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  • Bob Hoffman


I wasn’t much of a creative director, but I've had the good fortune to know some great ones. There is one thing about them that I love. They work hard and have high standards, but they also have an enduring sense of how dopey the whole thing is.

It takes a special kind of intelligence to be diligent about what you do and yet keep that part of your brain alive that realizes it’s largely ridiculous.

There is a great deal of nonsense in the advertising and marketing business and I think it’s very healthy to appreciate the absurdity. I am not one the somber flat tires who thinks what he's doing is terribly important .

I blame all the nonsense on conferences. There are way too many advertising and marketing conferences. I go to a lot of these conferences because I’m one of the speakers and I get paid. But if I didn’t, I wouldn’t (I think this is what’s known as “biting the hand...”)

Most of the people who speak at these things are very serious. I’m sorry but after sitting through eight hours of “The Programmatic Real- Time Digital Insider Summit” you can’t help but want to go to your room and watch a good hockey fight. Or go to the bar and start one.

I suspect the reason we lost the war on drugs can be laid at the feet of marketing conferences. How can thousands of people sit through these things every day if they’re not high?

I know why people go to conferences. They think anything’s better than a day at the office. But they’re wrong. They wind up getting the worst of both worlds. They pay for the conference but wind up standing outside the ballroom all day talking on their cell phones to the same meatballs they were trying to escape from.

I know what my great creative director friends would do to solve this problem. They’d have a backwards conference. They’d start the day with the cocktail party and then have the presentations later. That way, instead of presentations like...

     • Real-Time Bidding Algorithms In An AI Optimized Content Management Environment...

     ...we’d have presentations called...

     • The Open Plan Office: What Asshole Dreamed Up This Shit?

     • Boosting Your Personal Brand Through Naughty Videos.    

• Millennials: Pathetic Narcissists or Insufferable Bedwetters?

     • Working From Home. Yeah, right. 

Sounds more fun, no?

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