ANDYVISION - watch me try to be creative. live.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

. . . but for my ebb

Due to the presentation in Seattle today, those of us left at the office didn't have much to do. So we had a bit of a half day. And it was glorious.

Things I did with my few hours of non-work:

  • drank champagne on the roof of the building
  • watched Man on Wire at a movie theater (recommended, go see it)
  • pledged $22 a month to Children International to stop sex slavery in Zambia
  • bought a drawing pad
  • studied furniture in the Design Within Reach at the bottom of our building
  • went running to the top of Portland
  • cooked couscous
  • drank some craft beers at the Deschute Brewery
  • watched Darjeeling Unlimited on OnDemand

Normally that list would've read:
  • came home
  • watched Olympics for ten minutes
  • passed out

It's amazing how sweet a few hours of freedom can be when you aren't used to it. Today felt better than a weekend.

My monthly flow

There's an inevitable ebb and flow of intensity with a job in advertising. It seems to be lately that it's been primarily a flow for us.

After our presentation to Starbucks on Thursday, Karen and I had a relatively light Friday. Great, we thought. Perhaps we'll actually have a weekend! (It'd be the first.)

Such thoughts were brought to a halt with a call around 9:00 that night. (For some reason all calls from Wieden seem to happen at 9:00. I've just realized that. That's the third time it's happened, and all for very different purposes.) Long story short, we were called in for the weekend to work on some alternative ideas and TV for different project other than the one we've been working on. It was sort of nice to step into someone else's campaign that was at least partially realized and try to figure how to enhance it.

Even more, it was another learning experience. As the campaigns weren't ours, it was interesting to watch from somewhat of an outsiders perspective and see how the main team worked through the problem and how our CD worked the idea.

The thing I'm truly stupified by is Joe's inhuman talent to generate ideas on command. Watching him work is like watching a mathematician at a chalkboard. You can see him going over it all in his head, and then suddenly he spits out a computation. Except the computation is a wonderful string of words rather than a string of numbers. He writes lines and TV spots in seconds.

That's another thing that we're trying to grow accustomed to, the sheer speed. Everything seems to happen very last minute. Or rather, the ideas and strategies are working, and the actual execution and refinement is an enormous group effort that spans creatives, CDs, account and studio all running like mad to pull it off. Then it goes through more rounds—the ECDs, the big guy—and more corrections. But it all happens in rapid succession.

This is surely nothing new to any vets, but as a green it's still very much a whirlwind of activity, decisions, deadlines and close calls. And it makes it all the more impressive to watch a brilliant creative spin some magic in an atmosphere like that.

So, bottom line: It's crazy fast, but it's crazy awesome.

And I'm not sure it's going to really ebb any time soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Feel better about yourself

Seriously. What would we do without the internet? Check out the Sexy People Blog. Sort of reminiscent of the Yearbook Yourself microsite that seems to be making the rounds. At least at the Creative Circus.

Totally unrelated but just as dismaying, I stumbled across this picture of a tea cozy the other day as I was doing some digging for a Tazo Tea project. It actually makes me feel physically sick when I look at it. This is possibly the ugliest non-living object I've ever seen. Look away.


Friday, August 22, 2008

This feels familiar . . .

It's 3:45 in the morning, I'm still at work, and I'm drinking Miller High Life out of my Starbucks Grande To Go mug.

It's been a crazy day. Our presentation to Starbucks is tomorrow morning in Seattle. (Or, rather, today now.) Having been through the rush of 24-Hours/Panel at Circus I'm pretty used to working long hours on deadlines. But as it's my first real client presentation it's definitely a new experience—CDs making split second decision, this piece of copy needed immediately, scripts being reedited on the fly, studio frantically through things together. It's actually pretty cool to be a part of. Granted, catch me on the tenth time around, and I'm sure I'll be singing a different song.

It's been both a nerve-wracking and awesome experience. Our campaigns were some of the ones that made the final cut, which feels pretty good. There was also a lot of pressure to get this thing and that thing done, and I feel like I pulled through pretty well. If anything I feel like Karen and I have become more a part of the family here.

Maybe I'll give more interesting update tomorrow. But for now I'm just going to sit and drink my beer and wait for these decks to get finished. Buenas noches, kiddos.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

. . . And the Daily Tribute to Sunny D

Just searching for stuff at the office today, we came across this classic. You'll probably want to watch it a few times to soak in all the awesomeness.

Next, check out this co-op peyote-induced drug trip of a Sunny D commercial. Seriously. How could you make this ad with a straight face? Or a sober one? How does something like that get made?

And lastly, if you've never seen this, watch it now. So awesome.

OK, back to "real" work.

The Daily !!!!!

I found this article on today:

Lawsuit says eatery to blame for 9-foot tapeworm

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A man who contends he got a 9-foot tapeworm after eating undercooked fish has sued a Chicago restaurant.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, Anthony Franz said he ordered salmon salad for lunch from Shaw's Crab House in 2006 and fell violently ill. He later passed the giant parasite, which a pathologist determined came from undercooked fish, such as salmon.

Franz's lawsuit seeks $100,000 from Shaw's and its parent company, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, contending the restaurant's staff was negligent in serving him improperly cooked fish.

But Carrol Symank, vice president of food safety for Lettuce Entertain You, said the tapeworm didn't come from Shaw's.

"We have done a thorough investigation, and we're confident the restaurant is not the source," he said.

According to the Web site, tapeworms can measure up to 50 feet long.

Two things:

Lettuce Entertain You? Simply atrocious. No business should be named based on a pun. That should be a law. That's only outdone in the lettuce-based business category by:
That's from the good ole ATL.

And two. Passing a nine-foot worm out your body?! Did anyone else catch that? Holy crap. Can you imagine how scared you'd be to be if you're taking a poop and it keeps coming out and then you look down and see a big, white, wrinky worm looking up at you from the toilet bowl? Holy crap.

OK. Carry on!

Monday, August 18, 2008


So, I went to unsubscribe myself from the YouSendIt the other day, and this message came up:

Yes, of course, remove me.

Then this message popped up:

I felt pretty bad after that. I've never gotten such a personal, pathetic sounding apology from unsubscribing from a listserv before. I feel bad now. I might rejoin.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Warms my heart too—in a weird, creepy, squishy way

I randomly found this campaign the other day. I'm pretty glad I did. It's by DDB for the New Zealand insulation company Pink Batts.

Lovely, creepy, funny, smart, simple.

Look closely at the details in that last one. Very nice.

Oh yeah, and there's a TV spot.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fail Harder

They say growth doesn't come without pain. Or something like that. Actually, I don't know if they ever said that. I don't even know who "they" is. But I'm sure someone has something to that effect at some point. The point is, I believe them.

This last week and a half has been pretty rough for Karen and I. We started off very hot, had a ton of great ideas and were rolling along nicely. Then we started hitting little bumps here and there, became unsure of what was expected, didn't know how to proceed.

I think I wrote previously that everything was going so swimmingly because we didn't feel like there was much difference in what we were doing , and what we were used to doing at Circus. Come up with a bunch of ideas, throw them up on a wall, have your CDs tear down the ones that aren't working, start from there. Which is completely true. It's the next step that's different.

If anyone's listened to Dan Balser's latest podcast on DGMS, Ross had a a really poignant answer for one of Dan's questions. He was asked what the major difference between doing work at school, and doing working at an agency is. Ross said that in school you have ten weeks to concept and then all at once at the end you execute. On the other hand, in an agency you're executing as you're concepting. The two things are all going on at once. At the time I heard that—probably a week into being at Wieden—I thought, Oh yeah, that's exactly how it is. But I didn't really know. Now I know.

It's not just about coming up with a great idea. It's taking that great idea and executing it in an hour or two. And if it gets killed or you pursued the wrong execution, all that work gets trashed. I can't tell you how many pieces of body copy of needlessly written since I've been here.

It's been a big adjustment for us for sure. And in that respect, I don't feel that we're properly prepared.

This past week and a half has been rough. We got to the point of burn out; we weren't really thinking straight or creatively. It was all to get ready for a meeting with Starbucks on Thursday to present our ideas and the beginning our campaigns to them. For a number of reasons, including the fact that we weren't 100% prepared, among others, our CDs met with Dan Wieden and a few higher-ups on Wednesday night. We had been rushing around killing ourselves to try to make our stuff work for the few day, and had slept only about three hours the night before. Long story short, the presentation got canceled. I must say, pretty embarrassing.

I was sure we were going to get fired. I've been sort of walking around with my tail between my legs for the last two days. It's certainly not a good feeling. In fact, it's an awful feeling.

But a number of good things have come from it. For one, Dan Wieden thought my TV scripts were awesome. That's cool. He also went crazy over this line I wrote. It's very simple so it's nothing amazing, but he loved it and wants it to drive all campaigns for the project.

Another good thing that came about was becoming a part of the family a bit more. Karen and I have been holed up in some random office on the first floor by ourselves for the last three weeks. While it was nice as an adjustment period, we didn't learn anything. We weren't sitting up in the Starbucks quad. We didn't see the way things worked. We didn't really get to hang out with the other creatives. We didn't know how the studio worked. We didn't see the other work that other teams had done before use. We honestly didn't feel like we were part of the agency.

When everything went down on Wednesday night, everyone just stopped and hung out. As soon as the presentation was canceled, we all sat in our little living room area, watched TV for a few minutes, told jokes and just hung. It was the first time we felt like we were part of the family. We had planned on staying all night working so they had just order dinner for everyone before the cancellation. So, we all just waited around until the food came, had a leisurely meal together and then went home and got some sleep. It was nice to finally feel part of something, even if it had come out of something not so great.

The next day, Karen and I decided to make a change. We had been downstairs by ourselves because there was no room for us with the rest of the team. We came upstairs determined to find somewhere to work so we could be around everyone else. It ended up being easier than we thought. A desk had just been vacated the day before so we grabbed it. Obviously it's not the best situation—we're both crammed around one desk—but it's much better. Just being up there feels better.

Down in our hole on the second floor we had a lot of freedom. We had big posters on the wall. We had Chinese lanterns strung from the ceiling. We a soccer ball. But we didn't have anyone else. We worked hard to impress our creative directors, but we barely ever saw them. Beyond being accountable to them every three days or so, there wasn't much else we had to do. Just being around people, whether we have to show them work or not makes us more accountable. I feel ready for a do-over.

Dan Wieden has a great philosophy. He says that you're of no worth to him until you've made three humongous mistakes. I'm not sure if this counts as humongous right now. It sure feels that way when you feel like they're going to tell you to pack up and go home any minute. But the conclusion to Dan's philosophy is that if you're trying to not make mistakes you'll miss out on the value of learning from them. I feel like I've learned a lot already. I don't know how I'll show that or what it changes, but I'm ready to start trying.

This giant piece is on our floor in the building.

It's a beautiful mural that faces out to the atrium so anytime you're walking around the agency you can see it. It's even more incredible when you look at it up close. It's made up of over 100,000 clear thumbtacks. W12 did made it over the a 351-hour period. (That's probably 351 man-hours. I hope.)

When I saw this on the first day I thought to myself, I'm sure someday I'll look at that and need it as inspiration. I think it's probably time.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good morning! - Watch more free videos

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'll try Wilkins now

Here's one for the kiddies. Something Karen found yesterday.

There is no way our Starbucks ads will ever be this funny or weird.

Also, we're sort of in a crunch right now. Client presentation on Thursday. Not in a good spot. Yikes.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ow! Mmmm.

Karen and I are a little burnt out. Thinking about and talking about and living the same product for 12 hours every day for two weeks straight is pretty taxing. It doesn't feel exhausting, but your brain starts to run around in circles, and you don't more forward. So, we declared yesterday a half-day. I did some exciting stuff like buy non-Whole Foods groceries and restring my guitar. Later on we walked around a really nice area of town called Nob Hill. (Don't snicker.) It's rather reminiscent of Virginia Highlands called Nob Hill.

Afterwards Karen managed to get us to probably the only dance club in Portland. (It was still a very white version of a dance club.) We got stamps to get in. When I looked at it this morning, all it looks like is a hamburger-shaped bruise. I think it was supposed to be lips, but now it's just a hamburger.

Bonus: You can see some of the awful framed photographic "art" that came with my apartment. I need some posters and road signs stat.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Big night

So, last night I was waiting for my cousin on his farm and saw a flaming big rig fly by and disappear up the hill. I thought it was weird but figured someone would take care of it. Later I realized that it hit an old farmhouse. I ran up the hill to where it was. It had already burned one turn-of-the-century house and was starting in on the second one next door. Running inside I got an old man and a young girl out and to safety. The fire burned itself out mostly in the first house, but with the aid of a hose with only half-decent water pressure I stopped it from reaching much of the second house. Then I suspected the old guy was using meth for some reason. The mother of the girl and my cousin showed up shortly thereafter, and I apologized for not having coming sooner. I just didn't think too much of the flaming semi. At least there wasn't too much harm done. (The first burned house was pretty much condemned already.) Later I was about to relate the whole story to Ben, another friend and Dave (who was wearing a curly-haired wig) at a Wild Wing. Just as I was about to, the mother popped into the booth and sat down. I had no idea she'd be there, and it was a little awkward as I was just about to explain that the thought the cause of the whole thing was the grandpa's meth use. I had to steer the conversation in a different direction (which is difficult when you've just saved a burning house and people want to know about it). Pretty soon the whole family was sitting down and basically took over the table and surrounding tables my friends and I were enjoy. Then some little girl said she liked an old ad I'd done. It was for gummy bears.

Friday, August 8, 2008


This morning I woke up a little early so I decided to go for a run and get to know my new city. There some pretty nice little areas, and the city is super-easy to navigate. Numbered avenues go east to west, and names in alphabetical order go south to north (Alder, Burnside, Couch, etc.).

Besides neatly ordered streets, there are myriad coffee shop here in Portland.

During my little run this morning I saw no less than five Starbucks. I saw at least as many other coffee shops as well. According to the Starbucks Delocator there are 50 different Starbucks within fives of zip code and 99 other independent coffeehouse. (That number doesn't even include other regional chains like Peet's or Stumptown.) I guess Portland loves coffee.

But, my favorite thing thing I saw on my run this morning was this:

That's right. A Starbucks right next to a Peet's. (It's almost a Lewis Black joke.) I wonder who was there first? That's pretty ballsy, whoever did it.

I'd really like to sit outside them and just watch who goes into which. Maybe some day when I have a little free time I'll go and do that. Ha.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

La akvo estas dolĉa.

So I suppose it's been almost a week since my first "it's almost been a week at my job" post. What I didn't factor in was that Monday through Friday to not make a week in advertising; Monday through Sunday do.

That means we missed our beloved Flug Tag on Saturday. On the plus side, we've gotten some really good stuff done. We had another check-in with our CDs on Friday and then again on Monday, and both went incredibly well. I spent a lot of the weekend writing TV scripts for really the first time. The best part of that is stopping to think in the middle of it, "Oh wait, this could actually become a real spot that gets produced and shot and edited and run on TV. Cool."

Doing web stuff is also another realization. It's not school where you can just come up with a funny URL and said that this kind of content will sort of be on there and make a landing page and call it a day. For the first time I'm really having to think about the content, navigation and technological possibilities a lot more. But it makes it more fun too.

Our project is super wide-open at the moment (and with no set budget) so it's been pretty cool to just from one thing to another: TV, print, microsites, guerrilla, posters, in-store, promos, banner ads, virals, non-traditional. It was almost overwhelming at first, but now it's just really exciting.

We've also been doing a bit of design as well with Andrio around. That dude is mad talented. Unfortunately (for us, not him), he's leaving for vacation tomorrow for a week and a half. He'll be back for a few more weeks after that, but we'll miss him. Basically, he's been making us look really good.

But in general, stuff with Starbucks has been going really well. Our campaign has really coalesced within the last few days, which is pretty exciting. The senior freelance team left yesterday, and Andrio leaves tomorrow morning. So, it's basically just Karen and I on stuff for a little while. We haven't even seen any of the other team's stuff. The good news is that our CDs seem really stoked on what we've done so far. So, who knows. Come March you'll hopefully be seeing our stuff plastered all over every Starbucks in the US, UK and Japan as well as on TV screens, subway cars, laptops and whatever else. That'd be pretty rad.

It's unfortunate that we don't get to see Joe and Monica (our CDs) that often. They're amazing to talk to, but they're so busy that we see them for maybe two hours max a week. They've also been pretty stressed with other parts of the account recently so that's had a lot to do with it. The good news is that I think they like us. Someone told us that after our check-in yesterday one of them commented that, "[Those guys] have done more work in three days than [names of senior creatives] do in months." So, that feels pretty good to have made a good impression in our first week.

Other than work, life's going pretty well. I moved into my new apartment on Monday. It's way too nice for me. It makes me feel like a upwardly mobile adult which I'm not really into. It's on the 11th floor of the building right next to Wieden. I'd be an incredible view of the whole city and surrounding area if the stupid Art Institute of Portand wasn't directly across the street. It's totally ruining my view. It's OK, I'm going to get back at them. They're going to see a lot of me naked in those offices over there.

Portland's way hippie. Here's how much their into conservation. The toilet in my apartment has two buttons: one for liquid, one for solid. It saves water that way. It's starting to rub off. (The conservation, not the poop.) I saved my bags from Whole Foods to reuse next time I go. Speaking of, I paid $90 for groceries the other night. It was two bags worth. Whole Foods is crazy expensive. It's all just crazy. For some reason I thought it'd be a good idea to buy Organic Golden Flax Flakes as breakfast cereal. They actually managed to make it look pretty good on the front with some milk and sliced peaches. What the hell was I thinking? I regret every second of that decision. I'd throw the box out if it didn't cost me a whole day's wage.

The only bright spot is that Oregon doesn't have sales tax. It takes a bit getting used to, but it's kind of fun at the store because everything really does end up being $4.99 or whatever. I think the state will be taking a pretty sizable chunk out of my paycheck though. Hmm . . .

What else? Oh yes. I decided today that I'm going to learn Esperanto. If you don't know what Esperanto is, it's an artificial language created by a German linguist in 1887. It's intended to be a universal language, one that all people can learn to communicate with one another. In 1965, William Shatner starred in Incubus, a film entirely in Esperanto. Supposedly it's very easy to learn because it's based on a number of languages and has no irregularities in it. Already I've learned a little bit. I bought a book on it tonight at Powell's (the country's largest bookstore that just happens to be two blocks from my house). The reason this all came up was because of a spot we were writing at work. We wanted to us a foreign language but were worried that people may take it the wrong way and see it as offensive. After much (MUCH) discussion I remembered the wonder world of Esperanto. It seemed like the perfect solution. And hey, it's just pretty funny. So, maybe the next post you read will be in Esperanto.

That's enough for now. There's more, but I shan't bore you with the details. If you ever want to come out to Portland, I've got plenty of room and sweet view of AI Portland waiting for you.

Bonan nokton!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Obsessive branding disorderly conduct?

Brilliant skewering of the branding and anti-branding tonight on the Colbert Report.

I am consistently amazing by Mr. Colbert's ability to indistinguishably tow the line between support his guests and completely undermining everything they stand for.

I happened to catch the his interview tonight with Lucas Conley, author of Obsessive Branding Disorder. While Mr. Conley made some interesting points about how companies are expending excessive amounts of their revenue on branding ventures and product extensions rather than product improvements, Colbert managed to make his guest's point look both pertinent and asinine.

Conley cited a mother in Conneticut selling the rights to her baby's name to an online casino, but is that really advertising? Isn't that just the next generation of used car salemen and giant inflatable gorillas? Someone just trying to make a fast buck?

Not that I've gained great insights within my first week of my advertising career, but I believe there are some great things that brands can do for their own companies as well as consumers. They certainly aren't want some consumers want , but for other they provide a well packaged experience that really can be meaningful.

While the idea of Koolaid brand Reeboks seems bizarre, I see little wrong with Harley Davidson brand birthday candles. I can imagine the the joy on some 58-year old Hog-enthusiast's face when he sees that candle lit up on the top of his birthday cake.

Anyway. I'm sure it'll be on YouTube by tomorrow. Watch it. Decide for yourself. Is branding out for control or not? Does Lucas Conley really understand what branding is? Do I? Your choice.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


This is for Billy.

My boy Andrio just showed me this. I don't know how I haven't seen this before. It's amazing. There's a whole series. Check them all out.


Absolutely brilliant.

We've been down in The Hole all weekend working (14 hours yesterday) so anything funny is REALLY FUNNY right now.