Sep 12, 2014

Here's looking at you, WAS.

I started this blog years ago after returning from work at some ad agency from hell. I was tired, beat, frustrated. I needed a place where I could be myself, where I could write, write and write - without someone telling me that it was not on strategy, not witty enough or they just "didn't get it". I needed to do something meaningful with my life. So I opened up my laptop and just started writing.

It. Was. Heaven.

As the weeks went by, I decided to call up two of my best friends to tell them about this little secret place where we could vent and do what we love most in the world. I knew we had something here. It was a secret therapy group, and the great thing about it was that we could yap about every little thing that really pissed us off about our clients, bosses, agencies... and no one would know it was us. It was freedom - and it felt damn good.

You can trust me, we told the absolute truth. In this blog there are hundreds of stories that happened in real life. We only changed genders and names, but yeah, this shit happened for real. Our bosses were idiots, some of them who had mental problems or that we just did not respect in any way. Our clients were amazingly bizarre, making such demands that truly made us mad. I honestly don't know how we have survived all these years moving the fucking logo to the right and making it bigger, inserting family photos in full page ads or choosing actors who did not fit the tv ads just because maybe the client wanted their number.

We lost days and months of family time, hanging out with friends, traveling. Advertising gave me heartburn, nervous breakdowns, extreme bouts of insomnia... I know what it is to drink Xanax to function during the day and Lunesta to achieve some sleep before waking up and doing it all over again.

And between all the madness, here was this blog, helping us to try and remember who we were. At first, we had plenty to write about. The stories kept coming, so fast that we had to plan ahead. Then, when we got tired of bitching, we sometimes switched to themes we cared about: sex, movies, more sex, weird shit, toys, videogames... anything we could think of - an excuse not to write about our daily hell.

Is advertising fun? Yes, it sure is. I met the best friends of my life, and also, I met the love of my life there. Some clients are fun to work with, some bosses, like a mythical creature, exist and make your job fun for a while. I can't honestly say that this is the worst job of the planet, because it's just not true. But, does it suck? Well, of course it does.

Look, at first it's fun. It's an adventure. You think the world is your oyster, your ads matter and it's all so new. Fast forward to 20 years later, and if your agency does not let you move up the ladder, you're just stuck there.

Receive brief. Make ads. Revise ads for your bosses. Make new ads. Client asks for revisions. Shitty ad ends up printing. Repeat process.

I did not want that for my life. I could not sit there and look at a future of repetition. So after returning from a trip a couple of years ago, I did the unthinkable. I retired from advertising. Bye bye, ad people. I was moving on to greener pastures. Was I scared? You bet your ass I was. Was I excited? More than a monkey with a banana up its ass. It was a blank slate, a new adventure. It was, in a way, creativity at its highest point. And I was glad to take that leap of faith. I was let out of my cage. Free!

What have I been doing now? Let's just say, for the anonymity of this blog, something else. Do I have clients? Nope. Do I still make ads? Yes, of course, but in my terms - and it's not for "ad agency purposes". Am I happy?


The insomnia has gone. No more anxiety attacks. I am healthy. I smile more. My husband says that I look more relaxed. I think it was all the stress, but also, I knew that a tv ad does not really cause change or make the world a better place. Advertising does not do anything for humanity. The moment I realized that I did not want to do something that didn't really matter - and didn't make me happy anymore, it was just the time to move on.

Hey Me, but what's this crap about closing down WAS? Well guys, you deserve a blog that has posts, that has lots of content coming your way. And we just didn't have nothing else to talk about. Advertising has passed for all of us, in some way. Joker is exploring the world of writing in a big way, RestrictionsApply has moved out of the ad world and into a different field, and I just abandoned any thoughts of coming back to ads. In the years we wrote, we explored all the things that you will have to endure if you want to continue on this job. And if for some reason, 15 or 20 years pass along, read this blog and maybe you'll get why it's time to close up shop.

It's kind of sad for me to do this. This was our friend. I wrote for hours and hours here. But in life, you sometimes grow apart. WAS will understand. I think it even wants us to fly away and have better lives. We deserve this, and WAS is and will always be one of those things you do in your life that help you to move on, grow stronger.

Will we write one day again? Who knows. Nothing is set on stone, right? For now, let's just wrap this up as it is. It was a great ride. We won awards for our writing, we laughed, we cried, we cursed the fuck out of this place.

For my guys, Joker and RestrictionsApply, it was an HONOR to work with you. You made this even better that I could have imagined. Maybe one day I will hit the jackpot and do the WAS book, so it reaches even more ad people around the world - and we screw with their minds a bit, old school style. Me love you long time.

As for our readers, thank you. Thanks for all those years of support, for writing back, for letting us know what you thought, what you loved, what you hated, for reading our most venom filled posts and not puking and for just being there. We did not feel so alone with you guys.

We'll always have Why Advertising Sucks.

With all the love in the world,


It still sucks: A goodbye letter from RestrictionsApply

When "Me" began WAS almost ten years ago, there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no concept of social media. In fact, smartphones didn't exist either. Blackberry, SMS, email and blogs, of course, were the way to go. I take pride in the fact that WAS was one of the first blogs out there with active participation from the co-authors (or is it co-posters?) and, most importantly, from our readers. In a matter of weeks, a small community was created, one in which we all shared a love/hate relationship with the advertising industry. Many things evolved over the years, most notably the range of topics discussed, from industry-insider dirt to hot babe rankings and pop culture review. Our lives have evolved as well, with many of us moving on beyond advertising, marriage and kids. It was a great ride for me, an outlet to vent, to laugh, to think and to, quite simply, be me. And for that I am grateful. Thank you "Me" and "Joker", and thank you readers, for keeping the flame alive and for inspiring us with your comments. The big takeaway after all these years of WAS? Simple: ADVERTISING DOES AND ALWAYS WILL SUCK!!!!!

Top 10 things I’ve learned from advertising

10. You’ll meet some of the most talented people in your life. Simply put, I’ve met artists, writers and people with endless amounts of talent that somehow ended up in advertising. They are priceless gems that are not appreciated and underutilized.

9. It is the best job in theory. In practice, advertising sucks because of agency culture, power plays, revisions, shitty clients etc. In theory though, advertising is the strategic use of creativity. That’s awesome except not every agency is built the same. Still, the process is often broken and you will know to redo one thing about twenty times. Enjoy regurgitating and re pushing it down your throat.

8. You’re body will eventually give up on you. Sore neck, sore back, headaches, indigestion, spasms, carpel tunnel... you name it and you’ll get it because ad agency culture often leads people to unhealthy work habits that push them to the brink.

7. You won’t matter. Your health is not the agency’s problem. The agency’s problem is ensuring you keep pumping out material that allows it to squeeze the client for an extra buck.

6. The agency civil war is endless and retarded. Execs hate creatives. Creatives hate execs. It’s par for the course and definitely something that could be avoided if people grew up.

5. You will always be underpaid. This could be your perception or reality. The fact remains, you’ll feel underpaid. It could be the process, what you bring to the table or just the amount of hours you put in that dilute your salary, you’ll feel like you’re being screwed.

4. You will not get a medal. I’ve seen people be 20 years in an agency be rewarded with the cheapest spa package at a cheap spa place, valued at less than $120.

3. You will meet the people you most respect and least respect in the same confines. It’s amazing how much variety there is in an agency. I’ve met people whom I’d chisel a pedestal from granite and other people who would get my piss to put the fire out in their hair.

2. You will not be taken seriously by your family. This is a fact... a sad, frustrating fact, thought still a fact nonetheless. You will be the black sheep, the weirdo and you will never play it out so might as well get used to it.

1. Odds are you will work in a bunch of places before you’re 40. I jumped between 5 agencies in a 3 and a half year period. This isn’t necessarily a healthy thing.

Are there more lessons... of course yes, though these are the top ten you need to be able to survive and know what you’re in for, so good luck.

To be continued…

This is my final message here on WAS. It’s been a hell of a run. We almost got to 4,000 posts. We tore shit up. We spoke our minds and hearts... We didn’t hold back.

And now, this blog ends.

There is more to come from all WAS contributors, but this blog will pass to a better life.

For my part, I have loved these 9 years of hate filled love. I was able to truly find my passion, which is writing. We’ve bled, we’ve sweat and shed tears for this blog. We’ve had our asses dilated by an unforgiving industry that pushed us to the limit.

But we’re still fucking here.

We’re ending the blog on our terms. Now. We didn’t get to the tenth season because we have shit to do and we’re doing it.

Every single member of WAS is going through their own evolution and for me, it’s been pursuing my dream to be a writer. Not a copywriter, but a writer. With one novel down, one poetry collection published, two finished projects which will be published soon and 4 others in the pipeline, I need to give this blog thanks for inspiring me to write... to be consistent with my writing. To explore, to push, to break down walls.

I have honestly not given a fuck to limit my topics and have spoken my mind on everything from gender to racism because these topics need to be talked about.

But this era ends. We are unable to remain being one trick ponies and are looking ahead.

Still, this is a to be continued, not a goodbye. There are other WAS projects that will live beyond this blog because they are the next step in our evolution.

We will not take no for an answer. We will not rest until our message of agency anarchy reaches all the people we can help to reach.

There are other mediums, other people that need our message to laugh and relate, and other challenges to tackle. So here’s til next we see you. It’s been a fucking honor to slice my stomach open and use my guts and blood as ink to write my testament regarding an industry I’d hate even more if I didn’t love it just a bit.

This is not goodbye, this is a sayonara to the blog and a warning to you... we will not rest. We don’t do rest. We don’t do giving up. We live for the moment, for the surprise and I still have a Joker or two up my sleeves. So stay tuned kiddies, there will be no warning when we strike... but you have been warned. This is not the end of WAS. This is just us giving you a chance to miss us before we tear you a new one.

Peace, love and maki rolls.

Chef Joker, signing off.


Why advertising doesn’t suck

For 9 years we’ve been ranting about why advertising is a piece of shit... and the fact is that there are some great things in advertising we overlook or simply don’t focus on because there’s so much to deal with.

So yeah, for 9 years we’ve preached the contrary... though I insist, advertising doesn’t suck.

I’ve met some of the most important people in my life thanks to advertising. You come into contact with interesting people, you learn a lot of a lot of industries, there’s never a dull moment, you learn to deal with a myriad of human tempers. In essence, it’s a whole life you can experience in a couple of years... it isn’t always pleasant but it is interesting.

So here’s to advertising. There’s a chance I return to the fray soon and all I can say is that as long as there’s a challenge, there’s a reason to be thankful. Some things might be stupid, some people may be full of shit... still... there’s shit to do and you can have fun doing it.

Having worked elsewhere and in other industries, I miss the camaraderie, the kinship and the bonds you form in advertising. When you find a special group of people, you are well aware that you could take them into combat and that you’d all make it. I had that happen twice and I will never forget knowing I have people who had my back.

The work in theory is fascinating and has some days that are borderline awesome. So here’s to those moments. Sure there are other sucky ones, still... the good outweighs the bad and if you can overcome the challenges, which there are many... advertising can even be gratifying.

For me, I met Me, Restrictions Apply and Travis Fkr through advertising... just that is reason enough to be thankful for my stints in advertising. Through the test of time, I’ve been able to realize what true friends feel like and I was invited 9 years ago to partake in this lambasting of an industry.

The fact remains, there are some very shitty facts about advertising... but if the long nights, the frustrations, the physical exhaustions and conditions I developed are the price to pay for friends like my WAS brethren, so fucking be it.

Cheers friends. One more post to go.


Sep 11, 2014

Joker’s picks

--> During my run here on W.A.S. I’ve always loved recommending a variety of things because regardless of the effects of advertising and marketing, there is no better promotion than word of mouth, and although some people insist otherwise, you can’t buy gosh honest word of mouth. So here’s some recommendations throughout all the things I could think of recommending.

Food and drink

- The Thomas at Fagianni’s (Napa): out of my meals when I’ve traveled to Napa, this place is something truly special. Great food, great drinks, wonderful ambiance and a rooftop terrace.

-  The Franklin Fountain (Philadelphia): old school ice cream bliss in Philadelphia. Philadelphia has offered me brilliant beer, great concerts and the Franklin Fountain. Make sure to visit and feel free to indulge.

- The Plough and the Stars (Philadelphia): One of the best bars I’ve ever been to. Clean, great drinks, wonderful beers and just a lovely atmosphere. Did I mention the great beer... yeah. GREAT beer. :D

- Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew: A wonderfully complex beer that should be drunk from draft, if you can find it.I've paid $12 a glass for a fundraiser and thought it was a deal. THAT good.

Kollar Chocolates: cardamom, earl grey tea, pollen and chili flavored truffles are waiting for you to bite in.If you need anything else to convince you, I have no idea what is wrong with you.

- Ikura Sushi Bistro (Puerto Rico): The best eel sashimi I’ve ever had in my life. With over 60 sushi restaurant visits in my life, this means something. If you’re ever in the Caribbean, don’t miss out on this gem of a spot near the Caribe Hilton.Make sure to keep your group to 4 or under though. Small place, slight wait... brilliant sushi.

- Kangaroo and Ostrich meat: If you can find these cuts at some fine dining place, you will not regret it. As Me would say, amazeballs.


Bodyboarding: People fail to realize just how amazing bodyboarding is. More versatile, economic, dynamic and challenging than stand up surfing, even if it’s looked down upon, you should check out some videos on Vimeo to see what you’re missing.Been bodyboarding for 20 years and looking fwd to the next 20.

- Robert Hunter & TerraValentine Wineries: Simply two of the most breathtakingly beautiful experiences in my life. If you’re at Napa/Sonoma, look both these places up. They’re off the beaten path and that’s a wonderful thing.

- Amoeba Music (Height and Ashburry – San Francisco): The end all experiences of record stores. The store is overwhelming and a throwback to the good old days where you could lose yourself in a record store for hours.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Go to Orlando, be a muggle, throw caution to the wind. Your inner child will always love you for it. And try butterbeer (frozen is better!)

- Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta): Awe inspiring is the apt term for visiting this massive aquarium. Whale sharks, manta rays, 300 lbs. groupers… it is spellbinding.

Movies and TV Series

Waking Life: one of the biggest mind trips you’ll ever take in cinema. If you haven’t seen this movie, consider buying because you may want to watch more than once.

- Mushi –Shi: One of the most beautiful animated series I’ve ever seen. It is spooky and beautiful NS timeless.

- Broken Saints: One of the most intense visual experiences I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy.

Big Trouble in Little China: The movie I’ve watched the most in my life. Watch it so you can learn what Jack Burton says.

- The Secret World of Arriety, Nausicaaand the Valley of the Wind, Spirited Away and Ponyo: Studio Ghibli is near and dear to me and these four movies are just a glimpse of what you’re missing.

- Dark City: This 90’s classic holds the test of time and proves that when you nail it, decades can pass and you’re still relevant.

Bands and artists

Elbow: One of my favorite bands and one that isn’t as popular as it deserves to be. Do yourself a favor, check them out on Spotify, Now.

- Asian Kung Fu Generation: Some of the best rock you’ll ever hear comes from Japan. Don’t believe me? Check out Sol Fa or Funclub.

- Café Tacuva: One of the best Spanish bands you’ll ever listen to and a hell of a live act.

Gustavo Cerati and Soda Stereo: Cerati passed away recently and  left behind one hell of a testament to what good music sounds like in Spanish. 

- St Vincent: quirky, odd, harmonious, fun, deep, dark and talented. If you want a woman that shreds on the guitar and produces memorably odd music, lok no further.

- Emiliana Torrini: great artist you should check out to add some estrogen to your discography. Fun, clever, talented. Bring it on.

- VAST: Although their recent work isn’t as solid, this band’s first three albums are well worth a listen.


Xenoblade Chronicles: The single longest game I’ve ever played. 156 hours of glory. Meets up with my other favorite all time RPGs including FFVI and VII, Chrono Trigger, Zelda games, Xenogears and Secret of Mana

- Journey: This game is an experience more than a game. It is deep, heartfelt, touching and invites you to see videogames in a whole new spectrum.

- Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaro’streasure: The most clever usage of the Wii Mote ever in a game, Zack and Wiki’s sales sucked, fooling people into thinking this is one of the coolest experiences on any platform.

- Beyond good and evil: such a good game even if it’s short. If you can grab any version of this game, play and enjoy.

- Eternal Darkness – Sanity’s Requiem: one of the best written and scariest games I’ve ever played.


- Delivering Happiness: The President and CEO of Zappos shows you what it’s like to work at a place where you like to work. A supreme ethos of service and kindness shows that when you believe in something, you will make it work.

- Ready Player One: In the future there is a virtual world that is just as important and often more important than the “real” world. Science Fiction and 80’s nostalgia meet up in one of the most refreshing reads I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy.

- Only Human: You would have had me at vampires that don’t sparkle, though beneath that, there are demons and a fantastic world within our own that invites you to question any and everything. An exploration into humanity, this novel could very well surprise you, if you give it a chance.

The more you hurry, the more you lose time

People think that when they hurry, they’re really progressing when in reality they’re just setting up a traffic jam in the pipeline.

Here’s how it goes, you get a job, it’s instructions are incomplete, you suggest maybe we should wait for clearer instructions, you’re told no, we need to hurry, you do the work, it’s aligned with what was asked… except it needs to be changed because you get new info that changes many things in the layout.


Do we have the rest of the information?

Not yet, but let’s do this first so we can hurry with this piece.

Shouldn’t we wait to have everything so we can do it.

No. Let’s do this now and do the rest when it gets here.


You do the revisions, validate with people, get the Ok of two people that don’t have a final say in things, revisions from a third person. Then more new info comes in… more changes.


Who else has to see this artwork?

Not sure.

Shouldn’t we wait so we can make use of better time and focus on projects that are also pending.

No. We need to do this now. We need to hurry.

But we don’t have all the information or all the feedback.

That doesn’t matter. Let’s do this first, so we can get some of the workout of the way so when we have to hurry, we can.

This is the second round of revisions and we don’t even have all the info or all the feedback.

Don’t be difficult.


Revisions made, validated with the three people who’d already seen the layout. Two can’t agree on the font, two can’t agree on the color of the background, everyone thinks a different aspect should be tweaked, still the client hasn’t seen the layout and you’ve already worked on this piece for about 20 hours combined between all the people who are working on it. You send it. There’s a third round of revisions because the owner that needed to see the layout finally shows up and is asking why the hell X, Y and Z were done, new dates, new offer information, new mandatories, legals are still pending.

Ok, let’s do the revisions. We need to hurry.

But we still don’t have all the information or all the feedback.

You creative types are all the same.


* * *

Suggestion: Think twice when you think you’re really hurrying.

Sep 10, 2014

Heaven is having a party

First Robin Williams, now Gustavo Cerati, not to mention Harold Ramis in February; it’s been a rough year for nice people . As we are wrapping things here at WAS, we should note that if any of us survive 2014, we’re not that nice. True, Joan Rivers also passed and she was known for being less than kind to many people, still, that was her persona and she actually seems to have been a nice person with a hell of a work ethic.

Cerati was the most recent and juxtaposed with Robin Williams, I think the peculiar linking word between both of them is hope. While Robin unfortunately took the decision into his own hands, Gustavo Cerati had been in a coma for 4 years. 4 long years of waiting, of hoping, of dreaming. Millions of fans praying and wishing.

With Gustavo there was hope because we were allowed to imagine, what if he wakes up? I imagine what his wonderful mother had to go through these four years and how she kept hope firmly grasped. Two weeks ago she said he was responding, holding on to her hands. There was hope. To the last moment, she kept the faith and hoped. Fans dreamed and dared to hope as well. I was one of those who hoped, who actually prayed for his recovery and dreamed of just one song after this long odyssey.

And I don’t regret one second of all that hope. It was not in vain, it showed me just how much an artist can touch people because beyond the moniker “artist” there is a person. A person that dared to pursue a passion and connect.

Gustavo Cerati passing away today reminds me why hope is so important and that if Robin had just had one sliver of the hope we shared for Gustavo, he might still be making us laugh.

Because in the end, regardless of the outcome, hope is never in vain.


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