Thursday, April 17, 2008

Surfing the Sea of Chaos

anonymous made an interesting comment back on a post where I blatantly blabbed that all advertising was the refinement of lies (actually I probably said "All advertising is LIES!"). To me, advertising is the boiling out of as much truth as you can boil out of an original lie! Like the account-executive babe comes to the writers and she says, "Boyz, let's council in the War Room ASAP 'cause we've got a chance at one of the latest miracle drugs, a potential drug superstar, and Gene the Rep has convinced Big Al that we can hustle this one if we ride it over the finish line right." And to the War Room we go and when we get to the War Room the account-exec babe starts giving us the poop sheets on this miracle drug. "Damn, Jesus X, is this for real?" "It's pretty real, boyz [there are women ad writers, though most of the ones I've been associated with were men--failed novelists, English majors, all starting as freelancers and that way charming their ways onto staffs]," the account-exec babe continues, "and the Big P is putting a lot of b-u-beautiful bucks into this and we need this one for the agency, so I'm depending on you boyz to nail this one and we ARE gonna nail it, right, boyz?" "This shit reduces swelling in rheumatoid arthritis patients...compared to what...?" "Ibuprofen, boyz. Big P is willing to claim this drug is a 100 times as effective in reducing inflammation from arthritis as ibuprofen." "Get outta here...and what's this COX 2 crap?" "You boyz have to study up on this COX 2 claim. That's the claim they're banking on over at the Big P and the bank is that this COX 2 mechanism of action causes no serious gastrointestinal bleeding like aspirin and ibu and another drug being developed by another pharma's a hush-hush thing so Big P wants their arthritis drug out on the market mucho pronto and they want to bust the market wide open with their brand first." "FDA approved?" "Not yet because of the gastrointestinal bleeding claim, but the Big P honchos are pretty confident. Remember the head of the FDA is the former CEO of the Big P." There are chuckles all around the War Room. "Boyz, this looks like a big one--and Big Al wants this one bad, he's drooling at the mouth, boyz, so if we win this one we're all gonna live well for awhile so let's bump heads and get me a winning presentation, and we need it of course by yesterday." More chuckles. "So, I'll send you over the clinical trials, all that, I'll get the budget info, it's gonna be substantial, so the battle's on, boyz--I'm depending on you boyz." And thus the race goes to win a big advertising account in the highly competitive drug business, but also in the highly competitive world of television, publishing, the recording world, Hollywood backroom PR departments, in all the Capitalist-based War Rooms of every advertising agency that exists and there are 1000s of them all over the USA and 1000s of them in every country of the world, even the Commies have PR programs advertising their wares. Does that sort of lead you into the reasoning behind my stating that all advertisements are full of lies and very little truth--though, hell, as is the nature of language and being expert at using it, yes, there are truths thick in ads, but the intention of them is allurement and especially temptation, which submitting to in most religions is a big-ass sin--The BIG Temptation the whole basis behind the Judaic, the Christian (who also have their Temptation of Christ), and the Islamic religions--why those are those damn desert religions that depend on salvation coming from the sky and not from the earth--whereas the Native Americans believe salvation comes from the earth, Mother Earth being their main god and the animals of mother earth the messengers of her salvation, as in: the bear leading them to tons of great honey, besides when respectfully sacrificed, the Great Bear god's meat and hides give them food and then protection against Mother Earth's cold time of season when it hits, or to use as a floor rug in a teepee, and all worship of Mother Earth is based on her seasons--telling time by seasons and the habits of Mother Earth's godly children--who when used for sustenance and protection ascend into the heavens as sacred spirits to which totems are built).

Ads are really challenges to consumers, and that includes health care ads, luring you in with tons of tempting ways of taking life a little easier or gaining status among your stupid peers. HMOs have made ignorant people in dire need of health care consumers--hell, these buzzards have made babies consumers--and they are especially devious at working the old Medicare-stealing scam on old folks--insurance scams especially--our poor old folks, those that gave us a chance to live on this wonderful and truly wondrous to me EARTH in this doubly wondrous solar system in this god-damned unbelievable profound UNIVERSE--I stand in awe of it all even though I'm sadly gonna have to give up the privilege one day--and rather than going with celebrated care, I'm gonna disappear one whatever day and that'll be it for my time at this wonderful chance to experience this thing we call, probably incorrectly, LIFE.

So, folks, you gotta have bucks to live--that's been the message of the Bush Administration and his Neo-Con hand-puppeteers since the Ronnie Raygun days: "You gotta have bucks or you've gotta pull yourself up by your bootstraps, like they did, 'cause this government ain't helping no citizen's ass one damn bit as far as they're concerned if he ain't got no money and the power big bucks brings him--if you ain't got the money, honey, nobody's soon gonna have the time--remember, kill or be killed is'a comin', I can feel it in the warning winds while surfing out here on the perpetually dark swells of the old Sea of Chaos--yep, the Libertarian way of life may be just around the corner--and certainly Anarchists, and I use the capital A here on purpose, should be jumpin' and dancin' with glee--and the Commie Chinese you know are jumpin' and dancin' with glee as they own us lock stock and barrel and are now holding exchanging their US dollars for Euros over our heads--why Goofy Bush our faux president is having to fly dumbassedly over to the Beijing Olympics to kiss some serious Big Cheese Commie Chinese ass, I mean with his stupid nose deep in those filthy cracks, too, making We the People of the USA look like the fools we are--the fools I see swarming the streets of New York City as I type this tonight bowing and scraping and weeping and asking for blessings from --yes, I never saw so many "Catholics" in my life--and they're all moaning and crossing themselves over this old paleface ex-Nazi Hitler Youth dude who now wears a dress and lives like a true swell in the palace-like Vatican--getting his ass wiped by bowing servants--needing a blowjob from one of the house choir boys or altar boys--no problem, your holiness--why do the priests always use boys?--maybe so they won't be tempted by girls if they used girls--and that maybe, like Bill Clinton taught us, a blowjob isn't really SEX--honor thy father's request for a little sexual relief behind the altar there or back in the rectumry--and also, maybe punking a choir boy in the ass is instructional to the boy--you know, a little taste of the pleasures of hell being a part of the Vatican's priest-recruitment policies. Doesn't this sort of human pomp and circumstance bore the hell out of you folks like it does me? [Mr. Ed: thegrowlingwolf knows from experience--he is said to be the author of two obscure but bestselling Catholic bookstore books on the late-great Il Papa Big John #2, but keep that under your hat now.]

Ads are meant to either make you feel totally helpless or to make you feel like you're missing something really special in the REAL world on which your teevees, newspapers, magazines, Web sites, fanzines are display windows--showcases--like how if you're a goofball beaneatin' bozo but you got bucks enough to afford the best of the hot-chick-pleasing gas-guzzling SUVs whose commercials run every 10 minutes or so day and night you'll soon--and the majority of car ads are aimed at young single men or superHollywood-Beaver-like dream families where the wife is the boss and needs the SUV to haul the little herd of wild perfectly charming child-abused child actors and actresses and models who go wildly but charmingly pleasingly off to school, watching cartoons on the SUV's teevee/DVD screen, and then poor mommy has to pick 'em up from school and take the little princesses off to ballet lessons and the little princes off to soccer practice and then filling the SUV with groceries and zooming home quick to cook THE MAN his supper--but the implication of most car ads--yes, to young bozo dudes--is that soon you'll be picking up the hottest of the hottiest chicks, those always gleefully toothily smiling hotty gals that are always running along California beaches with their breasts jiggling and their blonde-on-blonde hair blowing warning flags in those wonderfully soothing La-La Land breezes and their long-long accentuated legs so teasing and their tight-tight asses winking at the dopes with their tongues hanging out (all men) as these gorgeously made-up babes run by the guy who could be YOU sittin' laid back in the driver's seat of a latest hot car and the babes are looking back over their shoulders at YOU (or are they checking out your car?) and winking--then these ads go on to imply that if you're driving the wrong sport utility vehicle then, son of a bitch, be prepared for the blazonly handsome sort of too-macho dude in the Big-Bird-yellow Hummer to take all the top babe prizes from you, all of those California girls who are just panting to take a ride to anywhere with you in your babyshit-yellow Hummer--or your MiniCooper, or your BMW sportier-than-sporty sports car--or, hell, go ahead and sink a fortune in a Ferrari. Have you ever seen a Ferrari ad on teevee? They get publicity, especially on the movie-star-worshipping teevee shows--there's nothin' hotter than to catch Britney driving her Ferrari all drunk and pilled up--but the kids were safe in the backseat--and thus Ferrari or BMW (stands for Bavarian Motor Works--they made tanks for Hitler's Aryan Army) or Mercedes (Hitler's favorite cars) gets free advertising. How do people know Ferraris are really good automobiles? What makes a Ferrari so much more expensive than say one of those behemoth Cadillac Escalantes? And even if you can afford a Ferrari, for what reason would you drive it as your everyday car?--but then all of us are looking for attention, aren't we? And advertising people really know who that hotty California girl running up that far-end Malibu hotspot beach really is--I mean the sun has to be almost straight overhead to get the best shots and that's the hot sun--unless you're looking for that evening effect--you know those sundown scenes you see on a lot of commercials--and advertising geeks know these girls playing those roles in these ads they are poor struggling actresses/celebrity wannabes who are out fucking and running their sweet asses off for hours on a hot and sticky blinding summer-day beach out at the far end of Malibu--and then these girls get home and they worry all night about something the director said while they were shooting one of those beach runs for the 15th time about how he'd have to do some cutting of certain scenes because there was something wrong--maybe he said there seemed to be some excess fat on a midriff.

And then one of those models can't sleep that night. And she doesn't eat that night. She drinks a lot of preppy water. She pisses tons of times. Then she looks at herself naked in her full-length mirror she's bolted on to the inside of her bathroom door and she sees so many things wrong and god if she loses this gig...blah-blah-blah, same old story.

All ads are trying to place their product in an invincible situation--like selling cars through ads where these cars look like they're going 150 mph. all alone on one of those Photo-Shopped blue-screened autobahn-like-Hitler highways that lead off into endless sunsat-on horizons.

What am I driving at? I think I'm conceding that not only is everything a lie but everything could be truth too. Perplexing. Like parallel lines shall never meet. What is truth? What is a lie? How do you know when someone's lying and when they're telling the truth? I think it's impossible to tell whether someone is telling the truth or lying. Look at Bush for instance. I watch him speaking and I consider every damn thing he's babbling out as an unspooling of lies, lies, and more lies, all lies, based on a big first lie; yet, to some people everything Bush Baby is babbling is truth. "Damn right all Moose-limbs are extremists, and all extremists is terrerists, and damn right we better nuke them thar Eye-RAN-ians, and by God, President McCain'll follow in Bush's mighty footprints and have them towelheaded, sand-N-worder Eye-RAN-ians running alright, like Commander 'n Chief Bush had them Iraqis running like the dogs they are the day the Gyrenes hit the streets in Baghdad and they pulled down that statue of that Al Queda henchman, Saa-Damn Hoose-sane, who, by the way, was planning a nuke-lee-er attack on the good ole USA, brothers and sisters, and don't you all forgit it...yes, it's been uphill, and Mr. Bush has admitted that, but, by damn, we've succeeded, and these liberal fools, these social humanists, are aiding and abetting Al Queda by protestin' like damn Hippies against Mister Bush, who as far as 30% of us are concerned is telling the truth about everything he does and every move he makes--why just look how strategically brilliant the surge was! Now it's time to kick some Arab ass in Eye-RAN!"

Lies and truths have become so knotted together, we now can only rely on those of our fellow human beans who seem to more agree with us than agree with THEM--so it's a matter of agreement, can I assume that?

One of my first adwriting jobs was at Time Inc. and one morning my director came in my office and he said, "Look here, chief, I want you to write this Malcolm Muggeridge show we've bought from Channel 4 in London up--wrack your brain and see what you can come up with." "But I hate Malcolm Muggeridge. He's a pompous ass elitist Brit nutjob--leave him in London, as far as I'm concerned." "Write me something anyway--hell, I hate a lot of the crap we broadcast but I write it up like it's the god-damnedest greatest god-damnedest well-produced son of a bitchin' teevee production ever shown on teevee!" So I went and wrote up this Malcolm Muggeridge show--and what I did was parody this Brit-fop-fool--I mean I salt and peppered that copy with tons of advertising adjectives and action verbs and soothingly enticing metaphorical hype--"Mr. Muggeridge's pose is as one contemplating with disgust the sordid wrong turns the USA has taken since it was lovingly cared for by his homeland as a Brit colony...a bright-flashing criticism from one of Britain's most confident high-brow journalists, a perspective showing a great fascination with this British wayward child now called the United States of America...a blast of awakening air from across the Big Pond and once Mr. Muggeridge has you awake, he's gotcha!" The boss loved it. Shit, he was gonna fire one of the Yalies and make me a topnotch copywriter! Whoooo hooo, and thus it started, and thus I got started into being a top-flight advertising "idea" man--I didn't necessarily write all the ads but I was in on the brainstorming that led to them--you know, how the ads were conceived--I was the daddy of a lot of ads coming out over network television back in the glorious free-sex seventies, especially on CBS in those early days of syndication.

Then I left Time Inc. and followed one of my Time Inc. writer pals over to bigger bucks copywriting at an indie agency actually on Madison Avenue that had a huge contract with the U.S. Navy--and I'll ask you here if you knew the federal government is the biggest advertiser in the teevee market--did you know that?--and one of my first assigned jobs I got at this agency was working on a new ad concept thing for Navy recruitment--and we stayed up all night looking at different artist concepts of the visual aspect of the ad, you know, various shots of sailors saluting on the decks of aircraft carriers with Old Glory waving majestically behind them, that sort of schlock, and finally we came up with a winning tagline (hook): "Be Important. Go Navy!" In red, white, and blue type. Another ad-writtin' trooper and I then wrote up the ad, laid it out and dummied it with the art director (while toking on the art department doob that was seemingly constantly passed around back there), and then we sent the specs to the printer--the ad was pulled, the VIP boyz at the printer looked at it and said all the specs were followed correctly and then they sent it back to us--and we sent it to proofreading--a freelancer named Leo proofread it, then the copy editor looked at it and she approved it, then the art director and the department director looked at it and they signed off on it, then it was sent back to the printer who reset it and matted it and then it in that format sent it out to magazines all over the USA and the world for that matter. The day after the ad came out all over, the Navy called the big boss and the Navy brass-asses were pissed as hell--the published ad read: "Be Impotant. Go Navy!" I argued that since that wasn't the way you spell impotent it wasn't so bad but I was laughed at--"I don't give a shit how you spell 'impotent,' some high school goofus who can't spell for shit anyway's gonna laugh like a jack-ass at that misspelling. That goofy bastard will have goofed on the word 'impotent' enough to recognized it misspelled or not." The agency lost hundreds'a thousands of good ole Navy dollars on that F-up. They not only had to print new ads up, they had to reprint 20 or 30 other printings on which that tagline appeared--like 100,000 recruitment letters and their envelopes! Bad day on Madison Avenue for that agency, though they recovered enough to later be bought by American Express.

Now, were the last two stories I wrote a lie or the truth?

for The Daily Growler

The Biggest Outdoor Advertisement in the World
Where is it, you're asking? Why it's in the great Democratic Kingdom of Dubai--the home of Arab conspicuous consumption, which US tax dollars help prop up the same as our tax dollars keep propping up Israel. Wasting money is one of the hobbies of the filthy rich--and the filthy rich love to waste their money on promoting their wastes!

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