Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Please leave your key at the front desk.

There's only about 7 weeks left here at the B.C. and its starting to show. People are starting to ask about job leads, who has jobs, internships, anything. A lady even asked me at the store if they were hiring where I was working. Unfortunately no.

It's all around us now. My parents ask me every time they call. And every time i say no they respond as best they can. "It's tough out there, but you'll find something." My dad is a little more direct. "You can wait tables if you can't find anything right?" Sigh....Yes.

But I'm trying to enjoy this time. Its the last I'll have as a student, a reckless, fun loving, innocent youth. I can run in the afternoon and drink on weekdays, I can blow work off because the weather is too nice and sleep in till 12. Everyone is working their asses off, but I get the feeling a lot of people are spinning their wheels.

Its all good to work hard to produce something, but when you work because you think you have to is when you produce nothing. People are glued to tables and screens instead of relaxing and remembering that this is the last hoorah for most of us.

So if you're out there staring at the same screen trying to force out that last idea, get up close your computer and come have a beer in the sun. Oh so sweet. Don't forget to leave your key on the desk on your way out.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The same old story.

Advertising is dead, or is about to die. You hear this line about as many times as: Where else can this idea go? Which might actually be the problem. I came across this article on the death of advertising. Its a long read but has the same familiar elements:

1. Consumers don't care.
2. Ads are ineffective.
3. Traditional ads are disappearing.
4. Advertising hasn't figure out the web.

All are true. And a lot of what we hear here is that we are the link between old and new. The generation that will create new advertising and banish the evil static banner for all time! But the truth is it isn't dead, and it never will be. The falloff in advertising in my mind comes from one simple idea:

The loss of added value.

In the 1950's advertising brought new time saving, money saving products into peoples minds for the first time. Who wouldn't want to save an hour cleaning their bathroom with new Dial? But now, we know. Soap cleans, saves time, got it. Get back to the show already! We're saturated in information and actually get to search and choose which we want to listen to or not.

So how does modern advertising tackle this problem? Added value. Product benefits, value propositions, history and other traditional advertising virtues are dead. People know more about your products than most of the people using them. You need to add value. Very few clients do this.

Nike lets you compete with runners around the world.
Apple gives you access to a world of music from anywhere.
HBO gives you TV you wouldn't see anywhere else.

What the hell does soap add? Or gum? Or banks for that matter? Give me something I have never had from you: Added value.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The real test.

This school is tough. Really tough. Its tests pulls and pushes you to do better all the time. Everyone does this, each with differing success. Some use the time to better themselves, some fold under the pressure. This place is not for everyone. But the work is not the real test.

The real test is life. As much as we push and divide and neglect our lives they always come creeping back in. Sometimes unexpectedly, and that is the real test. Can you handle 18 hour work days and a social life, a best friend, a family, a girlfriend/boyfriend, everything else that pops up outside 9 to 5?

Im going through that test right now and its tough. Its tough to give your work the time it needs along with everything else that forces itself into your head. It doesn't help that this is the time where you really need to hunker down, but that's the real test. Anyone can make ads. Not everyone can have a life and make ads.

Monday, March 9, 2009

There aren't any positions available.

Get used to that one. You will hear it a lot. Its true. Companies are shearing back hard, and marketing is the first thing to go. So what the hell do you do? Beg? Plead? Scream? Cry in despair?

The best thing to do is realize the truth that there are TONS of jobs out there. You heard it here first. TONS and TONS of jobs. The only problem is that they aren't advertised and even worse the companies themselves don't even know they exist, only you do.

Smart driven people are always needed. Always. No company is going to turn away someone that blows them away no matter how bad off they seem because the only real asset any company has is its talent. And no where else is this more evident in advertising. Ideas and talent are all they have.

So when you call or email or network and people say "I don't think we're hiring" what they're really saying is "You might suck." Try again, say "I understand. Do you think I could come in and show you my work?" Most times they will be happy to help and it gets your foot int he door, its your job to make sure it stays there.

Most people out there stop the minute they hear a company isn't hiring, instead focusing on the leads on craigslist or headhunters instead of focusing on what they really need to do, show companies why they can't afford not to have them on their payroll. Happy hunting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Visions of the future.

First: Microsoft's vision of the future from 2009

Second: AT&T's vision of the future from 1993:

Look forward to the future boys and girls.