Dave “Lil Dicky” Burd is still stuck in his writer’s block in the second season of the FX series. But the Dave Season 2 episode “Ad Man” focuses on his friendship with Emma (Christine Ko), their early days working together at an advertising agency, and their unfaltering desire to chase their dreams. Er, Emma’s unwavering friendship regardless of Dave’s willingness to neglect her dreams.
Dave ‘Lil Dicky’ Burd really worked in marketing
Before becoming a viral sensation on YouTube and star of his FX series, Burd worked as an assistant account manager at San Francisco agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Burd was an account executive for Doritos, but he also worked on creative deliverables for the NBA.
“I always wanted to do something creative professionally,” Burd told AdWeek. “I started off as an assistant account manager on Doritos and was the low man on the totem pole. One of my assignments was to give this report on how the chip sales were doing and how the ads were.”
Burd found the process “painfully boring,” but he also saw an opportunity. “It was my one chance at being noticed by people that are that high at the company,” he says, continuing:
I made a song about Doritos chip sales and sent it out one day. The partners at the company went crazy, and they immediately switched me into the creative department. All of a sudden, I wrote like 10 ads that were on TV by age 22. I did the whole NBA playoff campaign in 2012.
That creative experience is similar to Dave’s flashback in “Ad Man.” But instead of Doritos, he and Emma are working on a Mountain Dew campaign.
‘Dave’ Season 2 flashes back to Lil Dicky’s days in advertising
Most of “Ad Man” is a flashback to Dave and Emma’s time working together at a fictional ad agency. When they’re not avoiding work surfing Chat Roulette or talking about Dave’s desire to become a famous rapper under the moniker “Norm Bender,” Dave and Emma are trying to move from billboards to pitching commercials.
Together, they create a pitch for Mountain Dew that’s fresh and showcases Dave’s rapping ability. But their pitch also solidifies the lack of respect Emma receives in a male-dominated industry.
Dreaming is still worth doing in ‘Dave’ episode ‘Ad Man’
Both Emma and Dave aren’t happy with their jobs at the ad agency. At one point, Dave says he’s wasting his “national treasure of a brain on TD Ameritrade.” Together, they dream of achieving something more.
For Emma, “making cool videos” is the goal. For Dave, it’s gaining recognition as one of the greatest rappers of all time.
“I have always felt like I was the biggest star on the planet,” Dave confides in Emma. “I used to watch The Truman Show and think that was me.” In a way, Dave’s egocentric mindset is something we all tap into at times — it’s what keeps us motivated to continue chasing our dreams.
‘Ad Man’ reiterates how the world doesn’t revolve around Dave
So much of Dave Season 2 has focused on Lil Dicky’s selfish ways. In “Ad Man,” we get to see Emma’s perspective on that.
Dave and Emma might have different ideas of what success looks like — for Emma, success is the freedom to be creative and make compelling videos; for Dave, it’s becoming the greatest rapper ever. At different points in “Ad Man,” Emma encourages Dave to pursue his dreams.
And as Dave fails to deliver his lines for the XXL Freshman List shoot, Emma remembers the many times she encouraged him in the past. But she also realizes their relationship isn’t symbiotic.
Even back in their ad agency days, Emma’s work was always secondary to Dave’s. When she realizes that’s still the case, Emma decides to chase opportunities to be creative outside of Lil Dicky‘s atmosphere.