A creative network of the idea, by the idea, for the idea

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When he speaks, we listen.

Toni Segarra presenta el Master Communication Design Lab from IED Madrid on Vimeo.

Tony Segarra is one of the smartest Creative Directors in the world. He is also a successful leader and an impressive creative.

In this video he speaks about the role of the "new" creative director and the talents of the new communication creative.

Noticed the used of the word design in the masters title!

Enjoy it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

5 ways to improve your portfolio

We are exposed to hundreds of opinions and points of view daily. Perhaps it is the truly significant revolution of this past decade, the surge of the advise.

Every where you turn, there is someone giving you tips, shortcuts, advise, insight, rules, laws... This comes from the need to position oneself as a "brand" that adds value to the community, yet a lot comes from offer and demand... the more people come to the internet, blogosphere or twitterville looking for knowledge, the bigger number of people who offers it.

Identifying the true valuable advise from the noise is also an exercise of patience and practice, but there is a lot to be learned daily from a few well known and not so well known individuals and magazines out there.

In this case, I found it in BitRebels (a first time visit for me)

Creating a portfolio online is easy, but creating a portfolio that stands out, sells your talent and gets your foot on the door is a bit more difficult.

I found these 5 point to be simple, insightful, logical and smart (which tend to be good ingredients for analytical thinking)
1. Do Good work

2. Make it Simple and Concise –

3. Include Case Studies -

4. Give your Portfolio a Human side –

5. Killer design -

I have come to learned that the most difficult step is to keep things simple.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Here is the beef.


These ads came out when I was starting my career as a junior copywriter and they helped me to understand what good creativity looks like.

Thank you to everybody who made this happen.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For everyone

Noteboek from Evelien Lohbeck on Vimeo.

You should follow this advise:

Be different and stand out, create something, put it out there, get feedback, be real, be humble, try again, don't listen to the majority of critics, do your own thing, develop you own voice, be respectful, be tasteful, be meaningful, do something that makes you proud, execute the idea, be an idealist, adjust your expectations, read, watch, communicate, socialize, respect women, love kids, understand differences, do what makes you uncomfortable, ask for directions, leave the table still hungry, believe in the idea, never give up and surround your self of people who are smarter, faster and hungrier.

To Ander, Alani, Avi and Amaia.

Friday, October 9, 2009

TAXI wisdom.

TAXI is a Design/Creative network I just recently discovered.
My humble apologies to those who have known about it for discovering it with such delay. Pero nunca es tarde si la dicha es buena and in this case, the reward is valuable.

Obviously the people running TAXI are doing a lot of great things. Great contributors, Portfolio Showcasing, Careers, articles and even interviews with brilliant Designers and Creative Directors.

And it is in the interviews section where I found this interesting interview with David Nobay, partner at Drogba5 Australia and the No. 1 most awarded Creative Director in Australasia.

I really like some of his thoughts about your portfolio if you are starting in advertising:
I’d rather see one brief, pushed out into every possible media opportunity, than 8 or 10 convenient couplets of poster and TV scripts.
On business partnership:
But passion is what keeps up the energy in a start-up. All of us expect the same level of commitment and honesty from each other. That sense of balance is a real key.
On direct mail and digital:

most people in adland dismissed what we did as “junk mail”, but at its very heart, the methodology was not dissimilar to the eulogy you hear from so-called digital gurus today: The science of accountability; The journey to a response; The sense of brand-utility. Attention/Interest/Desire/Conviction/Action.

Sound familiar? Twenty years ago, it was the rudiments of every successful mailpack, but today it’s just as current to the connectivity of the web. Sure, digital and mobile are a much more exciting palette to paint ideas with, but the basic challenge is the same: take people on a journey that’s based on them interacting, connecting and responding.
On being a creative leader:
Winning awards is easy compared to building a team of creative people who truly believe in you and your mission.
And about the present (not the future, refreshingly)
These are scary times for many. But for those of us who are comfortable with the currency of ideas, it’s also the most exciting period in our history.agency team.
And finally:
What is the WORD, which you think would reside and reverberate in the creative world for the next 10 years?

David Nobay>>Momentum.

Friday, September 25, 2009

If new business is your business.

Alex Bogusky offers great insights into their (CP+B) new business process:

1. Tell other people your dreams.
People would laugh and they would point and they would say “There go those guys that wanted to be great!” FAIL! But to succeed you have to risk failure. So eventually decided to tell the whole agency what we wanted to become. Our mission statement. We had a friend who was at Fallon in the early days and he had been a part of creating there’s and I don’t know if I remember it exactly but it was very simple and basically said that they wanted to be, “The most awarded agency in America.” We thought about what we liked about the ad biz and it wasn’t awards it was the culture jamming. So our mission became, “To create the most talked about and written about advertising in the world.” Within weeks the stalemate between the status quo and something new had been broken and the agency began to clearly move toward this new shared goal. Out of the thousands of little decisions that shaped our future you could feel that more than half were suddenly talking us someplace we wanted to go. I wish we had had the courage to do it sooner.
2. The clients you currently have are your true new business machine.
I see so many people overlook this. “If I only had a client like this or a client like that.” It’s key to have a clear idea in your head of the new ground you hope to break and the new case history you hope to prove with each new client before you start work. What is going to be different about the agency six months after the arrival of your new account? How is this new revenue and this new campaign going to make your agency smarter and more capable than it was prior?
3. Find some real passion in the building for the business or take a pass on it.
We have a rule that says we can’t pitch a piece of business unless at least one of the partners is passionate about that business. In the end you will be defined by your clients. There are no two ways about that. Such is the lot of the parasites of the business world. Agencies.
4. Don’t model yourself after other agencies.
Great points, all of them. My favorite is the importance of a mission that' s easy to embraced by people.

That makes the whole difference between being successful and not. Knowing who you are and what you want, and being able to communicate that.

PS: I also agree with the title of his post: if-you-have-to-be-afraid-of-something-then-fear mediocrity

Advertising is not a magnet of talent.

During an interview with Jeff Benjamin, the Interactive Executive Creative Director at CP+B, Jeff discusses the amount of talent available or the lack of enough talent rather:

It's not that we don't get talent, we just don't get the volume of talent that we need. We need to think about what we are doing to attract people.

We need (Google quality people) to come to our agency, but they are not interested.

What we value in this people is their entrepreneur spirit, they invention abilities, but the agency is not making and attractive pitch.

People want to make things that matter, but big advertising agencies are not perceived as the ideal place to the nurture entrepreneur personality.
The one question I ask during my interviews is: what's the last thing you invented? because I want to know that people can think and deliver ideas, passionate about making things that have not been made before, because it's a big part fo the interactive future.
Great points made by Jeff, that compliment perfectly with this post "the time is now" about how fear is killing creativity in advertising agencies.

We know where we are, we know what we need, the talent is out there, let's make this happen, let's rush forward into the future where advertising is again the magnet for crazy talent and rebels and mavericks.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

what's the point of the story?

Ira Glass shares with us how to tell stories.

he’s talking about video production, but his points are easily applied to any other "creative" realm.

In this insightful series of videos he explores anecdotes and reflections and what they mean to the story.

But hidden within his "reflections" are some very interesting thoughts, like being in charge of telling a story means being ruthless editing what works and is interesting.

Finding a decent story takes more time than producing the story. Anybody in the creative field should spend enough time looking for stories.

Failure is a big part of success. You need to be on a schedule to produce things every week and before you know it, you will have something special, something people are going to want.

The most important thing for you to do is to do a lot of work. (my personal favorite)

The first couple years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good — it’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, your taste is still killer and your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase and a lot of people at that point quit.

And the thing I would just like say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be. We knew that it didn’t have the special thing that we wanted it to have and the thing to do is — everybody goes through that. And for you to go through it, if you’re going through it right now, if you’re just getting out of that phase or if you’re just starting off and you’re entering into that phase, you’ve got to know it’s totally normal and the most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work.

Two mistakes most people who start make are: we imitate the people who are already doing what we want to do.

But you need to be yourself. There is already a real one of who you want to imitate.

The second problem is that we tend to be interested about ourselves, but in most stories the other person is more interesting.

Make sure to watch all 4 videos on you tube.

You can't survive on content alone.

What drives the creative process of a Wired cover?

"Attention to details", says Scott Dadich.

I think that the information in the talk is interesting, but what my main take away is some people are natural communicators and some are not.

Perhaps regular people are suffering due to TED and FORA itself, who offer us such a range of amazing conference and talks, hosted by brilliant communicators.

The truth is, speaking, presenting or sharing information in front of a crowd is always hard and intimidating.

The more value to those who can be memorable and entertaining and unforgettable.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

If focus groups were in charge of Human evolution.

It is not a surprise that creative professionals have a hard relationship with Focus Groups. Overall the type where ideas are subjected to approval and scrutiny.

That is why we need to watch this video and ask ourselves, what would have happened if?

Focus groups are an ideal tool to gather information about the consumer's needs and state of mind towards a category or product.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Safe to Fail.

If there is anything the last 6 months have taught me is this: Pixar is the most creative company in the world.

Look at that record: 10 films; 10 hits. An unmatched streak in the history of filmaking.

what is their secret? How can they create original, creative, smart and successful films one after the other?

According to their Chief Creative Officer J. Lasseter their mantra is: "It's safe to fail."
The trick is to make those mistakes as quickly as possible and move on, a philosophy Lasseter picked up from colleague and computer science pioneer Ed Catmull
"When you think about science, it's about experimentation, and 99% of the experiments fail, but you learn from the failures and you move on," Lasseter says. "That's the great thing about Ed. He's always wanting people to keep pushing, keep experimenting, keep trying, and we always learn and keep moving forward."
For all the technical advances that have impressed audiences about Pixar, Lasseter's greatest innovation has been to extend a principle of positive risk-taking to the creative process.

  • He is adamant that teams not be allowed to sequester themselves or work too long without sharing their progress with others. Lasseter doesn't believe in mandatory notes, introducing instead what he calls the "creative brain trust" at Pixar, a peer-support strategy in which all the directors and key story people from around the company get together and selflessly help on one another's films. "It doesn't matter whose idea it is, the best idea gets used," he explains.
  • "Make it great." That's the mantra I've been living with ever since, just do everything we can to make it great," says Lasseter, who found confidence in Jobs' relatively hands-off approach to Pixar over the years, trusting the creative talent to steer the studio in the right direction. Lasseter put into effect was dismissing the suits and shifting the focus from an executive-led operation back to an artist-driven enterprise, where the ideas for feature films "come from the heart" of individual filmmakers.
What I find interesting about Pixar and their "safe to fail" approach is that it is intuitive and insightful about the creative mind and the creative personality.

We creatives need that that door to experimentation always OPEN.

Because once you let go of the fears of judgment and failure, you can truly explore all possibilities, be your self, share your heart.

Its about working in the ultimate creative ecosystem where ideas are grown to become great ideas.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thinking design.

Anybody who has the word "creative" as part of his or hers job description deserves some credit.

Yes, from the outside it looks like is all fun and games. But in the inside is more like an engine that never stops, always going faster than it should, making as few stops as possible.

It's intense and it's a challenge, but it is the most amazing job I know.

Some of the most creative people I know are designers.That's why I thought that it would be good to share some thoughts about thinking like a designer.

The original list is Garr Reynold's blog; Presentation Zen

(1) Embrace constraints. Constraints and limitations are wonderful allies and lead to enhanced creativity and ingenious solutions that without constrains never would have been discovered or created.

(2) Practice restraint. it takes discipline of mind and strength of will to make the hard choices about what to include and what to exclude.

(3) Adopt the beginner's mind. As the old saying goes, in the expert's mind there are few possibilities, but for one with the beginner's mind, the world is wide open.

(4) Check your ego at the door. This is not about you, it's about them (your audience, customer, patient, student, etc.).

(5) Focus on the experience of the design. It's not the thing, it's the experience of the thing.

(6) Become a master storyteller. Often it's not only the design — i.e., the solution to a problem — that is important, but the story of it. This is related to #5 above. What's the meaning of the solution?

(7) Think communication not decoration. Design is about solving problems or making the current situation a little better than before. Design is not art, though there is art in design.

(8) Obsess about ideas not tools. Good advice is to go analog in the beginning with the simplest tools possible.

(9) Clarify your intention. Design is about choices and intentions, it is not accidental. Design is about process.

(10) Sharpen your vision & curiosity and learn from the lessons around you. Design is a "whole brain" process. You are creative, practical, rational, analytic, empathetic, and passionate. Foster these aptitudes.

(11) Learn all the "rules" and know when and why to break them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A happy client?

From a fellow Posterous blogger, 10 ways to make a client happy.

This is a more relevant topic today than ever, because clients have more choices and agencies are desperate to keep the accounts they currently have. So, seeing a client smile can make everybody sleep better at night.

This points work, they are smart and they help, but at the end, in my modest experience, the client-agency relationship is like any other, you can't be happy unless you are happy inside.

These are the 10.
  1. Give Them a Morning Dose of Insight.
  2. Go Hang Out.
  3. Think Outside The Scope.
  4. Always Provide Key Learnings.
  5. Be A “What About” Person.
  6. Introduce New Experts.
  7. Showcase New Technologies.
  8. Package Up The Right Success For Free.
  9. Get Out Of The Office.
  10. Host A Free Creative Workshop.
Read the entire post his blog Ideas, imagination and stuff.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Don't judge a book (or anything) by its size (or its cover)

Many times we run across things that we immediately process as unattractive or uninteresting.

This tape looks old and dated. It reminds us of a different time when listening to music was restricted by time (45-60-90) or by forward and rewind.

But I want to tell you, that this small, ugly, dated or unattractive objects might pack the biggest surprise sometimes.

I recently finished one of the most inspiring, educational and influencing books I've read as part of my 2009 quest

It's Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden, is a small book. It's a thin book. It's divided in chapters of 2 to 4 pages. And it's not in anybody's top 100 books to read before you die.

Still, this is perhaps the book with the most knowledge-per page ratio that I've read recently.

the reason this book might fool you is because Paul Arden doesn't go around in circles; he says what he has to say and moves on.

He thoughts are concise and organized. Well writen and intelligent. Based on experienced and relevant.

I was going to summarize some of the most important thoughts here, but I feel like it might spoil your experience when you read it.

I just have to tell you that with this book, like many other things, people or ideas, is not about the cover, it about the content and that is a beautiful lesson to learn from it.

Even though it might be the least in Mr Arden's mind.

Enjoy it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Disruption is Liberation

Disruption is Liberation

Well, of course we work in partnership with them. We don’t just come up with an idea and force it on them. Disruption is a step-by-step process. We work together to unlock the ideas that were lying dormant within their brands. Disruption is about identifying the self-imposed restrictions that can stifle creativity. We call these restrictions “conventions“. The “disruptive idea“ is one that overturns these conventions and allows a company to adopt a unique standpoint, which we call the “vision“. From that, they discover a new truth about their brand, referred to as the “brand belief“. This is a fundamental statement about the brief and should guide all aspects of communication all “brand behavior“.

One of those thoughts that needs to be shared.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Joshua Porter from MFA Interaction Design on Vimeo.

A great idea by Liz Danzico

she sought out the advice of digital designers and designer conspirators far and wide, to ask them to respond to the following:

So you’re thinking about becoming a designer? If I could tell you only one thing about going into the field, my advice would be ___________ .

These are their answers:

Emotional advertising

This is one of the first ads I remember watching when I started my career in advertising.

Great concept, great casting, great song, beautifully executed.

A strong call to action in 3 words, and a strong emotional idea.

"Stay in touch"

I want to call my dad every time I see this ad.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Increase your creativity.

It seems that the phrase "distance yourself from the project" has actually a lot of insight.

According to a set of studies published by Scientific American by By Oren Shapira and Nira Liberman psychological distance (anything that we do not experience as occurring now, here, and to ourselves) increases our ability to be creative.

Consider, for instance, a corn plant. A concrete representation would refer to the shape, color, taste, and smell of the plant, and connect the item to its most common use – a food product. An abstract representation, on the other hand, might refer to the corn plant as a source of energy or as a fast growing plant. These more abstract thoughts might lead us to contemplate other, less common uses for corn, such as a source for ethanol, or to use the plant to create mazes for children. What this example demonstrates is how abstract thinking makes it easier for people to form surprising connections between seemingly unrelated concepts, such as fast growing plants (corn) and fuel for cars (ethanol).

These means that we can actually take some steps to increase our creativity:

traveling to faraway places (or even just thinking about such places),
thinking about the distant future,
communicating with people who are dissimilar to us, and
considering unlikely alternatives to reality.

Perhaps the modern environment, with its increased access to people, sights, music, and food from faraway places, helps us become more creative not only by exposing us to a variety of styles and ideas, but also by allowing us to think more abstractly.

So the next time you’re stuck on a problem that seems impossible don’t give up. Instead, try to gain a little psychological distance, and pretend the problem came from somewhere very far away.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stand out imagination and creativity.

What if you bought a bike on Ebay, write a wicked ad hoping to sell it for much more than you paid for it just a few days earlier?

The guys at George Patterson Y&R did it and created this video to share with the world the results.

I have talked often about creativity being a state of mind. A way fo seeing the world that can't be contained or just apply to advertising.

Creativity wins because makes us feel different and unique.

Why clients see a threat on this?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stop and move on.

It's part of being a creative; you get stuck.

You seem to be unable to move forward and everything looks like a roadblock.

Zenhabits offers some advice to become more productive by taking a break.

when you don’t take breaks and allow yourself to recover, you’re less than 50% there. 50% you = 50% work.

It’s obvious that taking short, rejuvenating breaks is the more effective way to work. So what are some examples of these types of breaks?

  • Change channels. Most of us do a lot of work on the computer, so doing some kind of physical activity for 10 or 15 minutes can be a great way to change our state. Bodyweight exercises, a brisk walk, or yoga can be a great way to get your body moving and put yourself in a different state.
  • Breathe. Do 10 or 15 minutes of meditation, focused on your breathing.
  • 30 second headstand. Support your feet and legs against a sturdy wall (or tree).
  • Juice it. Stop by your local health food store and get a wheat grass shot or vegetable juice.
  • Refuel. Eating some kind of snack or small meal every 90 minutes is a great way to keep your glucose and energy levels steady. Go for fresh, organic fruit or a salad to get a quick pick-me-up.
  • Power nap. A 20 minute nap in the afternoon feels awesome and rejuvenating.
  • Motivate. Take a time out and listen to a Paraliminal session, guided meditation or personal development video on YouTube.
  • Flood your body with consciousness. This is something I’ve been doing lately that’s been really working for me. Take 10 minutes out to lie on your bed and flood your body with consciousness. Focus your awareness first on your toes and feet, then gradually move your focus up through your body, into your legs, pelvis, torso, chest, back, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers. Then back up through your arms into your neck, up your throat and into your face and your head. Really focus on feeling the energy in your body and only move your conscious awareness up your body after you’ve really felt it in the last part.
  • Total relaxation. This is a follow up to flooding your body with consciousness. After you’ve completely immersed your body in awareness, focus on relaxing each muscle in your body. In the same way previously, start with your toes and work your way upward through your body. Really let go and relax.

These are just a few ideas for ways that you can really relax, recover, and rejuvenate your body. Once you do that, you’ll be re-focused, recharged, and ready to work at 100% capacity.

Hopefully, next time we are pressured with a deadline we will remember to stop and take a break so we can deliver on time.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Awards for what they are.

Creative, funny and original.

Boondoggle is the agency responsible for the very successful Axiom Banners.

Awards are good to win, but are not the golden ticket.

well done Boondoggle.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Service the customer.

Most of us do customer service in one way or another. And most of us believe that customer service represents an investment and a commitment.

Customer service has become the ultimate commodity.

We all have had experiences dealing with good and bad examples of customer services, and some even have created an equation: it takes 8 good experiences to erase one bad experience.

You can find an interesting definition on Wikipedia:

"Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation."

Dealing with the customers expectations is complicated because our expectations tend to be higher and even unrealistic.

But the fact remains that customer service is about enhancing the level of customer satisfaction. And that is pretty tangible, easy to measure and easy to design a program and tactics around.

Why is excellent customer service so hard to find then?

Are our expectations so unrealistic? Why are companies so in the defense? why is it so hard to hear the words "you are right sir"?

I think that customer service is misunderstood. I believe that most companies and people feel that since clients expectations are so different and unrealistic, they will never be met and since I can't satisfy everybody, I aim at the middle and go on with it.

Obviously this is the wrong tactic in a day where so many people can so easily share their experiences and opinions.

I'm not an expert but I am an avid observer and I think that there are 3 easy ways to enhance customer satisfaction:

  1. Listen to consumer's experiences and questions and engage in an honest conversation with your customers. Create an environment that facilitates this exchange.
  2. Reward those who care enough to speak about your brand or service, even if it is bad.
  3. Consider every moment an opportunity to enhance my experience. Be creative and innovate your service in unexpected ways. You will always over meet an expectation that people didn't have.

If you like this article, please tweet about it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Innovation; immediate or reliable?

What can I say? Superheroes are powerful and super and heroes, but they are also reliable.

When Ryan Jacoby a business designer at IDEO (http://www.ideo.com) asks the question: Innovation; immediate or reliable? in one of his recent posts at his blog do_matic, I immediately thought about immediate.

But he makes a brilliant case for reliable:

So, if innovation is in part about bringing new things into the world, this is where I come out:

I want reliable people posing provocative questions and processing more immediate inputs.

"Reliable people" are those that have learned to spot patterns through experience and many cycles of learning. Such people exhibit a relentless curiosity that drives them to learn and challenge their patterns frequently. Ultimately, I want such people working close to the questions and looking to be surprised and contradicted by what they find as quickly as possible.

I really like that Ryan has decided to put his thoughts available to us for immediate and reliable access to his mind and expertise.

We all need superheroes and the people at Ideo can lead us to safe and wonderful innovation, that's for sure.

Havaianas. Brasilian design and creativity.

If you have been to Brazil, you know the flip flops that have become part of the Brazilian national pride.

Havaianas are fun and colorful. They also capture the essence of the Brazilian personality: Easy, relax and go well with every occasion.

But Havaianas also has an image to build and a brand to keep and they do a great job doing just that.

I have 8 pairs, so I use what I preach. Just so you know.

via zambrano

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Instint, openess and share.

From the blog of TBWA Paris a set of interviews with Worldwide Creative Director John Hunt about creativity, disruption and media arts.

Why disruptive ideas are more important today?

A good idea is like a coat hanger, where you can hang lots of different
executions from it.
if every biody ahs a great idea about a concept, it is a good indication of a good idea.

How do you identify a good idea?
First of all, trust your instincts. Don't over think it. Let the idea live initially. What first engaged you will probably engage your consumer.
Stay open/

It's our idea!
Ideas are portable. The idea's power is how it irrigates out, how it is shared.
Bureaucracy is not the best way to share an idea. When you share an idea people take responsibility of the idea. Otherwise people will find a way to sabotage it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cannes and its irony

I like irony.

Overall if it's related to advertising and the stereotypes associated with it. And there are lots of them.

In this case, it comes in the form of "things I don't want to hear at Cannes 2010" by the inmates at the Duffy agency.
1. ”It’s not about advertising, it’s about engagement.”
2. ”Print’s days are numbered.”
3. ”You don’t want to advertise, you want to have a conversation.”
4. ”It’s about having a great narrative, a great story.”
5. ”Advertising is no longer a one-way process. The consumer can now talk back to you.”
6. ”You have to let go when it comes to the controls for your brand online. Consumers will take it anyway.”
7. ”Online banner and display advertising is a broken model.”
8. ”The next big breakthrough will be centered around mobile devices.”
9. ”Social media is not a fad, it’s here to stay.”
10. ”Consumers are ’always on’.”

Monday, June 22, 2009

Advise in 140 characters.

I think that this is my first reference to Ad Age on this blog. Well, there is a first time for everything, and this is a good first time.

Mansi Trivedi following the best twitter etiquette gathered advise in the form of 140 characters from some of the best equipped minds form the industry.

these are some of my favorites:

Noah Brier, head of planning and strategy, the Barbarian Group, on ideas: "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
Nathan Helenie, co-founder-chief creative officer, Crush & Lovely, on process: "Stay young, curious and inspired. Become disciplined and resourceful. Make things. Move. Fail when necessary. Execute with love and precision."

Jinal Shah, strategist, Electric Artists, on being fearless: "1. Don't be afraid to break rules. 2. And have a point of view, no matter how provocative or silly you think it is."
I think that mine would be:

Stay interested in other fields and learn from everyone, keep your mind open, surround yourself with different views. It's not about you.

what would yours be?

Client's feedback to creative.

I'm always trying to bring some light into our world of advertising, the creative process, brainstorms, creative presentations and ideas. It is an easy job, but it comes with lots of layers and shades of gray areas.

That's why I wanted to share with you this post I found at Life in the middle.

It offers good advise about one of the hardest part of the agency-client relationship: The creative feedback.

1. Prepare to see the work. What am I expecting to see? What are we trying to do? What will impress me?

2. Get in the mood to see the work - read the brief - remember what if feels like to have the problem fresh in your mind.

3. What's my instant emotional reaction - do I like it? Hate it? Am I surprised - why? Is it confusing? (It's not always a good idea to share these thoughts, but note them.)

4. What caused the reaction you had - is it 'what' the work is saying? Or, 'how' it's saying it?

5. Does the work contain a real brand idea that changes perception, as opposed to a nice advertising idea?

6. Never act like Simon Cowell. My job is not to say whether something is good or shit. But to say how right something is, and to find ways of expressing how to make it more right (if that's what it needs).

7. Feedback does not mean criticising. It means trying to understand and articulate why the things that are working are working, and why the things that are not are not. These are equally important.

8. Start macro when feeding back but go micro. As long as feedback is something the agency can action then all comments add to the intelligence around the problem,even the little things.

9. Post-rationalise. If something you didn't think was previously important or salient now looks like it might be. Try and understand why - strategy never ends.

10. Be aware of the self-serving bias and the confirmation bias - interpreting things in a way that confirm preconceptions, or meet your interests.

11. Always say thank you. Creative work is hard work.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What gets you in at W+K?

In an era of social networks and Linkedin, where people search for a job using twitter and social pressure, this 19 year old decided to do it the old fashion way: writing a reason for his cause.
Dear Weiden + Kennedy, I am a 19 year old, entrepreneurial/creative mind. I have between 2-3 groundbreaking business or creative ideas every single day, and to say the least, I do NOT have the capability to even keep track or implement them so; I started a business. I decided that If I were to ever become successful and impact the world greatly by undertaking huge and "impossible" projects I would need a very balanced, efficient, and productive degree of discipline. Sometimes discipline and creativity/randomness sit on opposite sides of the lunch hall; however, to combine them would I assume be as earth-shattering as balancing the ying and the yang of business. Behold, my mobile billboard business in Las Vegas, NV. However, I did not have enough money to start it to I decided to sell it first, and with the profits, start it (opposite to the quote "think with your hands, and then talk about it, not in reverse") Well I did it in reverse. I dressed up in a black and gold suite and tie, drove down to the Forum Shops in Las Vegas, NV (very wealthy shops) and started selling my ideas to the managers, converting them to my corporate sales people, and starting the damning corporate marketing man chase. I thought "wouldn't it be awesome if I had some clout, some pull, to just pitch these ideas,". So out of the few dozen I approached, and followed up over weeks and weeks, I ended up with about 4 hot prospective clients. I mean, one that is looking at buying a marketing package from me for $30,000 U.S. and very, very EXCITED to do so. So I have a feeling my ideas are golden, but I promised myself I would stay here until I make my business, my ad agency, my marketing consulting firm, which I named "Unique and Innovative PRO (Personal Relations Officer)"--a success. Well what does this have to do with you? Well I'm a young man, and I "stay stupid, stay foolish (steve jobs)" so I thought I would write this e-mail to someone who has done what I want to do in the advertising/marketing world. I found Weiden + Kennedy from watching everyone of your Nike MVPs videos, and found that you had internships/platform program. This is what is on my mind: Nike Factory in the forum shops needs strip advertising; I concepted a Giant Shoe on a platform truck that will drive up and down the strip with a sign in it promoting a weekly event with the local UNLV Basketball team, celebrity, athlete, or locally famous socialite, that would pull customers to Niketown to HAVE FUN. The place is built like a club and it could very well be a sales monster tool, all while the customer is not cheesed by old ad methods. So To Conclude, If you were to use me for my ideas and implementation and passion... If I were to use you as my clout vessel Your company, Your Ideas, Your advertisements would only progress, and companies that don't keep innovative, fail. (You DO, trust me I've seen your advertising). I would progress, and become the next YOU, to offer more and more people opportunities to create, and jobs for everyone helping them, and in turn bread for families all over the world. This is my calling, I am the global entrepreneur. And I love advertising, Can We Team Up? What do YOU propose?
He was hired on the spot.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Leo Burnett would be proud

For a few years Leo Burnett has put together a reel of work it expects to win at Cannes.

Lots and lots of great work. Great ideas executed brilliantly in most cases.

I really was caught by surprise by the Skittles ad and Scooter.

The winner at Cannes?

Go on Lad.

Take my name off the door

Leo Burnett the man, no the agency.

He delivers a smart and inspiring speech, as relevant today as it was emotional back then.

"When you lose the respect for the lonely man. When you forget that the lonely man is who is making Leo Burnett possible, allowing us to reach for the stars, that day you can take my name off the door"

Monday, June 8, 2009

Do you have it?

"it" is an amazing word.

It means everything and nothing. The difference between success and failure. Between accomplishment and defeat. And in my case, the difference between getting a job and not getting it.

When I was a younger version of myself and looking for a job in advertising I got a 3 month "trial" period at an agency in Dallas. I really liked the agency and the people and the things they stood for (true creativity and real thinking outside the box) so I desperately wanted to come on board.

After 2 months of brainstorming for every account they had, staying late, learning everything there was to learned about the business and the people, I was called to the Creative Director's office.

He has a brilliant creative, with the ability to make something happen out of any small idea you brought up to his attention. I admired him and I wanted to get a good report on my performance, so I walked in nervous and aware of the significance of the moment.

After a small talk about workload and common friends, he told me: Iñaki, we decide to bring you in full time. People like you, you work hard and you have potential to be a great creative. You know? you get it. Some people get it and some people don't. But you get it.

Wow, I thought. I get IT. I really had no idea of what that meant. "IT" whatever it was, I understood it. Great.

The thing is, 'It' means so much. It has taken me over 13 years to fully understand it, and I wanted to put it on paper for future generations to read it, process get it, use it and benefit form it.

In advertising and in creativity "it" means the creative process, the fragility of ideas, the exploration as a mindset, the conceptual world, the world of concepts and the concept as a driver of executions.

It means that you know that you are not alone and that your creative partner is your life partner. That you know that it takes time to do magic, no tricks, no magic dust, no mirrors, just old fashioned hard work and sweat.

It means that Accounst services has a job to do and that it is a nasty job. That is not your job and that they need to do their job so you can do yours. And you get this and expect them to get it too.

It means that clients are a mess, and unfair and hard and they don't get it. But they can afford not to get it because they are the client and the pay the bills, and the y don't care about creativity.

It means that you understand passions and egos and discussions and conversations and heated arguments and blown up talks and soft points.

"it" also means that you respect the process, the traffic department, conference reports, briefs and written directions. they are a pain but important and the lifeblood of an agency.

I didn't know I had all this in me, but my boss saw beyond and he hired me.

When we interview creatives I look for it. And I hope they have it.

It makes everything so much easier.

I had been struggling to find an image that would compliment this post, but when I saw photographer Erin Hanson's site I knew I had found it.

This is a person who gets "it"

Friday, May 29, 2009

Design with purpose

I'm so happy I'm curious.

Without this father learned legacy I would have never clicked the 7 links I needed to follow to end up here: AN INTERVIEW WITH RALPH EGGLESTON, Production designer on Pixar's WALL-E.

I didn't know of course that
Ralph Eggleston joined Pixar Animation Studios in 1992 where he served as Art Director of their first feature film Toy Story. Afterwards, Eggleston helped develop the treatment and screenplay for Monster’s, Inc. and went on to write, design and direct their 2002 Academy Award®-winning animated short For the Birds. In the role of Production Designer he helped envision the undersea world of Finding Nemo and was Brad Bird’s choice for Art Director on his Academy Award®-winning animated film The Incredibles. Before coming to Pixar, Eggleston’s early work in animation included character animation for the Family Dog episode on the television series Amazing Stories.

Eggleston’s recent contribution for Pixar was as Production Designer for their cautionary tale Wall-E. Months after the film’s June 27th theatrical release, in October 2008 and January 2009, Eggleston discussed with me how he went about creating the futuristic environments for Wall-E.

The whole interview is worth your time considering he speaks about Pixar, the creative process and Wall•E. But these are some of my favorites.

In many ways Wall-E is a film about contrasts, not only from the point-of-view of its story, but also contrasts and contradictions within some of its design choices. The film opens with a portrait of a ruinous Earth inhabited by a diminutive robot. The second half of the film is contrasted by a high-end space resort full of overly-indulged humans.

As any of the great production designers would tell you, “Start from the character and then everything else will follow;” and it’s so true.

The script provided the most obvious jumping off points. Wall-E is a square whose only limitations beyond his imagination is what he can physically do. Eve was a circle (an oval, actually) who only did what she was programmed to do. Wall-E has a soul; Eve develops one.

Once the major design obstacles are laid out and agreed upon with the design staff and the director, I can jump back into the color script. Because we’ve done so much research and have begun understanding the world we’re creating, I can delegate to my crew a lot of what needs to get done. This allows me to get back in and focus on the emotional core of what we’re trying to say visually with color, value, and lighting, which usually takes me well into production.

Wall-E was the first time I’ve ever did it exclusively in Photoshop, digitally.

My creative process is
“method painting.” I put myself in the place of the character and walk through the story. I’m trying to find colors that evoke an emotion based on everything I’ve absorbed up until that date, reading the story, hearing a pitch, research.

For inspiration for the movie w
e looked at the Mars Rover film and toured a cruise ship. We looked at Sea Lions for the blubber on the humans.

The key things to the design of Wall-E are his -- eyes, and the overall proportions of his body as it relates to his eyes. The first impression we wanted the audience to have is "child-like.” They were about to watch a whole feature starring a bucket of bolts; we needed to grab their hearts as fast as possible. We never wanted this to be a man in a robot outfit. I’ve seen many animated robots that were visually appealing, but I rarely believed in them, because they didn’t seem designed to do anything specific. Not so with Wall-E. He was designed by the Buy'N'Large Corporation to do one thing: crunch trash. Over the centuries of gathering trash, it seems he’s developed a soul and a personality.

Exactly, one of my goals on this film was to bleach out the whites. I wanted the audience to feel like they might need their sunglasses while they were watching the movie.

The three classes of the Axiom were delineated by shape, color, lighting, organization, and texture.

No, I don’t think so. I think it was the idea of the song and the contrast of the world you were seeing, the world of trash. So much of this film deals in contrasts and the song really grabs your attention quite well! Also, the director was in a High School production of Hello Dolly and had a soft spot in his heart for it. If anyone has video of this, I’d love to see it!

Monday, May 18, 2009

What advertising can learn from design.

For my entire career I've been an advertising creative. Driven by the dogma of creativity: The idea above all.

The truth is, I'm not sure any more.

I've always known that the ideas of the advertising creative had a purpose, and that purpose, to sell a product, could be achieved with clever and innovative creativity.

But I've seen and experienced lots of situations where we place the idea above the consumer, because we believe that the idea might be more important than the purpose itself.

After watching this video about IDEO and their creative process, I have to admit that we need to reconsider the value of an idea that doesn't deliver on it's purpose.

While design creatives mainly place purpose on function (does it work?), advertising creatives place it on the form. (is it creative?)

And while design finds a beautiful form for its functionality. Advertising is constantly trying to find functionality to its form.

We need to remind ourselves that the ideas we come up with, are design to be understood to provoke an action. Does it work? needs to find an answer in an action from the consumer, not with an award in your shelve.

When you achieve both, you have something worth talking about.

Creativity works better when engaging the brain to fill in the blanks. A mistery of sorts where our mind is engaged to figure out the message.
A big difference from a puzzle, where our brain is left without enough relevant information to get to the message.

I think that this is a big difference to keep in mind and a key point that changes the purpose of our creativity.

Ask yourself: Does it work? often enough and you'll find the right purpose to your idea.

Lots and lots of creatives are already doing this, resulting in great work that deliver amazing results for the brand and the consumer.

I just think that we need more purpose driven creative. More design thinking and less creative for the sake of being creative ideas.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Prototype early, prototype a lot.

I can't help but to feel envy while reading The Art of Innovation by Thomas Kelley.
In every page you can find a story that could change your work culture or your approach to brainstorming. But the part that I'm finding the most breakthrough and helpful is the prototyping chapter.

By executing a prototype you start the process of discovering and improving, eventually resulting in "making" your idea happen. These are some of the principles:
Prototyping is problem solving. It's a culture and a language. What counts is moving the ball forward, achieving some part of your goal.
Prototyping is a state of mind.
No matter your business, no matter your experience, odds are the water is rising, you don't have time, and if you don't act soon, the project will be underwater.
If you keep trying on new techniques you'd make dramatic improvements. Childlike curiosity and enthusiasm, a playful iterative approach to problems. Boyle's law: Never go to a meeting without a prototype.
Make mistakes - and discoveries - as soon as possible.
In engineering, if you have more variables than equations you normally have an unsolvable situation. But in the other hand, if you take some good guesses and fill in the blanks on some of them, you'll get some answers.

The birth of Amazon.com was lunched on the run. Prototyping is about acting before you've got the answers, about taking chances, stumbling a little but then making it right.

In 19914 Bezos scratch on a paper a list of things that he could sell online, got on a truck and headed west without a clear destination.

The enxt time you kick off a project, try tackling problems when you don't have the answers.

Once you start drawing or making thing, you open up new possibilities of discovery. Doodling, drawing, modeling, sketch ideas and make things, and you're likely yo encourage accidental discoveries.
A picture is worth a thousand words. And a prototype is worth a thousand pictures.
I believe that prototyping is perhaps the single most important concept to embrace to make things happen.

Take a step forward, see where you go. No matter if you fall, you'll be a step closer to your goal.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Request to Account Services: Be a Lando Carlissian

I remember watching "The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980, fully engaged in the story and the characters. You know? Dreaming to be like Han Solo or Luke, living exciting adventures fighting storm troopers and Darth Vader.

I remember being afraid of Darth Vader and the dark side.

I can still recall the disappointment, betrayal really, that I felt when Lando Carlissian surprisingly turns our heroes into hands of the empire.

Being young dreamer I couldn't understand how he could betray their friendship for money. And why Han Solo could've trusted Landon, after everything they had gone through together. (remember Landon won the Millennium Falcon from Han in a game of sabacc)

Landon was supposed to be on the side of the Rebels, the good guys. And their friendship meant more even now that the universe was fighting for its freedom. So his betrayal to his friend and to the cause was devastating.

But perhaps one of the best moments of any Star Wars movie is when Landon changes his mind and he helps Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa, R2-D2 and C-3PO escape. He later on assists Leia in rescuing a maimed Luke Skywalker from the underside of Cloud City.

Few things make us happier than an old friend who left us joining back the force.

Please, see the Carlissian within you and come back to our side. I know that playing both sides feels safe. But believe me, we want you back, fighting by our side, for the good of ideas and the future of marketing.

Join our Rebel Alliance. We need you.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The creativity behind company names.

Naming a company is a fascinating exercise that requires vision, creativity and a sharp knowledge of vocabulary, right?


Most companies show a surprising lack of originality. And most fall under three well defined categories: Companies named after the owner's names. Comapny names formed following a combination of names. And third; acronyms created by the first letter of a long series of words.

Owner's names:
  • Adidas – from the name of the founder Adolf (Adi) Dassler
  • Boeing – named after founder William E. Boeing.
  • Black & Decker – named after founders S. Duncan Black and Alonzo G. Decker.
  • Bang & Olufsen – from the names of its founders, Peter Bang and Svend Olufsen, who met at a School of Engineering in Denmark.
  • Mattel – a portmanteau of the founders names Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler.
  • Taco Bell – named after founder Glen Bell
Combination of names or words:
  • Alfa Romeo – the company was originally known as ALFA, an acronym for Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili. When Nicola Romeo bought ALFA in 1915, his surname was appended.
  • 3Com – Network technology producer; the three coms are computer, communication, and compatibility
  • Accenture – from "Accent on the future". The name Accenture was proposed by a company employee in Norway as part of an internal name finding process.
  • AOL – from America Online.
  • Cisco – short for San Francisco. It has also been suggested that it was "CIS-co": Computer Information Services was the department at Stanford University where the founders worked.
  • Coca-Cola – derived from the coca leaves and kola nuts used as flavoring. Coca-Cola creator John S. Pemberton changed the 'K' of kola to 'C' to make the name look better.
  • Duane Reade – named after Duane and Reade Streets in lower Manhattan, where the chain's first warehouse was located.
  • Skype – the original concept for the name was Sky-Peer-to-Peer, which morphed into Skyper, then Skype
  • ASICS – an acronym for Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, which, translated from Latin, means "Healthy soul in a healthy body".
  • BMWBayerische Motoren Werke
  • CVSConvenience Value Service.
  • GEICO – from Government Employees Insurance Company
  • IBM – named by Tom (Thomas John) Watson Sr, an ex-employee of National Cash Register (NCR Corporation). To one-up them in all respects, he called his company International Business Machines.
  • Qantas – from its original name, Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.
  • WPP – Global advertising and marketing company. Originally called Wire and Plastic Products.
Random or/and Original:
  • Amazon.com – founder Jeff Bezos renamed the company Amazon (from the earlier name of Cadabra.com) after the world's most voluminous river, the Amazon. He saw the potential for a larger volume of sales in an online (as opposed to a bricks and mortar) bookstore. (Alternative: Amazon was chosen to cash in on the popularity of Yahoo, which listed entries alphabetically.)
  • Apple – For the favorite fruit of co-founder Steve Jobs and/or for the time he worked at an apple orchard, and to distance itself from the cold, unapproachable, complicated imagery created by other computer companies at the time – which had names such as IBM, DEC, Cincom and Tesseract
  • Google – an originally accidental misspelling of the word googol and settled upon because google.com was unregistered. Googol was proposed to reflect the company's mission to organize the immense amount of information available online.
  • Häagen-Dazs – Name was invented in 1961 by ice-cream makers Reuben and Rose Mattus of the Bronx "to convey an aura of the old-world traditions and craftsmanship. The name has no meaning.
  • Kodak – Both the Kodak camera and the name were the invention of founder George Eastman. The letter "K" was a favorite with Eastman; he felt it a strong and incisive letter. He tried out various combinations of words starting and ending with "K". He saw three advantages in the name. It had the merits of a trademark word, would not be mis-pronounced and the name did not resemble anything in the art. There is a misconception that the name was chosen because of its similarity to the sound produced by the shutter of the camera.
  • Lego – combination of the Danish "leg godt", which means to "play well".[37] Lego also means "I put together" in Latin, but Lego Group claims this is only a coincidence and the etymology of the word is entirely Danish. Years before the little plastic brick was invented, Lego manufactured wooden toys.
  • Pepsi – named from the digestive enzyme pepsin.
  • Virgin – founder Richard Branson started a magazine called Student while still at school. In his autobiography, Losing My Virginity, Branson says that when they were starting a business to sell records by mail order, "one of the girls suggested: 'What about Virgin? We're complete virgins at business.'"

You can see a larger list in Wikipedia