The jolly old, yet continually spry, New York Times had an interesting piece on big time directors doing commercial work.
The decision to make commercials, Mr. Mann said, is “a function of something that comes along that’s a great idea.” He added, “A two-hour movie and a spot — I don’t make a distinction.”
Basically, a film is a film is a film. Just of different lengths. Irregardless the medium or "channel" of how it gets to the person who watches it. It's not a "TV commercial," an ever more endangered species. But a piece of film that may be broadcast on network television in addition to a host of other video enabled devices.
Why is that so hard for so many to understand. Isn't making things that are TV commercials only getting boring...
For me it is such a great capture of the mood of the room with the boredom on the right, restlessness of the defenders and defendants at the two tables, her Honor presiding and most notably Conrad less than enthused off to the far left.
It is really cool how an illustrator, can take away the colours, the textures, lighting and other aesthetics to say more about the feel and tone of the room.
I went to an small and person Terry McBride talk last night and he noted that what made Sarah Mclaughlin such a powerful, beloved and successful artist is that she uses silence brilliantly. you can often say more with less. Pretty sure the link to making an effective ad is more or less obvious.
Government tend to make very poor brands, and right now I'm not very happy with the brand of the government of Canada. In terms of the scale of brands is not one within the walls of a country that affect you the way a government brand can. As a brand they don't make you "feel" happy or sad, they simply by your dealings with them make you either happy or sad. Real happiness or sadness. This is not a general criticism of government (see specific criticism below) but a realization of the fact that while certain industries like telecom or automotive production are massively complicated and generally seemingly hell bent on pissing you off, they pale in comparison to the scale and scope of government. Their decisions, unlike purchases, truly are life altering. With great sadness we (my long term girlfriend and I) experiencesd the unfortunate form of the life altering of governments.
You see, I'm Canadian (British too actually, and have the citizenship to prove it) but my girlfriend is American. For three years circumstance in our life made me living in Vancouver and her in Seattle tolerable and workable. Then, she took the plunge and moved to Vancouver on a work visa for a year. It was wonderful.
Then she returned to Seattle to finish her thesis and for us to acquire a Canadian visa for her so we could live together in Vancouver in a world of happiness. Two days ago the 500+ pages of documentation birthed piecemeal over a 6 month procurement were loaded up and ready to send off. But there was one question we had to do with whether a particular form did or didn't need to be provided in triplicate. I know, sounds like a bad life in Communist Russia joke, but they really did seem to need a form in triplicate. Anyways, after much searching and confusion we discovered a buried phone number one could call for assistance. And so I did, but the outcome was bad.
A nosy government beaurocrat did everything but answer my question about the number of copies required. Long story short, he informed me that due to a technicality born from the definition of a word (the world was impossible amazingly which by the government's eyes, exists in degrees, as in degrees of impossibility, with some degrees more impossible than another something one could never understand from the verbiage) we would not succeed in our visa application. Devastating.
In a few seconds, a plan born and executed over two years disintegrated. All because of a poorly worded paragraph on a government document.
It is infuriating. It is crushing.
We will build a new plan. It will be hard to have to start over. But there are options, just will take a while to determine which is the right one.
But if the ultimate measure of a great brand is trust, right now my ranking of the government of Canada is very low. In speaking with the agent it is clear that many other have been caught up on this verbiage. Unfortunately some after having paid substantial registration feels and waited months for an answer. Brutal.
Somehow, after giving myself one hour before the deadline to start the recent Account Planning School of the Web assignment I was determined the winner (or co winner I think.)
As a prize, Gareth was generous enough to send a little treat which arrived the other day - the book It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be. Great read on how to survive as an individual, survive in an agency and survive as an agency.
Favorite part of the book is an anecdote on Orson Welles. Echoes a sentiment I've been repeating a lot lately - great creative doesn't sell itself. Scripts, storyboards and talk are rarely sufficient for most clients and die in the blender of over analysis.
When Mr. Welles was trying to get Citizen Kane made he could not find any backers. Nobody believed in, or really could understand his idea. So he raised some funds for casting, but had to beg, borrow and cajole people into building sets and shooting full blown screen tests which eventually formed a third of the film. The film then existed and backers could see what they were getting. Mr. Welles go the money. Citizen Kane is considered by many to be the greatest film of all time.
My amigo Rob is the first ever Twitter Quitter. That I'm aware of at least.
He's quitting smoking and he means it this time. And Twitter is his helper. Good on ya!
But it's more than just making a public statement and shaming himself into quitting, but Twitter is going to help him think about it and make him more aware of his smoking habit. Sometimes at those moments of weakness, twitter can be the outlet. "Damn that bugger, I need a smoke!" And other times at a moment of celebration Twitter can be the affirmation. "Boy I'm glad I'm not the stinky guy in this packed elevator with Gweneth Paltrow and Michael Stipe."
Kind of a non-athletic take on the Non Entity Fat Club, of using social media to make you a better, or healthier person. Which I can relate to as having made a not on aiming to run next year's New York marathon, the emails, comments (digital and face to face) and historical record of the statement make it really hard to pull out on the commitment.
Think I'll start writting the book - The Social Media Guidebook to Quiting, Slimming, Improving, and Achieving Pretty Much Almost Anything.
Following what I can only presume were many high level meetings of our senior executives locally and from around the global network it was determined that my office would serve as the agency recycling receptacle.
That's what I get for tucking a fine Vieux Boulonge in my colleague's work place for a treat to enjoy later upon discovery.
1. Fresh brewed coffee (shown: a hand roasted freshly ground Guatamalan bean in an insulated French press)
2. Favorite mug (shown: a Paul Smith mug acquired at Heathrow this past March.)
3. One recent periodical, preferably with wordy editorial.
4. Oversized & overstuffed arm chair. Muted colour so as not to over excite.
5. Coffee table to place one's feet when your rear is installed in said arm chair.
Neat what you can do when you take an idea and execute with consumer generated content style but with a big budget. CGC is not the future of advertising/marketing but realism as found in CGC is more and more the present.
On a big film kick this week thanks to the festival. Coincidentally the BBC Peter Day's World of Business podcast which I've recently been hooked on, recently did a segment on craft. No, not as in craft services or the things you aunt does. But craftsmanship and skills.
A big part of Peter Day's view (if I recall correctly) is that the benefit of craftsmanship is you have people working in a realm with their fingertips. Not managers or executives, but actual doers. These people have a unique means of problem solving, though many firms overlook this benefit and focus on the "management" side of things.
One of the segments in the show features an interview with a small firm in New Zealand that Peter Jackson hired to do a tremendous amount of models, set and prop work for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. A seven year project. They completed tens of thousands of individual pieces. What was most interesting about this segment is they dove into how Peter Jackson goes about making a film. Even before a frame of film of shot he has meticulously gone through every frame to determine the needs, set a vision, and send it off to the right people. Traditionally in Hollywood they note the segments that require some digital work or special effects and send it off to the agency that works in that realm and it becomes their problem. But, in the end you end up with a special effects segment that feels nothing like the rest of the film.
In the ad agency world, we fall victim to this very fault too often. A creative team is empowered to come up with an idea, but once it goes outside the realm of what they are deemed to be experts in, or the section of the agency they happen to sit in, it no longer is in their hands. Or it gets taken from their hands. Now, this is not necessarily a matter of ego or empowerment , or lack there of, but in the marketing world everyone is so quick to jump on claiming they are one thing or another (I'm TV, or I'm digital, or I'm a designer) that once you have multi channel ideas, you require people from each channel. Thus, you no longer have a creative challenge to solve, but a management/people challenge to solve. Basically, everyone is trying to use the same hammer. One to hit a broadcast nail, one to hit a digital nail, and another to hit a design nail. What if instead, we put in the finger tips on one craftsman (i.e. creative team) a multi-tool and allowed them to problem solve.
now I know this is far from the first time anyone has thought of this, but it was really interesting to me that Peter Jackson found a way from a creative and management perspective to bring his vision to life.
But then again, one could argue he was just empowered to do so.
Last night enjoyed a great film at the Vancouver International Film Festival called The Counterfeiters. A drama of the true story towards the end of WWII when Nazi's tried to weaken the British and American economies through massive counterfeit operations. They succeeded in cracking the pound and putting 139 million pounds into international currency markets.
It made me wonder whether in one of the fashion houses, or another aspirational type business of brands, a plot has ever been hatched to counterfeit mass volumes of enemy, I mean competitor, products for the purpose of flooding the market thereby devaluing the brand to the point it is not longer deemed valuable as it is too ubiquitous.
As we have seen with knock off high fashion purses there is no limit for the trickle down demand, or filling of the demand curve, it seems. Pop open a few more of these and carts on the Canal Street of each city, next thing you know nobody wants their brand anymore, and demand for your's shoots up.
Naturally this blog doesn't condon illegalities. I think having just read Confessions of an Economic Hitman have ecouraged different ways of looking at things.
Anyways, carry on your honest brand building.
Though I am a fan of Wes Andreson and his modernization/Americanization of European (meaning French) film techniques (don't ask me what they are, I know he does it and recognize it when I seez it) and am looking forward to this film, not sure how I feel about them using me to advertise it...
Thanks to a windows freeze and subsequent erasing of all things open at the time, my brilliant, world beating, long winded and tear jerking recap of the Al Gore event was lost last night. Hopefully after some councelling this afternoon the I can start anew.
Until then, please nejoy this clip on what is becoming the wolds dominant for of self expression and dance.
And, to keep us young at heart next week I'm taking coffee mornings to a whole new level. That's right, Break Off Mornings. It's old school rules, see you in the alley behind the coffee shop.