Ad Man Reflects on Alcoholism, Thanks "All the Hot Women"

So this is how it ends?  I always thought my Canadian ad career would end in a bloody street fight over the misuse of the word "impactful", not with a transfer to the Chicago office.  
I came to XXXX as a 170-pound account guy who thought he pretty much knew everything there was to know about advertising. I leave as a portly planner who knows he doesn't. Yet somehow, I'm better for the experience. 
The biggest cliché in advertising good bye speeches is "what I'll miss most about the place is the people." Well no shit. What else would you miss?  The elevator rides?  The bountiful supply of foam core?  The hospital-like interior decor?  Of course it's the people!  And I've had the good fortune of working with some of the best in the business. 
It's always dangerous to do shout outs because you inevitably miss somebody important then feel bad about it. But what the hell. 
So here's to XXXX, a man who hired me twice. 
To XXXX for helping me sharpen my time management skills and driving me to raise my game. 
To continued success for XXXX and XXXX with whom I've worked for nearly half of my career (an aside, I was the AE on XXXX' first ad; had it not been for the skillful junior client mgmt needed to sell that XXXX, who knows what would have happened).  
To XXXX who taught me what a planner was at XXXX, then had the courage to move me into his department four years ago.  
To XXXX for her invaluable mentorship and ongoing ear.  
To XXXX for his friendship. 
To XXXX for her idealism.  
To XXXX for her work ethic. 
To XXXX and XXXX for helping me think differently. 
To XXXX for reminding me that nice people can succeed in this biz. 
To XXXX whose indomitable spirit in the face of ridiculous challenge serves as a lesson to all. 
To XXXX for being even whiter -- and smarter -- than me. 
To the XXXX account team with whom, some weeks, I spent more time than my wife. 
To XXXX for calling out client horseshit so the planner doesn't have to. 
To XXXX for rocking the shades. 
To XXXX for rocking the shoes. 
To XXXX who helped teach you 20-somethings a thing or two about being productive while hungover. 
To XXXX who served as my Bizzaro Jiminy Cricket, my evil conscience -- don't let the "sweet" persona fool you; debauchery seems to follow her. 
To XXXX, or, how he's known in my house, Santa.  
To XXXX, for embodying the fun-spirit of American Midwesterners.
To XXXX who kept me out with a client until 3am on my first month on the job, thereby refueling my love of booze after nearly a year on the wagon.
To XXXX for his drolly eloquent political incorrectness. (Though if anything he said actually offended you, get out of this business and work for the NDP where you can better harness your moral indignation.)
To all the creative teams who made the most of the few good briefs that I was able to help craft.  
To my fellow imbibers with whom I've shared a laugh or a debate over a pint.
To all the hot women who make coming to work a visual treat. 
To all the ugly dudes who provided weak competition thereby giving fat old guys like me a sense of (false) hope that he could seduce one of those aforementioned hotties were it not for my moral opposition to adultery (and fear of the XXXX harassment policy).  
To the teams who came out for the yearly ball tournaments and made me feel less dorky about loving baseball so much (at least for one day). 
And to whoever had a hand in canning XXXX. 
Chicago is but a 90 minute flight away. And I have Notre Dame season tickets. So feel free to look me up after my last day on Friday -- my e-mail doesn't even change.
Finally, many people have asked me about how I feel moving to the US -- often with a bit of an anti-American tone.  Regardless of your views, one thing you can’t deny is that America is home to the world's best storytellers.  Which seems appropriate for our business.  In an age of search marketing optimization, channel management planning, zero-based budgeting and consumer research norms, it’s often easy to forget why we got into this business in the first place. At the end of the day, great ad people – creative, planning, account management -- are, above everything else, great story tellers.  Dream in color. Tell great stories.
The "+":

  • I salute this man for being truly comfortable in his own old, fat, alcoholic, skin.

The "-":

  • Likable as he is, he pretty much ended the email by declaring that his Canadian colleagues are second-rate storytellers compared to Americans.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Dream in color. Tell great stories." Fat old guy you are my hero.