My last post on advertising agency, Cramer-Krasselt parting ways with client, Panera Bread garnered more views in one day than any other in this blog’s history. On June 13, several thousand of you read my story about a frustrated agency CEO having reached his wit’s end with a client. He’d written a memo to his staff, which had been “leaked.” For the record, the story wasn’t my “get.” I’d learned about it from a piece in AdAge. I know from experience agencies seldom let go clients let alone provide messy details. The fact that I once had unpleasant dealings with this client made writing about it impossible to resist.
Given the boffo amount of readers the post attracted I guess I am glad I wrote my story. I “guess” because although I am grateful to anyone who reads my blog, I wish I received those numbers for my other less sensational stories. I get it though. There was more than a hint of gossipy revelation (leaked memo!) in the reporting and we all know that chum attracts fish.
Controversy sells. Duh.
Not surprisingly, the second most-read story I’ve ever written was on the controversial closing of the Chicago office of J Walter Thompson. This was big news in Adland, especially in my hometown Chicago. I knew a lot of the people involved and had almost worked there myself. It too was a tale soaked in chum.
Interestingly, the third most viewed piece was nothing like the first two; it was an essay I’d written on our tendency to “front” on Facebook. I’d been seeing a lot of shiny, happy faces on the platform and was curious to explore why. I loved that story but I know the reason why it got so many hits was only because WordPress chose to “freshly press” it, for which I am grateful.
There’s a brilliant episode of the Simpson’s where, in typically surreal fashion, Homer finds himself teaching a self-help class on marriage. He quickly learns in order to keep his class interested he must reveal intimate details about his love life. Much to his wife’s dismay the class quickly becomes the talk of the town. Things escalate. Despite Marge’s pleas, Homer finds it nearly impossible to stop gossiping about his marriage. The rush he gets from all the attention is too intoxicating. That is until everything blows up in his face.
Because I am mostly not a cartoon I cannot allow things to blow up in my face. Unlike Homer, I like my job. Therefore, I’m afraid most of my posts will continue to be about ad campaigns, consumerism and popular culture. But I am an addict and I did like seeing that massive spike in my dashboard. So you never know…
A jealous author. A disgraced General. A curvy socialite. Ah, just what the country needs after a super storm and bruising Presidential election: a juicy sex scandal! I don’t have to go into the details. You all know the story, or parts of it. The good parts. We’ve seen the TVs hanging above treadmills and barstools and in our living rooms, saw the file footage of these well-to-do’s, formed impressions, presented opinions, changed our minds, wondered what all the fuss was about while also wondering about the naughty bits: the trysts, the late night emails, the homely wife and what she must be thinking, the bad men and women who succumbed to temptation and found themselves shame-walking across the planet.
It’s been too damn long. Monica Lewinsky’s dress is in the Smithsonian or some rich pervert’s closet to be pulled out at cocktail parties, on bets or for charity. So long ago that the man who made that blue dress famous is now famous again for being dignified and stately, not the disgraced Chief of Staff who lied to his wife and a nation. That is how long it’s been since we in America have been treated to an epic soap opera like the Petraeus Affair.
More like this and maybe late night talk shows will still have a chance. As I write this Leno and Conan are force-ranking puns. For this is prime time. These are real, Real Housewives and Real American Heroes. People with money. People who served our country. Men in and OUT of uniform. Salacious. Irresistible…
Yet completely benign.
Hold on. This involved the CIA. The FBI. Homeland Security is concerned about potential breaches in our nation’s military intelligence. That’s dangerous stuff. General Betray-us could easily have passed along Pentagon codes to his mistress along with his little soldiers. We all know secrets are whispered over pillows. She strokes his trembling abdomen. He giggles about weapons of mass destruction. Oh, General, speaking of which!
Come on, people. This scandal is gossamer. While the principals are no doubt seriously humiliated, there is nothing to fear from it. If that were the case his paramour would have been stymied from writing her bio about him a long time ago. Didn’t happen. No one gave a shit then, let alone was scared.
On the contrary, we are distracted from our fears. Sublimely. For that’s what sex scandals do. They take us out of recession and war and whatever ails us. Horny famous people are the ultimate bromide. Fizz, Fizz, Oh, what a relief it is!
Special Note: I realize there is a theory suggesting the scandal was teased out of it’s boudoir by government insiders to distract from serious hearings regarding military actions in Libya. This then would qualify the story as legitimate news. Until that is verified just tell me what they’re wearing!