"I Love Advertising........."

says Jerry Seinfeld to ad executives at his Clio Award show acceptance speech…. “because I love lying….spending your life duping innocent people into buying useless, low quality, misrepresented items is an excellent use of your energy”.


Seinfeld puts down the Clio Awards,  all advertising and all those engaged in advertising.

The book, “The Insanity of Advertising”, discusses some of the absolute crazy and insane happenings that go on in the ad business.  In particular,  just how hard it is in such an environment, to do what great advertising people do. That is, make and sell truly great ads.

I only wish Seinfeld's remarks were included in the book, as he jokes that “all ads are lies and all advertising people are liars”.  And more.

When he finished his bit, the audience roundly applauded and cheered and laughed. Proving again, just how insane the advertising business is, and the people who are in it.

If you want to see the talk, here it is….sad and sorry.


If you want to read about the insanity of advertising here it is....in all it's glory.


Missing Story from The Insanity of Advertising Gets Published

Jeff Gelberg, creative and writer at Rotation and Balance, after reading The Insanity of Advertising, wrote a "missing chapter" that was not included in the book.  It should have been.  It's well presented and offers more evidence that the business of advertising is not only crazy and insane, but sometimes unfair and ugly.  Check it out.  http://rotationandbalance.blogspot.com/2014/07the-missing-chapter.html

Lincoln Auto Ad Placement on Mad Men is Mad!

Lincoln is a sponsor of the popular Mad Men TV series.

Isn’t there something wrong with this automobile associating itself with the Mad Men era?  Lincoln is the 1960’s, and fifty years later the marque is still gasping to catch up to import luxury brands imaging. 

Seems to me they'd be better off trying to modernize their image by placing ads in shows that reinforce both upscale environments and today's hipper more contemporary perspectives. Examples being Modern Family, Homeland, House of Cards and Good Wife.

Just because Mad Men is popular, and even if the demos are well suited to Lincoln’s target audience, the show's 1960’s imaging has to rub off on the marque and remind and reinforce the link to that era when Lincoln used to be perceived as one of the leading  luxury automobiles.

Ralph Lauren especially understands this linkage.  They place their exquisite, upscale and elegant ads in arguably the most compatible environment they could possibly identify: PBS Masterpiece Theater Series.  Their brand fits with the show; and the show fits with their brand.

Oh well, whoever said that Detroit knew what they’re doing.  And by the way, doesn’t Don Draper drive around in a big long Cadillac?  It's crazy.  (www.insanityofadvertising.com)

Microsoft “Believes in the Holding Company Model”

That’s what Adweek says is in the RFP in describing the global review for the account. Good luck! 

Has anyone at Microsoft called Dell?  Does any one remember?

After 11 years, Dell and ad agency Goldberg Moser O’Neill parted ways and Dell went through one agency after the other, after the other, in their search for the “global” solution.  Finally, WPP the big global holding company came up with the solution by creating an entirely new agency with a dedicated global army of 1000 soldiers.  It was called Enfatico. Uh, it didn’t seem to work.

In the process Dell’s sales and share cratered.  And, they never did find the golden “holding company model”.

It’s all detailed in The Insanity of Advertising (www.theinsanityofadvertising.com).  Better check it out Microsoft. 

If they think, as they say “one or two holding companies” is the formula for success.  Why not three or four?

See Chapter 14 in above book.

Apple “1984” TV Spot: The Super Bowl’s Worst Commercial

It’s Super Bowl time and also time for the media to begin to hype the commercials that will air on and around the game. Inevitably, the spot that started it all, Apple Computer “1984”, will be part of the discussion.

A little known fact is that ASI, a copy testing company, tested the “1984” spot before it aired and it received what was at the time, the lowest “key” measurement for a business to business commercial ever recorded using their system (Norm = 29 “1984” = 5).

This, and other heretofore-unknown insights about the famous commercial are revealed in The Insanity of Advertising.

The story behind the commercial has never been completely or accurately told, but is now for the first time.  An entire chapter is devoted to the actual events surrounding the development of the creative, the production costs, the shooting of the commercial outside of London and the airing, and almost non airing, of the spot on the Superbowl.

The website for The Insanity of Advertising is (www.theinsanityofadvertising.com). 


Just like Apple?

In a new TV spot, Dell wants us to swallow that it has recaptured its entrepreneurial spirit. The commercial shows an empty garage, an empty room, and then another and another and another, each where various successful companies had their starts. All empty, except for one with a cat. The spot ends in the room where Michael Dell sold his first computers.

Don’t all companies start from some humble beginning?

Will anyone actually believe this pitch with Dell’s $57B in sales? And even so, who will care?

The Insanity of Advertising has a chapter devoted to Dell when it actually was an entrepreneurial company, delivering outrageous customer service and satisfaction that the competition couldn’t match; and doing effective advertising that exploited these very real benefits. (www.theinsanityofadvertisng.com)

This commercial tries to change Dell’s stripes, but it’s kind of like pissing in the ocean and hoping to change the color of the water.  It makes the company feel warm, but doesn’t deliver anything for the customer. Corporate wee wee!

Well, at least they won’t have to pay any talent residuals, except maybe to the cat.


Hostess Brands, new owners of Twinkies, having recently declared not one, but two Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, are once again making the famous brand available across the country.

50 million Twinkies are being shipped, after reducing the number of employees and factories, increasing distribution through convenience stores, and eliminating union employees.

The publicity surrounding first the demise of the famous brand, and now its resurrection has been titanic.  Far more awareness than any advertising budget might have generated.  And for free.  Who needs advertising?

When Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh, the advertising was an essential component in its success, but the publicity maybe even more so.  The difference from Twinkies was that most of the publicity was as a result of the famous “1984” TV Superbowl commercial and less so as regards the product.

Advertising.  It’s a crazy business.  www.theinsanityofadvertising.com

PUBLICIS/OMNICOM: "A Merger of Equals". RIGHT!!

My experience with agency mergers proves to me that the union of advertising agencies is like two heavenly bodies hurling themselves directly at each other until they collide.

As if the advertising business isn’t crazy enough, to try and fuse two disparate bodies together, foreign bodies in this case,  appears insane despite all the claimed benefits of doing so. Culture clashes alone cause style and procedural problems, not to mention egomania conflicts, along with the client kind.

Admittedly on a much smaller scale, I lived through seven agency mergers, every one of which resulted in a failure.  In the new book The Insanity of Advertising, www.theinsanityofadvertising.com, there is a chapter devoted entirely to this subject.  It’s titled “Cultricide”.

Agencies continue to desperately want to get bigger to “compete” and mergers are the quickest route to larger revenues.

Albert Einstein said: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.

The insanity of advertising.

Read More


That’s what Mad Men TV show ad man Don Draper says to a colleague wanting to re-locate to LA. This is so not true and wasn’t in 1968 when the episode is taking place.  Think about it.

Detroit had Chevrolet, Ford and Chrysler; people eating elephantine portions of steak and potatoes without a care; and it was way too hot in the summer and way too cold in the winter.  Traditional good old boy establishment ad agencies represented all the traditional good old boy establishment car companies turning out ads as traditional as the companies and agencies themselves and their previous ad.

LA had Honda and Toyota (Asian imports were on their way to capturing 50+% market share); good looking and fit concerned folks eating grains and greens; and seventy-five degrees and sunny almost all the time.  And, Los Angeles had an entirely new breed of ad agency emerging that would soon demonstrate and dominate creativity in the ad world.

The West Coast would become a hotbed of creative ad agencies and creative ads. Chiat/Day would be founded in 1968 setting standards of creativity established before only by Doyle Dane Bernbach. Chiat/Day would introduce the Honda Civic to America. Later on they would make Porsche the preeminent sports car brand in the country.  Then they would acquire Nissan and advertise their cars in ways Detroit could and would never even think of.  And, soon after do the same for Infiniti.

In 1968 LA was a hell of a lot more than Detroit as far as advertising went. The Mad Men TV show  doesn't always get it right. The real world of advertising back then was in a creative earthquake.  It was an insane time.

The Insanity of Advertising   (www.theinsanityofadvertising) 


San Francisco Chronicle columnist John King recently observed the building at 600 Battery Street possessed an “imaginative stroke by adding a second floor terrace by hollowing out the central bay” on one of the exterior walls. “A deep cut drama in a simple box”.

Actually the entire building contained some remarkably unique architectural features when it was first designed for the then remarkably successful creative oriented ad agency, Goldberg Moser O’Neill. Architects Tanner Leddy Maytum Stacy did the work.

Special aspects included soft curved corridors and office spaces; open ceilings exhibiting trays that held the extensive wiring (a visual demonstration of the connectivity of the organization with itself and the rest of the world); a transparent perspective so one could see outside from virtually every office space; and so on.

But the real drama of this building had to do more with the number of advertising agencies it housed after Interpublic’s unsuccessful merging of Goldberg Moser O’Neill with Hill Holliday.  Hill Holliday soon downsized and moved out, replaced by Foote Cone & Belding, at one time the San Francisco’s largest agency.  In turn expeditiously supplanted by McCann Erickson who then lost the Microsoft account and who now have a multitude of marketing and communications firms somewhat filling the space.

That’s advertising folks. That’s the insanity of advertising.



The Wall Street Journal just reported most American workers have jobs that don’t excite them.  52% aren’t involved in, enthusiastic about or committed to their work.  Another 18% are “actively disengaged”. Total = 70%.

This translates to around $500 billion a year in high absenteeism and turnover, quality-control issues and lost productivity.

Solution: Make a career of advertising. To be sure the advertising industry can be difficult to navigate, but it is incredibly exciting and engaging. 

Its high profile and visibility, the creativity, the glamour and the fun are what make it so attractive and motivating. There are many unexpected happenings and tons of challenges; there is an exciting uncertainty inherent in the constant ups and downs.  The world can be different every working day.

Things that make the ad business demanding and difficult are the very same things that make it exhilarating, intoxicating and engaging. It’s paradoxical and unique.

The insanity of advertising.  (www.theinsanityofadvertising.com)


How exciting to hear Cadillac has a new ad agency, Rogue.  A perspicacious stew of Campbell Ewald, Hill Holliday and Lowe.  Why?  "...because (of) its strategic insights, creative vision and strong luxury and automotive experience".  But of course. 

But didn't Campbell do the mainstream Chevy ads for 91 years(until getting fired)? And wasn't it Hill Holliday that launched Infiniti with those metaphysical transcendental immobile rock and lapping water ads(and lost the account twenty minutes later).

Ah!!  General Motors: handed $80 billion of taxpayer dollars; now producing 70% of their cars outside the USA(most in China); hires a new ad agency because of their ethereal luxury car experience.

The insanity of advertising.  (www.theinsanityofadvertising.com)