Seth Stevenson is a god!

Man, that Seth Stevenson at has a life!  He’s given comped accommodations in Miami at the annual CLIO advertising awards, and he’s still got the chops to make it clear that he doesn’t think too much of glitzy ads unless they somehow manage to sell products.  Check out

As Seth points out:  “Ad execs fancy themselves to be gifted artists trapped by the mundanities of commerce … I always love perusing the print-ad finalists.  So many clever graphics, with visual jokes that work in any language.  The big winner this year was a print campaign for 42 Below vodka.  These ads each tell a funny (and generally naughty) narrative through a series of pictograms.  The recurring symbol is a bottle of 42 Below vodka, which always leads to subsequent high jinks.  My only problem with the campaign is that in many of the ads, drinking vodka leads to a rather unpleasant outcome.  Like venereal disease.  An accurate take, perhaps, but it seems like it might be wiser to elide the nastier consequences of drunkenness.”

Look at it this way:  a very high-priced attorney lands all the famous defendants after they pop a paparazzo, gun down their girlfriend, or – oops, she did it again! – forget to put on their underwear before going out in public.  He loses every case!  All the celebs go to jail or, at least, pay a hefty fine.  But the attorney?  Well, he gets lots of face time on the tube, and he STILL GETS PAID!

If that seems senseless to you, then pay a visit to any one of a number of marketing/advertising agencies today.  As Seth’s column notes, they win all kinds of glittery awards and fame for their slick, gimmicky, usually UNSUCCESSFUL campaigns.  But their clients STILL PAY!

Agencies that are going to survive and prosper are those that remember one simple thing:  if the client loses, we lose.  At Johnson Direct, marketing is about selling products and services, not about being cute, sexy or slick.

More power to you, Seth!

Grant Johnson

Johnson Direct LLC


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