The Real Meaning of Advertainment

Now that I run a small but growing creative services firm, it’s imperative that I become a rainmaker and an account manager, on top of being the writer/creative director/brand strategist that I already am. That’s why I’m thankful for I AM THE CLIENT, a blog by Londoner “Dave Knockles,” a marketing director at a big company, possibly Unilever. I’m thankful because Knockles cares, and he shares. For instance, he lays down the law when it comes to the pursuit of new business.

I can’t think of a single supplier I use who I didn’t hire while face down in a pile of curry with my trousers round my ankles and half-empty bottles of Aftershock in my jacket pockets. It’s the way business works, and it’s utterly magnificent.
So my advice to all you agencies is a) stop moaning when I do your jobs better than you (which I always do!) and b) stop trying to win business on the strength of your commitment, knowledge, success or ability. Nobody in business ever got anywhere with commitment, knowledge, success or ability.
Instead, get your gold card out, put your pride away and BUY DADDY BEERZ.

The fact is there are thousands–yes thousands–of sites today that purport to help marketing people improve their game. But it’s not about the top ten ways to do a damn thing, is it? It’s about being witty and fun, a.k.a. a good drinking partner.
Naturally, one can’t expect THE CLIENT to know everything there is to know. In fact, Knockles freely admits he doesn’t understand the industry-wide self-delusion that we aren’t salespeople.

Come on, folks. Let’s the two of us have a heart-to-heart here. Nobody else – just us. Let me be honest, because I like you / you buy me beerz.
The only difference between you and a car salesman is an ironic T-shirt.

Of course, that’s not true. Car salesman don’t often engage their prospects, or involve them in the conversation. And as far as I know they never, ever pick up the bar tab.



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.