Friday, June 10, 2016

Who sees commercials in an ad-blocked world?

Quick! What was the last great tv commercial you saw? Hard to answer, isn't it? I even find myself straining to remember what spots I loved during the Super Bowl (which really wasn't many, if any, this year!)

Ad blockers. DVRs. On Demand. Cord cutters. There are a lot of ways to get content without actually getting the ads these days. So are the commercials and ads we create being seen by anyone anymore? And if not, then what are we getting paid for? (Ouch, right?)

It's a great question, and one we creatives certainly grapple with daily. It used to be so easy. Even as a consumer I find myself being tortured by the same 3 spots on Hulu, none of which are relevant to me. In this episode of The Pod Couple (below), Barbara Lippert and John Immesoete discuss this very topic. John happens to be my boss. Which clearly means he has the tolerance and patience of a saint to put up with me, but also that he is smart enough to have hired me. :-)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

My Own Chatbot

Ok, this is a very preliminary chatbot... but check it out!


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Reawakening the Beginner's Mind

Eric Wahl was the keynote speaker at our Epsilon Symposium today, giving us a thought-provoking look into how we need to unthink our way to being more creative.  Even as a card-carrying creative, who knows quite well how creativity has been ‘schooled out’ of most people, I was moved by his presentation, and his insights.

Did you know, for example, that the mere scent of crayons can help lower our blood pressure by 10 points? How amazing is that?  As he proudly showed us his box of 64 Crayolas (with the built-in sharpener, of course) I smiled and thought of my own box of 64 sitting back in my office in Chicago. I loved that this guy saw the same magic in that box that I do.  

He asked the audience how many people can draw, and only about 3 hands went up. (Part of that was probably because nobody wanted to be part of an audience participation event where they had to get up in front of 300 people and draw, but part of it is absolutely that they’ve “learned” that they cannot draw.)  When he asks high schoolers that question, as you might expect, a lot more of them raise their hands. And when he asks preschoolers? Every hand is raised. Of course they can draw.

When we’re young — when we’re beginners — we believe.   And we haven’t yet been told what we can’t do, and what we’re not good at.  For Eric, it took decades for him to come back to being an artist, after being told, and him believing, that he wasn’t.

It isn’t easy to swim upstream, but for some of us, it was likely made easier by parents or teachers who championed our creative talents.  I was told I was creative my whole life.  And my parents knew I was a writer way back in the third grade.  So did I.

Twenty years into this amazing career, I realize how lucky I am that I have a creative talent that was supported, and nurtured, because frankly, I can’t imagine having missed a single moment of it. Creativity is everything to me, in many different forms: from writing, to drawing, to solving business problems, to selling my ideas — there are endless outlets and avenues.

Eric posed a beautiful question to us all today — “how are you going to reawaken the beginner’s mind?”  I love this idea.  The confidence and certainty that you see in the face of a child with a crayon in his hand who KNOWS he can draw is powerful.  Even those of us who have been ‘creative’ for decades need to embrace this ‘beginner’s” mentality, because it takes us back to that place and time when we truly believed.  Back when our own opinion of what we were capable of, and our own assessment of how good we were, was all that mattered.  Long before we allowed doubt to creep into our minds, or the opinions of others to hold us back, when we knew we were powerful beyond measure.  THAT is where we need to begin.  And when we do that, as Eric suggests, we stop insulating ourselves against risk and start allowing ourselves to be truly free.  And that freedom is the absolute birthplace of our creativity.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Celebrating work that works

Having just finished judging the North American Effies in New York, I can't help but feel inspired by the work, and confident in the future of our industry

The work always inspires. Every show I judge introduces me to new ideas that make me envious, and eager to do increasingly better work for my own clients.

But it's the discussions with other judges that inspire my confidence in the future of our industry. Packed with CMOs, CEOs, presidents and a wide range of other senior leaders across clients and agencies, every point of view is represented. Client. Planning. Creative. Media. And at the end of individually reviewing the work, we all discuss it.

Some things we were all in violent agreement on. Others brought passionate and opposing points of view. But all of it brought robust and intelligent conversation that added to the experience.

We don't all define "great creative" in the same way, but we do all recognize that good work should WORK for the brand. It should move the needle. The beauty of the Effies is that the effectiveness of the work outranks all other variables.

What was perhaps most interesting is that great creative work didn't always work the best. But the things that worked the best? They always had great creative. That's a brain twister to think about, but essentially great creative is always a critical component of great work, but not all on its own. Of course we have award shows for great creative work, too. And we could all point to the things we knew would win big there. But a bit more alchemy is involved in creating campaigns that also actually make a difference for a brand, and therein lies that beauty of the Effies.

Therein also lies my confidence in the future of our industry. Because every single one of the judges I met was invested in the process, and in recognizing only the work that really delivered results.  And they discussed it with such fire and passion, that you couldn't help but be a bit humbled by it all.