Thursday, September 20, 2007

it's not easy being green

I subscribed some time ago to The Hartman Group's newsletter. The following is their intro to a new publication to follow the trend in sustainability:
  • In 1969, the cultural icon, Kermit the frog sang, “It’s not easy being green.” Now almost 40 years later those words still ring true for most corporations interested in or involved in sustainable issues.
It's overwhelming for Americans to think about all of the sustainable hippie activities that they aren't doing/could be doing. "Green with just a touch of blush: the environmentally conscious feel guilty when they slip up," an article in USA Today Monday touched on this a bit more:
  • 20% of Americans experience so-called green guilt.
  • A Catholic priest in England is reportedly taking green confessions at environmental festivals. (potential sponsorship idea here anyone?)
  • Danny Seo, an environmental lifestyle expert, sees a lot of eco-inspired guilt. "The No. 1 thing I get from everyone is I'm sorry, I have an SUV, but I have children." He notes that guilting someone can easily backfire.
  • Environmentalists have a bit of a reputation for being sanctimonious.
When I was in Miami Ad School, my team put together a campaign for the NRDC: National Resources Defense Council. Our message was in response to this notion of guilt; we wanted to address what people actually are doing to help the environment, so we said Thank you.
  • Thank you. By turning down the dimmer all the way, you've [closed the gap and] taken the first step in protecting the environment. We know you might think you are not doing enough, but know that small things like this support a healthier Earth. So keep doing the little things. The world appreciates your contribution.
We tried to bridge the gap between thinking that what you're doing isn't enough and realizing/being aware of what you are doing is appreciated (that's where close the gap came in). It would be a first for a company to spend a lot of money on a campaign to thank people, but we agreed that acknowledgment of efforts in the environmental arena should be rewarded in the efforts to accentuate their importance. :)

The USA article provided some web resources for more info:
"Right now, green is trendy. We want it to become second nature, like it is to put on a seat belt. Word. Green on!

symbolism of a smile

The smile is crazy. Whether you see someone on the street smiling to themselves, or you're looking at a baby and you smile to solicitate the same response from the infant, the smile my friends is a powerful thing.

This post was influenced by the smiles I frequently saw in educational advertising on the subways in New York: Maybe the students were in cap & gown like above, or maybe they were in another situation, but the ads seemed to communicate that the educational system gave them a smile (i.e. gave them a reason to smile.) The smile communicates a list of positive, possible emotions: happiness, success, pleasure, achievement, glee, euphoria, etc. But in ads; smile=happiness=success=education=you gotta have this product in order to get a smile. Hmmm, what about the other emotions that are part of the personal development process that education also rewards you with?

The symbolism of a smile: I Googled this phrase and the first thing to come up was a website about Art Direction & the Web. My first Smile Point revolves around the smile as communication:
  • An art director would perhaps come up with a concept which communicates the importance of the smile. What does a smile communicate? Power? Confidence? Happiness? Amusement? All of the above? The art director might choose to delve into the smile as a symbol of healthy teeth and gums. She might even choose to categorize types of smiles and relate these to types of toothpaste, exaggerating the images used to portray the toothpaste types:

    • Cool Minty Fresh: the smile of a climber on Mount Everest.
    • Extra Sensitive: the smile of Dr. Phil.
    • Extra Strength: the smile of Dracula.
  • Smiles of “power people” paired with success stories. Smiles of comedians — laughter is the best medicine. The smile as an international language of friendship. Why not develop our own “smilies” or emoticons?
"The smile as an international language of friendship" leads me to my second Smile Point: that of seeing a smile and wanting to smile in return. We do this with babies and even other people, trying to get them to smile by smiling ourselves. "Smile and whole world smiles with you" has a nice community/networking aspect to it. Want to learn how to smile? Yeah, there's a website for that too.

The smile is infectious. The smile is a phenomenon. It's been a fad with the ever popular Smiley face (yellow background, black eyes and smile). Emoticons have given us the ability to smile online. Smiling, backed by scientific support, actually has the power to make you happier if you force one to your face.

There's even a bit of disgruntlement (ok, this is personal) when someone requests a smile. This typically seems to happen with a man making the request to a female: smile more, can I get a smile? I think this is a bit out-dated: the idea that women should be constantly happy and smiling is...sexism and to say the least, highly unlikely a state to occur round the clock.

Anyway, I like smiling. Smiling is good. Advertising is a powerful industry to take advantage of such such an innocent thing. Let's make sure we're using our smiles in an honest way.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

strategy takes the reins

  • "It's surprising to me how much opportunity there is to offer insight, whether it's helping [clients] to better target their existing customer set, or helping them with straightforward things like emerging media and social platforms," said Organic's CEO Mark Kingdon.

Organic announced it's starting up a strategy pracice > basically a consulting group to help clients understand what it is we (planner/strategists) can bring to the table.

  • "Historically, the weight was a lot more on execution, not strategy. It's a lot harder today. There's a huge digital connection strategy that needs to be considered with lots of touch points that have been considered individually but not holistically."
Touch points have to make sense and weave a trail for the consumer/customer/audience to find and opt-into. They need to make sense from one to the next, intriguing a consumer and sustaining that interest through to the point of purchase. THIS is strategy > how are all these puzzle pieces going to fit together. It's not quite a game of cat and mouse, fish & hook; it's more like planting a seed and making sure the environment is right for it to grow.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hope + Change: Barack

Obama's message takes experience out of the equation, saying that his is a different kind of experience.

Obama's got the social network thing going with pages on myspace, facebook, partybuilder (?), eventful (?), flickr, and youtube.
Again, I am not turning this blog into a political forum, just wanted to get the messages out there for discussion.

Wowsers, just found out he's got a page on LinkedIn. Only 152 connections thus far. Hmmm...

Experience + Change: Hillary

"Change is just a word without the strength and experience to make it happen." I like Clinton's campaign title.

It's all about making ideas actionable. I agree there needs to be a plan in place (eh hem Mr. Bush) and experience is more likely to make the plan a good one.

This is not indicative of who I'm voting for, just a campaign and a brand's message.

what to wear to an interview

So you've got your resume and it looks great: check. And you've got your portfolio all in line, the pieces you think represent your skills the best: check. And you've got a list of really good questions to ask your interviewer based on research you've done on the agency/company: check. You've gone on a run to clear your mind and you're feeling optimistic: check. You want to feel your best so you put on your favorite jeans with your favorite button-up shirt and these awesome sneakers that everyone gives you compliments on, you look like a perfect version of you: NO! WAIT! STOP! Do not pass go, do not collect $200. The wheels are screeching to a halt. huh?

My story is the above one. It's like the first day of school and this is the outfit that makes me feel good about myself. When we were children, our parents and communities would emphasize "be yourself, be you, don't conform, have opinions."

I am trying to get into a creative field, and so, my clothing choices reflect my creative personality. Come to find out, when it comes to interviewing (even at ad agencies), the process is the same across all fields: look like everyone else in a suit or otherwise, spiffy outfit.

At they tell you how to "Dress for Success." Adjectives such as moderate, conservative, coordinated, limited, professional, etc. are used to describe women's and men's attire to get the job. Ugh. Gross. Ew. Ick. Bleh. And god forbid you have highlights or lowlights or some other color punctuation in your hair: This would not fit into the "neat, professional hairstyle" says is necessary for success.

I don't want to be Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric applying for a job at a creative boutique agency. I don't want to play pretends like I'm stodgy a-hole who wants to look better than everyone else. I did sales for a bit and everyday, I felt like I was playing a part. I think I could have sold a lot more if I'd felt comfortable and approachable. That's what advertising should be, so why should the industry expect the people in it to be anything else? Dar.

Friday, September 7, 2007

my world: overhead in New York

"You're black. I'm brown." ~ teen on the phone with her significant other (?)

"You stupid bum, get up! This is America!" ~ late 20s man to a bum in Brooklyn

"What is this? A glass of water. No. Wait for the object to show you what it is." ~ friend explaining patience to another friend in Park Slope

"It's America!'s just two people in love. Yes, there's a matchmaker! But it's not a pre-arranged marriage like..." ~ early 30s Chinese man on phone in the back of the store where his mother is running the cash register

"I love to barf." ~ teen talking with two girlfriends on first-day of school

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fallon-London still has it

just watch....wait...and enjoy

Consumption Consumption

"What the World Eats" was an exhibit I saw last year at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. It detailed what a family eats in ONE WEEK, photos and exact foods are listed for 24 different families in different regions of the world.

You can read more at NPR.