Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Seeing Ghosts

Today on the Times Square Shuttle my subway car was given over to the latest round of Continental Airlines ads--the "Work Hard. Fly Right." campaign that's run since 1998.

I was the creative director on this campaign at Ayer. Not the writer--Jack Cardone wrote the line. Not the art director--Mike Grieco developed the blue field/gold globe/white type look.
And they run the business creatively to this day, now at Kaplan Thaler.

I did what creative directors on big brands do: picked the winner out of the line-up, got everyone saluting internally, sold it to the client, sold it to the client's resentful international agency roster and fought off the forces of re-think during the campaign's infancy.

Seeing the work in the subway--hell, getting on a Continental flight and looking at the cocktail napkin--is an odd experience. I see the whole back-story: the brief, the tissues up on the wall, Gordon Bethune, then-CEO of Continental, laughing and cussing. I feel an intimate connection to this work. But it's a ghostly connection. These ads live on, but in a different plane of existence than mine.

All creatives who have contributed to long-lasting campaigns have had this feeling--like they're Alec Baldwin and Gina Davis walking around their house in Beetlejuice. It's both gratifying and creepy when work lives on after you have moved on.

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