Thursday, July 31, 2008

Science Fair

Scientists at the Lawrence Physics Lab in Trenton NJ have made a major breakthrough regarding the nature of time. Through a combination of experiments and mathematics, they have proven the existence of Client Time.

Dr. Adam Hackle explains. “It was a mystery for years. A copywriter would create a thirty second radio script and send it to the client for approval. Amazingly, the client would send the script back demanding that five additional copy points be added. How is that possible? You can only put thirty seconds worth of material in a thirty second spot.”

Hackle goes on to tell how some copywriters even started to believe that the clients were unsure about how radio spots worked. “It is unbelievable. How could a client who had been in advertising for years would have no idea how to time-out a script? There had to be another answer.”

The answer is Client Time. Utilizing the 5th and 6th dimensions, it is possible to put more than thirty seconds of information in a thirty second spot. In fact, since the number of dimensions is infinite, you could theoretically put in an unlimited amount of copy. Hackle imagines that one day in the not too distant future, each product would only need one radio spot. “With C Time you can cover everything. Branding, multiple strategies, even price offers and phone numbers can all fit in a single thirty second radio ad.”

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Microsoft Vista: Round 2

The second volley in Microsoft Vista campaign has been fired. It’s a series of online videos called The Mojave Experiment.

The idea is to let a bunch of ordinary citizens try out Mojave, Microsoft’s new OS. But guess what? It’s not really a new OS! It’s really just Vista! So all these people are raving about good old Vista! Ha!

Sound Familiar? It should. It’s the Foldger’s Crystals commercial! (“We’ve secretly replaced their coffee with Foldgers”) So they get zero points for originality. And they are still saying it’s our fault! Vista was fine. Vista is love. The only problem was our stupid misconceptions. Thanks a lot Microsoft.

And this is supposed to be top of the line advertising. You’ve got one of the largest companies in the world, a major ad agency and (I assume) and army of creative ‘gods” and this is the best you can do? An insulting strategy stuck on the an old coffee commercial?

I weep for the future.

Note: Adhack is a NOT a Mac fanboy. He has been a satisfied Windows users for many years.

The City of Love

Know Your Target

Starting today, San Francisco (or The City as they insist we call it) is playing host to the Romance Writers of America Conference.

(Pause for snickers)

I know what you’re thinking. Romance books are lame. They’re just a bunch of stories about English women getting their bras ripped off by pirates. No intelligent person would ever read that crap.

Well if you’re done making comments, I’d like to point out a few facts about romance fiction:

• Approximately 8,090 romance titles were released in 2007.

• Romance fiction is the biggest fiction category in 2007.

• Of those who read books in 2007, one in five read romance novels.

• Romance fiction generated $1.375 billion in sales in 2007. (Science fiction/fantasy: $700 million)
(Source: RWA)

Romance Fiction is big business. It appeals to teenage girls, working mothers and seven-figure executives. Riffle through the desks of your coworkers, and you'll probably find a few paperbacks right in your office.

As advertisers, we really can’t afford to ignore such a popular media category. So if you plan to advertise to the female market at any point in your career, I suggest you check it out. There are numerous sub-genres, from chick-lit to paranormal. And if you think romance is just about men putting their “mighty swords” into a damsel’s “red rose” you might want to try women’s erotica. The only hardcore porn you’ll find at Borders.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What type of agency do you work at?

The Startup

Tired of working for some asshole in a good suit? Why not start your own agency and be your own boss? All you need is a cool name, a couple of partners and a starter account. Your first account can be a local business or a relative’s company. (You might even steal a client from your previous employer. Hey, they’d do it to you.)

You can expect long hours and low pay. But if you manage to land more clients, the rewards can be phenomenal. With a little luck, in just few years you could be that asshole in the good suit.

Typical Agency Names
Marc and Steve’s Ad Agency
Yucaipa Marketing
GACWM (Global Advertising Concepts and Worldwide Marketing)

Typical Clients:
Your Buddy’s Sports Bar
Local Coffee Shop
Parent’s Law Firm

Suggested Office Locations:
Office in the “bad” part of town.
Mall (Between Hot Topic and Spencer’s Gifts)
Mom and Dad’s Basement

Things you might hear in the hallway:
Dude, should we pay the power bill or the phone bill?
Mom, can we have some more meatloaf!
At least were not working for xxxx anymore!

Mac & Cheese
Top Ramen

Corporate Philosophy:

Sink or swim.

Career Strategy:
Don’t burn any bridges.

Rent’s due!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Be Bold!

Remember ad folks. When you have no strategy, no benefit and no budget, go for attitude.

(Original here)

School is in session

Portfolio Center, The Book Shop, Al’s Discount Ad Classes. All creative advertising schools have two things in common; they cost a bundle and they take forever.

Want to learn all there is to know about creative advertising without all the time and expense? Well you’ve come to the right place. Here are the 5 simple rules of copywriting and art direction:


1. Don’t rhyme.

2. Outdoor headlines shouldn’t be longer than 8 words.

3. Only capitalize the seasons when you use personification. (e.g., The Summer rushed in like a sprinter on crack cocaine.)

4. Never use semicolons.

5. Make a joke or insightful statement that highlights the product’s benefit.


1. Don’t put anything in the middle of the page.

2. If you want to grab their attention make it big. If you can’t make it big, make it red.

3. No one under 50 uses Futura, Helvetica or Times New Roman.

4. Make the type so tiny you can barely read it, then make it even smaller.

5. Create an attractive layout that highlights the product’s benefit.

There you have it, all the things you need to know to make it the exciting world of creative advertising.

Of course, you still need to learn how to deal with office politics. But hey, Portfolio Center doesn’t teach that either.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Microsoft plays hardball

Microsoft is on the offensive. Apparently, they are sick and tired of Apple taking shots at Vista and have decided to roll out a $300,000,000 campaign to support their struggling OS.

According to zdnet, the first ads were shown at a Microsoft employee’s-only meeting last week and received rave reviews.

So what is the message? Is Microsoft going to apologize? Are they going to admit their mistakes? Will they hand out free software to early adaptors? Is Bill Gates going to visit every office in America and show us how to install device drivers?

Apparently not.

Zdnet posted a teaser ad pulled from Microsoft’s site that may give us a hint about the new campaign’s message. Here it is:

There you have it kids. Vista doesn’t suck. It wasn’t released too early. Microsoft wasn’t slow to respond to customer complaints. The only problem is that we are too fucking stupid. That’s right. If you don’t believe that Vista is the best operating system on the planate, then you are as dumb as the people who thought the Earth was flat.

I love it when ads insult me. Really makes me want to rush to the mall and buy their shit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How advertising works

If we only knew advertising world through books and publications, we would image that the conference rooms of the great agencies are filled with people talking about strategy, targets, demographics and branding. A typical exchange between a copywriter and an AE might go something like this:

CW: If we really want to speak to our target audience. I suggest we change our strategy from superior quality to increased affordability.

AE: Can you do that and still not alienate the upper middle-class consumer?

CW: We can shift the message in pubs targeted at a more affluent demo.

AE: And make the logo bigger.

Now this is pure fantasy (except for the logo part). Real advertising conversations sound more like this:

AE: Jan’s not going to like that color.

CW: Why not?

AE: She always hates blue. Back in ’98 she did a blue ad and sales went down 3%. She got totally chewed out by her boss and almost got fired. Since then the rule is, no blue.

CW: But...

AE: No blue!

You see, in the real advertising world, sound marketing concepts take a backseat to office politics, psychology, petty feuds, paranoia and revenge. To further illustrate, let’s take a look at the path of a print ad starting with the:

Head of Marketing
It’s time to put out the yearly summer ad. She would really like to do something different, but she remembers that back when she was just a lowly assistant, the head of marketing got fired for wasting money on a high-profile ad that didn’t work. With her performance review only a week away, she calls up the agency and ask them do the same thing they did last year.

Account Executive
He knows that the creatives are going to hate this. Every time he brings them a cut-and-paste job, they complain about how crappy the work is. But he knows that his client is not going to budge on this one. He carefully crafts the creative brief to “suggest” that they base the new ad on last year’s. He even includes a print-up for their convenience.

Creative Director
She is too busy studying brochures for the new BMW 6-Series to read the brief. It goes to the creative team.

Creative Team
The copywriter is annoyed at this crappy job and suggests that they just get it done and knock off early. But the art director has an idea. There is actually some money for this ad. If they completely ignore the brief, maybe they could get a piece for their portfolios. It would also be a good way to piss off the account team for giving them such shitty holiday gifts. The copywriter agrees, and they put together a whole mess of Archive worthy concepts.

Creative Director
Never having read the original brief, the CD is thrilled with the work. Maybe she can get some awards to put on her empty shelves. She approves the ads and they go to the account team.

Account Executive
Holy Shit! What is this? There’s no logo! No copy! that…a tit? The client cannot see this work. Just the other day at lunch, she was saying how nice it was to have an agency that always listened to her ideas. This work would totally insult her. The AE calls for a meeting.

The Meeting
Everyone is mad. The AE says that the work is totally off target. The creative team says that it’s the only way to break through the clutter. The CD tries to calm everyone down, but the art director starts yelling about how the account team always lies about deadlines. The AE reminds the creatives about the time he pushed through their wacky holiday card that pissed off all the Mormon customers. Finally, a compromise is reached. The creative team will put together an ad that follows the brief, and the account team will present the more conservative of the original concepts.

The Presentation
The account supervisor presents the creatives’ original idea as an ice-breaker. Everyone laughs and then he shows the client the ad there are really going to do.

The Cheese
Stands alone.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A. New. Trend.

In this blog I complain a lot about clients, creative directors, and AEs. I’ve even take a swipe or two at art directors. But I tend to leave my own kind (copywriters) alone.

So to even things out, this post is all about lazy copywriters.

I have noticed a new trend in headlines. You may have seen it yourself. Instead of normal punctuation, every word is followed by a period. So the headline Looks. Like. This.

Now there can be a legitimate use for this style of writing. It could give a simple statement a sort of rhythmic, pizzicato feel. But I see it used so much that I think copywriters are using it to avoid writing headlines.

And I don’t mean award-winning, who cares what the image is because the words sing so well you could be looking at a picture of pig shit and still want the product, headlines. I mean simple, old-school headlines.

Let’s say our client has cut the product’s price in half. So you sit down, and a few beers later you have come up with, “All the features at half the price!”

Crap? You bet, but at least it is a coherent sentence. The lazy copywriter will quickly pound out, “Half. Price. Same. Product.”

Now I have two problems with this. First, it’s strategy as headline, which may work in Europe (see yesterday’s post) but not here. Second, if the punctuation is to be believed, you are supposed to read this sentence like this, Half…..Price….Same…..Product. (It’s as if you were reading the headline off a monitor as someone slowly typed it out.) I’m pretty sure that’s not the effect the writer was going for.

So if you were about to create a headline that has an equal number of words and periods, STOP! Because. I. Am. Tired. Of. Reading. Ads. That. Look. Like. This!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What type of agency do you work at?

The European Agency

Bienvenue! Welcome to the birthplace of Western Civilization. To honor the artistic giants who came before you, you create toothpaste ads featuring bare breasts and really, really creepy Sony PS3 commercials.

Creatives and suits alike get to enjoy six (!) weeks of paid vacation, free medical care, and crippling taxes. A few years ago, getting paid in euros was a joke, but today you can pay for a night at the New York Four Seasons with pocket change.

Your isolation from the puritanical United States means that your ads can feature subjects that are strictly verboten in the US. You can show penises. Get an endorsement from Jesus. Even make fun of the United States!

Typical Agency Names

Typical Clients:
Sony PS3
Hans Brinker Budget Hotel
American Cigarette Company

Things you might hear in the hallway:
Domme Amerikanen
(Stupid Americans)

Wir sollten ein Mädchen oben ohne in der Anzeige.
(I think we should put a topless girl in the ad.)

Ces publicités sont PS3 commencent à freak me out.
(Those PS3 commercials are starting to freak me out.)

Germany: Sausages
Italy: Spaghetti
France: Snails

Dress Code:
Black, long-sleeved t-shirt.

Corporate Philosophy:
Que Sera, Sera

Career Strategy:
Keep an eye on the Germans.

You’ve been transferred to the states!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Commuting Questions

1) How do Netflix ads make it through every popup blocker?

2) Who is actually replying to spam?

3) Is it a good idea to make ant poison with a Mountain Fresh Scent?

4) What happened to the West Nile Virus epidemic?

5) Does the IT department have a list of every site I’ve ever visited?

6) Is the cloud coming out of the van in front of me exhaust or anthrax?

7) What if all the conspiracy theories are true?

8) Why does Diet Coke redesign its cans every few years?

9) Is chipotle a flavor, a spice or a cooking method?

10) Does anyone else remember that Budweiser’s “Real Men of Genius” used to be “Real American Heroes?”

11) Is anyone else creeped out by all those Heath Ledger posters?

12) Does buying an iPhone make me a cool individual or just one of the herd?

13) If my boss is such an idiot, how did she become my boss?

14) Are they going to close my Starbucks?

15) Do I got milk?

16) Does advertising work?

Friday, July 18, 2008

References Available

If you’ve been reading the news blogs lately, you may have noticed that our economy is not doing so well (the technical term is, “in the crapper.”) And that means it’s time for all good creatives to roll up their Volcom sleeves and update their resumes.

It’s a good weekend project. Just down a couple of beers, pick your poison (Word, Illustrator, Photoshop) and dive in.

But before you get too far, you’ll have to deal with a major dilemma. Just how creative should a creative’s resume be? (Cue Sex and the City theme music)

Should it have a standard layout, with Objectives, Education and Employment History? Or should it demonstrate your creative abilities?

It’s a tough one. Stick with the old-school style, and you’re liable to look like the dullest copywriter or art director on Earth. Seriously, agencies are crawling with people in suits who can write corporate-speak and create Word docs. Why would they want to hire you?

Of course going creative with your resume can cause problems too. Do it right, and you’ll look like a totally hip and cool creative. Do it wrong, and you’ll look like a pretentious douchebag.

Copywriters like to go for humor. Lots of retro pictures, funny descriptions and a general "hey, this whole resume thing is a load of shit” attitude. A more “emo” cw might write out a wild prose poem, with only vague allusions to advertising and their name buried in anagrams.

Art directors tend to use their resumes as tiny canvases where they can show off their design skills. An 8 ½ x 11 masterpiece filled with teeny-type surrounded by acres of white space (And if there’s room, which there won’t be, name and phone number).

(Oh, and if you do go creative, MAKE SURE IT’S AN ORIGINAL IDEA. You are not the first person to think of doing your resume in TV script form or as a piece of XML code.)

So what should you do? Create a piece of corporate crap or turn up the volume on the wacky knob?

I suppose you could just create different resumes for different situations. Send the straight one to the conservative agency and save the art for the hot shop.

But that seems like an awful lot of work. And it’s time for another beer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Lies in Advertising

• This is the last change, I swear.

• I’ll make sure you get full credit for your idea.

• The meeting went really, really well.

• The specs are right this time. I called the pub.

• It’s got to go out by noon.

• These changes are from the client.

• We’ll be taking everyone who worked on this to the launch in Tokyo.

• The new insurance plan will offer you better care for less money.

• We’re not officially divorced, but it’s on the way.

• The client wants a totally edgy idea.

• It’s software from home. Yes, I have a license.

• If you have any questions, feel free to contact the IT department.

• There’s no more money.

• Don’t worry about the budget.

• The client loves the idea.

• So many people had input. It’s hard to say whose idea it was.

• We’ve done a ton of research.

• We’re really excited about these concepts.

• I haven’t heard anything about layoffs.

• I’ll be with you in just a minute.

• I stayed up till two working on the layout.

• I’ll have done in an hour.

• I worked ALL weekend.

• Rough layouts are fine.

• The client just wants to see what it looks like.

• The pizza is free.

• We presented the agency’s recommendation to the client.

• It’s just a small change.

• If we do that, the ad will totally fail.

• That looks great!

• We’ll make the changes.

• Your job is safe.

• We’re working on it right now.

• You never mentioned that at the meeting.

• I did not approve that.

• I timed it. The script is exactly 30 seconds long.

• I was checking out the client’s website.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Legs and Thighs

Here in America, when PETA wants to protest the sins of KFC, they pull out the same old handmade signs and blurry photographs of dead chickens.

So what does PETA in Australian do to protest KFC?

That’s right, naked women in cages.

Now I’m not saying that everything is better in Australia…no wait, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

See ya in Sydney!

Original story at

WTF Ralphs?

Okay, you took your well-branded Ralphs Club Card and changed it to the Ralphs Rewards Card because…hey that’s what clients do when they’re bored. But what is with the card design? Seriously, it looks like something you might see in a high school yearbook.

And what is with the ads?

You want to change your look? That's fine, But don't let someone's "very talented" niece or nephew be the designer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What type of agency do you work at?

Episode 2: The Interactive Agency

Welcome to the wild west of the advertising world. Here the only rule is that there are no rules. You can try anything you like as long as it’s new and innovative. In this agency, the 30-second commercial and the magazine print ad are dead. Radio? Please. It it’s not interactive or viral or both, it’s old-school crap.

The staff is young, very young. Which means lots of drugs and alcohol and lots of sex partners. On the downside, salaries are low, because when your fondest dream is Coldplay tickets, you really don’t need six-figures.

It may seem like you could work here forever. But the truth is, your days are numbered. Everyone grows up. And before too long, you’ll be eyeing the comfort and paycheck of a more traditional agency.

Make Your Own Interactive Agency Name
(Choose a word from each column)


Typical Clients:
Beer (interactive only)
Automotive (interactive only)
Agency Website (revised on a daily basis)

Things you might hear in the hallway:
Dude, they think Banner Ads are cutting-edge!
I spent all day searching through the FLA file. But the bug was in the XML.
Did you TiVo Bleach last night?
The guild is meeting at 6.

Mountain Dew, Cheetos and two hours of WOW.

Magazines in the Reception Area:
Dude, no dead tree media here!

Corporate Philosophy:
Go for it!

Career Strategy:
Stay current or die.

Big agency is thinking of making you their interactive division.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday Memo

From: Management

To: CosmoDemonic Creative Department

Re: A Friendly Reminder

As you know, our office hours are 9am to 5pm. We have noticed that many members of the creative department are ignoring this and coming to the office at 9:30, 10 or even later! This practice must stop. As an employee you are required to put in at least 7 hours a day.

Now we realize that the concept of rules may be confusing to some of you. So here are some Frequently Asked Questions about our office hours:

If I come in early, does that mean I can leave early?
No. We encourage all our employees to come in early. We see it as a sign of dedication and company loyalty. But if you use early arrival as an excuse for knocking off at 4:30 so you can spend time with your family, we will have no choice but to terminate you.

Can I leave if I’m done with my work?
No. A creative’s work is NEVER done. If you finish before 5, please sit quietly in your cube and try not to disturb your coworkers. If this occurs regularly, take a tip from our lazier employees and slow down.

I get to the office around 9:30 and leave at 5, but I work at home for several hours every…
Okay, we knew this was going to come up. For the last time, WORKING AT HOME DOES NOT COUNT AS REAL WORK. We have no idea what you people are doing in your homes (and we don’t want to know.). Oh sure, you claim you spent two hours working on that layout, but how do we know you didn’t put it together during your morning commute? Oh, and you can stop using the “2am email trick” even we’ve heard of that one.

I regularly work more that 7 hours a day. Is this a problem?
No, no, no, no, no. You see, when it comes to minimum hours, we are totally fanatical. But when it comes to maximum hours, we are totally laid back. You want to work 14 –hour days and ignore your family? No problemo. You want to spend weekends sitting alone at the office? Cool. You want to work so many hours that you have a massive heart attack at 34? We’ll send your spouse a ham!

This does not make sense. It seems like you are judging us simply by the number of hours we sit in our chairs. By this reasoning, an employee who works hard and finishes their work quickly is less valuable than a slacker who surfs the web all day.
Good point. What’s your name?

Um, I forget.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Fun

Last weekend, Los Angeles played host to the 2008 AnimeExpo. I decided to attend and see what it was all about.

I bought my ticket and dove into a sea of anime fans dressed as characters from their favorite shows. There were people dressed as Japanese schoolgirls, French maids, mutants, samurai, transformers, wiimotes, Hello Kitties, more schoolgirls, French maids with gas masks(?) and the occasional Jedi.

But my favorite moment was when I saw her:

I suddenly remembered that these people buy shit, a lot of shit. They are young, urban, highly-educated and with tons of disposable cash (Those French Maid costumes must cost a bundle.)

In other words, they are one of our targets.

So remember fellow advertisers, no matter how bad you want to mock a group always keep in mind rule 27 of marketing.

It doesn’t matter how crazy you are. If you’ve got a credit card, we want to talk to you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Art Director Porn

Anyone who works at an agency knows that Art Directors love to upgrade their Macs. They are constantly on the lookout for more RAM, a bigger monitor and the latest version of Photoshop. Morality has no place when it comes to an AD’s Macintosh. He or she will beg, borrow or steal in an effort to put together a better system.

But what is their goal? What would the ultimate Mac be like?

A trio of Art Directors at my agency decided to find out. They went to the Apple site and started to configure a new machine. If there was an accessory, they picked it. If there was a choice, they went for the more expensive one. And in the end they had done it. They had created THE WORLD’S GREATEST MAC!

(drum roll)

It’s a Mac Pro. And it comes with:

Two 3.2GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon Processors
32GB of RAM
Four 1TB Hard Drives
Two 16x SuperDrives
Two 30" flat panel HD Displays
iWork '08 , Final Cut Express, Aperture and Logic Express preinstalled

And you can take home this massive chunk of Steve Jobsian brilliance for the low, low price of just:

That’s right boys and girls. For the price of a decent car, you can finally have the best Mac on the block.

At least until the next Keynote Speech

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What type of agency do you work at?

Episode 1: The Big Agency

Let’s start at the top. The big time. The show. Clients are huge national and international brands. Budgets are in the stratosphere. Your agency may take up several floors or even the entire building. Human Resources has its own softball team.

It’s hard to know what people actually do at a Big Agency. Every day you run into large groups of people you’ve never seen before, but clearly work there. It’s hard to get noticed at a Big Agency, but maybe that’s the point. It’s an easy place to hide. If you’re smart, you can spend years at a Big Agency doing about four hours of work a week.

Then there are the perks. Holiday parties are grossly-expensive formal affairs. Travel is always first-class. And when you recite your client roster, your ad friends will drool like starving Chihuahuas.

Typical Big Agency Names:
[WHITE GUY NAME] & Associates

Typical Clients:
Japanese Automobile Company
Big Oil
Athletic Gear

Things You Might Hear in the Hallway:
You busy?
I hear we’re getting another piece of [CLIENT NAME].
Where do you think the summer party will be this year?
Can you believe it? We had to share a room at Cannes!

Prime Rib with Baked Potato and Grilled Asparagus. Scotch and Soda.

Corporate Philosophy:
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Career Strategy:
Enjoy the ride.

CEO called to testify before Congress.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Can you hear me n....

My internet is out right now. No web. No IMing. No nothing.

It’s kind of scary. I’ve gotten so used to the idea that the world is just a link away. And now, I’m all alone.

But it wasn’t always this way. I can remember when there was no IMing, texting or emailing. You were actually forced to talk to the people who were in the same room as you.

I think that’s why coworkers felt more like family back then. Sure, you’d see your real family at nights and on the weekends. But on weekdays, the only people you could communicate with were your coworkers. Sure it sucked. But it was kind of cool too.

I can remember that during down times on TV shoots, everyone would chat with whoever happened to be sitting next to them. AEs talked with costume people. Drivers talked with Art Directors. And Copywriters tried to hit on the craft services girl. Now whenever there’s a break on a shoot, everyone whips out their phones and talks or texts with the person they’d rather be with.

So what am I getting at? Am I turning into some sort of Luddite who dreams of a world without technology? Or am I some old guy who claims that things were much better back then?


(BTW, if you’re wondering why I don’t just use my iPhone to connect, it’s because I don’t have one.)

Internet came back at 1:15am. BUT I STILL DON'T HAVE AN IPHONE!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Welcome Back

Like many of you, I spent a good portion of the weekend in my local supermarket. The beer prices were great, but it did start me thinking. Why do we only have huge beer sales on holidays? I mean, most of us are already happy because of the day off. What we really need are cheap 18-packs on days when we are in really shitty moods.

For example:

• You’re presenting a bunch of television ideas. Without any prior warning your Creative Director announces that he/she is looking into buying the rights to a song that would be perfect.

• After spending the whole weekend working on some great creative, the AE tells you that the meeting has been put on hold…indefinitely.

• Your killer idea is thrown out of the presentation so that your boss can “have something in the mix.”

• The spot you checked so carefully checked makes it on the air with a huge typo. And the client was the one who noticed it.

• Creative Director/client rejects all your kick-ass ideas. But he/she falls in love with the crappy one you stuck in there just so you’d have 10 concepts.

• You’ve been chosen to design a project that involves a lot of work and almost no reward, like the agency website, Christmas card or T-shirt.

• The agency you left six months ago just landed a hot new account. The “hot shop” you are currently at just asked everyone to take a “voluntary” pay cut.

• Any time you fill up your gas tank.

• Monday morning after a 3-day weekend.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Get Away Day

This phone conversation was recorded on Friday, June 27, 2008. It was between the CEO of a major oil company and the CEO of a major automobile company. All names have been changed to protect the anonymity of the parties.


Bill, it’s Dennis.

Hey, how the hell are you?

Not good actually. You know oil prices are through the roof.

Tell me about it.

Well yeah, I mean you’re making obscene profits and all but…

Hey, that’s why we’re in business.

I know. But the cost is gas is sort of killing my business.

Say again?

No one wants to buy our trucks or SUVs anymore. And those are our biggest money-makers. And a lot of people are driving less and even taking…public transportation.

How can I help you Dennis?

Well I was thinking that if you could maybe lower your prices a bit, it would really, really help me.

You know Dennis, I’d love to, but about a year ago I went to the car show here in town. And do you know what I saw at your display?


A bunch of hybrids. Right out in front.

I’m sorry Bill. It was some young guys on our staff…

And you know what was right next to the hybrids? A hydrogen car. Hydrogen! Last time I checked, we don’t have any fucking hydrogen wells here in Texas. So who is trying to put who out of business?

I am really Sorry Bill, It will never happen again.

You bet your ass it won’t. I figure I’ll let you guys sweat it out for a year or so. Your Board will probably come in and do some house cleaning, and I can deal with the next batch of losers. Something tells me they won’t be so hot about putting a bunch of hybrids on the road.

You know Bill, I can remember when car manufacturers were the biggest most powerful companies in America.

Yeah, when was that, like a hundred years ago?


Have a shitty weekend.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I Client

You’ve all had your fun at my expense, but now it’s time to set things straight. “Creative Beef” has given me the opportunity to describe things from my (the client’s) point of view. So sit back and relax, and maybe you’ll learn something. (I’ll put them in bullet points. You writers know how I love bullet points.)

• Hey Young Creative! Thanks for acting like you know way more than me about my industry. I’ve only spent the last 25 years crawling my way up the corporate ladder. I’ve survived recessions, layoffs, new owners, etc. But your four years at Art Center make you far more qualified than me.

• Hey Art Director, remember how much you bitched about that sunburst I made you put on that magazine ad? You even had your Creative Director call me and try to get me to change my mind. So what was the result of my horrible idea? Did sales plummet? Did our company go out of business? Did customers stay away in droves because our advertising was so ugly? No they fucking didn’t.

• And hey, remember that super cool television campaign you convinced me to do the week I got out of rehab? We spent our yearly budget on two TV spots. You won a bunch of nifty advertising awards, and our sales went down 8%.

• I’m sorry, but at what point did working the weekend become cruel and unusual punishment?

• Keep complaining about how I never give you enough money to do your “great” ideas. Of course we all realize that all marketing heads are completely autonomous beings that never have to answer to CEOs, CFOs or stock holders.

• I’m sorry I asked you to spend a couple of hours putting together my family’s holiday card. That was way out of line. After all, we only pay you guys $12 million a year.

• I love when you come to meetings in t-shirts and board shorts. It’s like I’m listening to a bunch of my teenage son’s friends.

• Want to know a secret? Your account people think I’m totally on their side. But if my boss asked my to put the account in review, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

• Every time your creative director pulls up in his BMW M5, I wonder if I’m paying you people too much.

• If you said, “no” once in a while, I might get used to it. I might even think you grew a pair.

• You creatives think you hate your account people? Well guess what, I hate them even more.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Scenes from a SkyMall

Hey it’s working! I can feel it…wait, something’s wrong! It’’s crushing my fucking bones! Turn it off! Turn it off!

Okay, it’s off!