Aug 8, 2008

Joker’s 20 on 20 -- Ad Broad --

Recently I stated that I’d be doing a series of blogger interviews… here’s the first one and it’s for Ad Broad.

If you need a brief intro as to who Ad Broad is, try to imagine a professional who had to literally work through the Mad Men era of advertising (I mean full blown Mad Men). Try to imagine rising up the ranks and working through agency after agency through the end of the 70’s, the Golden 80’s ad era, the 90’s and still currently working to this day. Now imagine that person to be a woman and all the bullshit she must have gone through in a cock driven industry. Her blog offers a variety of posts regarding anything that pretty much pops into her head. She’s among my first reads every morning and more than once I find myself reading and thinking because of her blog. 20 questions, 20 answers, a couple of comments. I hope y’all enjoy.

1. How many agencies have you worked for?

Too many to count.

Now I wonder how many were worthwhile.

2. What type of advertising is compelling to you?

Concept-driven advertising, meaning ads that take an idea and make it work in a variety of media to deliver brand message that can be heard in the hubbub.

3. Books that have made an impact in your life?

So many! The children's book Eloise first made me want to live in New York, a desire later fed by classics like Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Edith Wharton's Stories of Old New York and Salinger's Catcher in the Rye (that duck pond…) Woof's Mrs. Dalloway, Doris Lessing's short story "Room Nineteen" and Tillie Olsen's "I Stand Here Ironing" helped me see the worth of unpaid "women's" work better than any feminist tomes…Claude Edgerton's Raney taught me how to write dialogue (that it's not just a matter of writing down what people say)… Poetry of William Carlos Williams taught me that worlds can be compressed into a few lines of copy…

4. What has been the biggest challenge for you being a woman in this industry?

Learning to make my soft-spoken voice louder and more abrasive so that it gets heard at meetings in which baritones compete for attention.

5. Compare freelancing and being full time? What is your take on the pros and cons of each?

The illusion is that when you're a freelancer, you're a (relatively) free agent who is able to say NO to projects-that-suck, to working weekends, to travel that takes you away from your kids. But the reality is, unless you don't NEED to work (in which case, why are you working?) you don't say no often, for fear they'll stop calling you in and the well will go dry. And, you're basically shorting yourself out of any advancement. You're not going to be the one promoted to CD at the company holiday party. The upside is, the money is WAY better ($$ companies would pay for your insurance & other bennies go into paying your dayrate instead) and you don't have to get involved in office politics, which tends to free up a good part of your brain.

6. What is your comfort food?

This is gross, are you ready?… pineapple cottage cheese with animal crackers for dipping. It's a taste treat I discovered the first time I got pregnant and, over the years, whenever I'm low or stressed, it's never failed to make me feel better.

Not that gross at all luv. Three examples of comfort food that IS disturbing however. Cereal with cola rather than milk, pizza with mustard and the age old classic, ice cream with pickles… By the way, none of these were pregnant women and two are guys.

7. Five movies everyone should watch and why?
a. The Godfather 1 and 11--not only are they great movies even today, but dialogue is still referenced by every guy in the world over 40 at least once, so you shouldn't be clueless
b. Chinatown--best film of the 70s (besides Annie Hall)--Roman Polanski's last film made in this country starring Faye Dunaway when she was gorgeous and Jack Nicholson when he was hot. If you never see it you'll stare vacantly in a meeting when somebody slaps himself, saying "My sister, my daughter, my sister, my daughter"
c. Annie Hall--contains everything about 1970s culture you'll ever need to know.
d. After Life--a Japanese independent, beautifully filmed work that is an unexpected combination of Office and It's a Wonderful Life. No matter how shitty your life is at the moment, this will make you feel better about it.
e. Lost in Translation--anyone in advertising, copywriters especially, will appreciate this hilarious expose of Making a Testimonial in Japan with perfect Bill Murray and early Scarlett Johansson

Great selection though some I have to catch up on.

8. Dumbest revision you’ve ever received?

So many, how to choose? I think I'll just quote from an unwanted memo received from a brand manager on skincare, via accounts:
a. We reviewed the copy and have some comments:
i. delete "a new way" (not true) Change to "a way"
ii. delete "shimmer" which connotes oily.
iii. strengthen claim by saying "provides maximum daily requirement (instead of minimum)

Here are some words we all like and we can use:
fine tune

Also attached, you'll find alternative product claims…all crafted by Pat! We like them a lot and all are ok from legal/regulatory point of view.

We hope this is helpful! Let me know if there is anything else we can do from this end to keep the creative flow flowing…

Oh God, I threw up a little in my mouth ;)

9. If you could escape to anywhere in the world, what would this place be like?

It would be a day in my childhood, summer's day, I am sitting in the shade of a pear tree in my back yard, with a stack of library books, wet sheets flapping on a clothesline nearby.

10. What do you prefer, boxers, briefs, boxer briefs, thongs, commando or wooly mammoth?

er- no comment.

That in itself is a comment :D

11. No matter how shitty a day, listening to a song of this artist makes you feel ten times better. (Name as many songs as you’d like)

I'm not really a music person, sorry. Thank god most of the ADs I have been paired with are.

12. Where do you think advertising is heading and why?

Big question--if I could answer this for real, wouldn't have to work anymore. My hunch is, since average watcher of TV is now deemed to be 50, TV advertising--what has been the magilla of advertising--is on the way out. As is print (what with newspapers/ magazines going dormant) Online is the future (actually, it's the present, too--only agency bottom lines don't reflect it) and soon agency creative depts. won't be siloed into general & digital, but will be merged into one--just like TV and prints groups were merged years ago.

13. What makes you blog?

Being a copywriter means you're always figuring out how to say what other people want out there. Blogging is one of the few chances you get to publicly display your own thoughts unedited, uncensored, unrevised-by-clients.

Simply put, ditto.

14. If you could say anything to the boss you hated the most, what would you say?

Grow up.

15. When was the last time you got jiggy with it?

Um--translation, please?

You define as you see fit and the question is your opportunity to pretty much say whatever you want.

16. Trends that just piss you off?

Acronymn-ing everything. Does ROI really save time over Return on Investment?


17. If one of your kids wanted to be in advertising, what would you say to them?

Go ahead, honey. I think it's the most fun you can have making money.

Interesting, I’d offer them psych help.

18. Ten people you’d like to throw wasabe into their eyes while getting speed to crotch kick them?

Hmmm…I guess I'm too old to let anyone make me that angry anymore.

I’m not, I’d have to trim down mine by several hundred.

19. What’s worst, dancing the Macarena or the chicken dance?


Both is an option as well though your next answer offers insight here.

20. What would you ask me if you could ask me anything?

When are you coming to New York so we could meet up for a drink and a Macarena?

I’ve been trying to get there for a while but something always comes up. I will definitely quit dicking around one day and let you know luv. Cheers and thanks for the fun.

*Feel free to click the link of the post to go to her blog.



Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

Aw, shucks, Joker. Thanks for asking. Great, zany questions that made me think. You are a prince. ; )
PS. You're right, of course--those food choices are WAY more disturbing. We'll definitely not order them when you come to NY. Practicing the macarena...

Anonymous said...

Great interview Joker. You could not have picked a BETTER blogger to kick off your 20/20 series.

Joker said...

@ Adbroad: The pleasure was all mine and it was great fun to ask and write luv. Glad to see you realize that your food options are not as crazy and also VERY glad you won't be ordering them. Now I have to work on getting to NYC. Will see when I can pass by that big ol apple.

@ Dear Jane: My thanks sweety and I agree. Now the question is when am I going to ask you a few questions ;) he he he cheers luv

shaun. said...

i was a little skeptical about this 20/20 business....but now that i have an example.

i condone its continue use and success, thank god right?

Joker said...

I don't think you classify as God, but I'm thankful you approve just the same.


adhack said...

I think you may have ANOTHER book concept on your hands!

Go pro my friend!


Thinking In Vain said...

Um, her comfort food is making me hungry.

Loved reading all your/her answers!

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