I was reading a sign high on the wall behind the bar:
ONLY GENUINE PRE-WAR AMERICAN AND
BRITISH WHISKEYS SERVED HERE
BRITISH WHISKEYS SERVED HERE
I was trying to count how many lies could be found in those nine words, and had reached four, with promise of more, when one of my confederates, the Greek, cleared his thoat with the noise a gasoline engine's backfire.
From “The Continental Op” by Dashiell Hammett
Since I first read “The Continental Op” and everything else I could get my hands on by Dashiell Hammett, I’ve made a habit of counting the lies that can be found in words. In fact, politically speaking, I’ve advanced from Hammett to Viktor Klemperer, devouring his dense philology in “The Lingua Tertii Imperium,” The Language of the Third Reich. (If you want to learn more about Klemperer, and you really should, and you have a couple hours to spare, watch “Language Does Not Lie,” a documentary on his work.
I bring all this up because on Friday I read an email from Tamara Ingram, CEO of JWT on the exiting of Matt Eastwood as CCO.
I don’t have any axe to grind with any of the parties involved. I just saw Ingram’s note so laden with, let’s say, challenging language that I couldn’t help but gagging just a bit.
As a public service to my legion of readers, I’ve taken the email and counted the lies, putting them in red below.
I’m writing to share the news [most people knew his days were numbered. This was hardly news]that Matt Eastwood, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer, has exited J. Walter Thompson to pursue a new adventure [hang-gliding is an adventure. Unemployment, even when you’re well-off is not]. We thank him [for not suing us] for his contributions and wish him continued success [if he was having success, why did we fire him?] in his future endeavors.
We are reimagining the future of the agency [we’re hoping to stay in business]. This is a structural decision [we’ve lightened the payroll considerably] that will allow us to be more agile, [using this word makes us sound millennial] leverage our collective global bench strength [we have a lot of people sitting around under-utilized] and encourage the burgeoning diverse [we have two African-Americans on staff] ‘maker culture’ [another hat-tip to millennials] growing [sounds better than shrinking] within J. Walter Thompson. As such, we have no plans to replace the role. [We’re out of money.]
Creativity remains at the very core of our business, [pits are at the core of an apple] but today it is an even more collaborative process [everybody gets a vote, we do creative by committee]. It is borderless [we farm-out digital to China]. It is broadly focused [we try to appeal to everyone]. We are increasingly relying on the people who are closest to making and creating the work [Matt was a figure-head]. And, we are re-imagining the future of how this shift will be reflected within our organization and our leadership structure. [This isn’t the last big-name departure.]
The Worldwide Creative Council will evolve to better reflect the needs of the agency [Our useless bunch of figure-heads better do something or heads will roll]. It will continue to be a pivotal part of our organization internally [no one knows who they are or how they actually bill their time], and set standards and practices for how we improve the quality of our work.[Let’s not improve our work, just its quality.] And, there will be a fluid roster of talented individuals with myriad skill sets. [A revolving door of technocrats is coming.]
Additional strategic changes will include the use of technology to evaluate creative concepts at a much earlier stage [We will use more online polling to evaluate creative work]. This will allow us to be iterative in real time [get ready to stay late. We’re doing 10 alts on each ad] and to ensure we are evolving our work to be stronger, more innovative and have a greater impact on our clients’ business [we’ll probably include coupons.]
I am committed to protecting, supporting and developing the creative community and culture within JWT [protection, support and development through the lens of firing]. I am looking forward to sharing more specific information soon [what the fuck do I do now]. For now, it’s business as usual and we will keep the trains running [let’s hold on and hope the “train” doesn’t pull a Jersey-transit] as we head into Cannes [You can find me drinking Rose on a yacht before returning to my $5000/night suite.]