Jeff Goodby inaugurates the Pompous Society

Ad legend Jeff Goodby

Finally.  At last.  What had seemed an interminable wait is over.  The long talked about — but slow to materialize — speakers series promised by the Chicago chapter of the American Association of Advertising Agencies is about to start.

But more importantly — much more — it is going to start with a  real blast of festive creativity.  The organizers of this series — obviously working their derrieres off — have actually delivered.  Yes, all you Chicago advertising creative types (and other professionals in the biz too!), welcome to what has been humbly dubbed the Pompous Society.

Yes, you read that right.  The Pompous Society. What a deliciously wicked way, wouldn’t you say, to instantly deflate all the pretensions that so often make the advertising business something of a joke to many observers.

Just to make certain that everyone understands this new organization and speakers series is all about dispensing with the airs and egocentric behavior attached to the ad industry, the organizers of the Pompous Society have come up with a very sassy motto  — “Oscula Nostra Asinorum.”  That motto is prominently displayed at the organization’s new website.

There is some uncertainly among the Pompous Society’s founders about whether the Latin in the motto is correctly rendered.  But there can be no doubt about the motto’s intended English translation:  “Kiss Our Ass.”

Ad legend Jeff Goodby special guest speaker

The Pompous Society formally kicks off Wednesday with a major social event:  A special appearance and talk by ad world legend Jeff Goodby — cofounder and creative leader at Goodby Silverstein & Partners/San Francisco, an ad shop generally considered one of the finest in the United States.

Goodby will deliver his sermon during the first gathering of the Pompous Society from 6 to 9 p.m. at Untitled, a retro supper club/speakeasy at 111 W. Kinzie St. in River North.  We can’t emphasize enough that attendees should get to the party early.  Very early.

For the Pompous Society founders have added an extra special twist to this kickoff gathering.  The first 50 ad people to show up at Untitled will be handed a black box containing some very special initiation materials that are probably destined to become valuable collectors’ items.

We have seen the contents of the initiation box, but we were asked not to reveal what is inside.  We can say with certainty, though, that it is a fun, yet thoroughly classy added touch to promote the Pompous Society’s launch.

Efforts to build a true ad community

We were told that a small group of local ad folk did most of the heavy lifting to bring the Pompous Society into being.  They are:  Vinny Warren of the Escape Pod; David Stevenson of Two by Four; Paul Brourman of Sponge, and Tom O’Keefe of DraftFCB.

The reason for all of this, as we had been advised on many occasions, is ultimately to foster a sense of community within the Chicago ad industry. We know that word “community” has been bandied about a lot over the past several years. But most who work in the Chicago ad industry also know that previous efforts to achieve that goal of community, however well-intentioned, have simply not produced the desired results.

Vinny Warren is one of many who grew increasingly frustrated.  And his involvement in the debut of the Pompous Society is his way of trying, finally, to make that sense of community a reality.  “I have lived and worked in the Chicago creative community for over 15 years now,” noted Warren in a blog posting.  “And one thing that has always annoyed me about it (is) the lack of community among the creatives here,” added Warren.

So here comes the Pompous Society.  Which may be the last and best hope for a Chicago advertising community to finally materialize and thrive.

But Warren and all his cofounders mustn’t let their resolve weaken now that they are about to give the Pompous Society a grand kickoff.  There will, of course, need to be more creatively-conceived events and an impressive series of speakers to keep interest in the Society at fever pitch.

It won’t be easy. But there is so much to be gained.

Contact Lewis Lazare at