Chicago Advertising Blues

In today’s Chicago Sun-Times, Lewis Lazare highlights a letter he received from a local post-production veteran:

Copywriters were hired for the number of tattoos and piercings on their bodies rather than writing skill or cleverness. Chicago agencies brought people in from the West Coast and London to give their places a cool vibe, not to sell a client’s products. Now the entire scene is disintegrating because advertisers still want to sell stuff, but too few people in the ad business know or care much about doing that persuasive “sell thing.”
Also the pompous and condescending attitude that local ad folk have toward Chicago production and editing talent has been painful for the whole community. Oddly enough, I spoke to Graham Woodall (just fired from his job as JWT/Chicago’s creative leader) at his “Welcome to Chicago” party a few years back.
After introducing myself and my Chicago-based company, Woodall peered at me and snorted: “I only work in New York or London, sometimes L.A.” I said we have wonderful editors here. He said something like “that’s interesting, but I have my favorites in New York” and walked away. I thought to myself, this guy is going to ruin JWT, as he is a self-absorbed clown. In the meantime, my business has declined from a fun and busy place to a shell of its former self.

It’s a potent reminder that the ad industry itself has all sorts of vendors–photographers, production houses, etc.,– that are also struggling to navigate the new media landscape, as well as the old attitudes of self-appointed creative stars.

About Dan Goldgeier

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. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.