October 07, 2013

Inconsequential Culture Of Incrementalism

I have whiner's block.

I'm tired of writing about the silliness of the ad business. I'm sick of complaining about the wrong turns it has taken.

People keep asking me what I'm optimistic about. The only thing I can come up with is that there are still a handful of agencies that have big ideas and can do really good work. A handful.

I meet and talk to too many agency people who are dull and timid and do not belong in the advertising business.

They are getting soft on their own baloney. They're happy to accept well-published wisdom and team-think. They talk in riddles and horrible jargon and think they know something.

They are surrounded by people like themselves, as a protective coating. People who think platforms come first.

The worst part is, they're not just doing it for the paycheck. They really believe.

Then there are those I feel bad for. These are people who at one time were able to do big things but are now prisoners in one of our small-minded bullshit factories. They know the power of a big idea. They know the exhilaration of having a "hit." They've seen the amazing reaction when a campaign goes through the roof.

But now they're stuck in our inconsequential culture of incrementalism. Where little people with little ideas make little things for little audiences. It seems to be our inheritance.

Maybe I don't have whiner's block. I seem to be whining pretty well.


Cecil B. DeMille said...

Had I a tin, I would rattle it upon the bars of my cell in poignant solidarity. I say again that advertising's problem starts at the top. They're chasing bullshit and, when they catch it, they bring it home and serve it for dinner.

We need a revolt. Preferably one involving violence. And, perhaps, a Thesaurus.

giblet said...

I was getting comfortable blaming my Clients.


(Please note the capitalized "C").

Jon Pietz said...

The reason we once had such great agencies is that the prisoners of bullshit factories had enough guts to go out and start their own shops.