This skit by the British comedy team David Mitchell and Robert Webb from Channel 4’s “That Mitchell and Webb Look” sketch show kinda feels like the circular discussions that many of us sometimes have with clients, creative directors and team leaders. OK, not quite like that, but kinda like this. OK, the talk isn’t about fictional heroes, sex or killer sharks, but swap out the sex and killer sharks with marketing lingo and brand positioning and it’s almost identical. Well, not identical, but close. The free-association constructive criticism has the same baffling effect. Maybe not, but you know what I mean. If you don’t feel like that, just ignore this and enjoy the video for what it is. Or not.
Today would have been the legendary Saul Bass’s 93rd birthday and Google Doodle has paid tribute to him on its homepage by piecing together some of his signature film title sequences – “Vertigo,” “The Man with the Golden Arm,” “Psycho,” “Anatomy of a Murder,” “West Side Story,” among others.
This brought to mind my brief encounter with Saul. About two years before he died, I was assigned to interview him for an article on film title sequences. In his late 70s then, Saul had downsized his Sunset Boulevard studio maintaining what he called “a repertory group,” a small core staff with additional expertise brought in on an as needed basis. At the time, he was doing a title sequence for his friend “Marty’s”(Scorsese) film, and explained that at this stage in his career, he only wanted to work with “nice people who respect and like us and who we respect and admire…I don’t want to deal with clients who think we’re just doing a job for them. With rare exception, all our clients think we are wonderful and we think they are wonderful.” From a career standpoint, that seemed to me like the ultimate luxury.
Ireland’s creative community came up with an interesting way to let off steam and help a local charity at the same time. They invited their colleagues to design posters featuring some of the crazy comments and requests their clients have made over the years. Organized by Dublin-based agency, Mark & Paddy, the Sharp Suits project drew the enthusiastic participation of art directors, designers, illustrators and other ad agency types. The “Creative Catharsis” posters were exhibited at The Little Green Café, Bar and Gallery in Dublin and sold for 10 euros a piece, with proceeds benefitting the Temple Street Children’s Hospital of Dublin. We suspect that the project equally benefitted the artists who alleviated their stress by gleefully quoting their clients, and an appreciative audience that identified and empathized with the subject matter, taking heart in the fact that they weren’t the only ones who had to endure such “helpful” critiques of their creative effort.