With many of Chicago’s ad agencies owned by foreign conglomerates, like car dealerships selling foreign brands, even the old “Made in America” is gone from so many products nowadays.
The effrontery to think that anyone in Paris, Canada or London care about us as ad entities is foolhardy.
We are thought of as far-flung income streams for their own expansion. Shortly, as they move into China and India, our importance will diminish and, hopefully, we will be outsourced to those countries to show them how Chicagoans do advertising.
Each agency uses the bold strokes of a dead founder to push its heritage; yet the city suffers from its global victimization because the perception here is: if we’re here we can’t be good.
Our Midwestern location dooms us from the get-go. Without Oprah we would have no global brand except for Al Capone — and Chicago politics which still conforms to his thuggery mode.
Our skyline redeems us but it’s not tall enough to overcome our shortcoming as a dead media center.
Radio and TV here emulate other cities before looking local for ideas. We don’t even have our own “teen neurotic” to get us on the YouTube rotation.
And yet we strive to become known, then, leave for other horizons, where we are deemed geniuses. Like Tracy Letts, David Mamet, John Hughes, (still remains local), William Peterson, Bill Macy, Tina Fey, John Malkovich and others on the cusp.
That is Chicago’s fate, a city no longer on the make.
Vince Kamin is a Chicago artists and photographers rep and a keen observer of the Chicago ad scene.