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