ANDYVISION - watch me try to be creative. live.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Like most things that are amazing, this comes to me by way of my boy Krichmar.

Snoop is perhaps one of the most brilliant artists/marketing geniuses of our time. And here's another reason why:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A one-off, for your pleasure

Pardon the expression, but this one just popped into my head today while I was working on a totally unrelated product.

Elementary? Clearly. But still, I find it oddly amusing.

Also, amazing copywriting and art direction skills, huh?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Advertising, It Works on Advertisers Too

There is a widely misunderstood perception of advertising among those who are not intimately familiar with the industry. It's the idea that all advertisers are evil capitalist pigs who are bent on hawking their worthless wares to the unsuspecting masses that they manipulate through immoral and treacherous tactics. On top of that, they don't even care a bit about the inferior products they're selling, just as long as the register keeps ringing.

While the first part of that statement is certainly loaded—and a topic for another discussion—I wanted to take a moment to address the idea that advertisers actively sell items that they themselves believe to be crap. Although, I'm merely a lowly ad student, I can tell you that the majority of advertisers—and certainly the good ones—really do care about their clients quite genuinely. My friends already working are huge proponents of the brands they work for, just because they really do love them that much.

Even in school you can see it; the clients you work on change your behavior just because you've begun to feel a connection to them. After my work last quarter, I'm now a huge fan of Usinger's Sausage. If I were ever to need a moving service, you'd better believe the first place I'd call would be Two Men and a Truck. This quarter I knew next to nothing about Russia before starting on the tourism campaign; now I'm very intrigued to go explore that crazy country someday. I've got a National Geographic subscription coming in the mail ($10 for a year!). And, to top it all off, I've never really flossed regularly in my life before, but since working on Glide I do it every night. I feel guilty if I don't in fact.

Perhaps even more telling is when you feel completely stumped by a client you don't care about. Take tonight for example. My partner and I have been working on the Dell XPS laptop for a week now to absolutely zero avail. In fact, we've been spinning our wheels so badly that tonight we decided to scrap the whole thing and move on. Ultimately it came down to the simple fact that, being loyal Mac owners, we couldn't find any reason why someone would really want this computer over our favorite brand. We couldn't believe what we were trying to say.

Perhaps I'm a bad copywriter, perhaps it's a bad client, but I think that maybe it's not such a bad thing. If I don't genuinely believe that my product will make your life better—if I would never even consider buying it myself—who am I to tell you that you should put your hard-earned money towards it?

The stereotypical moral conundrum brought up in every college advertising ethics class is what do you do if your agency won a tobacco account, and you believe strongly against cigarettes? Do you move on and try to find a new job or shove your conscience into your stomach and ignore it for the next five years?

While that's an extreme case and one that's far different from a silly weekly class assignment, it's still a good question. I suppose it's nice to be reminded, even in school, that being honest is still an important trait to cling onto. As you learn about the clients that you really do care about, you find yourself in a place where you not only produce better work but also produce work that you can be proud of and believe in.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

7,000 Words: the last 3 days in photos

Get Tore Up

Peep this sick graffiti from Portugal. Using the environment against itself.

More on Alexandre Farto's site.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 31 (Final Edition)

Yes, it's been a month of mustache-growing mayhem, and I must say that I am quite pleased with the results. I will continue upkeep on my furry little friend but won't be updating this anymore since it's the end of the official competitor, and everyone else has shave their lip pets off in shame. I'll post results of the judging when we get it.

Other than that, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and spends it well with all your loved ones. Cheers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 30

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I love this man.

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 29

Monday, November 19, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 28

Sunday, November 18, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 27

Big hit at the Georgia game yesterday. Got called Luigi by a stranger on the sidewalk.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 26

Friday, November 16, 2007

Fea(s)ts of Imagination

I love to be shocked by the extraordinary possibilities of human imagination and invention. Here are two examples that struck me tonight:

The Sea Organ (Morske Orgulje)

Found on the shoreline of the Adriatic Sea in Zadar, Croatia, this is the world's first organ played by the wind. Measuring in at 70 meters and containing seven sets of five pipes, each tuned to their own diatonic chord, this giant natural instrument plays music affected by the wind and tides. Openings draw air in which travels through underground tubes of varying length and is then pushed out apertures nearby. As waves fills up the tubes in random ways, their length changes thus changing the pitch as well. Essentially, the music that you hear is a combinations of several elements in the environment working together to produce a variant, transient piece of music. The organ was built in 2005 by Nikolai Basic and has garnered the chap the European Prize for Urban Public Space. And rightfully so. Check out some of the organ's melodies here.

Codex Seraphinianus
A mysterious package arrived on the doorstep of an Italian publishing house in 1978. Inside was the manuscript of one of the most bizarre books ever created. It contained over 350 pages of inexplicably odd, beautifully drawn illustrations accompanied with text written in an unknown language and alphabet. The code of the alphabet has yet to be cracked, but apparently the system of page number was finally found to be based off of base 21.

The book covers topics from nature (strange creatures and plants, human anatomy, physics and chemistry, etc.) to human constructs (clothing, food, architecture, etc.), but it a surreal, indecipherable way. Truly odd.

The Codex turned out to the work of Italian artist Luigi Serafini which he produced over the course of 30 months. It's all very reminiscent of the Voynich manuscript. But on acid.

Brilliant analysis of our universe? Silly, elaborate joke? Key to understanding the universe? Ron Moore, eat your heart out.

Amazing stuff. Now go make your own.

(More great stuff at this site: Dark Roasted Blend.)

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 25

Thursday, November 15, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 24

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 22

Monday, November 12, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 21

At the week-three point progress seems to have petered out. . . .

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cover up.

The wide-spread availability of image-editing and layout software has made design an easier and more democratic process. Of course, that doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of shmucks out there that think they can design while still possessing the skill-set of a common earthworm.

Fortunately, those same people also existed before Photoshop was around and were making some sick album covers in the '60s through '80s that we can still enjoy today.

Discover more love here.

Fewer Moving Parts (Fewer Broken Pieces)

I saw a genius last night. His name is David Bazan, a songwriter from the fertile musical fields of Seattle, Washington. Although it was the first time that I've seen him perform, I've been following his work over the years from his ever-changing lineup of Pedro the Lion to his "electronic" side project Headphones and now on to his solo career.

One of the most beautiful things about Bazan's music is that he just doesn't give a shit. I say that meaning that his work evolves in whatever way seems right at the time. Songs that were once a full-band arrangement find a new intimacy as acoustic live. Quiet acoustic songs are transformed into gloriously overdriven beasts when fed through an amp. Keys suddenly find their voice as strings. It all moves seamlessly, which makes sense seeing as he has actually played nearly all instruments on most of his releases over the years. Nothing is sacred to him. Just as an another example, Pedro the Lions's roster has included at least twenty different musicians over the years. Really, whatever he finds on-hand is all that's needed to create music. The medium alters the message. David himself has lent a hand on numerous albums and tours over the years, notably linked with many of Seattle buddies such as TW Walsh, Starflyer 59, Damien Jurado, and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. (All brilliant acts in their own right.)

However, changing your backing band is nothing earth-shattering. (Look at Axl Rose.) What is so breathtaking about Bazan lies his unorthodox tackling of topics that no other songwriter has ever dealt with so deeply and extensively in their oeuvres: God, sex, hypocrisy, drugs, alcoholism, adultery, religion, politics, anger, depression, hope, redemption. It all seems like an unlikely consortium of subjects, yet in Bazan they meld into one overarching study of the human condition. Were one to quickly glance over his lyrics or behavior they would arrive at the conclusion that he a confused, living contradiction. He effortlessly crossing the line between the sacred and the profane, using the phrases "the Lord" and "shut the fuck up" in adjacent lines, comparing the sexual gratification of a man engaging in adultery to the bliss of an intimate union with God. He sings beautiful renditions of songs like "Amazing Grace" while being drunk off his ass.

It's certainly not a very comfortable place to be, yet Bazan seems unable to find himself anywhere else. The truth is, he has not come to grips with his own spirituality yet. We find him thanking God for his grace in one song only to curse him in another saying "God's not listening" and "what a cruel God we've got." His relationship with the Almighty is like that of an abusive father; he longs to be connected and, at times, feels his love but ultimately finds that He provides nothing but pain and confusion in his life. To listen to his records or see him perform is to actually experience a man working out his own spirituality in front of you. It's a window into a part of humanity that we rarely see so openly. Of course, it's not all the Lord's fault. Bazan unashamedly admits to his own short-comings and missteps. He is a human being who can't seem to overcome his own iniquities. But is it ultimately his fault for being an imperfect sinner or God's for allowing sin to enter the world in the first place?

Listening to his songs you quickly realize that no one is safe from his biting criticism—drug abusers, adulterers, bad parents, politicians, God, the church, priests, music critics, his friends and, most of all, himself. He might seem like a mindless street-corner preacher if he didn't turn his harsh eye onto his own self and his faith. Trying to beat the sin in his life he seems to immerse himself in it in order to understand and hopefully overcome it. Hopefully.

This sort of behavior raises the sorts of questions with no easy answers. It is what marginalizes Bazan while also making him hypnotically accessible. Thus, he falls into a terribly small niche market. His work is far too spiritual for the secular world yet far too blasphemous for the religious. Shunned by both, he often finds himself alone, a result that's his own damn fault.

Even if you're not a particularly "spiritual" person, there is something spellbinding about Bazan's work. Perhaps its the rawness of it all. He's transparent. He seems to be a man working through his own personal and spiritual problems and misunderstandings as his stands on stage, naked and unguarded. He's the contemporary counterpart of the Old Testament prophets. Bearded, brooding, inherently and tragically flawed, he proclaims what he sees in the world around him and in the darkness of his own heart. Even at concerts during opening acts, he sits in the back of the room by himself, beer in hand, peering out at the crowd, taking it all in in some sort of tortured solitude.

While being a tormented recluse off-stage, once he picks up his guitar, he suddenly finds an expressive and accessible voice. Watching him perform is like watching a man teetering on the edge of building: All of his insecurities and frustrations lay exposed in the open air, and his voice booms desperate and unrestrained through the speakers. It feels like an extension of his grand opus of contradiction—harsh yet fragile, raw yet warm, slurred yet accentuated. The guitar work is jagged and exposed while still somehow remaining tender. Even as he sings, his face contorts in genuine emotion as well as in oddly uncontrollable ticks of his eyes and mouth.

Seeing one of his solo show gives one a new intimacy with his work. If you know his album work you quickly begin to discover new things in his lyrics that you may never have noticed. Unlike seeing a great band live that puts on an exciting show, David's earnestness wraps you up in every word as he articulates it. Through his intonation you notice a subtle irony in a line of lyrics that you'd never heard before. Maybe it's an unexpected juxtaposition that seemed commonplace until that very moment. Last night I found myself nearly laughing out loud at several points—as much from the sheer joy of discovery as from the brilliant phrases that were escaping from his lips just ten feet away.

But if you think that David is all torment and pain, you're wrong. He's not a humorless, brooding prophet of doom. Ultimately one can find a hope and redemption buried deep in his music. It may take some wading through pain, wrong turns and even death, but in the end, despite it all, we find that there might be hope for each of us yet. It's a microcosm of life. Sometimes we just have to cling to hope or have a good laugh to keep our heads from rolling off. Even during the show, he had the audience laughing as he asked if anyone had any questions between songs. Yet even he when he cracks a joke his humor is dark and beautiful.

Really, I think that the reason why I personally feel so connected to his work is because it's a remarkably close dissection of my own life—a confusing stew of the sacred and the profane, that neither I nor Bazan really understand. Last night as I watched him, mouth agape and eyes twitching painfully on stage, I wondered to myself, If David one day found himself standing in front of God, what would God say to him? What would he say back? Then, what about me?

In the end, perhaps the best example of who David Bazan is can be demonstrated by how he ended last night's show. "I'm smashed, man," he mumbled to himself before launching into a beautifully raw rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."

[If any of this has interested you, check out this great high-quality .zip file of last Sunday's solo show at Asheville's Grey Eagle. It's a lot of new stuff that'll be on his new album out in June/July. For a more full-band sense of his stuff, give a listen to Pedro the Lion's first album It's Hard to Find a Friend for more personal writing or the final Achilles Heel for a poppier, narrative style.]

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 20

Saturday, November 10, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 19

Friday, November 9, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 18

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Rock 'n Roll Advertising

Last night I had the pleasure of hearing one of the advertising industry's top creatives speak here in Atlanta, none other than the illustrious Alex Bogusky of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. (For those of you who may not know, CP+B is responsible for some of the most ground-breaking campaigns run in the last 10 years—Burger King, Mini Cooper, Volkswagen, truth, Sprite, Coke Zero, and more.) Somewhat appropriately, the event was held at the Variety Playhouse, a local music venue. The whole thing had a bit of an air about it that we were all about to see an advertising rockstar.

The great part of the evening was hearing about the atmosphere at CP+B and how they've achieved what they have. It was particularly interesting to hear this all from the man himself since the agency has taken quite a beating rep-wise over the last few years.

While being both an engaging and somewhat elusive speaker, Alex had a few gems that were really worth the price of admission (which was a lot, trust me). I didn't find anything he said particularly earth-shattering, but it really gave insight into how CP+B has produced some of the most talked about work over the last decade.

He mentioned that instead of planners, the agency has begun to hire more anthropologists and sociologists. Rather than track trends and listen to consumers, these advisers provide much more deep-cutting information. For example, he said that he could sit and listen to a sociologist speak for two hours on the meaning of fire or of meat in our society (helpful on a burger joint account). These are truths that are deep-rooted in our psyche and will never change (or only change over centuries or millennia). They tap into a similarities that we all share. I think that this speaks to the idea of "human truths" that we all strive for in our work, but on a far more intrinsic level of our human nature.

In a similar vein, he mentioned that they don't try to adjust their products to culture; they adjust culture to their products. It's true. If you look at nearly any CP+B campaign, they've gone blatantly against societal norms and forged their own ground. Rather than chasing after trends, they create them. Besides, by the time you become aware of a trend and try to insert it into your work, you're already too late. The point of pop culture is to be constantly changing, he said, and they've become an active member in it. Think of some of the phenomenons they've given birth to: the Burger King King, BK video games for X Box, VW's "unpimp ze auto," etc.

This has lead their work to be some of the most talked about, inside the industry and out, which is perfect because part of their agency philosophy: ". . . to create the most talked about, written about work in the world." Think about it. Even the Orville Redenbacher campaign that got panned across the board got a lot of press. In that case, it got people talking and thinking about the brand—something that had never happened before.

Personally, I hated the BK stuff for a good year or two when it first came out. But you know what? Before that I had completely stopped eating there. Yet, after the campaign started, it became basically the only fast food that I would stop at. It was compelling, and it was in my brain, even if I despised it at the time.

So how do you get into the press with your work? Alex revealed that at CP+B they've recently started writing up description of their Big Ideas as press releases rather than simple paragraphs. It's brilliant really. What do you want to hear being said about your work? Start with that and then work backwards from there.

The big lesson was think about your process. Examine every step and see how you can put yourself ahead. Don't do what's been done or even what others have just started about doing. Make your own culture and let people be drawn to you.

Listening to him speak was really a treat and one that should fire up any creative. He pushed the audience to be yourself and be different. That's the ideal that CP+B was founded on. To be great, we all have to find what truths are buried in ourselves and then act on them.

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 17

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Few Good Creative Men

Take the power back.

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 17

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'Stache Shoot-Out '07: Day 16

Monday, November 5, 2007

Extraordinary Mediocrity

As I was watching Mythbusters (love it) tonight I experienced the most jaw-droppingly mediocre ad that I have ever seen. Thanks to the miracle known as TiVO I was able to transcribe this stunning example of milquetoastocity brought to us by the lovely people at RE/MAX.

Voice-over: You can feel it.
Music: Flyin’ hiiii-iiigh!
Voice-over: Something special happens when the world’s most uncommon people come together with a common vision: to be the best in the world. RE/MAX agents are united with the passion that creates enduring excellence—a team of red, white and blue, merging your dreams with their devotion to reach higher.
Music: Flyin’ hiiii-iiiigh!
Voice-over: RE/MAX. Outstanding agents. Outstanding results.

I literally began to laugh out loud as soon as it had ended. It's truly unbelievable to me that anyone could ever write such miserable drivel and then go all the way to get it produced and then spend thousands of dollars to put it on the air.

There are so many clich├ęs in there that I really don't think anything more needs to be said. The only thing that will make this better is what is going on the screen while all this literary injustice is being perpetrated.

Young, attractive people in red, white and blue skydiving jumpsuits walk down a runway. Man and woman give each other a handshake/high-five. A line of three red, white and blue Cessna planes barrel forwards as they takeoff over camera. Young, attractive people join hands in the inside of a plane to give pump-up cheer before jumping. Asian guy jumps out first, followed by exterior shot of the rest of the team pouring out of the planes. The sky is filled with skydiving RE/MAX agents. They begin to move together in unison. They begin to link hands, creating a formation. One African-American woman spins around and friendly waves to the camera with both hands reassuring the audience to join the group. Reverse shot shows what she see, the last of the agents flying towards her, yelling in ecstasy. They link up. She gives him a double thumbs-up. Wide shot from above the formation: The agents have formed a giant RE/MAX hot-air balloon with their bodies. Wide shot from below the formation. The agents begin to break away. The African-American woman waves goodbye to her friend. Her friend looks into the camera, again his face twisted in euphoria, as he releases his parachute and shoots up and out of the frame. Shot looking up from the ground as all the agents finally begin to land, their parachutes proudly displaying the RE/MAX logo. One final high-five as one agent touches down. Final shot as two agents walk towards the sun, parachutes in hand. The taller one on the left wraps his arm around the other's shoulder. A computer-generated RE/MAX hot-air balloon floats happily in the background.


Make the bleeding between my ears stop.