So here is the reason i think we are all disillusioned by advertising now.
I used to get high on ads.
I could sit and inhale D&AD annuals and One Show bibles for hours.
I would go to bed and lie awake feeling high on the scope of creativity and left field thought – and the copywriting was pretty fucking wow, too.
I’d wake up in the morning and discover scribbles of ideas on bits of paper next to my bed, like used needles and empty foil packets.
During the day I’d hang out in other creative team’s offices, and if I saw an award annual or a lurzer’s archive I hadn’t read, I had to borrow it. I had to inhale that, too. (Most of these fellow addicts were loathe to lend out anything, so I will confess right now that it usually meant me staying late so I could indulge after they’d left. Locked offices was no deterrent. After all, I was an addict).
Then I discovered SHOTS, and I started to look like Bubbles from The Wire. Pasty, sleepless – constantly waiting for the next hit of ads.
There were enough ads out there and, pre-internet, the world moved slowly enough for there to be a constant stream of drugs for me.
Print, Poster, TV, (and occasionally a kooky little direct-mail piece, but very occasionally).
What I didn’t realise at the time was, to continue the analogy, I started off smoking marijuana every day – and I could put them away and re-smoke the same joints again and again and get pretty much the same sort of high.
But then Tom and Walter happened, and they manufactured the most powerful drug on the planet.
Seeing Surfer is The single biggest high I have ever had from an ad. It was heroin. I wanted to watch it again and again. It was the perfect hit. And I wanted other people to share the ad with me. I wanted to watch it for the first time vicariously through these Surfer virgins.
Not long after, the internet went full scale, and I was exposed to everything all at once.
But it wasn’t enough. I needed more.
And to make matters worse, I wasn’t getting as high on joints.
Ever since then, and I don’t think I’m alone with this, I’ve wanted a hit as pure and beautiful as Surfer.
But it’s never quite happened.
Smoking a joint, aka seeing a good poster or a nice print ad was still fun, but my system required more than that now. My expectations had been blown away and I wanted the manufacturers to keep blowing me away with their blow.
But they weren’t.
There were a couple of nice hits.
Sony Balls put me in a bit of a trance but I don’t think it gave me that inspirational buzz I was looking for.
Gorilla had me giggling again like a stoner.
And when I look at the ads that are considered big at the moment, like the bread one – yeah they’re ok, but it’s hardly heroin.
Nowadays there is the digital age, too, and we’re all exposed to new drugs, like the great schlep and the best job in the world.
Yeah, they’re good, but again, they don’t satisfy an addict like me.
Anyway, meanwhile, we’ve had the client prohibition era, and what it’s left me feeling is that there is a world of addicts out there looking for the next hit, meanwhile in stark contrast to my needs the manufacturers are diluting the street product with research and lack of confidence and ignorance and lower budgets.
So recently I’ve been going to AA (Advertisers Anonymous) to try and get support and talk to other people who feel the same way. I’m trying to kick the habit. I’m trying to stay away from blogs, because I know that each consecutive hit after the initial hit will only disappoint. Someone needs to do better than make the next surfer, they have to make the first something else. Someone out there might read this and think, “that’s me, I can do that”
To that person I say, Please.
Thanks for that, A. I know your pain. I’m just off to shoot up a little QTV, followed by a nice pipe of that super-strong Eric Silver shit.