Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thinking about Billy Wilder.
I know most of my references date from at least a few decades ago but that's who I am so, as my teenage daughter reminds me just about every thirty-seven seconds, get over it.
In any event, I've been on a bit of a screed of late because I am working on a financial services account and half the people in the agency are trying their damndest (and their lamest) to make the brand cool. The last thing the world needs right now is a hip financial company. Honest. Stalwart. Even old-fashioned may be more appropriate. But these youngsters--or unsophisticates were weaned on the rancid mother's milk of solipsistic award shows (when I get really angry I roll out my vocabulary) and know one thing about advertising: they know what wins awards.
So, they attempt to do work with that heavily practiced and artificial insouciance, that da da da stoner surfer attitude that seems to carry the day when the golden calves of ad idolatry are doled out.
They know one attitude. One set of cliches. One kind of joke.
Of course, this makes me think of Billy Wilder.
Wilder won a total of seven Oscars, including one for lifetime achievement. He was nominated for 15 more. He wrote great comedies. Great love stories. Great noir dramas. Great war stories. Great social dramas. Even a great comedy involving suicide. In short, he was versatile.
My guess is that if agencies and holding companies were really serious about "optimizing new business practices and modalities," they'd get rid of the one-trick ponies and bring in some Billy Wilders. Then again, maybe not. Doing so probably wouldn't test well.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 8:53 PM