Wednesday, October 24, 2012

On Wall St.

I'm downtown this morning. On Wall  Street. Lending my "gravitas" to a new business pitch. I don't mind really, though I'm incredibly busy between work and other work and even more work. Work is a force, I believe, that gives us meaning. Besides, I have gravitas to spare and don't mind lending it out--especially if through a loan I get back with interest.

I worked for a major retail bank at 48 Wall Street for five years, and I'm comfortable down here with the swindlers, the sharpies, the rogues and the rascals. Among those sorts there are decent people too.

I walked by the great Morgan bank at 23 Wall Street. It was old man J.P.'s thumbing his nose to the world that in an area of New York with massive skyscrapers and the most expensive real estate in America, he built his headquarters just two-stories high. Yeah, that kind of rich.

You can still see holes in the granite edifice where a terrorist's bomb exploded in 1920. 38 people were killed and 143 injured. Italian anarchists, Galleanists were blamed for the blast, though no one was ever arrested. The bomb itself was comprised of 100 pounds of dynamite encased in 500 pounds of cast-iron for shrapnel effect.

As I said, I spent five years working on a client down here, producing for those five years roughly two ads a week, 50 weeks a year. Not all of the ads were great. Some, probably, sucked out loud, but many were good. And at an early stage in my career I got used to concepting, presenting, selling, writing and producing quickly.

There's also the wonderful reward of opening up the world's greatest newspaper, "The New York Times" and seeing your ad. I will never get tired of that feeling.

Today, rather than doing good work quickly and running it, we create ornate castles in the sky. It takes us 24 weeks to create a banner ad that needs to go through eight layers of approval. Run it. If no one likes it, pull it. And run something else.

I like that methodology.

I much prefer working in "hot type."

No real point now.

Just some memories.


Kate said...

Dear George,

I enjoy following your blog and reading your stories. But I recently had my Mac at work 'rebuilt' as it were, which meant I lost all my bookmarks, and couldn't remember the name of your blog (my apologies).

After a few weeks of missing reading your observations on life in advertising, and indeed on life itself, I had a moment of inspiration on how to Google search for you. My search term? 'Uncle Slappy.'

George Tannenbaum said...

Thanks for introducing yourself, Kate. Uncle Slappy and I are pleased to meet you.