Hello dear reader, hope you’re still enjoying this work from home lark?
Me? well on one hand I have an office again, and the time to concentrate and get shit done. On the other I miss my work chums and that feeling of collective achievement and camaraderie.
On the other other hand, I miss the train and my walk along the embankment to the office in the mornings, I miss the gym and I miss the bustle of the city.
But I love the quiet of the streets, barely any traffic and the clean air. And I get three hours of my day back.
So you know, swings and roundabouts.
Or at least it would be swings and roundabouts if they weren’t cordoned off.
Last week I was sent a link to an edit someone had done that had combined all the corporate ads that have spewed out of agencies the minute the world went in to lockdown.
‘Quick’ the CMOs said we need to get ahead of this, tell people ‘we’re there for them in this difficult time’.
Get the agency to knock something up.
And knock something up they did.
Heartwarming, corporately reassuring guff by the ambulance-load.
I nearly threw up in to my face-mask.
Apparently it takes about three weeks to get an edit together of people clapping, empty streets and any number of Tiki’s Tok videos and funny tweets to populate your spot with. (Getty can do the rest) and all wrapped up in a plinky-plonky piano track.
Getting that warm voiceover is easy these days too, we just call it in from the actors home studio in Farnham/Jersey.
And low and behold you’ve got a lockdown message out there.
‘Well done team’, the email must have read, ‘in a very trying circumstance we’ve managed to pull off something remarkable’.
And then the marketing team and the agency team watched TV that night (The surprisingly asymptomatic medium) only to not be able to distinguish their spot from everyone else’s.
And what struck me first about this edit was not just how cookie-cutter all the messages and imagery were. That’s a given.
It’s that, faced with the same brief, the most top-knotted, pig tailed, bearded and tattooed consumer agencies collective creativity couldn’t muster a single original film between them.
Now, granted, you can see why:
Limited funds, no time and a conservative client and a deadly disease.
This is no time for creativity!
Wait, that brief sounds rather familiar to me.
Where have I heard that before….?
Oh yeah, only every fucking Pharma brief ever.
So give yourself a pat on the back Pharma creatives, pharma planners and oh-go-on-then, yes Pharma account peeps and clients.
You manage to create creative, original work day in and day out, with all of the above strangleholds and none of the freedom from regulatory that the consumer brands enjoy.
Yes, some of our stuff looks the same (If you’ve ever sat on a pharma film jury there are some striking similarities) but like those creatures who’ve adapted to life at deep levels of the ocean floor, you rock this kind of brief.
These brands should be knocking on your doors.
If you’re going to come and swim around in these depths where the sun don’t shine, you’d better be a bit more interesting than a Herring.