Blogging to be light this week and next. Doing the conference thing. Am in Miami this week. Great because I got to catch up with my good friend Jamie from college. He lives down here and works for MTV. Consequently he gets us into all the hot spots with unlimited Trump vodka. Yes, it's very classy and Jamie is a good man because he's not the least bit embarassed by his folksy Canadian friend wearing his best jean shorts and trucker hat out on South Beach. Juste look how proud he is to be seen with me. (photo coutesty of TMZ... I think.)
Thank you Nike for showing how to turn a negative situation into one of empowerment and inspiration. A reminder of what's right.
The below is an email from Nike received in response to the Don Imus affair and furor. One single swoosh for branding and no "call to action" or link to a retail store. And a minimalistic microsite to spread the wishes.
And with that Nike, you reaffirm my undying loyalty to you.
While some may critique them for commercializing an important issue like race in America - if your brand claims to stand for equality and individual empowerment do you not have an obligation to comment on a pivotal and meaningful event?
Following up retro craft week of last week, - was it good for you? It was good for me - I checked out a photography exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery, a small but lately strong collection of shows, on the work of a local Vancouver photographer named Franz Herzog. The best work was from the fifties and sixties chronicling life in Vancouver. I really enjoyed the nostalgia of my hometown from years before my existence. What really struck me was the tremendous amount of advertising clutter that used to exist that today has been cleaned up.
I don't know if this is unique to Vancouver but it put a question as to how pervasive the urban spam problem really is. Don't get me wrong, the last thing the world needs is more crappy ads and logos adorning our streets but undoubtedly there is a happy medium without going as far as Sao Paulo. (Fruits of Imagination directed me to this neat Flickr group of images in past ad Sao Paulo before the billboard structures are removed.) Then again it would be gorgeous (or really drab) to see cities around the world with ads removed.
What will be interesting is to see where the monies and efforts will be invested for ad dollars in Sao Paulo. Will this lead to ever better and more creative TV, Radio and digital advertising. More "digital billboards" on websites and "sponsorships" and logos on everything digital. Will that coin a new term of digital spam.
Who knows, but lets have a party down there and start to find out.
Image courtesy of Equinox Gallery.
It's not all that retro, but still a great bit on special crafts within the business. Couple weeks back Russell wrote a great piece for Campaign on the importance of the people who get things done in an agency. It's a tribute to the "doers." So rare in an industry that primarily only recognizes the "thinkers." But without the doers, not of the thinking gets done!
After visual, the other half of film is of course audio. I remember when I was in like 3rd grad and like most schools periodically there would be a special assembly. This one time some guy showed up with this mega keyboards and synthesizers. So many he was surrounded. Kind of like the Chemical Brothers show here. Just not as cool. Anyways, he went about playing "sounds of the future" to a bunch of kids in a gymnasium. It was a bit odd.
But looking back at those sounds of the future, I actually kind of like them now. In an era when an engineer at an audio studio can pull nearly anything imaginable from a sound bank at his finger tips, there is something interesting in the way synthesizers first worked and the limits of what they could create.
Now, I have never seen an episode of Dr. Who. I think it's a pretty big deal to the Brits. Don't know, but did find this an interesting behind the scenes (before they were called DVD extras) of the making the Dr. Who theme song. Don't know why but those retro sounds, sound a lot cooler to me now.
The first post for Retro Craft Week is on the craft of editing. Few are more easily overlooked in a film production. And it's not just because they tend to live in dark hovels, it s that if they do a great job their work in unnoticeable. The story flows and it just works.
So many great ads really are great story telling. You could argue that all great ads tell a great story. We all know those people who when sitting around a bar for a beer are great story telling. Their timing is fluid. Quick when it needs to be and slow when it needs to be. The right balance of interest and drama.
An editor does this in a visual sense. And while 24 frames per second sounds like you have a lot of room to be sloppy, you absolutely don't. You can feel when a cut is a frame off. The slightest bit off.
In addition to telling a story, there is no-one who can save a story like an editor. They must work with whatever footage you end up with and the shots you didn't get. All the visual effects in the world can replace that.
So today, Mr. or Ms. editor, we salute you. And for you to salute them this is an awesome BBC documentary on the history of editing - The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing. It takes you right back to the day when the first edit was discovered. And takes you disturbingly though the politics of the thirties chronicling where many of today's editing techniques we established, and we as human being began learning the visual language of film editing.
Here are couple clips of the first part of the film. You can also buy it. Somehow I downloaded a podcast version. I'll try to get it posted shortly.
And so I've pre-loaded some posts to Key you entertained. Thought is would be a good time to run a theme - therefore I'm calling this the Retro Craft Week.
So often in this business we get so hung up on ""thinking"" and "strategy" and other amorphous globs of information. They are important, but at the end of the day all of this is for nothing if the actual production and creation of the product sucks. The true beauty and wonder of advertising comes to life through production when the creative vision become a creative reality with the cobbled together visions and crafts of a multitude of individuals.
And so, this week we salute these fundamentals. Where ever possible digging into the trenches of history to find out exactly what they are all about.
Spring is the time for cleaning and a bit of digital cleaning was necessary around my personal web-o-shpere. As the web grows and I get older there is an ever growing list on things I subscribe to, belong to or upload to. And more and more of them involve various networks of friends or different aspects of me that get fragmented. And so I acquired a new bit of property, digital property that is, that should have been taken long ago. All in an effort to bring everything together. Yes, in all its egotistical glory I now own brettmacfarlane.com. It is a bit troubling as inherently the fact I have my own url, with my own name, is arrogant. But that's okay isn't it. If you resent me, aren't you just jelous? Nonetheless, brettmacfarlane.com will soon be come the integrated digital hub, not just for me, but all the unlucky folks, things and places that travel through the sphere of my life. (However, not my banking details mind you.)This blog will remain as my work focused forum for expression. Still with an account planning/advertising focus. And one day steps towards something more possibly...
I learned everything I know about creative integrity from Ayn Rand. From The Fountainhead to be specific. A story of a creative individual with such integrity and vision for his/her work that it would be preferable to see it destroyed than completed with compromise. It's probably where my idealism comes from.
Last night watched the film version of The Fountainhead. Actually a good film adaptation of a hefty tome. This is a closing speech of the principal character defending in a court his destruction of his own work.
While my jury is still out on the Diesel Heidies take over thing, the real-worldedness and interactivity was kind of cool. Knowing it was commercial advertising made it all feel a bit contrived and in a way out of character of the Diesel brand.
Justin.tv on the other hand is the real thing. The Truman show in a Web 2.0 world. Justin, who lives in San Francisco has a video camera mounted on his head 24hrs a day broadcasting live while he and his roommates blog/twitter 24/7.
He's looking for his 15 minutes of fame, which is you buy his pledge - it will continue for a lifetime.
It would be really cool if a passion brand, a brand that people really love and follow, opened up the doors to an aspect of their company. If Nike's Idea Kitchen or whatever it's called was live on air 24/7. However, the reality is that many things that might seem cool are worse in non-stop, unedited streaming, unless they are trying to make on going content. The Idea Kitchen is probably a pretty boring place with folks sitting in front of blank sheets of paper, surrounded by fabric swatches, trying to come up with new shoe designs. Okay so forget that.
Maybe find areas of existing drama and digitize those. For example, which stock markets have gone electronic, and fewer and fewer have actual trading floors, what if the NYSE had streaming cameras on each trading pit so that those not their could be part of the action through digital conversation. There would be some wild Twitter action on earnings releases!
To fuel my excitement more Joost has released advert. Don't know if this is running on broadcast networks, presumambly not, but it is on YouTube. The very thing it's likely to trump. What a great bit of irony there. I wonder if they advertised TV's on the radio back in the 50's.
Came across reading this article today in the latest (to Canada at least) edition of AdAge. It may seem like another account shift in the ever moving see of agency life, but drawing back to my securities industry days this is what you call a bellwether event. While subtle, Nike is clearly stating that their brand in future will be less driven by "communications" that spout messaging, but products that enable unto themselves by their very attributes (not to be confused with perceptions) live the very ethos of Nike.
Nike and Wieden is what drove me into advertising. My dream as a teenage was to make commercials for Nike. And it still is. And Wieden still does some of the most impressive work of any agency in the world. Few agencies embrace creativity to the extent they do. It's brilliant. Consequently, part of me is a bit sad to see the relationship between Nike and Wieden drift apart. Wieden still does great work, but primary in the "traditional advertising" product. And this is what saddens me. Not that Wieden has let their flag limpen a bit, but that we as agencies, even the good ones, are so caught in the "business model" of traditional agency product.
The old model of a business model is to create a product and distribution system that may take an investment upfront but will then over time pump up revenue and profit on an ongoing stream. Many agency clients are like that. We will do one or two big rounds of broadcast production each year earning the agency a hefty chunk in one lump, do some ancilliary ads in other mediums and pay a maintenance fee to keep the account and production folks busy.
What Nike wants doesn't suit that model. We need an investment of thinking upfront that creates unique model that grows a new business that more or less self markets itself with a bit of "advertising" boost. Few, if any agencies have a model for this. And the beurocracy and layers of trying to create one is cumbersome. This is where agencies have a huge opportunity to grow and a huge downside to lose traction because somebody else will fill this void.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Hollywood, Silicon Valley and even the elit M&A or merchant banking operations of banks. They thrive off of creating mini-business models or deals. Every one is customer tailors from the outset. It would be a cool mindset for agency folks to get their head around.
PS. Punchline to the joke in the title, in the event you are the last person on earth to never have heard it, is "well then why don't you go catch it?" You see the fridge is like a metaphor for Nike to Wieden, and... oh nevermind. Now you now why I'm not a copywriter.