Monday, September 27, 2010

I'll be in the shop this week

So I'll be gone for at least a week.

In the meantime, why not just start at the beginning and re-read the whole freaking thing?

Pop quiz Tuesday.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

An open message to Walter Bayliss

Please stop putting self-promoting comments on this blog.

It is annoying as hell.

Please take your Internet hustle somewhere else.

Thank you and God bless.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

1:57 and 2:37

YouTube won't let me embed this, but I am such a genius and I love you all so much that I have arranged for you to be able to just click this picture and see the scene.

And even though this whole scene is great, the meat of it for my purposes is at 1:57.

My purposes being to comment on an Ad Age Small Agency Diary piece I saw today about that runaround so many prospects give us where they want us to do some work for free or cheap so that "when it succeeds and the budget is bigger, why then you'll have a bunch of well-paying business!"

Except it almost never works out that way. Maybe they get bigger in part through your efforts and now you're too small for them. Or someone new comes in who really doesn't give a sh** about what his or her predecessor told you, they're going to work with the agency from their old job. Or any number of good or bad reasons.

Point is, it's a crap shoot and even though nobody ever says it out loud, everybody knows it.

As I said in my comment on Ad Age, if you can build their business with a small budget, then why the hell should they ever spend more money?Seriously. Apply that extra cash to the bottom line or something.

There are a lot of things people say to and ask of their agencies or prospective agencies that they seem to think we've never heard before. And "work with me now" is one of them. Except none of them can really answer the question "why the hell should I invest in your business by giving you a discount?" with anything but some vague promise. Unfortunately. there are agencies who will do it. Every time.

And just in case you're lazy or don't have speakers, the line at 1:57 (that is my new favorite movie line - not to mention probably the only one I remember) is:

"If you're good at something never do it for free."

Check out 2:37 too for something we'd all love to say one day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

So what do you suppose they paid?

For the new Wyndham Hotel Group logo that is.

Old logo top.

New logo bottom.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sad, but true

Found this on a Facebook page called Bad Ad Advice.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The power of television

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Maybe it's time to piss somebody off

So I will. I guess I have to.

(Let's all understand before we start that I'm stupid, a miserable hack and will never amount to anything. My 5th grade teacher Mrs. Smith was right. But still . . . )

I was at an Ad Club Addy committee meeting yesterday (and just wait until you see what SmithGifford has come up with for this year - it's singularly terrific) and we got into a discussion of creative in DC and whether it's good, not good and all like that.

I've always thought that the way to build our creative reputation is not by telling the world that we do great work here (when, in fact, most of us do good work), but to do better work. Kerry Feurmann once said to a Last Tuesday (R.I.P.) group that the way to do better work, was to "do better work." That's the truth of it, if you think about it.

Anyway, I went away from yesterday's meeting feeling pretty good about the people I'd met and the ability of this community to raise the bar a bit. Check that, feeling really good.

And then, I logged on to the Capitol Communicator this morning and saw a link to this thing.

I know. I know. It's easier to sit back and criticize than to do something better in the first place, and it is decidedly low-rent to criticize someone local who no doubt donated their time. But this is, frankly, a pretty stupid spot for DC Advertising Week. It doesn't say much positive for what we can do locally.

Forgive me, but this is late-night-Comcast-produced kinda stuff. Damn near Ameritel.

There are agencies in town who, in exchange for creative freedom, could a lot better. SmithGifford, Adworks, August Lang, Redheads and Arnold come to mind. And if you challenge me to do better next year, I'll take that challenge.

Christ, the guy in the goatee looks like he's giving the old guy a lap dance. Or something. But let's not go there.

The point is, is this really what we want to hold up as how we promote ourselves to ourselves? Really? Are you serious?

I realize that the people who did it are students (at least I think they are.) And I surely don't intend to be be unnecessarily mean, nasty or diss anybody who doesn't need this kind of crap from an idiot like me we did it for free for Christ's sake and where the hell was Woody Hinkle when they were looking for volunteers - but if I'm a big local company (let's say like, oh, Hilton?) a spot like this only reinforces my low opinion of the capabilities of local ad agencies.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Told ya

Our belief in Brand as a valuable tool is fairly well documented.

We've blathered over and over about it.

OK, sorry, but it's a fact that a strong brand begets brand loyalty which begets your customers not looking elsewhere for a lower price during a recession.

Right now, according to all kinds of feedback from clients and prospects and reports (one of which Karen downloaded from a hotel news site yesterday) consumers are looking at cheaper products, beating people up for a lower price and using whatever coupons and offers from previously unfamiliar companies are available.

And anybody who invested in themselves (as in building a strong brand position and cementing that position with their customers) a year or more ago, isn't getting hit as hard. If your customers and prospects know what you are and why they should do business with you, they aren't as price-sensitive as they might otherwise be. They're more likely to pay a "premium" - which might be simply full price these days - for that known quality.

But if they don't know any of that, well, in their minds, you're probably no better or worse than the next guy who may be undercutting your price in an attempt to stay afloat.

Then there's that whole continue-to-invest-in-yourself-during-a-recession-and-come-out-of-it-a-hell-of-a-lot-better-than-those-who-don't thing. But that's another discussion.

(Bet you're wondering about this picture, aren't you? Click it and see just how clever I am.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Things I know. And things I don't know.

Sometimes I'm a quick study and sometimes I'm not.

Just last night I figured out something about this business that I should have understood years ago. Other things I figured out pretty quickly. And still other things I will never know.

For example.

When it comes to naming things , I have just realized that as often as not (perhaps even more often than not) our job is to come up with a bunch of things that the client won't like as much as the one they came up with. This also sometimes applies to things like logos.

Also, the more senior someone is in a company, the more certain they are that they can do anything. An executive vice president who starts to tinker with a logo design, for example.

Often pressed for time means you have to hurry. Not a client necessarily. Get us those headlines and design options now since we're in a big hurry, but I'm taking a long weekend for Labor Day and will get back to you sometime after that. But of course, I won't tell you that I'll be gone until you bust your ass to get the work when I wanted it and you get an out-of-the-office bounceback in reply.

People don't always understand why we are in this business. I mean, we do like it and we do it because we enjoy it, but that doesn't mean we're not trying to make a living here. This comes up whenever someone says "but if you want to think about some ideas or designs we'd love to see them." Of course you would.