"The Rogue MBA Program"

It started as a brief mention in Conde' Nast Portfolio, now the Creative Brand Management track at the Brandcenter is beginning to get head nods...

Virginia Business Magazine

It hits home...

This represents our crisis finally trickling down to touch those of us previously unaffected or invincible to our crumbling economy. This ad speaks to me in a number of ways.

1. Wachovia just handed their business over to WPP. This is an example of the work that came out assuring customers their money was safe with a bank that knew how to navigate the tumultuous landscapes of changing economies. Wrong.

2. Wachovia was just purchased by Citigroup. No doubt very soon I will be a card carrying Citibank customer and one of our most prominent financial institutions will cease to be. Wachovia will be vapor.

Relevant Cinema #1

Best case scenario.

What we'd all love to hear coming into our business and at one point was a genuine possibility.

Diesel's Throwing a Party

The students in my Intro to Ad lab showed me this little gem.

(Warning- this is extremely graphic content, except the exact opposite)
The Invitation

After much debate among my peers, we've deduced not all the footage is actually 70's adult film. There's just something brilliant about this piece that I can't quite put my finger in...on, I meant on.

One comment from a Youtube viewer:

ShEiKyErButTi (5 hours ago)
"now, who said that advertising isn't an art form?"

Face Cookers


Tuesday, September 17th 2008. The National. Richmond, VA


The post rock band from Glasgow put on quite the performance. Worth taking a listen to.


Openers "Fuck Buttons" put on quite a spectacle as well.

A lovely afternoon at the Museum

A missed assignment lead me to one of the nicest afternoons I've had in some time. I got my mind in the right place, made an Explosions in the Sky playlist and biked over to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for afternoon of solitary observation and contemplation.

Some of my favorites are below:

"Three sisters" by Jean Atoine Laurent- the personalities of each are brought to life extraordinarily well. Each has an agenda, an approach to life and a distinct personality.

"Goat path" by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot. The scene is calming. There are two goats in the picture in which the shepherd doesn't seem to worry for. The scene's colors are muted to give the impression of late afternoon, early evening.

Bridge by Monet. Attention to detail on the under-structure of the bridge was interesting. Each beam can be seen and traced to its function as architectural support.

These three pieces are a sampling of work that caught my attention and made me stop. I am by all accounts ignorant and inept when it comes to viewing art, but I know what I like.

The highlight of the afternoon came when I noticed one of the many security drones in the museum taking in a piece. I asked her how working in a museum affected how she looked at art. Her response and example blew me away.

She told me that she no longer saw the work as it was, but as a collection of details. She no longer saw the piece as a completed entity but as an accumulation of small imperfections or stories.

No moral, just a reminder for me how the most unlikely can notice things no one else sees.

Isn't We Lovely

For three consecutive evenings, my fellow cohorts and I have been glued to our evening television set. We've watched one prolific speaker after the next making profound and aspirational pledges and promises to a hotbed of followers, to a nation steeped in interest. First in the Pepsi center and tonight at Invesco Field, pundits and politicians have preached change and hope to a crowd that licked it up like batter covered spoons.

This will be the first time in my life I will remember getting the tingles from a political forum. We, as democrats, have assembled a Republican strike team like never seen before. Celebrities, senators, sinners and saints, throw in a Nobel laureate, and you've got something truly impressive.

In all of this, there has been one group that I couldn't ignore. They were there for Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton as they unfolded emotional speeches, they were even there for Barak. In fact, it seems like every time the camera pulled away from the speaker, there they were, front and center. For three nights, they garnered as much camera time as any celebrity that came out to commune with the with the hopeful croppies.

It seemed to me, both venues were populated by, what was without a doubt, one of the ugliest crowds I can recall seeing anywhere...ever. Now, keep in mind I'm not talking about "ugly" in the sense they were rude to each other or the VIP's. I'm not talking "ugly" in the sense they spoke overtly negative about their adversary political group. I'm talking ugly in the sense that they were some of the least physically attractive individuals I've ever laid sights on.

Shot after candid shot of the aesthetically unfortunate.

Is this really the way we all look now? Or perhaps, and frankly quite likely, it is, but mixed with another, more manipulative tactic. My belief is that every one of those faces, that were ugly enough to chase off a bear, were hand picked.

It's come to the point in this America, that while we still aspire to look like the chiseled Spartans, we really relate, with the fuglies.

Brilliant. If the Democratic party developed an insight like that and engaged it, well, then we've finally done something right. If each one of the faces that beamed into our living rooms through gappy chompers, wiggling chins and trademarked foggy minded smiles were picked because they represented some voter group the Barack camp was trailing with, it demands the title "brilliant."

If not, well...shit.

Would you have noticed?

Art is seldom appreciated when experienced in an unexpected setting.

Sadly, I don't think I would have noticed that the street performer was the violin virtuoso Joshua Bell.

But I can promise because of this I won't ever overlook something like that again.

Creativity Undefined

"The U.S. economy is not powered by manufacturing; it's powered by creativity"- Alex Bogusky

I believe this, I absolutely believe this.

One of the biggest battles I fight here is the label of Creative. Being surrounded by incredibly talented artists and writers and strategists and managers everyday has opened my eyes to so many new ways to look at the world around us. It has also opened my eyes to the fact that creative is not a title to be coveted, but expected from everyone.

Another quote from the article:
"We all have it. It doesn't mean you can draw or sing or compose music or write. It might mean you have a unique ability to sniff out the right audience. Or an uncanny ability to find the truth of a business hidden in the numbers. Or maybe you have a way of talking to consumers that allows them to reveal what they're really thinking."-AB

Why does the title only get offered to those who manifest their creativity through a particular, designated medium? I would challenge anyone with a creative title to match their big ideas with some of the "non-creative" or "business" big ideas any day. Creativity should be demanded from everyone, in every position, in any industry.

Yet another quote:
"Anything we do as humans, when done well enough and with enough passion, becomes creative. Creativity is not inherent to the activity. I play guitar and it's certainly not at a level that I would consider a creative endeavor. I've even written commercials that in retrospect I would not consider creative. I've also seen strategy decks and marketing plans that were outrageously creative and flat-out brilliant." -AB

One of my most aspirational goals for my career is to eventually eradicate creative as a title -or- more likely a scenario, find a way to apply it to every position within a company. Creativity is not left for those who know simply know how to create beautiful images using the adobe suite or build images and feelings in people's minds with their words- it's so much more than that. I'd be willing to bet that even Steve in accounts receivable has a creative outlet of his own, while he's not getting his paychecks for it, yet, that doesn't banish him from the circle.

There are people, especially in this industry, who seem to hold on to that title so tightly and close to their chest that it's almost laughable- because that is inherently the opposite of what it is. Being able to embrace, and demand, good ideas from everyone and having the ability to see everyone's avenues for creativity, while different than our own, could also be considered a great definition for a creative.

What if the label of creative itself automatically kills the notion of creative because by classifying what we should all try our best to inherently operate with, it automatically falls into a preconceived grouping- completely negating the idea or original and creative.

"It's not the job. It's how you do it. Creativity and excellence are synonymous."-AB

Chew on that...

A good video, a better band

I've been listening to the John Bulter Trio (out of Australia) for about two years. Last year they released a studio album called "Grand National" and this was the title track.

Great song (better in a live setting) but a great video by a production company named Popcore

If you're interested...here's another acoustic song he does. It's pretty amazing.

he snorted his father's ashes...

Personally, I dig it.

What will the trading floor look like?

"TRAFFIQ’s vision is of an efficient, open, and value-driven marketplace, directly connecting buyers and sellers for optimized ad yield and maximum return on investment. Its web-based trading platform was recently opened to all buyers and sellers of online media, with leading publishers, advertisers, and agencies already on board."--Traffiq Website

Basically it's the stock market of media.

Buying, selling and maybe trading placements.

Of course it's an online platform, but imagine for a moment what the trading floor would look like. Think Gordon Gecko and Bud Fox talking rich media or a back cover of playboy.

What if the next step is personal online media buying? Think Chuck Schwab for media. Could anyone with the money and interest begin buying and selling advertising commodities?

(The scene when Apple announces advertising rates for it's first online publication on culture and technology)

Show the people something...

Yep, 8 months of worked streamlined into a brief overview of what it is we do here...yes it's weird, a little "text rich" if you will, but at least there is something to show. Whether or not I should be showing this is a whole other ball of ear wax...

We would just like a horse that goes a little faster...

In my particular track at the BRANDcenter thus far, I have been inundated with research methods and ways to test for an ad's potential. I've learned how to test ideas, concepts, comps, drafts, ads, campaigns and I've learned to do it in groups, with individuals, with friends, with just random people on the street. And always, after the results are in, opinions formed and decisions made- do our professors throw in the side note that we should be careful in the way we use research.

I rarely look at things in black and white (or deal in certainties) and am way too much of a novice at this point to conclude the professionals who are passing on vast amounts of knowledge to me are missing something- but I have begun to see more of the dangers of research.

Creativity, in itself, is newness. An idea, thought, concept no one (hopefully) has seen before- different. And what are most people afraid and wary of? Anything different.

So how does an industry based on creativity, go out of it's way to choose individuals who inherently fear change to decide on the merit of new thinking? Is it because deep down we want to keep things safe? So if test subjects like it, are we staying within some imaginary safety rope? I hope we (and I mean "we" as aspiring advertising professionals) plan on building an industry that doesn't continue to provide the same offerings in new packaging, but will innovate to the point where we scare ourselves...Then we'll start marketing.

My thought is this, and as Ad...excuse me Brandcenter students, we've all read this a million times, "If I'd asked the consumer what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse." Henry Ford.

Create without the fear of rejection by those who think they know more than they actually know. Because if the idea is directed towards the right group of people and the story told just right- whether the consumer knows it or not- it just became a "want".

To Illustrate my point: (Yes it's long but it really wraps my rant nicely)

This was Arnold's intro to the 2007 Hatch Show

Look at that shark's teeth...

This movie is going to be funny and all that, but I want people to watch this trailer simply for the end. Tell me it's not funny enough to make your abs burn.

Step Up to Get Your Rep Up

Neil Strauss, The Mystery Method, The Pick-Up Artist

Over the past couple of years there has been an underground movement in the single male population lead by the aforementioned people at the top. These so-called "experts" are explaining a new way to pick-up women. Being a long-time member of the single club, I've known of this movement for some time and, most out of curiosity, have kept abreast of this sub-culture.

Last year it moved mainstream when one of the Founder's "Mystery" (all professional pick-up artists have a "pick-up call sign" got his own show on VH1 called "The Pick-Up Artist". In the show Mystery took average looking, socially awkward, single men and turned them into game spitting pros.

The method is simple- dress up in the most ridiculous clothing you can find and then head out to any social gathering. Once there, don't show women the attention they typically receive in bars to make yourself stand out, use subtle, humorous insults to show you really could be doing something better, then close by using a string of memorized high-participation lines (i.e. telling a story about a fight in the parking lot to garner emotion and then follow-up with a personal question. All of this can be learned through the various books the individuals write or you can take an actual class for the small price of about $2000.00.

I found this video that parodies it and pretty much sums the system up.

(Notice the Paul Rudd cameo)

This Is Brandcenter

For those who are about to enter and for those who have no idea.

A Road Rarely Traveled

I spent some time this break in New York and among a hundred other memorable experiences, I was lucky enough to find a Jack Kerouac exhibition in the New York Public Library.

For a couple years now I have been actively chasing the original manuscript of "On The Road" as it has been being displayed around the country. The original manuscript is on one long roll about one hundred feet long. It was there. I saw it. (There is no photo unfortunately as the squatty security guard yelled at me).

Kerouac has been somewhat of a personal guru to me for a long time and I do my very best to look at things from a "Kerouacian" perspective.

So this prompted a thought...

In about a month or two, internship fever is going to sweep through our little school. Everyone will no doubt be clamoring for a coveted spot at a place we all think we want to be. And the truth is, for most it will be a huge learning experience, a great opportunity to network and to possibly find the place you will spend your time post brandcenter.

But here's another thought: Do agencies want new people who already know how an agency operates and understands the social politics found there -OR- do agencies want people who have made a conscious effort to experience and observe life and humanity.
What if, rather than an internship, you took a page from Kerouac and simply hit the road come May. Take your three months and work in a waffle house, work on an organic farm, work trade shows in Chicago, do a dirty job...anything as long as it's a departure from what you typically do. At each job, talk to the people whose lives actually exist in what you're simply sampling. Learn from them and then bring all of those insights back.

Sitting in the interview chair one year down the line, would you rather have the internship under your belt or be wearing a belt you picked up in Lindsborg, Kansas in exchange for moving boxes?

Judd Knows Viral

Judd Apatow is phenomenal on all fronts...