Up The Agency

My boss handed me a copy of Up The Agency: The Funny Business of Advertising by best-selling author, Peter Mayle, last week. Just finished it. It’s wonderfully cynical through and through.

Historically, advertising had attracted individualists, entrepreneurs, and talented misfits. They came to advertising partly because it offered larger and faster rewards than other occupations, but mainly because it was more fun than other occupations, and they feel at home in it. Informal, unpredictable, and dependent on individual skills and creativity, it matched their personalities. It was an interesting and lucrative way of living by your wits.
But as the business becomes more structured, more respectable, more governed by money and corporate jockeying than by ideas, so it will lose its appeal for the individualist. A different animal will inhabit agency offices: The new advertising man, brought up on globalization and the need to maintain dividends and share prices, will take over. He will be good at meetings, adroit at politics, prudent, measured, solid, reliable



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.