13 Ideas To Transform Advertising

My friend Bob Hoffman of Hoffman/Lewis in San Francisco decided to have some fun with the 4As recent call to converse (that Danny G. mentioned a few days ago).
Hoffman decided he didn’t need a conversation–a word he hates to hear in the context of marketing–to transform the business. Instead, he offers up his very own list of actions to be taken at once.

10 Ideas For Transforming Advertising
1. No cranberry bagels at meetings. No exceptions.
2. While on duty, copywriters required to wear those Norwegian knit hats with the funny earflaps.
3. Reinstatement of the three martini lunch. After a 6-month trial period, optional upgrade to four.
4. Confiscate all computers and baseball caps from art directors.
5. Use of the following terms considered justifiable cause for termination: ecosystem, conversation, engagement, branding, quirky, landscape, seared ahi tuna and dashboard.
6. When making presentations, account planners must dress up as pirates and hop around on one foot.
7. Breakthrough idea for tv spots: Animals that talk!
8. Criminalize all products containing pomegranates or acai berries.
9. Increase touch points from 360 degrees to 380 degrees.
10. Require Sir Martin Sorrell to walk around with his weenie out.

Some good ideas here, for sure, but I don’t like costumes.
As an addendum to Hoffman’s list, here are a few of my own (totally serious) ideas:

11. Make all members of the agency team walk a mile in the client’s shoes–if the client bakes bread, then the agency needs to spend some time literally baking bread.
12. Pay the people with consistently great ideas extremely well, regardless of their position on the org chart.
13. Never hire an account person without first seeing the quality of work said person has sold.

Radical change, even when it’s for the better, is rarely a welcome visitor. But in the spirit of reform, I am willing to get drunk at noon while wearing a funny hat. Taxi!

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Might I throw in also
    1. Before signing on to work on an account ask the top banana if they’ve ever uttered the words “can we make it bigger…” if they stay silent and their ears wiggle, walk away for your own good.
    2. Ban from any digital creative meeting the words image gallery, social media, user journey, verdana or pop up window, failure to comply will result in a painful death, probably from a cannibilised high-voltage iphone app
    3. Chin stroking and looking into the middle distance will be considered mandatory in all client meetings, particularly the non-creative ones
    4. All agency staff to have a tattoo with the legend ‘We’ll fix it in post’ inked into their buttocks.
    5. Non-compliance with any of the above will result in 5 years hard labour client-side and a hot poker shaped like a big yellow pen eased slowly into a orifice chosen by the office cat.