Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A dark view. (Sorry.)

I'm starting to think very dark thoughts about the advertising industry and its future.

I'm starting to think that the "Creative Revolution" incited by Bill Bernbach and spread through his acolytes like Ally, Scali, McCabe, Lois, Ammirati, Riney, Gossage, Chiat, Clow, Hayden, etc. was merely an anomaly, like a traffic-free highway or responsive customer service.

I'm starting to think that we've learned nothing from the past.

We have separated once again art-directors and copywriters. "George, can you send me a line for xxx?"

We have added superfluity in design where there used to be only clarity of purpose.

We have made things complicated instead of simple.

We shout brashly instead of persuade gently.

We once again are treating people like idiots, dumbing both our style and substance down to neanderthal levels.

We afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable.

We chase after shiny objects.

We spew crap like Vesuvius spewed magma.

This isn't being nostalgic about the past.

It's being avid about doing good work.

About reaching consumers and moving and persuading them.

It's about wanting to have an important job.

A job that's not about producing more pixels, but instead being of more importance to clients.

I can't help but thinking of the last few lines of Bob Levenson's obituary, which appeared in "The New York Times,"on January 17, 2013.

"Mr. Levenson elucidated his philosophy of copywriting, which was, at bottom, epistolary.

"When he was asked how he wrote copy for all those Volkswagen ads, he said 'I always started by writing Dear Charlie, like writing to a friend. And then I would say what I had to say, and at the end I would cross our Dear Charlie, and I was all right.'"

We are not scientists.

Powerpoint is bullshit.

We are talking to humans.

We should try to be human.

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