This morning there was a light rain in New York.
Enough to tie up the entire transit system in what is arguably the most important city in the world.
The rain was no harder than what comes out of your shower-head after you turn off the water.
A trickle, really.
But nonetheless, the cross-town bus (the world's slowest form of mass transit on a good day) was even slower than usual. For whatever reason, about 1/3 of the riders had decided to bring their children along. And their strollers. And though they paid no fare--I think kids ride free until they are six--they took up a goodly number of seats.
Once I got across town (my father used to say that the only way to get across town in New York is to be born there) people were standing four and five deep on the subway platform. I ride from the 81st Street Museum of Natural History stop where they've embedded dinosaur fossils among the tile, I suppose as decoration. Presumably the Pleistocene Era was also the last time that put money into the capital plant.
Despite all that, here I am at my desk (I have no office--offices are not democratic and inhibit "collaboration" though some how the people at Scali, Ammirati, Doyle Dane and Ally all worked in offices) an hour or at least 30 minutes before everyone else.
You could shoot a cannon through the place and not kill anything. Except maybe some vermin that lives in the walls of the former sweatshop building we occupy.
I was supposed to be shooting four new spots next week, but on Friday the assignment and the account evaporated. The client's been in freefall for six plus years, their stock price plummeting from almost 90 back in 2007 to around 15 today. That is, their market value is 1/6th of what it was.
There was a time in our business when agencies positioned themselves as particularly adroit at helping clients turn things around. There was a time when agencies and clients partnered to turn things around.
Those days seem to have vanished. Now, we get an assignment and if the work doesn't immediately and magically make the pain of years of bad decisions, unfavorable demographic shifts and horrible management go away, you don't get another assignment. Or they, as they did with us, pull the plug on you.
Here's the thing about marketing.
It takes time. Time and patience.
You can't do something once and expect it to "take."
We are all so accustomed to taking a pill that will banish pain and suffering that we think advertising works that way too.
It does not.
It takes work.
Not widgets, stunts, and apps.
You might even have to show up before nine.