Category Archives: Embarrassing


Aux Larmes Citoyens

The advertising agency is the ultimate capitalit enterprise.

200-1It makes money by helping clients make money and is therefor a gun for hire, ready to do whatever it takes so their clients are happy and appeased, their happiness and appeasement depending on sales and profits and such.

Arguably, everything that the agency does that’s related to the client’s business is centered on this objective.

200So, it came as a major surprise when a group of agency employees drafted and circulated a petition complaining to management that they had not been invited to go on one client-agency outing to a luxury spa.

They were unaware that the reason behind the event was to appease an increasingly unhappy client.

200-2They were also unaware that they entire thing was staged and that all the fun, games, gifts, everything would make this the trip to and from hell.

So during the 3 days that half of the agency was out, led by a frustrated Creative Director, a petition circulated denouncing the grievance, demanding justice.

The Creative Director then lobbied one-on-one for it to be signed.

The name of each signer was leveraged to get another one.

A handfull steadfastly refused to sign. They were pressure unrelentlessly.

The plan was to march Monday on to the General Manager’s office and deliver it. A 60s-style march with signs and banners that they put together.

200-4Came Monday morning, however, and everyone but the two key instigators chickened out.

The signs were quietly destroyed  and all was forgotten.

Or was it? Every now and then a cruel co-worker would use the word “Petition”. As in, “Does anyone want to sign a petition?” “Should we sign a petition?”

Always around the ingenuous instigators who thought advertising people had any rights.




TMI — Definitely T.M.I.

Everyone has to take a dump and that’s just the way it is.

Most people try not do to it in the office — in fact manuals have been written on what to do in case you need to take a major one in the office.

giphyThat probably had to go through this expensive Director’s mind when he held an entire shoot for 45 minutes while he did his duty.

The standard procedure during a shoot is to feed crew, agency and client. It is demanded by the Union, expected by the Agency (catering can be pretty fancy) and a good way to catch up, socialize with the Client.

And so it was that one particular day, right after lunch that the Director’s bowels could no longer hold their content and he had to excuse himself.

It so happens that the bathroom was located too close for comfort to the set.

And so he went.

And stayed.

And stayed longer.

And even longer.

And people kept looking at each other.

Toilet_DiveAnd everyone knew the man was taking a shit.





And he stayed almost 45 minutes.

And when he walked out, a newspaper under his arm, he delivered his instructions to the crew. “Let’s move on to Number 2″.

And a little voice from the exasperated and embarrassed crew said.

“Didn’t you just do that?”


What’s in Your Drawer?

First in and last out, this Creative Director was notorious for gathering the troops late in the afternoon (when everyone’s mind was already at the pub) for “Brainstorming Sessions”, for which she would throw bean bags around her spacious office and asked everyone to sit.

R2_dfb042_372975There was a meditating, guru-like feeling about the entire thing and a lot of people resented it.

They felt it was fake.

Plus it unnecessarily made people stay at work when they could be doing other stuff.

The general feeling was that this Creative Director lacked a social life.

Once that the “Brain Estorming” (as people exaggerating the Spanish accent called it) session was overcrowded someone sat at the Director’s desk watching as ideas were drawn.

At some point, the Creative Director’s marker ran out of ink and asked the person sitting at her desk to hand her one from her top drawer.

Opens the wrong one and finds a dildo.

“Can’t write with this one”, said he holding it with two fingers — perhaps out of as concern for the cooties.


The Siesta

What: Agency New Business pitch at Fortune 500 company.

Who: Agency top brass, including owner-founder, and possible Client’s CMO and entourage.

Where:  Potential Client’s headqarters in a location on the opposite coast.

Background: The Agency had hustled to get into the pitch and when the news arrived it had “made the cut”, the mood was celebratory.

The decision was made to bring in the big guns. Deliver a killer presentation and land the account in this meeting.

Rewrites, reviews, rehearsals were crammed into a tight schedule and then an early bird flight took everyone to the meeting.

One final drill.

The meeting started  right after lunch, all seated around a rectangular table.

Bad luck had it that it was hot, the Agency was facing a window, the shades didn’t quite close well and a warm blinding light proved a major annoyance.

Was the Agency’s resilience being tested?

Bad luck also had it that the owner/founder was no longer his once- bright energetic self and he started to doze off as credentials were presented, the buying habits of Latinos were discussed, the brand loyalty brought from the old country was emphasized.

And then came the research report which, following the standard practice of the days, was loaded with generalizations. “Latinos are this way. And that way. And like this. And so on a so forth”.

It seemed as if the meeting would never end, the presenters fact acquired a meaningless monotonous cadence.

At the precise moment this blogger was tuning out, a loud snore broke through the singsong of Latino truisms.

All eyes turned toward the founder/owner and, to everyone’s horror, it became evident that he was sound asleep.

Comments the CMO: “I guess Siestas are still part of the culture”.

Long, silent trip back across the continent.





Batshit over Banana Chips

In those early days of marketing to Hispanics, convincing potential clients about the need to put some dollars behind those markets was a major challenge.

To that end, agencies did what agencies do: Use every possible argument, package it as attractiveley as possible to gain attention.

A favorite approach — and one that many today would swear proved effective — was to portray latinos just as others saw us: A hybrid between Speedy Gonzales and Qué Pasa USA.

Accents were encouraged; dress code ran the opposite direction of Dress for Success guidelines for Latinos (no shiny suits, pointed shoes or paper thin mustaches); people spoke in generalizations: “Latinos do […] Hispanics like […] We are […]

Against that framework, one prominent agency leader was invited to speak at a major advertising conference.

And to deliver he speech in those pre-Power Point days she chose the banana metaphor.

tumblr_mpq4njWXyP1qhtij5o1_400In a very heavy accent, she spoke of banana boats full of people that came to the US, brought their brand-loyalty, were family-oriented, fully-appreciative of : Simple-minded, noble savages ready to part with their dollars for those marketers who bothered with a limited advertising investment.

giphy-1This investment, said the Agency Executive in a euphoric speech, somewhere between a political “pronunciamiento”, a eulogy and a Sunday Sermon, would mean more banana chips for the marketers.

And as she delivered her rousing final line, she would throw up in the air bags of what else but banana chips.

At least two younger agency people, graduates of prestigious MBA programs, resigned their jobs and chose instead to seek fame, fortune and future elsewhere.