Ok, I’m bitter. I admit it.
The Saints shoulda been there.
Of course I went to a friend’s house for a party and ate chips and dip and brisket and drank a couple beers and caught up with folks and laughed and had a fine time.
A great American tradition and a welcome respite from life.
But let’s face it, the game was dismal. Boring. Failure. Meh. Word.
Had New Orleans been there it mighta been fun.
But beyond the boring game, there is the halftime and the commercials. The trifecta of national attention for a few days of our short attention span.
Halftime, who cares. I’m too old to have cared about any of the music. It was over produced and slick and flavorless. I cared not.
So the game, zero-zero. The music, meh-whatever.
Now the focus of an Ad Guy’s attention and my lifetime pursuit.
My take? Either I’ve succumbed to an existence as the Eternally Jaded Ad Guy or there wasn’t much there to excite me.
But beyond the idea of a commercial winning if it’s entertaining, what if I throw my own monkey wrench into the whole machine.
“You made me laugh, now go the hell away and don’t bother me again whoever-the-piss you are.”
Does a great, entertaining, cleaver, snarky, funny commercial really make for good advertising. Which means, did it sell stuff. Let us ponder.
For entertainment I dug the elevator with Jason Bateman thing. He was the right guy for the job and the copy for the spot was great. Bringing grandma into “the talk” was a stroke of genius. Everyone on earth went “ick” at the same time.
We laughed. We were entertained. And yes, we’re talking about it now but this morning I asked my longsuffering spouse about the spots and we both agreed that was a great piece but then I asked her, who was the commercial for?
“Some car company I think.”
Yup. Some car company. It was maybe Kia or Hundai or something.
That got me to thinking. In the early part of my thousand years in the creative side of the ad biz, I’d always tried to come up brilliant and entertaining ideas for my work. Most of the time it worked really well. Sometimes not. As I grew in judgment and made my mistakes, I learned that sometimes the great creative is great creative but not really great advertising.
It’s an interesting piece of algebra. Great creative idea – profile of potential buyer – mountain of money you spend to jam great creative idea into the mind of potential buyer.
If you have great piles of money, you don’t need to worry that much about it. You’ll win eventually because you threw money at the problem. That’s not a luxury I ever had. I spent most of my career launching startup brands so I had to play Go with all my creative.
As in think a hundred moves ahead. Not just burn money.
Woulda been nice though.
I got to thinking on my first big agency job in LA. Us Creative Types really didn’t care all that much about selling products. We wanted to sell great creative. Clever, snarky, fun, unique… Anything that would get us a great book so we could jump ship to another agency to make more money.
We might have all been better off working on sitcoms.
We won awards and had fun.
But let me pose this question. Is great creative always the answer? If not always, when. And how do you know when?
I honestly don’t know the black and white answer over the years I’ve developed a good instinct for knowing when to be clever and when to be really focused. Maybe everyone figures this out eventually. Us creative types learn eventually because we get beat up by account types and client types enough times that we start to question our own reality.
Which is good.
My advice? If you’re a client and all you get is wildly creative, entertaining, snarky, fun creative, then feel free to bring in a Jaded Ad Guy to spill some reality into the keyboard.
If you’re an agency, the account manager will probably do that. That’s their job. Let them do it and if the Creatives can’t defend the snarkiness, then make some changes.
And if you’re a creative and the only thing you want to do is wildly creative, snarky, funny creative, then maybe consider doing sitcoms.
God, do I sound like a Jaded Ad Guy? Yes, but it was a hard fought journey to get there.
And that’s why I’m working with a like-minded Jaded Ad Guy on a new idea.
The Fallow Field Agency.
As in, “Fallow is the Field in Which Thine Fucks are Grown…”
We’re working on the idea that sometimes you need some nattering nabobos of negativity to shake up the fluff. When is it right to be wildly creative and when is it right to be blunt and right to the point? How do you decide and who can muster up the courage to point out there is a naked emperor?
Jaded Ad Guys who have Attained Full Fallow Field.
Watch this space for more. Eventually we’ll get FallowFieldAgencyDotSometing going, even if only for our own entertainment. Ironically, I suspect it’ll be wildly entertaining, funny and snarky.
Now who was that Elevator commercial for? Bet you don’t know either.