A post about nothing (or something)

There I was, coming back from a morning run, ready to get into the shower when my mind started spinning. Ideating. Creating. I don’t know how to describe what was happening to me, but between suds and weird shampoo hairstyles I was on fire! Idea fire!

That’s the life of the creative, always thinking about the next big thing (or the next bad joke) while doing the most brainless thing possible. In my case, the idea was to write a blog post about nothing.

Why nothing?

Because it’s more challenging than writing a post about something.

Sure, I can definitely talk about politics, but everyone is talking about it so much that it stopped being funny and insightful at all.

(Full disclosure: I’m totally against the radioactive orange)

I could talk about news in the ad business, but most of them have been covered by AdAge, AdWeek, AgencySpy, etc.

(The only thing I’ll say is: I’m glad that the gender and diversity problem it has is being addressed and noticed by everybody)

Maybe I could talk about the script for the SuperBowl ad I’m hoping to make.

Or maybe I can finish this post as it is and I’ll have completed my mission. A post about nothing (or something).

All hail the interns

Summer is here. Which means that if you’re lucky enough, you’ll get to the agency one day to find out a bunch of kids sitting everywhere (some will even claim your favorite spot as theirs).

You watch them, you sniff them, you close your eyes a little to look more dramatic and suspicious. Then you walk to your seat and start working on your day to day. You know someone from HR, your boss or the creative manager will come to introduce them or at some point you’ll receive an email telling everybody that the interns are here.

Cool.

Over the next few days, you notice that this new breed of graduates or soon-to-be graduates are looking at you more scared than a gazelle being chased by a cheetah. You decide to approach them, introduce yourself and be the friendly face of the company.

Deep in your mind you know that these millennials don’t know shit, but maybe, maybe one of them will teach you what’s hip in Pop Culture (do we still say hip?). You decide to invite them for lunch, talk to them, be part of their group (you might even go as far as date one of them if there’s a cute girl or a cute boy in the mix).

And that’s the breaking point.

*Dramatic music begins to play.

This is the moment where you can shape that intern into your heavyweight champion or make him hate coffee runs for the rest of their life. You’re now a mentor.

But sadly, some people are not born to be mentors. Some have an ego that’s bigger than the agency and won’t accept new blood challenging or bringing new and innovative ideas. So they go for the easy route of not including them into the real work and just send them for coffee runs.

It’s sad.

They don’t remember that once they were interns. That once they tried to break into the business (any business). They forgot how hard it is to learn if there isn’t someone to teach you or at least tell you when you did something wrong.

I know because I was an intern once. And I had awesome bosses and mentors that threw me into challenging projects. Some of them changed the company I worked for. Others forgot about me and made me endure months of just sitting at my desk watching the clock tick; no projects, no trust, no benefit for them or the company.

So please, please… Don’t be the asshole boss and give your interns a chance. Some of them will rock!

That leaves me with just one more question.

Where’s my fucking intern?

Ad Quote #626

“There’s a very big chance we’re gonna get screwed today. Maybe it’s going to happen in our 11:30 [client name] meeting. Maybe it’s going to happen in our 15:00 [other client name] meeting. Or maybe, if we’re lucky, it’s going to happen tonight at a bar—fingers crossed.”

-Immortal words from the funniest Creative Director

 

The invention of the time machine and the “A-ha” moment

Ever since I started working in this business I’ve been wondering what was the “A-ha” moment for the world’s most renown creatives. You know, that moment when they said to themselves, “oh shit! I really wanna do this for a living”—or something close to that.

I know that the Boguskys, the Drogas, the Grafs or the Royers of this world have already talked about their beginnings in the industry, the things they did to become geniuses and more. But correct me if I’m wrong, I haven’t read or heard them talking about that “A-ha” moment.

When we are young, we are naturally attracted to anything that’s creative. We’re born creative. And some people cling so hard to that feeling that they grow up to become artists, entrepreneurs, mad men at a very young age. They say they were always attracted to that life and that job, but they never mention the moment when they make that decision.

Take me for an instance. I’ve always loved creativity and took it as a hobby when my life/school took me to the boring corporate world (the kind that wears ties and suits everyday because they’re told to, not because they need to). When I was a pubescent teenager trying to decide what I was going to do with my life, nobody told me that this ad world existed (my school didn’t have career planning or counselors). So when I had to make a choice, I chose business. Cool, exciting, boring business.

That choice led me to a wealthy and successful career path. The money was good, the people were good, but I wasn’t happy. I was just going with the flow.

Then it happened.

Out of the blue, a teacher at a course I was taking explained how the ad industry worked.

My eyes opened wide, my pupils dilated, my adrenaline spiked and my mind was blown (okay, I might have exaggerated a little bit. But for the sake of argument, let’s all think this actually happened).

I had my “a-ha” moment.

I wanted to be a creative. I needed to be a creative. I suddenly got the courage to drop everything and pursue my passion. And four years later, here I am. Writing a blog a lot of people read one day (thanks AgencySpy) and having a blast at life (thanks boss).

So if I ever invent a time machine (or someone does before me). I’d travel to that moment where Gerry, David, Ted, Alex, Steve, Bill and more got that “a-ha” moment. Just to see if they were once as lost as I was.

Or…

On a second thought, I’d better travel back to when I was a naive and clueless teenager and counsel me to become a creative sooner in life (and how to successfully hookup with my high school crush before my worst enemy does—sorry, not sorry).

So M, if you read this. I’m coming for you (or coming back for you?—I’m confused).

*This article happened thanks to “The Time Machine”, a TV spot for one of my clients that you might or might not see on your screen soon (I haven’t sold it to the CD yet).

 

The dilemma of presenting live vs. presenting digitally

Ok, I have to come clean. I love Mad Men as much as anyone else who works in the ad industry does. But this post is not about how much we love this show. It is about what this show can teach us (aside from drinking and sleeping on the couch during office hours).

Like presenting an idea live.

Remember this scene from Mad Men?

Yes, I know. This is one of the most famous scenes in the whole show and everybody has talked about it before on countless blogs (some of which I have read). A former teacher from ad school even used to say that this is the pinnacle of how a client presentation should be set.

But today I’m not digging into the mechanics of how to build a deck (that might be a topic for another post). Today, I’m going to talk about the dilemma of presenting your creative live vs. the comfort of presenting it digitally.

 

While sending a deck to the client over email and waiting for their comments might sound like the comfiest thing to do (especially if booking a meeting is near to impossible). Sometimes you need that extra “oomph” (this is not a word, obviously). What I mean is that sometimes you need to paint a more comprehensive picture to your client other than just words and images over a PDF.

For example, a few months ago, we presented a couple of ridiculous radio spots to a client. For the first one, I had to act the voice over and the SFX so the client could imagine how the final product would sound. The second one was presented with a spec spot that we badly recorded on our computers.

Both were sold and produced.

Why?

Because the client didn’t have to imagine them.

s8lb8ff7gtcuc

I know that this might be harder to do with TV spots or more innovative ideas. But that’s why I started this post with that Mad Men scene. Because if Don Draper had put that speech on a deck and emailed it to the client, he might not have sold the idea.

When we present live, we can act, we can paint, we can play with our client’s imaginations. Guide them to see and think the way we did when we created the idea.

When we send it digitally, we can only hope they see it the same way as we imagined it.

And let me ask you a question. How many of you have sent or received an ambiguous text message that could be interpreted in so many ways?

Exactly.

So if you really want to sell an idea, book that meeting. Don’t leave it to chance.