Today (Monday) I gave a talk at my old school about advertising.
It was their careers advice day thingie and they were lacking people who worked in the meeja, so I kindly volunteered to spew forth the kind of poison you find on this blog right into the ears of the young.
The oddest part of doing it was wrapping my head around when they were born – 1993ish – and remembering that Cotton Eye Joe and the best work of Ice T happened long before they were sentient.
Anyhoo, I think it would have been remiss of me to do anything other than warn them about what’s happening to the industry and suggest that they might find more fulfilling lives elsewhere.
It was pretty hard explaining the giant pustulating boil that is the Myth of Digital and the way an entire industry has fallen for a bullshit sandwich big enough to choke the monster they hid the Millennium Falcon in at the start of the Empire Strikes Back. When I remembered all that guff people were regurgitating in 2007 about how if you didn’t have plenty of digital in your book by 2010 you’d be a dead, smelly brontosaurus, I sighed so hard I broke my clavicle.
I then tried to decipher shit-but-effective versus award-winning-but-ineffective and explain how the latter still gets you the promotions and raises, and that no one has yet managed to think of a better system than that. I felt embarrassed as I did so. Lots of supposedly intelligent people work in advertising, but we seem to spend a ridiculous amount of time suggesting the opposite is true.
They also asked about how we really know about the people to whom we are advertising. I said that, in general, we were a bunch of wankers whose idea of getting into the mind of people who work outside the Circle Line is to read The Sun.
I’m not sure they left keener on the industry than when they arrived, but you never know.