I feel I have the best job in the world… sometimes. Most other times, I feel I’d rather use what meagre savings I have to buy a push cart and start selling a variety of nuts at a night market.
Working in advertising is a love-hate relationship. At times, it feels that I am on top of the world, looking down at number-crunching, corporate rats struggling in their long sleeves and heels under the burning sun. Most times, I feel the only real perk of working in this industry is the part where I only need to be attired jeans and t-shirts.
But that’s the nature of the business isn’t it? While I may not absolutely love every moment; I can’t think of doing anything else either. And after being a copywriter for 12 years *gasp*; here are some commemorative observations, unofficial facts and anecdotes:
- I often hear the words catchy, punchy or juicy and a combination thereof frequently. Until today, I have no idea what they are supposed to mean.
- There is never a shortage of misguided advertising graduates thinking that this is a cool and awesome industry to work in.
- The one thing that’s more irritating than clients are ex-agency people who have become clients.
- Copywriters are assumed to have memorized the meaning, spelling and pronunciation of every English word in existence.
- There’s often a meeting to discuss what was supposedly decided at the previous meeting.
- When there are two or more creative directors in a room, the one that ‘looks’ more creative is actually the least creative.
- Everyone tries very hard to pretend to be smarter or more creative than they actually are at open briefings.
- Agencies make more changes on creative on the eve of presentations than on the eve of material deadlines; and then complain about how fickle clients are.
- Most designers and art directors at one point of their lives had or currently have an unhealthy looking ponytail.
- Account Exes are highly paid dispatch riders; at least in the early days of their careers.
- You think you’ve conceived a great idea only to wake up the next morning and realize you’ve pulled more crap from your arse.
And there you have it… the Top 11, because 10 is just not enough.
The title of this post is actually the name of the video from YouTube that I’ve posted for your viewing pleasure. The video is actually a parody of a movie called A Few Good Men, starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore among others. I must say it is one of the few good (pun intended) Tom Cruise movies, back when he was very watchable.
If you’ve not watched the video yet, I suggest you do. Or if you’ve seen it before, just view it again to refresh your memory. The video pokes fun at the daily battle between creatives and suits. As funny as it is, the insights offered are very valid indeed. Here are some of the key learnings from the video:
- No matter how creative a suit thinks he/she is, the least creative person on the studio is more creative.
- A creative can become a suit (not that anyone wants to), but not vice versa.
- A bigger logo does not sell products… period.
- It’s a suits job to sell the creative, not direct the creative
- If a suit does not like an ad, he/she should pick up a pencil and write some ads
Just in case you are wondering, I have nothing against the AEs, AMs and ADs of the world. They do a very difficult job which requires tons of humility, patience and persistence. If I were an AE, quite a number of clients would have mysteriously vanished from the face of the earth.
The revolution will not be advertised.
The revolution will not make the art director swear any more than he already does. It will not make him tell his children (if he ever has a social life to have any) never to become a designer. It will not make him make revisions just to get the job out of the way. It will not make him want to claw his eyeballs out when the clients wants the creative to be more colourful. It will not make him tired, spent and suicidal by the time he is 35.
The revolution will not make the copywriter thinking of becoming a chef. It will not make him stay up late writing lame scripts and short stories. It will not make him regurgitate copy written for another client about 2 years ago. It will not make him a go-to guy to write proposals, letters, memos and whatnot. It will not cause excessive substance abuse to calm frayed nerves. It will not make him contemplate a move to the ‘other side’.
The revolution will not make the creative director re-hash the same concept over again for different clients. It will not make him think that things were better and the new blood are all shit. It will not make him sacrifice great ideas for client preference. It will not make him want to open a quiet little pub with his life savings. It will not put him through the misery of another pitch where his team is just there to make up the numbers. It will not make him curse the client behind their backs.
The revolution will not be advertised, because the revolution is alive.
To be continued… by the way, no gender bias intended.