Wednesday, March 30, 2011

d [is for divinity] • an alphabet exploration

Why the world is worth saving, one letter at a time.

A    B    C

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3 examples of excellence in social media + advertising

In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes. ~Andy Warhol

Do you think social media is cutting-edge? Think it hasn't gone mainstream yet? Think again. Three brands that are making positively brilliant use of social media in their advertising strategies happen to be three of the most white-bread, mainstream, non-exciting brands ever. These brands might make you think of childhood in middle-class middle-America, but they wouldn't make you think of cutting-edge social media campaigns, would they? Think again, again.

The beauty of social media is the conversation. Twitter turned five last week. Five years ago, there was no way these middle-weight giants would be taking consumers' chatter and turning it into national commercials AND publicly mentioning these consumers by name. These middle-of-the-road brands are playing the game perfectly and running a great race. Most importantly, it's real. 

Take a look at some of these commercials, and then go tweet something about your favorite brands. You never know, you might get your 15 minutes of fame thanks to a Twitter mention via a television commercial that plays on YouTube and goes viral internationally. It could happen. 

Wheat Thins. Surprising tweeters in their real life, bringing the brand to them.
Agency: The Escape Pod

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Making a commercial out of a tweet, as artfully as possible with a lightning-fast turnaround.
Agency: Crispin Porter + Bogusky

Old Spice. Holding conversation with real tweeters with "The Old Spice Guy's" surreal machismo.
Agency: Weiden + Kennedy

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

and the winner is ...

Last week, I won seven ADDY® Awards, Best of Show and the AAF Silver Medal Award. In the wake of these wins, all of the ADDY Galas happening around the country and the Oscars, I explore: what do awards really mean, anyway? To hear many say, they don't mean a thing.

Awards are meaningless to me, and I have nothing but disdain for anyone who actively campaigns to get one. 
~Bill Murray 

Awards are only a publicity gimmick. 
Tony Randall 

Awards are so unnecessary, because I think we get so much out of our work just by doing it. The work is a reward in itself. 
~Natalie Portman

On one hand, they are totally right. After all, the work itself is satisfying. Hopefully we all have a better motive to do good work than awards. Hopefully we're saving the world one project at a time and loving the process. 

On the other seventeen hands, however, they are wrong. For entertainers, artists and designers, what we do has to be well-received or it doesn't work. Awards highlight work that works. I don't mean people's choice awards, like American Idol, I mean awards that are judged by experts. These judges have the privilege of honoring and celebrating great work. In doing this, it encourages more great work to be produced year after year. They give deserved recognition to many who are often underpaid and unsung.

“This award is meaningful because it comes from my fellow dealers in celluloid.” 
~Alfred Hitchcock 

There's more. Awards help validate a smart and talented artist's position, thereby educating clients. All too often, businesses hire creatives to do their design work but don't trust them enough to let go of the reigns. They often dictate unreasonable parameters, then make choices based on their personal taste or untrained opinion. One of the biggest challenges to creating solid, effective work can be the clients themselves. Awards can also help to get more clients, too, by increasing the credibility and visibility of the recipient.

Awards sell tickets, and they're a clever publicity stunt. 
~Tony Randall 

It's easy to say that awards don't mean anything, but if you work your ass off and are rewarded with an award, you can't honestly tell me you aren't thrilled to get it. Natalie Portman's quote above doesn't foreshadow her tearful and joyous reaction to winning the Best Actress Oscar this year.

"This is insane. I truly, sincerely wish the prize tonight was to work with my fellow nominees. I am in such awe of you."
~Natalie Portman

What I feel most for my wins this year is validated. I am especially proud that the Best of Show award was for an inexpensive yet highly conceptual, one-color piece. It demonstrates that a great concept doesn't need a giant production budget to succeed. In a town like Ocala, that's valuable because it means small businesses can have stellar creative, too.

“To those of you who received honours, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you, too, can be president of the United States.” 
~George W. Bush