June 13, 2008

How To Be Happy In Advertising

TAC is traveling today. Here's an oldie.

Dr. AdContrarian is on duty today to help you be a happier ad person. Please have a seat.

It's not easy being happy in advertising. It's a frustrating business. Modern life is filled with many horrors -- war, husbands, pizza with chicken on it... And we ad people are closely aligned with something uniquely horrible -- pop culture.

Advertising used to be about discovering what consumers want and creating messages to address those interests. Now it's about pretending to find out what consumers want, but really trying to figure out what the next hot cultural thing is going to be and jumping on it under the pretext of understanding consumer interests. Call me cynical.

Paying such close attention to pop culture causes great anxiety. It is non-stop slime bucket stimulation . We secretly enjoy pop culture because it keeps us on edge and anxious. This works its way through our back-office computers to stimulate us consciously and make us miserable unconsciously (full disclosure - I have no idea what I'm talking about but, admit it, if your shrink said this you'd nod your head.)

Anyway, I was on vacation not long ago. I was out-of-the-loop for a while -- off-the-grid, so to speak. I came back 50% happier than I left. After thinking about it, I realized that I was so much less tense and anxious because I hadn't watched a tv show, or read a newspaper, or visited a pop culture website, or watched a news broadcast for weeks.

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