A copywriter decodes agency rituals and jargon for newbies

This is Side Hustle, a Digiday series that highlights fun, innovative, charitable or otherwise noteworthy passion projects of agency creatives, outside of the workplace.

If you work at an agency, chances are you hear the terms “disruptive,” “content” and “surprise and delight” a lot. But these jargony buzzwords can often leave a newcomer feeling like a deer in headlights.

That was Sam Bartos’s experience, anyway. A copywriter at MRY in New York, Bartos has been working in the agency business for a little over a year. There was a steep learning curve. So he decided to do some public service by helping his fellow agency rookies with a blog that addresses the most mundane facts of agency life with a dash of cheeky skepticism.

Called “Junior,” Bartos’s blog is a platform for him “to make fun of a life spent working in advertising.” It’s about the lessons he’s learned, the jargon he’s had to decode and a place for him to poke some fun at agency world rituals.

“I wanted to highlight all the patterns, rituals and things that we sort of become desensitized to in the agency business over time, and reveal the humorous side of what we take to be the accepted truths,” he told Digiday. “It’s insider baseball kind of humor, just a fun way to come to terms with the norms of the industry.”

Launched this week, Bartos’s blog features an “Ad Agency Bingo,” his take on the game with all the possible terms you would encounter over the course of a day. Print it out and circle a box whenever you come across one of the following.


There’s also an “Ad Agency Horoscope” that predicts your future depending upon your role in an agency. So if you’re a project manager, you should brace yourself to be blamed for titanic failures that you are in no way responsible for. And if you’re an account executive, skipping meetings is both your biggest strength and your biggest weakness.


And if you want to make some extra cash to supplement your sorry agency salary or save some money, Bartos suggests subsisting solely on agency food (something he himself once attempted — and failed — to do) and opting out of health insurance.



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