Thursday, October 30, 2008

They're... Tooooo Old

In our first semester of Brandcenter, our copywriting professor, Coz used to say we needed to take facts and--creatively--make them our bitch (not in those words).

These do that well.

From JWT New York, Ty Montague and Harvey Marco, they're the best (read: truthful, funny, distinctive) youth voting awareness ads I think I've ever seen.



JWT has been rocking it lately.

dubs. out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Help Momma Vote Right

There are still millions of undecideds out there. Statistically-speaking, most of them are 40 to 60-year-old mothers. Who better to convince them to vote Obama than their own babies?

To make this idea a reality, a few girls from my class (Julie, Kelly & Raquel) created this site along with Mike Lear and some others from the Martin Agency.

It's awesome.

So far the site has gotten 10,000 hits and has received press on Adrants, Digg and Current, which said: "This is a site created by some brilliant college students at Virginia Commonwealth University to help new voters reach out to their mothers about the importance of this election and why they are supporting Senator Obama. It's inspiring to see students with this kind of initiative and creating something so positive. Check it out and please spread the word."

I'm incredibly impressed and immensely jealous they were able to actually do what they said they would, instead of just talking about it like most of us do.

dubs. out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quote of The Week, Krouse Rosenthal – 10/26/08

Think about how refreshing it is to see a movie you can’t stop playing over in your mind. Or read a cartoon that makes you rip it out and tape it to your wall. Or you’re 3 cents short and a stranger just hands it to you. Or you see a commercial that assumes you have a brain.

-Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author

There is nothing in the world more amazing than seeing or experiencing the few things in it that are truly works of genius. Things you are forced to enjoy as you suspend your jealousy and realize that you never could have done them yourself.

I don't believe we should ever be forced to dumb down our work for anyone-- no partners, no creative directors, no agencies, no clients, no public. They deserve to see the best we've got, and they deserve to be challenged and inspired.

dubs. out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Wassup 2008

They said this joke was dead a decade ago.

They were dead wrong.

PUN. Count it.

dubs. out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

In Warm Blood

The cigarette bounces in my trembling hand
And the city stays still below
The third floor deck I’m grasping
With the free one

It’s one of those perfect cloudy days
That gets its perfection from those clouds
Thick and ashen and neverending and beautiful

And we go back together

To a moment before
One of those horrible ones that make you
Sad with the way things happen and
Angry at the way things have to be

A warm squirrel is hugging cold pavement
Slowly inching its way in no particular direction
Half his body victim to a remorseless front right tire

Praying for any other than this exact moment of his life

Misery may love company
But when company’s not an option
Misery panics
Misery wants a way out

Bike skids to a stop
Backpack drops
Girl watches scene unfold

Now misery loves release

Helplessness overpowers me
Overpowers her
Overpowers him
Overpowers us

No cars to flag down for our dirty work
No police to call
No parents to make everything alright

It's just us here

A blue shoe raises
The air parts
A leg muscle holds steady
And releases

Then again
And once more
And the puddle grows

And it lives still

Girl's car is the last option
And my heart heaves
When another tire finishes
What the first didn’t have the guts to do

You want a cigarette, girl commands
And doesn’t ask
As she reaches into a gold purse

I don’t smoke

Only when the beers allow it
Or when the jangled nerves allow it
Or when the innocent squirrels allow it
So yes

Back on the deck
A nicotine-riddled mind reflects on
The only thing in the world worse than death

And sometimes killing is the only moral thing to do.

dubs. out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Quote of The Week, Lubars– 10/19/08

(When you’re looking for a Cannes Grand Prix winner) you're looking for the first time you get kissed. The first time you walk into a baseball stadium holding your dad's hand when you're 7. The first time you use an iPod. The first time you drive by yourself. The first time you have ice cream. The first time you dive off a board. The first time you plug in a guitar. The first time you watch Goodfellas. The first time you hear Miles. The first time you look at a Magritte. Something like that.

-David Lubars, Chairman/CCO, BBDO North America

I wouldn't mind working for this guy someday. And by that, I mean I'd kill to work for this guy someday.

dubs. out.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I’m sitting in a coffeeshop in the middle of Richmond, Virginia.

A few minutes ago, a middle-aged man came up to me outside as I was chaining up my bike. African American. Old sweatshirt. Dirty jeans. Wouldn’t look me in the eye. He tapped me on the shoulder and showed me a small white index card with the following message written in big, block, child-like letters:


I looked up at him and used the second-and-a-half of time I had (for my face to follow my eyes’ lead) to size him up.

This man could be lying to me.

But I knew that if I asked him if he was serious, not only would he not answer me, I might offend him by even suggesting he was scamming. So with no options, I did the only thing I could do. I pulled out my wallet. The only thing in there was a 5. I pulled it out—freeze frame in my mind as I thought twice about it—and handed it to him without saying anything.

He pocketed the bill. Without a change of expression in his face, he put his hand to his heart, held out the card again and pointed to the last sentence at the bottom.


Then he walked away.

This was either one of the neediest people I have ever met, or one of the smartest. Either way, he had $5 I was going to use to get a muffin and an iced tea.

Now I’m hungry and drinking tap water. But half of me feels fulfilled.

The other half feels stupid.

dubs. out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nike “Fate”

This is the kind of ad that makes little kids want to be nasty athletes.

Or advertising copywriters.

Or both.

Notice the shots of both kids falling back laughing onto their beds at the end. That didn't need to be there. The spot would have worked without it. But the thing that has made Nike advertising so memorable over the years has been the seemingly unnecessary little details like this. To me, that's what separates great work from good.

dubs. out.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quote of The Week, Parton, 10/12/08

Approach all work with an online state of mind.

-Paul Parton, Brooklyn Brothers

Paul Parton and Guy Barnett, two of the founding partners of the Manhattan-based shop, The Brooklyn Brothers, are neither brothers nor have been to Brooklyn more than twice, but they've managed to put together an agency that was successful enough to open a second office in London several months ago.

After sharing some drinks with them and hearing them speak at our last Friday Speaker Forum, it's clear their 15-man operation is living proof that bigger isn't better. While they might have a trivial name, their philosophy is anything but. And it shows in their work.

I like keeping an eye on small, boutique shops like these. The ones that don't define themselves as advertising or branding or designing agencies-- just creative. They will, in my opinion, define the future of where the best work will be done. In many cases, it's where it's already happening.

dubs. out.

Vote. For the love of God.

dubs. out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I love making ads. It sounds ridiculous. But I really do.

There’s always that feeling of starting out without any clue. That momentary panic when you’re given an assignment. That ‘oh, shit’ minute.

‘This is it,’ you silently say. ‘This is where everyone’s going to realize the true hack I know I’ve always been. Where the genius I will never become will finally—and thankfully—be exposed.’

But part of you thinks something else.

Part of you thinks about what you could do. The anticipation of doing what’s been done by no one before you and conceivably, by no one after you.

And that’s the part I love.

Could this be the one that defines my career? The one that people will see and get excited about and remember and love? Could this be the one that inspires someone to do something they’ve always wanted to do and never have? Buy a product they’ve never bought that will change their life? Get involved in a cause they’ve always felt strongly about and never realized?

Could this be the one that makes someone see some aspect about the world in an entirely new and different and amazingly optimistic way that makes him or her think, ‘Man, that is so right on. That’s how I see things, too. I just never knew it.’

I love how advertising makes the mundane seem extraordinary. How it forces you to see the wonder in literally everything that exists. This wonder can make train transport remarkable, multivitamins incredible, insurance unbelievable.

I love that there’s a certain amount of fear in this business. But I love even more the pride. Because pride is where the fear comes from. It’s worth more than the money and the fame and the toys. It can’t be shown off on your wrist or backed out of a garage or sipped from a glass.

Pride is what keeps you working two days straight not because of a paycheck or a promotion or an awards show, but because you truly want to make it great for no one but you. It’s knowing you’ve figured out and created something no one out of 6 billion ever could.

It’s someone coming up to you and telling you your work touched them. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced what that feels like, but I know this much.

It's worth caring about.

dubs. out.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Got this from a friend of a friend. Who I suppose is now a friend.

Wish I thought of this.

dubs. out.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quote of The Week, Riswold– 10/5/08

Most advertising strives for nothing more than to be ‘not wrong.’

-Jim Riswold, former CD, Wieden + Kennedy

Jim Riswold, in the words of Mark Fenske, "is the greatest American copywriter alive today." Three years ago, after being diagnosed with leukemia, he had a low chance of still being alive.

But on Monday at noon, students at the VCU Brandcenter got to see him in the flesh to hear him speak about triumphing over that tribulation. A few of us went out for drinks with him and Fenske the night before, and it was an amazing experience to say the least. Halfway through the night, while I was urinating my second beer, I remember looking at the wall in front of me and letting it finally hit me. I was having drinks with the man who made Nike Nike, the one brand that is undisputably put on a pedestal by every single ad professor I've ever had, almost to the point of annoyance. He was the unveiler of the most famous tagline ever created, and the inventor of postmodern advertising, which even the inventor himself doesn't know "what the fuck that is."

Riswold created the Mars Blackmon campaign, Charles Barkley's "I Am Not a Role Model," a bunch of Tiger Woods commercials, including "I am Tiger Woods" and "Hello World," the "Bo Knows" campaign, and a slew of MJ spots, to name just a few.

Most of the people sitting at that table, at one time or another, had a Nike poster taped up in their room that he wrote. We grew up amidst what this guy spewed from his brilliant brain. What spewed from his brilliant brain influenced us, and most likely contributed to why many of us were in ad school to begin with.

But that's another blog post entirely.

After being diagnosed with leukemia, having worked at Wieden for more than 20 years, working amongst, under and over some of the best creatives in the entire world, he decided to retire to follow his other passion: creating, in his words, "bad art." It's controversial and tasteless and hilarious and sensational and genius all wrapped together. He's truly one of a kind, and I feel honored to have met him.

To see is work, visit Jim Riswold Dot Com. And turn up the volume on your computer speakers.

dubs. out.,

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bumper Sticker Hell

My roommate, Jordan and I were getting into his car to drive somewhere last week, and as we were pulling out of the spot, I noticed that the car in front of us had two Hanna Montana bumper stickers on it. This got me thinking about all the awful, meaningless shit people put on their cars.

Um. What?

Jesus thinks you're an asshole too, amigo.

How bout no, Scott.

I'd rather I were not behind you.

Lady, you're scarin' us.

There is no real reason why you need to tell us this other than to show how funny you are. Problem is, it's not funny.

Oh, puns and threats.

You are not worth understanding.

That's very mature of you.

You would.

When the tough go drinking at Whitey's, the tough get DUIs.

You're awful at life.

I hate you.

dubs. out.