Creative Musings, Part I

I spoke with a Chief Creative Officer of a large NY agency the other day. He’s a hot guy — all the recent awards: Pencils, Lions. He’s contemporary, hip, topical — generally viewed as on the leading edge of communications, both traditional and non-traditional. I asked him what the level of creative commitment clients today have to digital and viral work. He said, “We keep bringing our clients very cool viral campaigns and digital ideas — and they smile a ‘that’s cute’ smile — then say, ‘that’s great, where’s my TV campaign'”.

I recently presented ideas to a Chief Marketing Officer at a global QSR chain. I had the strategy boards on the table to set-up the work and he raised his hand to cut me off . He said, “Let me see the storyboards and I’ll tell you if I want to hear the strategy.”

Why does every pitch I’ve been in recently feel more and more like the scene in Albert Brooks’  Lost in America — when he tries to get his money back from the casino honcho, played by Garry Marshall?   This one:  watch?v=U4RZTNtuZvQ

Does anyone else think the Fifa World Cup TV advertising is the best work they’ve seen so far this year?

What if Tiger came out Gangsta? You know like, “That’s right, I banged those hoes.”

Has anyone seen the BBDO Hyatt promotion? 365 day giveaway. Great work, but makes me feel like Hyatt is getting away from the business traveler. I certainly don’t want to be anywhere near those girls in the spots (and I’m sure the feeling is mutual).

I love summer — even if the soup is cold.

I can’t figure out how YouTube is legal. What’s more important — public domain or an individual’s right to privacy? How about ownership of creative property and trademark rights? It’s cool and all, I’m just sayin’.

Has anyone ever sat through an advertisement on the internet?

I wonder how the folks at dotcoms feel when people navigate away from their site because they don’t know how to delete an obtrusive ad, or don’t have the patience to sit through it. At least with TV, we have the remote. When you’re online, you’re stuck. I guess they don’t care about me, their reader, they got their money already. Is there a metric that can track those who navigate away reflexively? You know, like Arbitron in radio.

What is Agency Spy trying to prove anyway? That most agencies suck? Like we don’t already know that?

I once had a database service in 2006 that listed 2 World Trade Center as a company’s address.

An accountant I know recently got a tattoo. He’s still an accountant. Reminds me of a lot of ad agencies.

Doesn’t it seem a little squirrelly when creatives insert their names into campaigns? You know, when the Insurance Agent’s name is the same as the Creative Director.

You’d think a company that has had its business in review 3 times in the past 7 years wouldn’t need the services of a search consultant to identify potential fits.

If print is dead, why is my mailbox full of junk mail?

Speaking of print — does anyone else think that the imminent success of the iPad can create a renaissance of the “print” medium? It may be renamed however, something like “flat” advertising.

Did anyone else think the Super Bowl spot was way underrated?

Finally, this bit of sad news to the creative community — a comment on the general lack of interest in creative work. Agencies better watch out, pretty soon your client’s CEO’s wife will be writing the ads.

Dear readers,

It is with sadness that we inform you that Boards magazine has ceased publishing immediately. Established in 1999, Boards rapidly evolved into one of the world’s most respected media brands serving the international advertising and commercial production community. Over the years we’ve built a legacy of cutting-edge journalism that helped to unite a disparate market with unflinching perspective and insight.

Each month we took the pulse of the industry and pointed the way towards new opportunities for our entrepreneurial readership. There wasn’t a single moment that we didn’t consider how our efforts might contribute to a better industry for all. Through that lens, we hope we made a difference.

Major long-term trends over the past several years have forced our clients to re-evaluate their business models and the recent global economic turmoil has simply accelerated that need. This process will take many years to unfold but, ultimately, this business will thrive once again in a new form by harnessing the sheer creative force from which it was born.

It has been a pleasure to serve you all of these years. We thank you for your undying support, all of the good times we’ve shared and, most of all, wish you much success as you tackle this brave new world.

– Boards Magazine

9 thoughts on “Creative Musings, Part I

  1. TSiebert

    If what your hot CCO says is true, Mike, then why does the recent AdAge “Agency Issue” show all the creative shops and media shops losing revenue like crazy while places like HUGE, R/GA, AKQA, Firstborn, etc., etc, are showing double digit growth and more?

    He talks a good game, but his days are numbered. Everyone I know — in advertising and not — is zipping through commercials on their DVR. They stop for a movie trailer, the Mac guy commercials, maybe a couple others. I personally like the Dos Equis guy. But mostly it’s crap. And nobody’s watching.

    1. mikepalma Post author

      I don’t trust anything in Ad Age. They blatantly lie and invent “news”. I’m just the reporter here. Just sayin’ what people are sayin’. I don’t think anyone is watching anything — that’s how bad most of the work is (especially digital(.

      1. TSiebert

        I have to disagree that digital work is “worse.” The good stuff is just operating in a totally different paradigm.

        It’s telling that you say you “don’t think anyone is watching anything.” You’re right: Nobody wants to WATCH anymore. Its too passive.

        It’s not about banner ads or flash video that demand a passive observer. It’s about creating online experiences that require active engagement and reaction. It’s organic websites that invite conversation and community. It’s about gaming and interactive entertainment. That’s what the best digital shops are doing and that’s why we’re cleaning up.

        Next time you come to New York, you should come visit us in DUMBO. I remember you used to talk about agencies that captured “lightening in bottle.” Mike, that’s where we are. This is where it’s happening. You don’t have to trust AdAge, but you can trust me.


  2. TSiebert

    PS – I sit through ads — reluctantly — on the internet. When I’m watching a show online, if I want to see a news segment and they frontload some crappy repurposed TV ad.

    But sometimes I seek out ads. The Coca-Cola videogame ad that was a righteous parody of GTA I watched again and again. Ditto that brilliant Martin Agency holiday spot that had the guy singing as he walked through his house at a party, combining Coke and Wal-Mart. Just last night, I sat through the BMW Films again because my GF had never seen them and was curious. There have been others.

    People will seek out work they like.

  3. mikepalma Post author

    I guess you’re right — I’m just a little too busy to seek out ads. Funny you mention BMW, that was like two recessions ago and that’s one of the few viral campaigns anyone can call out. As far as gaming, etc. — there’s a place for all that. They support the brand — not drive it. Just my humble opinion. People will seek out what they like — that explains the popularity of porn.

    1. TSiebert

      I could list you a dozen more — subservient chicken, the IKEA Facebook showroom, the multiple “Dark Knight” websites that all tied together to create a stand-alone narrative, etc., etc. — but I will admit the BMW series still stands as the best.

      The relationship that the Brand should have with human beings — not ‘CONSUMERS’ but living, breathing human beings — is what must be cultivated. And nothing can do that better than an interactive campaign that invites web users to be part of the brand experience and guide it themselves. As everyone’s been saying for years, it requires a surrendering of some level of control, and that’s what freaks out the old school creative types — they want to control it all. But once you surrender control, if you truly have a good product, if you have a worthy brand, normal every day human beings will be the best promotional asset there is.

      Porn is popular because most people are lonely and America is sexually repressed.

  4. mikepalma Post author

    Funny, but I actually deleted one musing that I typed, :What do BMW Films and Subservient Chicken have in common?” If getting a guy dressed up as a chicken to be my bitch is what you’re talking about, then I’m all for it.

  5. rodney

    Enjoyed your blog. The subsequent discussion seems to be occurring just about everywhere. An old adage still rings true to me: “people don’t watch advertising; they watch what interests them.”


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