Wednesday, December 3, 2008
When you're an alte cocker.*
*see my previous post, "You Don't Have to be Jewish," for a translation. http://adaged.blogspot.com/2007/06/yiddish-for-ad-people.html
My last couple dozen jobs or so (spanning 2-and-a-half years) I've been charged with attempting to change moribund or creatively mediocre agencies into places that do good work.
When you're paid to do this there are a couple of phrases you hear with alarming frequency. "Two steps forward, one back," is one. Another is "You have to pick your battles."
This morning I thought about those phrases and I thought about Rudy Guiliani. I hated Guiliani as a mayor but one thing he noticed along the way was that petty illegalisms and nuisances lead to an increase in the crime rate. So Guiliani wiped out the "squeegee men," who extorted money from incoming Jersey-ites by cleaning their windshields (whether they wanted cleaning or not) in exchange for a few bucks.
Guiliani had "zero-tolerance" for miscreance like that. And that's I agree with Guiliani.
When your job is to change an agency, you can have zero tolerance. You can't abide shitty work--even a tacky set of Xmas decorations in the lobby--because one advertising squeege-er leads to bigger creative crimes.
In short, when you start hearing those seemingly innocuous phrases like "two steps forward, one back," take out your acetylene torch and start flaming.
Posted by george tannenbaum at 8:33 AM