Wednesday, October 25, 2017

You can't do this.

We, as a nation, have decided that experience isn't necessary.

Nowhere is that illustrated better than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We have a leader so wholly ignorant it threatens the very existence of the world.

Deeming expertise unimportant has been a trend for quite a while now. If you want to read about it, download Thomas Nichols' "The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters."

In our business the sentence I hear more than any other is usually spoken by frazzled creatives after a particularly enervating presentation. "If they're going to tell us exactly what they want, why don't they just do it themselves?"

We routinely get our work returned with giant metaphorical Xs through it and orders to do such and such. People who have never written or art directed an ad presume they know more than people who do it for a living.

On Monday I had a day off in Washington, DC and spent three intense and jam-packed hours in the National Gallery. Mostly I went to see 11 paintings by Vermeer--fully 1/3 of the total that are known to the world today.

From Vermeer, to Filippino Lippi, to Andre Kertesz, Van Gogh, amateurs, dilettantes, spouters and poseurs can't do work like the work shown here.

I won't for a second put myself or anyone I work with up at the aforementioned level. But still, most ad people I know, have studied and applied their craft and acres of critical thinking to their work. Additionally, the normal checks and balances of an agency hold that work to creative and strategic scrutiny.

Further, the Vermeer of our industry, Bill Bernbach put it this way 55 years ago in a note to Robert Townsend, then CEO of Avis.

Avis Rent A Car Advertising Philosophy
1. Avis will never know as much about advertising as DDB, and DDB will never know as much about the rent a car business as Avis....

4. To the end, Avis will approve or disapprove, not try to improve, ads which are submitted. Any changes suggested by Avis must be grounded on a material operating defect (a wrong uniform for example).

A long way of saying, leave work to the professionals. Because you can't do any of this, or its advertising equivalent.

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