Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In the last few weeks or months, at least in the United States, a fair number of creative luminaries have left their lofty positions either for posts unknown or for jobs outside of the advertising industry, the latest departure being Kevin Roddy, who has just bid farewell to BBH.

Unknown others would like to do the same, I suppose, but cannot due either to finances, lethargy or some other predilection that keeps them in their jobs and their psychiatrists in theirs.

The common plaint is “it’s just not fun anymore.”

What I noticed last night while my work was being assaulted at focus groups was that it’s feeding time at the zoo. The new-media punditocracy, the people who issue proclamations and write books but who have never sold anything, are nevertheless winning hearts and minds. There’s not a person who goes to a focus group today who doesn’t know she’s supposed to say “I don’t watch TV.” Or “I would zap that.”

Such proclamations are de rigueur. Akin to buying Playboy for the articles or flossing after every meal. You know what you’re meant to say, in fact you’re programmed to say it, so you say it. As do clients.

The facts about TV and other media say different. As the Ad Contrarian points out (Vox Clamatis en Deserto) TV viewership is at an all-time high. Zappership never amounted to much and besides, what’s the alternative? Creating an app that twelve hipsters riding their fixies in Williamsburg while wearing an “I Love Juice” t-shirt will download and use four times?

It reminds me of what happens when people who say ‘print is dead’ lose their cat. They might post and tweet of their loss, but chances are they print up flyers and tape them to street lamps. See, print works.

Surely the industry is reeling. Maybe it’s not as much fun as way back when when our secretaries had secretaries, when there were hot and cold running account people, but some of the damage to our industry, our profession, our craft and even—ack ack—our integrity is self inflicted.

The first step to having fun is believing in what you’re doing.


Brian Belefant, DGA said...

Beautifully put. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Tv is at an all time high but viewing is happening on a variety of devices. The MP3 file didnt kill the music industry but it did change the way the "product" is consumed

Anonymous said...

It reminds me of an old ad by Tom Messner for a magazine called World. Headline: Marshall McCluhen says the printed word is dead. to prove it he wrote 17 books.