Wednesday, January 29, 2014

After the all-nighter.

I'm working on a pitch right now, which is fine.

I like working on pitches, and I like working with my partner and I like kicking the asses of whomever I'm competing against. That's my nature; I have always been competitive. Either my work carries the day, or I've failed. There's no second place.

I'll admit, since I joined my agency 50 months ago, they have pretty much put me out of pasture. I don't get called on a lot of assignments, and mostly they just leave me and the business I run alone.

The fact is, since I'm twice the age of most of the other people in the joint and because I work hard to eschew the jargon and the trend-spotting bullshit of most of my peers, I think they just don't know what to make of me. Bad companies, I've often said, have boxes that they fit people in. Good companies let people expand into open space. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions.

But back to the pitch.

My partner and I quickly came up with an idea that was almost universally liked. In the 24 hours since it was praised, we've done two things. Yesterday until around midnight, we tried to make our initial idea better and broader. How could we make it unassailable? Then from midnight into the high single-digit hours, we came up with alternate campaigns.

That's right, we worked around the clock. Or nearly so.

At some point, I guess about 15 years ago, a few agencies started writing manifestos for pitches and big assignments. These were grandiloquent articulations of the brand. Its purpose, its soul, its promises, its driving force.

I worked on a lot of these and became very good at writing them.

They were effective, these manifestos, because they were a unique way of expressing your agency's point of view.

Now manifestos, usually short 100 word pieces litter the sticky carpet tiles of hundreds of conference rooms across the country. We write manifestos for everything. Usually to rationalize a tagline.

I bet not one person in a hundred can cite a tagline that isn't 20 years old. When I think of one, the only that come to mind come from the inundation period of advertising. So "the quicker picker-upper," pops up, "fly the friendly skies," "we try harder," "two two two mints in one," and so forth.

Nonetheless, this is how things are done today.

Don't ask why, it just is.

Bigger minds than mine have decided so.

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