On Friday, before the three-day weekend commemorating mattress sales, carnage by AK-47s as a god-given right, and the triumph of the January 6th attempted coup over what was once American Democracy, a friend sent me a note.
He had seen, online, a 967-word ad for a creative director. Since I am always looking for something to write about in this space, I quickly asked him to send me the masterpiece.
I can't think of a single job, from brain-surgeon to boot-licker, that would demand 967-words to describe it. Most descriptions, I've noticed, get blurrier as they get longer.
As for creative director, I think I could write a pretty good job description in about 12 words.
"Do good work. Lead people. Teach people. Guide clients. Win business. Smile."
Really, how much more do you need to say? If you need a little more detail, you might add, "media agnostic. 10+ years experience. Sense of humor."
What everyone along the way has forgotten is what was drummed into me the first time I was at Ogilvy, back in the 90s and the 00s, when they were still in business.
It's this: that every communication, action and inaction defines a brand. They're all part of a composite-drawing brands are making every day. So when a c-level person looks like an imbecile on her Instagram, or when a similar potentate sends out tweets or whatever of banal homilies like "Aim High," the entire company is affected. And hurt.
If anyone with any power is reading this, you should really check and see if your company does shit that reads like this. If you do, you should call me. If I don't have time to fix things up, or I'm too expensive, I can probably give you subway directions to the Bronx Zoo from anywhere in the five boroughs.
Once there, I'm sure you can find a chimp that can do a better job.
By the way, on occasion when I worked for an agency, I would get a brief or a piece of copy that was badly written, almost incomprehensible. In the interest of saving my time (and my breath) I would use this site which would give me a general reading score of the copy. Sometimes I would subject my own copy to the site. If nothing else, I found it was helpful in spotting stupidly long sentences. It's usually pretty simple to cut those in half or in thirds.
I put the job description I pasted below through that test. Here are their scores.
Worse, the copy below starts with a 38-word sentence. And has sentences as long as 70 words. If you read it aloud, that would be roughly 30-seconds without pause.
This is how our industry seeks to attract people today.
I think there was a time when we cared more and did better.
We couldn't do much worse.
By the way, if you believe, at least roughly in the notion of ontogeny recapitulating phylogeny, you might want to read this article from The Wall Street Journal about the merger of two HCLOs--Holding Company-Like Objects, MDC and Stagwell--which is a Hospital Corporation that treats deer and moose.
If you want to see what the ad industry is really about today, try to read this.
Like creative director jobs have nothing to do with creating or directing, ad agencies have nothing to do anymore with advertising.