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.





“The Red Badge of Courage” and Camp Gyno

You ever feel like a boss because you get your period? Me either. However, I think that most women will appreciate this new ad that revolves around a young girl becoming the “queen bee” at camp just because she got her menses.

Hello Flo (a tampon delivery service) brilliantly highlights that sentiment in their new ad: Camp Gyno. I don’t think there’s every been a piece of feminine hygiene advertising that’s ever instilled me with a sense of a pride that I’m part of the gender that menstruates. I almost want to brag about it after watching the spot.


The word “vadge” actually comes out of this girl’s mouth. It’s pretty bad ass.

Advertising around this subject usually isn’t so brazen. There have been a few Kotex commercials within the last year or so that dispel the myth that females want to walk along the beach in long dresses taking in the day when that “time of the month” rolls around. It’s not something that needs to be hidden, and women can feel like it’s an event that they just have to deal with when the time comes along.

All that being said, I’m glad I’m starting to see advertising like the Camp Gyno spot. It’s a sign that times are changing. My mom told me that when her and my dad started living together, she’d get really embarrassed when a “feminine” commercial came out. This isn’t something I’d ever be embarrassed by. Different times. On the other hand (and this is minor), I’m curious how many young girls actually start out on tampons. I’m sure some do, but I doubt it’s such a high percentage that I’d use a service for my daughter.

Technique should = solution, not just interesting application.

In elementary school, I had a ruler printed with lenticular and dinosaur images. When you moved it, it gave the illusion that the dinosaur was moving. I thought that was pretty cool.

But that’s where the opinion on lenticular stops now: Pretty cool. I don’t think I’ve ever found a particularly useful application of this method, but it added an interesting element to printed pieces. That’s not to say that lenticular prints have under or overused. It just means that I as an individual hadn’t found a use for them other than to make something “more interesting”.

So then I saw this use of lenticular for fundación anar, (which is “The Foundation of Helping Children and Adolescents at Risk”, an organization based in Spain) on Brand Flakes for Breakfast,  I thought the technique was finally being applied in a useful and beneficial matter. Kinda like code.

Upon further investigation, it seems like this print technique has been used before to promote child welfare/safety in this “Children see things differently” outdoor campaign from the Netherlands.

Snoep means "candy" in case you're wondering.

Snoep means “candy” in Dutch. Dishwashing tablets don’t taste like candy though.
Creative done by Amsterdam ad agency Lemz.

This highlights an interesting tactic that can prove to be helpful in communication/advertising decisions. All too often I feel that certain techniques (print, interactive, social, etc) are used just for the sake of using them. Though I started this post with my opinion of the dinosaur moving on the ruler with “pretty cool, but nothing else”, that lenticular use is somewhat strategic because it’s a product tailored to kids. Kids like “pretty cool” things, and will ask their parents to buy those products for them. Making it toy or child tailored product “most interesting” may not fall into the category of “useful application”, but it is not without it’s marketing reasoning.

It seems like the best use of certain techniques and tactics occurs when the application is to the actual benefit of the user and solves a problem, like what Fundation did.

And you know what, I’m all of sudden wondering if lenticular is best used for children all around. Hmmm.

Touchscreens are so yesterday with gesture technology.

A colleague shared that they would be buying a LeapMotion controller while I saw a video demonstration of the product. This technology plugs into your computer via USB, and allows the user to control the content with only their hands (without the use of a keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen). It’s all the innovation of a touchscreen without having to actually touch the screen.

Never touch a screen again.

Never touch a screen again.

I’m sure there are plenty of problems this technology can solve. One advantage I see with this technology would be to fix what I feel may be a slight security flaw in the Windows 8 password entry feature. With Windows 8, users can draw their passwords on screen (we’ve all seen the commercials of the person drawing the circle around the daughter’s ponytail). When I saw this feature being displayed, I thought about the fact that with touchscreens, you can see the fingerprints/smudges left from use. Would it not be easy enough (for stolen devices that is) to detect smudge patterns to figure out a password? I doubt many people wipe their phone clean often.

The technology is newish (it’s on backorder now, and you place an order at LeapMotion’s website), but I’m looking forward to agencies trying to push their clients into the new frontier of “touchless” with consumers.

You can see the video demonstration can be found at LeapMotion’s website.

Does everyone else have a Super Bowl advertiser they’re looking forward to?

I know I do.

Last year, Audi’s “Escaping the confines of modern luxury” Super Bowl spot was (and still is) my favorite Super bowl commercial. Not because it was clever, but because it genuinely changed my viewpoint on Mercedes.  More importantly, it got me to feel that luxury in youth (and in the future) could be more aligned with Audi than it could with Mercedes. To be fair, I’m already partial to Volkwagan vehicles to begin with (Volkswagan as a whole has historically executed their advertising quite well), but I had never really given a thought to Audi.

Escaping the confines of old luxury. Audi A8 Commercial from 2012 Superbowl.

Escaping the confines of old luxury indeed. Audi A8 Commercial from 2012 Superbowl.

Now, the ad didn’t want me to go out and buy an Audi immediately (nor could I, considering I’m probably not the target market for Audi), but it sparked within me a desire to try and strive to one day drive in non-antiquated notions of luxury.

For that reason, I’m really looking forward to what Audi will bring us this year in Super Bowl advertising. Ad Age has a list of advertisers scheduled for the game, with details seemingly updated regularly.

Go Audi.