August 5th, 2002


Let Me Briefly Talk About Cars.

For the past week or so, virtually all of my creative energy has been focused on Lexus advertising, with a small portion set aside for writing poems about butterflies … and this one time Thursday, when I was trying imagine what life would be like if I was Ewan MacGregor, but with a Portuguese accent.

Our first round presentation of concepts went over pretty well with the boss on Friday, but I think she was being nice. I didn’t feel I had my best stuff out there due to the fact that my brain has been one uninspired, flabby muthafugga lately.

Part of me blames the new branding approach our client wants us to take. Can’t tell you what it is, but it’s been done to death by every company on the face of the Earth. I guarantee you there’s a yurt company in Mongolia that’s probably done the same kind of ads.

But there’s another part of me that wonders if I’m getting a little tired of all this car advertising crap. I started out in the biz doing Honda ads for almost three years. And now here I am doing Lexus ads. The problem is, in LA, you’re either doing car ads … or you’re doing car ads.

Car advertising is pretty darn lucrative – on account of you people choosing them over horses as the preferred mode of transportation. And as long as I stay in LA, and in advertising, that’s probably what I’ll be doing ‘til I retire and open that cockfighting theme restaurant in Bali.

But here’s the thing: I’m not a car guy. I don’t know how I ended up being born and raised in LA, because I was genetically programmed to live in a city with good public transportation. I walk really fast, and I don’t enjoy driving. New York would be perfect for me, except for the shirt-clinging humidity and the fact that you New Yawkers don’t know how to make a decent burger.

I thought about my distaste for driving last year when I was car shopping. Perhaps it had something to do with my philosophy regarding automobiles. For most of my existence, I thought their sole purpose was to get me from point A to B without exploding in a ball of flames. My choice in cars reflected this. They were reliable, efficient, and blander than Michelle Kwan. In a city where you’re often judged by the set of wheels you’re on, I wonder how I ever got laid. Could’ve been the fake Ferrari stickers I put on the hood and trunk.

Maybe if I got a car that was more fun to drive, I thought, I’d learn to appreciate them more. That’s when I caved and got the A-hole Mobile. The tank requires pricier gas; the thin 17" wheels always appear to be flat, and the car wash guys and valets expect a bigger tip. For a man who prides himself on avoiding high-maintenance relationships, I can’t believe the one person who’d finally sucker me into one was, well, me.

And while driving the A-hole Mobile is admittedly more enjoyable than driving Boring Bastard Mobile, I still don’t love cars. I probably never will. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends. (And for all you people out there who love your cars, God frowns on that kind of love.)

Now back to thinking up more car ads.