Friday, September 28, 2007

Sublimination: No One is Immune

Saw this on a recent blog. Found it incredibly interesting. Make sure you watch until the end.

dubs. out.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cool For Cool's Sake is Not Cool

My roommate Tristan and I had a bunch of work we still needed to do on Saturday night, so we stayed in. What we didn't plan on doing was watching nearly 2 hours chronicling the history of Nike commercials. Here's a few of our favorites that I think anyone can enjoy.

There's more to this company than meets the eye. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Losing a basketball game played out as a Roman operatic tragedy? Good Lord those bastards at Wieden are clever. In the words of James Lipton, the final shot of the villain is "magnanimous."

Music makes the ad world go 'round. The shot of the baby at 00:56 is great also.

This one took me about 25 seconds before I got it but when I did, it made it all the more sweeter. Very Barry Sanders-esque in its message. Almost makes me want to play basketball. And I hate basketball.

A picture is worth a thousand words. A bunch of pictures with a bunch of sounds is worth a whole lot more. If this doesn’t make you want to put on some pads and hit something then you have no soul.

Never have 4 and a half minutes gone by so quickly. I didn’t realize how much Nike owes its success to one man. I suppose growing up I naively took Michael Jordan for granted. Perfect music. Perfect story. Perfect commercial. Imperfect media budget. But who really cares about that anyway...

Being cool and having something to say?

That's cool.

dubs. out.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Just Do It.

This weekend is pretty lax in terms of workload: Come up with a second round of visual solutions for Red Bull (difficult to move beyond the clich√©, but straightforward), come up with a large, “budget-is-not-a-factor” business idea for BMW to follow up BMWFilms (the hardest part of this is constraining it to just one double-spaced page), read several marketing packets (Don Just is Just super...ZING), and finally, concept, shoot and edit a Bud Light spot (piece of cake until the editing process, at which point I feel I will probably end up pulling my hair out in frustration).

On the way down the stairs from the third to second level of our apartment, we put up the following ambitious “collage” to be seen leaving the house every morning. The man on the left is Mark Fenske, creative thinking prof. (and one of the reasons Nike is Nike). The man on the right is Coz Cotzias, copywriting prof. (and the one human being whom I want to impress more than any other on this earth). The saying in the middle is of course a weak play on words stolen from the Notre Dame locker room.

It is funny to me that in the past I was always that strange student who did the project or wrote the paper the night it was assigned, and not the night before it was due. But maybe they put something in the Richmond water, as here I do the exact opposite. I find myself sitting around, waiting. For what? No clue. Just waiting for the deadlines to come. I think that motivation might be a factor but how could that be? I’m in one of the best advertising programs in the country and I literally have every opportunity to do some amazing things that countless others do not. I have the ability to become known, to win awards, to make a name for myself before even getting into the business. What more motivation does one need?

You want to know what I think the problem is?

I’m scared.

There, I said it.

Not scared of doing the work or of what the professors might think, but scared of myself. Of my belief in my own abilities. Or lack thereof. I keep reading all of these things about how writers constantly need to be writing. That they should write 5 ads per day on any products, even if they are all crap. That they should write in a journal constantly. Just to keep their mind focused on work. They say the brain is like any other muscle. It only gets better with practice.

Maybe I needed to get these words out on paper (or a computer screen) to convince myself that these are the types of things I should be doing. That doing my work and actually going the extra mile with everything I do is something that should and needs to be done.

There. Now I feel better. I've suitably pumped myself up. I think I’ll start my work now.

dubs. out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Love is a Beautiful Thing

Since arriving here, my roommates and I have always joked about commissioning a painting of ourselves in order to give our massive living room a bit of a personality. We figured that, as graduate students earning masters degrees, Jim Belishi posters, bongs and stripper poles no longer counted as substantial décor. Plus a large, arrogant portrait gave off precisely the image we intended to exude to our guests.

Lucky for us, Mark Fenske’s assignment this week was to “seduce someone with love.” As it turned out, the partner our dear friend Jen was charged with seducing was my roommate Tristan, and as it turned out even further, the girl could paint. (All Tristan could do was climb a mountain for her. Laaaaaaaame.)

Check out this bad boy:

From left: Jesse Bowen, Jordan Childs, some douchebag, and Tristan Smith. Thompson is there in spirit.

Thank God none of us had to shell out the $250 a-piece for a commissioned picture.

More cash for takeout Chinese, which, even though only about fifteen Chinese people inhabit Richmond, is actually pretty good.

dubs. out.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Across The Universe

A few Adcenter kids mentioned this one to me, and since seeing the trailer I haven't been this excited for a movie to come out in a while.

Superbad doesn't count.

Everybody was excited about that.

Besides, this one seems way more original anyway.

Not to mention it features an entire soundtrack of these dudes.

dubs. out.

The Dream Assignment

Our newest assignment for Visual Storytelling is to concept and shoot a commercial for........................wait for itttt.........

Words can't describe how an assignment like this makes me feel. All my life I have watched TV sponsored by commercials. Half of which were probably beer spots. Half of those were Bud Light. All of which were funny. Check out this somewhat new one for which is probably the most well-written (childish as it is) and comedically-timed beer spot I think I’ve ever seen.

Bud Light is unique in that their creative brief really isn’t a brief at all. They’re unoficial mantra is entertain first, sell second. And they do this by always following a very simple formula, which is actually more like a set of 4 rules (does not apply to the above spot):

1. It must portray Bud Light in a “hero-like” light
2. It must be humorous
3. The punchline or funniest part must be right before the product shot and/or tag
4. Any red-blooded American male (beer-drinker or not) must laugh out loud when he sees it

There's a certain amount of freedom that comes with concepting for a spot like this, which is both good and bad. Because of a lack of strategy or direction, it's an "anything goes" type project, which is sometimes hard to do when our whole education here is based on staying creatively and strategically focused. Regardless, I’m excited to see what my team and I can come up with. Everyone is treating this like the Superbowl, as they should. The pressure is on. And the laughs will certainly follow.

dubs. out.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

So Yesterday Was Pretty Crazy

We had our first Friday Speaker series, now called "Culture Crash," which makes me think more of a bunch of different races battling to the death on the VCU Quad than of a lecture.

Fortunately this was not what happened.

I’ll spare you the details of what the panel spoke and argued about, but I will say that it was extremely interesting and well-done. We got to see some amazing reels of some amazing industry professionals, including the Executive Creative Director who worked on R/GA’s Nike+ account, which just won every major interactive award in the entire f-ing universe. Needless to say, the guy knew what he was talking about.

But he was a distant second to one of the other panel members who was there. I’ll let this image say it all.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen. I got to meet the one and only UPS whiteboard man.

Turns out he’s Andy Azula, one of the creative directors at The Martin Agency, the recent winner of the coveted WalMart account, and a stone's throw away from the Adcenter. You haven’t seen cool until you’ve seen this guy in the flesh.

After telling him that my mother was a huge fan of his, naturally my first question was how the hell did he end up on that commercial. “I’m good at drawing,” he said simply. Yeah. No shit. But you forgot to say 'I also have the sweetest hair. Ever.'

That night, my roommate Jordan, our buddy Ramein and I took a grueling 2 hour drive 5 miles outside of town to the NASCAR Chevy Rock & Roll 400 amidst a jam of pickup trucks and Confederate bumper stickers. Not knowing we were actually going to a Nascar Race, Ramein decided to jump in the car in a crisp white dress shirt covered with a blinding yellow sweater vest. As if his olive Iranian skin tone didn't make him distinct enough. Let's just say we got a few double-takes.

An old girlfriend of Jordan's happened to work for Speed TV, covering all the Nascar races around the country. She and her friend picked us up in a go-cart (we had a need for Speed... God, that was awful), and we got the VIP treatment as they drove us around the grounds outside the track, weaving their way through mullet-wielding, coozie-covered-Bud-heavy-drinking white trash with tight jeans, cutoff tees, and more facial hair than a Magnum P.I. marathon.

As someone who would rather eat broken glass than devote 3 hours of my life to watching rednecks speed around in circles, it was interesting to be exposed to this world that I had never paid any attention to.

I didn’t believe it when told that Nascar was indeed bigger than the NFL, but I have changed my view. This thing is huge. Thousands upon thousands of people going crazy for cars and the people who drive them, complete with more ads, brands and logos than Times Square.

After a failed attempt to pass Ramein off as a visiting dignitary in order to get into the race for free, we drove up to the Speed headquarters, met some people, got a tour, and watched them film a hick, Nascar version of College Gameday, complete with an appearance by the one and only Kyle Petty. The fans went wild.

Who the hell is Kyle Petty?

dubs. out.