Wednesday, February 4, 2009


GEIFY stands for George Explains It For You.

1002 posts ago, on June 4, 2007, Ad Aged premiered, if I may use that pompous word to describe my first post. Mostly I intended to wrestle with this question: will the advertising industry make itself obsolete as the American auto industry has?

Back then, the world was a different place. A trifle of research revealed that the Dow hit an all-time high on June 4th. It closed at 13,679.57. No, that is not a typo.
Today the Dow is 5,500 points lower and Detroit is announcing its worst January in 27 years, with sales down something like 50%.

The parallels to the ad industry are self-evident. I could pull in twenty unemployed creatives today and from a sheer talent perspective we could compete if not pale the likes of a Goodby. Meanwhile the hemorrhaging continues and no staunch is in sight.

Here's the GEIFY part. Governments, societies, families and ad agencies must must must operate on a pay-as-you-go basis. Our economy crashed not on account of housing or anything like that. We crashed because we cut taxes while spending $600 billion on a war. The ad industry is crashing because we provide services and then are timorous about charging for them. Or has focused on awards when we should have focused on sales.

I suppose if I were Greek I would say that Hubris is what's done us in. And no, hu-bris has nothing to do with Jewish circumcision and every thing to arrogance in the face of whatever god you believe in--it's what leads to the fall of men, governments and empires.

Hubris. The death of Detroit. The come-uppance of Madison Avenue--and a reckoning around the world.


Anonymous said...

I like you, George. You and this lovely coffee always start my day out right.

george tannenbaum said...

Sorry. I never said I was a bed of roses.

theschwartex said...

Actually when you think about it George is like a really good cup of coffee: Strong and robust. Flavorful with just the right amount of bite and bitterness. Always wakes you up and gets you going although for some he can be scalding.

In fact, if it didn't sound so weird I'd probably tell people who don't get it to, "Wake up and smell the George!"

Anonymous said...

A bed of roses also has thorns--terribly deceiving. We get the straight truth from you. And truly, my morning goes:

a) get large coffee
b) read Ad Aged and realize I'm not so old-fashioned after all