I've been working in the industry since 1984, at major agencies, for major creative directors, on major clients.
During those 29 years I've earned applause--actually hand-clapping--maybe three times. Each time, it was pre-cursor to a painful death.
The last time before this time was back in the 90s. We were pitching an account that, if won, would have brought Ally & Gargano back to respectability. It had been one of the great agencies of all time and winning this account would have given it the opportunity to be great again on a national stage.
My partner and I worked all weekend long and came up with something we knew was good. We presented it to about 15 people at an internal meeting Monday morning. To a man, they stood and applauded.
Over the next six weeks of the pitch, that work was picked at and emasculated. Finally, just a week before the client presentation, I ripped the tissue off the wall, crumbled it up and threw it at the Chief Creative Officer.
I remember what I said to him like it was yesterday. "You want it dead, it's dead."
The same has happened recently. A client screamed after I presented a campaign, "I love it. We have to do this."
Since that point, six weeks ago, advertising cadaver-ists have stormed in. They are the most thorough type of surgeons. Armed with razor sharp implements of torture, they've had their way with the work.
Removing real. Removing grit. Removing truth. Removing humor.
The campaign is now cardboard thin.
We are showing it to the big boss in a week, only because he saw it before and liked it. We have an obligation.
But the destroyer-gnomes who never liked it (they exist at both clients and agencies) have gnawed it into nothingness.
So much for applause.