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

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