Know Anyone Looking To Start a Career In Advertising?

The difficulty of finding an advertising job serves as a good first test for an industry where rejection occurs daily. That’s why when parents of jobseekers call me, I ask them to have their child/nephew/friend’s amazingly creative daughter contact me directly. You have to really want to be in this business to build a career in it.

For young creatives, the typical path requires creating a portfolio. That used to mean assembling a book, but now it all happens online where any applicant with programming savvy can really wow non-digitally native people like myself.

Because that’s the job: creating interest in your ideas, your creativity, your own unique perspective and world view.

Yesterday, we launched our application for OLSON’s Summer O-tern program. We’re looking to hire three students interested in the creative side of marketing. In an inspired bit of thinking, our team of Matt Burgess and Bryan Michurski, led by Tom Fugleberg, created this unique application challenge…

Note, they created this piece using only a phone.

I love this idea. In the past few years, the widespread availability of broadcast-level technology has democratized production; smartphones with 1080p video literally put that production capability in all of our hands. And sharing through social media circles forms the foundation of modern connectivity and community building.

Of course, what you do with that capability is the real challenge. We plan to post the entries and offer constructive criticism about them. After all, if students take the time to create something for us, they deserve to get direct feedback on their work.

Learn more about the program by clicking here. And if you happen to know any child/nephew/friend’s amazingly creative daughter who wants to explore a career in advertising, send the link to them.

I look forward to seeing where their imaginations can take us.

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By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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The Second Hardest Thing To Do In Advertising…

Creating a unique voice is the second hardest thing to do in advertising. To make a fresh statement or express a distinctive point of view in a traditional ad sell provides a huge daily challenge for every working creative.

Because as much as that’s the task, it’s extraordinarily difficult to accomplish. Regularly generating original concepts taxes the imagination. Add that to the surplus of messages in a crowded, parity market and the challenge increases. Top that with a need to sell the new, the novel, or the unproven to clients who feel their careers ride on our labors and the challenge increases exponentially.

That’s what makes this television spot for FAGE Total Greek Yogurt so impressive. Instead of a spoon and smile, we get gleaming wet sculpture. Instead of ‘active cultures,’ we get poetry. And then there’s that marvelous, distinctive voice…

This magnificently fresh blend of live action and computer animation was brought to vivid life by Psyop. But the nearly nonsensical poem with its roll and rhythm that rises far above the vast desert of ordinary copy came straight from the writer.

“Plain was the same as it ever was the same. Plainly plain, samely same…”

This is truly remarkable work by Brian Tierney, a creative director and copywriter at Mullen Advertising of Boston. In an online interview, he credits his client with wanting to do something different to distinguish themselves–a seemingly obvious request but one that is actually rather rare; when you try something different, you can fail very publicly. And that’s scary.

Brian also cites a major influence on the copy as not Dr. Seuss but rather  “The Rowing Song” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. This is marvelous writing made vivid by the inspired vocal casting of Willem Defoe. His weary yet excited tone jars the viewer from the stupor typical ad programming creates.

Some critics say that it’s all too much for a yogurt ad: too silly, too far-fetched, too too…  Distinctive ideas have a way of drawing that kind of opinion.  But I think it’s remarkable. It’s distinctive and again, creating this kind of unique voice is the second hardest thing to do in advertising.

The hardest thing to do is sustain it. Good luck with that–here’s hoping you keep surprising and delighting us.

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By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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Is “All The News That’s Fit To Print” Fit to Buy?

Four hours ago the New York Times started charging for online content.

Has your life changed yet?

Dennis Ryan, OLSON, AdvertisingLots of people are watching this paywall project closely. Advocates believe that the rapid adoption of mobile web, along with increasing consumer willingness to make micro-payments for apps and iTunes downloads, means that a proven provider like the Times may finally have a chance at monetizing their content. If nothing else, it’s hard to keep justifying spending resources perfecting a free website.

The Dallas Morning News put up a paywall three weeks ago. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution plans to add one before June. The fundamental challenge for all initiatives like this is pricing structure. The Times cleaned up the structure they announced a few weeks back in Canada, simplifying it down to three levels: a rate with unrestricted NYTimes.com and a tablet app, one with access plus a smartphone app and a digital all-in program that amounts to about $35 month. As of now, e-readers do not have an application but that could change.

Who knows, maybe newspapers won’t prove dead after all. Maybe like television they too will just change and expand their formats. And maybe, if this proves successful, we’ll come to believe that the public marketplace really does reward quality content.

Quality content like Rebecca Black iTunes downloads…

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By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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Wanna Feel Better About Yourself? There’s a Tumblr for That…

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OLSONSpecifically, it’s called Zero Views. And it is amazing. Feel free to waste your weekend hours watching the next to unwatchable. You will walk away feeling better about yourself…aside from the fact you wasted the weekend watching astoundingly bad user generated content…

Happy Friday!

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By Dennis “Thanks for all this Nothing Perry Fair” Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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AA’s Mobile Flight Updates: Good Idea, Dodgy Execution

When it comes to complaining about air travel, I agree with Louis CK: we’re a bunch of whiners. So this post is definitely not about how much I hate American Airlines (I don’t; I’ve flown over 3 million miles with them). It is, however, about how supposedly helpful Flight Updates could be improved by actually being helpful.

Yesterday, my daughter and I flew back to Chicago on a 12:50 flight from my parent’s home in Hershey, PA.  At nine, I got a reassuring mobile alert that the flight was on time.

When we got to the airport, we learned that due to weather in Chicago (I know, I know, that’s unheard of at O’Hare…), our departure was pushed back a bit over an hour to 2pm. Simple, no problem, I get it.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OLSONOnce we were fully alerted that the flight was delayed over an hour, AA.com started sending update notices to my cell…at ten minute intervals.  Seven of them actually, all of them dated three minutes AFTER the supposedly new departure time. I couldn’t figure it out—why were they repeatedly alerting me after the fact?

Back on Central Time this morning, I took screen caps of the reminders to illustrate this story and realized it was a simple programming issue: the Updates were sent out from the Midwest to the East, thus they were an hour off and made precious little sense. I still don’t know why they launched a new one every ten minutes but at least their timing didn’t seem quite so ridiculous.

Did this episode make me irate? No. Was it a hassle? Not really. It was just a reminder that technology is only ever as good as the data—or human programmer–behind it.

#WellIntentionedFail

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By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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Let’s Brighten the Midweek with Lovely Flowers

Now that the vernal equinox is behind us, we are officially in Spring. Yes, snow will still fall, dark clouds still shroud the blue sky and we’re still a few months away from flip-flops but officially, dammit, it’s Spring.

In honor of that, here are five beautiful, soul-lifting photographs of Dutch flower fields. If these make you as happy as they made me, check out another twenty photos on this Buzzfeed link. And let’s hear it for chlorophyll, xanthophyll, carotene, and my personal favorite, anthocyanin–YEAH! Color my world baby!

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Dennis Ryan, OLSON, Advertising

 

Dennis Ryan, OLSON, Advertising

 

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By Dennis “Let’s get some color in this landscape” Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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Yes, You Can Be a Historical Figure and a Bad Ass

Case in point: Teddy Roosevelt.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OLSON

These posters are part of a series called “Historically Hardcore” by Jenny Burrows (AD) and Matt Kappler (CW) who created it as a spec campaign when they were ad students at Creative Circus.

The fact that so many of us have enjoyedt Matt and Jenny’s old classwork these past two weeks speaks to one of the web’s peculiarities: the ability to confer a certain type of immortality on ideas.

Despite being well over a year old, these posters have captured public attention through the type of key blog and twitter mentions that drive an idea viral. If you go to Jenny’s Behance page, she writes about how the phenomenon caught her by surprise.

But there’s another side to all this attention. Despite creating the precise sort of message any museum should crave–that history is cool, relevant and real–the august group at the Smithsonian, under advice of counsel no doubt, sent Jenny a warning to remove their name from her work. They have a logomark to protect–if they don’t, what’s to stop some unscrupulous upstart from naming their paperclip collection “The Smithsonian”? And so Jenny changed the layouts.

But again, the web bestows a certain immortality. So despite the best efforts of the Smithsonian’s lawyers, I was able to find the original above. And if you Google “viral Smithsonian posters,” you’ll find a URL that reads: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Smithsonian/376305/. Of course, if you follow the link, you’ll find a blank page with this message: “Sorry, no posts matched your criteria.”

But even the attorney’s have to admit that’s not entirely right. It should read “Sorry, no posts match your criteria anymore.”

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By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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Do You Recognize This Doctor With His Shirt On?

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OLSONOn Sunday, I flew into Harrisburg with my older daughter to visit my parents for a few days. Sitting in the very last row of the AA Embraer 190, I noticed two things.

First, nobody shuts the damned bathroom door when they finish. Seriously, no one? Really?

And second, Dr. Jeffry “I Swear I’m Not Photoshopped” Life has a new photo in the back of the American Way magazine.

You know Dr. Life… If you’ve been bored on any flight during the past five years, you’ve seen him. He’s that bald, bespectacled older guy who stands shirtless, his thumb hooked saucily in his jeans pocket as he shows off a jarringly youthful body builder’s chest in ads for something called Cenegenics.

In the new photo, he sports a black wrestling singlet as he puts on a sweet gun show, his arms cut and massive, his face still as unassuming as one of Santa’s cousins.

Maybe the doctor did find the fountain of youth… Maybe human growth hormone and testosterone injections can lead to super-fit aging… And maybe you can take the word of a heavily-promoted Las Vegas-based physician/entrepeneur who claims his image hasn’t been digitally altered and that his last name really is “Life.”

But that is kinda asking a lot.

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By Dennis “My Bracket Is Now Entirely Useless” Ryan, CCO, OLSON
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Far More Than You’ll Ever Need To Know About The Cry Baby/Wah Wah Guitar Pedal

You know, some things just speak to you. Guitar soul music has long been one of those things for me. Which may explain why I found this video so fascinating. It is a long and not for everybody, but if you like history or guitars or even just the Shaft soundtrack, it’s fascinating. Like, really, really fascinating.  Seriously.

 

Enjoy. And happy Friday.

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By Dennis Ryan, CCO, OLSON

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