Happy Holidays!

Happy Whatever You Celebrate!

Be back in January.


Summertime Christmas

Most agencies start working on holiday advertising campaigns in the summer. Which is confusing because it's 90 degrees and the last thing on your mind is snow and fat men in Santa suits.

But it's one of those things you have to learn to do. To remove yourself from who and where you are and put your mind in a different time and mind frame.

You may be a white dude from Canada and end up working on multicultural campaigns for an American retailer. Or in my case, be a black girl from the Caribbean and a staunch anti-smoker who ended up working on a tobacco brand in Asia. (I told myself if I could sell something I hate then I can sell anything. But it started to feel more like I was selling my soul so I had to get out. I kinda like this soul.)

You are going to have to learn to research and relate differently.

Read as much as you can.

Reach out to the actual target market. Follow up with planners to get info on who they are, what they do, what they like and how they live.

Relate to them. You're not going to be the target for 80% of the things you're going to work on. You're going to have to learn to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

Start practicing this now.

Make sure your book has a range of brands as well as a range of voices and targets. 

Do something targeting seniors, Hispanics, moms, dogs... anything you're not.

Show that you can think differently and truly sell anything.

Say It

The Secret talks about it. The Bible. The Donald.

Set your sights on something and speak it into existence.

Do you want a great portfolio? Say it then do it.
Do you want a job? Say it then do it.

I moved to NYC in May but my bags were packed since January. I didn't know how or when, but I said I was going to move to New York.

And I did.

Don't go around being a hopeless optimist -- but believe in yourself and what you can do, and just do it. (Shout outs Nike)

I came across an old email from portfolio school. I was thanking a fellow copywriter, Brian Chin, after working on a project. I don't remember if we even had an art director or not, but I remember when we first got teamed up Brian said "We're going to rock this assignment."

 And we did.

Start speaking greatness into your life and your portfolio.

Do or do not. There is no try. (Shout outs Yoda).

The Fundamental Elements of Design

 I feel like I show copywriters too much love on this blog sometimes. Not that the advice doesn't apply to you too - you need to know, as a CW or AD, what your partner needs to know. Sometimes, you need to be able to do it too.

Either way, I am always in search for tips and beautiful things to share with the art directors and designers out there.

Here's a little something for my visual-lovers out there:

The Fundamental Elements of Design from Erica Gorochow on Vimeo.

Make Your Job Search Your Job

 Great job-hunting advice from F**k My B**k 

I don’t get it. I called a headhunter. I threw my resume on Monster. 
Why isn’t my phone ringing off the hook?

What the hell is wrong with the world? Why can’t everyone see just how awesome I am? 
My book is sweet. I swear.
I’m super cool to work with. Honest.
I’m witty. I’m well-read. I’m easy on the eyes. For realz.
If people just got to know me, they’d get it. Why don’t they get it???”
I’ll tell you why they don’t ‘get it’.
They don’t get it because you haven’t treated your job search like your actual job.
If you can’t be the least bit creative with your search tactics, why in the world would anyone think you are ‘awesome’?
This is your career. And yet you treat it like a chore. You should be extremely motivated and passionate about it. You get pumped when a cool assignment lands on your desk—why aren’t you equally pumped about promoting someone as awesome as yourself?
I’ve never seen anyone complain their way into a job. Trust me, that is a bad strategy. If the system appears stacked against you, change the system. Work around it. Invent a new one.
Stop the whining and start figuring out how to make your awesomeness more apparent to more people.
I started a few networking groups on Facebook about 3 years ago. Why? Because I wasn’t happy with the job hunting process. And I saw an opportunity to use the popularity of social media to connect people in new ways. As a result, I’ve helped a bunch of people discover new opportunities and I’ve developed some great contacts along the way.
There are so many ways to connect these days. Are you taking advantage? Are you friending, liking, following and Linking In with agencies and people you admire? Are you reposting, retweeting and replying to the content they share?
You should be. And you should be thinking of other ways to share your story as well.
Lots of people have great books. Lots of people have worked at the ‘right’ agencies.
But the stench of apathy is strong.
If you don’t care enough to make it happen for yourself. Why the hell should I?

Always Be Inspired

One of Ananda Nahu's Nina Simone pieces. Both inspirations to me sitting over my desk
Today's post is a simple philosophy I've followed in most of my life - personal and professional. It keeps me happy, motivated and moving.

Surround yourself with people who inspire you. 

Have a great Monday.

Get to work.

Find a mentor

Doesn't it feel like you always want something? You want a portfolio, you want feedback on your portfolio, you want a job... Now you want a mentor. It never ends with you does it Needy McNeedalot?

Here are some tips on mentor hunting.

* Reach out to people whose work you respect and admire.

* Kiss their ass.

* Tell them about yourself (aka sell yourself)

* Build a rapport. Keep them engaged and entertained. Give them reasons to reply and reach out to you. You have to have a genuine relationship with someone to have them be your mentor. If they don't have a vested interest in you they're not going to care if you finish your book or end up working at Bath + BodyWorks or not. Make them like and care about you.

* Ask them to be your mentor. Or if you or they are scared of the m word (creatives can be such commitmentphobes) just ask them if you can reach out to them periodically for advice, guidance and feedback.

Don't be annoying.
Don't send epic or boring emails. (read these emailing tips)
Don't send too many emails in too short a time.
Don't pester them.
Don't call them unless it's absolutely necessary.
Don't always reach out when you want something - sometimes just check in on them or cheer for them if you've seen something they produced recently.

Do be respectful of their time.
Do show them you appreciate them.
Do ask them to introduce you to other people.
Do make it worth their time - take their feedback, grow, get better.
Do know your place - y'all aren't friends.

Happy mentor hunting!

The Language of Advertising

Things you should know and a few things you should not do. A great infographic about the words we use and overuse in advertising. Don't fall prey to some of these

Start small, think big.

Sadly, you can’t walk into an agency and be a creative director. You've got to work your way up and work your ass off.

Here are two small ways you can make it big in this business:
Almost all agencies have summer internships. Check on their websites or ask my bff Google. Apply to as many as you can, in any department. Once you're in, you can get a feel for what the business is really like and make connections that'll help you when you are looking for a full time job.

Even if you've already graduated, write a kick ass cover letter and show them just how thirsty and motivated you are.

Motivation always wins.

Creative assistant
Seek a freelance or full time position as an assistant to creative directors. You get a front row seat to all the action, a backstage pass to the politics and you meet every level on a team so you learn what and what not to do very quickly. Make your desire to be a creative known, look for mentors, share your work and get feedback and try to get involved in projects.

I know quite a few people who started as assistants and now have business cards that say "copywriter" on them. Most notably, Mat Zucker, now COO of OgilvyOne.

Again, motivation wins.

be creative with your card

I hate accepting/ handing out business cards. (I blame having lived in Atlanta where people used them as some sort of cool/look at me/worship me currency. I don't care where you work sir, I can care less about who you are and who you want to be. But I digress.)

As a creative, you can use your business card to brand yourself and make yourself stand out.

Here are some creative business cards from Stock Logos.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Hi, my name is Neisha and I'm a perfectionist. 

Part of my affliction leads me to want things done a certain way, in a certain time frame and to certain standards. This leads me to sometimes be bossy, unyeilding, distrustful and controlling. This makes it difficult to work with me. And this is something I had to get over in order to be a good creative and a good manager.

It's not about me. It's about us. I work with a partner and we work withing a larger creative team who works with the account team and the media team and the planning team and the pm team. We are all working together to create something and we all have to work together to accomplish it.

That's why egos ruin everything. You have to be willing to be wrong, to listen, to change and to share. Perfectionism has no place either, because you have to be able to relinquish control, to trust other people and to not micromanage.

Play your part and support, encourage and inspire others to play theirs.

The only thing I can perfect is me. So that pushes me to craft each line, to write 50 options, to keep trying and working to make something great. I want to know when an idea or copy leaves my hands I've given my art director the best product to work with so she can create something great. Then we give it to our CD so he can help us make it even greater and sell it to the account team who will sell it to the client. And we all win. Together.

I did a workshop once and used the analogy of making soup to describe how teams in an agency work to the students.

The account team brings the chicken.
The media team brings the potatoes.
The creative team brings the carrots.
The planning team bring the noodles.
The project management team brings the broth.

And we put our pieces in to make some  soup.

Each team has to bring their best for it to be good soup. But the account team can't tell the planning team how to make their noodles. And the creative team can't bring chicken. Everybody has their own responsibilities and has to bring their best to the pot.

And if they don't, you'll end up with mediocre soup. But at least you, as a creative, know that no one could say those carrots weren't delicious.

Make Holiday Cards Your Personal Campaign

Great advice this holiday season. Every thing you do, every email you send, every person you meet should work toward your ultimate goal of taking over the world. I mean, getting a job/ keeping a job. So why not start with something simple and thoughtful like a holiday card?

Make Holiday Cards Your Personal Campaign
From Professoradman

Make a holiday card and send it to the following:
  • HR personnel
  • Creative Directors
  • Account Managers
  • Recruiters
  • Anyone who gave you a business card
And when I say make it – I mean make it unforgettable.

If they never called you, give them reason to pick up a phone or send an email.

If they interviewed you and selected someone else, give them reason to reconsider.

If they interviewed you and haven't made a decision, make a move to put you on the top of the list.

Sell yourself one more time. It may be the one time that makes a difference.

Don't waste an opportunity to connect or reconnect with someone who could make it a happy new year for you.

One Show Competition: Get on it!

Check out this competition.

A contest for you to show us your own ONEderful World

Want to join Mister Bear, Ms. Giraffe, The Clouds and Professor Chicken, PhD on a magical journey to the 2012 One Show? All you have to do is create something ONEderful, a poster in the style of our 2012 campaign. The winning design will appear on screen at the 2012 ONE Show and in the social media promotion for our ONE Show Festival 2012.

The winning designer will receive:
For winners outside of the NYC area:
- economy airfare for one *
- hotel accomodations **
- one ticket to attend the 2012 One Show awards ceremony and afterparty
For winners in the NYC area:
- two All Access Passes to attend One Show Festival Week
(includes tickets to The One Show, One Show Design, One Show Interactive and the afterparties)

- Create a poster (1920w x 1080h) in the style of our Call for Entry based on the idea, “Create something ONEderful”
- Email a high res jpeg of your design to onederful@oneclub.org
- We will then post your entry to our “ONEderful Design Contest” album on Facebook
- The entry with the most “likes” by March 30, 2012 wins!
- The winner will be notified via email by April 6, 2012

- You must send in your design by March 16, 2012 to be eligible
- You may also include as many of our fluffy friends as you like, but this is not a requirement (download fluffy friends on the contest page)
- Enter as many times as you like
- You must be 18 or older to enter
- Entries must be original work created for this contest

There can only be ONE!

Complete details at http://enter.oneclub.org/contest/

See more on facebook

Three must bes

Three things you must be in order to get a job, be successful and win at life:

1. Hardworking: You have to be willing to put in 100% and then throw in an extra 3 in there for good measure. You have to stay late, come early, do more, ask for more, go a little bit past above and a little further than beyond. You have to show that you're reliable, determined and in it to win it.

The worst things you can be called in this business are "lazy" and "entitled."

2. Competent: Some people are naturally talented writers, art directors, creative thinkers. Some people learn it and get better over time. Regardless of how you got here, you need to prove that you belong here. Writers need to know how to write. Art directors need to know how to design and lay out type. You can have a million ideas but if you can't execute any of them then you're useless. Know your programs, know your craft, know your shit. No one can fake this for you. If you get to work and can't do the work, they're going to send you home.

3. A Pleasure. You can be both of the above and more but if people don't enjoy working with you ,you'll never make it. Advertising is a high school cafeteria of sorts. And if you are not likeable, sociable and easy to get along with, you're going to be alone, at home. If you're not a friendly person or you come off as disinterested/difficult or any of those things, now is a good time to look into a new career. I heard Wells Fargo is hiring.

CW & AD/GD: Infographics

I love infographics. No need for me to say more. See below.
(Click to zoom)

No Excuses

In undergrad, a friend of mine always said this whenever I started with a "But..." or "What had happened was..."

Excuses are tools of incompetence, used to build monuments of nothingness.

There is no place for excuses in your portfolio or at work. So what if you didn't have a writer? Or if you're art director was lazy? Or if the assignment changed at 2am? Or if you didn't hear the instructions correctly? Or if it's a holiday?

There is work to be done. Do your best and keep on trucking.

Careers in advertising

Let's be honest, not everybody is meant to be a creative. You may be creative, but that doesn't guarantee you a position in an agency's creative department.

Fret not. There are so many other positions for you in an ad agency. You can still be a part of the process and enjoy wearing jeans and tattoos almost every day.

Here is some quick info about other positions in a ad agency, perfect for a range of creative types.

Account Manager 
Business side. Deals with clients directly.

Account Planner 
Psychology/Cultural/Strategic side. Deals with the target market.

Media Planner/Buyer
Media side. Deals with where, when and how ads will be. What TV shows, what websites, etc.

Project Manager
All sides. Deals with creatives, account team and production to keep everything on time, in budget and running smoothly.

Social Media Strategist
Social media side. Deals with brand's online presence.

These are just a few. Go to mediabistro, Talentzoo or other job sites and check out the job descriptions for the above and more, you might find something that excites you. And, you won't have to make a portfolio!

Don't Benetton your book.

Discovered Ad Teachings recently. Well actually, she discovered me and since we're both on the same mission to educate and inspire students and juniors, I thought I'd share her link and work.

I like this post (below) in particular because I find students tend to use shock value for the sake of shocking and not for the sake of selling (I don't know if the latter is possible honestly.) Sex, drugs, racism etc are all good and fun in private, but when it comes to your portfolio, tear those pages out. Be smart, not sexy. Be sophisticated and strategic. You don't have to be a stick in the mud, but don't rely on sophomoric jokes or banana peel gags to get your point across. United Colours of Benetton's recent ads created so much of a stir that you totally missed the point, and missed what they were selling. Don't Benetton your book.

The Down Side Of Edgy Humor 
by Ad Teachings

Pretty early in an advertising career, creatives discover that there’s something to be gained by being, as we say, edgy. If we can produce an ad that makes people gasp and say, “I can’t believe they did that,” there’s a good chance we’ll be able to leapfrog into people’s awareness, and possibly into the award shows as well.

As an example, here’s a big award winner done by Fallon McElligott Rice in the 1980s:

Sorry for the tiny file. The ad shows Stevie Wonder saying, “Before I’ll ride with a drunk, I’ll drive myself.” It’s pretty tame by today’s standards, but I remember at the time palming my face in disbelief. What saved the ad was its excellent message and the fact that Stevie Wonder was obviously in on the joke.

Sometimes, though, you’ll see ads that use shock for its own sake, only pretending to have some nobler purpose in mind. The example that comes to mind is the use of Hitler in advertising – something that seems to happen every five years or so. Most recently, a German agency used Hitler as a metaphor for the scourge of AIDS. What made the agency’s intentions suspect was their decision to show Hitler in a raunchy sexual embrace with a beautiful woman. Google it if you must, but I would say that if you’re thinking of using Hitler in an ad, the best guidance I can give you is please don’t.

With our desire to be edgy, there’s often a terrible frustration when clients aren’t willing to approve the work. But please remember that the price of edginess often has to be paid long after awards season is over. A number of years ago, a Canadian commercial got yanked off the air because it made a joking reference to suicide. It was the kind of reference that would go unnoticed on The Simpsons, but because it was in an ad, the client had to field dozens of complaints from people whose loved ones had taken their own lives. In that case, the client probably regretted ever taking the risk in the first place.
And sometimes, the consequences of being shocking are such that no apology or explanation will erase them. A case in point: The staff of a law firm in New York celebrated this past Halloween by dressing up as people left homeless because of mortgage foreclosures. To make matters worse, this firm actually made its money by carrying out those foreclosures.

As a direct result of this exercise in edginess, the firm has now closed down, and 89 people are out of work. You can read the story here: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/foreclosure-firm-steven-j-baum-to-close-down/

One of the happiest days of your life in advertising will be the day you realize you actually can come up with ideas, all sorts of ideas, and not just one or two at a time. When you feel that confidence, you won’t be upset that your shocking work got rejected. You’ll just go back and do something that’s less shocking than it is, say, arresting. As the great creative director Lee Clow said, “The best revenge is a better ad.”