The Beauty of the Tool Itself

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonThis is Monet’s palette. These layers of time-worn colors represent the remnants of what led to canvases such as these…

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingIt’s curious how, simply as a tool, Monet’s palette carries the heft of true art. How the dint of wear and experience even shapes the way we perceive objects associated with the creation of work. Art is funny that way.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

The Internet Will Save Humanity. Well, Maybe Later, Right Now There’s This:

The latest Tumblr madness to make my day richer and more rewarding without bothering to balance that with any redeeming usefulness is this site: phones replaced with sandwiches.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

Guess what they do there. Oh, you’re ahead of me already? Whoa, you must be one of those internet wizards. Good on you.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Here Is Your Awesome Starter Kit

So back in the day, I worked with the ridiculously talented Troy Hayes, the principal architect of pop culture icon Spuds MacKenzie and now the brains behind Engine29. Of all the many talented art directors I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside, none have matched Troy’s ability to simplify a story down to its essence. That, along with a knack for simple line drawing made watching Troy convert scripts into storyboards a pure joy.

Anyway, Troy read about the text my daughter Grace sent me to take the sting out of losing a review and converted it into these t-shirts on Zazzle.

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonWithout a doubt, this was the best thirty six dollars I’ve ever spent with my daughter. Thanks a ton Troy. God love you man.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

How About We All Agree Kevin Durant Is Awesome And Call It At That

Two days ago, after a tornado leveled Moore, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Thunder Forward Kevin Durant donated one million dollars to the Red Cross to help relief efforts.

Yes, he’s an NBA star, yes he has boatloads of endorsements but still, he was moved enough to give away one million of his own dollars to try and help his community. And sure enough, his donation inspired matching donations from the Thunder organization, the NBA and the player’s union too.Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

But these days, that’s not good enough. At least two articles I read about his gift broke down what it actually meant to someone who enjoys the astronomical salary and endorsement money Durant does compared to more modest incomes. Because these days, we have to measure the charity, we have to insure it isn’t just another publicity stunt, a bit of grandstanding for the public from a headline grabbing egomaniac hungry for PR.

It wasn’t. He isn’t. No, that’s what we have the Kardashians for.  God save us.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

I’ve Seen The Future And It Requires An Instruction Manual

If you have three minutes, watch this video from an advanced sciences group at MIT.

They demonstrate how augmented reality, combined with a flexible graphical user interface (basically a touchscreen tablet), can create new opportunities for controlling devices. It’s remarkable technology and truly an amazing scientific achievement.

It isn’t, however, remarkable design. True, it adds all sorts of arcane usability extensions, but it also adds overwhelming complexity in the process. Which means it complicates the object’s primary use, rendering it worthless to all but the most deeply engaged, niche audiences. The shortest distance between object and function is elegant design.

It makes total sense for scientists to pursue these avenues, searching for ways to improve human lives. But it’s amazing how often marketers get themselves in trouble by confusing possibility and relevance. In a time-starved world, people don’t have time for complication. Because no one likes reading operating instructions.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Well, It Looks Like I Can Keep My Jeep

You may have noticed it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Things just kind of got away from me and despite a bounty of great topics ($1.1 billion for Tumblr? Really Yahoo!?), I got sidetracked by other things the biggest of which was our agency’s pitch for the Porsche business. The potential prestige of a win like that kept us working nights and weekends, filled with hopes and dreams.

Late yesterday afternoon, we learned we didn’t win. Sure, it happens more often than not in this business but still, you can’t ratchet down your dreams until you get the final call from the client. Which we did.

I posted this to Facebook within about half an hour of hearing the news. By then, Ad Age had broken the story so confidentiality was a non-issue.

Dennis Ryan, Olson, Advertising

Well Ad Age tweeted that Olson didn’t win Porsche. And I won’t lie; that’s more than a bit heartbreaking. But here in the ORD Delta Sky Club, CNN is reporting that there’s a school in OK that a hurricane obliterated. And unlike some other parents, I’m lucky to go home to my girls. And my 13 yo texted me this: “I’m so sorry! What a bummer! Don’t worry though, u are the best advertising company! And they are too wimpy to take on your awesomeness.”  It’s a pretty good day after all. 

Its not the most original sentiment, but it seemed to strike a chord, particularly Grace’s encouraging words. It was Liked nearly 200 times, which beats my average Facebook post by a factor of, well, around 200x. And the comments were uniformly encouraging and empathetic.

Basically, we’re not all that different. All of us really want to win and do interesting things and it bums us out when we don’t. But at those times, its worth bearing in mind that your client or friend or organization just might be “–too wimpy to take on your awesomeness.”

Here’s to your awesomeness.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson