Wait--an ad guy talking about values? This should be good.
A lot of folks would say that America is going to hell, and advertising is clutching the handbasket. That advertising is a lump in the breast of capitalism, a skid mark in civilization's underwear. Dreck to be cleaned up, toned down, or tuned out at best.
A lot of folks view copywriters as a degenerate subspecies in the taxonomy of wordsmiths. As abusers of syntax and non-completers of sentences. As scruffy, sneaker-wearing slacktards. As whores for any corporate john. And mostly, they'd be right.
So isn't it rich for a perpetrator of rhetorical legerdemain to plant a flag on the slippery slope of mass communication? Yes it is. And not the less-filling, tastes-great irony of fixies and facial hair, but the version eggheads like me cling to while drifting in the sea of school debt. So how do I tolerate looking at myself in the mirror?
Easy: I'm a functioning ad schizophrenic. I treasure the chance to shape buying habits, boost business, and otherwise tszuj the zeitgeist. I love the effervescing manifestation of global consciousness known as the interweb-and that I get to contribute. Advertising is a privilege I don't take lightly.
Yet I grimace at the cultural clutter produced by my industry. I hang my head at the tasteless thrusting into the public sphere condomed with the innocuous name of "content." I gnash my teeth at the youtubifying of our attention spans, the felonies against a defenseless language, and the overriding idiocracy of the ether.
What helps me pull up the shades each morning is questions like these: can I bring grace and wit to the monosyllabic wastes of LOL-land? Sell things without discounting my values? Sustain the printed page via online observations? Make a blog a chronicle of justice, not a monologue with a megaphone? Create something that makes the Wall Street Journal and my mom's Facebook page? Make 140 characters worthwhile?
Some answers I'm proud of; some I'm not. Most have only prompted more questions.
It's not easy, this quest to marry art and business. I hope you'll join me.
Nate Davis copywriter