Always On: The Tortured Psychosis of the Advertising Agency Mind

They say that consumers are exposed to over 10,000 ads a day.

If you are anything like me, that number is closer to 1,523,976. I lost the innocence of looking at things at surface value many moons ago. It was so refreshing to simply think of a commercial as something that came on between my cartoons and see a box of cereal as just sugary goodness. I never internally debated the use of a certain font or that an ad for a luxury car brand lacked ethnic diversity. I never pointed out poor photography to my friends or was insulted by the lack of creativity in a headline.

As a marketer, these are the occupational hazards of the job. We just have to live with it. For those not saddled with this affliction, it’s near impossible for them to fully grasp the depths of our obsession. I was recently watching TV with my wife and a commercial for a national restaurant chain came on. Everything about it was so generic. Standard food shots, smiley happy people. All so very expected. I rewound and asked my wife to watch it again as my anger consumed me. After the rewatch she looked at me as if “what am I missing here”? These are not the things that are top-of-mind to people who aren’t in the advertising industry.

I’ve pushed competitive hot sauce brands to the back of the shelf in favor or my clients’ brand, keep a notepad on my nightstand in case the next big idea strikes and have bolted from the shower to document a thought before it was lost. Every billboard is scrutinized, each radio spot is critiqued and even diner menus are over-analyzed.

I can never turn it off and you know what, I love that. It’s who I am.