Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pick battles, not your nose.

Recently, I had a chance to sit down with a Creative Director (unnamed here) over beer(s). We chatted about my work, his work, work we liked and work we hated.

Lager went down easy, and talk turned to the balance between advertising efficacy and creativity. Now, I agree that every ad should blend these two elements seamlessly, but when you're cranking out dozens of projects a month of various sizes and intents, I think it's more important than ever to keep in mind when and where the idea must be pushed, and when we simply need to get the sales message out in plain language.

Yes, we need to move product--if we didn't, we'd all be artists instead of "creatives". However, for every time there's a client telling you to quit trying to make an Opus out of a banner ad, recall this: advertising is public art. We are in charge of bringing interest to economics.

That said, here are my top five signs of a battle worth picking:

5. You're creating a campaign for a homogeneous product or service. Gas; beer; plumbing; etc. Unless the client has an actual defined Unique Selling Proposition, what else is gonna make the ad stand out other than the creative? What are you gonna do, try and tell me yours is the coldest beer on the market? Waitaminute, Coors tried that. Geezus.

4. You're bored.
Boredom usually means you've given up. Boredom leads to laziness; laziness leads to failing at life. Look at your desk; what's on it now? Pick a project, and work it like your job depends on it. These days, it just might.

3. You get a vague brief.
This usually means the client wants you to (or needs you to) take control. It's your job to be the most exciting part of their entire day. That's right, you need to be exciting. Remember? That's why you got into this business in the first place.

2. It's the client's most hated project.
You know the one. It sits there at the veeeery bottom of your Status Report like that last random drunk guy at your house party. He's too old to be there, you didn't invite him and he smells. Can't put lipstick on a pig, you say? Just watch me.

1. No reason at all. These days, you really don't need a reason to be better than you ever thought you could be. Why? Because our business is fundamentally changed, and you better pick up your crap and get a move on. Yeah, you may still have that nice fat account, or cushy gig now, but there are a lot of hungry people out there, and we're willing to do whatever it takes to earn what you've gotten accustomed to having.

On that note, maybe you should just stick with "good enough". Yeah... relax--everything's cool.

Why not head out for some Chocolate Martinis or something?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dollars for Gold makes me weep for the future.

Disturbing Kiwi Narrator:

"Tired of all that dusty heritage clogging up space your precious jewel-box? Want to forget your grandma ever lived?! Then grab her holocaust ring and send that bad-boy to us so we can melt it down for scrap! C'mon! DO IT. PUSSY! What the heck do you care about art or tradition? Let us obliterate your past, and we'll send you 20 bucks! You can buy some liquor with that! BALLER!"

Seriously. This is some sad, sad stuff. Can you imagine opening packets of someone's keepsakes, and chucking them into a cauldron to be melted down for next year's shipment of Grillz?
Ah, yes; the American Dream comes to Canada. Err... on second thought, they can keep their nightmares.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Leibovitz attempts to "De-douche" Vuitton

I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Leibovitz. I don't know what it is. Her conceptual eye? A vague nostalgic quality to modern photographs, maybe? Anyway, she's been shooting for Vuitton as of late; trying to associate "old-glamour" or "forgotten heroes" with the brand. I see this as a De-douching (TM Geoff Vreeken's pithy verbs 2009) strategy to contend with shit like this:

Or this:

Sooo, anywaay, here's what they've cooked up; I kinda dig its subtle attempt to re-class the suddenly tacky brand:

There's Keith "Dude where's my coke?" Richards

Or Gorbie

Dame Deneuve (Am I insane, or is she still hot?)

Don't forget the Coppolas. Now available in Africa.

Finally, this got released today. Some old people who are clearly lost.

So what do you think? Is this saving the luxury brand? Does it need saving? Or should it go further into the ghetto fab realm?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Small brand done it right #1

As a new series here on Vancopywriter, I'l be doing quick profiles on local Vancouver brands that are bucking this loserfest of an economy to create styled-out thriving companies in our (recently blazing-hot) city. They understand the power of design, conversation, and transparency.

I believe that small and authentic is what will drive Vancouver's new culture and economy going forward, and I want to help foster it.

First but not least is a boutique (scratch that -- hate that word. Let's go with "small" instead) gym upstairs in one of Gastown's old bricked out warehouses. Located at 21 Water St, Versus21 is all about battling the inner lazy douchebag and realizing that carving your Pabst-chugging ass into tomorrow's Ryan Reynolds is mostly a mental barrier.

They run a bunch of bad-ass classes that are meant to work just as well as personal training, at a fraction of the cost. They also have a ton of fight-training stuff. Which scares me... I'm frail.

Anyhow, they've taken the time to create an engaging space, with a directed unique aspect (the group personal training), and built it all into a good-looking website that *gasp* is actually updated with regular new content.

Not to mention, they're all up on Twitter, Fbook, and all that free shit that actually engages people when done honestly.

Anyhow, I've started working out there; largely because of their marketing.

See how fickle we consumers are? Engage us! Pander to our tender vanities and weaknesses! Pleeeeeaaase?