Tuesday, April 8, 2014


One of the toughest things so far about being without a job, is how many people tell are apt to tell me how "wise" I am.

"You are the wise man of advertising," they tell me.

"You bring such wisdom and insight to every problem."

"You're so wise, any agency would be fortunate to have you."

If I can put aside my preternatural self-deprecation for a minute or two, I'd say all of the quotations above are true.

I have experience.

I have distance.

I am measured and intelligent.

And these are, unfortunately, exactly the qualities most agencies DON'T value today.

If you're unconvinced, just look at Ogilvy's new "E*Trade" work.  It's such an affront to all five senses that it makes me wish I had more than five senses so those too could be appalled.

My friend and ex-producer from Ally & Gargano posted this spot on his Facebook feed last week. I can't help thinking it would be a breakthrough spot today like it was forty years ago. It doesn't scream, there are no pyrotechnics. Nothing really but a good actor and a great script.
Pan Am spot

It swims against the tide the same way "And God Made a Farmer," did. It's different, the same way Google's "Dear Sophie" is.

Yet most work we see reminds me of fire engines speeding to a conflagration. Who can be the loudest. To the point where most people respond no longer to the noise.

The Pan Am spot understands the life, the hopes, the fears and the dreams of its customers. We could muck it up by dissecting it with today words like "insight," and "empathy." But if you think of it as a letter from an older, wiser brother to a younger, more cautious one, you get it.

It saddens me that I am wise in an industry that favors glib.

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