Has advertising recently started to have a more prominent place in pop culture, or did I just start paying more attention now that I’m a proud member of the ad industry? First AMC brought us Mad Men, a drama set in a 1960’s New York Madison Avenue ad agency. The show quickly became a sensation among those in the industry and those who aren’t, and it’s already brought home more awards then some series receive in their entire run. I have coworkers who love the show and haven’t missed an episode. But I have to admit, I have never watched it (for no good reason).
Then came Trust Me, the new show on TNT centered around life in a Chicago ad shop. Since I work as a copywriter in a Chicago agency, I couldn’t wait for the first episode. And because the show was created by Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny—agency veterans with a combined 20 years of experience in the advertising world—I had high hopes of it offering a realistic look into the Chicago agency world…something I could really relate to and appreciate. I wanted to love it…I really did. But after three episodes, I just can’t.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m glad that this sudden interest in the world of advertising has allowed people outside of the advertising world to at least “sort of ” understand what I do for a living. Before, the typical conversation at a party would go something like this:
Random Person: So what do you do again?
Me: I’m a copywriter.
Random Person: Oh cool. I’ve always wanted to know the difference between a copyright and a patent. Can you explain it to me?
Now it’s more like this:
Random Person: Remind me again what you do?
Me: I’m a copywriter.
Random Person: Ohhhh like Sarah, that bitchy, somewhat abrasive writer in Trust Me?
The main problem I have with the show is that it makes the world of advertising look much sexier than it really is (and maybe part of it is that I can’t look at Eric McCormack without thinking of his character in Will & Grace). People show up to work hours late because they’re busy hooking up with someone they brought home from the bar last night. Creatives have crazy quirks that make them constantly butt heads with each other (OK, this might be a little realistic). And the junior creative team slacks off all day, comes up with lame concepts but manages to keep their jobs. Maybe it’s like this in other agencies, but certainly not mine. Now don’t get me wrong. I love being a copywriter and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I just don’t feel like the day-to-day happenings of the agency are quite as dramatic. And I don’t see how this show can go on past a few episodes.
Maybe that’s how doctors feel about ER and Grey’s Anatomy and how lawyers feel about Law and Order. I’ll probably continue to watch a few episodes…just to see where it goes. Who knows…maybe it’ll get better. In the meantime, I guess I can thank the creators of Trust Me for convincing the general public that I have a “cool job.”