Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What makes you an expert?

The brandcenter attracts a lot of great speakers. We get a lineup on Friday's that many professionals would be jealous of. As a major talent pool I am not surprised that they come here to show off their ideas and work.

However after seeing all these people come through, it makes me wonder sometimes are these people really experts? On the surface they are, but the more I hear sometimes it makes me wonder.

They use all the right marketing terms and cliche lines that make them seem like righteous professionals, but when someone who is supposed to be a technology expert tells us that they aren't "computer saavy" in the middle of a presentation it totally discredits them outright.

We are paid to get into the heads of people that we might have nothing in common with. If I was given Sean John as a client am I the right person to handle it just because I'm trained to think creatively, even though I might not truly be able to channel the spirit of the brand? Should it matter that I've never owned a piece of their clothing? I don't know.

The more I practice advertising here, the less I believe in the idea of experts.

Experience and titles might have worked with our parents generation, but as we move into the work world that idea will fall out of favor. Experts are people who actually know what they're doing, and not pretending or trying really hard because their business card says so. So please if you aren't a true expert say so, and admit it that it is your best guess.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sanyo Underwater Camera

Click for larger view.

Very cool and simple. Damn them for thinking of it first.

Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Wall

Im Stuck. Not a little stuck. Alot Stuck.

That damn white sheet staring back at me laughing at me.

I have nothing. Nothing. Squadoochie.

Its due on Tuesday afternoon.

I wanted to use this as an opportunity to really show off my skills. Blow my expectations out of the water, and get a low hush out of the crowd. I'm not going to get it.

All I've learned is that I've got a long long way to go. I'm stuck in a weird place now. I can dream up the safe stuff. What I call "broadcast ready." It would be stuff any client would go "Yeah!" that's exactly what I wanted, and when I leave the room I bow my head knowing that it's shit.

I'm waiting for that moment where it all clicks. EUREKA!

I'm slowly learning it won't come unless I go get it. Tis school makes it so easy to do boring work that gets polite claps from people. I'm tired of people saying "OOH..that looks cool." when we all know it sucks. I want to move forward, I'm tired of my work, it sucks, and I need better, quickly.

Only 3 weeks until intern books are due. Fuck you blank page.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Vote 2008: Winner Declared

With only 10 months left until the election. Im going to pick a winner now. Sure I could poll a select audience with error percentages and talking heads with names like Wolf and Anderson. But lets do it by the much more accurate way. The candidates websites.

John McCain:

Ok we know youre 73 and you're trying to be web saavy, but unlike Ron Paul youre not winning any design contests here. Cluttered with random messages and drop shadows. I feel like I'm visiting my grandfather's blog. His blog consists mostly of stories about onions, so maybe you're a little better off. You should at least put a Viagra ad up there somewhere. Worked for Bob Dole.

5 out of 10 purple hearts.

Hillary Clinton:

Wow. Went a little heavy on the red white and blue huh? What? You're running for president. Oh my mistake. I guess the only thing you're missing is a giant 911 sticker. You have that too? Shit. Well may I commend your web team on one thing? Good use of the standard fonts every web tool gives you. Arial bold = middle class votes right?

6 out of 10 wishes for Bill to change his name and run again.

Barack Obama:

Sweet merciful gods of design. May we please all dream of producing this. Beautiful elegant and damn functional. And that logo. Wow. Im glad he splurged on the site. It shows that white people can't have good presidential websites. I had to wipe my screen from the kiss marks I left. (Don't judge me). Congratulations to Obama's in house team of media designers for this one.

10 out of 10 Rays of Light.

Say hello to the next P.O.T.U.S. Mr. Barack Obama.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Do it for your mama.

Write advertisements for yourself. Its the mantra here. Do things that are cool that you like. Every teacher says it. The problem is no one does, me included.

We walk into review with our little pile of papers clutched in our arms hoping that the teachers see something that we missed or love the ideas that came out of our tired brains late last night. The 3-5 seconds of silence after a presentation are always the worst, unless you get cut off half-way through by Coz bellowing "Are you FUCKING kidding me?"

Most of the time it devolves into this:

"I see what you're trying to say but it isn't clear. This has been done before. Dig deeper. NEXT!"

It feels like the same advice every two weeks. Its frustrating. So in our desperation working on Sylvia's Soul Food my partner and I just went off on a tangent had some fun and came up with this little idea (Click for larger view):

The basic idea here: The high light of C-list celebrities lives.

I wasn't going to present it. I was afraid of it. I thought it would get ripped apart, laughed at, and discarded. I was afraid because it was just a joke that we threw around. I have to thank my partner for making me do it, since this would be lying on a notebook right now if it wasn't for him. It wasn't thrown away, instead it was approved, in a Coz/Wayne sorta way they're famous for.

The moral here was that we did something we liked and it worked. It has personality and humor that came from both of us. It was our idea. Our other ideas were manifestations of what we thought people wanted to hear.

Its so easy to forget that were here not to make things that sell stuff. We're here to make things that are funny or clever or intriguing, and hopefully people will remember that when they go out for groceries. If you make the ad for you, there is more voice passion and voice than any where else and people will like it.

Do it for your mama. She'll like it because you like it. She loves you the most.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

How an Art Director works with a Copywriter.

I've only had two copywriters to work with so far. But its not hard to see what working with copywriters is like. They're a different breed. They think in quick bursts every couple minutes while I roll ideas off the top of my head.

I like working with them. They're smart and calculating. Their words are their babies and they defend them like their first born child. Their craft is under rated in a world where things said in two words deserve to be said in thirty.

It isn't all easy though. I'm an art director because I like to put campaigns together. Id rather be in front of Illustrator than Word any day. And thats the difference. We get the last crack at any work. That means decisions that copywriters might not like. I can see how toes can get bruised.

I don't always need 150 words, sometimes its 34 and no more. That would piss me off if someone said I need it this color and not a shade lighter without explaining. I've tried to make it my mantra to explain to every copywriter I work with why I need it specific ways. If not for my sanity but just so they can understand why.

So the next time a art director asks a copywriter: "Can you cut it in half?" They might understand. Maybe.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

100th Post - Hip Hip Hooray!

I never thought I would make it to 100. But damn if this blogging isn't addicting. I have been pretty erratic but at least I feel its a good blog. For my legendary 100th post I thought I would cover a topic familiar to all advertising professionals and students: Failure.

Below is a picture of my "Failure Wall."

I've begun to post all my ads that fail on the wall in front of my computer. A good reminder that for every one that works well there are probably 25 behind it that never work. I'm still waiting for that one winner sadly.

Its frustrating to not feel like your needle isn't moving creatively. I've talked to alot of people and got the same response. Its a long uphill battle.

Hopefully by the end of the semester there will be some brick left, because filling this wall is not something I look froward to.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My favorite ad from the Superbowl.

Why this one? Read after the video... (Video courtesy BBDO NYC).

It has no special effects. No laugh out loud moments. No super celebrities. No kicks to the crotch. No talking animals. No bathroom humor.

Its just two guys talking. Thats it.

It just tells a story, and thats what advertising is supposed to do. Period. It helped that the music was good, editing better, and surprisingly the acting was great. But in the end it was a great story told well. It's good to see a human face put behind these people we only see for 2 hours on sundays.

There were 20-25 advertising students here last night. They all agreed about it being the best. We are the people that will be making the commercials you see for the next 20 years and we chose this. I hope you like this too because if we all like it, you're TV might be filled with them for the next 20 years.

Superbowl Commercial Review 2008

I could review each commercial just like every other site out there. However Ill let the Miller Lite delivery man give you a quick video rundown of the ads. Enjoy!

Care of Saatchi and Saatchi.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Michel Gondry: Be Kind Rewind

Michel Gondry does amazing work including Eternal Sunshine, Chappelle's Block Party and D.A.F.T. (Daft Punk documentary). He's got a great style of mixing and mashing timelines and characters letting the audience figure it out for themselves. His new movie is Be Kind Rewind with Mos Def and Jack Black.

If you haven't seen the preview for Be Kind Rewind here it is:

Well Gondry has gone and sweded his own trailer, paroding his own movie. He pulls this off so well. See for yourself:

Saturday at 10 am.

Im here in the middle of another meeting. This time for Circuit City. Talking about price reduction measures to compete with Best Buy. I should be in bed or watching Transformers in my pajamas with Cheerios, but instead I'm here.

I got a drunken call last night from San Francisco at 2:30 am.

"Hey!! Why aren't you out? It's Friday!"

"I'm busy. I have meetings tomorrow."

"Ahhh thats too bad. Ok miss ya bye!"

It's hard to explain what's going on here. There is always, and I mean always work to do. It's suffocating and exhilarating at the same time. You could be 15 minutes away from work that will land you your first job or 9 hours away from coming up with nothing.

I'm addicted to it but hate it so much as the same time. I guess its ok. But the worst part is that Don Just aka. "The Silver Fox" beat me at ping pong. Damn, he's even good at ping pong.