25. The post after the penultimate one. The light at the end of the tunnel.

As the sun slowly begins to rise out of my window a ray of hope splashed down on me as I begin my 25th post. What is the theme of this final post you may ask? Well it’s me of course, and my fancy new digital portfolio. As much as we talked about the varied paths of advertising in class, it never really felt concrete till I had to put it all up on cargo. If you haven’t clicked on the link yet and are still trying to figure out if I went with art director or writer, maybe this awesome photo by Marc Johns will help clear things up. Check out more of his work here.

24. Silencing the lizard brain

As I started to write the penultimate post for my advertising class, I happened to stumble on this speech from Seth Godin on quieting the lizard brain via the99percent. The video is kind of long, but to try to sum it up he basically points out that people will start sabotaging their own work the closer they get to showing it to the public. He refers to this as the lizard brain, the tiny part of our mind that encourages survival and panic, blocking us from pursuing our goals. He stresses that people need to commit to finishing from the very beginning to ensure they will bring their idea to fruition.

I feel that his perspective is crucial for people in the creative industry because producing the work is half the battle. It is always hard to predict how your work will be received, but if you don’t put it out there you will only limit yourself.

Some great advertisements that definitely took this chance and overcame the fear of production are the ones featured in TED; ads worth spreading. They cover a variety of topics (I already wrote about the Japanese ad with the wooden xylophone), but are thought provoking in their own ways. My favorite one by far has to be “The Return of Ben Ali.” I’ll bet that whoever produced it was initially terrified of a negative reaction, but they stuck to their convictions and produced something incredibly powerful.

23. The British version of the Three Little Pigs is…darker

This advertisement supporting The Guardian’s open journalism campaign has to be one of the best advertisements of 2012 so far. It’s produced by BBH, London along with a few clever print ads and hopefully more videos like the one above. From the basic idea to its execution, this ad peaks your interest in open journalism and essentially lays out all of its features without the viewer realizing it. Who can’t appreciate this awesomely twisted take on a classic fairy tale?

22. Ikea furniture or as some call it “The Swedish Rubik’s Cube”

If you didn’t know Ikea probably has some of the most recognized cheap and affordable furniture on the market. While many people have worked to hack Ikea products and improve on their design, there is a large group of people that cower in fear at the very idea of trying to assemble these 3-dimensional puzzles. So if you have ever tried to assemble a piece of Ikea furniture and said anything like “we are missing a piece”, “there are pieces left over” or any of other seven things you say assembling Ikea furniture, this is for you.

In an effort to enhance Ikea’s customer relationship, they have decided to launch a YouTube page with videos explaining how to assemble Ikea products. This is a great move for Ikea because it allows for a more personal relationship with customers and even lightens the load on Ikea if by preempting poor assembly problems. Ikea is sort of late to the game when it comes to this sort of thing (AutoZone has a whole DIY section up), but I am sure customers couldn’t be more pleased for it to be put up. While it may take some time for the videos to cover the wide array of Ikea products, this is definitely a step in the right direction. This video helps to reinforce the Ikea brand image and makes complicated assembly tasks much less daunting.

volvo ikea

Personally, I'm just hoping they try to tackle this assembly video

Photot credit: Eric Johansson


21. You can’t please everyone

Here is a letter written by Banksy, a well-known British street artist, about his opinion on advertising. Via: Adverve

While I definitely don’t agree with Banksy’s message, I feel there is definitely some validity in his concern. Advertising agencies need to hold themselves accountable to some degree with what they produce and how they reach out to people. In an age where advertisers have more options than ever to interact with their customers, there must also be limitations put on that to keep the work from being obtrusive. Currently only a small amount of people are truly opposed to advertising, but the fact that there are opponents to advertising helps indicate the need for the industry’s self-awareness.

20. What drives our creativity?

As the impending doom wrought by finals encroaches ever more quickly I start questioning how I have somehow managed to procrastinate so much of my work until these last two weeks? While I personally feel I work better under pressure, my procrastination skills definitely aren’t going to be something that ensure a long and healthy life.

In my efforts to find some inspiration for blog posts I stumbled onto a collection of videos about creativity and motivation on the99percent.com. Of course I was overjoyed to find this page because it allowed me to watch a bunch of videos and still feel like I was being productive, but I eventually stumbled onto the video below that was made from a speech given by Dan Pink.

The video talks about what really drives us to do good work. One of the most interesting parts about this video is when he cites a study done at M.I.T. about how monetary rewards only incentivized people to do better work when it was only mechanical, but once cognitive thought was involved they actually did worse. He says that for people to create good *creative* work they need to work for three reasons: Autonomy, mastery and purpose.

This kind of thinking definitely plays a big part in the advertising industry. Since such a large part of the industry is built on the creative side of things, it is important for people working in advertising to not just try to make money, but also find a sense of purpose in the work they do for their clients. If they only see what they are doing as a paycheck then they won’t produce impactful work. As I get closer and closer to entering the working world myself I will definitely work to keep this in mind.

19. Rube Goldberg Machines and advertising go together like PB&J

Some of you are probably sitting here wondering what a Rube Goldberg Machine is and what does it have to do with advertising, right? Well Rube Goldberg was an American cartoonist who would draw extremely complicated machines designed to do a simple task. These machines eventually adopted his name and while you can see some great ones on YouTube, the best by far are the ones produced by advertisers. We don’t see this done all that often in advertising, but when it does it is always a showstopper.

One of the more recent ads that come to mind when you try to envision what this would look like is Ok go’s Chevy Sonic commercial. If you look at the 16 million views it has gotten since it was put up on YouTube on the fifth, it’s safe to assume that people liked it.  OK go also did another awesome Rube Goldberg machine for State Farm a few years back which was equally impressive.

I love these kinds of advertisements because it takes a step away from all the fancy digital tricks and really forces people to think of something creative in an extremely limited space. While it would be hard to fit these into the traditional 30 second advertising slots, there is definitely something magical when an ad agency and a Rube Goldberg Machine come together. Here is one from Japan that is less complicated than Ok go’s project, but still definitely has a wow factor you can’t get from digital productions.

18. W+K: making a good company great

A "Weidenism" that was put up on a wall at the W+K office in Portland. "Fail Harder"

What makes a good advertising agency into a great advertising agency? Camaraderie. There is probably no other agency that gets this better than Weiden + Kennedy. While praising W+K is second nature for most University of Oregon advertising students (They got their start up in Portland), can you really blame us? W+K just seems to do it right.

W+K has produced some pretty epic and well known campaigns throughout the year including their work with Old Spice and Nike, but what happens when that good fortune hits a rough patch? Well it has never kept them down, thanks to its cofounder Dan Weiden who has been praised for the importance he places on his employees, above and beyond traditional means. One of those rough patches reared its head just a few weeks ago when W+K lost its contract with target and had to lay off 40 employees. In a world where layoffs seem to be part of the everyday rabble, W+K proves once again that they still care about the people who have worked with them over the years.

Shortly after the layoffs you could find a link on the W+K blog that sent you over to iworkedatwk.com. If you clicked yes once you got there you would be asked to fill out a form with some contact information. While this may seem simple enough it definitely speaks to the fact that even after you leave W+K, they still value you as a person. W+K shows the kind of progressive thinking that goes way beyond what a normal company would ever do and that is what makes the work they do so worthwhile.

17. Liquid plumber corners the “sexy plumbing” market

If you haven’t ever thought of liquid plumber in that way before now then you clearly have been missing out on the brand’s new hot and steamy persona. I personally found this ad pretty amusing, but some people are saying that this and ads like it are crossing the line and putting too much sexually explicit material in ads. It is hard to decide where (if at all) the line is for what is acceptable in a commercial like that. DDB ,the company that produced it, probably got what they wanted out of the ad because it is so clearly memorable, but are they losing former customers because of their new radical commercial?  Hopefully Clorox will try and continue this campaign for the sheer amusement factor, but they have to be careful about who they may offend if they do.

16. Big ad, little message

Ok, so this ad made by Euro RSCG was pretty entertaining to say the least, but does it miss the point?

If you saw this ad on the Let Your Body Drive website you would probably know that they are trying to sell you a car, but if you just randomly stumbled across it I don’t think you would have a clue. While I do like it when ads work to engage and actually hold some entertainment value, I feel that making something amusing for the sake of being amusing is pointless. I had a few friends watch it and even they had to admit they didn’t really understand what they were looking at until it was right in front of them. It seems that more time is spent trying to hide the fact that the video is an ad rather than actually making you want to buy the product.

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