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Monday, May 9, 2011

Driving in LA

Traffic, traffic, traffic. It gives you a lot of time to think, rant and reflect.

Is this the price we pay for good weather?  Do we have to be depressed every quarter mile? Hello Mayor Villaraigosa…I can’t go for any stretch of a drive without seeing graffiti, barbed wire, trash, a hobo or a sign that says “hey, if you’re going to flush your kid away, drop him off at the fire house.” If Lucy saw all this when she hit town in 1955, she would have bugged Ricky to leave as soon as Bill Holden’s kiss dried up.

Speaking of gloomy, what’s the most depressing fast food restaurant there is? Is it H. Salt Fish and Chips? There is no franchise with less curb appeal than H.Salt. That old time look with crisscross lattice on the windows and newspaper/wallpaper inside. All of them need a facelift. Worse are when restaurants meet their demise and the clearly franchised architecture becomes something else. Nothing drags you down like seeing the Taco Bell mission or that weird blue crowned IHOP roof or a giant Der Wienerschnitzel dog house as a chiropractor or some 97 Cents store. It all leaves you wondering what they did with the bell in the hole of the marquee.

But we all know what spelled their downfall. It’s the evil food executives. Imagine them sitting around asking “how can we make people fatter?” Can you see the brainstorming meeting? Around the room they go:

Exec #1: Don’t look at me. I came up with the deep fried Oreo deluxe pancakes. Remember that?

Exec #2: Oh yeah, you got a nice bonus that year. You’ve been riding that success for 24 months. Time for something new.

Exec #1: How about we take a taco and put a burrito around it with a thick layer of cheese in between the two and we deep fry it in some supposedly non-trans fat oil?

Exec #2: Now you’re talking.

And what’s the deal with Coke vs. Pepsi. Can’t we find a common ground? Why can’t we have a choice? You go into a restaurant and I get a Stella, you can get a Bud Light and she can get a Guinness. But goodness gracious sakes alive if you want a specific cola. How many times have you been out and you order a Coke and they ask, “is Pepsi alright?” You know what? It’s rarely ok. Why can’t they pour Pepsi and Coke? Let the managers figure it out. They have enough spickets at the fountain and everything else under the sun. Get rid of the Poweraid or one of the Fanta flavors. Give us a choice between Coke or Pepsi and let the best cola win, like old time hockey, let’s settle this over ice.

I was out with a colleague recently and I, uh, dislike Pepsi – unless they are offering me a plum marketing gig – and they served me a Pepsi after I ordered a Coke. Ugh, I could taste it. There’s a firm rule in the Media Guy’s household: no Pepsi shall pass my palette. I literally spit it out…right in my colleague’s face.


Me: “This isn’t Coke!”

Him: “What? You couldn’t swallow it?!”

Me: “Not on your life. Call a doctor!”

As I’ve said before, I know nothing about music, but these Timeless Tunes have to go. The Playlist from hell has Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (those two dudes bother me still), Joan Jett’s I Love Rock and Roll (three chords of death) and Tears for Fears’ Shout (this is the song I can do without). Enough already.

My final tip of the day goes something like this…Every job has something that requires a little work. I don’t care if you are a roller coaster tester or a cookie taster for Mrs. Field’s, there is always something that’s a little nuts and bolts. A grind if you will where there’s some clerical junk where you have to be specific and take good notes or craft a great communiqué. I find that people who are attracted to creative professions, i.e., the “Creatives”, don’t really like the nuts and bolts part. They like the fun parts. Graphic designers always like to ignore the fine points of copy; butchered headlines like this:

No lattes fees
This bank may have wonderful free coffee, but I’m watching out for the late fees

In a prefect world, you are always professional.
Nobody's 'prefect', I guess.

Don't Pay To Much
Even ads for mobile homes deserve to be right.

You know what I say when I see this? I say, “stop seeing things through the prism of your creative eye and ignoring the details that are lined up for you. I want your creative meshed with my creative to deliver brilliance. Don’t you?”

Pay attention to details people and teach your kids to do the same.

Geez. I’ve only gone eight miles in 35 minutes.

NEXT TIME: I’ll tell you the story how a good friend convinced me that actress Connie Sellecca was in love with me after a red carpet event in 1990.