21 July, 2008

Heat Stroke Non-Sequitors

I don't complain about weather. But with temps in Baltimore licking 100 degrees and the humidity somewhere between rain forest and bathtub fart, even I started to get a bit whiny this past weekend. It was a gradual escalation of pissing and moaning, like the way kids get when you take them shopping; starts with a few whimpers outside of Gap and ends up with them sprawled out under a mannequin in Sears begging for ice cream. (Note: I won't be a parent until September, but I subscribe to the theory of giving whiny kids "something to cry about." In fact, I'd start a charity if I could: Give Kids Something to Cry About ™ . For just a kick in the ass a day--less than a cup of coffee--you can make an instant difference in the life of a child who's crying for no good reason.)

Anyway, I'm lying on the living room floor (the only air conditioned part of the house) watching the entire first season of Mad Men on-demand. And I come to the realization that I was born in the wrong era. Sure, riding my bike around the office, laying down astroturf in the writer's lounge, and Photoshopping Ronald McDonald into Edward Hopper paintings have their charms, but can they really compare to working in the industry in the middle of the 20th century? Fedoras, political incorrectness, and Scotch that flows as free and easy as the mighty Mississippi. All punctuated by big ideas that rippled far beyond the context of simply advertising products; they became ideas that shaped our cultural identity. Big ideas for a small world.

Today, the ideas have to be even bigger to even get noticed, because the world has gotten "harder". Consumers are more sophisticated, more wary, more unwilling to put up with interruptions.

I wonder how Don Draper would do in today's ad industry? I need to lie on the floor and think about it.

M.M.McDermott, ACD/Hot Mess

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