Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Denial denial.

I know when you’re one-hundred and eleven years old like I am, you’re somehow considered less of a consumer than those with 1/10th of your income and 1/20th of your investable assets. In short, there’s a fuck-load about this world that I simply don’t, not matter how hard I try, understand.

Advertising today reminds me a bit of climate denial. The reality of the industry has very little to do with the reality of the world.

That’s what I don’t understand. And it’s not getting better. It’s getting worse.

There was a department meeting the other day which I dutifully attended. For whatever reason, though I get no appreciation, consideration or even acknowledgement from upper management (I think upper management means people who manage up) I am looked up to by the rank-and-file. Therefore, I feel it’s the right thing to do to show up and listen. Even as I fundamentally disagree with about 72-percent of what’s shared or said, people want to see me around, nodding and smiling.

In just about all such meetings where creative is promulgated (we don’t discuss anymore, we assert) I hear certain things being trumpeted that make no sense to me.

I’m tired of hearing about influencers. In fact, I can’t identify a single one. Much less entertain the idea that I’d be influenced by any one of them. 
The truth is, I’ve never even heard from an influencer, unless you call Paul Krugman, Timothy Egan, Charles Blow, Michelle Goldberg, Kara Swisher, Nicholas Kristof, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Michelle Cottle, Farhad Manjoo, Maggie Haberman, Michael Schmidt, Michael Barbero, David Leonhardt, Jamelle Bouie and a few others, influencers.

Sorry, PewDiePie.

Here’s some heresy for you.

I’m not sure there’s any such thing as consequential influencers. I don’t think Tiger Woods sold any Buicks.

There’s more embraced denial at work.

There’s the almost constant praise-seeking refrain—from creative people, especially—trumpeting how they produced 32 pieces of content for nine dollars in eight minutes. The sad truth is in today’s modern agency we talk more about creative we did cheap and fast than creative we did good.

[As Tom Blessington and Colleen DeCourcey, heads of Wieden + Kennedy said in announcing the New York office’s McDonalds win over We Are United:

“Not only is it a huge coup for N.Y. given the size of the account, but it’s a huge vote for the power of creativity.

“Three years ago, McDonald’s awarded its U.S. business to an Omnicom/DDB bespoke agency called “We Are Unlimited (WAU)” one of those “best of breed” solutions that holding companies cobble together to convince clients of its brilliance.

“The promise of WAU was that Google and Facebook would be a part of their team and data would be at the core of everything they did. In other words, to paraphrase the old Thomas Dolby song, “They blinded them with science!” But in the end, WAU forgot the power of creativity (or arguably didn’t have much to offer). And three years later, they’ve been relegated to an operational role and WKNY will take the lead. There’s a lesson in that for all of us: it’s never either/or, it’s and/and. Insight, intelligence and great creativity win the day.
“Well, WKNY brought all three and impressed the hell out of McDonald’s.
There’s a lot of talk in our industry—you hear it from various podia—about getting back to basics.
I wonder if anyone’s done an analysis of all this. There are certainly enough analysts around—you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a couple dozen of them. But I wonder if anyone’s done an analysis of the efficacy of cheap, shoddily produced work. Or is being cheap just a way for marketing technocrats to get raises? Is that our criterion?
I know for this consumer (me) whose household income is in the top 1% even in a wealthy blue state like New York (even though I labor in a low-wage industry like advertising) the more crap I see on TV, the less inclined I am to buy anything. Or even enter a store, a car dealer or a quick-serve restaurant.
They’ve all used “do it cheap and do it fast,” to make themselves thoroughly barbarous, ugly and shrill. Political candidates, too.
Yeah, I know I’m an elitist snob.
I know I'm out of touch. And old as fuck.
I know experience has no place in today's world.
And I know it’s not getting warm in here. 
It’s just me.
PS. If this gets me fired, that's fine. Maybe someone who's read this far will agree and hire me.

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