Reviewing Chicago advertising is like a ride on the Love Boat!

February 9, 2009

Can I get you a drink, Chicago?

Can I get you a drink, Chicago?

A friend called my writing last week on Gods the “Love Boat marathon.” And I suppose it was. As most of you know, I looked at five marvelous but unheralded campaigns from five different Chicago advertising agencies. We hear a lot about what’s wrong with the Chicago advertising community. I decided to go another way. I held to the good, as my pastor instructed. (Don’t you love that line?)

Sure, a few cynics made fun and/or took exception with some of my “picks.” That’s inevitable, especially in the blogosphere. Still, the vast majority of readers were pleased by the examination. Online and off, I received many pats on the back for, basically, giving others a pat on the back. Proof positive that good always begets good, even in the supposedly cutthroat world of advertising, perhaps especially in our world.

I’ve written a lot about schadenfreude in advertising, of how we are all so sensitive and paranoid that we actually take pleasure in our peer’s misfortunes: in the lost pitches, laid off colleagues and deposed leaders. I maintain that we advertising folk, always seeking approval, have insecurities so ingrained in our psyches we almost can’t help ourselves. Almost. (BTW, this week I’m writing about the topic on Talent Zoo.)

Lord knows I’m not an angel. As does anyone who knows me! I’ve drunk from the cup of cynicism. I’ve indulged in the forbidden fruit of mean-spiritedness. Yet, I don’t want to be that guy. And neither, I’ll bet, do my peers. The material gains are minimal and the emotional hangovers are nothing short of debilitating.

And so, leaving the past, we try and do the next right thing. And we are successful.

Last year, we pulled together and resurrected the Chicago Creative Club from its very sorry state. No need to rehash all that was wrong with the CCC. (If you must, just search this blog’s archives.) The point is we turned the once-contentious event into a community-building celebration of our town’s creativity.

While there’s still plenty of room for improvement there was also a lot to be proud of. This year’s show can be even better, despite the crippling financial crisis. But only if we hold to the good.

And only if we work together. In this context, praising each other’s work, as opposed to maligning it, seemed like the right thing to do. I hope to do this again soon. And I hope others do as well.

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