Procrastination (or the post that took 7 months to write)

Yes, you’re not reading it wrong. It took me seven months to write this f****ng post.

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As much as I’d like to blame my lack of posting to my new job, my trips to renew/get a new work visa, the holidays, a nighttime shift, charitable charity, a sports league I joined but never went to a game, an Instagram-worthy social life, failed business ventures, food comas, global warming, modeling gigs, stunt double duties, being mistaken for a famous person, exploding phones, Exploding Kittens or even trying to win the Lotto jackpot—the truth is I didn’t write a post because I was procrastinating the shit out of it.

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I swear I even had at least ten good topics I could write about (and by ten I mean I had between 0 and 2).

So, when I saw a fellow writer documenting her trip to the other side of the world, her 30-day journey to learn how to draw, and a few other posts she wrote after that, I forced myself to write this.

So let’s talk a little about PROCRASTINATION

Look, I was gonna do some deep research about its origins, causes, if there’s an actual medical condition associated with it, but honestly, I would end up procrastinating that too. So, ya’ll end up with the next best thing: a Wikipedia article! (come on, click it, you know you want to).

So much winning!

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Next, I spent a couple more days procrastinating.

And then, as the truly great creative I am, I went to Giphy.com to find the GIFs I needed and finish this post 10 minutes before my next meeting.

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I even got a guest writer to help me, but she procrastinated too and this is the only thing she could come up with:

Sopenis by Alice X.

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I make ads. I block ads.

When I was growing up, I remember my excitement when my parents finally decided to get cable TV and I was gonna be able to watch as many ads and cartoons as I desired (I know, I was a weird kid). I grew up watching ads and I loved it!

So yeah, I grew up watching ads and I loved it!

Little me had no clue that one day I would become a proper ad man and be the mind behind those ads.

But what “little me” couldn’t predict is that “adult me” would also pay to block ads.

Let me explain.

I still love ads, any kind of ad. In fact, I spend most of my day watching new ads, good ads. But let’s be honest. There are so many bad ads that finding those few good ones is like finding a gold mine in your backyard (or any other analogy you’d like better).

For example, every time I watch The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Hulu, I get this Bud Light Lime ad that’s, for the lack of words, bad (sorry if you’re the ones behind it, but you know deep in your heart that I’m right).

I think I’ve seen this ad at least 20-30 times in the past 3 weeks. But when I try to analyze the thought behind it, my only outcome is this:

Limes in a beer -> Hispanics -> Spanish

Refreshing -> Summer -> Palm trees

=

Palm trees speak Spanish

I know it’s really hard to get good ads out there (heck, I’ve done my fair share of embarrassing stuff that I’m afraid to look at). I know that there’s always someone in every department and every client that maims the original vision. I also know that as creatives, we need to pick our battles and only fight for the things that are monumental.

But now, technology is against us and those Ad Blocking plugins are just gonna keep on growing, and more people are going to start paying to block ads. Or if the Adblock Plus thing goes trough, see only the ads that pay to be seen (an extra to their media budget).

So unless we start educating ourselves and our clients to be bolder and create better content and better ads that people want to see and share, the people like “little me” that love to see ads will go extinct (and our jobs with it).

P.S. I also pay to see ads. Good ads.

Look ma! I’m cashing in nostalgia

Now that it seems that the Pokemon Go fever is fading away. I think it’s safe to talk about how everybody is cashing in nostalgia without sounding like one of those haters who think that game is only for geeks and children.

And before you start bashing me, I’m a level 16 Team Valor trainer that’s also a proud father to a 1035 CP Snorlax. So fuck yeah! I’m a geek too!

But let’s move on to our main topic…

Nostalgia—the single most powerful money making element since selling cocaine was so harshly prosecuted by the cops. Everyone is cashing in with it, from Hollywood, to sports, to video games.

The fever is everywhere!

Sometime ago, I wrote about how Pop Culture tends to recycle everything from fashion to music. Even then Hollywood movie releases were mostly sequels or book /comic book adaptations. Nothing original coming our way.

Now it seems everybody is catching up to that and making as much money as they can. And Pokemon Go is the perfect example to that. Just look at how it changed the way people interacted with the outside world, revived the once death trend of Augmented Reality (AR) and made a video game from my generation popular to children again. It was genius!

But if you still don’t believe me that everyone is catching in with nostalgia, check out this trailer…

That’s right! The Bat-Dance is back—in animation form!

Now, if you excuse me. Gotta go find something from my childhood that will make me millionaire. Anybody interested in VHS movies?

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?

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.

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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.

How do I renew my passion to create everyday?

Working in any creative industry can sometimes be really frustrating. You know, having to go through endless changes, ideas getting killed, budgets being cut (or non existent), etc. It’s no surprise that many people think that the only ones that have what it takes to succeed are the ones with an unnatural talent, a really thick skin and luck.

I can vouch for the thick skin. It is true that you need it to see your mind-babies being killed and gather enough courage to keep pushing until you give birth to a new one.

But unnatural talent?

No, sorry.

Creativity is part of human nature. Which means, we all have talent. You just need to nourish it, unleash it and enjoy it.

Even though, sometimes you need to renew your passion to create. Find that fuel that makes you keep on going against all odds. It is a different process for everyone. Here is how I do it.

Ready?

READING

Say what???

Yes, reading. Everyone who knows me or has worked with me knows that I’m always reading something. I’m either stuck to my Kindle, to the endless tabs I have open in my browser (which make my computer crash regularly) or to any book that seems interesting.

Reading keeps me up to date with new tech, ideas being made, funny stuff, entertaining stuff—you name it. Sometimes I won’t even finish the article when I’m using it for an idea I just came up with. Reading is my fuel.

For example, on a recent trip back home, I dug out a gift package I got from AKQA back when I was a not-so-little fella attending ad school. It contained a book called “Spark For The Fire” from Ian Wharton.

I started to read it and oh boy, my mind was blown.

So much that it led me to set new goals for my professional career that will make me push myself even harder than before, and a new personal project that hopefully will launch in two weeks.

I honestly don’t know if the book is really that good or should be an obligatory read for any creative (sorry Ian). But I have been recommending it like crazy to all my office mates and friends (you’re welcome Ian).

Anyway. That’s how I renew my passion to create everyday.

Now tell me… What’s yours?