At least he was honest…
The lottery has been trending, hasn’t it? No not the famous short story by Shirley Jackson. (If you haven’t read it you should.) Something about 1.5 billion dollars caught everyone’s attention. Biggest jackpot ever. A “call to action” if I ever saw one. Any direct marketer would salivate if he could generate the response that Powerball did. It made everyone and their brother a consumer. Unfortunately, offering two additional lines for $19.99 on your Family Plan just doesn’t have the same pull.
The fantasy of winning untold riches is at the crux of human desire. It drove countless throngs into the California wilderness looking for gold. A few found some. More died trying. Still, there was that chance…
The Golden Ticket. It could be in that very next chocolate bar. But you have to buy the chocolate bar. Or hundreds of them.
Or you can rob a bank. Why is it we root for bank robbers in the movies and romance them in our history books? Because it taps into that same fantasy: Getting rich. Now. Safe crackers and masked robbers titillate us to the point where we overlook the criminality of it. Jesse James is revered as a folk hero and not the viscious douchebag he undoubtedly was. It’s not right but it’s true.
“It’s my time.”
The dream to change one’s circumstances via riches is deeply human and more than a little sad. Obviously, if there’s a God in Heaven, He would prefer we not covet cash. Monetary enlightenment is an oxymoron. We are taught it is the root of all evil. That it corrupts. That the super rich are super assholes. Remember the “Occupy” movement? Down with the 1%.
And yet who didn’t buy a lottery ticket this week? I’m willing to bet millions of people who otherwise despise the 1% stood in line for a shot at becoming one. Perhaps these myriad hopefuls believe, upon winning hundreds of millions of dollars, that they would not become selfish snobs living only for pleasure and hedonism. One need only look at rock stars and pro athletes to see how that plays out. Sure, I’m generalizing (there are plenty of millionaires and billionaires who are great philanthropists) but you must concede the point: We are all willing to chance our integrity for the possibility of riches. It’s the American Dream.
I love it when I crack the code on a piece of creative. You might not believe me but I love it even more when someone in my group cracks the code on a piece of creative. Either way, this was, is and always will be the best part of my job.
Which is as it should be. It doesn’t matter how big or small the job or what medium it’s in. That first peek at something that works, that will work, that will please the person paying for it, is bliss. You won’t believe me again but seeing a set of banners that totally nails the brief is as intoxicating as looking at a tight and right storyboard for a TV commercial. Knowing to one’s core that a piece of creative is capable of winning the day is, if I remember correctly and I do, like that first sip of that first martini: so freaking good!
Whether it comes right away or is the result of toiling, bearing witness to the birth of a healthy campaign is why I get up in the morning and go to work. Everything else -operations, meetings and conference calls- is work. It’s the job part of the job. The creative piece is the gift. And as with any good gift the giver feels as good or better than the receiver. Which is also as it should be.
Within the last two weeks I’ve gotten to see such a thing. Twice. Two different projects. With differing people involved, and me to a certain extent. How lucky am I? While it would not be professional of me to discuss specifics or showcase the work, I most certainly can write about the joy that it brought.
So much of what we do in Adland is fraught with anxiety and stress. We bicker over strategy and deliverables and what’s right and what’s wrong that we often forget that in the delivery room are babies (and I don’t mean the creatives). New campaigns, hours old, are things worth celebrating. Of course, we seldom do. They’re fragile here. And besides now we must prep them for clients, tightening the copy, tweaking the art direction, responding to the pokes and prods of our fellows, and otherwise getting them ready for that precarious run up the flagpole.
But sometimes even in this newbie state you know everything is going to be all right. You just know. Internally, with the client, and even the consumer you know you are holding the Ace of Spades.