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Advertising and other stuff I like

New Work: Texas Wesleyan University

September 30th, 2014


Talk about a great client to work with, the folks at TWU are just that. Even though they came to us with an idea in hand (smaller, smarter), they really wanted to bring it to life in fun ways. The fact that they didn’t have a very large budget didn’t deter us (or them) from really getting after it. And honestly, the amount of appreciation we got back from both client and students was wonderful.

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Happy Friday

September 19th, 2014


The Marriage of Magic and Logic

September 17th, 2014


EM288-508x696You often hear this in marketing and advertising, “boy, what a smart idea,” or “that was such a smart solution to blah, blah.” Smart is always better than dumb. Smart is something to strive for. Smart is good.

Smart, however, isn’t great.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still not nearly enough “smart” in advertising. But with all the fawning over big data and its promise to dominate the industry, we have to realize that being smart and calculated and efficient is helpful but, by itself, too rational. It lacks the ability to move and inspire.

That’s where the magic of a great idea, or a beautifully crafted execution or even an artful turn of phrase makes the difference.

Sir John Hegarty summed it up nicely in a recent article, “Selling,” he said, is “an emotional occupation. It’s an art. And therefore you have to have your sales messages constructed in such a way that appeals to people. And information goes in through the heart. We are emotional creatures. We are not logical.”

So as much as CMO’s and data wonks would really, really like for advertising to be a science, and even try their best to make it such…it is not.

Logic needs magic to be motivating. Magic needs logic to be effective.

And they need each other to be great.

Happy Friday

September 12th, 2014



Happy Friday

August 8th, 2014



New Work: Taco Cabana Meal Deals

August 6th, 2014


Let’s face it, sometimes silly sells. And these four, book-ended :15’s for Taco Cabana’s new meal deal promotion are just that…silly. Lucky for us (or was it deliberately planned, hmm?) the taco eating people of Texas seem to like a good giggle with a side of savings. Results have exceed Taco Cabana’s expectations with sales spiking sharply when the spots are on air. Then again, that’s what we’re paid to do.

New Work: National Cheerleaders Assn. Brand Book on Instagram

August 5th, 2014


As a reminder to those who tout “all digital, all the time” nonsense, great ideas are what make a piece of creative special, not the tool/medium it came to life in. Here is a perfect example of what I mean.

Lots of brands have been using Instagram to make themselves interesting and relevant to humanity. Some do it better than others, but none that I know of has done it quite like this.

It’s fun, it’s engaging and teenage cheerleaders all across the country have been eating it up. Such is the power of a good idea.
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Bravery: The rarest and most undervalued agency trait

August 4th, 2014


Absolute-braveryThink of the advertising agencies you admire. Shouldn’t take long as the list is probably pretty short. I would bet that one of the commonalities between them (aside from great work) is the fact that they usually seem to make the right decision in difficult situations.

I’d say most of the time these decisions get made due to the agency having strong principles that guide it. However it’s one thing to have principles, it’s another to stick to them.

That’s where the brave part comes in.

Here’s a test: Think of the last time your agency took in just one campaign to a big client presentation because it was the one they believed in. The right one. Ok, how about only two campaigns? Both great, but not what the client is expecting?

And these are just everyday creative decisions. What happens when you get to the big, expensive crossroads such as having a client whose bad behavior and poor decision-making becomes cancerous to the agency? Does your agency have the stones to fire them? What if they represented 25 or 30% of your company’s revenue?

Most agencies would tell their people to suck it up and deal. But brave agencies have their eye on the long term and know that they’ll need those people they’re burning out, and that soul they’d be trading, long after said terrible client has come and gone. They also know that if they don’t fire that client today, that client will most likely turn and fire them in the future anyway. Then where will the agency be?

I’ve been in this position and I’ve made decisions that have cost the agency money in the short term. But we’ve always come back stronger, kept our best people loyal and engaged and maintained a clear sense of what we stand for as a company. And when it comes to success, those are some pretty powerful ingredients to have.

I’ve said before that it “isn’t a principle until it costs you money,” but I’m a firm believer as well that a little agency bravery can help you make it back, and more.

To work or to blog: that is the question

July 2nd, 2014


Actually, it’s not really a question at all if you look at the date of my last post here. The good news is that the agency has been really busy the past couple of quarters. All that hard work has resulted in some truly unbelievable growth for our clients. In fact, we’re putting together some great case studies I hope to share in the near future. The Cliff’s Notes version is that nearly every one of our clients were up double digits in the last 12 months.
I’ll start posting the work and results here soon. Unless of course, work gets in the way.

I have a dream. A leaky, noisy, uncomfortable dream.

March 5th, 2014


I love cars. As a kid I think I spent more time looking at Porsche 911 Turbo posters than Farrah Fawcett ones (that’s not normal, right?)

Truth is, if I could have a ten car garage I would. But I don’t, so I’ve spent my life admiring from a respectful distance. I’m usually pretty ok with it being this way because car collecting is an expensive sickness that isn’t currently covered under our company policy. Plus on any given week I love something different. Old Porsches, Austin Healy’s, classic Jaguar’s, modern Audi’s…see what I mean? It’s certainly something that would test the patience of even the most forgiving spouse (I love you, M!).

But there’s always been one vehicle that I always come back to: The Series Land Rover. They’re basically tin cans powered by anemic tractor engines and no creature comforts. Most are held together by rust and tape and if they’re not leaking something, they must be dead. But man, they always get me. I love their history, what they’re capable of, and of course, the way they look. And today, I finally get to realize the dream of owning one. Warts and all.


Here’s to living the dream in all its slow, bumpy, non-airconditioned glory.