Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quote of The Week, Granger – 9/28/08

My personal mission and mantra is ‘Life is too short to be mediocre.’ I don’t want to get up in the morning and go ‘Hey! Today I’m going to be mediocre!’ I want people around me who are on a mission to be the best and to be famous.

-Tony Granger, CCO, Y&R NY

I keep Tony's mantra over my desk, so I have to see it every day. Forcing yourself to look at something subjective yet true makes it hard to do shitty work.

dubs. out.

The Other Side

In one month, the video below has gotten nearly 10 million hits on YouTube. It has been nearly that entire time without a proper comeback, so long so that we had actually written and planned to shoot one ourselves. Someone beat us to it, and did a better job than we ever could have.

The original:

The comeback:

Clearly McCain doesn't own the military vote. Let's get this one 10 million hits, too.

dubs. out.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I was wondering when something like this would finally happen. Welcome to the "Save The World Contest." $10 million up for grants.

Of course it's Google's idea.

dubs. out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quote of The Week, Schenck - 9/21/08

We all want to do inspired amazing work. We all want to move up the ladder. We all want to be adored at Cannes. Idolized in the One Show. See our names emblazoned on the pages of Communication Arts and Lurzer’s,. Get the big glass office. Get the big promotion. Get the big everything. Fell the grin on our face the first day we pull out of the Audi dealership in our new R8. All that’s cool. All that’s fine. But if one day, while you’re waiting in South Africa to board your flight to Tokyo and you get a text from your daughter saying that she did great in her ballet recital and don’t worry mommy took some pictures for you, don’t be surprised if you find yourself asking: Why did I (want this)?

-Ernie Schenck, CD, Hill Holiday, Boston

Be careful what you wish for.

dubs. out.

A Beautiful Moment Ruined

Tonight marked the last game in Yankee Stadium’s storied 85-year history. After a full Sunday of meetings, my roommates and I were able to get back to the house in time to catch the last 2 ½ innings and the postgame hooplah.

I was never a crazed baseball fan like many of my friends, but as a lifelong New Yorker I always enjoyed seeing the Yankees win, I always admired their history and tradition, and I always loved being in their house.

It was an emotional half hour. The kind you watch live and know that you’re one of millions out there seeing and thinking the same things. You know you’re seeing something special that will be viewed again and again and talked about for years to come.

You know it’s something special when Mariano Rivera enters the field for the last time silhouetted amidst several thousand flashing bulbs. You know it's something special when the announcers don’t speak for two straight minutes, giving viewers those rare, unblemished moments in sports where you can hear what what an excited crowd sounds like when two men aren’t trying to talk over it.

At one point after the game, as the team made their final lap around the perimeter of the outfield, the shots being beamed into our house were of cameras catching crying and clapping fans around the stadium. My favorite: A boy who couldn't have been more than 8-years old who looked like he was on that verge between tears and of being completely fine. Someone who was not alive in the 20th Century looked to me like he was about a fleeting glance of Derek Jeter away from breaking down and weeping.

One of the other images the cameras picked up was a young couple silently embraced in one of the upper decks. She had her head cocked, sobbing as she looked out onto the field. He had one arm draped over her, expressionless, looking down at his cellphone, furiously punching in something with his thumbs. It could have been one of those stunning, truthful moments that etch itself into your mind-- like the picture of that sailor who came back from World War II and kissed that woman in Times Square (my friend's grandmother as it turns out).

But instead, a cellphone ruined it. Technology ruined it. This future we’re all living in ruined it.

There was no one texting or calling with their cellphones 53 years ago. Even 20 years ago, would we have seen this same moment ruined by someone checking their beeper?

For one of our classes, we’re required to write something about culture each week. It could be anything. This week, I've decided to document the death of pure, untarnished emotion, by stating the following truth we just witnessed:

A beautiful moment in history was marred tonight by the spoils of the future.

dubs. out.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quote of The Week, Kalman - 9/14/08

Good designers (and writers and artists) make trouble.

-Tibor Kalman

Today, several of my classmates and I were given the real-world opportunity of a lifetime by some of the most famous and powerful people in the advertising industry.

The assignment: Get Barack Obama into the White House.

The assignment: change and shake up the very foundation that traditional American politics is based on. It's to get a man into office that will, years from now, when children that aren't even born yet open their textbooks to this era, hopefully prove that 2008 was the crossroads of time for this country and for this world, and that by changing how we choose, we made the right choice.

The assignment is, in essence, to make trouble.

dubs. out.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Was perusing this morning, and stumbled on the following lead story: Big Bang Experiment Creates Excitement, Fear. Even if understanding most of science is beyond your comprehension (as it is mine) you can't be a citizen of this world and not be intrigued by a headline like that.

The story is about the team of scientists, working underground, 300 feet beneath Geneva Switzerland, that has created the first Large Hadron Collider. Aside from being one of the most expensive ($10 B) and ambitious scientific experiments ever, the Colider is being dubbed "the most advanced and complex machine ever built in the history of mankind."

They plan to turn it on 2 days from now, on September 10th.

During one of the videos the team made, the voiceover says the following: "Please don't turn off your television. Because if you do that, it's... like turning off your television when man landed on the moon. Really."

Okay, guys. You've got my attention.

Since the science is way over my head, this video can explain it better than I ever could.

They even made a rap about it.

"I think we are on the verge of a revolution in our understanding of the universe," says one of the scientists. "The LHC is by far the biggest jump into the unknown."

When I was little, I thought that adults knew everything about everything. Having grown up since then, it's been times like these along the way that have suited to keep me constantly reminded that no one knows anything about anything.

It's times like these that make life exciting, to know that you're living while there's this momentous occasion in history unfolding as you breathe. But some aren't so excited. They think the LHC might tear the fabric of space time and thus destroy the universe in a flash, or create a black hole that eats the whole world:

The truth remains to be seen this Wednesday. If we're all still here, I'll post again.

dubs. out.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quote of The Week, Palmer – 9/7/08

It’s a great time to get into advertising because people are in a panic, and they’re open to new ideas.

-Benjamin Palmer, CEO, Barbarian Group

Benjamin Palmer and his partner, Rick Webb came to speak at our Friday Forum last week. It started out slow, but when the guys got into some of the web stuff they've done (including Subservient Chicken, and CNN t-shirts) it was clear that there was this electricity in the air, the kind that happens when you know everyone around you is feeling inspired. It's those magic moments that you wish were constantly happening, when you see and/or hear something that motivates and stimulates you. A lesson from a teacher, a lecture from a speaker, something in a book or video, anything that makes you want to bust out of the doors and create something cool. It felt like a more tangible version of the word 'possibilities.'

When Benjamin said the quote above, I wrote it down feverishly. Because although I already knew it in the back of my mind, I had never heard it put quite so bluntly. I never realized how true it really was.

It's become sort of a cliché in the industry because everyone always says it, but people really are scared. As far as advertising goes, especially with technology and innovation moving at the pace it is, they're open to literally anything they can use. Clients, agencies, Creative Directors, whoever. Everyone wants to know what the next big thing is. What the next crazy way the web can be shaped and molded to sell something to someone. Or what the next crazy way something off the web can be shaped and molded to sell something to someone.

People just want to know what's possible. And whether it comes from some 35-year-old flash developer/VP or some punk 24-year-old ad school student with a head full of what hasn't been done before, if it's cool, people want it.

dubs. out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Brand(,) You(?)

A few of us spent Labor Day at Virginia Beach. On the way back, we stopped at Prime Outlets in Williamsburg. While uncomfortably trying on a blue cardigan sweater in J. Crew I made a joke that, “wearing this wouldn’t be on strategy for the Jake Dubs brand.” An advertising joke.


We got in the car and began the drive back to Richmond. I leaned my face against the glass and looked up at the star-riddled sky.

Written on my portfolio professor, Charles Hall’s business card is the following:

when lovers stop flirting
and partners stop listening
when boyfriends stop calling
and girlfriends stop kissing
when husbands stop touching
and wives stop feeling
when people stop communicating
people have affairs.

brands are people too.

I always liked it put that way, but let's flip it.

People are brands, too.

As a person, you are your own brand. Everything you do must be on strategy as to what it is you are trying to do in your life. Everything you do must be on strategy as to what makes you different and unique and better. What's your USP?

From any one moment we can be a million different things at once, any one of them representing who we are and what's important to us at that particular moment. A racquetball player, a student, a leader, a lover, a hater, a nice guy, a smart guy, a cool guy, involved, apathetic, girl-crazy, money-crazy, crazy-crazy, someone who wants to have a family, someone who wants to change the world, someone who wants to sell multivitamins.

But who you are overall is what really matters. All of those moments put together to create that one big moment that is your life is what really matters.

Taking risks in your life is the same as taking risks for a brand, as far as I'm concerned. Analogously, as putting money into a different new proposition for a brand could be risky, so to is putting yourself in jeopardy when you put time and effort into doing something different.

Similar to spending a half million dollars to put fire-juggling clowns atop the Chrysler Building for Commerce Bank, you could be taking a year of your professional life to backpack India in order to broaden your horizons. In my opinion, there’s no difference between the two.

The only questions are, will shelling out half a million to put fire-juggling clowns atop the Chrysler Building get people to switch to Commerce Bank? Will taking a year of your professional life to backpack India really broaden your horizons and make you a better professional and person? Is either one right for the brand, or just a stupid figment of your imagination, off-strategy, and an unnecessary risk?

I realized that at this school--and in this industry--it's all about taking risks and putting out work that is different and provocative and new. Which is fantastic. But everything we do still needs to be smart and calculated. We need to start thinking of the brands we work on as ourselves, or at the very least, brands we own. By putting ourselves in these shoes, it forces us to think calculated and smart, rather than risky and half-baked just because we can.

In the same way you are your own brand, your book is your brand's ads. Everything in there is working towards showing off who you are and what you stand for. And to create it, I think it's important to remember you are always working for yourself (especially when you're in school). It’s not for your teachers or your client or your agency or your Creative Director.

It's all for you.

dubs. out.