Monday, October 24, 2011

I couldn't have said it better myself. But that's not going to stop me from trying.

My friend Rich Siegel –– one of the funniest guys in advertising –– writes a blog called Round 17. A couple of weeks ago, he did a post about an issue people in advertising face constantly, but rarely manage successfully: Idiotic requirements that solve the wrong problem.


I'm going to quote his entire post here because it's about not being treated like a professional and for me to edit, paraphrase, or sum up what he wrote would make me guilty of exactly what he decries. 


Rich? Take it away.




Last week I ran into my old partner at temple. I didn't recognize him at first because I didn't know he was a member of my congregation and also because there are business colleagues I only associate with business. It's a matter of context.

In any case, he's now some bigwig with one of the holding companies. No need for names because, well, I don't need to give anyone a reason to blacklist my name for any future assignments. I'm sure I'm persona non-grata in plenty of places, thank you very much.

Years ago I was working on a freelance assignment at this unnamed agency. The art director and I presented a bunch of concepts to the previous Creative Director. He liked many of them but selected three for further development. Then he told us that the agency had been very successful beta-testing a new software program called Alpha One which tested creative ideas for efficiency and message resonance.

"Really?" I said.

"Really." He replied.

So, he added, can you go back and rewrite these ideas and mention the client's name within the first 7 seconds of the commercial?

"You're shitting me, right? I said.

"Not shitting you." He replied.

Adding, it would be better if you could mention the client name in the first 5 seconds.

It's funny how little we have learned from Steve Jobs, the greatest marketing visionary to ever wear a client hat. Imagine if the "1984" spot had been put to the Alpha One test. We wouldn't be talking about it. Same thing for the Apple's 1998 "Think Different" campaign. In fact, the same applies to every commercial that has ever made its way into your memory vault.

Had I a set of balls and not a looming mortgage/car/tuition/insurance payment due I would have simply followed the Creative Director's logic to its logical conclusion and brought him back an
Alpha One-friendly script like:

Open on art card of (Client's name).


Cut to a man and woman talking at a restaurant.


MAN: Client's name client's name client's name?


WOMAN: Client's name!


MAN: Client's name client's name client's name Client's name client's name client's name Client's name client's name client's name.


WOMAN: Client's name.


SUPER: Client's name.


Cut to plane dragging a banner across the sky.


BANNER: Client's name.


WOMAN: Oh client's name.

TAG: We're not just (insert industry type), we're Client's name.