“Trust Me” Gets It More Right Than Wrong

I had really low expectations of “Trust Me”, so I recorded it and didn’t watch it until last night. Then, when I saw the opening scene, with two scruffy 30-something white guys with Starbucks cups in hand and laptop bags slung around their chests, I figured at least the set designers knew what they were doing.
I’ve worked in a bunch of different types of agencies, but never a big Chicago shop, so there was way more drama packed into an hour than I’ve witnessed in the ad world. So I asked someone I know, who spent several years in a Chicago agency, what he thought:

I think it’s extremely accurate. Except for the the guy going to the client uninvited and the coming up with a spot on the spot in the meeting.
But the account director lying about a Super Bowl spot to get them back from L.A., the fit thrown by the CD, the other CD offering to “help” as he tried to steal the account, the Us vs. Them even though you’re supposedly on the same team, all of that is exactly how it was.

I still think advertising isn’t all that interesting an industry to make for good TV, so we’ll probably see more outlandish character behavior to liven up future episodes. Still, I was surprised how much I got into “Trust Me.” You can certainly poke holes in plenty of the details (a promotion announced with a photocopied memo?), but there’s a lot of reality portrayed here. I plan to keep watching.
What did you think?

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.


  1. The first 15 minutes of the show seemed to be trying too hard, but it seemed to get into a groove and be more entertaining as it went on.
    I remembered it was a TV show when the Account Director was black. That was so unrealistic.
    I read someone comparing it more to Scrubs than Mad Men, which seems much more dead on when I think about it.

  2. I’d say the reviewer inadvertantly got it right: all of that is exactly how it was.”
    Key word being “was.” Perhaps in the big dinosaur shops it’s still like that, but it seems like a very 90s interpretation of ad agencies.
    I also think Clios aren’t that cherished and that everyone was way too old.
    But there were a lot of things that were semi-right.

  3. so, see, there’s this airplane with 8 people, and it’s flying at 23,000 feet, and the pilot says, hey, we’re gonna crash unless we trow out tree people, so youse guys decide, and they were a media planner, a traffic manager, a creative director, an art director, a writer, a director, an account planner, a graphic designer, a photographer, HEY, deres 9 guys dere, what’s up?

  4. The show definitely has a 90s feel to it, although characters like those depicted still exist today. It’s a tough call. Like the advertising we create, the show dramatizes reality (i.e., pushes the truth for entertainment value). It was a tad too cartoonish in sections for my tastes (e.g., making light of a boss who just died – and moving forward with the client meeting as if nothing had happened, the copywriter being chased by security after “breaking in” to the client’s headquarters, etc.). But those of us who’ve worked in agencies like the one in the show will admit, if you depicted reality, it would be boring as hell. I don’t watch Scrubs, but the comparison is probably accurate. The show needs time to define what it wants to be. Hopefully, it won’t become another Scrubs. Would have preferred an ER or West Wing style, with smarter writing and smarter characters.

  5. p.s., promotions via photocopied memos still happen in big Chicago shops. even funnier, the memos often misspell the promoted’s name.

  6. DB-
    I know you’ve read this personal story about the show but if any Adpulp readers want a peek behind the curtain of “Trust Me” here you go:

  7. @Steffan – thanks for the link and the backstory. i certainly know all about the tickety tick of the money running out clock. but hey, pressure creates diamonds. anyway, i’m glad these dreamers made something material from their beliefs, ability, dedication and willingness to take big risks.

  8. I thought it was okay,
    I think they played up the I’m-too-tired-to-be-creative-so-i’m-going-home-because-I’m-a-creative angle a bit much.
    I hope they get picked up though.
    Kudos to the creators!

  9. I’m hooked. I think the show is great and has potential. I may be a bit bias here because I work in the industry, but nevertheless, it’s entertaining.
    I think it’s pretty accurate, especially the comments you made– creating a spot “on the spot”, etc. I work at a small shop out here in Connecticut and I’ve seen plenty of drama over the years– creative directors wigging out, competition, crazy clients, you name it.
    Let’s hope the show sticks around 🙂