Tuesday, October 2, 2007
'NYT' to ad execs: off with your heads!
I know I read this on some blog or other yesterday, but it's worth repeating here. Neil Genzlinger, a staff editor at The New York Times who was given the task of reviewing "How Starbucks Saved My Life" by former JWT creative Michael Gates Gill, calls it "one of the most scathing indictments of the advertising business to appear in a long time." To elaborate: "Gill, with the grating babe-in-the-woods persona he adopts in this book, would have us believe that top advertising executives like him have no idea that there are black people in the world and that some of them run small businesses; that every weekday thousands of people gather at places like Grand Central Terminal for a ritual known as rush hour; that an overwhelming majority of lives are lived in the service of train schedules and bill collectors. If the rest of Madison Avenue royalty is as clueless about the real world as Gill makes himself seem in this book, off with their heads." Actually, though I'll admit to generally liking the premise of someone finding they like a simpler life better, the fault for this portrait of ad execs lies squarely with Gill. First, as someone who grew up in Bronxville, a commuter town if ever there was one, Gill should be amply aware of the commuter's life, even within the upper strata, since the median household income in Bronxville in 2000 was around $200K a year. And, anyone who rides Metro-North into Grand Central can attest to seeing top ad execs riding among them. The only way Gill could not have known that is to hide behind the fact that he was working for JWT in L.A., but, since he was an east coast native, that just doesn't wash.