Of the importance of staying abreast of changes in the digital space, Deutsch LA Chief Digital Officer Winston Binch says: “If you’ve been in the business for a while,
particularly on the creative side, and are not open-minded and curious to learn new things, someone’s going to take your job.” That sentiment is reflective of many in the industry, some of
whom are going back to school, attending workshops or taking courses to keep current.
Deutsch offers what it calls D School, an annual course offered to everyone in the agency to -- as Binch says -- "give everyone a brush up on digital, make them aware of the landscape and expose them
to some of the opportunities.” And he thinks the ad schools just aren't cutting it anymore. He adds: “There are lots of kids coming out of ad school that still want to do TV spots,
but the reality is more and more has to be designed for the Internet, the Internet is first. We really want to help everyone here get the tools and the abilities to get really fast creative.”
Making note of the sad fact that 20 CEOs of creative agencies have lost their jobs in the past 12 months, Avi Dan, writing in Forbes, worries that Madison Avenue's shift from focusing on profit versus big ideas is gravely harming the practice of advertising. He writes: "The growing bottom line orientation of Madison Avenue could affect agencies culturally and lead them to become more risk averse, and damage their value proposition to their clients. Ideas and innovation are born out of a culture of risk taking. And agencies at their best are always an independent voice, pushing the envelope. Will an attitude of 'holding to the client at all cost' mitigate that spirit and encourage agencies to become conformists?" Sadly, yes and sadly, that's exactly what is happening. Which is why we see so much lame work coming out of agencies lately. Management by consensus and approval by committee is killing this business. Do we have the guts to put the brakes on this impending train wreck?
MRY has said goodbye to six of its developers. Of the layoffs, MRY Chief Marketing Officer David Berkowitz said: “We unfortunately did have to part ways with a few of our colleagues earlier this month as part of normal reshaping based on industry demand. MRY continues to grow, though, and we have 15 open positions right now across a number of departments.” But those 15 open positions are not development positions, which causes one to wonder what broader changes are underway at MRY.
It's interesting, though entirely unsurprising, that those who love to work together, well, continue to do so. A couple of years ago, three Crispin Porter + Bogusky staffers -- Dave Schiff, Scott Prindle and John Kieselhorst -- left to form a new shop named Made Movement. Now CP+B VP Account Director Kate Higgins has also left the shop to join Made Movement. Of the move, Higgins said, “I love CP+B, but I’m excited about the chance to be a partner and to help grow and shape this place. We always joke that at some point you either own your own shop or become a client, and I like the creative process too much to turn the opportunity down." We wish Higgins well. And she's right. If you don't start your own agency, climb to the top of one or, yeah, become a client, you're likely out on your ass the day you turn 40. It's sad but it's true.
Well, at least according to Strawberry Frog Founder Scott Goodson, who has compiled a list of ten "mind-altering business books from 2014." He acknowledges that most business books simply repeat what many of us already know but these ten books (and a few honorable mentions) will truly shift your thinking and open your mind to new possibilities, according to Goodson.
His list, compiled in a piece for Huffington Post, includes CREATIVITY INC: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, THE HARD THING ABOUT HARD THINGS: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers and Sally Hogshead's HOW THE WORLD SEES YOU: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination, among others.
Check out the full list and get smarter. Because the last thing this industry needs is more of the same. We already have that is spades. Let's be different, Okay?
In acknowledgement of the 3,500 homeless and 15,000 at risk households in their area, Calgary-based Trigger Communications decided to tackle homelessness in Calgary this season with what they are calling "The first-ever airbnb PSA."
The "PSA" which the agency created for Alberta charitable organization, The Mustard Seed, consists of airbnb listings that document what it's like to be homeless. Through social media, the agency encouraged people to book a night at one of these listings for $20 -- the same amount a person in Alberta receives for social assistance.
To further promote the fund-raising effort, the agency placed cardboard signs around the city promoting the listings. Now isn't that better than a bunch of agency employees tossing on some Christmas costumes and prancing around the office sharing their poor acting skills? Yes. Yes, it is.
London-based WCRS decided to marry the Bitcoin trendlet with some Christmas spirit. The agency has created Bitmas Pudding, a mobile game that takes its origins from the traditional practice of placing silver coins inside a Christmas pudding. The game, just like the tradition, has players eating their way through the pudding to find the bitcoins.
The agency sent the game to clients, prospects and friends of the agency awarding winners with various prizes including a bitcoin worth $349. Players could also choose to donate their winnings to the homeless charity St. Mungo's Broadway.
Of the game, WCRS Head of Technology and Innovation Dino Burbidge said: "Most people have heard of Bitcoins but almost all are totally baffled by them too. The simple idea of transforming a Christmas tradition was a great opportunity for our in-house creative and digital innovation teams to have some fun and demystify Bitcoins a little. At least it'll spark an interesting conversation over Christmas dinner when the pudding come out!"
Boston-based Small Army is out with a new product it hopes will help everyone spread holiday cheer far and wide. They have put holiday cheer inside a can. Which anyone can order. No, really, it's true. And the agency will donate 100% of net proceeds to the Boston Medical Center's Preventive Food Pantry.
As explained on the Web site, which is filled with hilarious videos including a Christopher Walken impersonator hilariously touting the product, Holiday Cheer is "a fine paste packed into the most technologically advanced chemical processing plants in all of East Asia. This paste is fused with active cultures and injected into fermented eggnog batter, which is then aged to perfection inside casks of hollowed out fruit-cakes. This process results in a smooth, buttery cream, packed with patented Festive Pheromones which saturating your synapsis with cheer and general merriment."
So how does one use a can of Holiday Cheer? Simply spread a liberal amount on your entire face, wait until the "active ingredients" absorb into your skin and you are guaranteed cheeriness. Well, at least until January 1.
Agencies, it seems, are really amping up their holiday card efforts this year with many going the mobile route. Spanish agency Shakleton Group has developed SantApp, a mobile app which creates the illusion that Father Christmas or the Three Kings are moving around in one's living room to enchant the little ones. To get it to work, you enter the name of the child or children, place the phone in the room with the presents, close the door, turn off the lights.
According to Juan Silva, executive creative director at Shackleton: “People say that technology is robbing children of their innocence. We believe that, for once, we are actually helping to give it back to them.” That's all well and good -- but a video explaining the app leads on to believe all it does is play various Santa voice and flash light. But, hey, sometimes that's all kids need.
AKQA decided to go mobile with its holiday card this year. The agency has introduced Winterlands, a mobile messaging site that lets you send this season’s greetings in a 3D snow globe experience.
If you visit snow.akqa.com on any mobile device running iOS 8+ or Android 4.3.3+ and choose one of the snowscapes and write your personal message that when opened by a recipient will reveal a message inside a virtual snow globe. And shaking the phone will make it snow. The experience is really quite cool and makes use of the phone's gyroscope and accelerometer.
Winterlands launches with one wintery and five city-inspired snowscapes including London, Paris, Portland, Tokyo and Washington DC, more cities to be added in the coming days. So grab your phone, head over to the Web site, create your own snow globe extravaganza and shoot it over to a friend.
Hanson Dodge Creative has stepped up the holiday card/video/charity thingamajiga with the launch of Global Gift Project, Inc. Its mission is to bring complete joy and wonderment to every child in the world by providing each child with a gift. And the agency is asking for the industry's help.
Explaining the efforts, the Web site reads: "Trying to give a gift to every single one of them [kids] is really freaking difficult. And it gets harder every year. That's why we've started our ‘Yes, I'm Officially Representing Santa, He's Real and Gave Me the Power to Give You a Gift’ Team. We call it Team "YIORSHRGMPGYG" for short." YIORSHRGMPGYG aims to entrust the non-elven population with the power of good ol' Santa Claus and empowers people to become official members of the Global Gift Project Team.”
If you click the Apply Now button, you are whisked away to a virtual human resources department where Helen will administer an interview to see if you're up to holiday snuff. The choose-your-own adventure-style questions begin simply enough and then progress to such oddities as how crying babies make you feel and whether or not you like to eat reindeer. It's amusing enough to click all the way through at which time you can download your YIORSHRGMPGYG membership card.
Well, here's some good news regarding the outlook for 2015. The Creative Group is out with a piece of research that takes a look at what 2015 has in store in terms of employment. According to the research, one-third of advertising and marketing professionals plan to expand their creative teams in the first half of 2015. That's up 21 percent from six months ago.
In addition, 56% plan to maintain their current level of staffing within their organizations with just 5% planning to freeze hiring. Forty-one percent of advertising and marketing executives noted that it is challenging to find creative professionals today and hiring managers at large advertising agencies expect the greatest difficulty, with 59% of respondents reporting it will be somewhat or very challenging.
In terms of the areas which marketing organizations plan to expand, web design/production, social media, content marketing and brand/product management top the list. The Creative Group has produced an infographic summarizing this outlook with addition data points as well. You can access that here.
In an ingenious, holiday-themed effort designed to call attention to the importance of the Oxford comma in certain situations, San Francisco-based MUH-TAY-ZIK | HOF-FER has launched a browser bookmark-let that will automagically add missing Oxford commas.
A video accompanies the effort with clear examples as to why you really should employ the Oxford comma at times. The video says "Missing Oxford commas ruins Christmas." It then cites some unintended results such as "I was shopping for your Christmas presents, toilet paper and prunes," "We went caroling with our dogs, grandma and grandpa" and "Merry Christmas from your parents, Santa and Rudolph." Images accompany the statements to illustrate just how wrong those sentences are without the Oxford comma.So if you're ever confused as to whether or not the Oxford comma is necessary, you can recall the awkward examples given in the video.
Like the holidays? Like games? Then Deep Focus has something you might like. The agency has developed an old school interactive game called #DeepSnow. The agency developed it from scratch using Google Maps, HTML5, WebSockets, SASS, OpenLayers, and custom animations.
The aim of the game is to steer a snow plow through the streets of New York City and rescue Deep Focus employees and toys spilt by Santa from the grasps of a winter snowpocalypse. In tandem with the web experience, players use their mobile device as a game controller. Data from the phone’s gyroscope is used to power the steering wheel for the snowplow as it maneuvers around angry Yetis and actual NYC landmarks on the computer screen.
And, of course, there's a charity element to the game. Because, after all, agencies need to somehow make up for their self-centered, egotistical outlook on life they vamp the rest of the year. Virtual points earned during game play will be turned into physical toys donated to Toy For Tots.