Friday, April 18, 2008

Hal Curtis: Creative Director

"Brand Heroism: Advertising As a Force For Good" was the topic of the evening. Beforehand, I made some notes about what immediately came to mind with the topic: Planning For Good, Likemind, Do the Green Thing, (RED), Egg. The nights' introduction talked about how ethical issues can be interwoven through the creative (and strategic) work. For most of advertising's career, this "good" work has been pro-bono, but a new era is emerging where this work is done first-hand with intention and (financial) pay-off. It's kind of like Google doing everything it does for "free" > providing a service beyond rational benefits, but inherently being a good brand that we trust, love, and are loyal too in return.

Google is deeply, radically purposive: they won't compromise much, if anything, to achieve the goal of changing the world for the better. - writes Umair Haque of the Havas Media Lab (check out more of his writing)

Anyway, Hal Curtis, who has worked on Nike and Coca-Cola at Wieden & Kennedy since 1997, took "heroism" in a different direction. He got me to think outside-the-box. He made me fall in love with advertising (again).

The spot below was not done by WK, instead, Curtis showed it after a spot they'd done for He compared the spots and said we should strive to do more work like the one below. Check out the incredible spot:

It's this sort of healthy-advertising that Curtis says, we should have out there. In this sense, advertising is heroic > it lifts us up, it makes us feel, it transforms an ordinary day into an extraordinary experience. Not only does this level of work do a great job of inserting itself into the minds of customers, but it does a great job of inspiring better work from the industry it comes from.

Do good work. Strive to make it great.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Making ideas come to life

"Brands as shared objects," by Mark, gave me a thought > if we give users the tools they need to customize and make the product their own (not consumer-generated but actually building on a base product provided by a brand) then, not only are we letting them become "part of the process" but we are facilitating the manifestation of a unique idea.

A good example would be (Google-owned). We have a platform to work from but if we have an idea to change the appearance or add something, we have the tools to make it happen. We have creative control. Part of what makes the new idea of co-creation so awesome is the aspect of ownership. Google has given us the tools to make our own ideas come to life.

And in the business of advertising, we all know how hard it is sometimes to get an idea realized. Smart brands have not only figured out how to do it for themselves but for their customers. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Leading With Insight

Got this from Think Tank Treasury (great planner thinking). If you're not sure what an insight is or how you can go about finding one, look this through.

Slide 21: "You shouldn't be afraid to reframe the problem."

Slide 58: "Insights help uncover and reframe the true nature of the problem."

Presentation by Matthew Milan of Critical Mass (site in beta).