The holiday season has come and gone, and many admakers are left to wonder where the lavish presents from their production and post-production contacts are. Marc Garbarini, a senior art director at McCann-Erickson/NY, is among the gift-starved. "I mean, I used to get taken to A-list restaurants when I was a junior AD," he says wistfully. "Bottles of Veuve-Clicquot, gift certificates to Bloomies." A deep-throat media planner at Merkley Newman Harty concurs, reporting that the 1999 case of wine dwindled to two measly bottles this past season. Garbarini reports good-naturedly that he's not thrilled with the newest in holiday giving - fleece outerwear. Having collected a pullover, hat, and scarf, he quips, "I felt like Old Navy threw up in my office."
Alt.career: Lane Strauss
Like postal workers and NFL stars, copywriters are in need of healthy outlets for their aggressive impulses. Lane Strauss, a copywriter at Wyse Advertising in Cleveland, has collected his tongue-in-cheek letters and their replies in a book, Sincerely, Scott Neumann, referring to his screen pseudonym. "People would send silly emails around the office like `I lost my ChapStick, so if someone finds it...' and I started sending smartass replies." After making fun of his colleagues, he moved on to more worthy adversaries. "I sent one priest a letter telling him how guilty I felt after I'd smashed all these bugs on my windshield one night, and he sent me back some scripture."
When creatives at San Francisco agency Duncan Channon sent a holiday greeting to their clients, they created a viral phenomenon. In a short video, a smug gentleman identifying himself as the "director of yuletide messaging" explains to clients how they can make their own ads during the holiday week when the agency is closed. "A lot of `creatives' will tell you that your idea should be new and fresh. Ha Ha. That's just the reefer talking," he begins. His presentation ends with an inane sample ad, pictured above. CW Max Werner and AD Gary Edlund wrote the screenplay. "It's a lot like our workplace, the self-deprecating humor and lack of pretension," says Werner. They've gotten feedback from viewers in the US, Canada, and Europe. To see the video, go to www.duncanchannon.com and click the holiday video link.
Who is J L Webb? You may have seen print ads for Discover Card, each showing a sample card bearing the name J L Webb - an idiosyncratic choice amid options like Jane Doe and Joe Public. Goodby, the company's agency of record and the creators of the current print campaign, did not invent the name. Neither, in fact, did Discover Card. The name is derived from the company's first-ever ads in the mid-eighties from J. Walter Thompson; CD Alan W. Webb left his permanent legacy to Discover advertising by using his wife's name on the dummy cards.
An Aborted Credit
Most creative teams would be thrilled to have their work in a highly regarded art museum like New York's Whitney. Not so Abi Aron and Aaron Eiseman, the DeVito/Verdi CW and AD, respectively, who designed this ProChoice Public Education Project poster. The poster, created as a tribute to Barbara Kruger (a pro-choice activist herself) was displayed at the Whitney in a retrospective of the iconic artist's work - without credit to Aron and Eiseman. After a number of calls from friends and colleagues (especially those who had seen the team's portfolio, which includes the award-winning poster) wondering about the lack of attribution, they went to check it out in the last week of the exhibit. "The feelings got much worse when we saw it on the wall," says Aron. The team, which recently jumped ship to Merkley Newman Harty, spoke with a curator from the Whitney, requesting that the museum write a letter to The New York Times explaining the error. The curator, Veronica Roberts, refused. Though she concedes that the mistake was the museum's (not Kruger's), she says, "There wasn't much that we could do after the fact except to apologize. If we wrote to The New York Times every time we made a mistake it would set a weird precedent." Aron and Eiseman are not satisfied. "It was meaningful for us," says Eiseman. "Nobody wants to correct it. That to me shows no creative integrity."
I Love My Client
The classic reason for deserting agency life as we know it is "to spend more time with the family." Mike Lescarbeau may be the first guy who is leaving to spend more time with the client. CD Lescarbeau and account man Tom Nowak have fled Fallon and Wieden & Kennedy, respectively, to open One & All, a Minneapolis agency that claims it "thinks anyone can have a great idea, even the client." Comments Lescarbeau, "Sooner or later the client's point of view is going to come to bear on the advertising, but most agencies don't necessarily want to acknowledge that out loud." The agency, which opened in December, has recently put its system to the test, filming a spot for Red Wing boots. They call it a success, but concede that it was a big change. "It is scary the first time the client blurts out an idea you don't like and you have to say so," says Lescarbeau.