Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Safety first.

David Brooks in the New York Times writes that about a decade ago he began to notice a certain type of high-achieving person
--the sort that has now given us Elena Kagan. "If they had any flaw," says Brooks "it was that they often had a professional and strategic attitude toward life. They were not intellectual risk-takers. They regarded professors as bosses to be pleased rather than authorities to be challenged...they were prudential rather than poetic." Here's Brooks' entire op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/11/opinion/11brooks.html?hp

Brooks' description got me thinking about the state of the advertising business. Risk taking is no more. Blandness, lack of commitment, beige is ascendant. Everything has to look like something that proceeded it (see the new Cadillac work from BBH.) Nothing has energy or soul.

Twenty years ago when I worked for Ed Butler he used to say this about ads he didn't like: "It's flat as a plate of piss."

Today that's a sign of success.

The clip above is from Harold Lloyd's 1923 classic "Safety Last."

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