Thursday, January 31, 2008

Not your typical advertising blog

There have been a few posts on various ad blogs about F*** Death, a web site with an odd video out there. Look it up if you want. I did. But in doing so, I came across Illegal Advertising, a pretty cool blog dedicated to bringing you "the very best in underground online advertising, illegal, banned and rejected commercials, spoofs and very virals, director cuts, underground campaigns and exclusive previews."

There is some interesting stuff on there. Stuff you won't find elsewhere. Including the "F*** Death" spot.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More cool work from Paul Safsel

My buddy Paul Safsel and his partner at Grey did this for the AAAA's O'Toole Awards. Even though Paul sent it to me last week, I didn't think to post it until another friend, copywriter Joe Pistone, sent it to me. Presence of mind is a fleeting thing for some of us.

I have a lot of talented friends. I wish some of it would rub off . . .

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why people want lottery accounts

Via Make the Logo Bigger blog, this spot for the New York Mega Millions Lottery is pretty entertaining. Some of the more uptight folks on YouTube had some stereotyping issues with it. Bada-Bling: mobsters and rappers. Interesting mix.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Do this. No, really. Do it.

That's if you haven't already, based on an earlier post about the Seth Godin "curiosity" video.

Go to and sign up to get a wonderful new video every single week.

Nic Askew (pictured) does great work.

Now go. Go. Do it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Letitia Baldridge where are you now that we need you?

Is there a place for manners in business? I’d like to think so. Am I fooling myself when I think a good relationship with a client implies some sort of, um, “relationship”, and the various courtesies and considerations that go with it? Could be. But to many in business, the agency is just some vendor. No respect required.

Two of the things I hate are when I have to let somebody go and when I have to tell someone who applied for a job that they didn’t get it. My guess would be that among those people I had to let go are folks who don’t much care for me, think I made a mistake, think I handled it poorly – or all three. Goes with the territory. But believe it or not, it’s not something anybody likes to do.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have to do it. You do. And you have to tell someone why they either didn’t get or no longer have the job. If nothing else, it’s good manners. It’s what adults do. Some clients feel that way when they end their relationship with you. Others don’t feel the need.

Nobody on either side of the ball thinks a client is going to be a client forever. That’s not reality. And there are any number of good and bad reasons why a client makes a change. You’ve done a poor job, the chemistry isn’t there, the boss wants to work with his buddy’s agency, or it’s being taken in house. Doesn’t matter what the reason is. The client is the client, and as far as I’m concerned, even if I don’t agree with their decision, it’s theirs to make. That’s business and that’s fair.

But when you’ve worked hard for someone, gotten along well with them, gone the extra mile to save them money or save their ass, been honest in your dealings with them, done your best, and even reached out to help them when they told you they had no money to spend, you’re entitled to something better than to simply wake up one morning and see ads and spots for a business that you thought was your client.

Maybe we’re the only agency that has ever happened to and perhaps we deserved it. I’d be surprised, but I’ll never know. Nobody ever said anything to us and pride prevents me from calling up and asking. (I know, I know. You don’t have to say it. But I’m too old to change now.)

There’s a great line in the movie “All the President’s Men”. Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) helps himself to Bob Woodward’s (Robert Redford’s) copy and edits it. Woodward/Redford tells Bernstein/Hoffman: “It’s not what you did. It’s the way you did it.”

That applies here.

(There. Now it’s out of my system and doesn’t bother me anymore. A blog is a wonderful thing.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Something smart from another blog

I think there is a lot of free information out there in the blogosphere. One site I like a lot of Hear 2.0. It's focused on the radio business, but Mark Ramsey, President of Mercury Radio Research and the author of Hear 2.0, is clearly a really smart guy and plenty of what he has to say has meaning beyond just radio.

Including this post that went up today. On the surface, it's about why radio is slow to change, but I think it applies to more than just radio.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A very interesting video

Well, I said I was going to visit Seth Godin's blog every day. Today I was rewarded with this video, done by Nic Askew of Enjoy.

He'p me, he'p me!

Ok, I’m an old guy. Not terribly hip. I don’t have an IPod or a Palm Pilot (my friend ace photographer Ira Wexler once said that this term sounded like it had something vaguely to do with masturbation), and I don’t know how to use half of the features on my cell phone.

I carry a low-tech small notebook and pen around to remind myself of stuff and jot down ideas, I don’t have a MySpace page and don’t really use LinkedIn.

Pathetic, right?

Ok, so there it is. But here’s my problem. What is the proper etiquette regarding LinkedIn invitations? I always accept, because so far, everybody who has sent me one is somebody I like or want to stay in touch with somehow. But last week one came from a former business contact with whom I had only a fleeting and casual relationship. About eight years ago.

I have no interest in being in this guy’s network, so I just ignored it. And today, I got a reminder. I don’t want to be rude and “Decline”, but I don’t want to be there, either. What to do? What to do? Is there a polite way out of this? What is the protocol? What's my obligation here? I mean, I don't want to be everybody's friend.

You know, I think LinkedIn is probably a terrific business networking tool. But at the same time, I think some people collect contacts like scalps. Maybe it’s a “look how many people I know” kind of thing. I don’t know. But I know I don’t want to be in this guy’s extended network.

Somebody help this ignorant boy out.

Life used to be so simple.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A New Year's Resolution

I almost never seriously make New Year's Resolutions. Mainly because, like you, I rarely keep them.

But this year I have one that's way better than quitting some bad habit, losing weight, remembering to call your mother or even Being a Better Person. And I'm going to try like hell to keep it.

It's to read Seth Godin's blog every day. There is just so much great thinking in there on so many different things I believe I just may throw up.

And there you have it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jeeze, I am tired of this

Once again, Ernie Schenck’s blog took a gratuitous swipe at Washington. Once again, it was a post about political advertising, and once again, he lumped all of us together into one boat with a reference to “those hacks in Washington”.

OK, Ernie. One more time. Yes, most political advertising is awful. And yes, a great many political agencies are in Washington. But no, not everybody in Washington does political advertising. So no, generalizations don't apply.

I’ll even go one step further. Yes, there is some truly great advertising being produced in New York, Miami, Austin and even Boston. But oh my god, there is some incredible crap turned out in those cities too.

This isn't the first time. Probably not the last, either. But I am really weary of Washington area creativity being defined by self-focused people in other markets as only political advertising. That ain’t the case.

You know, we tried to get Ernie Schenck to be a judge for our D.C. Addy Awards this year, but he couldn't do it. Perhaps if he actually ever saw the work that gets done here, he’d change his mind. Maybe we should send him a show book.

(Later that same day . . . ): After I posted a hissy comment on Ernie's blog about the above, he responded, and now I feel better. All is forgiven.

"Sorry, Woody," he said. "It is a pretty broad brush, I admit. And I apologize. Though I hope you understand when I say hacks, I'm referring to political advertising only. I know there are some very talented people in Washington doing some terrific work, including Arnold where my former partner, Woody Kay-- hey look at that, another Woody-- has been overseeing some great stuff. But politically? Sorry, dude. I don't claim to be up on every political spot coming out of DC, but what I do know of, well, it's pretty wretched. I'm sick of it. I believe the American public is sick of it. Hacks in Boston? God yes. Everywhere."

Class act, that Ernie Schenck.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My photographer friends can relate

Scott Robinson
, a brilliant photographer pal of mine (who shares a love of the Moonlite Bar-B-Que Inn of Owensboro, Kentucky) sent me this link to "Mark Focus presents his work to Putney Swope".

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

And here's a classic

The previous post sent me looking around You Tube, and I came across this classic FedEx spot from years ago. Still holds up.

Keep your eyes peeled

I'm sure they will turn up on the web, and I'll post them if I find them, but I saw two very cool commercials during the LSU/Ohio State football game last night.

The first was for FedEx. We open on an informal office meeting. All the participants' voices are vibrating like the building is shaking. The final attendee shows up apologizing for being late, sits in his chair, and his voice starts to vibrate. Seems they bought the company massage lounge chairs with the money they saved using FedEx. Loses something in the translation here, I know. But it's funny as hell, and it really makes the point, Look for it.

The other one is for that new movie "Jumper". The premise of the movie is that some guy realizes he can jump through time. In the course of the trailer, he jumps into his TV -- straight into a Microsoft commercial featuring Serena Williams that runs its course -- with him in it interacting with the tennis star. Then he pops back out and they finish up the Jumper spot. It's a spot within a spot and I think it really works.

So pay attention to the commercials for a while. There are at least two rewards out there for you. I'm sure the FedEx one will be on YouTube soon.

Friday, January 4, 2008

I had to do this. For the children.

I referenced a Boyan's Birch Beer spot my friend, art director Paul Safsel, did but didn't include it and didn't make it all that easy to find on You Tube. So here, in all its hilarious glory, is "Finkelstein.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Show me.

A day or so ago, I read something great about how agencies should not solve problems without being financially engaged.

How true. But how often do we all have a prospect want us to “tell us what you will do for me”. Or to “don’t do any creative, but give us an idea of what you’d do” as if that’s not the freaking hard part. In other words, do work for us before we hire you to do any work for us.

Now, I can totally understand the need for someone who isn’t in our business to want to know exactly, precisely, absolutely, 100 percent what they are buying. But at the same time, I can’t for the life of me think of another industry or profession that gives away what they have of value before anybody has agreed to pay for it.

A surgeon doesn’t take out your spleen or re-work your nose until you agree to pay him. An architect won’t design your home or condominium project unless you pay him to do so. H&R Block won’t do your taxes and then see if you want to hire them to do your taxes.

And, lest anybody think I would compare us to doctors or architects:

A plumber won’t unstop your sink unless he knows you’re going to pay him to do it. A meetings resort won’t let you hold a sales meeting unless you fork over a hefty deposit. And last I looked, McDonald’s won’t let me take a bite out of that Big Mac until I pay for it.

So why do people sometimes expect advertising agencies and design studios to put out ahead of time?

Answer: because they can. For too long and too often in the pursuit of new business, agencies have been willing to do a little spec work or throw a little thinking at a project in hopes of getting the work. I’ll admit that we have.

And that was a mistake we won't knowingly make again unless the stakes are just off-the-charts high. And even then it's not a sure thing. What we have to sell is our thinking (um, hence the name) and once that’s out, it’s gone. And we can’t get it back.

Speaking for Nasuti + Hinkle, we’re in this for the money. Not just the money of course, or we'd doing a totally different kind of work than we do. Like car ads. But we are doing it to make a living. And we do this instead of something else because, well, we like it and we're good at it. We’re lucky enough to be in a business where we get to play with creativity and problem-solving every day. We get to write jokes and draw pictures, go to photo shoots and recording sessions and meet a hell of a lot of interesting people. All the while providing a legitimate, valuable service to our clients.

But just because we like what we do for a living, doesn’t mean it's not hard to be good at it. Or that we want to give it away.

If someone wants to know anything about what we do and/or how well we do it, it’s all there on our web site. We will be more than happy to send printed samples, CD samples, e-mail samples or anything else that works. We will gladly provide the names and numbers of previous clients and never ask them they said about us. And we're happy to show what we can do with a small, low-cost, low-risk tryout project.

We'll give a prospective client everything we possibly can so they can decide whether they think Nasuti + Hinkle Creative Thinking is the right group for them.

But we won’t work for free. And if someone wants us to just to stay in the hunt, then I can tell you right now, it’s not going to be a fit.

Not for us anyway.