While the Gods of Advertising have been unkind this year, take solace. This year is almost over.

December 29, 2008

From here…images-3to serenityimages15

The day after Christmas I took our tree down and put Santa and his elves back in their boxes and into the attic. I moved the children’s Easter baskets forward so, come spring, it will be easier to pull them out. For my grimacing, the skeletons and jack-o-lanterns up there mocked me with gruesome painted-on smiles. My bad back, getting worse every year. Nobody ever talks about all the stooping and lifting the holidays require!

Then we bolted to Palm Springs, where my father has a house. You can have Chicago and the rest of December. I’ve come to loathe it. When we left over a foot of snow was melting into what CNN considered worthy of flood warnings. A freeze was expected in a day or two, then below zero. Again. And it’s not even January! No, like I said, you take this for a while. I am out of here.

So, Palm Springs. Clear, brisk and sunny. Lots of old people acting gay: tanned, casual and loose. Lots of gay people acting old: tanned, casual and reserved. Palm Springs is a great equalizer of people. Gated communities bring out sameness. Though many don’t play, it looks like the entire population enjoys golf. You can see the mountains from everywhere. There is a Lexus SUV in every driveway. (Except my father’s. He, of course, owns an Acura.) Minor cynicism aside, PS is a hell of a lot better than where we left.

images-15My prayer from Palm Springs

Having soured in August, I know 2008 is going down like spoilt milk. But the ad industry is by no means the worst off. Frankly, this recession is taking down more clients than ad agencies. Are we next? We’ll see. Right now I count my many blessings. Good family. Health. A sunny place to go in winter.

And, saints be praised, I work at an agency that is prospering. Euro RSCG Chicago had double-digit growth in 2008. We made fine work for our clients, some of it even spectacular. We are hiring people not firing them. We even had a holiday party.

There are several reasons for our good fortune. Going into them here seems inappropriate, like gloating. Instead, I’d like to offer a sort of prayer.

However improbable, I hope everyone reading this can count their blessings as well. If you’ve escaped the many sharp teeth of this financial crisis, and even if you haven’t, stay strong. It will get better. It always does. I know this the same way I know that Chicago’s winter will eventually yield to summer. Sadly, eventually can be a very, very long time.

If the gods of advertising are unkind to you it is because forces of commerce and human nature bewilder them. Not any one person’s fault but in many ways all our faults. Hopefully, you believe in a God less vulnerable. He or She will surely restore us to sanity, sooner or later. Right now God is teaching us about humility. Let’s hope we get the message without much more misery.

5 Responses to “While the Gods of Advertising have been unkind this year, take solace. This year is almost over.”

  1. Pale Writer said

    Nice post.

    I’m praying right along side you.

    JF

  2. Sergio said

    Stefan,
    This recession will be like a forest fire. It will cause much of the underbrush (weak companies, poorly managed companies, over-leveraged companies) to go up in smoke, and the stronger, healthier trees will survive. Then there will be renewal, and things will march again until the cycle hits again in 7-10 years. Like you said, the recovery will not happen quickly enough, but it will happen.
    As for the storing of pagan symbols in the attic and your resulting ailing back, hire some help, stimulate the job market and reduce unnecessary healthcare costs. The US economy and EURO’s health plan will thank you!
    Sergio

  3. SRP said

    Sergio-
    Thanks for the post.
    You’re right about the cycles. Of course, hard to see through when you’re spinning in one!
    As for hiring help, I do.
    She was shoveling the effen snow!

  4. Mandy said

    As a toasted victim of the dragons of advertising, I for one appreciate your kind words and words of hope.

    Thank you, sir.

  5. Oli said

    Steff, I too appreciate your words of hope. My plan for ’09 is to live below my means. Humble but smarter. Happy New Year to All!

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