The French Evolution

Neil’s been tarred and feathered aplenty, so in my new column in Talent Zoo I’ve decided to focus on a larger issue: why there’s so much hero-worshipping in the ad industry.

Frankly, Neil French isn’t the problem. The problem lies with the starstruck suckers who treat his every utterance like it was the word of Moses or the Dalai Lama. And then insist his comments are above reproach simply because, well, he’s Neil French and we’re not.
The cult of personality that surrounds certain people in advertising is silly at the very least, and in the case of Neil French, dangerous. It was bad for business at WPP where he worked, and it’s bad for the ad business as a whole.

Enjoy. And hey, I’ll tender my resignation to AdPulp if this causes a worldwide shitstorm.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.

  • http://adpulp.com David Burn

    Nice work, Danny G. Very nice.
    I’m always amazed at the aura that surrounds the people who have the ability to match some decent words with a picture or two and a product shot and then convince a client to say “yes.” In an award show book, they’re perfect. Genius. Untouchable.
    Then, inevitably, they open their mouths. They get quoted in Adweek or give an interview in Creativity. Rarely is there any real brilliance in anything they utter. Which makes me think, “that person’s full of shit.” Or more appropriately, “that person’s just as full of shit as I am and why did he end up in Creativity?”
    You know who is the real deal? Janet Champ.

  • Carl LaFong

    A-freakin’-men, Danny G.
    Sure, Mr. French (the ad man, not the butler) is immensely talented. But he is also abundantly human and, as such, no more or less infallible than the rest of us. Why is he treated as a veritable god merely because he’s won a fistful of trinkets? When did we lose the ability to think for ourselves? Are we men or are we sheep?
    It’s this same herd mentality that leads people in the business and in the press to judge agencies based on the number of awards they’ve accumulated rather than the actual quality of their work.
    This particular episode is all the more amusing because, prior to the event in question, some hysterical wanker from ihaveanidea.com was flitting around various ad blogs, daring anyone who had the temerity to take issue with one of Neil’s most recent ads to come to his lecture and repeat their criticisms to the Great Man’s face. Such unthinking, unblinking sycophancy was laughable then and even more so now that his idol has revealed himself to be a piggish, boorish old fart.