6. What the Hell does ‘Ergonomic’ mean?

Looking at a case study of Kotex tampons, I couldn’t help but be reminded of an earlier campaign from a brand selling a very different kind of product: Snowboards.

Thats right, Burton, a vermont-based snowboarding gear company has a lot more in common with a tampon brand then they probably would like to admit.

What Kotex did in the past year was to revitalize the dusty, undifferentiated, pastel-hued category by cutting the crap and fake smiles, and letting women vent about how much their period sucks, instead of pretending everything was sunshine and puppies, the direction  the industry had taken since tampons were invented.

Burton also has a no-frills rebellious streak attitude that probably targets 12-28 year-olds, and although they obviously spend a heck of a lot of money on R&D, they don’t want to come across as smarmy or over-educated. Both brands know their audiences well and are talking to them using their audience’s native language..

That is what makes these brands successful. They are in touch with the people that they work for.


5. An idea is like love.

I love this little book, The Creative Companion. I was fortunate enough to be given a copy from a box brimming with them, a gift from David Fowler, Executive creative director at Oglivy and Mather Worldwide to Allen Hall Advertising, UO’s aspiring Ad Agency.

Turn to page seven, one of my favorites. Read it.

It will tell you what it wants to be.

“One of the hardest parts of being an creative person,” says Lee Clow Chairman and Global director of TBWA/Worldwide, “is having absolutely no idea where where your ideas come from.”(Art&Copy)

Reading about big ideas is one thing. Coming up with the next one is something else. It takes self- confidence, hard work, and the ability to check your ego and say, “I was wrong.”

Creativity helps too, but I don’t know if this book or any other can truly share what separates good ideas from great ones. I guess we will have to keep failing to find out.


4. Collaboration is key

Team sports have not always been my strong suit.

6th grade soccer was the last organized team that I belonged to. Instead, in middle school I tried out for a play – the high school was doing “Cheaper by the Dozen,” and they needed some little kids to play the younger sibling roles.

For the first time I could really see how my actions affected those of my peers. If I was late for my entrance, everyone had to stall waiting for me. If I was goofing off backstage instead of changing costumes like I was supposed to, it made everyone look bad.

Once I realized that if I messed up, I was letting my entire cast down more significantly then missing the soccer ball, I got my act together. I fell in love with drama and the camaraderie that developed on and offstage, and I have found few feelings as satisfying as the emotionally charged adrenaline rush from finishing a musical number surrounded by teammates all working together flawlessly.

Most fields of work require collaboration, especially advertising. Communication is important, but so is everyone pulling his or her own weight. I read this post on Edward Boches’s blog on the importance of teamwork and being on the same page as your creative partners. If you are on the same wavelength, working together shouldn’t feel like work, I think. It should feel like magic.

3. Hands are good.

I have a real respect for people who work with their hands. Painters, carpenters, musicians and all matter of artists who earn their daily bread from the performance of skills they have spent their lives developing.

The reason I believe Deb Morrison continues to tell us to get our hands dirty, to sketch and draw ideas as they come to us, is not simply because she heard it is helpful, it’s because she wrote a book on the topic. Industry pros from all over confirmed her and Glenn Griffin’s suspicions that as contrary as it may sound, there is a science to creating art. (Strategic art that is, which = advertising)

I’m not that great with a pen, but I will continue to wield one because sometimes my fingers have a way of saying what my brain cannot. Pen strokes pave the way for brush strokes. They show that time was taken and the idea was well developed and ready to hatch before any software or paintbrushes were touched.

Moonshine : Artists after dark from alexis wanneroy on Vimeo.

2. You are Marvelous.

Why do brands speak louder then ads? Why do college freshmen newly hatched into the world of doing their own laundry buy the same brand of detergent that Mom bought?

Because ads are 30 second clips that are watched between the news and the football game. They can be turned off, or on. ‘Brand speak’ is the sum of every interaction that we have had with a particular product brand, That brand’s story is different for each of us, and the best ads remind us of that story, add to it. Reason informs, but emotion persuades

That is why ads are nothing more then stories, stories that connect to people’s emotions first and not always to their logic.

A ‘good’ ad can make a bad brand look good for a short while. Then people realize they have been lied to, and the brand is maybe worse off then it was. A good brand speaking through an ad reminding consumers why the brand is good, telling the truth, is a wonderful thing.

Here is one of my favorite brands and branding stories, because I wear the jeans and see at least part of myself as a thrill seeker and all of myself as someone who wants to go out and do stuff, run on beaches at night, play loud music, not hesitate for a moment to apologize for living my life. Go Forth