“We write ads or people die.”

I work in advertising. When I tell people that, I get a wide range of responses. Everything from some wistful version of “wow, I bet that’s really interesting” to a kind of pitying reaction, as if I’ve just confessed to selling used cars or liking Danielle Steele—or perhaps that this lowly, somehow vaguely criminal activity [in their view] is the best I’ve managed to do in life. Interestingly, I can almost always count on academics to hold the latter view.

Truthfully, though, I like what I do. Most days, anyway. Sure, there are sometimes long hours, boatloads of stress and unbelievably idiotic clients. But there are also days [or at least moments within days] that I agree with legendary adman Jerry Della Femina’s view that advertising is “the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” [Now, apparently, so is running a restaurant in East Hampton, but that’s another story.]

For a while, I was so completely into advertising that I mainly wanted to hang out with other advertising people after work and considered anyone not in the business a “civilian.” Which is why, when this video showed up on YouTube, I found it especially funny.

A little set-up before you hit PLAY. I generally hate insider jokes, and this video is rife with them. To give you a better idea of the dynamics in play, there is often more than a little tension between creatives—copywriters, art directors, creative directors—and account service people. Creatives sometimes view account people as spineless creatures ready to rubber stamp any stupid request from clients who often need to be saved from themselves. Account people sometimes view themselves as the lone voice of sanity standing up against creative crazies who only want to goof off, piss off clients and win awards. Both sides are wrong, of course. Both sides are sometimes right too. And both sides are every bit as passionate in their views as depicted in this short clip. Enjoy.

One Response to ““We write ads or people die.””

  1. Rich M. Says:

    Truth in advertising rules apply.

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