False Advertising

Fair warning, this isn’t a post about food. About a meal I ate or a restaurant I visited. This is about something else.

When I’m not shopping for food, cooking food or writing about food, there is an entire other life I have. I have a day job that keeps me in organic produce and grass-fed beef. And I’m lucky. I have a true love for what I do. As a copywriter, I get to spend my days thinking and writing and working with some of the smartest, funniest people I’ve ever come across. And even though I’m writing in the voice of Starbucks or WaMu, the real voice that comes across is still mine. It’s not uncommon for someone to see something I’ve written and come back with the comment, “That’s so Margo.”

There was a time last year when I was looking for work and I had to go to yet another headhunter to show off my book. It’s something I’d done 100 times before and I wasn’t looking forward to it. But something in that meeting, in that presentation of telling the story behind each ad, remembering the moment when the insight clicked or the perfect line came into focus I realized how much I’m really proud of what I’ve done. My work is good. My work is personal. My work is me.

Which is why what happened yesterday was so hurtful.

Yesterday it came to my attention that a (former) friend of mine had stolen my portfolio and passed it off as his own. We had never worked together. We had never collaborated on a single thing. In fact, nearly all my entire print and interactive work and my resume were swiped and re-packaged with his name on the cover. He even took a few food essays and photography pieces and threw them in too for good measure. That part stung even more.

The ad world is really small. There’s a one degree of separation at best. Someone I had worked with years ago came across the work, put two and two (and two and two) together and he was escorted out of the building by end of day. He’s tried to get in touch with me but I haven’t yet responded.

If imitation is the highest form of flattery than plagiarism would be the basest form of it. I’m not sure what the lesson is in all this for me, but I’m glad I can take away the bragging rights that my work is so damn good, someone tried to steal all of it.

To see the work, click over to www.margostern.com

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