Even if you aren’t in advertising, there’s a good chance you’ve read something by industry vet and critic Bob Garfield, the longtime AdReview critic for AdAge. While we’re certainly not alone in our regular disagreements with his opinions (we still grimace when we think about how much he liked those awful, pandering Dove “Evolution” ads — fortunately, he redeemed himself by hating on their follow-up), we’ll be sad to see him go. Garfield has announced in this look-back piece that he’s hanging up his hat at AdAge after twenty-five years in his current position. It’s an interesting jaunt back, seeing the whole span of his job there, along with remembering the 80s and 90s spots he mentions either loving or hating. The magazine has also put together this industry response to Garfield’s leaving, from a number of the high-profile ad execs and directors whose work he panned. Here’s a bit from his own piece, about a perception many readers have had of him:
…one of the myths surrounding AdReview over the years is that I don’t like anything, I dump on everything, I have not a kind word to say about anything. Recently, for instance, some online commenter named Pete wrote, “Bob Garfield is an idiot. He’s a glass-half-empty douche-bag.” Not true. If anything, I am a glass-half-full douche-bag. Over the years, the average AdReview star rating has been approximately 2.6 stars on a scale of zero to four — which falls somewhere between “mediocre” and “good.” Surely a random sample of 1,200 ads from this time period would not generate anywhere near that high an average. This reflects my endless quest to honor great work with the praise and recognition it deserves. Not easy. In fact, far from stacking the deck in an un-Walter Kerr way to be meanly funny, I’ve stacked the deck so as not to inflict, week after week, a merciless drubbing.
Fortunately, it sounds like he plans to continue on through his other outlet, as host of NPR‘s On the Media, which has always been our more pleasurable method of Garfield intake.