Oct 31, 2011

12. The Kris and Kim Kardashian Divorce. What Millennials think.

My latest post for The Next Great Generation, a blog by and for millennials, covers the intellectual news of the day: The Kardashian Divorce. Who saw this coming? What is your favorite "Crazy Ass Moment" from my list? There are many more that I didn't write about.

Trending: #Thingslongerthankimsmarriage

For anyone looking for a way to get involved with writing, blogging, producing, photographing, check out the site. The brilliant Edward Boches, from Mullen, started this evocative blog, run out of Boston and now connected to Boston.com

Millennials: CHECK IT OUT. 

Oct 25, 2011

11. We Love Anne Heuer. Senior Strategic Planner, W+K Sao Paulo.

Here's what happened: I fell in love. With Anne Heuer. I saw her from across the globe on Skpye and we couldn't take our eyes off of each other (mostly because there aren't many other places to look when you're Skyping). 

Recently, she packed up her bags and flew from her old home at Ogilvy and Mather in NYC to her new home at WK Sao Paulo, Brazil. People asked her why, in her 30's, was she moving across the globe instead of finding a man and making screaming babies and her answer was simple; why not? She wants us to live our lives the way we want to, not taking shit from anyone about who we should be, but rather just doing what we're passionate about.  

Anne has a love/hate relationship with advertising. Her job is all about coming up with methodologies and boiling down insights, which she loves. Agency people joke that "your brief was is showing" because the markets have become so saturated and crowded that some agencies think the only way to sell product is to formulaically highlight its obvious perks, which she hates.

This is Anne:

Why we love Anne: This photo (specifically her shirt), honest, generous, liberated.
More reasons we love Anne: When she feels like she is on top of her game at one agency, she wants to leave, thinks brand's tag lines have become two meaningless adjectives stuck together.
Why we don't: She's in Brazil. Not Oregon. But it's okay, we kind of want to be in Brazil.

Anne Heuer came to advertising without a portfolio or an ad degree (which greatly pleases her), but rather an English lit degree and three years of experience traveling around the world writing for an Asian newspaper. Her first industry job was at Wieden and Kennedy PDX as a planner. She was curious and observant, making her the perfect planner, but she explained that the wine was what called to her. Every night she watched planners gather outside W+K around 6pm drinking wine and knew she wanted to be a part of it.

Anne's Quick Tips for Planning:

Follow something that is bigger and broader than advertising. She wants us to OBSERVE what's around us and who's around us (reiterating Scott Bedbury's point about always being present). This will make us better creatives, planners and thinkers. She hires curious people.

Be impressed with the leadership. Seek agencies with leaders that you respect and want to learn from. It will make our job more fun and we will learn more from someone that we are personally inspired by (something Maria Scileppi touched on during her visit). Anne seeks agencies based on their cleverness.

Advertising will always be there. This one seems to be harder for most of us to grasp, seeing as we're currently spending upwards of $50,000 for an education and would like to see quick results in fun jobs immediately. That attitude generally won't get us a job. If we want to travel the world, run across the country or play with penguins in Argentina, NOW is the time to do it. In fact, it would probably help us get a job later. Her point being; follow your dreams (though she would never say something so corny) and don't only 'be' curious, 'act' curious.

This was one of her Facebook profile photos:

What she loves:
Art&Copy (so does Rob Heppler)
John Steel (so does Deb Morrison)
People Ideas & Culture
Johannes Leonardo (make sure to check this out when you go there)

Where we can find her:

Thanks Anne!

Oct 21, 2011

10. Brands That Make Dreams Come True. Absolut Vodka.

Absolut Vodka's website is a series of beautifully crafted short films that express who they are, where they came from, and where they want to go. They nailed the Big Three; where are you, were are you going, how are you going to get there.  

This is Absolut's 'Anthem' (philosophy):

What an incredible way deliver a simply message. The video was directed by the acclaimed Rupert Sanders. Check out his website. Please.

Absolut has a way of integrating itself into a community that is both heartfelt, responsible, and beautiful. The brand created encourages its users to 'Drink Responsibly' and has created the website, Recognize the Moment, where drinkers can send a text message reminder to themselves, from the website at the beginning of the night, that will alert them to stop drinking at their alloted time.

They have also created a long list of initiatives to support and recognize artists and creative talent. This beautiful short film, produced by Peter Cerviere, documents how Absolut allowed Hector, an artist from Mexico, actualize his artistic dream while traveling around the world.

Oct 20, 2011

9. Maria Scileppi Leads us Towards 'Ownable Moments'

Maria Scileppi, the current Director of the Chicago Portfolio School (take an e-visit and view the school through the eyes of a snake, that's a new one), spoke to my #UOCreativeStrategist class about getting our dream job, making 366 friends (during a leap year), how to make our lives sound exciting, and why we need to write witty email subject lines. 

How I interpreted her words:

Here are the key points, just in case your reading glasses are more then a foot away:

Spelling I now know how to spell her name. Maria Scileppi. Maria Scileppi. Maria Scileppi. Won't happen again!

The Big 20 Have 20 face-to-face meetings with midlevel creatives, account people, planners, producers, everyone, before you apply for a job. You'll be better informed, know more about agency cultures and learn about the gatekeepers in the process. A great list of agencies can be found at agencycompile.com.

During the Big 20 Use these interviews and meetings to create a list of agencies you want to work for, excel style, with addresses, recruiter info, accounts, and people in the area you want to work in (ex: producers). Organize by city.

Easy Access Make it easy for people to find you. Make an e-signature with linked blog name, twitter feed, and phone number. Don't forget to title your resume with your name, instead of 'resume' so a recruiter can find you quickly. You want a job right?

The Small 5 The five most thought provoking things about you should be written at the bottom of your resume. They should provoke a story or questions. WHY NOT? This is why I love advertising. The fact that I collect vintage German toy trains could land me an interview. WIN. When being yourself gets you in the door, you have to love the industry. 

Drink Not a lot and not on a regular basis, but perhaps when you sit down to write your cover email, it would be a good time to have a glass of wine, loosen up and get funny. (Not drunk, just funny and creative).

Maria mentioned that we should be working to create 'ownable moments.' The phrase lasted only a second and I think she was interrupted by another question after she said it. I wrote it down. That is exactly what we are trying to do; make work that we want to own up to, that we want people to associate with us. We want to create a generosity moment that we can be remembered by and a creative moment that will make us sought after. Every moment should be ownable. (This could either be thought of as an inspirational moment or a branding moment for Oprah's new network, OWN. It is the former, but it feels like I am writing one of her TV spots.)

Follow her: @mscileppi
She's interesting and friendly and wears bright pink well.

Oct 17, 2011

8. Why Nordstrom Makes Me Smile

     Nordstrom has always been a brand that I've trusted and it will continue to be due to the company's dedicated customer service and dependable and beautiful product. It's not rocket science. A brand like Comcast, who is generally viewed with tiny red ears and a giant pitchfork around my college campus of roughly 22,000 people, needs only to turn to it's customer service department and product to find out why. The brand gave us a reason to hate it. Their internet is constantly going down and the customer service is nearly non-existent or incompetent, depending on which campus student you speak with.

     The students disrespect Comcast because Comcast disrespects them but they don't disrespect everybody. Growing up in a nice neighborhood, close to downtown Portland, with relatively successful parents, I never heard a peep from them about our years of Comcast use. 

If a brand wants respect, DON'T discriminate among your customers.
                                             DO produce quality, innovative, and beautiful 
                                             DO hire based on friendliness and knowledge of 
     I'm a loyal Nordstrom consumer because they have never discriminated against me, my family, or any of my friends, no matter what we were wearing when we entered the store or how stylish we looked. I have witnessed women dressed in sweats and a jogging top walk in and drop serious coin in multiple departments. You see my point.

The company, based out of Seattle, has participated in many community events, including an upcoming national Bra-Fitting event, Oct. 20-22, where complimentary bra fittings will be held, and for every bra sold during the event, Nordstrom will donate $2 to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 

Here is a great videos from a previous bra event.

They also hosted a flash-mob event with the Seattle Symphony last year! 

What a blast! Great PR.
       However, their kick-ass return policy is what has kept me coming back. I've purchased shoes months prior and returned to the store where an employee can search through their database, find my purchase without a receipt, and offer an exchange for a new pair or a full return and refund.

     On more thing; I've received HAND WRITTEN letters from employees after they've spent the afternoon working with me, thanking me for my time in the store and wishing me luck with my new purchase. What? I've never received a letter from Victoria's Secret or Gap. The shopping process is personal, I'm spending my own money on products that I will use to show the world a little about me. I'm glad that Nordstrom is there to help me along the way. For me, it's worth the extra money.

Aparently, others agree. Since 2008, the brand has grown shareholder value by 36%,while Macy's has only grown 6%. 

Follow Nordstrom:
@NordstromSEA (flagship store)

Oct 16, 2011

7. Tim Burton's MOMA Robot

Watch MOMA's 30 second spot for Tim Burton's new exhibit:

Why we like it:

1. Tim Burton created it for his own opening! When MOMA asked him to do it, he jumped at the opportunity and reached out to Allison Abbate, his producer for Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie. She then recruited Mackinnon & Saunders to build the animated robot.

2. It is stop-motion. Enough said.

3. It's just another small art exhibit that we all get to preview for free. Free = good.

4. Burton was directly involved in his own promotion. This is very similar to point #1, though I am just pointing out that this rarely happens to this extent. Companies sign off on ads all the time but it is rare that the head of the company or the creator of the product creates the ad. BRILLIANT. 

5. MOMA gave us a behind the scenes look at how the ad was produced. Thank you, these are my favorite.

Oct 13, 2011

6. A Conversation with Rob Heppler

     "Why the hell would you want to travel around the world this summer when you could create things here and experience life here at an agency, on the streets or in an internship?" These were the first words of advice Rob had for me when I called him up on Monday night.

     I met Rob Heppler at Wieden and Kennedy when he was a WK12er and while I was working there for a couple months creating a fake ad campaign for plumbing. 

Side note: Visit the link to WK12. It's awesome. Then watch this video about what the WK staff thinks about the 12ers to understand what goes on after we graduate and hunt for jobs. It's not looking good. Ultimate message: don't steal other people's food.

     Rob is a copywriter, trendsetter/influencer, knower of all things shoes, social media guru (though he probably wouldn't like me inflicting the word 'guru' on him), designer, pod caster, and blogger. He's worked with four global ad agencies and is currently starting work at Amusement Park, a brand new LA agency. Oh yea, he also spent the first part of his life in prison. Get to know him.

Why we like Rob: He's no bullshit and he's always on.

Why we don't like Rob: His hair looks like the 90s.

The Heppler Guide to navigating your way through the industry:

  1. Know everybody. Make connections with people you know (think neighbors, Dad's coworkers) and use them to make more connections. Learn from everybody.

  2. The more you do, the better you get. Everybody is creative, some people have more natural talent then others, but practice makes better. Write, do, read, listen, watch.

  3. Photoshop will be your friend forever. It's the easiest and most efficient way to communicate your creative ideas with others. Refer to #2 if you haven't learned it yet.

  4. Watch Art&Copy. Especially if you are interested in working at Wieden and Kennedy, the majority of the movie is filmed there. Great video about the work being done in agencies, the how and why.

  5. Make something. Really, it could be anything. Rob filmed himself at the dentist and it's received over 9,000 hits. America must be bored.

  6. Make sure people don't hate you. He believes this is essential. Don't be annoying and you will be liked and maybe promoted, or at least not fired. There should be a 'no asshole policy' at every agency.

  7. Don't talk for your first 5 years. Spend your time observing and making connections (see #1). I think this also goes hand in hand with #6, people that are new probably don't know what they are talking about, hence, they are annoying. 

Agencies he loves:

He also recommends checking in with Agency Spy for the latest agency news and gossip.

Check out the limited edition sneakers that Rob and Tinker Hatfield created for the Coraline movie. Amazing brand connections were made. 

Rob writes: "Phil Knight directed me to 'market a movie in a way that has never been done before.' 3000 pairs of these custom made sneakers that I designed with Tinker Hatfield, were given away to movie goers. I created an influencer outreach strategy which made these sneakers the hottest footwear in 2009. Oh, and the bottom glows in the dark. Kanye West was upset about that."

Follow him @hepdog
Google him.
Facebook him and check out his cool photos with celebs.

Thanks Rob!

Oct 10, 2011

5. mb! Brand Connections among Gen-Y

     Mercedes-Benz' new online magazine, mb!, features edgy design and content targeting the creative 20-somethings who have or who want to inherit their grandparents' antique Mercedes. By creating an outlet for creative content among the generation Y, they have brilliantly created an audience and consumer for their product. Many of the viewers can't afford the product now, but the site is generating interest for the future.  

     The site is written for and by Gen-Y, a la TNGG, while remaining brand-centric and hosting new ideas about music, people, events, and ideas that inspire creativity. Brilliant! 

Mercedes-Benz = youthful and hip.

     This is a beautiful short film produced by photographer, Todd Selby, documenting his photo shoot with interior designer, Abigail Ahern, for mb! Check out the rest of the photos from the shoot!

Follow mb! @mb_magazine

Oct 9, 2011

4. Volkswagen's Fun Theory

     Volkswagen, with the help of DDB, created The Fun Theory. The basic idea being that "Fun can obviously change behaviour for the better." Thefuntheory.com was quickly born and boasted a competition seeking ideas that would change the way people behaved with their environment for the better. Submissions from around the world were entered but it was Kevin Richardson, from the USA, who got it right.

His idea was simple and fun: the Speed Camera Lottery. Getting people to obey the speed limit for fun. It was a simple idea with fantastic results.

     Every time someone would drive past the Speed Lottery sign, their photo would be taken. Speeders would pay a fine into a lottery while the obeyers would each win money from the pot. During the experiment, the average speed was reduced 22%. Success!

     This initiative provided VW the opportunity to work closely with their (potential) customers and let them know that they care about the environment and of course, having fun. Customers could interact closely with a brand while gaining trust that they are supporting an innovative and compassionate company.
     Brands that are constantly on the negative end of consumer opinion, like Monsanto or Comcast, may be able to gain consumer trust by supporting or leading positive initiatives that directly involve the customer. These projects could help those companies move towards 'better customer vibes' and relations.

Oct 6, 2011

3. Branding Brian

     We, as ad students, are generally told to think of ourselves as a brand and to build work around what we, as individual brands, want to represent.  "Make yourself indispensable" is a popular demand, usually accompanied by "Show evidence of your skills" and "Always work beyond obligation." One group of BBH interns accomplished exactly those things. Their intern program, BBHbarn, asked six interns to participate in an experimental program with the objective to make one thing famous in only six weeks with a measly $1,000 budget.
     The group decided to make Brian, one of the interns, famous. They created a campaign to get newly single Brian a date by launching a website called Dating Brian and utilizing social media platforms like facebook and twitter. Engaging their audience played a huge role in their success. People from around the world tuned in and were able to choose everything about Brian's dates, from what he wore to where they went. Everything was recorded and posted to the website and YouTube.
     He went through 30 dates in 30 consecutive days and became famous. The team elegantly branded Brian and his journey was talked about on multiple news channels, blogs including Mashable, and NPR. The YouTube channel gained over 70,000 views, 68,000 website hits from around the world in 135 countries.
Well done. Dating Brian=Brand.

    The site provided evidence of Brian's skills, a lovely, cute, creative, smart Wisconsinite, who will work beyond obligation to get a date. To the thirty dates he went out with Brian was indispensable (hopefully). The group of interns were able to make their skills evident with website design, successful user experience, marketing, planning, production, and creativity.

Dating Brian from Brian Moore on Vimeo.

Oct 5, 2011

2. The 'Aha' Moment

     In everything we do, there lies an idea that can be applied to another part of your life. Yesterday I was running through Eugene. In the rain. In the evening. Freezing and wet and loving every second. The encouragement to run came from the feeling I knew would come after the run, the feeling of accomplishment, exhaustion, and a hunger for more.  

Reminder to self: Tap into that feeling while working on an advertising project. 

     Everyone has that moment or feeling that can be cross-pollinated with another to create an 'aha!' moment. While I was running through puddles and throwing back wet dirt on my legs, all I could think was how these obstacles will make the end feel that much better and earned. It's the moment where I tie on my shoes for a four mile run and half way through decide to push myself to go for five miles. That is the moment I need to grasp onto when working through a project.

The question for you: How do you reach your 'aha' moment? 

     Mutual for Omaha posed the same question for their aha moment campaign and more then 131,000 people responded. YouTube videos flew in with short stories of people's 'aha' moments.
These are two of my favorite 'aha' moments:

Stan's 'aha' moment came during a prolonged period of unemployment when he decided to follow his dream of 'tooth-picking,' collecting toothpicks and building things. Soon, on of his toothpick buildings was purchased by a museum in Spain. 

Polly and Jane exude energy and excitement toward aging. Their 'aha' moment came when they decided that aging shouldn't be feared, but instead embraced.

Oct 2, 2011

1. If You Let Me Play

     Listening to Dan Wieden, of Wieden and Kennedy, explain how he came up with Nike's slogan, "Just Do It," reminds me that inspiration can truly come from anywhere. While a man was being prepared for his execution in a Utah prison, he grunted, "let's do it." With this, a slogan was born that quickly changed a society. People began 'just doing' what they had been putting off for months or years. Wieden received letters explaining how the slogan gave women the courage to leave their lazy or abusive partners or how women had started exercising or applying for jobs. 
     These letters inspired Nike's "If You Let Me Play" multimedia campaign, produced in 1995, which was one of the most successful ads targeting women that Nike has ever run. Its success lies not only in its ability to tell the story, but also in its immense truth. It gave way to a conversation about how women and girls may be suppressed at work, at home, at school, or on the field. The campaign led to meaningful insights between women across the globe. This ad started a conversation about how to empower women while remaining brand-centric. By repeating the slogan "Just do it,"people are reminding themselves of the possibilities they can open by following the mantra.