Tag: storytelling

You Get The Advertising You Deserve

Let it be clear to the prospective client that “creativity” is not a shake-and-stir packet of powder or crystals, for which one need only add hot water and let cool for three to five minutes, until the surrounding environment fills with the aroma of this potpourri of Rwandan coffee beans (shipped in wooden crates across the African Great Lakes), Argentine honey (gathered from colonies in the river valleys at the geographical center of this federal republic), Caribbean pine (donated from the Honduran communities an hour from the nation’s capital) and soft red winter wheat (harvested east of the Mississippi River in Ohio, Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri); suffusing a potential client’s conference room or workplace with the mist of “ideas,” to be savored and consumed by every employee, as each executive, independent contractor and salaried consultant (with complimentary health insurance) joins hands in a chorus line stretching from the stairwell (starting on the fifteenth floor) to the cafeteria to the lobby to the parking lot, so this singular sensation can deliver a musical masterpiece of glitz and style.

Let it be clear to the prospective client that creativity is not the result of some global séance, hosted by Skype, in which you and your colleagues attempt to make contact with the soul of the late David Ogilvy, despite the overwhelming amount of bandwidth necessary to sustain a video call of this kind for more than a few seconds.


Let it be clear to the prospective client that whatever pronouncements you manage to transcribe on the back of a matchbook, or scribble (with a black rollerball pen) on the dry underside of a cocktail napkin by turning this moistened (from the ring of a martini shaker) piece of two-ply paper facedown, is not an admonition from advertising heaven or some otherwise impenetrable dimension.

Let it be clear to the prospective client that what you do — what your creative brief proposes to do — can only be done by you (and your exclusive team of writers, branding experts and marketing specialists).

Let it be clear to all prospective clients that they get the advertising they deserve.

Steve Jobs

The bigger story in this dramatization of Steve Jobs’s life-as-a-series-of-product-rollouts is that Aaron Sorkin has such a substantial degree of control within the world of film, compared to his dominion within the various sound stages of network television; because creators of programs for the small screen, which is no longer an accurate term (in a physical sense) for that medium, separating writers from the large screen of cinema versus those for the more diminutive, bulbous, glass-with-faux-wood-cabinetry windows into national and regional programming for, respectively, game shows, soap operas, car chases, football games, situation comedies, police procedurals, and commercials for mattress stores, hearing aids, diapers (for newborns and adults) and sellers of discount electronics; the fact that the screen now fits in your pocket, enabling you to watch The West Wing or The Social Network, obliterates the vocabulary of prestige and power within Hollywood.

Still, the differences in status remain the same.

So, while Sorkin is the father and chief writer of a fantasy president, elevating Martin Sheen to the Oval Office by unanimous consent of the executives at NBC and through a majority of the popular vote from the TV equivalent of the Electoral College known as the Nielsen ratings, there is a political division between this fictional White House and, in the daylight and desert heat of Burbank, California, the dissolution of a writer’s capital when he accepts the chance to pen a script for the silver screen.

Aaron Sorkin is the exception.


He is an outlier.

He is, like it or not, that which he decries: The Steve Jobs of screenwriting.

He is the 1984 Macintosh, at once singularly iconic and, with its modular design, self-enclosed, black-and-white monitor and beige-colored exterior, in addition to the recessed space (at the top, on the backside of the machine) for easy handling, a toy.

Aaron Sorkin is a film studio’s toy.

Expensive, exclusive, offensive (to his critics) and defensive (upon the collapse of his own “reality distortion field”), Sorkin is, in his own way, a rotten apple.

If only this Indian summer in Los Angeles would end, Sorkin could wear a black mock turtleneck from Issey Miyake, a pair of Levi’s® 501 jeans and a set of New Balance 990 sneakers.