Friday, February 14, 2020


You may or may not have heard but on January 14th, despite having billed 60-hours-a-week for five years on some of the biggest and most important accounts in the agency, I was at 4:15 in the afternoon, ignominiously fired from the agency at which I toiled so thanklessly.
The impecunious nature of Holding Company Vulture Capitalism left me feeling stripped of a large portion of my professional life and, yes, self-esteem.

But almost immediately I rebounded. 

I found things to do with my time.

And I found a group of advertising people with whom to hang out. 

That's the subject of my post today--my Valentine's Day post.

Because what I've rediscovered since I was fired a month ago is LOVE. LOVE for something I have always loved. Not the advertising business, but advertising itself.

Within the new circle I am traveling in--people my age or older--with three or more decades toiling in the fleshpots of metaphorical Madison Avenue, I have re-found LOVE.

LOVE for advertising.

Not for meetings.

Not for 17 rounds of reviews and "tweaking" and ass-covering and ego-bolstering and loudest-voice posturing. Not for awards-chasing. Not for stuntification. Not for paralysis by analysis. Not for blanderization. But for what it is we're supposed to do.

Communicate with people simply and elegantly and persuasively and impactfully. (Notice I said people. Not targets. Or personas. Or consumers. People.)

This circle I am traveling in are out doing their own things. They're connecting one-on-one with senior clients, not senior cost-consultants. And they're doing what they do best. Creating ads that reach people. Ads that make the clients who pay for them money.

And once again, these people, from London, from New York, from LA, from Richmond and Raleigh and Chicago and Minneapolis and San Francisco, have found LOVE in what they do.

Long ago many of us in the industry part of advertising used to regard advertising as a creative business. 'Creative business' has, today, become an oxymoron.

But here's what's missing in the ad industry today: LOVE. We work. We're passionate about what we do. But what we do seldom coalesces around LOVE.

Maybe it's the punch-card spindlization of the technocratic ad industry today. Maybe it's that relatively low-wage workers are not working to drive their clients' businesses forward through advertising, but instead they're working to support a giant and unsustainable corporate infrastructure that serves no one but the doyens of the Holding Companies who make millions upon millions and probably will for life.

That unsustainable corporate infrastructure is sterile and penny-pinching and cynical. Cynical in that it sees the price of everything and the value of nothing. That's who so many are working for.

This is Valentine's Day. 

If you don't LOVE what you do, why are you settling for it.

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