NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Technology has changed advertising forever because campaigns can now be launched faster and bigger. Unfortunately, the rise of the machines is causing the message to be lost, said Steve Penchina, CEO of Penchina Creative.
"What has happened in today's world is that the computer has veered us off course," said Penchina. "We are now involved more in the execution of something than the idea of something. Just sit at home one night and watch these car commercials and they all look alike. You don't know what it is until the end of the commercial."
Penchina created award-winning advertising for clients ranging from Canon to Newsweek to Citibank, winning won more the 400 awards, including 19 Clios. He has also been honored in Advertising Age/The New York Times "Best Commercials Ever Made" and "Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials of All Time." His Xerox "Monk - It's a miracle!" campaign is in the Clio Hall of Fame.
Penchina recounts his wild ride on Madison Avenue during the Creative Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s in his new book, Who Wrote This Sh*t?
"When I started out it was very different from Mad Men like you see on TV. The whole focus was on the creative product and execution. What is the idea is about? Or as they said in an old commercial from my era, 'Where's the Beef?'" said Pencina. "We were focused on conceptual advertising, or advertising with an idea. Not just execution."
The key to mounting a campaign, according to Penchina, is making sure you have the entire strategy set out, not simply a tag line in place.
"A strategy is like a blueprint telling what this thing is all about. Figuring out the story you need to convey. Once you have that down and you adhere to that, you don't veer off that," said Penchina. "Once you have that strategy down then you can sit back and say 'How can I make that funny? How can I make that interesting'."
But not funny for the sake of funny, because consumers are indeed smart.
"It should not be pulling something out of thin air simply to make something funny. It should come out of the product and what the product does," said Penchina.
As for keeping a client when a campaign misses, Penchina says he does not drown his sorrows in alcohol like the fictional Don Draper.
"When I miss, I cry a lot. However, the client doesn't. The client is upset. They are putting a lot of money, not just in the creative execution but in the millions upon millions of dollars in the media."