From what I gather, Alex Bogusky’s been getting out of advertising for a while..first the diet books, then the Dilbert-worthy move to “Chief Disruption Officer” at holding company MDC, and now peacing out for good.
What causes one of the best-known and most successful creative directors of the last 10 years to hang it up at the age of 47?
Is it boredom? After you’ve collected your 20th Gold Pencil and enough Lions to devour Siegfried & Roy, does the job of creative director seem pointless? What happened to the “My best work is ahead of me” mindset?
Lots of creative directors go onto 2nd lives that are more lucrative and maybe more fulfilling than their first ones. Look at Jim Patterson or Andy Spade or (heaven forbid) Donny Deutsch. But these guys never kicked ass creatively to the degree that Bogusky did, so it’s easy to imagine their needing to scratch the itch a different way.
Then there’s the whole sub-category of advertising copywriters who made the switch to commercially successful writers–Peter Mayle, Augusten Burroughs, Robert Goolrick. I don’t know about Mayle, but the last two worked for me at different times, and though very different people, have in common a healthy disdain for advertising, copywriting, and everything and everyone associated with the occupation.
They’re all gone, out of the business. Part of me thinks I should at least be curious about joining them.
But I’m not.
I want to keep doing this while I still have my wits about me. I like making ads. I like learning new ways to make ads. I like working with artisans–photographers, directors, editors, musicians–to make ads real. I get a ridiculous child-like thrill seeing my work, or the work of people I manage, go out into the world.
You’ll get my keyboard when you pry it from my stiff cold fingers.
It's not only copywriting. Many of the really good other people leave when ca. 45. It must be something about the business itself: selfish, trivial constricting? Don't know but it isn't new. Had an article about this in Ad Age sometime in the mid seventies (when my corpuscles were runing more freely.)
N.B. Maybe Bogusky is leaving a message for you?