Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The center of the universe.


Years ago I worked with a tall, blonde and statuesque copywriter who no matter how crazy things got always managed to stay above the fray. Cynthia was her name and she had a level of self-possession and self-worth that I could only envy.

One Halloween a bunch of us were talking about what we were dressing up as. Cynthia, all 6' 1" of her dressed entirely in black (before that was in vogue) and pasted celestial shapes on her lissome form. "What are you supposed to be?" I naively asked. "The center of the universe, of course" was her reply.

What I didn't realize then but realize now was how prevalent is the ego-centricism that Cynthia's costume satirized. Today entire agencies think they are the center of the universe.

If they design coupons for Sunday FSIs, they believe coupon ads make the world go round. They'll spout data that says things like, "whereas newspaper readership has decreased to just 11-minutes per day, time spent with coupons is at a 37-year high." Further, beyond extolling the importance and efficacy of their medium, the ego-centrics need to do more. They need to say that all other media is dead.

Much like you can find dirt on virtually anyone (Did you know Arlen Spector had oral sex with a squirrel?) you can find "ego-centric experts" who will supply ballast to any argument you wish to make.

So, we hear assertions like "people don't read." "People don't watch TV." "All commercials are zapped." And so it goes.

These assertions are made by ego-centric experts who believe the only medium that matters are the ones they're engaged with. Naturally, agencies do the same thing. They pontificate on the efficacy of their expertise and claim its superiority over all others. In fact, all others are dead.

No good comes, ever, from unfounded proclamations. No good comes from tearing things down because you don't understand them or don't do them. No good comes from ego-centric experts.

Cynthia, on the other hand, had great legs.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I once worked with this pot who always called the kettle we worked with black.

geo said...

African-American, ok?