The Advertising Game

lordoftheflies.jpg Sometimes this job is a little too Lord of the Flies. Only part of this is because many of my co-workers are quite young and seem like they are trying on adult roles, and the shoulders are sometimes too big, the hemlines drag on the floor, and the big, corporate words seem ill-suited to be coming out of their bright, cherubic faces. More of it is the feeling, especially when I am in a meeting, there we are all playing at a job, gathered around a table as if around a game board, Parcheesi, Clue, or — more analogous to the assignments we carry out — Chutes and Ladders. Our actions are scripted: the seemingly uptight marketing person opens the proceedings, usually in a serious tone, announcing a wish or a dream (about the smallest things sometimes, such as a four words of copy and a picture); the visibly disgruntled art director or designer will usually bemoan something — the client, the deadline, the last job, his/her iPhone service; then the visibly distracted copywriter may or may raise his/her befuddled head from a really interesting doodle to speak — if so, then it is either to make a wisecrack of no consequence to the actual meeting or to mock the clients’ expectations; then the seemingly secretive delivery manager, who all the while works quietly, diligently on her laptop on what? — a personal blog? secret reports about the designer or copywriter’s little comments to the PTB? job applications? — speaks up at the end of the meeting like the winning detective in Clue, or a blackjack dealer announcing she has a hand that trumps all other others — i.e., the project deadline — sparking worry in the marketing person’s mind and at the same time confirming the designer and copywriter’s grumblings. All these actions, mannerisms, even our dialogue seem to have been written long ago, possibly by men in suits in smoke-filled rooms in the ’50s, possibly thousands upon thousands of years earlier — picture a circle of Cro-Magnons around a fire, grunting how best to dress up the latest buffalo hide and present it to the neighboring tribe chief so as not to cause another big rumble in the jungle.

1 thought on “The Advertising Game

  1. josschmoe says:

    “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”
    Geena Davis — The Fly (1986)

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