April 13, 2010

Madison Avenue On Film + 20 Quotes You Won't Hear in Holiday Party Speeches


By Kurt Brokaw, Culture Editor

1961: The poster art and concept for the movie "Madison Avenue" may warn you off. "I CAN MAKE ANYBODY" brags the agency man, Dana Andrews (who in real life was making himself more drinks than anyone in the film).

The premise - a smalltime dairy goes national - and the dynamics between the marquee names (Eleanor Parker, Eddie Albert, Jeanne Crain) never really jell. This is more a picture about Dana Andrew's love life than his ad life, and its lumbering pace may make you wish for a Putney Swope to swoop in, just to enliven things.


We appreciate Kurt Brokaw's review of films focusing on the more realistic side of Madison Avenue. They possess an "unvarnished" view of the street. This is quite refreshing considering the ad industry's primary product consists of a lacquer-based gooey substance.

It's highlighted at this time to set the stage for what many in the business will soon be attending; the annual agency holiday end of year party!

Over the next 3 weeks, agency management (who's names are not on the door) will step up to the stage and make short speeches about what a "family" the agency really is. It will include many special inspirational quotes, from the usual suspects, Leo, David, Bill & Rosser and others. However, to keep the speeches short, in the interest of time, they will probably cut the part of the speech which talks about how they made $1.5million+ in 2005. Much will be made though about how employees will receive a $500.00 in their next paycheck, on January 15th, minus taxes. Whoppee!

The MadAve Journal wishes everyone a wonderful holiday period and hope for everyone's sake that the above scenario is far from the truth. We entered this business based on the fact that it provided a stepping stone up the economic ladder if one applied their personal talents of creativity, wit and some p*ss and vinegar. We cherish and admire these qualities today just as we did when we entered this business 24 months ago in 1998 when we first became assistant media planners!

Keeping with that wit, here's some 20 quotes we imagine you will NOT hear in the holiday speeches from the likes of the Fitzgeralds, Chandler, Gregory and Orwell. People we need now more than ever, to help us keep it real:

We grew up founding our dreams on the infinite promise of American advertising. I still believe that one can learn to play the piano by mail and that mud will give you a perfect complexion. - Zelda Fitzgerald

Advertising is a racket, like the movies and the brokerage business. You cannot be honest without admitting that its constructive contribution to humanity is exactly minus zero. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket. - George Orwell

Advertising is legalized lying. - H. G. Wells

You know why Madison Avenue advertising has never done well in Harlem? We're the only ones who know what it means to be Brand X. - Dick Gregory

It is not unprofessional to give free legal advice, but advertising that the first visit will be free is a bit like a fox telling chickens he will not bite them until they cross the threshold of the hen house. - Warren E. Burger

Chess is as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you can find outside an advertising agency. - Raymond Chandler

The Death of Advertising? I think that's in the book of Revelation. It's the day when people everywhere become satisfied with their weight, their hair, their skin, their wardrobe, and their aroma. - Jef I. Richards

Advertising is the modern substitute for argument; its function is to make the worse appear the better. - George Santayana

An advertising agency is 85 percent confusion and 15 percent commission. - Fred Allen

Time spent in the advertising business seems to create a permanent deformity like the Chinese habit of foot-binding. - Dean Acheson

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it. - Stephen B. Leacock

Advertising treats all products with the reverence and the seriousness due to sacraments. - Thomas Merton

Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it is the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless. - Sinclair Lewis

Advertising was fairly simple work, and I really just wanted a job where I could sit and write every day and not get fired for it like I had at other jobs, but it was fun. - John Hughes

What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public. - Vilhjalmur Stefansson

The vice-president of an advertising agency is a bit of executive fungus that forms on a desk that has been exposed to conference. - Fred Allen

In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising. - Pauline Kael

Until the rise of American advertising, it never occurred to anyone anywhere in the world that the teenager was a captive in a hostile world of adults. - Gore Vidal

America Online customers are upset because the company has decided to allow advertising in its chat rooms. I can see why: you got computer sex, you can download pornography, people are making dates with 10 year-olds. Hey, what's this? A Pepsi ad? They're ruining the integrity of the Internet! - Jay Leno

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