Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

October 30, 2007

How to Read an Advertising Agency Blog

AdFreak (a really good Blog on advertising) has a funny post noting how badly ad agencies handle their Blogs. Only a few actually blog at all and even the ones who do put up content which is only updated once a month or so and is entirely vacuous. In the spirit of AdFreak's cynical take on advertising, here's a quick translation of the mild rantings of Bob Scarpelli, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer of DDB (formerly Doyle Dayne Bernbach, now part of a giant, soulless ad agency holding company):

BLOG ENTRY FOR OCTOBER 9, 2007 (Gee, that was weeks ago)

ENTRY: Great to see the activity and people's different perspectives.

TRANSLATION: Thank God there's more than one comment on this stupid thing. They were really starting to laugh downstairs.

ENTRY: I agree that part of our job is to tell interesting stories that are inspiring, moving and uplifting.

TRANSLATION: 99 percent of our job is to move product. The remaining 1 percent is devoted to making extremely drunk people laugh at our stupid spots.

ENTRY: At the same time, we are in the business of educating and convincing, so it is true we are problem-solvers.

TRANSLATION: We use fear and sex to move truckloads of toothpaste into your mouths. The only problem we really solve is justifying our fat salaries to clients who would have moved more toothpaste if it wasn't so expensive because of our fat salaries.

ENTRY: Objective, identifiable results in our business and craft are undeniably important with process and measurement being a big part of the debate these days.

TRANSLATION: We have no idea whether our ads are effective or not, and it really bothers us that people are bothering us about this.

ENTRY: I wanted to turn our discussion to the thorny topic of measurement.

TRANSLATION: I want to distract you from seeing how bad this experiment is turning out.

ENTRY: In a business sense, how can we measure creativity?

TRANSLATION: The only way to measure creativity is by how much we pay our creative director.

ENTRY: What are some of the metrics and measures you think are fair to use in the assessment of creative product?

TRANSLATION: Which fuzzy numbers are most likely to protect us from angry clients?

Labels: , , A Decaying Bone in the Craw of the Internet, a Decaying Bone in the Craw of the Internet, Shows Advanced DecayMirsky (and I never really learned his first name: sometimes it was Phillip, sometimes it was David, most of the time it was omitted) was one of those Ivy League-educated Kerouacian madmen who "burn, burn like fabulous roman candles" extinguishing themselves long before we even have an inkling that they exist. In Mirsky's case, bright-white fame came from the launch of his infamous "Mirsky's Worst Of The Web," in January of 1995, long before negativity became an authentic and bankable meme on the World Wide Web. But a deluge of hate mail caused him to stop producing WOTW by late 1996, passing the negativity baton to others (including this site).

Mirsky drifted for a few months, and even hooked up with the hapless crew for several months, producing strange, often-misunderstood ideas for commercial websites before he drifted back into self-styled obscurity. In November of 1999, his site announced what millions had waited for: a comeback in the form of a new site, featuring a line of completely blank T-shirts.

We all held our breath, and are still holding it, for eight years later, Mirsky's main site ( and, which featured a haunting audio track entitled "Lament for Maiden in Mirsk t" (Irish Folk Song Traditional) are, in Ghost Sites parlance, "dead, showing advanced decay. Mirsky, like other Forgotten Web Celebrities, has quietly turned his back on the Web's clamorous multitudes, and I imagine him drifting somewhere in the West, lost in the purple shadows, drawing his cartoons in the shifting sands.

He could have been rich, he could have been a kingmaker, he could have been Cyber-Seinfeld, but he chose, for reasons that he would never share, to simply be alone, a strength that the rest of us will never know.

Wikipedia has a good page on Mirsky at:'s_Worst_of_the_Web. Thanks to Bill Lessard, of, for pointing out the rubble of Mirsky's legendary electrons.

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