Thursday, October 26, 2023


Back in pre-historic times before all of advertising was owned by four or five holding companies that are, in fact, owned by four or five private equity firms, I worked for an important 300-person firm.

My friends and I had determined that the right-sized agency for a young creative person was about 300 people. 

That was big enough to handle national accounts, but not so big that there would be twelve teams on every assignment and you might never get to talk to the boss. The most creative agencies in the industry back 40 years ago, Ammirati & Puris, Levine, Huntley, Scali McCabe, Ally & Gargano and a few others were all about that size.

Back then, we also got paid by hand.

The office "Mom," would walk around the agency on payday and hand you your paystub enclosed in a sky-blue envelope. I liked that and thought it was a good policy. It was a semiotic connection between work and pay.

Now, you get paid, the money just shows up in your account. There's no moment of reflection and certainly not of celebration. The fact is, if I ever ran an agency, I'd pay people everyday. Today, the link between your work and your pay is invisible--it's hidden--I think we should bring it back.

I think there are a lot of things that take place today that are important that we've removed from the line of everyday site.

There's no draft in the US now. So many of us don't know anyone in the military. And though the US has troops in nearly every country in the world, I certainly don't know any of them. We've used, in a sense, modern methods to keep us from thinking about things. Like imperialism, militarism and death.

We've done the same thing with taxes and social security payments. 

Though you can, if you're smart enough, find someplace on line where you can check your paystub, most people never get a glimpse of theirs until it's tax-time and they get the requisite form from their employer.

I think we'd be much more demanding of government and government officials if we paid our taxes every day.

"I just gave you $2700, what are you doing with that?" 

We don't see the money physically being taken from us. Along the way it stops being top-of-mind and we forget that we might have rights as tax-payers, the least of which should be some sort of accountability.

About once-a-month, I get a text message from xfinity. It tells me that there's an outage up in Connecticut where my seaside cottage sits and that they're working to restore service as soon as their bots can get to it.

My bill comes just the same.

And if xfinity is out one day a month, I get no reimbursement for the service I didn't get but had to pay for because that's just the way it goes. In a sense, I pay 100% for service 97% of the time. 

There are hundreds of instances like that. 

But because we've removed the "pain of paying," or the "recognition of paying," my guess is all of us little people are giving away trillions of dollars and getting zero in return.

Running GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company as I have over the past almost-four years, I have to write a lot of scopes. 

I try to make them a value proposition.

If you hire me for x days, you get x manifestos, x print ads, x extras and more.

The ol' if-then proposition.

Or WYSIWYG. What you see is what you get.

I think we need more of that.

And less hiding.

I steal a lot when I write my posts. I have a cyclone of references in my head--maybe two or three dozen. They're like a lazy Susan of things I remember, and when I need a summary point, I can usually find one in there.

Robert Frost has a couple entries in my cranium. And I'm thinking right now about wrapping this up with a couple of lines from his poem, "The Mending Wall."

Before I pay a bill or write a scope, I ask to know
What I was getting or doing for that money,
And to whom I was like to give offense.

No hiding.

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