Sunday, November 23, 2008

Comm Arts: FAIL

I received the bible yesterday. The Comm Arts advertising annual, alot of people wait for this little white book. It usually is the difference between a pay raise, a promotion, or better offers. Its filled with the best work of the year from around the country.

The only problem with it this year is that it sucked. Hard.

It was filled with one offs, puns, and top of mind executions. It left me looking for more and a sinking feeling. Am I getting better at this or was this a bad year for advertising?

Part of it comes from the fact that I've seen a lot of the executions before through my wanderings on the interweb, the TV and other. And on the other hand we are trained to throw out the visual solutions in favor of a integrated campaigns with insight and substance.

Comm Arts you've let me down two years in a row. Hopefully I can do better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

If you're concerned and you know it clap your hands.


I am lucky enough to get a month off between semesters. Last year was filled with traveling, recovering, forgetting what I learned in the previous 4 months. Those were the days.

This time around will be filled with informational interviews, award show work, and portfolio trimming. Of course there will be a few off days, a trip or two inside California, a few drinks with friends, but the main goal is to continue the networking, because my internal calendar is looking torwards may and beyond.

So anyone know any contacts in SF I could chit chat with, over a beer, desk, book, hanglider, kangaroo habitat?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Creative Interviewing

This is a post from Dave Trott's blog. Great advice about clearing the clutter when interviewing.

When I got back from New York I didn’t know anything about advertising in London.

But I needed a job, so some mates helped me get a job in a merchant bank in the city.

I figured I didn’t want to go dragging myself all over London for interviews at different agencies.

Most of them wouldn’t have jobs anyway.

And I didn’t want any advice.

I’d just come back from New York, which in those days was light year’s ahead of London.

All I wanted to know was do you have a job?

So I figured I would make up lots of little portfolios and send them out.

I used the bank’s photocopier to make 50 copies of my portfolio.

Then I used the bank’s postal system to send them out.

I just looked in The Yellow Pages under ‘advertising’.

In a week I had my answer.

18 replies, with 2 job offers.

That sounds good until you think about it.

That’s 30 people that didn’t even bother replying.

So that’s 48 rejections in all.

If I’d gone the conventional route of taking my book around to agencies, how long would that have taken?

Well, if you could manage an interview every other day, which would be quite a lot, it would take you over 4 months.

4 months of trudging around, paying tube fares, being told no.

How depressing is that?

This way I had the answers in a week.

I didn’t need to see the ones that didn’t have jobs.

And I could choose between the two jobs available.

The agencies were quite different.

They were both good, but one was press agency (BBDO, Creative Director Peter Mayle).

The other was a TV agency (BMP, Creative Director John Webster).

It was a tough decision, which one to take.

I figured, I’m a junior so all I can really do is press.

So I should go to the press agency, right?

Well think about it.

If I go to the press agency, all the seniors will be fighting for press.

So I won’t get much.

But if I go to the TV agency, all the seniors will be fighting for TV.

There won’t be any competition for press.

So I should get all the press the seniors don’t want to do.

So I picked the TV agency, BMP.

And that’s how it turned out.

I got as much press as I could do.

But if I had gone the conventional interview route, I wouldn’t have been able to choose.

Instead of getting all my answers in at once, I would have had them one at a time.

In which case I would have taken whichever job came up first.

Which is a weaker position be in.

We’re in advertising.

We wouldn’t give advice like that to a client.

We should take the advice we give other people.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Choose the fruits of your labor.

We have a lot of projects to work on. Probably around the area of 10-11 each semester. Thats 40-44 during your two years here.

You typically only need 3-5 for a book so it shouldn't be too hard to find them out of those 44. Well it is, but you have to know what a book piece is when you see it, and know the duds as well. We spend a lot of time working on duds here. LOTS. Its so easy to lose the forest for the trees. Fall in love in your ideas or art direction and lose focus on the simple fact that you need to find the good work.

But what do you do about the duds?

Abandon them? Nope. You never know when a dud can become gold with a little tweeking.
Work even harder? Nope. If the idea is bad, no amount of fixing can make it good.
Start over? Sometimes. But you don't always have the luxury to start over when you're under the gun of another project.

At some point you need to see that your work might not work, finish it as best you can, and bury it for good. There's more projects waiting out there for you, concentrate on those.

Friday, November 14, 2008


The Brandcenter isn't a portfolio school.

But you need one to get a job, don't forget that. I've been away for a while working hard, feeling the time creep up on me as I see that May 15th date get closer and closer. So I thought I would discuss my book as of now.

If I was going to call it I could put a book together in two weeks. Yes two weeks with the work I have now. Would it get me a job? Who knows. I would like to think so, the problem is it wouldn't be the job I want. I have 2 pieces that I can see in my final portfolio, maybe three.

The only thing is I don't want them in my book. Its my goal to get rid of every single one of them. How? By replacing them with something better. As of this moment I have 6 months to replace 1.5 years worth of work. See you at the Brandcenter.