Always outnumbered. Generally overdresssed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Proximity "In Which Our Hero Falls Another Rung On The Creative Ladder."



Once I'd been asked to leave the DM agency I went stalking around London with this fucking razor sharp axe to grind. Here I was being rejected by the very industry that I thought I was doing a major favour by joining in the first place. I had, however, discovered recruitment consultants, headhunters. I love advertising recruitment consultants, you can have as many of them as you like, you don't have to pay them a brass penny and they will hunt down work for you like a pack of slavering bloodhounds because they are desperate, just desperate for their cut. This is purely cultural - if you compare this system with the one actors have, where they have one agent with whom they maintain an exclusive contract, you can quickly see the advantage of a market that works in your favour. Actors, being predominantly left-wing, have never worked this out. But nice union chaps, well done on that.

I'd done a tiny, tiny amount of web work at the DM shop, but I found that this didn't stop headhunters pimping me out as Mr. Web 2.0. I did site builds, I did virals, I did banners galore. Although I got work at pure web agencies I also worked at DM agencies that had sprouted web agencies. These have to be the only kind of agency where the general level of morale is lower than in DM, with people openly self-harming at their desks, the corridors littered with derelict monitors and shattered dreams. Ok, if you work at a DM place quite often you're adapting the above-the-line concept into roll-fold or whatever, but at the DM/web shop you're adapting the roll-fold into a banner ad. The best argument I ever heard for working in ATL is that you want to be near where The Idea starts - these places are where The Idea comes to die. If I ever start taking drugs again, and need money for scag, this is where I will work, because I'm quite certain you could be spazzed off your baps and no-one one would be any the wiser. The process at these places tended to be hopelessly convolved and Kafkaesqe, so that, even if your creative director liked your scamps, they'd still get shot down because the DM Creative Director had no idea what was going on, or the ATL Creative Director above her was still having to have the concept of a web banner explained to him every two days.

Or you might spend five days waiting for photography to arrive so you could make your dismal banner, going gradually insane in the meantime, and then on finding out that it was all fucked up and the thing was never going to arrive and that they'd just wasted five precious, precious days of your life, completely flip out in a meeting with a load of people you'd never met before, giving vent to all your pent up anguish and frustration, and end up being asked to leave the building. For instance.

I also worked at an agency where they used the word viral as a noun, an adverb and an adjective, sometimes within the same sentence. The creative director had discovered that in order to be "viral" something either had to be really good or funny or interesting, or have tits in it. He used to brief us saying, you know, don't feel limited, don't feel like it has to have tits in it, I'm just saying, if it has tits in it, that's fine. It took me about ten minutes of wrestling with my conscience before I started producing exactly the kind of advertising I'd always promised myself I would never make. There's nothing a like a 4pm deadline and the prospect of four crisp, red fifties to make you set aside your ethical qualms and get on with the matter in hand. This was the agency where my then art director, Brother Alex, came up with the "Adverse-weather-conditions" viral, as well as the, "Are-you-a-paedophile?" viral - guaranteed cult classics, neither of which, sadly, ever saw the light of day.

There, no moral or anything. No conclusion - no neat little blogger's conclusion - didn't even end with a rhetorical question, throwing the whole thing open to the floor like Scamp does, no wonder I can't get the stats. What kind of post is that then - a fucking failed thalidomide limb of a post - see, it's not even ending, looks like it's just sort of trailing off...

4 comments:

PH said...

Scamp's stats are high because he reels gullible fools like me in with his 'what do you think?' conclusion to every post. And being invited to spout off one's own bollocks is by and large irresistible; especially to a gaggle of opinionated ad-creatives who spend most of their time muttering into their wispy beards because their opinion has yet again been ignored by their CD, or undermined by some snide Peter Campbell figure. This blog, by comparison, is a celebration of navel-gazing; punctuated with wilfully obscure references to nihilist writers. And a thoroughly refreshing change it is too. As I posted before, Scamp is Heat magazine: frivolous and shallow, but unable to resist if you have time to kill and it's within easy reach. This blog is more...Razzle. Cheers!

Gordon Comstock said...

I have been a great reader of Razzle since my school days. It is a fine British publication that taught me everything I know about women. I thank you.

Mike Laurie said...

you could just get a web cam and then we wouldn't need to come to your office.

Gordon Comstock said...

I'm not sure that that would work, as I'd then I'd have to imagine your scorn and derision. I suppose you could email me.