Dance With Them That Brung Ya

“It wasn’t a wonderful year for Chicago’s advertising industry. In fact, it was a pretty lousy 12 months, marked mostly by advertising accounts leaving town, ad agencies shrinking their staffs (yet again), and an overall feeling of lethargy that didn’t keep Chicago on the radar screen when many would-be clients went searching for new agencies.
It’s hard, admittedly, to bring in exciting new clients — to say nothing of great creative talent — when you’ve got a reputation as an ad community that only knows how to do packaged goods advertising. And let’s be honest. That is the rap Chicago’s ad industry has struggled with for years, with little success at shaking it off.” –Lewis Lazare
Happy New Year from Lewis the above piece might better end.
I’ve not been in this city long–not as long as Lazare, by a long shot–but that doesn’t diminish my rebuttal. Because my response is not about Chicago, it’s about the notion that category experience is so vital. The question is not, “Can Chicago break out of the packaged goods mode?” The questions is, “How well can Chicago do packaged goods?”
Dance with them that brung ya.
If packaged goods is what Chicago has, and it does, care of Kraft and many others, then the task is not to shake off the packaged goods label, but to remake it. Taking packaged goods advertising to the next level is the task.



About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.