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?

YES.

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,

Me.

14 comments:

Myron Maglalang said...

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brightyoungman said...

I've read this blog off and on for the past few years, as I have always considered making the jump into advertising since it seems like one of the few options for a slightly neurotic, nonconformist person to make a living. I am currently in graduate school for something else, but advertising is always in the back of my mind. Congrats on jumping ship, what are you up to now?

Me said...

Hi Bright Young Man;

First of all, thank you so much for reading and visiting us from time to time!!! Advertising was fun while it lasted, like a office fling with a hot chick or guy - but then you really get to know them and suddenly you start asking yourself... why did I do this in the first place?

The three of us have sort of embarked on different careers. While I have to protect the anonymity of the group, I can give you an idea: we're all writing - which was and will always be our passion. Only one of us is sort of near to the style of an ad agency, another has gone to the client side (cue Darth Vader sound) and I became the client, in a sort of way. The cool thing is that I get to design and create my own ad campaigns, without any feedback or crappy comments. We do have plenty of contact with our ad friends and most of the times that we get together to drink the night away, we always end up chatting about Agency X and their latest gossip, while celebrating that we don't have to live that way anymore.

As for your career choice, hey man, it's all up to you if you decide to swim in the ad agency waters. But just remember this... like Flavor Flav said: Don't believe the Hype.

Huge hugs, Me.

MM said...

Oh my god! you guys did it! I'm so proud of all of you.
Believe it or not, even though you were in agencies from hell, you helped humanity. You helped a bunch of us realize that we were not alone, you gave us laughs when we needed them and your ranted on our behalf when we couldn't. So, i just wanted to say thank you. You all rocked my world and I'm so so so happy for all of you for following your dream. I think you should start writing that book and do a kickstarter campaign to help fund it. I'll be your first backer.

Much love to all!

ps: PLEASE never take down the site. It would be like cutting someone off from their therapy ;)

Me said...

MM, you made our day with your comment. Thank you so much for keeping up with us. Our blog will definitively be left as it is, because I sure know that if someone stumbles upon WAS and starts from the first post, they will surely understand this last entry and why we left. Huge hug! Me.

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I recommend you read about project management software for agencies

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