Tuesday, December 18, 2012


When I was a kid I worked as a copywriter in Bloomingdale's in-house ad agency. We sat in small offices--with doors with our names on them in raised letters--and we worked.

In all, it wasn't a bad place to work. The store at the time was run by Marvin Traub--one of retailing's brightest lights, and was an exciting place to be. And the advertising department was run by John Jay who went on to greater fame and acclaim at Weiden & Kennedy.

Each week began with a meeting with production. We went through the weekly ad schedule and got assigned the ads we had to write for the week. Usually we had to write 10 or 15 ads.

You'd be told the size of the ad--1650 lines, or 2100 lines, or 1200 lines, that is a full-page tabloid. Then we'd meet with the buyer, go over the "merch," figure out what needed to be shot and how. It was a heated process but productive.

When you have 10 or 15 ads piled up in front of you, you quickly get focused. You start doing what you need to do to start writing those ads. There's no time, really, for dilly-dallying. You get to the task at hand. We used to say "We've never printed a blank page yet," meaning we were going to make our deadlines come hell or hot water.

Every week for about 150 weeks I produced, say 12 ads on average--roughly 1,800 ads in all.

Today, it takes four eager young people to create a Facebook post that is "on brand" and "strategic." And a dozen people in the room to create a banner.

There are some who will decry me for being a "curmudgeon," whatever that is.

I suppose I am.

I'm old.




And I like to get things done.

Boy, am I ever out of it.


Anonymous said...

F*ck old. You're as young as you think. its not about old or young but relevance, being compelling, memorable and creating something that people want to read, believe in, make part of their life narrative. The rest is BS.


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Tore Claesson said...

For online it's so easy to do something quick, test it, change it the next hour if need be. Even so the process to get that stuff done and published is more complicated than anything before it ever was. The promise of the net was speed and immediacy. No such luck.