Longing To Be Elsewhere

Ernie Schenck, executive vice president and creative director at Hill Holliday, explores the tendency in creative people to occupy their minds with thoughts about how much better things are “over the hill and through the trees.”

We are terrible longers, we ad people. No matter where we are, we long to be somewhere else. Goodby. Wieden. Chiat. If only I weren’t stuck in this sorry ass agency in Davenport, we think; if only I could squeeze my eyes shut and a wormhole would pass over me at that very moment and when I opened them, I would be awash in the glorious radiance of Crispin; if only I could be anywhere but here in Davenport, in Tacoma, in Providence, in Oklahoma City, life would be good, life would be perfect. The creative grass is never so green as it is anywhere but where we happen to be.

Truer words have rarely been written.
I don’t see one of the name brand shops as “the answer” like I once did. For me personally, it’s about working with people I like on projects I find worthwhile.
[via Communication Arts]

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. old irish saying: Faraway hills may be greener but the grass is just as hard to cut.

  2. marvin clonkey says:

    That’s bullshit. The healthiest grass is always the easiest to cut. I used sit on a cardboard box, “writing” ads under lifesucking fluorescents for $15 an hour. The client would count the syllables in my radio spots, then the AE would rewrite them.
    If you’re unhappy, where you’re at is hell. Where you want to be is heaven. Never forget that.
    If you’re at CPB, WK or Goodby, etc. and it’s hell, leave or change it, but please don’t fucking settle.

  3. i wasn’t saying “settle”. the phrase means that your idealization of crispin or wieden etc invariably omits the inevitable negatives.
    the weather in portland is miserable, for example. but you never think about that if working at wieden is your dream.
    of course you should always strive for the ideal, but there’s no nirvana in advertising.

  4. Thanks, David. This post drove me to CA where I read this worthwhile piece in entirety. Schenck mentions the book that triggered him to write it: Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas, another great read.