Sunday, November 30, 2008

On being trampled to death by the crowds at Walmart on Black Friday.

On black Friday there was a trampling death of a "sales associate" in a small Long Island strip mall qua village called Valley Stream. The Valley, I suppose is still there but I'm sure the stream is PCB-d over.

Almost thirty years ago I was a cub copywriter for the in-house agency at Bloomingdale's. Bloomingdale's was quite a store at the time and we had quite a good advertising department. Many of the people I worked with went on to bigger and better. Every year, I guess around November 1, there was a competition to come up with the words that would adorn each ad and which would be on in-store signage. Invariably my cohorts forwarded words like "Believe," "Tis the Season," "Love."

I was from the Carl Ally/Ed McCabe school of advertising even then. I believed advertising should punch you in the gut and hit you right between the eyes. As Carl Ally famously said, "Advertising should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted."

The New York Times then and now fills the bottom of short columns during the holidays with a short imperative, "Remember the neediest!" they exhort. I took that thought and twisted it--these were the Raygun (Reagan)/Gordon Gekko early '80s. The line I came up with was simple, poetic, satiric and rejected:

"Remember the greediest."

It worked then. It works now.

1 comment:

Tore Claesson said...

just goes to show that you haven't change that much. It's harder to blunt a really sharp edge.