If you listen to the news--at least the news on National Public Radio--you realize how little of it is actually news. There are fund-raising messages, those banal human interest stories about the guy who can juggle jello. There are the endless reports on traffic conditions. And a variety of other things that are really small and transitory, rather than important and "newsworthy."
I get much the same feeling when I read Stuart Elliot, ad columnist of "The New York Times." His column today is about Bazooka bubblegum. Hardly important or newsworthy. Likewise, on the blog agencyspy. Most of the posts are about agency Christmas cards or some other horrid self-promotion that turns any self-respecting stomach.
My conclusion in all this is that there's a natural human predilection to disdain what you do every day. I'm sure the cavemen who hunted mammoths 50,000 years ago wish they invented agriculture.
But my point today, if there is one, isn't about the paleolithic or bazooka or jello. It's about life in ad agencies.
In ad agencies it seems to me, about 20% of all work actually involves advertising.
In fact 80% of people in agencies seem to actually hate advertising.
Meetings where work is shown have ideas for flashmobs, Times' Square takeovers, twitter extravaganzas.
Where's the ad?
When I was a kid, my baseball hero was Pete Rose.
Rose wasn't the best player of the day but he did one thing better than anyone else. He consistently led the league in hits. He got more than anyone else.
He defined his baseball job as maybe a baseball job should be defined.
Hit the ball.
I don't know if it was Jeremy Bentham or John Stuart Mill or both who formulated Utilitarianism. That is doing the greatest good for the greatest number.
But that's what we're supposed to do in advertising. Influence the greatest numbers.
Make ads to do so.