Speak Friend and Enter… the Ad World

Have you ever encountered an infinity quotable book? One where you just can’t help but find life wisdom for any type of situation? You meet someone and automatically paraphrase what you think Harry or Merlin or Achilles or Emily or Mr. Darcy would say? Well you’re not alone. And to help introduce the intrepid 2014 year, I bring you the marvelous work of Valerio Amaro, a Miami Ad School student in Berlin, which he posts on his tumblr account One Ad to Rule Them All.

I’ve included some of my personal favorites but you should check out his work. He’s got some amazingly apt ads for some seriously nerdy quotes. Also I have great appreciation for anyone who enjoys spreading the love of the wonderful words from  J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. That and this is a surprisingly fun way to get your advertising brain all a twitter.

Skype

Rolex

Rolex-Time

Durex ring

So do you have any favorite quotes you think would work brilliantly in an ad?

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My IDEO Challenge Entry: The Gamification Game

So this week I decided to be a doer and entered my favorite method of teaching into this IDEO challenge for creative confidence. IDEO is basically a wonderful collaborative creative think tank.

The Challenge:

As young children, we’re all creative. We draw, sing, build, and dream. Yet somewhere along the way – due to the influence of others or our own insecurity – many of us put down these creative instincts. Together with IDEO and our partners – and in celebration of Tom and David Kelley’s new book, Creative Confidence – we’re asking the OpenIDEO community to design fun, inspiring and new ways to help teenagers and young adults around the world preserve and nurture their own creative confidence. At a time when our world faces unprecedented challenges, how might we ensure that young people practice their creative confidence today so that they have a shot at becoming successful leaders tomorrow?

And here’s my teaching solution, the Gamification Game where we make a game of game making. If you have time, would absolutely love it if you could stop by and vote for my entry by hitting the “applaud” button so I can make it into the next round. Please and thanks.

http://www.openideo.com/open/creative-confidence/ideas/the-gamification-game/#c-237124eb1f8b07bf26963849d6b671ec

An Argument for Dancing Your Next Digital Pitch

Could a dancing pony be the perfect inspiration for how we should pitch a digital campaign? I say yes.

Besides realizing my tween dreams, this dancing pony has basically just outlined my entire user experience with the brand’s website: quick, irreverent and with a look-at-me silly attitude. And the entire reason why I was able to grasp this so easily is because of how deeply socialized we are to dance cues. Whether  dancing secretly to One Direction or square dancing or club dancing or ballroom dancing or dancing with friends at the park because we had too much sugar, we all know how to frame a dance as an experience. So if we take this one step further and put it in an a digital setting, any digital campaign we pitch is a glorified dance hosted between us and a brand, whether online or by app.

So why don’t we embrace the dance as the ultimate communication pitching tool for a digital campaign?

Seriously, think about it. When someone’s pitching a digital campaign, all squiggly lines and arrows point here and there with an optimized Facebook blah blah and a tie into the website blah blah followed up with a big idea of blah blah and finally an app blah blah, the actual user experience of the digital campaign is lost. And the user experience of a digital campaign is really the most important element. If users can’t grasp what experience to expect, the digital campaign will fail. A paper scamp of a digital campaign doesn’t really answer the question of motivation or socialization or even the tone. Dance, on the other hand, answers all of this. A dance literally recreates the user experience of the campaign and lasts around three minutes or less.

To this I have assembled 13 persuasive reason why we should dance a digital pitch rather than scamp it.

13 Reasons Why You Should Dance your Digital Pitch?

  1. Figuring out the dance, from the music to choreography to flow to participation, will accurately flesh out the entire user experience of the consumer in the campaign.
  2. Recording said dance is easy, use your phone. And like a paper scamp it’s sharable.
  3. Dance easily frames how we should advertise the digital campaign.
  4. By dancing we are automatically having to show why the consumer should join in.
  5. Dance makes the pitch have a social and emotional element which is half the consumer motivational issues of any digital campaign.
  6. Dance is interactive and digital campaigns are interactive so there’s that.
  7. Dance is social and by dancing the pitch we can better choose the social media that compliments the campaign.
  8. Dance is fun and has stages just like a digital campaign.
  9. Why not…
  10. Dance easily communicates a tone of experience, i.e. campy, fun, dignified, folksy, etc.
  11. The client will definitely pay attention to your pitch.
  12. It’s team building.
  13. We all dance, might as well bond over it.

What do you think? Are you now persuaded enough to dance your next digital pitch?

The Play My Game Teaching Campaign

Generation Y, the feared and mighty heirs to the Baby Boomer consumer empire, are actually a pretty nice and sociable bunch once you get to know them. They like to look cool, get stressed easily and tend to go passive as a defense mechanism when startled, like those goats that freeze up and faint when scared. An ingenious coping mechanism if you think about and definitely is one way to deal with all the bossiness and clutter of activities being pushed upon them every day by friends, Facebook and Mom & Dad Co. You can’t beat being passive and fragile. So how do you teach such folks to be creative in advertising?

Well, you’ve basically have to train the fainting out of the goat which is completely doable as I can personally attest to. Wait, did I forget to mention I also happen to be a card carrying member of Generation Y and reformed metaphorical fainting goat? Seriously if you threw a creative exercise my way or told me to be creative on the spot eight months past, I basically fainted like those goats and hoped the predator or issue moved on for the moment.

And it is this insight into how I coped with creative challenges that is paying dividends in how I teach this semester. As a TA/tutor in Creativity in Marketing at Bond University, my main job is helping my undergraduate students hone their creative communication skills and build-up their creative confidence. The problem is how do I foster creative confidence that stands the stress of being hunted or startled, like the aforementioned goat?

The solution was embracing the fact my job is basically developing experiential advertising campaigns for my students. To put more simply, I’m just doing what I had to do in AWARD School each week and applying it to them. My client is my professor and the class subject. My target audience is the students, a motley group of 18 and above international communication buffs hoping to be more creative without really knowing how. The problem is that they tend to herd their thinking together like sheep instead of embracing their goat like individuality and creative nature. The solution is easing them into recognizing their creativity by removing the stress of it all.

So if I embrace this brief every week…

The Brief

Client: Undergraduate Communication Majors

Product/Service: Hone Creative Communication Skills in Marketing and Advertising

Media: Anything and Everything

Single-minded Proposition: Get the students to develop creative skills in communication (i.e. skip the cliches and be competitive creative advertising talent when they graduate)

Background: These students be wary creatures who want to learn but don’t want to look foolish. Think they’re creative but have massive panic attacks when you take their creativity out of the abstract. They want practical but are uneasy about actual having to “do” instead of theorize. Also easily distracted by bright shiny technology things.

…then I basically am set to cure the fainting from the metaphorical goats in my undergraduate students.

This is where my “Play My Game Teaching Campaign” comes into being. I’m creative when I remove the stress and being-unemployed-at-sixty-because-I-stuffed-up-now paralysis out of the equation. And I do this by embracing the carefreeness that comes with thinking of a fun way to convince a friend or foe or stranger or group to join you in an activity. My creative process is approaching advertising as glorified method of asking someone if they want to play with me.

So I’m embracing this and making my experiential advertising campaigns be play based or inspired and have included a couple of examples of what I’ve done so far this semester. Enjoy!

Google-Free Fact Finding Challenge

The Problem: Cliched and passive data gathering skills in students

Idea: Find facts or truths that you can’t find on Google

Gained Skills: Game helps students learn to look for insights and truths that are the backbone of any advertising campaign.

Rubber Band MacGyver Challenge

The Problem: Big Brand Intimidation Factor

Idea: Find 100 uses for a Rubber Band in less than one hour

Gained Skills: Creative confidence to actually believe that they can come up with some new way to get excited about a brand or product as well as honing their personal creative processes.

The “Do” Card Game

Problem: Paralysing creative insecurity in students

Idea: Have a card game that can only be won by doing challenges, answering trivia and being particularly clever. (i.e like lining up by longest hair, finding the most popular name brand shoe worn that day in class, listing 12 orphaned heroes, listing 31 synonyms for “lists,” etc).

Gained Skills: Students learn to improvise and embrace being creative and clever.

 

The Yips are Grand

Blank

O, dear yips, I wanted to lambast you so, proclaiming your awfulness to all the land. Speak in a cracked voice of how you had plagued me, tricking my id into inaction, imprisoning my ego beside my high-school me and riddling my superego into something resembling Schrodinger’s box for Schordinger’s Cat if Schrodinger had time for the humanities. And then tell of how I valiantly fought back, wielded the mental weapon of creative thought and enchanted myself from your dreaded kind and curse. I wanted to make you cringe and then cry out in defeat as you huddled back into your cave with all of your sinister fallen brethren.

But then dear foe, I got the yips. And these yips are grand, these yips are great, these yips are really just here to help me not contemplate. They tell me great stories and are the best of listeners. They speak of times to be had instead of thinking about stuff that’s really been thought too much about or should maybe be thought of less because… well because.

Why would I wish such a dire fate for these cheery yips of mine? They encourage me to philosophize and marvel at all I’ve managed to achieve so far. I can think, I can string a metaphor or two together that baffles the minds of lesser folks and when it comes to crafting a tutorial lesson plan for my students, I’m the best around. So why should I be so pushy to be doing instead of being as I am now?

They whisper “you did good, you did great” in my ears and keep me from risking a pesky fall when I strive to find a metaphor for quality tyres in spaghetti bolognese that may answer that ad brief from four days ago. I did crack that one brief awhile back so why be egotistical and strive to crack three more this week alone? That playful slap they gave was well deserved, more a love tap for my own good. They just want me safe and happy and home for a while more. I need to check myself before I wreck myself and that’s what they were trying to do.

And they do love my adorable precociousness. They pinch my cheeks, tell me I’ve grown and how proud they are that I’ve done some freelance creative work, developed some pretty great thoughts and do I remember how I did that AWARD thingy awhile back because they sure do. I should be content to pause, to ponder and to take in the grandeur that is my wholesome talent. After all, my talent is like a croissant right now and why should I do all this fancy stuff to make it into an almond croissant when a plain croissant will do?

In fact, I should go out buy myself an almond croissant right now. This post, this thing, this great second draft is not a pressing affair. Who cares if it waits for another day. “Doing is bad, thinking is good, and pausing is the absolute best,” as the yips would say. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a wittier wit and then everyone will be amazed and all this will have occurred because my yips kindly reminded me to take a break.

And sure, I could be uppity and ignore them, but what kind of host am I to refuse such a request from such vaunted and intelligent guests. That whole idea regimen business I started a while back was sloppy folly and if not for their timely interference I most definitely would have stumbled. Really, I am grateful for all that they have done for me. And while their visit may be encroaching on a month and a half, I’m just lucky they decided to remain and keep me company and my life on the proper track.

I truly do not understand why I was so foolishly set against these yips. Their attentive and sweet and just now noticing that I’ve left them for a bit. I must hurry back or I may offend. These yips are sure proving to be amazing friends.

The Idea Regimen Starts Now…

Hello all, hope your week is going well so far. May you view September with the optimism of an otter, ready to ruthlessly do anything and everything to get the clam of life to open while hand holding with your adorable brethren. Yep, that’s the image I’m starting September with, adorable and ruthless otters.

Otter reference aside, the blog here is going to be undergoing a few changes. Every Saturday, from now on until time does my whimsical bidding, I will be posting up my creative pitch to random creative briefs I’ve assembled. These creative briefs will be posted at the bottom of every Monday post.

Series of posters created for JWT Atlanta's new manifesto
Series of posters created for JWT Atlanta’s new manifesto

And while these weekly exercises will be absolutely entertaining and orchestrated for my idea amusement, you are more than welcome to pitch your own creative ideas to this brief. Consider it a weekly fun challenge that gets your idea muscles pumped. Sort of like an idea exercise regimen without  the whole dictator scream-in-your-face stuff that makes workouts oddly terrifying for bystanders. Instead it’s more like a communal idea boot camp where I show up each week at the park with leg warmers, an ironic sweat band, and a persevering hope that my idea ab might develop into a six-pack.

Alright for this week, the Creative Brief is…

Client: Vodafone

Product/Service: 4G long-term evolution (LTE) service

Media: Comics

Target Audience: Current existing customers

Single-Minded Proposition: The most personable customer service in Australia.

Background: “Vodafone seeks to take ownership of its troubled brand image, as the company has shed more than 1 million customers since its network and customer service troubles began in 2010…Vodafone’s aim is to have the best customer loyalty, some of the lowest levels of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO), and the fastest 4G network in Australia.” For more info, please read here.

Mandatories: Logo

What Comics Do that Adverts Should

Here’s a riddle for you, one that is simple and true. You sit down on your couch, the screen lights up and a tale begins. For thirty beats of your heart, you witness intrigue and sorrow and joy where love is lost, adventure found and eureka endorsed. And at the end, dear man or woman, a voice squeaks out, “Toyota, let’s go places.” So why do we detest these micro biteable h’orderves so much? What makes us spit out these snackable adverts with such disgust?

I’d like to think I know the answer, but maybe “I think therefore I am” has gone to my head and all this could be some wobbling existential mess. With that said, I think we’ve gotten too into the gimmicks of the explosions, the shazams, and the emotional ballads in the background. In short, we fallen too much in love with everything technology let’s us do and forgotten what we are doing. Or as  Shel Silverstein more elegantly postulates.

Shel Silverstein

We love our media and our medium, but we keep expecting it to know the story we should be telling. Or at least that’s what happened to me when it came time for me to scamp out my TV advert for AWARD. The entirety of my idea was special effects screeching through a weak plot twist or two. Seriously, I felt like villain twisting my mustache as a train crept slowly toward the bound damsel when I turned in that piece of work. I knew they were going to see I had no substance in mine but hoped that maybe they might just have dumb day and go “yeah, that works.” Yep, I was the optimistic 1920s villain hoping Captain Super had a cold. This analogy right here is better in narrative than what I put forward.

So how do I prevent myself from turning in crap next time? Well I figure I should go back to the basics.  What has three boxes, bubbles for dialogue and a doesn’t give a damn about gimmicks? Comic strips.

How many of you open your newspaper and eagerly skip over to the comic section for a quick laugh or two. You can be ten, thirty or even ninety-three, and still have the same enthusiasm for these little, simple tales. And surprisingly enough, they literally are the equivalent of a story-boarded TV advert. And a serial advert too if you really want to get technical.

Think me crazy, just imagine if we adapted these Calvin and Hobbes comic strips into some TV adverts for these big brands.

Wall Street Journal:

Calvin and Hobbes

Canon

calvin-hobbes-faces

Australian You-Have-to-Vote Reminders:

calvin_and_hobbes_020

So what have we learned? Comics are great storytelling wrapped in cleverness and whimsy. They are simple in execution and know what it is they are trying to say. Heck, comics have insight and emotional punch that usually make us cringe and laugh at once. And let’s not forget the dialogue, it’s not expository, sloppy or demeaning to others, in fact its often wholesome and oddly, deprecatingly hopeful. And all of these qualities that can should be in an advert but usually aren’t.

This then leads me to my newest truth for the week, when storyboarding for an advert you should be more like a cartoonist than a screenwriter or director or a clever Mad Man. More Bill Watterson and less Steven Spielberg. More Calvin and Hobbes and less MTV explosion Jersey Shore blah. More simple and less complicated.

So newest life goal added to career list, become a fantastic cartoonist. And with that I leave you for the night. Tune in next week for the newest addition to my blog, the Brief and Answer challenge.

Time for Cannes: Meet the Aussie Contenders

It’s that time again, Cannes. Are you ready? Your inner advert nerd squealing with glee? Curious about the Oz nominations? Me too. So I have compiled a list here of all the Aussie entries for Cannes Lions 2013 and samples if I was able to find them.

Please feel free to have a leisurely stroll through the nominations. I promise you will leave inspired.

Best Use of Experiential Marketing in a Promotional Campaign:

  • “Fascinators” by Publicis Mojo Sydney for James Boag’s Draught.
  • “Small World Machines” by Leo Burnett Sydney for Coca-Cola.

Best Use of Guerilla Marketing in a Promotional Campaign:

  • “Joy Sculptures” by Saatchi & Saatchi Australia Sydney for Cadbury.

Cadbury_Share the joy_

  • “Big Brother” by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for th
    e National Australia Bank.

Best Use of Ambient in a Promotional Campaign:

  • “A Place to Remember” by Grey Melbourne promotion road safety for the Transport Accident Commission. Click here to view TAC-A Place to Remember
  • “McDonald’s Becomes Macca’s” by DDB Sydney for McDonalds.

Best New Product Launch/Re-Launch or Multi-Product Promotion:

  • “Road to Recovery” by Leo Burnett Sydney for Diageo Australia promoting Bundaberg Rum.

Bundy_RTR_Design_D02_Alcoholic_Drinks

Best Use of Broadcast in a Promotional Campaign:

Best Sponsorship or Partnership Campaigns:

  • “Stand Ins” by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne for the National Australia Bank.

Best use of Social Media Marketing in a Promotional Campaign:

  • “Dumb Ways To Die” by McCann for Metro Trains.

Food and Non-Alcoholic Drinks:

  • “Joy Sculptures” by Saatchi & Saatchi Australia Sydney for Cadbury.
  • “Small World Machines” by Leo Burnett Sydney for Coca-Cola.

Durable Goods:

  • “Valentine’s Day” by 3303Lowe Subiaco for IKEA.

Ikea Valentine's Day

Retail:

  • “McDonald’s Becomes Macca’s” by DDB Sydney for McDonalds.

Cars and Automotive Services:

  • “Outback Dirt Wash” by Saatchi & Saatchi Australia Sydney for Toyota to promote the Landcruiser.

Entertainment and Leisure:

  • “Overstay Checkout” by Naked Communications Cremorne for Art Series Hotels.
  • “Guilt Trips” by McCann Melbourne for V/Line.
  • “Road to Recovery” by Leo Burnett Sydney for Diageo Australia promoting Bundaberg Rum.

Bundy_RTR_Design_D02_Alcoholic_Drinks

Public Health and Safety, Public Awareness Messages:

  • “Dumb Ways To Die” by McCann for Metro Trains.

Best Integrated Campaign Led by Promotion and Activation:

  • “Track My Maccas” by DDB Sydney for McDonald’s promoting the core menu.

The Great Middle

Many have heard but few have ever experienced the “Great Middle.” A time where the middle of the week holds the greatest treasures, the greatest entertainment, the greatest of everything. So it is with a happy heart and extended hands I welcome you all to the “Great Middle.”

A week where I get to be inspired on Tuesday, pitching on Wednesday and schmoozing on Thursday. My “Great Middle” breaks down thusly…

Tuesday:

Hear a fantastic lecture in AWARD school from Jonathan Kneebone. For those not in the know from the now in the know, Jonathan Kneebone is a creative giant at the Glue Society. Haven’t heard of the Glue Society or Jonathan Kneebone? Well let’s just say this guy is an artistic advertising wunderkind.

He’s artsy…

And absurdly witty…

And inspiring in a go-be-quirky way.

Wednesday:

Known by many as hump day, Wednesday heralds the achievement of a new career giggly best. I would literally slay a unicorn for this opportunity. What’s worth a unicorn’s life? Pitching a TVC at Clemenger BBDO Brisbane.

This Wednesday, my tutors from AWARD School hail from the mighty Clemenger BBDO Brisbane, who have graciously opened their agency and their time to allow us (me and fellow students) to pitch our TVC idea to this week’s  provided creative brief. And then they will pick the week’s winner.  Yep, I’m pitching ideas at Clemenger tomorrow. Let’s let that sink in. Me. Pitch. Idea. Tomorrow.

Thursday:

And if this week wasn’t fantastic enough, our lovely tutors at Publicis Mojo have gotten us tickets to Brisbannes, an event where the greatness of this year’s Cannes Lion entries are enjoyed amongst the Queensland advertising industry’s best. So great ads, great company and the opportunity to schmooze with the best and brightest around. It’s tough but I think I’ll be able to generate some enthusiasm.

Brisbannes

Will tell you more once all of these amazing things have been lived, relived and happily reminisced on.