Monthly Archives: April 2013

Futures are confusing.

Graduation isn’t here yet. I’ve still got two semesters to fuddle around and pretend I know where I’m headed. But in light of recent curiosity, I decided to do some grad school digging, like I can afford it or something. just posted a list of VCU Brandcenter graduates, so I started there. 

VCU is a creative advertising grad program in Richmond, Virginia. The program prides itself on the crucial collision of business and creative disciplines. 

“Our students concentrate on learning the the craft of their specific track, as well as the business of branding, collaboration, and presentation skills, in a real-world setting… While our students do some spec work, many assignments are real-world projects for clients (both local and national brands) who come to the school to explain their brand, business problem and target audience. Recent examples include Bing/Microsoft, Audi, Free the Slaves, Five Guys, Martha Stewart, NBC, Oreo, The Coca-Cola Company, Goodwill, Virginia Lottery, Lexus, and Ritz-Carlton.”

ModernCopywriter posted a list of graduate work. Their work was simultaneously inspiring and intimidating. It’s nice to see other creative programs dishing out 360-thinkers that will help heighten the quality of content in years to come. It’s also a reminder that I need to step. up. my. game. if I’d like to get a job next year.

Here’s some of the work that I found particularly sweet:

Matt Meszaros- ImageImage


Daniel Chen-



Andrew Kong- 


and this… so great:Image



psychedelic: affecting the mind so as to produce vivid visions

Some of the best ad agencies don’t call themselves agencies. Take Pysop, for instance. They’re constructing incredible work in sort of under-cover fashion. Psyop250

Psyop is a commercial production company founded in 2000 with offices in New York City and Los Angeles. They specialize in the integration of animation, visual effects and live action production for advertising, entertainment and video gaming.

From the name of their positions (ie: Creative technologist, Senior Nuke compositor) to their site tabs (“projects” not “work”), Psyop has made an effort to be different. It’s working- I’d seen their spots on the superbowl and the olympics long before I knew their name.

Yet some portions of their site point to a familiar advertising goal:

“Psyop helps brands and agencies connect with consumers and solve business and marketing problems by telling compelling stories and building engaging worlds, using whatever techniques and media are appropriate. Skilled in animation, design, illustration, 3D, 2D and live action production — and seamlessly combining some or all of these — Psyop takes a unique, tailored approach to each and every project.”

They’ve done work for AT&T, Pepsi, Panasonic, and Chevy. Everything they make seems crystal clear; it’s a hub of artists who know what they’re doing.

I found myself on their site way longer than intended. You will too, go check it out.


black & blue

Yesterday I found this siiiiiick (get over it) three part video ad for a video game called Dishonored. I posted it to Facebook but it still has zero likes. A cat meme the day before scored over twenty; people are crazy.

These beautiful videos caught my attention anyway. They tell the story before the story of this video game with stark and entrancing language. Narration of a young girl is back with painterly, desaturated animation that forms and reforms like plasma.

Personally, I appreciate these videos because they rely on story to sell. I’m sure many people will buy Dishonored for its graphics, challenging levels, or improvement to first person shooting. But someone decided to leave all of that out. They decided to focus on what really sets the game apart. It’s what every player will know and agree on, no matter the skill, age, or location- plot. In three short parts, players will want to join this ominously tale without hearing or seeing one thing about games.


Ryan Carroll is a writer/CD at GSD&M and a Texas Ad Grad. He does a lot of sweet work with BMW. I came across his work on At our last critique one of the judges kept repeating himself, “is … Continue reading

Whoa, Kid

Wieden+Kennedy is the largest independent ad agency in the world. These kings of free thinking reign from a corner of America called Portland. Here’s some shots of their beautiful beaver castle:ImageImageImageImage

In the past Wieden+Kennedy was known for Nike because of their creation and unending brilliance of the tag “just do it.” Since its start in 1981 the agency has spit out creative beauty time after time. They’ve gained endless awards, most recently titled Agency of the Year by AdAge in 2010. So these days, I’m not sure what WK is known as- the everything agency?

Some of their notable clients right now are Coke, Heineken, Levi’s, Nike (still), Sony, P&G… it goes on. Everyone’s seen at least ten of their ads- they’re everywhere- but here’s a couple old one’s for Nike you might have forgot. They both won Emmy’s in 2000 and 2002, respectively.

You might also be unaware of the seven genius blogs WK has for its seven locations. Each speaks through bright colors and brighter language to express the branches different tinkering and studies. So far my favorite blog is London. It’s different from America and still readable.

Sweaty, happy, repositioned.

Today at Black Swan our trendy instructor spouted some ambiguous-wisdom. “Sometimes it’s nice to let go.” This resonated with me. I laid in a puddle of my own sweat and inhaled her statement further. In that particular moment it felt nice to let go; I wasn’t sure how my mini-muscles had bent through the last three pretzel poses, but without that struggle, laying down wouldn’t feel so great. I realize how obvious this is. It’s about as common as common sense gets. Still, her words brought light to my recent fist fight with apathy.

Something can only be named “rest” by its relation to un-rest, or action. Without the second half, resting or moving loses it’s meaning. If we only rest  it wouldn’t be called resting. You might call that depression, or laziness. If we only work hard, it’d be called obsession, or robotics. Much of working America would suggest hard work is necessary for success- but is that all it takes?

Part of competitive business, like advertising, is the survival of the fastest. But the nature of the biz can be exhausting. When does mental exhaustion begin to tarnish creative output?

Making mental rest as routine as mental effort is important. The variance of soft to hard thinking makes it all the more purposeful, unexpected, enjoyable. Our hippie instructor with knew that’s we needed to be reminded of. At least I did. What could be more appropriate than relaxation after several sweating puddles of effort.

Work hard, rest hard, good stuff will fall between. Namaste, yo.

The Wonderful World of Digital – hug more trees

I like advertising. Mostly because it makes good stuff happen, partly because it puts cats on TV. (Good) advertising can take a product’s sales from nothing to awesome in no time, but more importantly, it can sell change in the name of a product.

“We now have server farms that use more energy than some of the smaller states in the US,” says Neutrogena. In light of the issue, they paired with marketing/tech agency LBi to create The Green Server. This self-sustaining box, attached to twelve solar panels and just one wind turbine, powers the entire Neutrogena site. The agency had the opportunity to dive into modern ecological science to engineer, then promote, this inspiring first-ever. Visit the Neutrogena site (seriously, right now) to see live stats on The Green Server’s function and video showing how LBi did it. The work was nominated for a “Corporate Social Responsibility” Webby in 2012.


This is the kind of ad work I find fascinating. It started with Neutrogena’s core concept of “natural” and ended up with a scientific feat to push the sustainability of society. What’s equally exciting is that innovation in social responsibility is now a powerful sales tactic. This kind of mutualism, of capital gains and advances of sustainable-tech, is one I hope will swell in the future of digital advertising. It’s where the eyes and money are, so why not create responsibly?

must watch:

Someone woke the dragon.

I’ve been on a Game of Thrones kick for the past several months. All along I’ve had awesomely visual dreams of dragon fire, riding dragons, dragon warfare, etc. Why is this relevant? Because when I think of the mystical lanscape of advertising today, there’s one who holds the reptilian crown; David Droga’s an Australian who spits creative fire. His last name sounds like dragon.

Droga grew up on an Australian ski resort and initially wanted to travel the world as a ski instructor. Instead he attended the Australian Writers & Art Directors School and graduated in  flying colors. Immediately after, at age 22, Droga became a partner and executive creative director of OMON Sydney. In the decade to follow he tore through the world, eventually landing in New York to head his own agency, Droga5. He is the single-most awarded creative at Cannes, with over 70 Cannes Lions, including six Grand Prix and four Titanium lions.

Droga5, his newborn business, is a Manhattan-based agency founded in 2006. It’s been named Agency of the Year twice by Creativity magazine, and made Advertising Age’s Agency A-List in both 2010 and 2011. It is now the fastest-growing independent agency in the country.

The agency had a great kick start in 2007 with a campaign for UNICEF called “The Tap Project.” It was/is a simple effort to give impoverished children clean water by asking for $1 from New Yorkers who asked for the tap water we normally receive for free. Many awards, and millions in clean water later, the campaign is still running strong. Since this success, Droga5 has claimed an armada of golden clients like Coke, DietCoke, Spotify, Puma, and American Express.

Did you see their Puma ad they did called “After Hours”?

It’s poetic and beautifully shot.

Here’s the copy:

Back-spin on a warped table, under a bad light

A kiss of the eight ball, a bank off the sixth

Double bowl on a single throw, three pints in

Picking up a spare on the final frame

Singing on key, off key, losing keys

Steading hands, blurry eyes

Bars billiards basements

bacon sandwiches with extra hot sauce

Surviving buzz kills, third wheels, cock blocks

and cabs in the rain

finish lines drawn by dawn

these are the providence of the after hours athlete

when the last call calls, don’t answer

the night too is for sport

and they are the champions. 

Droga5 was also behind the Beyonce music video for World Humanitarian Day. It had a one million impression goal and gained over a billion.

Obviously Droga5 has made some incredible stuff you’ve probably seen.

But you might have not seen their interactive/social campaign for Newcastle.

The tag is “no bullocks” and was stocked with smart, refreshing copy.


Overall, Droga5 is a monster of talent and ingenuity. I’ve read a lot recently on the agency’s seemingly unstoppable success and began to question myself. Is David Droga a machine? Do australian’s just eat better fruit? Droga was a partner at age twenty-two. I’ll be twenty-two in four months and there’s a chance I could fail Spanish 1.

Then I found this interview by Contagious Magazine. It doesn’t make me feel any better about  Spanish vocabulary, but it was nice to hear real human-responses from this business dragon.

check it out:

a few of my favorite responses:

How have clients and brands chaned in recent years? 
– We see more and more companies that are building a legitimate business by caring about the state of the world “and” the commercial business side. You don’t have to choose between giving your time to good projects and being a capitalist. You can do both. You can build a good business by doing good. That is why I feel privileged to work in a creative industry where you can do both, help good causes and commerce. It also helps raise the reputation of our profession.

When and why did ad people loose their status of being the go-to-guys for creative

– When they stopped solving problems and started doing what was expected from them. When they stopped delivering ideas and started delivering process instead. When they started opening offices just because the client wanted it and not because it was the right thing to do. When people who understood advertising stopped running agencies, when it turned into a commodity.


If you were hoping this post was about dragons, here’s a neat speed-sculpting video of one. Coincidentally, he’s named Droga:


damnit, the search engine made us cry again.

I haven’t thrown up any Chrome ads yet. Over eight million people have seen this baby (it’s two years old) but I’d just like to post it anyway. I happened to be visiting home the first time I saw this. I remember turning to my mom, “see why I like advertising?”.

Google has a lot to work with, like nearly all digital video in recent history, but the choice to focus into this brief narrative was so wise.

Also, “the web is what you make of it” couldn’t be more impactful.

The Wonderful World of Digital – filling the void

Today I wrote an essay, but before that I procrastinated for two hours on the Webby Award’s site. While I’ve gawked at neat, new design and tactics of digital promotion before, I’ve never seen something like this. The site comprises the best of the best. Never have I been so inspired by digital feats already changing my world. Instead of cramming all of the greatness into one post, I’ll write as many as it takes to iterate my point: Digital is just getting started




When it comes to sports, it’s hard to imagine any detail gone unnoticed. Any lover of the American games and outdoors can tune into ESPN, the voice of all things sport, for recent headlines and stats. Unless you’re a lover of Tennis. In which case you’ll have to be patient and listen closely. Your Tennis news is coming, it’s just packed between rehashed commentary on the NFL’s latest scandal. But if that isn’t enough you can check the ESPN site. Tennis is under the “more sports” tab, stacked with Horse Racing and Poker, and backed with a lovely putrid-green.

What happened to Tennis pride? BNP Paribas was wondering the same thing. This worldwide sponsor saw a void online, and sought a place for the pride of Tennis to pulse from.


“We Are Tennis” is the platform to fill this void, created by digital agency R/GA, located in Austin, New York and LA. The work was nominated for a Webby in “Best Navigation/Structure”. Personally, I appreciate the site for its strategic origin and colorful execution. The agency did an excellent job of building a pulse-center for real Tennis lovers. A digital corner to share their profound insights and joy for the sport ignored by ESPN.

Here’s a sweet video summarizing R/GA’s work:


New York Public Library radio spot.

A quick assignment for my copywriting course. Not the best quality, but hey- that’s the forty’s for you.