Sunday, January 28, 2007

The (M)Adman Diaries Part III: Crazy Creatives

The following story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously… Ok, this is already the third of the installment. You know how it goes.

Dear Diary,

So it’s been 10 days, huh? I’m guessing this is probably the longest time I’ve lagged on my posts (I’m too lazy to check). Anyway, the migraine’s back. Yes it is. And it’s a lot more awful than MC Hammer’s comeback restyling himself as a gangsta rapper.

So where are we? Oh yes, we’re on a witch hunt, trying to figure out who among the people I work with has triggered my migraine the most. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a lot of possible reasons for this, like my chronic insomnia (if there is such a thing), or my balding neighbor’s miserable attempts at aping Garth Brooks on karaoke. (Don’t break my head, my achy-breaky head. I just don’t think you understand… Who-wee!) But if you think about it, I’ve been an insomniac all my life and yet I never had migraine until I entered the world of advertising. So go figure.

I just think it makes perfect sense. These are the people I spend the whole day (and night) working with. And for those who are unfamiliar with the experience, think of it as going to work with the cast of Seinfeld. A typical client would be like George. Mean, neurotic and slow-witted. Elaine, however, would make a great Account Executive. She has, after all, an IQ of 151, and is often referred to by Jerry as “The queen of confrontation”.

And so it goes. I’m already done with clients and AEs. And now, I am down to one department. It has to be done. In the interest of being fair (and due to my colleagues’ constant nagging), I have to do Creatives. No stone should be left unturned in this witch hunt.

Who are we in Seinfeld, you ask?

Most people (including the clients and AEs) would agree that the creative department is surrounded by witty, eccentric and crazy people. Think Kramer and multiply that by 30.

But that’s too stereotypical, hence the reason why I’d like to think of myself as Jerry. The 'only sane man' in the stage. The figure who is "able to observe the chaos around him but not always be a part of it.” Yeah, yeah. I’m being safe. But this is my blog so bite me.

On with the show, err, post. Below are some unforgettable verbatims I have collected in my 6 years of experience working as an advertising creative.

A conversation between a Creative Director and an Art Director regarding a client revision request:

CD: "You need to add a line on the cover of the invite that says how to open it"

AD: "Huh? But it’s a tri-fold.... How do they not know how to open it?"

CD: "The client can’t figure out how to open it. Just add ‘open here, moron’"

Same project. AD asks the Copywriter to revise the copy based on the client’s inputs:

AD: "Client wants it to be simple. One word. But it has to convey everything in the brief."

Copywriter: "Oh, they must want those secret magic words that mean four things at once. Tell me man, do I look like J.K. Rowling?”

A Creative Director briefing a Production Designer regarding a sample of the casts’ costumes:

CD: "I don't like the colors, violet and black don't work together"

Designer: (Scans the CD from head to toe) "But you're wearing them!”

The same Creative Director, calling his Copywriter in the middle of a presentation after going on vacation leave for 2 weeks:

“I call you because I’m watching the ads with the client and I’ve just realized I don’t understand them either.”

Here’s more:

"I need awards! get me awards! If you don't get me awards, otherwise I will make sure you get fired before I do."
- an incompetent CD yelling at his team after being told by the management that he hasn’t won a single award in 5 years during his evaluation..

"Why not fold this up until it has sharp corners and shove it up your stupid college bum."
- the same CD criticizing the work of a nervous intern. The intern turned out to be an award-winning Art Director in a multi-national agency 4 years after.

"Listen to me people! I don't want any of you in here working on All Saints Day."
- An Executive Creative Director, thinking he's being generous.

“Guys, I’ve been told that some of you are avoiding work. I’m really disappointed. Please be reminded that in order for us to get our bonuses, we have to make an effort this quarter.”
- Same ECD, sent via text message while he was on vacation at a beach

Yet again, the same ECD doesn't show up for a client presentation, leaving his CD and a junior writer to present a major campaign:

CLIENT: "Where’s your ECD? Shouldn’t he be here?"

CD: "He can’t make it, he's out on an unbreakable out of agency commitment."

CLIENT: "Huh?"

Junior Copywriter: (Butts in) "Don't tell anyone, he's playing golf with his brother."

Talk about juniors:

"You don’t get it! It’s not what I have in mind!”

“Hey, I just followed your script!”

“Oh yeah? Then why did you make it a cartoon?"
A junior Copywriter after an Art Director shows him his storyboard.

Two designers on a phone conversation discussing a client's logo in Photoshop. Guess which one is the junior:

"This logo isn’t the right size."

"Well, I have the file open in Photoshop and the dimensions are correct."

"That can’t be right. I’m measuring it and it’s about 1/8. Too small."

"How are you measuring it?"

"I’m holding my ruler up to the monitor."

A junior artist, after spending 6 hours on one storyboard, was confronted by the Art Director:

“Hey man, what’s taking you so long?”

“This is hard. I want to make the thought bubbles as realistic as possible.”

The same junior artist, asking a senior designer about a logo:

"Uhmm… sorry to disturb you man, I’m quite new here. This being my first job and all… So… uhm… tell me… what does the Red Cross logo look like?"

A junior copywriter, sitting in for his first radio ad recording, tells the sound engineer:

"Can you tweak the sound effects further? I want it to sound like a brick hitting a parachute."

The same copywriter, asking his art director about the copy he wrote in the layout:

“Whoa! Dude, I didn’t know you write Spanish!”
- The layout is a draft with Lorem Ipsum placeholder text

How about the oldies:

"Yeah, just make something fresh and new. Something like the Beach Boys."
- Creative Director briefing a sound designer for a jingle.

"I need you to find a blonde model…. Hmm…someone like that Carmen Diaz."
- Same Creative Director to a Talent Caster

"We are zigging when the rest of the market is zagging..."
- An Associate
Creative Director in the middle of his speech for a client presentation.

"Well Lisa, after all this time you know how we work."

"Jim, my name is Susan."
- Creative Director to long time client

"I like it. It makes me want to come. I mean, to the event! It makes me want to come to the event!"
- A late fifty-something Executive Creative Director to a twenty-something AE, reviewing an invite to an event a day after flyers of the “anti-sexual harassment law” was passed in the office.

"She’s a great writer but she needs to figure out which is more important to her: this account or her sister’s wedding."
- Executive Creative Director / Agency Owner discussing the evaluation of one of his writers

"What project? I didn’t hear about that project. Two weeks ago? Oh, it was in my email? Kaya naman pala (That’s why). I don’t read my emails eh.”
- Art Director to Account Executive

AD: "Make it look like Prada... lots of young, bright, pastel colors!”

Designer: (Thinking about it for a moment) “Uhm… Don’t you mean Benetton?”

CD: “No, Prada! Don’t you watch Queer Eye?
- The AD has often denied rumors that he is gay.

Copywriter: "The voice-overs for the videos in English, German, French, Spanish, and Italian are all good, but the voices are all different! Can't we have all them done by the same guy?"

Producer: "And who do you want to do them? C-3PO?"

And other hilarious boo-boos:

"What we give you is what you get."
- Print Producer to a disgruntled Client

“Can’t you make that dog smile? Don’t you have a smile filter on this expensive machine?”
- Ex-creative Agency President and Owner

“And now… the ice cake!”
- Same owner during a pitch, meaning ´icing on the cake’

"We need something that has never been done before. Find out how everybody else did it - and do that."
- Creative Director who wanted a promotion

"Can you make the design 17% better?"
- Creative Director giving comments to his Art Director

"So you have two breaks on your bike! Whats the other one for?"
Receptionist, flirting with a hunky Copywriter.

“Can you ask the announcer to produce a whispering scream?”
- Creative Director, during the recording of a radio spot

“I just thought of an original idea I saw in Thailand.”
- Executive Creative Director

“Brief? Why should I read the brief? Creativity comes from here!”
- Creative Director, pointing at his intestines

“It’s actually a dog… (snickers)… and he’s got this funny bark… (snickers)… no, actually it’s a bitch… you know, like a female dog… (snickers)… and she goes… (snickers) Woof! Woof! (Bursts into uncontrollable laughter)

- An Art Director explaining a storyboard to a client during a late night presentation. Turns out, he just came from a party and he’s smoked 3 joints. Yup, he’s stoned.


schaumi said...

I can do a whispering scream. really. i can. listen...........................

did you hear it?

if you need it i possibly could make it 3 1/2% better.

Jay said...

The people you work with are a riot. Well, at least I find them funny from here. If I was the one working with them I might not find it all so funny.

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

"I like it. It makes me want to come. I mean, to the event! It makes me want to come to the event!"
- A late fifty-something Executive Creative Director to a twenty-something AE, reviewing an invite to an event a day after flyers of the “anti-sexual harassment law” was passed in the office.


russkal said...


Yep. I want that in German, Italian, French, Korean, japanese, Chinese and Spanish translations. All done by the same voice.


Right you are. I guess when you've been with these people for 6 years, you just sort of think of them as amusing. That doesn't guarantee that you're safe from migraines, though.


Careful now. Too much laughing can induce migraine too. Harhar!

schaumi said...

would you like those in high german or low german
mandarin or cantonese chinese
japanese dialects from the eastern or western regions
canadian french or french french
mexican spanish or spanish spanish
ummmm can't help you on the korean stuff

Satan said...

executive creative directors are mine

Dirk_Star said...

You should see the stuff my wife deals with in the insurance game...

Craig D said...

Here are a couple of blog entries by John Kricfalusi, the creator of REN & STIMPY:



Feel free to comment in your quietest shout.

Craig D said...


russkal said...


My, my, you are quite the linguist, are you? Very well then, just make sure that what you give, is what i get.


Oh they're all yours!


My sister work's in insurance too! Come to think of, it she had slipped disk recently and the doctors said it's partially because of work stress. Hmmm...


Cool blog! Thanks for sharing it.

And oh, you got me there man. I admit I did borrowed some from ad verbatims, (where i, along with my colleagues in the agency are also regular contibutors) and mixed it up with some personal "encounters".

Amery Celiza said...

i never thought that the advertising industry could be so entertaining. But then again, our advertising/IMC classes were funny too, producing such statements as:

"yung chocolate hills, i-compare natin sa mga kalbong pilipino!" (advertising the philippines, the idea was to personify the filipino sights)

"black sand na beach. anu yun, parang aspalto?" (same project, we were talking about interesting tourist spots)

(all these come from a single classmate of mine. she also made these lines unforgettable: "WHat is the use of a river not flowing kung maraming nagangailangan." and "ang isda, nahuhuli sa sariling bulate"


Pepper said...

Too Funny

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wizened Wizard said...

So many funny things! Unless, of course, you happen to have to work in the midst of these people!

I think I'm going to try to make my blog 17% better.

Here, far from the mad world of advertising in Manila, it is snowing and below zero, perhaps the cure for both insomnia and migraines. And here is a wish for you...

skeet said...

Dear friend, where are you? Has the migraine completely defeated you? We need to see more of you!

Hugs & hope you're okay!