Archive for the ‘Work’ Category

What Can :30 Seconds Do?

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Until recently I used to say “it’s not a matter of life and death” or “it’s only advertising.” 

Those statements are meant to provide perspective; for the person saying it and for the people hearing it. They both do a little bit more than that. Those statements create an excuse. They can also minimize the impact and significance of what we can do.

That’s unfortunate.

Advertising isn’t like treating or curing a disease. Of course it isn’t. And it’s certainly not akin to, or even in the same ballpark, as providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, or sanctuary for abused children or battered women.

No, it’s not like that either.

At it’s very best, advertising can be a lot like art. I’m not saying those infomercials for Oxy Clean, Life Alert, or even the Snuggie, are forms of art. I’m definitely not saying that.

What I’m saying is that advertising can be a lot like art in that while the purpose is to inform a large audience of message or product “X,” a person can take something away from it that’s inherently more personal.

For instance, when my sister got married I wish I had done something like this, which isn’t to say I was chubby bumbling idiot like the brother in that commercial. Well, at least I wasn’t a bumbling idiot.

Tell me you can walk away from this longer-form ad without holding back a tear and I’ll call you on cold-hearted son of a bitch.

And this commercial just rips me up. My father is getting older. He’s moving more slowly, napping more often, and the thought of losing him has been on my mind more and more these last few months. It’s painful the mere thought. This commercial visualizes it. Ugh.

I think that after those three videos I’ve made the point and you’ve understood it. Right? Mass messages, pimping a product or service, can do, if done well, so much more than “sell” and “inform.”

I guess the reason behind my writing about this today is that I’m surrounded by what seems like meaningless, shallow, and sometimes empty opportunities to create an ad for a client. In taking a step back every now and then, I allow myself to think about what can be. And what these opportunities can be are inspirational, life-altering, and moving… but sometimes, they can just be funny. And to be honest, after writing all this gut-wrenching stuff, I can use a laugh.

We’re Not There Yet

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

This is going to be a little bit of a rant that hopefully turns into an enlightened moment.

For a little while there today I was blaming everyone else. Older people, the media team, my agency’s culture… all of them. I was raging today because of several things that just continued to show me “people just don’t get it.”

The “it” in this case is “Interactive” or “Digital” or “the Web”. Choose any one of those words or phrases to describe. You know what I mean. The situation has got to be the same in other agencies. The team works so hard to put a lot of work and thought into some ideas and concepts that are so on point and so strong strategically that you feel proud to have been a part of it. The work gets packaged up with everything else that is going to go in front of the clients and then…. BLAMMO! The agenda is:

1) TV

2) Print

3) Some more TV

4) Let’s revisit strategy

5) Wait, what’s the objective? It’s NOT ______??? It’s _____?!?!!?!?

6) Let’s revisit TV

7) This meeting is a disaster… oh yeah, let’s see the digital stuff…

8) Actually, we’ve run out of time. Tell the digital guys they just need to mimic the TV.

Why is digital work still such a fight? Why, despite all of the measurements and accountability, does it still play 3rd and 4th in agendas? How is it that despite all the mainstream media coverage and acknowledgement of the changing landscape of consumer behavior, media consumption, and near constant connectivity to the Internet, marketers and advertisers STILL DON’T GET IT!?!?

Something obviously happened today that has caused me to go damn near psycho about my agency and this industry.

But after a half day of being angry I had that moment of enlightenment that I so desparately needed. I blame myself. I blame anyone who reads this and is in the industry as a digital professional. Whether it’s in Account Management, Creative, or Media, if you aren’t working to convince those who don’t understand, that they should understand, then you’re to blame.

Too many times I can remember sitting in meetings thinking to myself, “no no no, it’s not only about _____ it has more to do with this _____ because that’s where the people are spending their time,” only to sit there and continue listening to old solutions trying to solve today’s problems.

Jerry Maguire. He had that moment of clarity late one night. I arrived at mine today through a fit of rage. A last straw if you will. He wrote a mission statement (it wasn’t a memo, remember?). I wrote a blog post. Jerry placed the mission statement in everyone’s mailbox. I’m going to speak with the people in charge.

Why? Because a good friend here at the agency told me people around the office “seem to just be waiting for someone else to do something.”

Isn’t that when someone should? Isn’t that called leadership?

Yes and Yes.

Keeping Up With The Biz

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Right now I’m, I guess what you can call, between projects. There’s always something to do, sure, but my team has kicked off a few projects and we’re ahead of some others being fully defined. So what do I do?

There are a bunch of web sites I visit on a daily basis, but I hit them up first thing in the morning before I start my day. Those sites are:

  • adage.com – for ad industry news
  • adrants.com – for ad industry news
  • adweek.com – for ad industry news
  • agencyspy.com – for behind-the-scenes ad industry news
  • brandrepublic.com – for ad industry news across the pond
  • digg.com – to get a sense for what’s happening on the Internet
  • espn.com – to see what my favorite teams are up to (and to see what advertiser took over the home page)
  • facebook.com – to connect with my friends
  • mashable.com – for digital industry news
  • msn.com – to see what advertiser bought the home page
  • techcrunch.com – for my digital industry news
  • trendhunter.com – to see what products and things are heating up
  • yahoo.com – to see what advertiser bought the home page
  • youtube.com – to see what advertiser bought the home page and to see what the hottest videos are today

In all, while I’m drinking my coffee and opening up my email inbox, I open 13 to 15 different sites. I catch up on stuff for the 2 hours that I’m here before the rest of the team gets in. But that’s my morning. During the day, if there isn’t much to do I wind up hitting the same sites over and over and getting bored because the content doest refresh as much.

What other sites out there would you suggest I add to my list? Which would you suggest I remove?