While Dabitch is busy elsewhere after the birth of her baby, the freelance agency The Collective has chatted to her about the birth of her other baby - this website. Read the full chat here: Freelancer focus: Åsk Wäppling on the collectives own weblog.
I started Adland when I lived in San Francisco back in 1996. When I began surfing the web there was nearly nothing related to advertising out there, in 95 portfolios.com (still going strong!), zeldman.com, the University of Texas and J Walter Thompson were the advertising sites online worth their salt. There was also a copywriter, Dave Dumanis, who wrote weekly on his website called ad lib about advertising in early 96, which in hindsight must have been the very first sortof "pre-blog" adblog. Zeldman's ad graveyard, Dave's ad lib and the clear lack of websites that gabbed ads the way I wanted to inspired me to start my own site. The 'concept' of the website was to show ads separated at birth, much like the ad graveyard shows ads killed by clients or circumstance. I learnt some basic HTML and I collected all the good ad related links I could find on a page so that people who found adland could find more adstuff on the web. As time passed, I started posting my own long rants about the state of advertising, what it was like pounding the pavement with a portfolio looking for work and the pain of bad campaigns in a section named adrants, as well as excerpts from advertising books that I had read in the "adbooks" section. Later the commercial archive collection merged with adland in 2000. The whole thing grew quite organically, really.
You seem to be online 24/7 and eat and drink advertising. What makes you so passionate about it?
I think my mum dropped me on the head when I was a kid. Ha! I have this tape I made in 1979 where I sing songs for my grandparents, up until the point where there is a commercial break on TV. Abrupt silence, all you hear is me breathing for a second, and then I break out into a "ring around the collar?" monologue and recite the entire advert before snapping out of it and return to making my tape. Clearly, ads always had my complete and undivided attention. Like anyone who loves anything, I want it to be the best that it can be. Advertising is too often trite, annoying and bad, when it could be information to the right target, entertainment for the right group and the pop-culture glue that keeps a company and their customers together. I love ideas. I love stories. Great advertising has both. Bad advertising has none.