The advertising industry breathed a collective sigh of relief when copywriter Jason Smythe-Wallace returned to his desk at agency CBA Ford Smith Jones and Broadbent. Although the agency has declined to comment on Smythe-Wallace’s whereabouts over the last few weeks, reliable sources have indicated that the emerging young talent had been languishing in a Cape Town jail since Saturday, one of several creatives caught on the wrong side of Loerie law.

While many young creatives were arrested at the annual Loerie Awards for narcotics offences of varying severity, Smythe-Wallace seems to have run into trouble of a serious variety.

“He’s back at his desk, and that’s the most important thing,” says an anonymous colleague at the agency. “To be honest, he still looks a little bit shaken, but who wouldn’t be?”

Smythe-Wallace was arrested by local police for being in possession of 15 marijuana joints and a half-kilogram pack of a suspicious-looking white powder. The enormous quantity of the powder on his person led to his being separated from the other suspects nabbed at the awards, and being taken to a jail traditionally used for the housing of hardened criminals.

“Actually the poor bugger got a very raw deal,” the source continues. “The white powder was a natural mood enhancer that he had taken along with the express purpose of avoiding doing as much coke as he did last year.”

According to additional inside sources, Smythe-Wallace’s absence was not noticed initially.

“After the Loeries, no-one really comes back for at least a week,” says another anonymous colleague. “They may be at their desks, but nothing’s happening. Jason actually won a silver, so we all thought he was still out partying. It was only when we missed him at the after-party on Sunday evening that we began to get concerned.”

A third source, also employed at CBA Ford Smith Jones and Broadbent, paints a slightly different picture.

“No one would have noticed that he was missing at all if we didn’t just get this massive new chewing gum account. They want to focus on ‘teen skate punk’, and the only person around who has ever showed an inclination towards Avril Lavigne was Jason. We tried to get hold of him to inform him of the brief meeting client scheduled for Monday but no one could find him.”

Attempts to interview other creatives arrested for drugs at the Loeries were unsuccessful, although anecdotal accounts reveal several arrests were made over the weekend of the event. According to a wide cross-section of insiders, all of those arrested are safely back at their desks. Serious charges look likely only in the case of one individual caught carrying a backpack of high-quality horse amphetamines.

After his absence was officially noticed, Smythe-Wallace was liberated from his incarceration by a crack squad of CBA Ford Smith Jones and Broadbent lawyers, who were aided in their efforts by the quick-fire development of a cutting edge, multimedia defence presentation, put together by a team of volunteer creative directors.

Smythe-Wallace has kept mum on the affair, although it is known within the industry that he has been officially cautioned by senior partners within CBA Ford Smith Jones and Broadbent to stop attempting to quit cocaine. One senior director from the agency has been quoted as saying, “This is exactly the sort of silly nonsense that ruins our productivity. If he had just scored at the event we would have the chewing gum account in the bag by now.”

– Andrew Miller has been a media and corporate ghost writer for the last 13 years. He used to write marketing satire under the John Doe pseudonym for Brand Magazine and Media Toolbox. When not releasing communications bile, Andrew runs Newtown’s Unity Design, a socially orientated arts and media company. Catch up with Unity on Facebook and Twitter.


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