Should I quit this ad agency?

The last decade of my life has been primarily dedicated to ensuring I’d have a fulfilling life and future in advertising. College. Networking events. Industry associations. Various ad agency tenures.

And now, after a couple months at my current agency, I find myself wondering if I should just dedicate all of my energy into monetizing staying home, playing with my dog, listening to Kanye and watching People’s Court. There are a few reasons why I’m feeling jaded.

The creative and ideas I’ve had to review seem subpar at best. In my opinion. It feels like the mind blowing creative and initiatives and ideas  happen at agencies I’m not a part of.

Automotive advertising as a whole
If you’re working advertising in Detroit, there’s a fair chance you’re working on automotive. But I find myself in a weird position of thinking that car advertising is all the same, with some minor differences. There are great campaigns and ideas (“imported from Detroit”) associated with cars. But to be honest, the only campaign that I thought was innovative in automotive advertising in the last decade is”Escape the confines of old Luxury” for Audi. And that’s only because the concept helped the viewer perceive Audi as new luxury. For many car ads, I feel like any brand or nameplate can be dropped in, and no one would be any the wiser. Unless I see the grill of a car, the headline or image paired with it doesn’t do diddly.

I’ve had the privilege of working at various agencies with various strengths and issues. No agency is perfect, but this is the first time I’ve felt that I’ve made a genuine mistake. Things are chaotic, and efforts I advocate to change the order of things is met with resistance or rebuttal. It’s frustrating. I’m the only one scrutinizing and paying attention, and others are just speaking out the side of their necks.

Office Space
This is the first agency I’ve worked at that feels more like an office farm than a place where great ideas are born. We may as well be telemarketers. Where’s the booze? Where’s the twitter wall? Where are the booths that were installed when the building used to be a bar? Where’s the alcohol? I’ll tell you where: somewhere else.

What’s keeping me here
The salary and the client’s business. Not the work. Not the environment. And sure as hell not the people.

Should I quit?
Not sure. But I’m not sure I should stay either. The only thing I’m sure of is that nowadays I want a drink when I come home after work while I wonder if the next 35 years of my life will be spent wrangling ego driven creative teams, incompetent account people, and managing marketing budgets that could be better spent trying to find a cure for cancer or eradicating world hunger.





DMAD AIMS 2015 recap

Last Thursday, I went to the Direct Marketing Association (Detroit) Advanced Integrated Marketing Symposium. Taking place at The Athenium (fancy) it was first one I attended, it was pretty good stuff that I think all folks in account management (especially working in branding) can benefit from.

Let’s do a recap:

1) Jenny Holaday – SVP Operations, MotorCity Casino (@Tall_Jenny)
Topic “Work Hacks for Marketers”: Jenny took us through around 25 things that she had learned in her career that has helped her with marketing programs, and also a better employer.

Best takeaways
•“Five is forever”. You cannot overcome someone’s childhood. In interactions with colleagues, peers, staff, it’s best to keep this in mind. This I mostly interpret as having genuine empathy (not sympathy or apathy) in all interactions.
•“Be the boss you want to have” – Self explanatory.
•“Marketing is best defined as profitably influencing behavior” – I’m sure we all encounter family, friends, others who try to tell us that marketing/advertising is easy, that they don’t respond to marketing/advertising, that marketing/advertising is just jingles and Apple and other poppycock we know to be false. One good statement to combat all that nonsense is to understand that marketing in it’s purest form is “profitably influencing behavior”.

Don't allow anyone to delegate up to you.

Don’t allow anyone to delegate up to you.

•“Completed staff work” – As we all move up, it’s best to inact the notion of “completed staff work”. Meaning, anyone you delegate projects/problems to, should be able to figure it out and hand it to you, needing nothing more than a signature. As we move up, we shouldn’t be in the weeds, but train effectively any staff we do acquire.
2) Dennis Maloney – VP Multimedia Marketing, Domino’s (@damaloney)
Topic “Tech to Table: How Domino’s is becoming an e-commerce company which sells Pizza”: Dennis went into detail about how the company launched their customer based marketing. One campaign included customers sending photos/tweets in Timesquare, leading franchisees to step up and ensure that nothing bad was said about their stores.

Best takeaways
•“Google, Amazon, and Ebay may be our biggest competitors ” – Instead of worrying about Papa Johns and Papa Romanos, Domino’s is already concerned about how Google, Amazon, and Ebay may encroach on pizza in the next few years. Tech companies that are engrained in all of our lives could very well try to figure out how to incorporate QSR into their extensive trusted worldwide reach.
3) Jason Morga – VP Americas Marketing, Kelly Services Inc. (@JasonSMorga)
Topic “Elevating a Legacy Brand” – Jason has been trying to help change the “Kelly Girl” image that the staffing company has.

Before my time, but I have never heard the term Kelly Girl.

Before my time, but I have never heard the term Kelly Girl.

Best takeaways
• Kelly may be known for temp staffing, but that’s not their bread/butter – They are one of the top sources of securing employment for highly skilled professionals in IT, engineering, and science. They’re trying to get away from the temp/admin staffing image.
•“Most jobs aren’t posted on job boards” – We know that already. However, Kelly has exclusive deals with some companies to get dibs on those unposted jobs. Something to keep in mind…
4) Tricia Hecker – Global Head of Marketing, Mopar and After Sales Care at Fiat Chrysler Group
(Topic: ”Using Purpose to Drive Marketing Strategy”) – Tricia explained how MOPAR changed it’s image after the FIAT merger/takeover.

Best takeaways
•”The marketing funnel we all know, doesn’t apply to millenials” – Young people nowadays are all over the place in the brand experience.
•”You can’t get loyalty without emotion” – Pure product sells may work for some industries, but if you want someone to stay loyal to you, you need to appeal to emotions.
AIMS 2015 had some pretty great stuff as far as development in career, and some good insights about the very near future threats that exist for brands today.

Looking forward to next year.


Happy April, Detroit.

Colleague sent this to me on the drive down Jefferson into Detroit today. It’s four days before Tiger’s Opening Day, and I’m not so sure the weather is going to be agreeable.

Crummy weather photographs well.

Crummy weather photographs well.


Can Facebook’s Topic Data help make more bust-conscious shirts available?

I hope so, because shirt gape is a problem and the struggle is real.

No matter how expensive or powerful the bra, if I were a size appropriate button-up shirt, it’s not going to fasten it too much further above my navel. Not without incident anyway. Thus, camisoles get called into action if I need to wear an Oxford.

Luckily, I work in an environment where I don’t need to business attire all the time, but this is actually an issue when the occasion does arise. It’s shirt gape, and I’m not the only person who deals with it (though I only recently discovered I wasn’t alone).



Too many button-up shirts gape or bunch. I’d love to buy tops that fit perfectly without any additional assembly needed, as I don’t buy clothes just to sew/staple them later. Why can’t this issue be solved without accessories, DIY options or specially made Shirts that are a little too expensive for being a shirt?

Maybe it finally can.

Companies discover consumer concerns and general experiences through market research (focus groups, interviews, surveys, etc).  With the introduction of social media, companies are able to peek into the problems and experiences people have and why by looking at conversations taking place on twitter, instagram, and even the blogosphere. Social media has helped companies gain access into genuine organic conversations from real people the world over about their daily lives and everything they encounter. Using this information, brands ideally improve related issues with products/services, or understand how to better tailor their communication efforts.

Enter Facebook Topic Data. Introduced this week in the US and UK, it aims to provide companies even more insight into what possible brand/product/service experiences people are having by letting them see what people are saying on Facebook about their brand or possible brand related experiences.

Will The Gap see our pain and make a shirt that doesn't have "the gap"?

Will The Gap see how widespread “shirt gape” is and make more tops that don’t have “the gap”?


The biggest concern with this, of course, is privacy. Do you really want your musings on facebook (shared only with friends) made public to a company who just wants to better sell to you?

To that concern, Facebook is making any information shared with companies anonymous, so brands won’t be able to determine who exactly has said what. However, Josh Constine from TechCrunch shares:

Still, the idea that their private status messages to friends will fuel better ad targeting may irk some Facebook users. There’s no opt-out, and the only way to keep data totally private is to either set posts to be visible to “only me” or not post at all.

Yea, I’d be irked by this as well. That being said, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that one result I’d like to see from all of this is that other women talk about the shirt gap problem on FB, and clothing companies take that as a hint that there’s enough of a market for them to provide button-up shirts that address this issue. In all stores. And not just online.

Who knows. Maybe I’ll be able to start buying Oxford shirts again. I honestly gave up altogether.