Reawakening The Pirates

You rarely hear publicly from people who’ve recently left high-profile ad gigs. At least, they don’t talk about their most recent position or agency.
But Al Kelly, who recently left TBWA\Chiat\Day, wrote about the agency’s famous “pirate” spirit, using an old “we lost a pitch” ad the agency ran in the 70’s.

The place is legendary for good reason: the visionary leadership of a single unflinching, uncompromising personality drives it.
But maybe that’s not enough anymore. Today, agencies that succeed value constructive dissent, it leads to flexibility and change. What we don’t want to hear is often what we need to hear the most.
Would you run a house ad today about losing a pitch? Would those who did back then do it now? When things suck, human nature is to keep our heads down and play it cool. But eventually most humans say, “To hell with it, let’s speak our mind.”

It’s an interesting read. Most people never get the opportunity to so openly address the positives and negatives of their recent jobs without fear of reprisal. At least not in Adweek.



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.