Sunday, December 13, 2009

Shakespeare and advertising.

Years ago, when there were mid-sized agencies that weren't merely large agencies that grew small (BBDO NY is down to 575 employees) I worked for one such mid-sized shop. We had about $100 million in billings and about 110 employees.

One of the Co-Chairmen of the agency grew very close to me. I think he saw me as a putative son (or son-in-law) and he would tell me stories and confide in me. One evening I was sitting on the large leather sofa in his office and we were chatting about something or other.

He looked up at me and said to me "About ten years ago (that would be about 1979) Charles and Maurice Saatchi sat right where you are and said they wanted to buy me. I said to them, 'I'm bigger than you, I'll buy you.'"

If you think about Shakespeare, his universe is very ordered. When things get out of order, when kings are killed, when jealousy usurps love, mayhem results. What has happened in our world and our industry over the last thirty years has been an inversion of the natural order of things.

To quote the three weird sisters from Macbeth, "Fair is foul and foul is fair."

Small companies have bought big companies. People who make nothing make the most money. People are encouraged to buy things they can't afford. Or to not have to pay decent amounts of money for what they do buy.

The result of all this inversion is the horror we are now living through. We are paying for our cosmic disordering.

No comments: