When life gives you advertising, make advertising aides
Pitch Deck Is The Antidote To Advertising
For twenty years I worked in ‘advertising’. The real ad guys — the ones who shoot TV commercials — will tell you that I never really worked in advertising. They’ll tell you that online/digital/interactive/omni-channel advertising is for the nerds who couldn’t cut it in mass (the gross word used to describe interrupting lots of people with unwanted media while they watch shows, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper/magazine). They may be right, but I don’t really care. At the time, I just wanted to design cool things on the computer, using a new tool called the world wide web. Instead, I spent a career interrupting lots of people with unwanted media while they scrolled a page, clicked a link, or checked their email.
In the beginning, it was a love/love relationship. For the first ten years I was paid good money to be a digital ‘creative’ and work alongside the internet tastemakers. W00t! Somewhere in the middle it became a love/hate relationship. The money got better but the work felt less fulfilling—all banner ads and Facebook LIKE-gate contests. I tried to focus on mentoring and speaking about creativity to boost my ‘personal brand’ and give myself some inspiration, but it didn’t inoculate me fully against the cynicism that was metastasizing in my soul. Inevitably, at the peak of my career, and at the young/old age of 40, advertising tried to kill me off with an ischemic stroke. As I recovered, I reflected on the many levels of bitterness and disappointment I felt about advertising—from how people were treated to how ideas were sold. With so much money and talent and potential, why was there so much mediocrity? Why couldn’t agencies/clients/creatives think outside themselves (never mind “outside of the box”)?
To be fair, this problem isn’t confined to advertising. But I intend, albeit naively, to solve it. People need to practise being more creative with each other. They need to collaborate and corroborate, to feel empathy, and to enjoy creating as much (if not more than) consuming. And what better way to learn those life-lessons than by simulating a cut-throat creative theatre where ideas are tossed around like disposable cutlery and everyone takes turns facing their own ego in the seat of power?
Pitch Deck: Advertising is a game, a creative tool, and my own personal tongue-in-cheek antidote to a f*cked-up world. Here it is:
The basics of PITCH DECK™ are simple: Pitch ideas to the client and win accounts. Win enough accounts, win the game.
Some players will be forced to contend with an unfortunate handicap: a natural inclination to play nice. This will never afford them the corner office or help them win Agency of the Year. Only those steeped in ad agency culture can truly comprehend the nuances of creative douchebaggery. When in doubt, be an asshole.
Remember when creative director Don Draper, from the television show Mad Men, pitched clients with eloquent ideas based on his insight into the human condition? Advertising is nothing like that.
Advertising is the art of deception and incompetence — which preys on the ignorant and insecure — to obtain undeserved wealth.
So why would you want to play this game? Imagine if Pictionary and Charades had a baby… and then it grew up to be a substance-abusing, self-loathing narcissist that eloped with Cards Against Humanity. This is a game of nepotism and gnashing of teeth; a game of envy and frustration.
But it’s also a sh*t-load of fun. You’ll twist your brain into unexpected shapes as you attempt to sell ice to Inuits or veal to vegetarians. You’ll make your friends laugh and cry (but mostly cry) as you attempt to explain incomprehensible ideas. You’ll feel petty and powerful as your unfair decisions throw the whole group into a berserker rage. And when someone wonders, rhetorically, what it’s like to work in advertising you can smile knowingly and pity their limited worldliness.
Welcome to Pitch Deck: Advertising!
Pitch Deck: Advertising is currently in closed beta, but is accepting people who love to play creative games and don’t mind printing and cutting and gluing things together.