Commentary

This Agency Gave Its Employees $1,500 And A Week Off to Find Inspiration And Blog About It

Agencies have to become ever more creative to retain talent these days. For decades, loyalty to a company and from a company has fallen to near negligible levels. Combine that with the fact that most people job hop from agency to agency and from client to client to get ahead -- rather than sticking it out and moving up within -- and you've got a perfect recipe for continuous turnover. Hoping, perhaps, to change things up a bit on that front, California-based agency thinkParallax launched a program called Parallaxploration, whereby the agency handed $1,500 to each one of its employees, along with an extra paid day off, and told them to travel to a place they had never been before, all for inspiration. But, of course, they had to blog about it. And their travels are beginning to fill the agency's Parallaxporation site. Of the program, the agency said: "The goal of Parallaxploration is not only to ensure happy employees, but also to provide them with energizing experiences that will allow them to continue creating exceptional work for our clients." We approve.

OK, then. Here's yet another company trying to automate the creative process. Last week, a company called Spotomate (yeah, you know where is going just from the name) launched with the promise of providing do-it-yourself broadcast quality ads for just $75. Yes, $75! Spotomate is a video template service that allows anyone with basic browser skills to drag-and-drop images and change text on After Effects video templates. Oy. Just reading the word "template" makes me want to barf. But I didn't. Until I saw this demo spot Spotomate has up for Chrysler. Stock photography. Quick cuts. And cheesy "dramatic music" combine for a barf-tastic presentation worthy of, well, car dealers, I guess. But, hey -- we all need simplicity every once in a while. If you ever have to whip out some quick creative, Spotomate might be worth a visit.

And while we're on the topic of things made simple, here's another gem. But this one actually has more merit. UK-based PR agency HoustonPR has unleashed PreTweet, a buzzword bingo filter that promises to eliminate irritation catchphrases and buzzwords from tweets. The service, which is free, checks draft tweets against a database of several hundred phrases identified as potentially annoying in research surveying more than 500 avid social media users. Some of the annoying phrases in the database? "amazeballs", "awesome", "awks", "bantz", "best. boyfriend. ever.", "best. girlfriend. ever.", "broken the internet", "BWAHAHAHAHA", "cannot unsee", "cheeky kfc", "epic fail", "epic win", "haterz", "hilaire", "hivemind", "holibobs", "humblebrag", "i am in you", "if you read just one thing today", "interwebs", "is a must read", "it's for a thing", "just saying", "kitteh", "klaxon", "kthxbai", "more sleeps", "nom nom nom", "nom o'clock", "noms", "not even sorry", "obvs", "o hai", "o rly", "omg", "omfg", "on route", "proper ledge", "random", "rant over" and much more! In Houston's research it was found that some phrases were particularly annoying to social media users, with some described by one user as "the digital equivalent of chewing ice or chalk on a blackboard." Yes, there is far too much crap clogging up social media these days. I hope this helps.

And in more regular agency news, San Francisco-based Pereira O'Dell has hired Matt Herrmann to become the agency's chief strategy officer. Originally from Oklahoma, Matt came to advertising in 1995 after studying film and economics at the University of Chicago. Matt began his career at Leo Burnett in Chicago, and then moved on to New York to join the creative shop Cliff Freeman and Partners and later BBH New York, where he developed the global strategy for the Johnnie Walker “Keep Walking” campaign.In 2005, Matt arrived in San Francisco at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to become the deputy director of the Brand Strategy group, building memorable campaigns for many brands; most famously, the Hyundai “Think About It” campaign and “Assurance” promotion. Matt left GSP to become the North American chief strategy officer at McCann, and shortly after joined BBDO SF as the director of strategy, building a diverse strategy group and a thriving agency in his four years there.

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1 comment about "This Agency Gave Its Employees $1,500 And A Week Off to Find Inspiration And Blog About It".
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  1. Steve Schildwachter from BrightStar Care, November 1, 2014 at 6:22 p.m.

    No question that Spotomate won't be right for big clients.

    For small- and medium-sized businesses, however, it might help them create content or ads for digital signage, which is becoming ubiquitous.

    I even tried it: http://admajoremblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/automatic-advertising-we-take-spotomate.html

    Barf-tastic, indeed!

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