(Atlas Ventures. Capability brochure.)
We do not work in stone although we may use stones to make a point. No, we work with ideas, and ideas, even the best ideas, even brilliant ideas, have a shelf life. The shelf life may be as brief as that of a baguette or as enduring as a loaf of Wonder Bread, but a shelf life all the same.
Early in my career, ideas, and the media we used to express them, may have been employed for as long as two years. Taglines and positionings might last a decade. Today, ideas may blossom only once like the flower Queen of the Night. And words, our precious words, read under the unforgiving and quick-to-punish light of new prohibitions and readings, have all the weight of a fledgling. Continue reading “Time Is Not On Our Side”
(A postcard sent to me from one of two German Women I met in Ireland 1976, I received it after I returned to U.C.S.C. I foolishly never followed up.)
1982. Haphazard but not indiscriminate.
Drop off copy and invoice at Frankfurt.
Pryor Dodge, a Malvolio manqué. He had played the Flute in Paris, acted with the Comedia del’arte, studied mural painting and was so enamoured by Tango he bought a place in Buenos Aires. A collector and expert on vintage bicycles.
5:00 meeting/cocktails with Mini Hickman.
Dinner Party at Robin’s, no, no other name or identifying feature.
Call M.Gill, D. Cicero, K. Johnson.
Kate Augenblick’s opening.
A M.Marks at Madelyn’s
Tuesday the 12th: Jeff Brosk at 12. At 2:30 Edwardo. At 5:15, my father at Hemsley Palace.
Michael Marks, Jane Hartford, Susan Halpern, I would not recognize one of them
If he or she was sitting opposite me on the 1 train.
Call Dan Chamber.
Who is Mr. Lioacono? An address on Lexington Avenue.
A reminder to call Dan Chambers. Who is Dan Chambers?
My father’s cousin Eddy and his wife Carol.
My father’s cousin Stuart and his wife Phyllis.
Debra, no last name or distinguishing mark.
9:00 with Dan Chambers. Bruce’s b’day. Lunch with Tom Murphy.
John Bloomingthal of Benton Bowles, later that same day, John Washington.
Dinner Debra et al.
Breakfast with Jason. Dinner with Bruce. To the Lear party with Karl Johnson.
A Sunday appointment with Robin and Co.
Jay Chiat said, “Call me when you’re serious about advertising”.
I replied. “Jay, I’ll never be that serious.” Continue reading “From “The Names” 2″
(From Yellow Book, 20 Years Hard Labor, a half life in Advertising.)
There is Pamela Burlingham, who came with me from the West.
Robert McDowell, c/o The Reaper.
Ina Kahn, a woman of whom I have no recollection.
Steve Cardin, a man I knew over drinks.
Judy Wold, a headhunter,
I would not know her now if she were handing me a bowl of soup.
Ben Bova, a sci-fi writer and Editor of Omni.
Lyle Greenfield, a copy chief at Compton who would become a vintner.
Sally Patterson, Telly Talley, Kathryn Murphy.
Hildy Smith. Continue reading “From “The Names.””
As I wrote in Kiss & Sell: Writing for Advertising (Revised & Rekissed) AVA. 2006.—”Ideas first. Words follow.”
Ideas possess a peculiar magic. That said, how does the magic work? The best explanation I know comes from Jean Baudrillard, and can be found in his book “Seduction” (p. 107):
This obliquity of seduction is not duplicity. Where a linear movement knocks against the wall of consciousness and acquires only meager gains, seduction has the obliquity of a dream element or stroke of wit, and as such traverses the psychic universe and its different levels in a single diagonal, in order to touch, at the far end, the unknown blind spot, the secret that lies sealed, the enigma that constitutes the girl [or boy], even to herself. Continue reading “Ideas First. Words Follow.”
Tear sheets were delicate, and paper ads, torn from magazines or cut from newspapers, were prey to sharp points, ink stains, unwashed hands, and coffee rings. At first, we slipped the work into plastic sheets enclosed in folders of various quality. It was less than ideal—the sheets yellowed, grew brittle. They couldn’t accommodate different-sized ads.
What’s more, even hands with the best intentions removed the ads, and many of those same hands lacked the dexterity to slip the work back without creasing or tearing the paper. The worst of it? Creative Directors plowed through dozens of books at once; habitually flipping through them. He or she stopped only when an image caught his or her eye, or when a headline made them smile. Continue reading “The Infinite Pain Caused by an Infinitesimal Distance”
Once upon a time I worked in advertising. 90% of my work—my ideas and words-rested on paper. Paper had charms and, in particular, a quiet that digital representations can not reproduce. It also possessed qualities we associate with intimacy.
(Piece developed at Arnell/Bickford, with Arnell, Lucy Sisman and Fayette Hickox for Revlon, a very very long time ago. No, I don’t remember the model, but, yes, she was lovely.)
I will concede here and now the privileging of digital images over the physical representation of ideas, desires and ambitions. From this day on I repudiate my faith in printed objects for the purpose of advertising, or for collateral, or promotions.
As of yesterday, March 27, 2016, my attachment to paper has exceeded its shelf life. Yes, I played the fool for too long. I have tossed my printed words and denounce the media that confined them as completely as the bars of the cage that tore the heart out of Rilke’s panther.
(Work from top right and circling clockwise: R/Greenberg Assoc.-R/GA, Rothstein Kass, TDK, Otis Elevator, Assorted work, & Polk)
To say I’m disappointed would not be entirely accurate. I had few expectations. But still I felt compelled to ask, all this, for that?
I suppose as an exercise the sampling had some merit —even a touch of poetry.
Yes, a little merit—no more than that which was demanded—as we’re talking about the side-street wall of a commercial building, which no one takes much notice of as they pass—almost always talking or texting. There was no intent to add anything of note or anything decorative on the wall. The building itself is notable only for its mass and a few Art Deco decorations, which are, or so I’ve observed, largely unnoticed.
Nevertheless, as I walked passed the building on my way to the bank or to the post office or to the # 1 train, I enjoyed the pleasure of observing and documenting something of the work of serious minded men and women.