Side View’s weekend theme this week is Advertising. It’s been the story of my life, I worked in the industry and now I feed people in that world. I had ups and I had downs, I was lucky in that I met many wonderful people. I also met many awful people; there was the aging creative director who took the credit for his copywriter’s ideas and will forever carry the guilt of her suicide; everybody in the industry knows exactly who I am talking about.

Being “in advertising” is not the glamorous business young hopefuls think it to be; the hours are long and the deadlines are inevitably tight leading to high stress levels. Sure, the money is better than in most other industries, but burnout is frequent and the widespread stories of substance abuse are grounded in truth. It’s a tough world and I’m quite grateful I’m on the other side of the fence today. So, before I go off and make 80 meatballs for a film shoot tomorrow, let me make a case for mackerel …

Let’s begin with the most important lesson in advertising from He Who Knows All, David Ogilvy: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

So, I could wax lyrical about the nutritional value of this fatty fish. Or I could simply say FEED YOUR FAMILY FOR ONLY R20!

Yep, four fish and two potatoes and I got me some great fishcakes. Ta da!

Fish burger, anyone?



  1. The fish cakes look yummy! Did you oven bake the fish before creating the cakes?
    Was worried about your whereabouts but didn’t want to sound nosy. Glad you are well 😉

  2. it is the most reasonably priced fish! With some celeriac and horseradish mash divine 🙂 The world of advertising can be brutal it sounds. Have a good evening xxx

  3. Mackerel’s a saltwater fish, right? It never occurred to me, living as I did for most of my life on the prairies, how odd it was that “holy mackerel!” was such a commonly heard expression (of surprise) there. Now I’m wondering what mackerel tastes like… Those fishcakes look yummy!

  4. I used to watch the people come and go from our corporate marketing division and wonder what caused the high turnover. I once told the Vice President how I responded to clients who wanted to know the substance and strength of our Financial firm. He took that idea to marketing, it became a widespread and highly successful advertising campaign that was used for many years.

    I was never credited with the concept. I never complained about it, but I knew exactly who I was dealing with. That was not a lesson lost!

  5. There’s definitely some truth to the writing on headers; I find that it is often what makes me pick something up, marvel at the creativity or not even notice. Some that I’ve seen has just been SO WOW! The things people come up with…

    Those look like divine fish cakes! If I close my eyes I can smell them! 😉

  6. I’m fascinated by the industry. My partner works in media/advertising and constantly talks of the harshness of the industry. We have just got into the series Mad Men, and my mom talks of how it all used to be back then. Every industry has it’s flaws, and it’s fair share of folk that give up. That is sad that the copywriter gave up, and even safer that all feel the creative director should feel guilt. We have choices in this life……
    Your fish cakes look amazingly delicious. Good idea I say. 🙂 Haven’t had a good fish cake in yonkas.

  7. Sjoe, Cin, it’s sobering to read about the advertising “underbelly”, especially with my stepson an art director too. Catering to the crew sounds far less intense and lots of fun. Enjoy! Those fishcakes look exceptional 🙂

  8. AND they’re incredibly good for you. (Like sardines.) I slash ’em and stuff ’em with chermoula and cook on the bbq. They can take the robust flavour and that way the kitchen doesn’t smell of oily fish.

  9. Cin, I made chicken kebabs yesterday but I forgot to soak the skewers 1st, so they got burnt but atleast the burnt taste did not affect the taste. Do I soak the skewers in cold water? The kebabs you posted reminded me that I had those sticks from K’s party where I had choc fountain.

  10. I loved this blog an d the sculpture. you can learn a lot by letting people open up to you and what better way to do it than over a meal? nteresting snippet of history too

  11. I was just next door to advertising for awhile – PR! Learned a lot. Don’t want the life.

    Meanwhile, I do my fishcakes much like you I think. Fish, mashed potatoes,egg … and, believe it or not, minced onions and Bell’s Poultry Seasoning. Now I can quickly do bread crumbs to coat again as we have gluten-free Panko available now in some stores. Don’t have to make my own anymore.

    Bell’s includes: thyme and sage. Lovely! 🙂

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