Category Archives: Creative Strategist

26. Running

A short piece I made for my Gateway class. I hope you guys like it.

Running from Ryan Buick on Vimeo.

24. Company Culture

From hearing guest speakers to hearing Deb on a daily basis, I feel that I have begun to understand an industry I couldn’t tell you one coherent thought about a few months ago. It’s an entirely unique industry full of people you would never see in any other occupation. Creatives, planners, directors, and clients are thrown into this sandbox where they have to abandon all their egos while still communicating what it is they’d like to see in this project. The teamwork aspect of the industry is something that I could really see myself diving into.

I just finished Delivering Happiness, the book about Zappos and their extremely unique company culture. In the book, the founder talks about the moment where he realized that he had to step away from the company he started in his apartment and watched grown to a hundred million dollar venture. After a couple years of working in a deteriorating company culture, he realized one morning that he simply did not want to get out of bed. How does one get to the point where a company that they birthed is one that they no longer want to be a part of?

Reading his book terrifies me in a way. My biggest fear is to wake up every morning for a job that I don’t love going to. I love technology. I love working for technology companies. I love being able to slay the dragon that is a shitty user experience. I love the fact that my grandpa can actually interact with an iPad. That’s what going to get me out of bed for work each morning – knowing that the better I do my job, the easier the user’s life may be for a few minutes of the day. That being said, I can see how a tech company can cannibalize its own culture with loading up on talent fits – not culture fits. I hope to someday be a part of a company that holds culture in an equal regard with talent because it knows that teamwork and creative collaboration leads to success.

I know I’m on a bit of a rant here but after reading this book, learning in this class, and listening to these speakers, I’ve come to understand just how important company culture is to success and I’m excited to someday be a part of a company that gets me out of bed for the right reasons.

23. Creative Quotes

Just two simple quotes that I found that help remind me to step back every once in a while (yes, they are on my “fancy’d” list). It’s tough to remember the matrix we live in. Sometimes the rat race of school, work, relationships, you name it sucks us up and chews us to the point we forget where we’re really going – or if that’s anywhere at all. We all wish we could go back to the days of the playground where nothing mattered but the bounce of a ball. But that isn’t life. Life is grabbing something head on when its charging at you and there’s no solution on google to fix it. Life is about solving problems, however big or small, and feeling the success or failure that can accompany these problems.

I really am grateful for this class and making me sit down and think about what makes me creative. What makes me react differently or scratch my head until I feverishly begin to type? I actually believe I’m coming closer to these catalyst points than I have in a very long time. Part of me wishes I never stopped drawing – That I still wanted to have the final say at Crayola on why the hell Sea Turtle Green should be in the 48 pack of crayons. Hopefully, that kid in me is coming back.

22. Final Words: From Bedside to Random Tweet

Andrew Breitbart’s tweeting in his final moments before his death this past week inspired an interesting article in GOOD about the weird, anticlimactic auora surrounding the use of social media right before death. Social media sprays a snapshot of our life, however mundane or intriguing, across the media landscape for all to see. So what happens when that random thought is the last thing people will hear from you?

In the case of Andrew Breitbart, his last tweet was not an uncommon one but just a mere sample from his vast archive of twitter insults. Is that how he will be remembered. In this day and age, we are more capable of creating our personal brand than ever before. We can spread, joy, criticism, disgust – you name it by the hour with hundreds or even thousands of people. Yet, do we ever consider how these are amounted into a story of who we are in the digital landscape? Just some food for thought.

If you were to die today, what would the social media you’ve left behind say about you?

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21. The Mind’s Ability to Recognize

What the hell is wrong with us? How do I know what the black and white thing is? Regardless of the physics and science behind it, I believe the recognition we instantly experience in these pixelated images can tell us a great deal about brand recognition. The mind can be instantly attracted or turned of by an image no matter how blurred or obscured it may be. Familiarity with worldwide brands is inescapable and must be quality must be assured by these brands on a massive scale.

If we see something good or bad, chances are we can tell what it is within seconds. And opinions can be made almost faster. So no matter the medium, no matter the distance, brands must be concise, responsible, and flawless in their exposure.

 

 

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20. Leave the Cans on Top

I believe in separating the cans from the trash.  Yes, that’s it. I don’t do it to save the polar bears or to feed some obsessive-compulsive sickness.  I just want to make life a little bit easier for the malt liquor and urine soaked man digging through our dumpster in the middle of the night.

Life has never given him a break.  My uncle who slept in alleyways for the last half of his life never got a break either. I was lucky enough to have the chance of spending time with him growing up in San Francisco, where the sight of living skeletons lining the walls of luxurious hotels and corporate offices is an accepted way of life.  Passersby saw him curled up against the gate in front of Glide Memorial as a leech of society.  They saw him as just another fiend whose bloodshot eyes lit up as he watched their hard-earned money fall into his outstretched Big-Gulp cup.  I saw him as Uncle Pete.

I know I can’t do much for the homeless and I don’t expect anyone else to feel bad for them. All I ask of myself and of others is to leave the cans on top and imagine the momentary peace this man can have knowing he doesn’t have to claw his way through used tissues and rotten food scraps and to make a of couple bucks.  It’s a small victory in a cold world that doesn’t give two shits about them.  Hell, it might even make them smile.

This whole concept of leaving the cans on top isn’t just solely applicable to homelessness.  It’s a guiding principle for how I would like to live my life. It’s similar to the movie Pay It Forward, but Kevin Spacey creeps me out too much so I would rather use my own slogan.  It’s no secret that everyone in life has those moments where they need something to keep them from bottoming out.   Yet we don’t always make the smallest of efforts to show them that someone cares. Leaving the cans on top and keeping them out of the literal and proverbial dumpster gives everyone the ability to make a stranger’s life better.  And for that brief, anonymous gift of temporary relief, I believe the world is a better place.

19. Google Goggles

This is the world in which I want to live. MVS is the future of what I hope can be a instantly connected, educated society. And the craziest thing about it – I just downloaded it. And it works. I cannot wait to show this to my grandpa over spring break and make him crack up with the latest piece of geekery I’ve acquired.

All joking aside, I adamantly believe this technology will be a mainstay of our mobile lives within a matter of years. As the technology progresses, soon all pieces of media in our physical world will be interactive. Imagine walking down the street and being able to read an entire Wikipedia entry on a statue or engraving you’d never seen before.

Yes, QR codes are everywhere but they are not being used. (Our project will show that) However, this platform of completely open-ended google search based on something in our physical world will be revolutionary.

It is innovation like this that truly makes me giddy to live in today’s world.

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18. Trunk Club Putting a Spin on the Personalized Shopper

Came across Trunk Club the other day while looking at subscription gift services – an increasingly popular trend for the trendy with money to spend. Based out of Chicago, Trunk Club begins with a remote interview between the stylist and the user where they get a feel for the customer’s need and taste. Before you know it, a trunk is delivered at your door full of designer brands which you can then respectively keep or return.

I think it’s an innovative and fun concept that rewards even the most hopelessly unhip guys. Someday, I can see girlfriends and mothers everywhere sitting down on the couch and sipping Chardonnay as the men in their life uncomfortably squirm in their soon-to-be favorite J. Crew Cardigan.

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17. Madeon’s “Pop Culture”

This is the Mozart of Dance. This kid is 17 years old is touring in America for the first time after years of denied requests by his parents. Yes, you read that right. I can’t wait to see Madeon perform in two weeks and it’s a joy to see such ridiculous skill and hard work. This is everything I aspire to when I mix songs and DJ so I hope you all like it as well.

15. The Gamification of Advertising

Nice article in Ad Age Digital this week about the pros and cons of gamification and what it means for your company. I personally love the potential of gamification and the interactivity it creates with the user base over something so arbitrary as a badge or level up. Something about collecting items digs into our human need to hoard goods and other worthless crap.

While gamfiication may not be the most important thing for brands to jump on during this avalanche of new platforms, it represents just one area that stagnant brands may fall behind in. Brands that work to create something simple yet engaging in areas like this will dictate the course of advertising innovation in the coming years. While it may seem juvenile, campaigns like the one Best Buy is undertaking with CityVille are absolutely steps in the right direction for what many consider to be a dying business.

And according to the Ad Age article, it looks like many brands are taking steps in the right direction.

“EMarketer projects that social-gaming ad revenue was $368.9 million in 2011, with about 46% of that coming from the U.S. It forecasts that the market will grow to $672.2 million by 2014.”

 

 

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16. Craft Brews and The Thank You Economy

The craft brew industry is a prime example of a 21st century customer-brand dynamic. As you may know if you’ve been reading my blog, I am a bit obsessed with the philosophy of Gary Vaynerchuk and his views on what social media means to the present and future of branding. Microbrews and their cult-like support from many walks of life is a perfect example of the power of word of mouth in the 21st century. The village ecosystem of commerce is returning with the powerful viral capability of the passionate few.

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14. Tracy Wong and The Democracy of Good Ideas

Tracy Wong of Wong Doody Crandall Weiner spoke to our Creative Strategist class this week about the creative process and the democracy of a good idea.

He spoke about the failures that can occur if:

  • Creatives are assholes
  • The agency thinks the clients are assholes
  • No one listens to eachother because of aforementioned factors interfere with strategy

People in the agency must not have open minds but empty minds to truly let external ideas seep in and be accepted. It’s the idea that matters – not the author. If everyone can leave their ego at the door and truly come ready to work collaboratively with the client, greatness like the “Dear Me” campaign can occur. I was particularly interested by his description of the revelation that can happen if both sides can make sacrifices. The client wanted testimonials and the agency cringed at the staleness of the idea. Yet, everyone worked together to come up with a truly effective campaign.

Tracy’s talk was engaging in its frankness on how the industry works. It is an industry where teamwork is paramount to the success of just about anything and I’m excited to someday be a part of it.

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13. The Fancy and the Future of Social Commerce

There was a wonderful TechCrunch article I read last week talking about my favorite new site on the web, The Fancy. I can only describe The Fancy as a Pinterest for hipster guys. Gone are the vast expanses of cupcakes, babies, and “Keep Calm” memes. In their place is an elegant layout of watches, gadgets, tailored suits, sleek rides and other shit guys like. “Fancy’s users are currently 60 percent male, and are more often posting consumer goods of the Fab.com variety; high-fashion clothes and accessories and photos of exotic locales.”

As someone who has been secretly waiting for a Pinterest like platform for the cool things I see across the interwebs, this was an inner sigh of relief. However, my excitement doesn’t just end there. It turns out that The Fancy is doing something much better than Pinterest – Social Commerce. Buy links and discount promotions from The Fancy itself is helping to propel an exciting new space in e-commerce. “Fancy” something and get rewarded for it. As I have blogged about previously with Gary  Vaynerchuk, this sort of village marketing is bringing us back to the days of old when word of mouth led to direct profits.

I love this website and I’m extremely excited to see how social commerce in this form or another can help propel the spread of cool shit.

But don’t take my word for it:

From TechCrunch:

Fancy, whose parent company is thingsd, already has some impressive supporters (hello, Kanye), as well as board members like Jack Dorsey (Twitter, Square), Chris Hughes (Facebook), Jim Pallotta, and LeRoy Kim (partner at Allen & Co.).

The startup’s investor line-up also includes top VCs Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Allen & Co., General Catalyst, Esther Dyson, Celtics owner Jim Pallotta, MTV creator Bob Pittman, former eBay COO Maynard Webb, Eric Eisner, Jeff Samberg, oh, and Ashton Kutcher.
Yup.

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12. Widen your Access Point.

A simple call to action that speaks to everyone. Now that is how you widen your access point. Scott Bedbury would be proud of this. It speaks immediately deep down inside all of us. We know we said we were going to run tomorrow but did we? This makes Nike not just a product but an ideal and is a perfect example of how to widen a brand’s access point

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10. A Tiny Story: The Fundamentals of Narrative Design

Tiny Story from Sebas & Clim on Vimeo.

How do you tell a story with just a dot, a line, and a colored background?

These guys did just that and the simplicity  of their work shows that advertising can be simple and can tell brief stories if it is concise and true. Oh, and don’t forget to have a cute acoustic song in the background..

From Fast Company: “Storytelling is an increasingly important part of successful design. It’s easy to think, “How on earth am I supposed to tell a story using just a logo? Or a package? Or a typeface?” But Tiny Story shows us that engaging narratives can be conjured up out of just about anything, no matter how sparse or simple.”

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9. Gary Vaynerchuk and the Thank You Economy Keynote

Well, this is what it’s all about folks. The amount of quotes in this video is ridiculous but I’m going to start with them anyways:

“We are in the dawn of 1 on 1 marketing. As we all go Jetsons, the action is like the Flintstones.”

“More and more of you are treating social like a one night stand, you’re like 19 year old dudes trying to close the first transaction…when you sh0uld be trying to put a ring on it.”

“For the first time ever, marketing is not push, it’s pull…it’s a cocktail party, not a presentation.”

“Customer service on social media is playing defense, we need a thank you department that plays offense.”

“Today our engagements and actions are being spread and everyday our consumer base is getting more and more into that ecosystem.”

I think this watching this should be extra points on the final for everyone. Gary Vaynerchuk is so straight-forward, so brutally honest, and so intelligent that if you have any interest in ANYTHING, this video will keep your ass glued to the chair. He doesn’t make any grandiose insights or astounding data digs but rather takes a step back and looks at the big picture. Never have such simple truths about the human nature of sharing been so difficult to put a finger on. We are living in a massive culture shift that requires companies transform from a non-human to a human element. As technology advances, social interaction is regressing to the days of small town rules.

So create a context that replicates this small town. Leave your doors open, know your customers’ likes and dislikes. Dunbar’s number is fucked. The amount of constant contact you keep with other humans is scaling at an exponential rate. And the amount of contact you have with brands is doing the same. Business will have to permanently change the way they play the game. Social media can’t solve problems that stem from bad business.”If you’re feeding children shit that’s going to make them sick, then you deserve to lose.”

Please just watch this. We’re all better for having done so.

Here’s the book as well: The Thank You Economy

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7. What I Learned from #ProdShow2012

This past Friday, The University of Oregon hosted three brilliant and insightful producers in the likes of Ann Marie Harbour (@anntrak), Marcelino Alvarez (@mrlnmarce) , and Jeremy Adirim (@J2theA). It was amazing that they had invested the time to come down (or up) to Eugene to interact with aspiring students. Truly, one of those experiences where I walked out feeling blessed that my job at this point in my life is to learn.

I was in complete agreement with the panel of awesomeness over a great deal of their views regarding digital production, in particular their views regarding social media. In my midterm paper, I stressed the need for quality over quantity and the importance of picking appropriate channels that fit comfortably within the ethos of one’s particular brand. Thus, when the panel talked about the need to pick and choose social platforms as specific tools and not necessities, I wanted to stand up and fist pump like Matt Barkley had just been sacked.

Also, I learned from the source of how so much advertising can be bad. The three experts talked about the process and the sort of cascade of bullshit that occurs throughout the journey of an advertising campaign. Their honesty about the heart-wrenching fragility of all their hard work was eye-opening. With so many variables that can fail to cooperate or output the same amount of passion, it’s a shame that most campaigns never see their true potential.

Anyways, a huge thank you to the powers and promise of the SOJC for bringing in three superstars.

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6. Snoop Dogg’s Craziest Story Promotes Project X

I absolutely love what the team behind Project X is doing to build buzz for their upcoming movie. They have released a series of videos where celebrities share their craziest party stories over an animated cartoon. The series sells without selling in a fresh, interesting, and hilarious way.

In my midterm I wrote about setting yourself apart from the flooded ecosystem of a brand’s respective market. In an industry inundated with terrible trailers, this animated series builds viral buzz for Project X in an extremely creative way that gets people talking.

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4. Frightened Rabbit’s “Poke”


This song has enough pain in it for an entire album’s worth. I’ve attached the lyrics because their honesty and brutal imagery perfectly describes the feelings almost everyone has had when shit in a relationship feels hopeless.  I really hope these guys can somehow hitch onto the back of the locomotive that is Mumford & Sons right now.  At least there’s enough room for beautiful storytelling and Scottish accents in my library.

“I might never catch a mouse and present it in my mouth
And make you feel you’re with someone who deserves to be with you.

But there’s one thing we’ve got going and it’s the only thing worth knowing.
It’s got lots to do with magnets and the pull of the moon.”

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3. Corporate Brands on Twitter

Waking up this morning and seeing yet another social media disaster by another corporation makes me wonder if such brands even need a social presence at all. McDonalds is the perfect example. You have a product with room for ad nauseam ridicule and yet you throw out hashtag promotions without any foresight of the backlash you might receive?

Twitter is a tool just like any other. Corporations shouldn’t feel obligated to use every gadget in the toolshed just because the neighbor is doing so. And if you do choose to utilize a tool, make sure you use it wisely.

On a personal note, I tweeted about Zappos the other day and the hacking emergency they encountered.  I received an direct message within minutes from Zappos thanking me for my mentioning of their honest brand. I was shocked even on their magnificent scale of customer service that on the day their corporation lost 24 million personal accounts, they had the effort and time to communicate with someone who was simply just giving them praise.  That is how Twitter should be utilized in a corporations attempt to stay relevant, honest, personal, and effective.

Picture Via: TurboMilk

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2. Ultrabooks and the Revival of PC Innovation

PC Brands and Innovation in the same sentence? Believe it or not, this combination might be something actually taken seriously in 2012. As CES in Las Vegas came to a close last week and the nerds began their diaspora from America’s Playground, it became clear across the blogosphere that Ultrabooks were going to be a revolution. This industry tends to get swept up in buzzwords (see: “cloud”) but the Ultrabook is poised to truly become a household name that’s actually understood.

At CES we witnessed genuine inspiration from the likes of Lenovo, Dell, and Samsung. For the first time in years, it seems these companies have realized that product, not profit, is something that is to be stressed with the utmost importance, and not something gleaned through the exterior glass of an Apple Store. The models have lessened in quantity and increased in quality and end-to-end design (just like Jobs would’ve loved).

From Gizmodo:

“It’s one thing to copy a MacBook and poop out a junkish half-measure; it’s another to borrow almost everything good and add even more desirable features to it.”

I look forward to seeing what Intel’s new Ivy Bridge platform can do when teamed up with genuine PC innovation in the Ultrabook space. After all, some competition will only make this Macbook Air on my lap get that much better.

Picture via: Business Insider

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