Feb 1, 2007

Irrational Men

For the past two months, various commentators, most notably the posters on George Parker's Adscam blog, have exhibited an irrational hatred of former Wal-Mart marketing exec Julie Roehm and have taken a rather sadistic delight in her downfall.

I'm truly at a loss to understand the intensity of their disdain for a women whom none of them have ever met, let alone worked with. I mean really guys (and you're all men): what's up your respective asses?

To begin with, you want to talk sleazy? We're in a business where every single one of you can recite the story of the notorious BDA creative director who fired one of his creatives for defying his orders not to attend her sisters wedding so that she could spend the entire weekend in the office working on a soft drink commercial. (Even though she left the wedding early and came straight back to work.) And how this same CD had an affair with the wife of one of his account guys and then fired the account guy when they got caught. And how his reward for all this was to be made the Executive CD of yet another BDA.

Or how about the ECD of another BDA who'd assign agency producers to go help his girlfriend shoot the (non-ad-related) movie she was making. Or conscript agency art directors to design his book covers.

Not to mention the various coke-heads and adulterers who've sat in the corner office.

And you're upset about Julie Roehm boffing one of her underlings and playing favorites during a pitch? Crucify her for going to dinner with Howard when she only went to Shelly's $100,000 hoe-down? I mean that's pretty small potatoes compared to the sins sleazy agency creatives have committed. Sins for which they rarely get punished and often get rewarded.

Then there's another reality check: I'd much rather have a client like Roehm, someone who desperately wants the creative department to love her and think of her as "the cool client." Have you all only worked at hack shops with wimpy little clients who'll only approve something if it tests well?

I haven't. And the only clients who ever buy the good work, the risky work, are people like Roehm who are out to make a name for themselves and don't want to take the safe route.

Is the "Lingerie Bowl" a good ad? Not at all. But she didn't fucking write it. Some lame-ass agency in Dee-troit did and sold it to her as the greatest, coolest car spot ever. If they'd done something that was actually good, chances are she'd have bought that instead.

Ditto Kerri Martin. Don't like Dr. Mengele for VW? Me either. But she approved all the Mini work that Crispin did. And that stuff rocked. But not that many clients would have taken that risk.

Are people who call themselves "change agents" and paint their offices silly colors people you'd want to hang out with? Probably not.

But I'd much rather have them making decisions on my advertising than some wimp who says "well, I like it, but let's see how it does in qualitative."

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