Don Draper was a poser and so can you. The myth of graphic design

Mad Men

My editor wrote this little thing this morning. Since I’m also a Mad Men fan, I asked him if I could repost it here for you. He reluctantly agreed, but only if I give him full credit. He is such a stickler for the rules. Here is his post as it appears on his blog.

There is a current narrative going on within the creative community lamenting the demise of professional graphic artists. One such narrative appears on my favorite design blog, Before&After Magazine.

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What would you do if you had $1 million dollars?

Dear President-elect Barack Obama;

I am a small business owner. I do quite well for myself as I am in a knowledge-based business servicing the youth sporting market and the retail services industries. I also dabble a bit in coffee and Web 2.0 consulting.

I was running some numbers this afternoon on the bail-out plans that have been proposed to date. As I look back on my college days some 20 plus years ago and my classes in English Literature — specifically with regard to American literature of the mid to late 1800s (Hawthorne, Dreiser, Meliville, etc) — I was struck with what is to me a strangely obvious fact. Modern capitalism has run its course and the current financial crisis is the front wave of a new economy.

At its basics, capitalism is providing money to build infrastructure for making goods and to a certain degree, providing services with the promise of a return on its sale or sale of the goods produced. Having been in a service industry all my life, I am not unaccustomed to “cramming” a product economic model (“making widgets”) into a service model. It really doesn’t work but we lied to ourselves just the same.

This country no longer makes things. We provide services; we assemble components. The old capitalist model where we invest in machinery, buildings, factories, etc for making goods is dead. It has been dying for a very long time. As such, funding the economy from the top down is not a viable option. There will be no trickle-down benefit as the economy will only swell and move if the bottom tiers start spending and buying goods and services. Yet, they can’t because they have no ready cash.

Capitalists talk in billions of dollars. Ordinary citizens talk about hundreds each week. Investment banks talk millions in transaction per day. Small business talks about hundred of thousands in revenue. When you pour $700 billion into Wall Street, it is like dumping a gallon of water into the Pacific Ocean. When you pour $1 million into a small business, it is like filling a bathtub with a fire hose.

Here is my proposal:
– Establish a fund of $400 Billion dollars.
– Give $1 Million dollar grants to 400,000 business that are ready, able and willing to provide services to a service-based economy.
– Each business can then afford to hire 6 people at a salary of $40,000. With health care, taxes, equipment, etc. that should equal about $60,000 investment for each employee.
– That leaves about $640,000 left for materials, computers, advertising, marketing, etc.
– Encourage a strong multi-generation team, such as Gen Y, Xers, Boomers and beyond. Working together, we make a difference we all want to experience.

That puts about 2.4 Million people to work, building knowledge centers for teachers, creating software to better manage health care systems, providing new event marketing systems for brands, creating better time balance management systems for new parents, perhaps even finding a cure for some diseases. The infrastructure of services you will jump-start will sustain itself well past the year the US Government will fund.

Your campaign proved the model. Small amounts of money spread across millions of people who are motivated to creating a better world than was left them works. We are ready, willing and able to make the change.

Lead us and help us say, “Yes, we can” one small voice at a time until it becomes a thunderous, mighty roar.

Warm regards,

G.

PS I look forward to seeing the new puppy Malia and Sasha pick out!

How to look clueless on Twitter in three easy steps

Recently, one of the folks I follow sent out a tweet about a teacher who is selling sponsorship on the bottom of his test. The tweet went like:

I am in advertising, but even I think this is a bad idea.

So, being a good follower, I click on the link to the story, read it and replied back something like:

Wow, I want to advertise. Do you know how to get in touch with Tom Farber?

A day goes by and the reply comes back from my follower:

Who is Tom F?

I replied he was the teacher in the story he tweeted out. He replied back:

Not sure, use Google!

Oh, ok. I was a bit taken aback, but maybe he was very busy, a day job, thousands of followers and didn’t really have time to engage me. Nope. He is following 32 people.

So, here is my take on Mr. Follower.
He really didn’t read or engage in the article, but he thought he should tweet something out that made him look like he was connected with the advertising/marketing world. When he was given an opportunity to engage with someone who took the time to reply to a tweet, he blew it entirely by saying, “I don’t have time for you, look it up yourself.”

I clicked through to Mr. Follower’s profile and then to his web site, which turned out to be a resume. His last job ended in September 2008, so it looks like he is searching for a new job. Do I have a marketing position for him with my company? Maybe I do, but I would never hire him.

Am I being too hard on Mr. Follower? Perhaps. Perhaps I should do my own research on articles that interest me. Or, perhaps Mr. Follower just failed the first test of a prospective employer looking for a Web 2.0 savvy person to lead a multi-million dollar division.

Oh, yeah, the three steps thing… umm, ok:
1. Make sure you don’t actually read or engage in web sites you tweet out
2. Treat every question like it is an imposition on your time
3. Don’t bother helping anyone. That is what Google is for.

Me, me, me, me, me, me, me

I see this ad in the OMMA Show magazine. If this kid walked into your office, looking like this and said, “It’s all about me…” what would you do? Yeah, me too. And I’d make sure he skidded across the pavement a bit so that his hair would shave off. Free haircut.

Seriously, does this ad work? It starts out by saying “here’s me and here’s why I think I’m so important and you need to do this for me and that for me….” And, then it asks, “Don’t you think we should work together?”

Work together? Why would I believe you had any of MY interests at heart when working with you? You just spent the last 10 minutes of my life telling me why you are more important than me!

Get the hell out of here and come back when you realize what a pompous, arrogance ass you really are. Then we’ll talk.

Oh, and next time, start the conversation with “Can we work together?”

Click here to see the whole ad.

What I think about the writers’ strike

I was going to stay silent on this, but one too many people used the term “their fair share” and that just sent me over the edge.

Writers should get compensated for their skills. God knows, there are very few talented, MARKETABLE writers out there who can actually deliver a product within specification and deadline. These writers should get very well paid for their work. Here’s where I have a problem with the writers.

They get paid when they write and deliver the script. They get paid for rewrites. They get paid throughout the whole process. Yet, the studio owners, producers, etc DO NOT. They only get paid AFTER the work is in the can, out in theatres and, in the case of the Bee Movie well after the 200th million DVD is sold 🙂

But, if the work flops, the writers don’t have to give the money they got paid back. That is just a loss to the studio and the investors. And, far more works flop than make money. Yet, the writers STILL get paid.

So, let the writer share in the profit of DVD sales and Internet advertising. But, let them also share in the risk by not getting paid unless and until their work makes money. No? Only want the upside of things? Um. Most people do. They are called employees.

Corporate sponsorship at my funeral

As we were walking through the cemetery, Bell Funeral Services was setting up their blue canopy for a funeral. I know it is Bell because that is the biggest thing you can read on the canopy.

I got to thinking it would probably be more appropriate to have a place for the deceased’s name instead of slapping on yet another piece of advertising. “Good bye, Mr. Dogg! By the way, be sure to keep Bell Funeral Services in mind in case you need to spend your last dime before you get to the other side!”

One more thing.. as I was walking by, I happened to look up and one of the guys setting up turns his head and spits. Nothing like the image I have of Bell Funeral Services, taking my last dime and then spitting on my grave!