The Big Book of Rants – Rich Siegel

(Reviewed by Don Jung)

Why is author Rich Siegel ranting? He relates his love/hate relationship with his life-long career in the advertising industry.

This work of fiction based on real-life experience gives us an insider’s view of the industry. As a seasoned veteran of many advertising campaigns, he describes the turmoil he is seeing as the days of the “Mad Men” mentality give way to today’s corporate conglomerates where quick sales and shallow marketing techniques replace artistry and talent. That is, greed rules all.

At age forty-four, he realizes that his glory days may have passed as he tries to change from creating funny print ads for magazines to doing “YouTube” and “Facebook” videos that can sell a client’s product.

There are plenty of hilarious stories as he goes from being an employee of a “creative” ad agency to the ordeals of being a freelancer who gets paid a daily rate. His job is to make the ad wittier and more sellable than what the ad agency employees have done. And some of his ideas make the cut, where others fall flat as the agency tells him “we like humor, but we’re not looking for laughs.”

He describes work that he thinks is great only to get turned down by an incompetent executive who doesn’t know the client and will soon be fired for not coming up with any new ideas. There are chapters that show how he copes with moving from one company to another like a merry- go-round. Whether it’s a big company or a small creative boutique shop, he has to learn to fit in and work with a group of strangers.

Siegel has a wacky sense of humor that makes you wonder If he loves what he is doing or he just wants to complain; I mean rant and rant about his life. Has this industry just changed too much for a middle aged guy?

The Big Book of Rants makes for an interesting read, especially if you do not know how the advertising Industry works. However, while reading this I kept thinking how this could apply to so many other professions that have and continue to change. Yes, I think that many of us will be able to relate to this.

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