83 Excuses for not winning Gold at the Art Directors Club Show

  • 1921: Prohibition hits. No alcohol, no ideas, Sorry.
  • 1922: Illustration showed too much ankle. Judges were scandalized.
  • 1923 'Dr. Pink's Magical Hair-Restoring Liniment' failed FDA testing. Ad was sacked.
  • 1924: Never got to work on that lucrative' horseless carriage' account.
  • 1925: Apparently, the world isn't ready for sans serif type.
  • 1926: The judge I bried fell victim to Black Lung.
  • (coal workers' pneumoconiosis and silicosis)
  • 1927: He cheated! He used colour!
  • 1928: Can't find a way to make corsets seem cool to the youth market.
  • 1929: That idea was so 1926.
  • 1930: I' to turned on by Betty Boop to think. (see Betty Boop , 50s cartoon character)
  • 1931: My Burma Shave copy was in iambic pentameter. (see Fifties Web , the first billboards were words of wisdom endorsed by a product)
  • 1932: Our feminine hygiene product ad couldn't mention what the product was used for.
  • 1933: I'm really a talking picture writer, not an ad writer.
  • 1934: It's the Depression. Couldn't afford the stamp.
  • 1935: Brassai kept ignoring my telegrams, had to go with the backup photographer. (see Masters of Photography)
  • 1936: No money for bread so I ate the entry form.
  • 1937: If only I possessed the cutting edge social commentary of Norman Rockwell. (see Norman Rockwell, American artist, when you picture a 50s American ad, he was the look that was copied)
  • 1938: As if this 'television' invention will ever take off.
  • 1939: Had this great idea to ship my submission via the Hindenburg. (see Navy Lakehurst Historical Society , airship that crashed, why airplanes are popular)
  • 1940: Client didn't appreciate my abstract expressionist take on his pickle jar.
  • 1941: Attempt to emulate Anäis Nin in cough remedy copy didn't go over well with the client. (see, female erotica writers were scarce back then)
  • 1942: How was I supposed to do a great TV spot for 250 bucks? I need at least 300!
  • 1943: Had to melt down my pens for the war effort.
  • 1944: Arm shot off in the Pacific Rim. Drawing skills somewhat diminished.
  • 1945: Fellas, give me a break, I'm too busy single-handedly creating the baby boom.
  • 1946: Illustrations for new invention, 'the bikini', keep disappearing off my drawing table.
  • 1947: We alienated our adult demographic by hiring the troubled rebel, Perry Como. (much loved singer that did a Christmas Special programme for an insane number of years, died 2001)
  • 1948: Too-tight fedora cut circulation to brain. (see Hats Plus Ltd, hat with crink in the centre as per Indiana Jones)
  • 1949: I'm baffled. The client's wife loved our work.
  • 1950: The judges are a bunch of commie pinkos. (see Wordsmith & Sons, 'pinkos' was used interchangeably with 'commie', derogatory, slang, like 'faggot' for a gay man, only the like-minded would know what it meant, also commies would know that they were being referred to if they responded to 'pinko')
  • 1951: Those squares just weren't hip to my sketches, Daddy-O.
  • 1952: 'I Like Ike'. (see Teaching Politics for a glimpse of the campaign) Who could compete with that?
  • 1953: I wanted to shoot in Super Cinerama, but noooo, we had to go with Metroscope. (see Reel Classics, there were many attempts at 'scope', all obscure)
  • 1954: Cigarettes cause cancer? There goes my 'Tar-rrific!' campaign.
  • 1955: That Saul Bass kid got lucky, that's all. (see Saul Bass, graphic design genius)
  • 1956: TV remote control invented. No one saw my commercial.
  • 1957: Lost my Pentax somewhere in the 196 cubic foot trunk of my Chevrolet.
  • 1958: My 3-D Smell-O-Vision ad was just too ahead of its time. (see Retrofuture, was considered in the 50s for for theaters, like Dolby Sound, only nasal)
  • 1959: One word: Edsel. (see Edsel, type of car, the 50s cars look the same so here is a spotters guide, people are still buying and selling them)
  • 1960: Tried that hot new font, Helvetica. Sadly, so did everyone else. (see MS Studio, witty article about the history of the look-alike fonts)
  • 1961: Those VW beetle ads may win awards. But I bet they won't sell. (see The Advertising Archives!!!!!!! Advertising Archives, bottom left, the most boring ad sells?)
  • 1962: Wearing beret and listening to Beat Poetry didn't stimulate creativity as hoped. (see Rooknet Project, the Beat generation were sick of the old ways, rebels without causes)
  • 1963: 'A Nice Day for a Drive in Dallas' car jingle nixed for obvious reasons. (JFK, president US, assassinated in Dallas)
  • 1964: My beehive got infested by actual bees. (see Pinups of the 50s, beware over 18s only, this is a pinup girl from the 50s)
  • 1965: Had to burn layouts for heat during New York blackout. (see BBC News, there were two blackouts in New York, 1965 and 1977, here compared in terms of the psychology of the New Yorkians)
  • 1966: My killer radio spots weren't submitted in the required 8-track format. (see Arizona Central @ Night, a fascinating lookback at why 8-track died and was revived because of e-bay, and Time Warp Toys for awful digital picture but iconic)
  • 1967: Partner insisted on ending all his headlines with "Peace, brother."
  • 1968: 'I Dreamt I Burned My Maidenform Bra" slogan didn't sit well with client.(see Ploughshares, there was an "I dreamed... (Maidenform Bra)" ad campaign 1949-1969 here is the poetry, and here is the campaign History Wired, they are still going with an image overhaul)
  • 1969: Ate the brown acid. (see Celtic Guitar Music, a kind of brownish orange LSD called 'Orange Sunshine' that gave bad trips distributed at the 1969 Woodstock Festival, and Lehigh University article by Paul DiSciascio - people had to go to special 'Acid Tents' to be looked after by good samaritans during their bad trips)
  • 1970: My Twiggy spread was accused of promoting heroin chic. Whatever that is. (see for yourself Margarete Payer & Alois Payer, and University of Bath's Personal Homepages)
  • 1971: Wanted to teach the world to sing. Someone beat me to it. (see Library of Congress' Coca Cola Advertising Homepage, used in a Coca Cola commercial as 'I'd like to buy the world a coke')
  • 1972: These leisure pants keep chafing me. (see Vintage Patterns Inc., can't be the style, must be the crimpelene (no ironing, drip dry, no overlocking necessary)
  • 1973: Cheese-in-a-Can illustration somehow failed to convey my personal artistic vision. (tastes so bad no one would take it on, found nothing)
  • 1974: Avedon never returned my call about shooting the Vienna Sausage spread. (see Richard Avedon, photographer of the human predicament)
  • 1975: Seeing Jaws 57 times was more important. (see Filmsite, and in Audubon Magazine Peter Benchley who wrote the book has his say (he's sorry))
  • 1976: My Letraset got stuck to my Naugahyde chair. (Please tell me you know what Letraset is? A kind of see through overhead transparency that transferred black lettering onto another surface by rubbing, when layout was done by hand. Naugahyde is that leathery stuff that looks like fake leather, the original is American made)
  • 1977: Damned feminists put the kibosh on my brilliant 'Hot Tomatoes' jingle. (see World Wide Words for where 'to put the kibosh' comes from, and The Hot Tomatoes are an (all-male) swing band, go listen DMA Music)
  • 1978: I went to photograph the Hefner mansion and never came out again. (see Faust and Shautee, it's so great that there is now a Playboy Mansion cd game, that's why they are so tight-fisted about what it looks like in detail)
  • 1979: Don't bug me, I'm busy airbrushing subliminal messages into my ice cube photos. (see ugliness at Pole Shift, but it has discussion and examples)
  • 1980: I'm not punny enough. (to pun, 'punny enough' has entered the lexicon)
  • 1981: My idea was better. But they had one of those fancy 16k super computers. (see Hibbett and Manuel, for a song with visuals from a 16k, wait for the blue bar)
  • 1982: Spent entry money trying to beat high score on Ms. Pac Man (see the Coin-op Museum, they have all you could want to know about the old games, good information architecture, she came after he)
  • 1983: Hey, I work in Minneapolis. Nothing good will ever come out of there. (HUH?)
  • 1984: Turned down a chance to work on Apple to work on the VIC-20 instead.
  • 1985: Rizing cost of quality cocaine forced me to cut back on my entries.
  • 1986: Sprained wrist while breakdancing.
  • 1987: Couldn't get Michael for the soundtrack, had to use Jermaine. (see Artist Direct, brother of Michael Jackson)
  • 1988: In retrospect, maybe Robert Mapplethorpe wasn't the best choice to shoot the banana.(see Masters of Photography, known for his pornographizing of everything)
  • 1989: My 'Where's the Beet?' campaign was considered too derivative. (see iFilm, Apple advert voted the best ever ad in US poll, The Joy of Tech has a tongue in cheek sarcastic response from 2005)
  • 1990: Too busy washing the Porshe, baby. (HUH?)
  • 1991: I was all hopped up on ecstasy.
  • 1992: Making crop circles is more time intensive than you think.
  • 1993: Deodorant people didn't have the budget to use 'Smells like Teen Spirit' (see Science Daily, all about the song, Kurt Cobain a suicidee)
  • 1994: Who knew using O.J. to sell Broncos would turn out so wrong.
  • 1995: Joe Pytka wasn't available to shoot my diaper commercial. (see Directors Guild of America, all about Pytka and his style)
  • 1996: Lost my copy of 'Ogilvy on Advertising' at Burning Man. (see this - Be A Design Group - before you buy - Amazon, the burning man is a giant environment installation annual art happening Burning Man)
  • 1997: My ad got downsized.
  • 1998: Cannot leave my Tamagotchi for more than five minutes or it will die. (see Celia Pearce and Friends to see how insane people became)
  • 1999: You mean the blue-green transfer isn't cool anymore? (see Victoria's Past)
  • 2000: The Y2K bug ate my pdf.
  • 2001: Ate some tainted beef. Brain don't think too good no more.
  • 2002. Our internet startup never really, uh, started up.
  • 2003: Shaved off my goatee, and suddenly I wasn't creative anymore.

From printed material soliciting nominations for the Art Directors Club Awards 2005, with American cultural expansions by me, Tanya Pretorius

{Tanya Pretorius' Bookmarks: Writing, Art Directors Club


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