Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Advice for Young Creatives: If I Knew Then What I Know Now.

Is there ever enough advice out there for young creatives?


One of the things I say when asked why I got into teaching advertising was to deliver what I never got told or prepared for. That's a big part of the story but not the total story [read my profile].

Parts of this video are just one of many pieces that often never gets delivered in a lecture hall, but g-d knows we try. G-g knows it gets forgotten when we do.

Take note young AdLanders there is much expected of you.

Also read my interview with Scott Goodson of StrawberryFrog. [LINK]

Monday, July 21, 2014

Updating, Fixing and "Best of A View From An AdGuy"

In the coming days I will be doing some fixing and cleaning up of my blog.

As I went through a of the few older posts I noticed a number of the video links and images were broken so I will fix those were ever I can.

During this search I realized there are a good number of "gems" posted here. So it got me thinking to repost them as a series called "Best of A View From An AdGuy".

As I fix and add I will Tweet out and post to my Facebook page and group page.

Stay tuned.

Peace and respect,


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Digital Don Drapers; Today's 'mad men' and women are still taught to search for The Big Idea - but technology has transformed the way they deliver it.

I was asked to comment on advertising education in the Globe and Mail (Canada's National Newspaper) and on globeandmail.com on November 17, 2011

Today's advertising industry is far removed from the world portrayed in the television drama Mad Men, about a 1960s Manhattan agency dominated by chain-smoking male executives who dazzle clients with their print and broadcast creations.

For one thing, women share the spotlight with men. Meanwhile, technology has reshaped the industry, and masterminding brand buzz more commonly involves the digital space.

As consumers increasingly turn to online communication, the dozens of colleges across Canada that offer advertising education are shifting the way they groom their "mad men" - and women - of the future, augmenting traditional programs with web-based and social networking training.

Because students also get real-world experience, working with ad agencies and other industry members, most get jobs right after graduation.

…Despite the increasing importance of digital advertising and marketing, there remains a "media agnostic" approach to teaching students how to sell their ideas, because print, radio and newspaper advertising aren't dead: This is stressed by Mr. Rosen and Anthony Kalamut, co-ordinator of the two-year creative advertising diploma program at Seneca College in Toronto.

Mr. Kalamut says ad education at Seneca, which graduates about 50 students a year and has a partnership with York University that results in a bachelor of arts degree, emphasizes creating "the big idea" that works across all platforms.

"Big ideas can sell little products, and no one idea can be considered out of play any more," he says. "You have to figure out the story to tell, to engage with the audience and put the pieces into play.

"We have to be flexible, quick and agile enough to say, 'Facebook will be a nice accent to what we're doing on billboards.'"

Seneca has run an ad program for about 40 years but revamped it about 15 years ago to meet the changing industry. Students now learn design and layout, effective communication and presentation, copywriting, computers and applications, and desktop publishing. In the second year, they choose one of two streams: creative, which prepares students for jobs in, for instance, copy writing or art direction; or business, which offers preparation for jobs in account management, media planning and buying, and strategic planning.

As an example of how traditional ad vehicles can team with a modern method of communication, Mr. Kalamut points to the award-winning "Billboard Coupon Campaign" for James Ready beer.

Seneca alumni Steve Persico is a copywriter at Toronto's Leo Burnett agency, which worked with James Ready on the campaign. The beer company partnered with local businesses offering discounts on their products and services that were splashed on billboards. People could take a picture of the billboard, on their camera phones, for instance, and show that picture to the relevant company to get the discount.

The concept behind the billboard-coupon campaign: People can save money on necessities and then have more money to spend on beer… 
College ad programs don’t just attract students right out of high school. Some are already in advertising jobs and looking to update their skills, while others want to change career paths.

Seneca creative advertising student Jillian Pearson, 26, for instance, was acting and running a theatre company in New York after studying acting at Dalhousie University in Halifax, but wanted “a different kind of adventure with more structure” that still tapped her creative energy.

Now in her second semester at Seneca, Ms. Pearson was among students who worked with the Cundari ad agency on a BMW Series 7 relaunch project – part of the hands-on experience that makes students job ready after graduation.

“The professors are well-connected – they’re still in the industry so we get the opportunity to reach out to clients that you might not be able to reach out to until later in your career,” says Toronto-born Ms. Pearson, who wants a copywriting career after she graduates in August.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Maybe The Most Important Thing You'll EVER Read While Putting Your Portfolio Together.

A View From An AdGuy Number 300: Maybe The Most Important Thing You'll EVER Read While Putting Your Portfolio Together.

Originally posted this February 19th, 2011 (and was my 300th Blog Posting) to assist advertising students to better understand what they need to consider to 'build' a better pprtfolio. To date this post has had over 3,500 visits.  Enjoy!

What better way to celebrate my 300th Blog Posting then to feature a piece from someone I highly respect and admire. Suzanne Pope. Her blog Ad Teachings" is a must follow and can be found on Twitter ad @SuzannePope.

Have you ever read something or come across an article and said to yourself, "damn it, I wish I had written that".

Well here is one of those pieces and it's a story I have told (literally this exact story) a hundred times over the years during both my advertising and teaching careers. But after reading the thoughts and the version that Suzanne Pope a Creative Director at john st. Toronto published on her blog "Ad Teachings", I felt it was something very important to also share here for the future AdLanders putting their portfolios together and to the industry at-large.

Throughout her career she has been dedicate to creating brilliant and innovative communication messages for clients but in recent years she has taught copywriting at Humber College and has been a regular at the various Portfolio Review Nights. Suzanne has also contributed articles to ihaveanidea.org to help in the development of better "creative" idea building.  From those writings she recently launched her blog where she proudly boasts:  


Trust me Suzanne, thus far, mission accomplished and the added bonus... It’s just like school, minus the tuition and text book costs.

I have had the privilege and honor of meeting Suzanne a number of years ago at various industry events and quickly we developed a mutual respect for the development of future "Ad Landers". I have described Suzanne as inspirational, dedicated but most important passionate to the craft of copywriting. Hardly enough to describe what Suzanne brings to her engagement with young aspiring creative thinkers.

There isn't a time that Suzanne wont find time to help a young AdLander with a review of a portfolio or provide information on career direction. Her honesty is not lost, most leave after meeting Suzanne more inspired not only to do better, but are inspired to improve their craft. Her passion is infectious.
As an educator I am proud to have developed a professional and personal relationship with her, and I am honored to call Suzanne an colleague in the development of young talent.

Thank you Suzanne for this great piece, but also for your commitment to future AdLanders by posting inspiring content on your Blog.

Originally published on Suzanne Pope's blog "Ad Teachings"


A number of years ago, I had an advertising student whose thirst for success far outstripped the quality of her work.  I think her work would have improved if she had been willing to listen to me or her other instructors, but that never happened. If I gave her 70% on an ad, she would become annoyed and say that it deserved 80%. I started giving her 72% or something just to avoid the arguments, but my explicit message to her never changed: Unless the quality of your ads improves, you will have a very hard time getting hired.
I don’t know what became of this woman, because I’ve never heard from her since. But I did hear through the grapevine that she ended up being vocally bitter about the instruction she had received from me and my colleagues. Her complaint, surprisingly, was that we ought to have graded her more harshly.  The complaint developed when this woman started taking her portfolio around to interviews.  She heard none of the effusive praise she had expected. Instead, creative directors ripped her book to shreds. Thus, she decided, her instructors were to blame for having failed to prepare her for the tough standards that awaited her in the real world.

If this story has you shaking your head in disbelief, you’re probably okay. You’re probably a very good student, at least in terms of reacting to bad news about your ads. You are open to the possibility that your instructors are right, and that you need to go back and work a little harder. But I have observed that there’s a significant minority of students who cannot tolerate the suggestion that their talent is anything less than exceptional. When their work is criticized, they scarcely seem to hear. It is as if they are listening instead to the fanfare they imagine will play when the team of unicorns pulls their chariot through the front door of Wieden+Kennedy.

If you’re not sure whether you’re vulnerable to this attitudinal threat, there’s one simple question that will reveal all: Have you ever responded to a disappointing mark by questioning the credentials of your instructors? A disgruntled student might say that one professor hasn’t worked in an agency for years, or that another never won any important awards. These comments might be true, but it doesn’t matter, because they actually have nothing to do with the instructors at all. They are actually an expression of the student’s desperate hope that creative directors will judge his work more favourably than his instructors did. But I can tell you that this never happens. I have never seen student work get praised by a creative director after being panned by an instructor. If you are holding on to this faint hope, the time has come to unhitch your unicorns, smack them on the hindquarters and dry your tears as they gallop off into the hills.

Most instructors will be kind in their criticisms. This is because applying professional standards to students isn’t helpful, any more than it would be helpful for a piano teacher to apply professional standards of musicianship to a twelve-year-old. Your instructors are focusing on developing your discernment as an advertising person, to help you build your potential through an understanding of what is or isn’t a good advertising idea. And, actually, that is all that most creative directors are looking for. There’s a famous ad person I know who got his first job on the strength of the one decent idea in his book.  That’s all.  The rest of his book was garbage, but that one good ad let the creative director know that the guy was trainable. And trainability isn’t just about what you show in your book. It’s also about what you show in your attitude.

Advertising is a business that humbles all of us sooner or later.  You will be much happier, personally and professionally, if you choose to humble yourself right now.
© 2011 Suzanne Pope - http://www.adteachings.com/post/3217718212/on-the-single-greatest-threat-faci...

Other excellent articles of interest by Suzanne Pope every Student of Advertising should read:

The Top Ten Mistakes In Portfolio Development 

An Inconvenient Truth For Copywriters: How To Write Headlines And Why Your Career Depends On It

Creative Bites: Suzanne Pope Finish this sentence: “Kids these days…” 

How to Train Ideas to Come When They’re Called:  

Part One    

Part Two   

Part Three

Monday, June 16, 2014

What Have We Become When Reviewing Young Talent... NICE!

Steve Hall, Founder of AdRants and AdGabber posted this a few years back. I could help but repost it as many advertising grads and future AdLanders begin to polish their "books" into something that will soon be seen by the world of Creative Directors... all who have an opinion.
It's true being nice just to be nice doesn't help anyone.  

In fact, according to this video for the Denver Ad Club, it can cause a person to drown. 

Of course, no one in advertising is ever nice just to be nice. In fact, going into advertising offers the perfect platform for a person to rip the shit out of another person and toss it of as simply "critiquing the work."  

But anyway, the Denver Ad Club wants young creatives about NEXT, a portfolio-building program designed to bluntly inform people what's working and what isn't in their portfolio.

Be aware young AdLanders, there may be an agenda when showing your book... but it may not be the one you are looking for.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Best and The Worst on Super Bowl XLVIII

These are top 5 Spots that had me talking and made cut through the clutter for me (and even a couple that made me WTF!!!).

Chrysler 200 Super Bowl Commercial featuring Bob Dylan

Coca-Cola: "America the Beautiful” (Best Diversity)

T-Mobile No Contract  Four Margaritas (Simplest / Lowest Budget)


Radio Shack ReBranding Ad (Star Studded and Not your dads Radio Shack)

Budweiser — "Puppy Love” USA Today Ad Meter Winner and 49 Million plus views


"The Truth" | Official Kia K900 Morpheus

Beats Music's Ellen DeGeneres... Wrong Target Audience.

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