They can smell your lack of passion.

September 25th, 2014

Early in my career, I was presenting a new commercial to a client. I was pretty excited about it and felt it was a great spot.  As I was explaining, enthusiastically, why we did things a certain way, the client interrupted me and said, “Hey, you act like you own our business!” I said, “Well, I kinda do”. It was the best compliment he could have given to me.

In small town advertising, relationships mean a LOT. For 32 years, I mothered each and every client. I bossed them around, argued with them, pushed them, got involved as much as I could in their business and in most cases, they became personal friends.  I remembered birthdays and anniversaries, lugged cases of beer into offices, accommodated them at any hour. They knew I was deeply committed to their success.

The young ones I left behind don’t share my approach.  They come to work at 8 and leave exactly at five. They do their job and go home.  They seem to be uninterested in forging a friendship, become a partner, or to rise to a different level of excellence. The new “leadership” is more interested in billable hours and talking more than listening.

To be good in advertising, or any other profession, you can probably just show up and that might be enough.  But to be remarkable and be respected, you need to give a damn, have passion, love the process and be excited about your work. If all you care about is the money, honey, then you’ll never be amazing.

I’m done … and I’m back.

September 15th, 2014


Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 9.25.07 AM

I am officially out of the advertising business.

After 32 years, 2 weeks, and 7 hours, I sold my little agency. And while I want to feel good about it, my exit isn’t how I had imagined it would be.

First, some background:  This little company has operated far, far away from the Mad Men world of mega-clients.  It started before there was ESPN, Facebook, Twitter or digital “anything”. Our business started in a spare bedroom with one client, working with a handful of family-owned retailers, growing to serve the health care industry, colleges and universities, industrial concerns.  We became the area’s largest and only full-service agency. And, truth be told, we just made it up as we went along. What I lacked was toughness and business acumen.

Business-and people-seemed simpler, kinder, and less complicated then. Of course, I was younger, a single working mother who needed to survive, so for me it was more than passion, it was necessity.  As I review my career, I see all the mistakes I made, the errors in judgement and the naive trust I put in all the wrong people. (I put the “co” in co-dependent.) In spite of all this, I made a living, employed people, made clients successful with some nice work and learned a lot.

It was the last several years that really challenged my faith in human nature.  I’m sure it exists in every profession, but there is something about advertising that really brings out the worst in people. I hired a young account manager bursting with talent, then later discovered this person was oozing with deceit. It was a manipulative personality with charisma and I chose to ignore it.  After all, this person was promising to buy the business, step into my shoes, and carry on. Instead of firing her for stirring up office drama, outright lying, treating coworkers like dirt, (the list goes on), I kept her.  She produced. She handled clients well. She got the job done. But at a huge price. Principles. Ethics. Integrity. Character.

In the end, her true financial situation came into ugly view, and her deception became clear-she wasn’t going to buy the business.  So another individual (with a stellar reputation) bought my company and kept her. She is sitting in my old office now, secure, with none of the fear of true ownership, invigorated with the confidence that a fresh start with new people brings. But all I can see is my 32 years of  treating people with respect, honesty, and care flying out the window. It may not be my window anymore, but it still pisses me off.

Every Miracle-Pampers

May 26th, 2011

Guaranteed to knock the cynical right outta you. Pretty much a flawless pice of creative. (VIA)

Who the hell wrote THIS headline?

May 15th, 2011

Times have changed. Now it’s 16 hours.  (VIA)

My mothers talent

May 6th, 2011

It’s no secret that my mother and I were not especially close in her later years.  We started out that way, though, having a common enemy in Harold. He was the abusive husband and father who demoralized her with his fits of rage and turned me into an overachieving, codependent, people-pleaser.

She unexpectedly passed away last September. I think she was proud of me, yet surprised by my career path. I didn’t end up with lots of kids, make magnets for the refrigerator and knit. My DNA steered me towards writing, sales, and whatever it is I do all day.

It’s quite a process to go through a dead persons things, especially when it’s your mother. Finding that chapstick in a blazer pocket just about sent me over the edge. Her bottles of cologne, her makeup, funny socks with ladybugs on them…these things bring her into the room with me.

She was born on a family farm and led a small town life. In her earlier years, she was an amazing seamstress. Her creative streak was strong and while not working in fine silks or exotic fabrics, she found ways to express herself, and I think it helped her deal with the scars of domestic violence.

This doll furniture is made of plastic canvas and yarn. My daughter loved it. Hopefully my granddaughter will appreciate it, too.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom.

Where Barbie gets Ready every morning.

Ken was over. He left the seat up. Men! Check out the tiny toilet paper roll.

The Living Room. Tiny pillows on the sofa and a pull chain on the floor lap, TV & VCR in the entertainment center!

The Bathroom. Love the towel bar.

Rockford, Illinois Part Deux

March 10th, 2011

I’m not sure it was as good as the first effort, but still very worthwhile viewing. Gotta admire the chutzpah of the Tourism Folks who seized the moment to put Rockford on the radar!

Be a Member!

March 10th, 2011

I’ve simply been too busy to post anything, moving my Grandmother to Senior Housing, but I have to take a second to share this. I’m already a member and didn’t know it.  :)

Talking to your audience

March 3rd, 2011

I wish we were able to deliver something half this amazing for a “Dont Text and Drive” campaign we’re working on in Hooterville.  This is simply genius stuff and talks directly to the target audience with substantial impact…for virtually no budget. Click the link and be impressed.

Waitakere City Road Safety: Car For Sale

Someplace to hide

February 25th, 2011

I gotta hand it to Designer Tim…he found this one and it is spot on! Where DID all those State Senators from Wisconsin go, anyway? Rockford, Illinois Tourism seized the moment brilliantly. Cheap Trick? Are you serious!

Cry for help

February 21st, 2011

Admit it. You’ve had days like this…we all have. (via)


February 15th, 2011

I worry about my reading habits.  Or lack thereof.

So much content. So little time.

I’m like a little kid who is afraid she might miss something, so I have become a scanner. I breeze through Tweets, headlines, blogs and web sites, becoming Aware, but not really Knowing.

Yet I am cognizant of this behavior. Rather than mindlessly drift, I do force myself to slow down, embrace those pages that are worthy and try to leave with a working understanding of what I just consumed.

When I was young, my crazy, abusive father made me take a speed reading class so I could learn more, faster.  He wanted me to be a doctor. (Can you imagine?) Thanks to him, I’ve spent my whole life over-achieving and I genuinely LIKE learning.

When I converted to Judaism, I told a Rabbi I wanted to learn “everything there was to know” about being Jewish.  He shook his head and told me that would be impossible. Judaism is too vast, too subjective and interwoven, too fluid and open for debate, to ever be fully understood.  I tried to prove him wrong. But he wasn’t.

But still I scan. Plowing through material with earnest determination to make my dead father proud and maybe the Rabbi, too.

My Grandmother says” You always do too much.”

Maybe I’m just nosey.

Once upon a time, there was this Adchick who…

Stop Farting…and Smoking

February 13th, 2011

Why didn’t I think of this?   (VIA)

When the elderly shovel

February 10th, 2011

During the “Epic, Historic” Blizzard of the Century (my Vermont pal says we’re not used to real snow storms here – whatever) I had my Grandmother, who still lives alone) come and stay with me. I finally told her if she was going to eat all my food and keep the furnace dialed at a tropical 80 degrees, she’d have to do a few chores.

LOOK! She could only shovel half the drive! I had to do the rest. You’d think at almost 96 years old, she could have finished the job.


We’re Bored

February 3rd, 2011

When we’re stuck and need to refresh ourselves, this gets the creative juices flowing.

Thanks to Designer Tim for the find.

Life in the Small Shop

February 2nd, 2011

I’ve been horrible blogger, posting nothing for some time. But far more important matters have had to come before this indulgence.

I lost my mother last September and am now in “charge” of caring for an almost 96 year old, and still quite sharp, grandmother. (She has stayed with me during the Blizzard of the Century and I now know that constant chatter DOES run in the family.)

My colleague (and BFF) just lost his mother at a very young 71 years. She was the kind of woman I can only hope to be.

In our Small Shop, indulgences are set aside to keep the plates spinning. We are just four people who all possess a particular set of skills, with an army of independent contractors at the ready. There isn’t another person or department to write the spot, shoot the video, design the ad, or file the paperwork. We are each an entrepreneur in our own right, depending on the skills of the other to make it all go. We need each other to survive.

Although I’ve never worked in a big agency, I imagine there may be a lot of time wasted stepping around big egos. Who has time for this? We have customers to steer through a clients door. There are clients who must be led, taught, scolded, loved, and tended to. Whether its in Hooterville or nationwide, is the objective really so different?

So blogging will take a back seat as real life whirls by. We must be accountable to one another because the business plan depends on it.

I’m the cute one on the right.

Josh Sings Kanye

January 4th, 2011

Fucking brilliant. (I found it here and I liked it.)

I want this

December 30th, 2010

I know Christmas is over, but I want this. It’s better than Billy Bass the Talking Fish. It looks like Santa is missing his left arm, too.

Real Christmas Spirit

December 26th, 2010

I only wish the morons around here were this creative.

Happy Holidays to Chicks Everywhere

December 25th, 2010

A little research shows I’m not the only Chick out there. Google up CHICK, you get 76 million hits. Google up AD CHICK you get over 14 million. There’s a bunch of us from all walks of life, doing all sorts of stuff. Meet the rest of the Roost … some of them, anyway. Kathleen in Canada. She won’t let me have the domain name. Her site hasn’t been updated in a long time, but I’m sure she’s just busy. Nancy is a designer chick in Florida who got mad at me when I first launched my little blog. Not to worry, Nance…I’m not a threat. Melissa is hatching out new ideas every day. Sounds painful. Pretty impressive project list, though. Danyelle is a beautiful, talented chick who seems to have it going on. And she’s not too far away from me. Gospel tracts where you can actually Meet Jesus under the category of Things to Do. UGH.

There’s,,,, … the list goes on.

But for real chick snark, you’ve come to the right nest. Far away from big markets, where I bring you a cynical view of our attempts to bring order to the chaos small town clients bring upon themselves. Happy Holidays from Hooterville. It’s a whole different world in here.

He’s right…English is dum

December 20th, 2010

The guy is 102 years old, right outta Central Casting. And he’s got a point. Hey…if he’s not dating anyone, maybe I could hook him up with my Grandmother.


December 17th, 2010

I’ve known little girls like this. Kinda spookey. Thanks to Clinton for the tip. Awesome.

Santa’s Potty

December 2nd, 2010

Welcome to home decorating in the Heartland. It’s something you’d find in my late Aunt Kay’s bathroom.


How to gift wrap a cat

November 29th, 2010

If this doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, I don’t know what will. But give me a cat, I’ll give it back. I’m deathly allergic to the little bastards.

Chatroulette Guy=Smiles

November 28th, 2010

In a mean spirited world, how refreshing is this…taking the edge off in a busy airport. And how smart of T-Mobile to associate themselves with this fun. Smiles all around.  (VIA)

Holiday Drivers

November 24th, 2010

Tis the season…Thanks Dean, for the find!      (VIA)

The best Christmas ad I’ve seen

November 21st, 2010

A billboard I guarantee you’ll NEVER, EVER see in Hooterville. Too good not to share. I think I’ll order one.   (via)

First one who speaks…

November 18th, 2010


For years, I have filled the silence with incessant chatter. (The psychology of why I’ve been an enthusiastic blabber mouth will come out in my memoir. If Tim Tebow can write one, so can I.)

When I got my first real job (selling air, aka Radio Sales) my boss told me: “Just shut up already. Ask your customer the question, then wait for an answer. The first one who talks, loses.”

Truer words were never spoken…no pun intended.

Listening is hard. Talking is easy. Listening is work. Especially when you listen to shit you have trouble understanding. (You, IT guy. I’m talkin’ about you.) But when you REEEAALLLY listen, it puts you in the power chair.

You’re thinking. They’re talking. You’re learning. They’re losing.

Being a better listener makes people like you because YOU are paying attention to THEM. Therefore, listening makes you popular and highly regarded. It means making better money, making better friends and in the end, making smarter choices.

Let us all shut up. Now.

Stop Clucking!

Hero, whore, somewhere in the middle

November 16th, 2010

You’re a hero at the end of the month and whore at the beginning.

A car sales guy once told me this.  You bust your ass to make your sales goals, celebrate on the 30th and on the 1st, start all over again.

But what about the middle?

The middle for me is usually quite manageable.

And I hate it.

Manageable means there’s time for a nice lunch with that sales rep I’ve been putting off. Time to clean out a file, tidy up my desk, be at the gym by 5:30.

When you’re in business for yourself, manageable means you’re not making any money. Frantic means you are. It’s hard to relax as you wait for the next “thing”, whatever it is, to happen. I’ve made all the calls, media is placed, billing is out, and creative projects are merely perking, not boiling over. (Not to mention the holidays are almost here. Billable hours slow to a freaking crawl.)

Making the most of the middle, this is my goal. Learning to take advantage of a little down time…without panic.

“Whore”. The term seems a little strong. Perhaps “Paid Escort”?

It’s only the 15th…work the phones!

Car repair back then

November 15th, 2010

If you don’t know where your differential girdle spring is, watch this video and take notes. There’ll be a test later.  Thanks to Clinton for the find. Hilarious.

Selling Stupid

November 12th, 2010

Over the last several months (hell, maybe years) the performance of those folks who sell local media time and space has become so inept, it’s like a bad sitcom. Imagine the fat, lazy Network TV girl who always asks “What are we running this month?” while she chomps her gum. The radio girl who quite openly uncrosses her legs in front of male clients, hoping to usurp any rational decision.  Then there’s the really obese Cable girl who takes a fiendish delight in pointing out a $2 error. But the really interesting douchebag of recent note is the newspaper salesguy. He’s all passive aggressive, refusing to accept the fact that being the agency means WE place the buy, not his designer pal in the clients office. “You’re not my client. They’re my client.” Really?  His emasculation is on the calendar.

I started by selling radio many years ago…before the FCC screwed the broadcast industry by allowing anyone a license to broadcast. My sales manager preached the problem-solving approach to selling a client. Is there any other way?

So, Dear Time-and-Space-Sales Guys/Gals: Don’t breeze into my office without an appointment.  Do NOT pitch me a 2 by 3 space on the Pet of the Month page. I do NOT want to buy 15 spots during School Safety Week. Do Not tell me EVERYONE listens to your pathetic little radio station.  And DO NOT ever, ever say to me, “You mean you don’t want to put your client in front of the 750 attendees of the Cooking School we’re hosting?”

Just because you’re in Hooterville doesn’t mean you have to sell like it.

There’s an App for That!

November 5th, 2010

Nice to see Sesame Street staying current. Never miss a chance to teach a kid something. (VIA & JR!)

Are YOU Dog Enough?

November 3rd, 2010

Thanks to sullieseverything for this find. Such a sweet spot. I love the British.


November 2nd, 2010

I especially enjoyed Dowdy Kitchen Guy. The British Accent makes all of this nothing seems quite important.

Costume? I think not.

November 1st, 2010

I know Halloween is over, but judging from the costume on this kid, he probably grew up to be a serial killer. Which head did he put the candy in?

Scary Silverware

October 30th, 2010

For the ultimate Halloween dining table. I like it.  Shpookey.  VIA

My Political Year

October 28th, 2010

If you’re in advertising, in any size market, you gotta be excited when November 3rd arrives. Political Ad Season is despised by just about everyone I’ve met…in and OUT of the business. The money spent is a testament to the size of the egos and amount of power to be had … no matter what level – even a small town. It makes me sick considering my local women’s shelter has just had to cut two more beds and turn away more women and their kids.

This is the first time in 28 + years we’ve been deluged by politicians. Media buying, copywriting, video shooting, audio taping, meeting, checks flying, e-mailing, phone calling, pre-empting (“You got bumped. Would you let us put you in Monday Night Wrestling?”)…it goes on. While none of the ones we worked with are bad people, I wouldn’t want them as regular clients.

The political marketing process on this level (and maybe others, though I doubt it) is “shoot from the hip, last minute decisions, a large amount of posturing, and waaay too many Indians.”  Ya know, guys, if it’s that important, then why didn’t you spend more time planning….it’s not like you didn’t know when it was going to be November 2nd.

We don’t formulate the “message”, we just make it look good.  We didn’t have anyone as titillating as Christine O’Donnell, (what an opportunity-this is my FAVORITE one) but we hope our guys win Tuesday. Then we can get back to work.

Real Estate Masturbation

October 11th, 2010

I’m trying to sell my house on my own. Maybe I should hire this guy. Birth certificate available on request. Seriously?   (VIA)