Our Response to @AdClubSTL & Joe Leahy

 

By lauradud84 / / We recently got called out by Joe Leahy of HLK and AdSaint – sorry – Ad Club STL over this tweet:

He responded to our little tweet with an article attempting to shame us on the only other advertising-related site in St. Louis: “Been too long? Come on, Egotist, if you haven’t been facilitating anonymous slap-fights over the hard work of others, what the heck have you been doing with your time? Perhaps you should pay attention to what’s happening in the creative community. You know, like local folks doing national caliber work and getting recognized by Cannes, CA, Archive, Clios, One Show, The National ADDYs and more.” Aside from the irony of responding to our tweet thru an Ad Club blog, because apparently he doesn’t have a twitter account (which makes us wonder how/why he saw this tweet and felt the need to respond in the first place), Joey clearly is missing a few points here: – First, we referenced the city-funded STL 250 Cakes incident specifically because it was a fuck-up in every which way that left our city pock-marked with shitty art, some of which still lasts to this day. It wasn’t even related to the local Ad industry in any way. – We haven’t facilitated or encouraged any slap-fights on agencies or their work and have not spoken against any agency ever. We’ve called out bad work, sure, but we don’t rally against companies or bully them with unfounded remarks. As you have quite ably shown us, we’re used to being the recipient of such behavior. – He then proceeds to go on a hurrah-pep rant about how great everyone is and all the awards they’re winning and how everyone is hiring. Which – and here’s the funny part – we actually contacted HLK earlier in the week to congratulate them on their growth, to see if they wanted to post jobs on our site, host a Kegs With Legs and write an article to help spread the word on how well they are doing. After initial enthusiasm from their team, we received a quite different email today declining all of the above. “I don’t mean to spoil the fun. Go ahead, roll up your sleeves and rip away. Then, maybe get on your keyboard and share some of the inspiring stuff happening around us. It’s been too long.” Nice one, Joey. Aside from spending a large chunk of our free time promoting creative work, promoting and organizing free events for the ad community in St. Louis and constantly seeking out and sharing the best that this city has to offer, we’re literally “sharing inspiring stuff” every. fucking. week. And unlike the Ad Club who’s membership base that he mentioned is growing, we don’t collect money from any of you to do this. Ad Club charges a membership fee to throw shitty parties where you have to buy drinks and feel like you have to go because everyone else feels compelled to go. Then they decide to roll up their sleeves to facilitate a slap-fight against us with an agency partner executing some faulty logic. If you ask us, this is the very reason we get tired of the community in the first place. But on the same hand, it also shows us that there’s still more work to be done.

  1. Anonymous October 28, 2016

    If you're tired of the community, perhaps it's time for a new person to take over the STL Egotist.

  2. robhutti October 28, 2016

    Nothing inspires the community more than watching two of it's finest thought leaders bickering over a tweet. You're both better than this. We all are.

  3. Anonymous October 28, 2016

    I for one am with you, Ego.

  4. James Campbell October 31, 2016

    Good to see the characters are still living up to the reader's expectation. Spot-on affront. Spot-on response. I can't wait to see what happens in the next chapter.

  5. peter October 31, 2016

    I appreciate that The Egotist is about the only timely source for the local industry updates. Otherwise, I'd have to wait until the Addys to see what other shops did this year. I like knowing what's happening around town. But the value of that service is undermined by the anonymous snark that infects the posts. We all do this for a living. In fact, most of us have probably been at it longer than you, person behind the curtain. We can look at terrible work and deduce its terribleness on our own, thank you very much. We can also look at great work and find the one thing wrong with it that makes us feel better about not thinking of it first—without your help. We're a cynical lot. Too cynical. We should be nicer. When an unnamed junior copywriter, or whoever you are, dubs him- or herself the shrouded voice of the local industry and shits on work, no matter how good or bad it may actually be, it's going to ruffle feathers. While I may have no allegiances to an agency across town, I get a little defensive when you throw their work up for all to see and dub it too purple or wordy or baroque or whatever. Even if I think it's too purple, wordy AND baroque (full disclosure: I'm not really sure what "baroque" means), I'm just going to come away from reading The Egotist thinking the person behind it is coward and kind of a dick. We all critique each other's work behind closed doors. That's not cool. But critiquing work publicly from behind closed doors is different level of uncool. It's shitty. And seeking out bad work just so you can take pot shots is super shitty. Joe only responded in kind. With his name attached. P.S. While we're airing grievances: Lens flares do not equal good work. (I have nothing in particular against lens flares.) Pro tip for anyone dying to get a mention on The Egotist: open that aperture and shoot straight at the sun. The headline can say "Lorem Ipsum", and The Egotist will still cream itself. P.P..S. The poor folks who organized the St. Louis cake thing weren't even in the industry. They wanted to do something fun. Some of the cakes weren't up to CA standards (I actually agree that a lot of them were eyesores), but people loved those things. You'd have been hard pressed to find a cake unadorned by someone getting their picture taken. People with great intentions executed it as well as they possibly could. And it was a success inspite of your foot-stomping. Not a fair target. P.P.P.S. My name is Peter Rodick. What's yours?

  6. 1313trouble October 31, 2016

    I think our industry needs to talk about the shitty work sometimes. There's too much congratulatory back slapping. Just because we all kinda sorta do the same thing for a living doesn't mean we can't think some of the work is crap. I'm sure there are plenty of people who think much of what I do/have done is crap. No skin off my teeth. I would say as long as it's not a personal attack on someone. Or one can point out why they didn't like something as opposed to just a blanket, "it sucks." it can be fine. There's been plenty that has won addys or other awards that I don't like. And if one wants to stay anonymous, fine. If one wants to put their name out there, fine. To each their own.

  7. Dave October 31, 2016

    I agree with Peter. And Joe. You're response is a joke. Your writing is juvenile. The site does little if anything to bolster the local ad community. You knock work that people work their ass off to create. You post random garbage that has nothing to do with the community or the industry. Your greatest impact has been regular postings about keggers. Grow up. Get lost.

  8. James Campbell October 31, 2016

    Delicious irony. Happy Halloween, all.

  9. Scott Gericke November 1, 2016

    Certainly realize the snarks behind the shroud come with the territory. As much as I appreciate all the efforts the previous snarks have put in since this blog was launched, maybe its time for new snarks. Or a different, more constructive approach to the snarking so at least we know you did your homework. Plus, don't you want to be in a place where you feel appreciated? PS. I admit I probably would snark more if I was anonymous, too.

  10. The St. Louis Egotist November 1, 2016

    Appreciate some of the perspectives here although admit that we're a bit confused, Scott. Snark levels (aside from the Cakes piece) are at an all time low; you'd be hard-pressed to find us heavily criticizing something in the past year or two.

  11. Mark Philip November 1, 2016

    I miss you guys.

  12. Nathan Kneezel November 2, 2016

    There’s a blurb on theegotistnetwork.com—this site's parent site urges the ambitious to start their own civic Egotist sites as a means of supplemental income—under the icon with one genderless pictogram representing loneliness and two genderless pictograms representing community that states, “Create Community: Because of their convenience and 24/7 accessibility, online communities have replaced the creative-club get-togethers of old. This is where people come together.” To me, that’s the deeper problem. That this can possibly be seen as a replacement for real, live community. That we've permitted ourselves to leave behind the bars and baristas and migrate to the land where avatars have replaced humanity. A place where, even if we use our real names, at least we don’t have to say it to anyone’s face. This faux-community leads to responses that are often both visceral and vitriolic, and don’t reflect the way most of us would critique and banter in real life, even with a trusty Bud at our side. But we all already know that. The part of The Egotist Network's sell-point that really resonated with/cut through the clutter for me was the part where it mentions the “creative-club get-togethers of old.” I yearn (do you ever yearn, Jerry?) for those mysterious and magical clubs that I’ve only heard about secondhand from ad guys in their mid-sixties at conferences and in classrooms in cities far away. The way I've heard it, or at least the way I remember hearing it, creative folks used to get together with other creative folks from other shops (!) on a weekly basis to talk about the wild hairs they’d had that day. Ideas that had nothing to do with clients or a lot to do with clients. These creative clubs were a welcoming incubator for ideas like BMW Films and the Pet Rock—the latter of which would doubtless be mercilessly panned within an online forum like this one to the point that the inventors might’ve been too discouraged to see their crazy, crazy-lucrative idea through to completion. These creative clubs helped create creative hubs. In places like Minneapolis and Richmond. In years like 1986 and 1998. I’m sure there was whining. It’s cathartic and necessary. But I’m also convinced these gatherings of creative greats weren’t overwhelmingly negative. These little groups of ad people (I imagine the dwarves in the Hobbit, but maybe that’s just because I’m short) came with camaraderie, they teemed with teamwork, they collided in collaboration. Did they leave us because they were analog, and we only do online community now? I hope not. It's fine to have an online forum, or a couple. But I want my creative clubs back. The ones I never got to experience in the first place. As Liz Lemon would say, “I want to go to there.”

  13. Brad Gutting January 14, 2017

    About three months too late, but just saw this on the Top 2016 posts so figured it might be getting some traction still. I guess the first question I'd ask is, what's the point of seeking out bad work to criticize publicly and anonymously? Not saying don't do it or that it's pointless, just asking what the intended outcome is. These days, there's a ton of anonymous criticism of the hard work of others. Look at the customer reviews on Amazon, Yelp, Netflix, etc. Lots of irate 1-star reviews, many under arcane usernames, most written with cathartic or vengeful intentions. Some are even funny, the the point that reading these things can be its own bizarre entertainment. If the intended outcome of this site is to improve the creative output of local agencies, that's arguably happened, though I don't think anyone could rightly doubt the desire amongst St. Louis creatives to do great work. And I'm not sure that savaging particularly bad work had an effect one way or the other. Either way, there's a ton of great work coming from St. Louis. Critical discourse is necessary for that to continue happening. There's also the matter of what "good" is. Awards and industry recognition are fine, but that's all really insular. Many creative types don't even seek agency employment anymore, which is a shame because agencies are phenomenal places to learn--numerous former agency people have gone to software dev firms like Asynchrony, or joined Scottrade or Enterprise, and some joined large tech companies in other parts of the country. Those companies are not inherently better than an agency, of course. They're just different (and probably more stable!), they likely provide more well-defined career paths, and while the work may not be as "cool," it's also free from arbitrary, subjective judgment. And it's the lack of subjective judgment that winds up being pretty damn appealing. Earlier today I sat with the internal ad group that's developing the promotional pieces for a new software product I'm working on. They showed their automated layout systems, their near-scientific approach to image & graphic choices, and then backed it all up with copious data. These guys were smart, polished, and amazingly purposeful and utilitarian about the creative work they'd do. What they'll create likely won't win awards, but if it gets us a lot of traffic and conversions, that will lead to more funding, more product extensions, and more revenue. That ain't bad.