Friday, November 30, 2007

The Future's Looking Bright

Was reading recently about the Boston-based shop Modernista!, which sounds like a pretty amazing place. Not just the mastermind behind Hummer’s “Big Race,” Cadillac’s “Life Liberty and The Pursuit,” and the MTV “We’re watching” campaign, the agency has redefined and basically characterized what agencies of the future are and will be doing.

At least if they want to stay in business in the future.

As an example, their new music video for U2’s “Windows in The Skies” is nothing short of fantastic.

Slightly reminiscent of the Apple “Crazy Ones” spot in the late 90’s. But with an entirely different agenda.

My personal favorite is the shot of Elvis at 2:47. Wonderful.

Needless to say, this must have taken quite a bit of man-hours. A lot of searching. Editing. Frustration. But it must have also been an extremely amazing feeling to be working on something like this. These are the types of projects I would enjoy. And these are the types of projects where I believe our industry’s talents will be sought in the future.

Hugh MacLeod, the famed brand consultant/copywriter/cartoonist, said it best: "Thought: the future of advertising is clients increasingly asking their agencies to help re-invent not just their brands, but their actual companies. The future is agencies being increasingly unable to deliver on this. Out of this wreckage a new industry will emerge."

Better start paying more attention to Final Cut.

dubs. out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

There’s no Hypocrisy in Advertising!

A great deal of commotion is being made over Dove’s viral Campaign For Real Beauty, specifically their “Onslaught” video, which urges parents to talk to their daughters about their bodies “before the beauty industry does.”

What, you might ask, could possibly be wrong with taking a stand against an industry that has perpetuated decades of unhealthy weight loss, unattainably-perfect bodies, plastic surgery, eating disorders and low self esteem?

The problem is that Dove is owned by Unilever. Unilever also markets Axe. Axe does just about everything in their commercials that Dove is against.

It’s almost like those lame Coke spots where they are threatening to sue themselves. Only here it’s for real. Minus the lawsuit.

PR people have nightmares about things like this.

And now the adapted version:

Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do.

dubs. out.

Quote of the Week, Schenck - 11/25/07

I often slack while writing this blog. Sometimes I'll post 3 times in 3 days, sometimes I'll post once in 3 weeks.

Basically, I only write when I have something to say.

In other words, “reliably prolific” might not be a good way to describe me.

In any event, to combat this and get at least something out every week, I'm going to start posting a "Quote of the Week" on Sunday nights. Some quotes may be recent. Some old. Some funny. Some serious. Some wonderful. Some cliché.

Some in between.

This first one was found in the CA Interactive Annual's advertising column, addressed to students of advertising.

I could have sworn the entire thing was written for my classmates and I. Particularly this paragraph.

“I know that no matter how monstrous your talent, no matter your adeptness with concepts, your adroitness with words, with pictures, with illustrations and type, with composition and light, plot and dialogue and Final Cut Pro, no matter how much you have learned from the Fenskes and the Helms and all the other creative masters who have gone before you, it will mean nothing—no, it will mean less than nothing—if you do not love this work with all its pain and glory.”

-Ernie Schenck

dubs. out.

Hilarious. Interactive.

Phillips has finally done it, and produced the best interactive site I've seen in recent years. As someone who is (to my own detriment) vehemently against most online tutorials, games and shenanigans, this one struck me as both intelligent and effective—especially in dealing with such a prickly subject (BOOOOYAH for the pun).

Not to mention, it's funny as hell.

3 million unique hits. One simple idea. The sharpest writing I’ve seen online yet. All from the New York office of Tribal DDB.

Yes its humor thrives off immaturity and bleeps, but does that make it any less funny or outstanding?

If you’re a 22 to 35-year-old man, does it make you not want to buy this razor?

If you're going to hawk razors to trim your privates, why not have a little fun with it?

Humor doesn't sell. Smart humor does.

dubs. out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Quick. Go Get Some Tissues.

Spot #4. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

We received several angry pro-gun responses which we had to delete due to their language and ridiculousness. We also had to block 2 particularly angry people from posting.

Riling people up is a good thing.

Now let's actually get rid of the guns.

Other credits:

AD & Editor: Raquel Giminez
AD: Brook Miller
CW: James Wood

dubs. out.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

For a Cheap Laugh...

Supposedly these videos were made by the funniest writer at the Martin Agency. I don't doubt it.

Short. Childish. Brilliant.


Now grow up.

Just kidding. Don't ever do that. Seriously.

dubs. out.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Up Close and Personal

We attend a school located a half block from one of the most famed, awarded and talked about advertising agencies on the planet. I have walked or driven past it ever single day for the past 3 months. I have concepted on their patio, drank coffee on their steps, and sketchily peered inside their lobby on several occasions. (The security guards don’t like that).

Today, ten other Adcenter students and myself were able to take a tour of the Martin Agency, led by a man whose name I have seen sprinkled around Comm Arts Ad Annuals over the past few years. (If you get the chance, check out his 2005 work for The Onion. Wonderful.)

Mike Lear, it turns out, is not the eccentric, 50-year old gray-haired ad legend genius that I always pictured. He doesn't, in fact, look a day over 30. He looks like guys I went to college with. He doesn't have a plush corner office, but instead works at a cubicle by a window. He gets excited over his hilarious, homemade YouTube videos. He also happens to have been lucky and talented enough to be incredibly successful doing what he truly loves.

The experience today as well as the experiences I have had so far at this school have really changed the way I view the ad world and its innovators. Who are these “Advertising Giants” that we are so in awe of? Why do we get so thunderstruck by their presence? Why do we think they're so different from us just becuse they have columns in CA, articles about them in AdAge, and have graced the covers of Creativity?

As Professor Peter Coughter wrote once to his students, "Nobody knows what they're doing (in this business). You just happen to be younger and not know what you're doing."

Since coming to the Adcenter I have been yelled at by Coz Cotzias, had a beer or six with Mark Fenske, watched Bob Greenberg take a phone call, stared at Mike Hughes, played ping pong 8 feet from Rick Boyko’s desk, studied Brian Collins’ facial expressions, pitched TV concepts to Wayne Gibson, talked football with Charles Hall, complimented Andy Azula on his hair, seen Jim Nelson conduct a client meeting, listened to Jeff Weiss make redundant comments, watched girls cream over Nick Law, and tried not to make eye contact while passing Cabel Harris in the hallway.

Every single one of these people I had heard of, read about and emulated before coming to Adcenter. That emulation has not decreased.

The rock star mentality has.

Walking around with Mike, listening to him talk about the industry and his stories really brought things back into perspective. All these people—these amazingly talented individuals with their seemingly surreal lives—are just that.

They’re just people.

They’re the same as you and I.

In many ways they're no different than incredibly intelligent, witty and successful accountants. Accountants whose work is constantly on display to the entire world.

At the end of the day, it's just their job.

With every "famous" person I meet and see, I am constantly in awe not of their achievements, but of their humility. Each encounter serves to constantly remind me that staying humble gets more and more important the more successful one gets. It serves to remind me that we are all the same, more or less, and that we all have to start somewhere.

I hope I will be that humble someday.

And I hope to God I'll reach that point in my life and career when staying humble becomes that much more important.

dubs. out.

Monday, November 12, 2007

If Microsoft Had Created The iPod

Clearly we take brands for granted.

This goes for agencies as well. What would another shop have done if Geico had been their client instead of Martin?

I can almost guarantee that pissed off cavemen wouldn't have been it.

dubs. out.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Saving the World From Its Surely Imminent Doom?

My writing partner, Charles, recently lent me one of Charles Bukowski’s books, the autobiographical The Captain is Out to Lunch and The Sailors Have Taken Over The Ship. Wonderful read. Highly recommend it. Was reading it the other day and although I get caught up in most of what Bukowski writes, I was particularly fixated on this sentence:

“The whole world is a sack of shit ripping open. I can’t save it.”

This really made me wonder. While I don't believe the world is a "sack of shit" per se, it brought to light, up out of my sub-consciousness the feeling that the world is in many ways a pretty awful place nowadays. Not that it’s entirely bad, of course, but like we all know, there are some major problems.

I suppose this was just a culmination that topped off a lot of things I have seen and experienced lately.

In one of Fenske’s first creative thinking class assignments, an art director brought in a piece that she painted. It was a baby boy’s face, with rusting barbed wire over it in the foreground. Her reasoning: She didn’t think that it was right to bring a child into this word the way it is today. I didn’t think much of it at the time. If anything, I just thought it was an interesting piece.

In Don Just’s class last week, each of the eight groups were told to come up with five solutions to problems going on around the world, ranging from curbing global warming to stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa. My group was charged with coming up with five ways to control illegal immigration. Not a fun assignment. It just served to add to the already overwhelming feeling I think most people my age have about the future of this country and of our world entirely.

This morning’s speaker, however, made me think a little differently. Stephen Greene, the CEO of Rock Corps, a for-profit organization that uses the power of music to get teens to volunteer in and around their communities, gave a moving lecture about the power that we as advertisers and media people have on impacting change in the world.

Through the Rock Corps program, funded by Boost Mobile, for 4 hours of volunteer work, kids are given a ticket to a concert for such big acts as Korn, The Game, T.I., Nelly, Panic! At The Disco, Young Jeezy, Ludacris and Busta Rhymes, among a growing list of others.

You cannot buy a ticket.

You cannot win a ticket.

You must earn a ticket.

What a novel concept.

And what an amazing way to live one’s life.

To not only pull in a comfortable salary and promote music and social action, but to be able to do what you truly love and make a difference in this world as your day-job.

The Government, he said, is not going to help. It’s up to corporations like Boost and up to influencers like us to be the difference-makers in this world and to get things done. To get the problems solved.

It was an amazing thing, to see someone with such high principles and standards for his organization, someone refusing to cut corners. Although it sounds trite and expected, I was most impressed when Mr. Greene, after being asked if he ever considered joining up with a record label in order to make it easier to book acts, replied that he wanted the artists themselves to be into the project. He didn’t want a band doing a concert simply for promotional reasons or because they felt they “had to” for their image or because they were under contract. He wanted bands like Korn, that had heard about the program and actually sought them out themselves as a way to facilitate the change they wanted to see.

Programs such as these, I believe, are going to be the real movers and shakers when it comes time to get the world’s problems in order.

It remains to be seen how we as the next generation of advertisers choose to use our talents in the future. As of now, I am already starting to see young creative professionals beginning to find ways to change/help the world. One such place is, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing young, bright, creative people together in order to do good and promote social change.

According to their website:

"As young creative beings, we have millions of hours of brainpower waiting to be tapped and thousands of arms waiting to build a difference together. we possess a global awareness – an active and informed opinion on the major issues of the day. we have a stake in improving our communities and exercising a powerful voice that can make a difference.

yet there is an overwhelming amount of appealing options out there and for many of us ‘changing the world’ isn’t one of them. it’s not that we don’t care; we don’t think we have the time to care.

we need a community, or rallying point, to drag us out of our comfort zones, connect us, and get us inspired and involved. we need activities and accessible forums that allow us to express our ideas and utilize our talents to affect change. we can all make an impact if we work together despite our full time jobs and busy social schedules. we can all become social entrepreneurs. working and thinking together, we can make much needed improvements."

As one Adcenter professor, Charles Hall, said, many students, after experiencing 2 years of ad school, become fed up with the ridiculousness of what the business really is and instead want to use their talents to make a difference.

2 years? How about 2 months.

Is the selling of McDonald’s Big Macs and Nike sneakers where our talents truly lie?

Will any of that reverse global warming? Or stop the spread of AIDS? Or end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Or promote free trade? Or shelter the homeless? Or end racism? Or end terrorism? Or clean up our communities? Or clean up our politics? Or make sure every American can read by the age of 18? Or end gun violence? Or make sure we have social security in 40 years? Or rebuild New Orleans?

Will any of that make the world a better place?

Are enough people willing to sacrifice their ambitions in order to be the difference between immenent doom and a world that one actually wants to raise children in?

Am I willing?

Are you?

dubs. out.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Oh, what the hell...

Commercial #3. Wachovia Retirement Funds.

Far from brilliant, but not terrible (besides the talentless hack doing the voiceover).

You be the judge.

Other credits:

AD & Editor: Jesse Bowen
AD: Julia Melograna
CW: Jared Davis

dubs. out.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A 4-Minute and 45-Second Experiment

We were in visual storytelling class watching commercial reels last Wednesday. I happened to hear a Massive Attack song over a spot I enjoyed and decided to go find it. What I found on YouTube was a little more than I expected.

I'd like to try the following experiment with you in order to prove a point. It involves abortion but in no way am I trying to make any sort of statement in that regard one way or another. Just to get that part out of the way, I am pro-choice.

Think in your mind whether or not you believe in abortion.

Are you pro-life?

Are you pro-choice?

Are you somewhere in between?

Now watch this music video. Try not to get freaked out.

Are you still pro-life? Are you still pro-choice? Did your feelings change? Did they change a little?

Go back and pause it at 3:27.

How about now?

It's pretty wild what music and images, working seamlessly together, can do to the human psyche. They have quite an effect on us, even when they are apparently doing nothing to try to convince us of anything. More than we'd care to admit, at least.

Persuasion is a crazy game, man.

And these are crazy times.

dubs. out.