Where portfolio students talk.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What I learned from Sally Hogshead

800 headlines.

24 pages of handwritten 8.5 X 11 plain white paper, 3 different pens, one mechanical pencil, 2 hours spent just typing on a keyboard, a couple Jacks frozen pizza's and 8 days later, it was done. 800 headlines, written. Round 1...officially done.

Many of us have written headlines in the droves before. 100, 200...maybe even more. Cranking them out at 3 am. on a weekday night, knowing full well you had to be at some bill-paying job at 8 in the morning. Coffee, Red Bull, a fresh bag of crack-cocaine, pick your assistant. But you figure it out and, you write your 100. Or 200. Or 300.

But 800: How in the hell was I going to write 800 headlines in just over a week?

The answer: by learning. Fast. I once heard an analogy that writing headlines is like walking down a hall with doors down each side, and opening and exploring each door. Once you explore the door and whats behind it enough, you move on to the next door and explore the ideas behind that one.

What this experience taught me, is that I ought to be running down the hall and flinging these doors open. Take a quick peak around if need be--and then bolt to the next one. Speed = volume, and with more volume you explore more ideas, and more possible fruit for a killer headline. I once felt it was important to make everything you write, at least mildly crafted. And while I may sort have done that--I tried not to do it for very long. I simply couldn't afford to.

So that's my tiny molecule of wisdom I offer to anyone willing to listen. Run. Take your time when you feel you need to, but as Sally has said before: Mediocrity is relentless. Be the tortoise. But be the hare too. After all, this is just round 1.

Thanks for reading. As always, your thoughts are always appreciated.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Liz Lange

This campaign for Liz Lange was done by Carly Conrad (AD) Nicole Dumouchel (CW), graduate of the Creative Circus.

The art direction is pretty stellar in my opinion. I'd love to have something that looks like this in my book. The headlines do the heavy lifting in terms of communicating strategy, but the elegant, finely detailed illustration--extravagant as it may be--doesn't get in the way of the writing. A classic example of not sacrificing and not compromising both by the AD and the CW, working to create an excellent solution.

Thoughts on Liz Lange?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Going Po-Mo

This ad for partnership for a drug-free America was done by Janeen Ritson (AD) a recent graduate of the Creative Circus.

I've always thought about these post-modern ads--that are self-aware, usually ironic and most always very copy driven. Pretty smart, or too easy? Thoughts about this technique in general?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Blog 800

Participants of the 800 project are encouraged to web log (as a reply here) about their experiences trying to write 800 headlines. As always, the more the merrier!

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Studenty or smart idea waiting to be crafted better? This Bazooka gum ad was done by Chaz King (AD) of 101 The Ad School in New York.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Canada Tourism

This print campaign for Canada Tourism was done by Barb Etzkorn (AD) and Andy Zetzman (CW) of Brainco. Thoughts, feelings, impressions? I'm a big fan of the art direction.

Illustrative Inspiration

Of course, we should all be busy with the 800 Project. At least us writers. But during this time, here's a cool illustration my friend and MCAD graduate Doug Litos worked on around a year or so ago for a local band.

On a seperate note, you can update your headline count by just changing your vote.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

800 Project: On Your Mark, Get Set...

It's a product with great versatility--headlines can be crafted to a number of different products and product categories. There are a number of different flavors, it's also affordable, so we've all either tried it or can try it and its also unique in product design.

Go to it! When you've completed your 800, post them as a reply to this post on the official blog site. Name, school are optional, but are recommended. Keep in mind, I have received word that industry professionals will be watching.

Good luck, you have 8 days. May your inner-Hogshead be with you!


Reminder that the 800 project's brand will be announced tonite @ Midnight. Stay tuned to Portfolio Party and the Official 800 project blog for the official announcment.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Baby Einstein

This is a campaign for Baby Einstein baby toys done @ Brainco. Simple visual solution. Thoughts?

Sorry it's been a while

Reminder: The 800 project beings next week. Any more suggestions on brand?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

PS2 ads from India

These are actual ads that were in production fro the PS2 in India. I gotta tell you, the ads are pretty good, in the body copy and in the aspect of layout. but then, I read the tag. As ad students, we are trying to push the envelope in terms of execution and concepts, but when is pushing the envelope becomes simply pushing buttons?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Wow, you have to watch this.

The Next-Gen Creative

(Preface, this entry is long, but read it when you can. I think its important.)

At portfolio schools we're often driven to chip away relentlessly at the micro end of mass communication. Advertising of course, is only a small piece of the gigantic scope of modern marketing and I think students often lose sight of the bigger picture.

Understanding it however, can be as important as the smaller one--and in fact, these things are often one in the same. So when creatives in the advertising biz are looking for the next big idea--the answer, especially now, may not lie so much in our classical understanding of creative work, as it may lie in a different kind of problem solving.

The future of marketing/advertising is (for lack of a better term) Virtual Reality.

The synergy between instantaneous micro and macro communication (the Internet, fiber optics, wireless communication to name a few) and the video game industry are beginning to understand the true, powerful scope of their synergy.

It started with things like The Sims, World of Warcraft and Second Life. The concept of real-time interactive communication at a global scale. Millions of people all across the world, of many different demographics have caught on. The game console systems (XBox, Playstation and Nintendo) have followed suit making online interactive play possible.

But all this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Advertisers have in fact started to explore in-game marketing avenues--case in point, Fight Night Round 3, where product placement is plastered all over the game. At some arenas, the King leads you into the ring.

But the real future, starts with Sony's yet to be released Play Station Home, the interactive interface for the PlayStation 3. The following taken from Wikipedia:
PlayStation Home (trademarked as "Home™") is a community-based service for the PlayStation Network which has been in development since early 2005. Home allows users to create an avatar for their PlayStation 3 console. This avatar will get their own apartment, which can be adorned by items players can receive in several achievements. In the future the service will also expand, allowing players to have more sorts of clothing, as well as hold pets.[citation needed] When it is available, Home will be launched via its own category in the XMB between the "Game" and "Network" category. This service will be free of charge.

While Sony's exploration is merely the precipice of the future--this kind of secondary reality, that has been explored in massive interactive RPGs, in which people create societies , based on the same principles that govern our own in the real world including money make this an advertisers dream situation. Consider it reality, all over again.

Vending machines, clothing, shoes, buildings, banks...everything is an opportunity for a new kind of interactive, highly-central product placement. In fact to call it product placement really does it a dis-service. What it really amounts to, is product involvement marketing. The possibilities are essentially unlimited.

So here's where the Ad School thing kicks in again.

For the Ad agency of today--the one that right now at the forefront of cyberspace exploration, where interactive is the hot word--to become the Ad agency of tomorrow, they've got to start investing their ideas into these virtual worlds (where already millions of people worldwide spend millions upon millions upon millions of time and dollars) to remain ahead of the rest of the business. So they don't spend the next 10-15 years catching up.

What does that mean to us? Whereas right now, the line between writer, art director and graphic designer are blurring--soon enough the line between creative and media person will be blurring as much. It's already started to happen. Case in point Cripsin Porter Bogusky.

For our books, that means showing ideas that most of our instructors in the biz now might not get. But ideas that no doubt will soon enough become an unavoidable reality.

So I'm curious. Is anyone putting up marker comps of marketing/advertising ideas that happen in Second Life in your classes? In my opinion they'd be well served to.

All thoughts are more than welcomed.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A word from the designer: fun with gum.

I caught this out at my local gas station, and being the racoon with shiny, new, pretty packaging that I am, I had to admit that it was fairly innovative. I did some research on the gum, and the gum is created by wrigley's, called 5 because it is how many senses that are activated when using this gum. As a designer, I think it's very smart, but also practical, like "why didn't I think of that?" kind of mindset. I only got one of the packs, and the gum is good, but I just want to see what other design students or possibly other ad students think of it.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Importance of Long Copy

This long copy ad was done by Gerald Blanton (AD) and Kevin Dunleavy (CW) at VCU Ad Center. How important is it, both for writers and art directors to have good long copy in their book?

It isn't always the stuff that gets the awards, in fact it seems that it never is--but I've heard professionals say that it is very important as a writer to show that you can write, and as an art director, that you can lay it out.

That said, the changing dynamics in media today seems to driving creatives towards alternatives to high word counts. How beneficial is it really to have in your book. Or imperative?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

And 1

An And 1 campaign worked on by a student at Brainco. One in a series of slightly longer copy print ads. Thoughts on the concept, the copy, the art direction?

Burns Blogging

Not sure of the agency but Montgomery Burns, is blogging for Jet Blue. I think its a pretty cool idea.

Can you show an idea like this in your student book?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Lost in Translation

This was made by Mihnea Gheorghiu, Voldemars Dudums and Alex Daff from Miami Ad School in Hamburg. Clearly there's something lost in translation here, because there's either very little punch--or a confusing slap in the face with this headline driven campaign.

My question is, how does international experience (especially as a writer) work? Do you really have to mostly shoot straight from visual solutions? Really learn the language? What's funny in English, isn't always what's funny in Japanese, or French or Portuguese. But I myself, would be very interested in working abroad--and I wonder how viable this is in a country whose language is foreign to me. Thoughts?