the consumer.

Client Definition-My boss approved last year’s ad, so let’s run it again.

Art Director Definition-I don’t want to come up with a new layout. Can’t I just use last year’s ad and switch out the photos?

Copywriter Definition-We’ll use the headline and copy from the brochure.

Media Buyer Definition-We must run the spot at least 6 times every hour.

Origin-Murky, but was most likely created as an excuse when a Creative Director wanted to know why no one had come up with any new ideas.

Examples of use.

Account Supervisor- We believe that our media buy and new creative strategy will solidify the brand identity in our target demographic, thus increasing our branding.

Creative- It’s not copied. It’s branding!

Global Head of Marketing-What the fuck is branding?

Friday, September 19, 2008

I'm a PC

Okay, Microsoft's next big ad has hit the airwaves. If you haven't seen it yet, here it is. I'll wait.

Okay, now what do you notice besides that fact that this spot actually has a message?

Figured it out yet?

Someone or someones got to fly all over the world on Microsoft's dime. And I'm pretty sure they traveled first class.

There is a breed of Creative Director who views every assignment as a possible free vacation. The bigger the budget, the grander the trip. They will come up with really strange creative ideas to make travel necessary. Coffee house? We need to fly to Costa Rica. Tennis shoes? Wimbledon! Brake pads. Uh…..the autobahn! The funny thing is, these guys could afford to pay for their own trips. They just don't want to. (This also explains why they can expense $75 lunches, and you still haven't been paid back for that slice of pizza you bought at the airport.)

As for the spot itself, it's ok. I still don't know what I'm supposed to do.

Travel the world?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cloudy Windows

Today Microsoft will unveil round 3 (4? 7?) of its $300 million campaign designed to convince people that…


What are they trying to do? Get us to buy Windows-based computers? We already do. In droves. Oh sure, there’s the Cult of Apple. But their numbers don’t even come close to Microsoft’s. Apple’s advertising IS better. But so what? There are tons of small companies that do great advertising. But you don’t see massive corporation ns freaking out about it. If a small chain of sandwich shops puts together an award winning print campaign, you don’t see Subway changing their whole marketing plan.

I’m not sure why Microsoft is doing this. The Vista launch was screwed up, but so what? Windows 7 will be out in a year or so, and Vista will be a forgotten memory.

And why the mismatched ads? The "we switched their OS with Folgers Crystals" Mojave crap. The weird road trip with Jerry and Bill. And now, a direct dig at the “I’m a PC” spots. Why?

They seem to be acting like a CD I once knew. He was always in a state of panic. Every morning he came into the office hating everything that we had done the day before. We needed a new direction, new ides. Turn left, turn right, back-up. Always running, always chasing.

I do hope that Microsoft finds their way. $300 million is a fuck of a lot to spend on therapy. But hey, they can afford it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

How to lose a job in advertising

Sorry for the silence, but things have been awfully tense here at CosmoDemonic. So for all you people out there who are worried about your job, here’s a handy guide to lay-offs:

Always fire people on a Friday.
That’s the rule, but they almost never follow it.

First hired, first fired.
First hired=lowest salary. They’re staying.

Keep the upcoming layoffs a secret.
Management could do a better job at keeping things secret if they all walked around the office banging drums and wearing t-shirts that said, “Layoffs are coming!”

Don’t listen to rumors.
All rumors are true.

If all the VPs took a pay cut…
Ain’t gonna happen.

They're getting rid of all the deadwood.
Deadwood has an amazing, almost inexplicable ability to survive round after round of layoffs. You tell me why.

There nothing you can do to keep your job.
Not true. I suggest begging, bribery or blackmail.

“There will be no more layoffs.”
Until the ones next week.

A severance agreement is just a bunch of legal mumbo-jumbo.
That’s why you should have a lawyer look at it.

And finally:

Who’s staying?
Relatives, the boss everyone hates and the guy who never seems to do any work.

Who’s leaving?
The workhorse, the only person at the agency who knows how to build a webpage and the junior copywriter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Where's the beef?

Shit, missed a Monday post. Never done that before. Guess I’d better come up with a damn good reason.

How’s this? The fur is flying at CosmoDemonic Advertising. Your humble blogger has avoided the spears, but he wasn’t up to writing a funny post yesterday.

Funny shit tomorrow, I promise.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jerry and Bill part 2

The dynamic duo is back in the second episode of a bizarre ad campaign. This time the guys are hanging out with some “real” people. Definitely funnier than the first. Still without much of a point.

And what is with the 4 minute running time? When it takes that long to send a message, you might want to rethink your message.

This is how I imagine this campaign was born:



CD: We solved it!

GM: Yes we did.

CD: Tom and I were having dinner and we both realized we have to use Gates.

GM: He’s the brand.

CD: Right, and then we threw out some names and the one that stuck was…

GM: Seinfeld.

CD: That’s right Jerry Seinfeld.


CD: Boom, bah, doo, bow, bow!

GM: We’re gonna do real stream of consciousness stuff. Cutting-edge. Outside the box.

CD: So thanks for all your hard work, but we won’t be needing it.


CD: Doo, doo, doo, dum, dum!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Free" lancing

Sorry there was no Beef this morning. I’ve been busy working on a freelance job.

So with that in mind, here is The Freelancer’s Bill of Rights:

I am not your employee.
If you want me to be available 24/7, you’d better start paying me a regular salary with benefits.

Everything is “On the Clock.”
You can ask me to “think about it over the weekend”, “keep it in the back of my mind” or “check out our website.” But I’m not doing it for free. If I am thinking about your product AT ALL, I’m billing you.

Do not pay me in product.
I’m sure your product is wonderful, but I will not accept it instead of cash. This is not 1873, we are not farmers and I don’t want your chicken.

You must give me information.
You guys live with this product every day. You know everything about it. I only know what you tell me. Don’t send me emails asking me to explaining the benefits of your new microchip if you don’t tell me what they are. For all I know, it could be a new color.

Don’t ask me to tell you who you are.
This usually happens with a new company. A client will ask you to come up with theme lines or tag lines for their logo. They will throw out lots of benefits, lots of strategies, lots of ideas. Then they will tell you to get to work.

What they are really asking you to do is to come up with their mission statement. If a company is asking a FREELANCER to define their business, they are in serious trouble. Run.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 5-The Interview

Interviewing is like a little show that you are putting on for your potential boss. You want to prove to him or her that you can dress yourself, show up on time and show up sober. You want to show them that you have a sense of humor, that you can talk about sports, that you can speak in (mostly) complete sentences.

Make sure you arrive at your interview at least 2 hours early. You want the boss to walk in at 9am and see you sitting on the waiting room couch reading your fifth Adweek. It makes you look needy, and bosses love needy employees. If the boss asks you if you want anything, like coffee or water, say, “No.” If they say, “Are you sure?” Say, “No” again.

Now the interview can begin. They may start by looking at your portfolio. The will flip through the pages quickly, only stopping at the truly mediocre ads. If the corner of a printout has come unglued from the page, they will frown and repeatedly press it down with their thumb. If this happens a lot, you probably don’t want to start planning your morning commute.

IMPORTANT! Never point out the spec work in your portfolio. But if they ask you if an ad is spec, be truthful!

Then they will ask you questions. All bosses are different (sort of), but here are a few questions you should be prepared to answer:

What is your biggest success?

What is your biggest failure?

What makes a good ad?

What is your favorite ad?

Are you sure you don’t want some water?

After they have asked you a bunch of questions, you may notice a lull in the conversation. This is very common. Ending an interview is a very difficult task. They can’t hire you on the spot (they have 15 more candidates to interview). They can’t tell you that you don’t have a chance (you might shoot them). They can’t fuck you (lawsuit). So they start to ramble. They talk about commuting times, office parties, football, TV shows. You can’t end the interview either. So the two of you just sit there, talking about last night’s Mad Men, and hoping that that this nightmare will end.

Eventually, the boss will awkwardly announce that they have another meeting. They will say they like your work. They will say they will be in touch. They will say a lot of things.

Get your parking validated at reception, climb in your car and head to the nearest bar.

You need a drink.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bill and Jerry

If you’ve ever wondered what trying too hard looks like, take a gander at this:

Wow! I mean…wow. What the fuck were they thinking? THIS is the “I’m a Mac” killer? Seriously? Let’s break it down.

90’s TV star is walking through a mall. He sees Bill Gates shopping at a discount shoe store.

Get it? He’s a billionaire! Shopping at a cheap-ass shoes store. Ha!

Jerry and Bill talk about stuff that is not funny and has nothing to do with computers.

See how creative we are. We are so out there, we don’t even talk about our product.

Bill says that he is a platinum card member of the discount shoe store.

Cheap Billionaire=Comic Gold

The picture on the card is Bill’s mug shot from his college days.

Now that is funny.

Bill and Jerry leave the mall. Jerry mumbles weird shit about computer that are tasty. Bill adjusts his shorts to indicate that the tasty computers are on the way.

We are so cool. Those Mac commercials actually talk about what there computes do and why they’re better. We are so hip we don’t even mention our OS by name. Surfers RULE!

In conclusion, I’d have to say it’s the most effective computer commercial since the Mac 1984 Superbowl ad. I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to run out and buy a Powerbook today. I am terrified that I have entrusted my photos and music to the boneheads who approved this spot!

Note: Adhack is NOT a Mac fanboy! He is writing this post on a PC.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Want a bite?

The Corn Growers Association is concerned about the public’s perception of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Apparently, they want us to stop worrying about a highly-processed sweetener that is in almost everything we eat.

To this end, they have produced some commercials to explain that HFCS is super-good happy food. Here’s spot number 1:

I like how they used the Microsoft Mojave method of portraying anyone who doesn’t like their product as a totally fucking moron. But what I really love are the undertones. Seriously, the garden setting? The woman tempting the man with something sweet and red? “Want a bite?” The phallic popsicle? This thing is swarming with symbolism. Somebody spent a lot of time thinking up this one.

Let’s look at spot 2:

Hmm, nothing wrong here. Just WHITE mom telling AFRICAN-AMERICAN mom that she is bad at raising her children. Nothing wrong with that. Hey what’s a little racial warfare when you’re trying to sell food additives? You can't let tolerance and understanding get in your way when you’re trying to sell something that IS ALREADY IN EVERYTHING!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The end of summer

Okay, I guess I have to accept it. Summer is over. We have Halloween to look forward to. And the Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanza period. But mostly, it’s nine long months of waiting until summer 09.

So here are five ways to mourn the end of the BEST season of the year:

1. No matter how cold it is, take one more swim in the pool/ocean/pond.

2. Barbecue an animal.

3. Wash all those beach towels that have been drying on your patio since July.

4. Go to a baseball game.

5. At sunset, turn out all the lights in your house and listen to Summer’s Almost Gone by The Doors. (Crying is optional.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kevin Smith makes a porno

If you are a fan of Kevin Smith’s work, you may have been following the battle over his latest film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno. After fighting long and hard (ha!), Smith finally won the coveted R rating for his comedy. (The MPAA wanted to give it a box-office killing NC-17.)

But now according to Film School Rejects, Smith is having trouble getting the poster approved. Why? Well see for yourself:

Wow! It’s an oral sex joke. Advertising a light-hearted sex comedy. It even has a “Coming Soon” gag. This will not stand! We need to be protected from this kind of irresponsible advertising. Imagine what might happen if children saw this. They might…..giggle.

Just to make the situation totally shitty is the fact that our Canadian brothers and sisters get to see the poster. I guess Canadians have a higher level of tolerance for sex jokes. Or maybe they’re a nation of perverts.

It WOULD explain a lot.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 4-The headhunter

Okay, you’ve got your book together, your resume is filled with action verbs (Oh, shit, I forgot to mention action verbs!) and your website is in the digg top 10. So now you’re ready to hit the street and go looking for an actual job, right?

Wrong. Looking for a creative position is not something for amateurs to attempt. To succeed, you need the help of professions. You need a headhunter.

There are basically types of headhunters, traditional and staffing agencies.

You know those moves where the agent works his ass off to make sure the actor gets the role of a lifetime? Well that’s how traditional recruiters operate. Except you get to do all the work, and they get way more than 10%. Here’s how it works. Take your portfolio to a recruiter and show them your work. They will laugh at you. They will say your book is shit and you need more classes. You’ll go home, polish your book and return in a few weeks. They will laugh at you again, and say you’re not ready for big-time advertising. You’ll go home and polish your book some more. After a few rounds of this, they will begrudgingly agree to take you on as a client. It’s a cruel system but not as bad as…

Staffing Agencies
Sign-up at one of these places and you will never have an empty email box. Every morning you will get tons of emails that look like this:

Direct Mail Copywriter-Health Services and Fast Food-$35/hr-Mid-Town-Duration-4 days-Starts 9/23!

There’ll be fun jobs, cool jobs, really really really inappropriate jobs. Art directors will get listings for writing jobs, writers will get listings for graphic designing jobs. And the money always sucks. Remember, $35 an hour is NOT good money for a creative. So why is the pay so bad? You see, the agency skims a little for their services. Like 100% or 200%. You might take home $250 a day, while the agency is making $500. And if that freelance gig turns into a permanent position, then you’re really fucked. The staffing agency could get half your salary for a year or two. (Read the contract before you sign it!)

Now that you have your headhunter, you are ready to enter the world of advertising. All you have to do is make it thorough one more hurtle. One more armpit staining, dry-throat making, stress test. It’s time for…The Interview.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Welcome back

10 things to do when you return from a 3-day weekend.

1. Delete all voice mail messages.

2. Check trash can for beer bottles/cans. (Secret party that you weren’t invited to?)

3. Grab a few sodas from the Creative Director's private fridge. (You know he’s not coming in till Thursday.)

4. Make sure no one has swapped your chair for the crap chair that has been circulating around the office.

5. Check to see if all your bit torrents have finished downloading.

6. Sneak into the hot girl/guy’s cube and delete the voice mail message you sent on Saturday at 2am.

7. Stare at your screen for at least an hour while saying to yourself, “I’m fucking back. I’m fucking back.”

8. Pick the last remnants of BBQ from your teeth.

9. Daydream about what you are going to do on your next 3-day weekend.

10. Delete (without reading) all e-mails that contain the following words in the subject line:


Friday, August 29, 2008

3-Day weekend

Leave early.

Do not think about work.

Drink heavily.

Fresh Beef on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 3-The website

Everyone has a site today. Mothers, grandmothers, quilting bees, hate groups. And for a person looking to get a job in advertising, it is a goddamn necessity. Just do the math. If you have one portfolio, you can send it to one agency. If you have 20 portfolios, you can send them to 20 agencies. But if you have a website, every agency in the world can look at your stuff. You’ll be getting job offers from North Korea!

But before you start writing ads for the great leader, you have to actually put your site together. Logically there are two ways to do this:

1. Do it yourself
2. Have someone do it for you.

There is a third option. Try to do it yourself, but ask a web expert so many questions that all you are essentially doing is pushing keys. I highly recommend this method.

Before you do anything, you will need a domain name. Unfortunately all the good names are taken, so you can either go with a longwinded name like Or you can construct a complicated combination of letters, numbers and punctuation marks that kind of spell something (e.g.

Now all you have to do is ask your web expert how to construct a site, add copy, upload images and video, link to your email and add a pdf of your resume.

Done? Good. Now just sit back and wait for the offers to come in.

Q: Should I tell potential employers that I built the site myself?
A: Of course.
Q: But what if they hire me as a web designer?
A: No problem. The expert who helped you with your personal site can now help you with your job assignments.
Q: Today’s post isn’t very good.
A: That’s not a question!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

Chapter 2-The Portfolio

(Note: This is for creatives only. Account people can read Fortune or watch Mad Money.)

All new creatives need a spec portfolio. It’s your tool to show a potential employer just how creative you can be when you have no client, no boundaries and no budgetary or legal restrictions. Now first you’ll need a portfolio case…

Oh, I know. “Why do I need a case, Old Man? I don’t live in your meat universe. I’m 100% digital and all my shit’s going up on my website!”

Good point (asshat). But the people who will be looking at your work are old, very old. The kind of people who don’t use email because it’s too difficult to learn. The kind of people who hear the words, “video game” and instantly think of Pac-Man. The kind of people…you get the point. They want to hold your work in their wrinkled, liver-spotted hands. So you will need a physical portfolio.

So as I was saying, the best place to pick up a portfolio case is at your local art supply store. They will have an impressive selection and even more impressive prices. Seriously, $75 for a plastic notebook with clear sleeves. Are you fucking kidding me? I mean, sure, the emo girl working the register has impressive tits, but come on!

Now that you have your super-expensive case, it’s time to put some work in it. Everyone’s portfolio is different, but all junior books must include the following:

• An ad for an adult bookstore.

• An ad that looks exactly like one that appeared in this month’s Archive.

• An ad for a local business that features a huge celebrity (Shia LaBeouf loves Marge’s Muffins!)

• Lots of jokes about shitting your pants.

• An ad featuring pictures of sperm.

• A shaky TV spot you and you friends shot while you were completely baked on Northern Lights.

Okay, now print up your ads, stick them in the sleeves and you have your very first portfolio!

Now all you need is a website.

“Wait, you said we needed a portfolio!”

Yeah, well, you need a website too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How to get a job in advertising

A sarcastic and extremely unhelpful guide to getting your first job in the exciting world of big-time advertising. Think you have what it takes? Then read on.

Chapter 1-The Resume

Yes, you need one. The people in charge still expect a one-page summary of your life, filled with typos, exaggerations and outright lies.

Yours obviously (It helps if your last name is the same as the general manager’s)

Account people should put something boring like, “An entry level position in the account services department of a major advertising agency.” Creatives should write something bizarre and pretentious like, “Pilot a spaceship to the outer reaches of the Delta Quadrant.”

If you went to a school that no one has ever heard of, replace it with a more recognizable institution. Moon Park Community College=Harvard Business School

As an entry-level person, you will not have much applicable experience. That’s okay. What you want to avoid are those dreaded employment gaps. No agency wants to hire someone, print up a box of business cards, enter their birthday in the agency database, and then see them quit so that they can backpack through India. So fill in those gaps with impressive sounding experience. If you spent a year smoking pot and watching Friends, say you were doing research for a study on how mass media affects the youth market.

Did your 4th grade teacher ever give you a gold start? Put it in.

As an entry-level person, this will be a large part of your resume. The point is to make you sound like an interesting person. If you are looking for an account position, make it seem like you have been spending your whole life preparing to be in middle-management. List activities like golf, yachting and big-game hunting. If you’re going for a creative position, list a bunch of strange hobbies like bullfighting, midget tossing or cross-dressing. You MUST say that you play guitar!

Do not leave this out. The person who receives your resume may want to come for a visit. You might want to get a dog.

Tomorrow! The portfolio.