Yeah, I will readily admit that the headline is an “homage” to French ad agency legend, Jacques Seguela’s 1979 book… “Please don’t tell my mother I work in advertising, tell her I play the piano in a brothel.” Amongst his other notable quotes are “Everyone has a Rolex. If you don’t have a Rolex by the time you reach 50, then you have clearly failed in your life.” And, “The consumer is a child who must be reawakened every day to buy his toys.” Ha, you can’t escape the fact that these consummation de fromage, boire de Chablis, singes de surrender, certainly have a way with le mots! (Apologies to French language purists!)
So, what has brought on this sudden over-the-top Francophile frenzy? Actually, it was something I read in a recent issue of a so-called advertising magazine (No, not BrandRepublic) profiling the current crop of creative heavies, from the pubescent twenty odd year olds, barely out of “Portfolio School,” to the gnarly old farts who’ve been around almost as long as me. Speaking of gnarly, the magazine points out that Lee Clow is no longer the Creative Director of Chiat Day. He is now something called the “Global Director of Media Arts”… Whatever the hell that is? Or, in his own words… “I don’t call what we do advertising any more. I call what we do “Media Arts.” I believe everything a brand does is media and the art of telling stories using everything from the Internet to painting on walls is the broad definition of our future. Advertising has always been about ideas.”
Oh yes, dead right Lee, except you’ve got it arse about face… Advertising has always been about selling, and it usually takes a great idea to execute it well, whether it be painting on walls or talking to cretins on FaceBook. But, the one thing you should never, ever stop calling it, is advertising. Don’t be ashamed, it’s the second oldest profession in the world, and yeah, it’s also probably the second most reviled profession in the world after politics. But hey, we in the Adverati will be around much longer than cockroaches.
That’s why I loved Dave Droga’s piece in the same magazine, were he says… “A lot of people think we shouldn’t call what we do advertising anymore. The principal of what we do and why clients hire us is still the same. Technology has changed, consumer behavior has changed, but the fundamentals have remained the same.” Damn bloody right Dave. I also like the fact that he has the balls to own up to the odd cock up like Honeyshed. But, more power to him for being prepared to put his head on the block by trying something different. Which is why Droga5 is one of the current (but small) crop of independent agencies prepared to show the BDA’s of this world what the future will really be about.
So, if anyone out there reading this pulchritudinous piece of prose wants to convince themselves that they are now in the business of storytelling, social interaction, datametrics, Twitterifics, painting on walls, whatever… Rather than sloughing around in the same rancid trough of advertising… Get the fu*k over it… You’re still in the advertising business. Be prepared to stand up for what you do. Otherwise, start taking piano lessons, now.