Friday, July 30, 2010

Great headline — AMV BBDO for African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust

It can be so hard to find good, copy-driven print campaigns. Especially when you look globally,  so much advertising is visually anchored. But sometimes nothing but words will do.

This headline is everything it should be — provocative, compelling, risky, and to the point. Love it.

Advertising Agency: AMV BBDO, London, UK
Creative Directors: Mike Hannett, Dave Buchanan
Art Director: Pete Davies
Copywriter: Adam Rimmer
Designer: Neil Craddock

Found on Check out the whole campaign.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I’m sorry, Ruby Tuesday, you lose.

First of all, I would like people to stop adding -ista to the end of things. It’s over. No more Fashionistas, Recessionistas, Budgetistas, Kitchenistas, iPad-istas, and the like. It officially crossed the line from clever to irritating sometime last year.

Secondly, Ruby Tuesday is not a foodie destination. Perhaps it’s changed since the last time I went there (a good 10 years ago), but any place with “890 locations and counting” isn’t likely to ever draw the foodie crowd. I’d be a little less snobbish on this point if I’d seen this in Every Day with Rachel Ray rather than Elle. But, if you place your ad in a snobby magazine, that’s what you get. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

How do you make time for your own writing?

I’m thinking about this because I’m planning my fall semester and wondering how to squeeze in everything. After a year of balancing full-time work and full-time school, I’m ditching work in a month to focus on school.

When I decided to quit, I daydreamed about mornings spent writing fiction, blogging, and reading and afternoons brainstorming with my campaign partners, writing copy, and going to class. Evenings would be for recharging.

Then I decided that I should do an internship, which (if I, cross-my-fingers, get one) will knock out of a few of my days and push much of my school and personal work into the evenings.  It all seems to fit into my artfully arranged Google Calendar—even a few hours of personal writing a week—but there’s not a lot of time for anything else.

So, can it work? Will I be energized from all the activity? Or will I be too zonked to write anything but ads this fall? If so, will that be okay?

Here’s what I’m going to try:

Scheduling hour-long “Creative Writing” appointments in the mornings.
A lot of people recommend writing first thing, but that’s my best exercise time, so I’m going to try writing a few times a week second thing in the morning. 

Committing to exercise, including yoga a couple times a week.
Adding something else to my plate sounds counterintuitive. But, for me, exercise is better than coffee. (I know, what kind of writer am I?) It wakes me up and clears my brain, so I'm trying to make it a priority.

Banishing the time-sucks.
This one is going to be hard. After a long day, I often think that I don’t have enough energy to do anything except veg in front of the TV. If that’s really true, I should just go to bed because The Real Housewives of Wherever isn't relaxing or stimulating. It's just a time-suck. Same goes of reading every last comment on (I *love* that site) and obsessively checking Facebook/Email/Twitter/etc. 

Alright, I think that’s enough resolutions. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, how do you squeeze everything in and keep your energy high? Or do you not even bother with personal creative projects?

Also, three articles that inspired me:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inspiration Sunday: Mad Men

It's Sunday, and we could all use some inspiration before we go back to work or school or whatever it is we do on the days when having a Bloody Mary with brunch is frowned upon.

Who needs inspiring campaigns with the Mad Men premiere tonight? That was all the inspiration I needed. Let's go out and make some good ads.

I'm still digesting the episode, but I loved the quick pace, the intersection of journalism and advertising, and Peggy's new swagger (I'm positive it has something to do with getting rid of those bangs).

What did everyone think of the Peggy and Pete's stunt?

And, just in case you did need some real world ad inspiration, the Mad Men site has some great interactive stuff. Love the interview quiz. (And got copywriter—yeah!)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Cool Packaging for Red Brick Beer

I'm digging that 22squared integrated their fun, copy-driven advertising for Red Brick Beer into its packaging. It really gives the company a clear voice.

You can check out their stuff at Ads of the World.

From their 2010 campaign:

The 2008 work is also amusing...

... but, as a Texan, I have to call shenanigans on them saying that people here don't say y'all. 

(And I just noticed that this is my second beer ad post. Sorry to be repetitive — drinks must be on my mind.) 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Go now: "Chris Jordan: Running the Numbers" at AMOA

If you’re in Austin—and especially if you’re an art director, graphic designer, or anyone else who has to organize info in a visually interesting way—get to the Austin Museum of Art to check out “Chris Jordan: Running the Numbers.” Now. (Well, at least before August 15.) It’s well worth the $5.

Chris Jordan turns stats into art. Most of us have trouble grasping the giant numbers we read in the news — that 1.14 million brown paper supermarket bags are used in the United States every hour, for example — but Chris Jordan lets you see just how many bags that is.

(Chris Jordan — Paper Bags, 2006 — Click to Enlarge)

An online picture doesn’t do it justice, but his website gallery has a pretty awesome zoom feature. Definitely check out Barbie Dolls.

If you aren’t in Austin, the exhibit (or another similar one) will be touring:
  • College of Charleston, SC (Sept. 1 - Dec. 15, 2010)
  • Simon Fraser University Gallery, Burnaby, BC, Canada (Nov. 6 - Dec.17, 2010)
  • University of Colorado Museum of Natural History, Boulder, CO (Jan. 10 - April 30, 2011)
  • Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene (Jan. 15 - April 10, 2011)
  • Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon, Eugene (Jan. 15 - April 10, 2011)
  • Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV (April 23 - Aug. 6, 2011)
  • International Museum of Art and Science, McAllen, TX (Sept. 1, 2011 - Jan. 1, 2012)
  • Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA (Aug. 29 - Dec. 11, 2011)
  • Carleton College Art Gallery, Northfield, MN, (Jan. 6 - March 9, 2012)
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, (Jan. 27 - April 6, 2012)
  • Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (May 12 - Oct. 14, 2012)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tips for Getting the Scoop

I used to be a journalist and loved it until I burnt out writing sad stories about kids, which is what happens when you cover the education/youth beat. (Also, I needed some big city life, and the exurbs of So Cal weren’t doing it for me.)

Anyway, last week as I sorted through old clips to post to my new website (, a rush of memories returned, and I thought about what reporting taught me about finding stuff out.

So, in honor of my first career, here are my favorite tips for getting the scoop. Apply them to other parts of your life as you see fit.

  • Shut up. Seriously, sometimes all it takes to get people to open up is silence. Silence can be awkward. If you’re not used to it, you will desperately want to fill it. Don’t. Let them.

  • Ask short, open-ended questions. I love Fresh Air, but Terry Gross asks the longest questions ever. Half of them are statements more than questions. It works for her, but it probably won’t for you. Give people room to talk.

  • Throw a softball. Until someone is comfortable with you, ask them the easy stuff — What’s your favorite _________? How’d you get started with _________? What do you remember about _________?

  • Act surprised/incredulous. My favorite professor’s go-to phrase for getting sources to offer more information was, “No shit?” He’d vary the tone depending on the situation. As a young-looking twenty-something, "No shit" didn't work as well for me as it did for my smoke-stained professor. But “Really?” always did the trick.

  • Be stupid. If you don’t understand something, pipe up. If you think you get it, but don’t know if you could explain it to someone else, ask again. My favorite request for this situation, stolen from a co-worker: “Explain it to me like I’m a fourth grader.”

  • Let them poke holes. My best last question was always: “Is there anything I forgot to ask?” The answer to this was often the best bit of information or best quote of the entire interview.

(Coincidently, my research professor, another former journalist, gave some of these tips during Friday’s lecture on focus groups and depth interviews.)

Hope this helps!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Inspiration Sunday: McGarrah Jessee for Shiner Beers

It's Sunday, and we could all use some inspiration before we go back to work or school or whatever it is we do on the days when having a Bloody Mary with brunch is frowned upon.

These have probably been lauded on countless other blogs and in the annuals, but they're just so damn good that I want to take another look at McGarrah Jessee's work for Shiner Beers.

The idea fits the brand perfectly. The copy is smart and not trying too hard, and it makes me feel all proud to have Shiner as my home state beer. (Is it weird that one of my early ad memories is a Shiner commercial with a cute old lady talking about the little brewery from Shiner, Texas?)

Enjoy your week. Do good work.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

W+K's Iain Tait on NPR

Just heard a cool NPR interview with Wieden+Kennedy's Iain Tait about the latest Old Spice awesomeness. What a fun project. I love the idea of speed writing these personalized response videos and shooting them right away.

Here's one of them. Classic!

Who writes this stuff?

Or, perhaps more importantly, who edits this stuff? In case you ever doubted the benefit of a sharp editor, check out these gems from my marketing research book:
  • "Questions become increasingly more specific..." Increasingly and more mean the same thing.
  • "[In an online focus group] Participants use a keyboard and mouse to make their remarks..." What else would they use? Telepathy?
  • "For example, if the topic involves improving parochial school education, the group should probably not include non-parents or parents with no plans of having children." What?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Edicoo — Ad Agency in Iraq

Who would guess that an ad agency could make $4 million in revenue in a war zone? I'm totally following this place on Twitter.

Check out this cool Ad Age story about Edicoo or just check out their website

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

First post!

Welcome. I'm just getting started here, so it may be chaos for a couple of days. But, I'll be posting cool ads, awful ads, copywriting stuff, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Thanks for hanging out.