Monday, September 8, 2014

Who The Hell is Bill Bogusky? Uhmmmm... The Original Bogusky!

Who the hell is Bill Bogusky? A long overdue history lesson.

When Alex hosted an episode of FearlessQA a couple of years ago with guests Bill Wright and David Swartz on the idea of "old school" thinking. During the episode Dave held up a book called logos written by a Bill Bogusky. Since then I've always wanted to do a piece on Bill.

This week Alex will host his dad in a episode of FearlessQA. I'm no clairvoyant but this should be a great show. I think the sub-title should read, "Shit My Father Says - The Bogusky Edition".

So who is Bill Bogusky? He was born in 1934, a New York native Bill studied Graphic Design at the School of Industrial Art and Pratt Institute. From department store layout artist to agency art director it was really when he set up shop in south Florida with his brother Al, creating “The Brothers Bogusky” that's when Bill hit full stride.

The "Brothers Bogusky” garnered numerous national and international awards, most notably an entry in the Annual Report Issue of Graphis. A special "Annual Reports" issue? Okay, for you youngin's out there that was was the "schizzle" of the day. Yup we waited every month for our CA Magazines or Graphis to arrive to see who was doing the great work. Dog-eared copies sat for years by our desks. Getting into the Graphis Annual which published the Mead Paper Annual Report Show winner well yes, that was like winning a Cannes Lion. Yes you can look it up, The Brothers Bogusky won for American Foods Corporation in 1969. Bill recently posted on his blog, "Ever since high school at the School of Industrial Art in Manhattan, I dreamed of someday being in Graphis. Feels nice". 

Bogusky spent two years in the army as "Special Services Promoter" at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. It is there he met his wife of over 50 years, Dixie. They married and moved to Miami, Florida and he and his brother Al set up their studio "The Brothers Bogusky.” One could suggest that Bill Bogusky is part of the the south Florida "design and advertising royalty". The studio was a very successful full-service design firm, but it was when a windsurfing copywriter from Minneapolis named Chuck Porter began to freelance for a tiny Miami ad shop named Crispin, it is there that Chuck met Bill Bogusky. As the story goes, Crispin sent a project up to The Brothers Bogusky, when it returned back to the agency, Chuck remarked to Bill, "who did the design and art direction on this piece?", Bill remarked, "my kid Alex, why is there a problem?". Nope. Chuck offered Bill's son Alex a senior art director job at what became Crispin & Porter--and eventually Crispin Porter+Bogusky.

One of fun things I learned about Bill was he designed a logo that had a big influence on my design future.

I am a big time sports fan. It was sports team logo design that got me started. In the late 1960's and early 1970's there was no shortage of expansion of the traditional sports leagues but also the birth of new leagues to challenge them. One of these leagues was the American Basketball Association, the one team that caught my eye was the Miami Floridians. I was on vacation over winter break with my dad and we ventured to Miami Convention Center to watch the ABA best Kentucky Colonels. I was just impressed with colors of the "Floridians" and the simple silhouette image of a player on the beautiful typographic wordmark. (see all the unique and inspiring ABA logos here.)

There is a great added advertising connection to the Floridians history was when the original owner were awash in red ink, in stepped legendary ad man Ned Doyle, a recently retired advertising executive (best known in the ad world for his imaginative Volkswagen ads and one of the "D" in DDB) to buy the team. Doyle, fired the entire team only keeping the coach - a rather novel approach. He also dropped "Miami" from the team name and the franchise went "regional," playing its home games in Miami Beach, Jacksonville, Tampa and West Palm Beach. I gather always an adman, Doyle went "promo" crazy. New logo and team colors were changed to magenta, hot orange and black, and the ball girls, wearing skimpy bikinis, were hired. Fun times.

Bogusky’s many logo designs appear in many logo anthologies.  In fact there was a book published, but now out of print book called "Logos" which featured the many designs created over the years.

Among the first to embrace the Mac, Bill launched a new passion in type design. “My first font “gogobig” is still my favorite” he said. He has designed over 58 fonts and family of weights. "The computer has allowed me to fulfill a life-long dream of designing my own fonts. A great program, Fontographer, made the design implementation a joy. But the mechanics of assembly, pair kerning, file formats and and more minutia, made the process tedious at times. Nevertheless, through it all. a labor of love". Bill added, "at first I distributed my fonts as "shareware" on the internet. An honor system where users would download the fonts and send you a small amount of money, if they actually used the font. Many downloads later, I pulled in about $20. My retirement fund needed a better way". But that has changed.

Bill discovered a service called "MyFonts" a really cool website that allows designers to lists their fonts with full alphabet displays and color samples.  "I set my prices, and began to sell, and I reasoned: more fonts, more sales". Bill says (and I gather with tongue firmly placed in his cheek) "I now have over seventy fonts in my quiver. The income? It beats army pay". Bill even sold a font to Nike. "They used it on a poster campaign. It's really a kick to see one of my fonts on TV or in a magazine ad".

I get true sense that the apple didn't fall from the "humble tree" for Alex. "I love it. In my brief planet visit, I have gone from the lower east side of New York to Global", Bill says about all that is at his finger tips.
Recently Bill has also turned to another passion of his photography. He has published a photographic essay book of the Phantom Lake Ranch in Red Feather Lakes in Colorado. The photos are chaptered into the four seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter with many double-page spread photos.
The Bogusky's, Bill and Dixie now live in Louisville, Colorado and roam around in their vintage '58 Morgan+4 roadster.

Yup, all in the family in the mountain air.

PS: Bill, if you have a copy of Logos in the attic. Please send it along, sign it and I promise it will be archived in our library forever.

I am sure we all have questions. Tune in to FearlessQA and Tweet your questions.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Why Advertising Week in New York City Matters

I originally posted this shortly after last years trip (November 24, 2010) as "The Future of Advertising Looks Bright. Young AdLanders Share What Advertising Week 2010 Meant To Them". As I prepare the planning for this years trip October 3rd-7th I thought it would be great to revisit.

Advertising Week New York 2010.
They say it's better late then never. This post which is a little late in terms of time, but it still offers insights and thoughts that are worthy of sharing.

I invite and travel with 50 students from the Creative Advertising Program at Seneca College to Advertising Week in New York City. This has become the "cornerstone" event of our academic year. They pack their bags, board a luxury coach and get ready for New York and Advertising Week. The anticipation sets in weeks in advance, but it's the final 10 hours of travel time before they will be in New York and what sets the stage for their future career plans and learning from industry leaders and visionaries.

Each year I arrange for private agency visits for my students during Advertising Week to get an opportunity to hear from various creative talents, strategic planners, account management and to take agency tours. This year, we visited: Saatchi & Saatchi hosted by Creative Director Tim Leake, Droga5 with a dynamic discussion lead by David Droga and Julia Albu, Strawberry Frog and Scott Goodson, RGA, Big Spaceship, BBDO, BBDO Atmosphere, TAXI NYC and Virtue/Vice. 

 Each year I also host a "Key Note" speaker for all students hear from and to have an open Q & A session. Last year I arranged for advertising legend George Lois (see a short video of his thoughts). This year CP+B arranged and hosted our lecture at the One Club with recently named CEO and creative genius Andrew Keller. A full speed 90 minutes of honesty, laughs, thinking and inspiration.

So what were the students most excited about? Agency tours. AdWeek Conferences. Meeting new people. It all comes down to and most importantly one thing, it was about learning, learning something new. Getting an experience that will motivate the students to want to their place in the advertising industry.

So what did my students take with them from Advertising Week? Here is what some of the students that attended Advertising Week had to say:  

“New York Advertising week was a great experience for me. The experience was only as great as it was because of the students and the real drive and willingness to learn. The experiences outside of the direct learning from speakers and agency visits allowed me to learn more of who I am and who the people we were around the whole week are. The agency visits to Droga5, and Virtue/Vice really allowed me to see how the style of some agencies are in comparison to the idea of an agency I had before. The speakers also really made an impact on the message I heard and felt.” 

- Wilson Lin, Entrepreneur and Aspiring Account Executive 
"Advertising Week in itself was an experience, from hearing Russel Simmons speak at a panel to visiting Droga5, Advertising Week 2010 left me with a new perspective on advertising. It helped me to realize that everything I do is in my own hands. In an industry that impacts so many people on so many levels, it's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that everything is in YOUR hands". 

- Sabrina Tricarico, Aspiring Art Director 
I was able to visit Saatchi & Saatchi and BBDO. From both agencies I got to hear it straight from the current professionals about creativity, the creative process, and insights regarding the the structure of creative teams and how they're changing. Personally, that gave me a good insight as to what to expect in terms of the direction the ad world is moving and I also got to hear what they expect from us as aspiring creatives. Big Spaceship was a whole other can of worms. Not only did they structure their agency with absence on conventional job titles, this was my first (and only) view of an ad agency outside of Canada that is solely based on the rapidly growing, interactive side of the industry. Not only did i get a good sit down to hear what is creativity to them, but also get a good (for a lack of better term) lecture on how interactive is different from what we know orthodox advertising to be".   

"Overall, not only did I get reassurance, but also I feel that the profs we know have been pointing us in a certain direction, and these agency tours, in a way, cleaned up the path a little more.” 

- Nas Mohamed, Aspiring Art Director 
"Ad Week in New York this year was by far and away the most thought provoking, inspiring and engaging period in my life to date.  The knowledge I gained from hearing great minds like; Dave Droga, Scott Goodson and Andrew Keller was something that has had a profound change on my new career.
 Listening to where the future of advertising is going from people who play an integral role in changing it was awe inspiring.  They spoke of a future that will highlight the need to constantly keep the consumer engaged at whatever the cost.  We are already seeing the power of social media being integrated with brands and that concept, in some cases, has yielded amazing returns.  Some of the more recent examples are the Old Spice Facebook campaign, the Subservient Chicken and even movies like Catfish, The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. Creating movements married to brands is something that will not only keep consumers loyal but will allow them to regard brands in ways never before seen in the company/consumer relationship". 

 "Throughout Ad Week I learned a great deal from many people but one experience stood out for me in particular.  Meeting and listening to Andrew Keller, now CEO of Crispin, Porter + Bogusky was something that will resonate with me for the rest of my career.  He talked to our class about how to get into the industry (and how he got in), the values of maintaining a personal/family life (which we’re sometimes told is very hard to do) and talked in depth to us about some of the different campaigns he’s worked on.  What surprised me the most from the talk we had with him was that he’s just a really nice, down to earth and humble individual.  For someone in his position he has no ego and to be honest, you don’t expect that from the CEO of one of, if not the best ad agencies in the world. In a nutshell, Andrew Keller is the type of guy you dream of growing up to be". 

- Adam Bercovici, Aspiring Account Planner/Strategist 
"Given the opportunity to attend New York Advertising Week was a remarkable experience, both academically and socially. The events I participated in included meeting some of the most influential industry leaders and  getting the chance to attend and tour some of the most creative agencies in the world. This was definitely an experience I will never forget.

Being a student of advertising and getting the opportunity to visit a city with some of the most engaging and astonishing ads was an opportunity I am absolutely grateful for.  It definitely put a lot into perspective in terms of the endless opportunities within the advertising industry and where I see myself within the industry. New York was unquestionably one of the most engaging cities and I would definitely recommend the trip to all students who get the opportunity to go". 

- Lillian Hammah, Aspiring Strategist 
"I visited Saatchi & Saatchi, Big Spaceship and Strawberry Frog. Each agency taught me something different. Saatchi gave me a classic, corporate feel. Big Spaceship open concept and small interactive agency = agency of future. Strawberry Frog somewhere in between and gave me the idea of creating a cultural movement. The trip was a good motivation for me to do well in school and get my portfolio ready to get a job. I got a lot out of it information wise. There is no reason not to go. on". 

- Jeremy Gross, Aspiring Copywriter 
“The thing that everybody got out of it was that they realized that advertising is now a fully integrated team. Technology has to be emphasized. At the core, the consumer is top-of-mind. Doesn’t matter how advanced technology is, we still have to understand all their hopes and fears. Talk the talk and walk the walk. The most fun was visiting great agencies like, Droga5, Strawberry Frog and BBDO Atmosphere and being treated like equals, not like students. We were able to bond with our fellow students and got to learn some cool things about each other. Loved the insightful presentations and I recommend anybody who is serious about advertising to go next. Make a piggy bank and save your pennies now for next year’s Advertising Week"

 - David Taller, Aspiring Art Director 
"Advertising Week was great. I was able to tour several incredible agencies like Vice and Big Spaceship, where they taught us the differences between traditional and non-traditional media. I had a  great time listening to Nick Law’s presentation from RGA. The speakers were wonderful and on top of that, I picked up a  few presentation tips regarding how to connect with the audience as you speak". 

- Kristina Tran, Aspiring Strategist 

"The overall experience was an eye opener because you learned about  advertising in a popular place like New York. Everything is more  concentrated in terms of what we know from Toronto to New York. The Accounts were larger scales and almost everyone you saw or heard of  were icons in Advertising which was amazing, like David Droga, Andrew  Keller and Bob Greenberg. I was able to visit Droga5 and Vice which were really cool".

"A lot of us students bonded and were given a great  opportunity to become closer friends. We saw a variety of great speakers who weren’t known as “advertising people,” people like Marc  Echo and Russell Simmons, their point-of-views and opinions and how  they forecasted the future was very interesting because you’re gaining  perspectives from entrepreneurs and how they branded themselves, which is something us students are focusing on every day". 

- Vishal Raj, Aspiring Strategic Planner 
"I had the pleasure of visiting Virtue/Vice and BBDO Atmosphere. From all 3  agencies, I felt it gave me personal assurance that this career path  is what I want to do. It was also amazing to talk to creative  directors, account executives and also what I thought was awesome was  that at BBDO, they actually had 3 students who are currently interning there tell us about their experience and how it is working for BBDO. My overall experience at Advertising Week was amazing, it gave me self confidence and reassurance on the path I am going. It was also great too hear from the sources themselves on what they are looking for in an intern and what it takes to stand out from others". 

- Gunika Ahluwalia, Aspires to be in Account Services 

"The first agency I had the chance to visit for Advertising Week was Droga5. I really felt that they are balancing the traditional style of  agency with the new open concept style very well. The space itself  manages to be extremely inclusive to all departments however manages to keep them separate and specific. One of the first things I noticed at Droga5 was that every person in the shop had a huge smile on their face and seemed to be genuinely happy. This is very important for an agency, especially a creative one, as unhappy employees are not often the most creative!"

"Another agency that us students had the chance to visit was Strawberry  Frog. This is one of the coolest agencies I have ever seen. The way in which they operate and the philosophies they follow for their creative are just amazing. Strawberry Frog is all about creative social and cultural movements. This mode of thinking is incredible because it truly forces the creative to connect to the masses by interacting with the individual"

"Finally, I had the chance to check out Big Spaceship. This agency quickly became the #1 place in New York that I would like to be interning at. They work in a total open concept space and include all facets of their teams in the creative process from the intern to the CEO. They were different than most agencies, with different titles and job descriptions. Big Spaceship really pushed the idea that you don't have to follow convention to be successful in advertising; in fact, they demonstrated the contrary". 

- Michael Potash, Aspiring Copywriter
Each year I review and ask myself, "how can I top this next year". I am certain that the next group of students will make Advertising Week a wonderful experience of their own. 

Once gain the students have taken various lessons, opportunities and plan to apply them to their daily lives and career planning.

I remind my students everyday of a personal mantra, a very simple ten words, two letters each statement, “IF IT IS TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME”.  A simple mantra that students need to remind themselves each day. Find inspiration and believe in yourself. You set your path.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Are there no fresh "IDEAS" left... yes, but be careful what may inspire you.

Are there no fresh "IDEAS" left... sure there are. Plenty.

This post is about what happens when you take "inspiration" or create something that might be "too close for comfort". The "seen it before" effect.

A couple of weeks back the City of Toronto had its anti-littering campaign pulled as a result of concerns by some famous brands. It was clever and well received by the public. The campaign was created by Publicis Toronto. 

It got me thinking, have I "seen it before"?

The core concept was pretty simple, a mash-up of different types of familiar product packaging that spelt out various words to describe litter bugs and what it says about them. But the idea of "mash-up" of words isn't new or fresh.

Well, I’m a hardliner when it comes to the "too close for comfort" or “done” already ideas specifically in student portfolios... but what's original? 

Seems things are being revamped and elaborated upon and often the result are never really better or even more sophisticated with one exception... personally I like the treatment for the Expedia print campaign by Ogilvy London done last year. It's simple. It utilizes elements of the travel experience. it was a fresher and more clever take on the "mash-up".

Here's a couple of ads that seems to have inspired by this simple concept... but who came first? Who cares, except as a student when you show your book the old line you might get is "it's been done before".

Below are few ads that seem to have the core concept.

The Malteser Ambulance ad won Gold at Cannes in 2007 for Ogilvy & Mather Frankfurt, Polish Ministry of the Environment from Young and Rubicam Brands, Warsaw, Poland did a trash ad in 2009, and finally the ad for Bayer Aspirin by BBDO Düsseldorf in 2011.

I'm sure there are time that you keep seeing ideas and wonder what was the "inspiration" or "I've seen that before"

Malteser Ambulance - Ogilvy & Mather Frankfurt
Polish Ministry of Environment -Young and Rubicam Brands, Warsaw
Bayer Aspirin - BBDO Düsseldorf

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-d 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 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 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 -

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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