So I just finished watching the first 5 episodes of Trust Me, the new TNT series about advertising written by two former Chicago area creatives, and I have to say it’s a very accurate-albeit-broadly-drawn portrait of life in the creative department of a large ad agency... circa 1997.
Now the problem with that is that the series is allegedly set in 2009. But it really doesn’t seem as if the internet’s been invented yet. I mean the creative director hero (played by Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack) is still sending out an actual physical book, no one seems to actually use email (let alone a computer) and everyone seems completely and totally focused on shooting TV commercials.
And while Mad Men uses advertising as a metaphor, Trust Me uses it as the backdrop for a series of fairly forgettable plot lines about wacky ad guys of the Nothing In Common variety. But if you can accept it as a not-bad-for-network-TV quality period piece with the occasional iPhone (or reference to "webisodes") thrown in at random, it’s not a bad show. Especially if you were working at one of those big shops in the 1990s. They’ve captured just about every big agency stereotype you can think of, from the full-of-shit Brit CD to the neurotic female copywriter to the overly chic and overly ballsy female president of the agency (complete with really bad rhinoplasty) to the Peter Pan Syndrome suffering copywriter to the decent-human-being GCD whose group gets all the crap accounts to... well, you get the picture.
If nothing else, Trust Me serves as a reminder of why big ad agencies were (and are) such horrible places to work. And about how right Brian Morrissey was when he wrote this piece about denial.