Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You’ll Either Laugh at This or Want to Slap Me. Or Both.

One of our friends Meagan, a strategy student, accidentally found this when she did a google search for a project.

It was created in '99 by the now defunct Portland shop, Elvis and Bonaparte for an awards event where each year an agency is asked to do a spot parodying the industry.

This wonderful, raunchy, ridiculous piece is what they came up with.

I hope you just laugh.

dubs. out.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Quote of The Week, Monahan – 1/27/08

"To be creative means you are forever stepping into the dark, unchartered unknown. That place I affectionately call ‘The Void.’ Few of us operate in ‘The Great Void,’ where Einstein, da Vinci, Picasso and other masters played. But when we aim to do something truly creative, something the likes of which has never been done before, that means we are approaching The Void, or at least putting one foot in it. When you’re in or near The Void you’re where no one’s ever been, so you simply have little or no known criteria to evaluate how good it is. And that’s a good sign."

-Tom Monahan

Right now I’m reading Tom’s book, The Do-It-Yourself Lobotomy, and (as Coz says) ‘I gotta tell ya,’ this guy knows his shit.

My desktop background is the following image:

In many ways I have it there because of this quote. To me, it’s a perfect representation of what I think advertising is. My views are similar to Tom’s, but I prefer the use of a different metaphor. (Every ad person I have ever met loves metaphors).

I believe that we’re all in a dark, endless forest, each stepping forward at his or her own pace. Each feeling around for something, looking for a little bit of light ahead.

No one knows what advertising really is or what it will become.

Everyone only knows what it was, what’s been done before and repeated and done again in the past. If you were to turn around in this forest, the light would shine brightly on all that came before you. The second you turn back, it’s dark again on all sides.

But sometimes, in our moments of temporary brilliantness, when we stop thinking of how to make an ad that looks and feels like every one before it and end up doing something truly original, the light pokes through and illuminates our clearing. For the briefest of time you can look around. You can even see ahead a ways at all the neverending bright patches, the neverending ways of doing things, of solving these problems. You can see what this business is and will become.

The only way to do this, however, is to be a part of what this business is and will become.

dubs. out.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Hate It Or Love It

Ours is an extremely subjective business. All the great ones are.

Nowhere is this illustrated more clearly than in the opinions of what actual work people like or dislike. This gets particularly difficult when dealing with the opinions of different professors.

God himself could write an ad, and sure enough, someone out there won’t like it.

In the end, they all say, it’s what you think that really matters.

One of the art directors, J.D. Humphreys and I seem to differ greatly in this regard. Publishing his “Top 10” list of what he feels are the best ads/campaigns from this year’s CA Ad Annual in his blog (Tristan has one, too), I found it incredible that we agreed on practically nothing (except Smirnoff, of course).

And I made sure to make sure he knew.

So I decided to send him my own list, arrogantly and (in my opinion) aptly titled, “The Definition of Taste:”

1. Smirnoff “Tea Partay,” BBH, NY
2. Delta Blues Museum, Lawler Ballard Van Durand, Atlanta
3. Skittles (brand book and print), TBWA/Chiat/Day, NY
4. MTV “Ricky Martin,” Y&R, Argentina
5. US Tennis Association, Hill/Hoiday, NY
6. Liberty Mutual, Hill/Holiday, Boston
7. Bud Light “Swear Jar,” DDB, Chicago
8. Dark Chocolate Altoids, Leo Burnett, Chicago
9. Mount Sinai Medical Center (radio), Devito/Verdi, NY
10. Buffalo Wild Wings, 22 Squared, Atlanta

Now then.

Here's to homies on lock for insider trading...

For anyone who has their own, I’d love to see it.

dubs. out.

Monday, January 21, 2008

180-Degree Thinking

A college buddy sent me this montage of Ameriquest commercials. Yes they're a bit old in advertising years (3), but they no doubt attack the business problem from an angle that would be absolutely uncanny in earlier days.

And in today's media-saturated, blitzed and bombarded culture, doing the unexpected and hilarious for something as boring and confusing as a mortgage company is absolutely necessary.

The cat one made me laugh out loud.

Our newest assignment is for WeAreEllisIsland.org. It's a website dedicated to raising funds to repair and restore 30 decrepit buildings on Ellis Island's South Side, abandoned for more than half a century.

My art director partner Chris and I—from the very beginning—knew that we wanted to do something different for this one. While we wanted to take an emotional stance (it's the most important U.S. landmark in the ancestral roots of nearly 40% of Americans), we wanted to do so in a way that wasn't what you'd expect to see. We wanted to do something surprising. Something that would make people take a look at their lives and stop taking their American heritage for granted.

Easier said than done.

While in the first couple of days we were able to hash out a few nice (but expected) lines and executions, we are still working at trying to do so in a way that will be completely different, yet at the same time smart, clear, and cool.

Stay tuned.

dubs. out.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Quote of The Week, MacLeod - 1/20/08

In order to navigate The New Realities you have to be creative—not just within your particular profession, but in EVERYTHING. Your way of looking at the world will need to become ever more fertile and original. And this isn’t just true for artists, writers, techies, Creative Directors and CEO’s; this it true for EVERYBODY. Janitors, receptionists and bus drivers, too. The game has just been ratcheted up a notch. The old ways are dead. And you need people around you who concur. That means hanging out more with the creative people more, the freaks, the real visionaries, than you’re already doing . . . Avoid the dullards; avoid the folk who play it safe. They can’t help you anymore. Their stability model no longer offers that much stability. They are extinct. They are extinction.

-Hugh MacLeod, brand consultant/copywriter/cartoonist

For an interesting take on life, advertising, brands, cartoons on the back of buisiness cards, and everything in between, check out Hugh's blog here.

dubs. out.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Name, Same Game

Yes, it’s true. The Adcenter is no more.

Some people are mad at the name change to Brandcenter. Others are simply mad that students weren’t consulted in designing the new building, site (I was told R/GA did it free) or logo (from David Hartman), or in coming up with the new name.

While the building, site and logo are entirely different, irrelevant issues, I am completely fine with and excited about all four.

Advertising hasn’t been about “traditional advertising” for at least the past 10+ years. It hasn’t been just TV spots, print work or even the web. It has been a holistic, integrated, who’s-gonna-think-of-the-next-cool-way-to-build-this-brand-into-a-powerhouse business. It has been a how-can-we-make-this-piece-of-thinking-into-not-an-ad business. It has been an I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-your-idea-is-as-long-as-it-pushes-things-forward business. It’s been a business that’s been teetering on the edge of change, of what is possible. Of what’s new. Of what’s different.

Basically, it’s been all about the changing nature of brands and what a brand is. And it always has been.

Adcenter’s just the first to actually embrace it with a name.

2008, it seems, is going to be a whole new year for us, but only in the physical sense:

New logo. New Clive Wilkinson-designed building. New website. New promotional videos series. New Creativity article. New Ad Age article. New comfortable chairs. New sundeck. New skylights. New unstained carpets. New un-love-stained couches. New door-less faculty offices. New bathrooms that don’t require key card swipe-ins. New pong table. New foosball table. New neon-colored floors. New Bayside High-style lockers. New showers. New ridiculous, canopied conference room. New oddly-shaped, unnecessarily huge cement table.

Same game.

dubs. out.

For Anyone Who's Ever Taken Facebook For Granted

Mark Zuckerberg: The 60 Minutes Interview

Part I:

Part II:

"This is why so many feel the site is so addictive: In a world with no cellphone or e-mail directories, Facebook has become a way to find lost friends."

Mark's only 3 months older than me.

And from Westchester, NY.

And has brown hair. Sorta.

We're practically the same person.

Except he's worth $3 billion.

Keep your eyes on the moves he makes. If anyone has the power to change your and my world, it's this dude.

dubs. out.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

In Limbo

I’m on a rollercoaster. But not one with the corkscrew loops and crazy upside-down shenanigans. It’s one of those Universal Studios, Jurassic Park The Ride-style free-falls.

Uh-oh. Lame metaphor time.

This past semester was a long, winding riverboat ride through empty, overgrown Jurassic Park sets. We roll along and it’s scary, exciting, wet. Sometimes the dinosaurs spit water in our faces.

We finally get to a long, steep tunnel. We look up at it. First semester is over.

Winter break begins. The boat clasps into the grate and climbs, slowly chugging its way to the top. We are together, yet we are all alone in this dark, each back in his or her own little world. For this month-long climb we are apart, our thoughts able to go off wildly from the same ones we all think when in school. The boat climbs higher.

We reach the top. We return to Richmond.

The boat hits an even patch and sloshes forward. The light from the real world slowly makes its way across our faces and stares us down.

For a couple of seconds everything feels suspended. Friday passes. Saturday. Sunday.

Everyone knows what's about to happen. No one knows what's about to happen.

Exciting shivers run up bewildered spines.

In the rear of the raft, a gangly art director leans back, grabs an imaginary oar, and in his deepest voice, shouts out the following:

“Here we go.”

Someone screams.

Monday begins.

dubs. out.