Five Things – Ed. 2
- 8 Min Read
Well folks, it looks like my ramblings are going to be a semi-regular occurrence on this wonderful blog. You need to know that I’m very sorry about this, and really hope this doesn’t tank the agency.
Buuut, if I am going to contribute somewhat regularly, I suppose I should tell you a little about myself. I am a 32-year old dude who’s aspired to work at an ad agency for way too long. After years of schooling, getting sidetracked, struggling and more schooling, I have finally found myself in a creative role at L&S, and I couldn’t be happier. I love this industry, I love being creative, I love humor, and I (apparently) love rambling. So, without further ado, here are five things that I really like.
1. BUDWEISER AND JIM BEAM ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE A NEW BEER
As a creative in the ad industry, it’s pretty safe to say that I like to indulge in a few libations every now and again. I think it just comes with the territory. We’re in a business where we have our brains working all the time, so sometimes it’s nice to shut it off with a drink or two (or at least that’s what we tell ourselves). But I digress.
Budweiser and Jim Beam are joining forces to create a limited-edition beer that has been aged on bourbon barrel staves. Listen, I don’t really know the science behind it, but who cares? It’s bourbon-infused beer! And as cool as this is, it’s not the reason it’s on my list.
This teaming up of booze titans leaves me most excited to see how they’re going to market it. I know that other brands have gotten together to advertise, but never have they joined and created a whole new product. Both Budweiser and Jim Beam have very solid, yet, serious tones to their ad campaigns. Are they going to continue this with their new program? Will they do something completely different (much like the huge marketing difference between Budweiser and Bud Light)? How will they pull this off?
I’m not even talking about commercials or print, either. My excitement is all about what they’re going to be doing outside of traditional medial. They’ve already announced that they’re going to be appearing in bars together, but will there also be signage? What about unique billboards or alt media installations? I feel like it would be a missed opportunity if they didn’t host some kind of event. Maybe an outdoor concert series (summer is just around the corner). Anyway, this whole thing has a lot of potential and I’m anxious to see how they will do it. I also like beer, so that’s also pretty exciting.
2. COMEDY BANG BANG
It’s a really funny thing. When I was younger, all I really wanted to do was just listen to music. Whether I was driving, playing video games, or even watching movies, I didn’t care. I would always be listening to music. Then after years and years of people talking about podcasts, I figured “what the heck?” and I gave ‘em a shot. And now, I rarely listen to music anymore (unless I’m writing). I know it sounds sad or whatever, but I don’t care.
And from the very beginning, Comedy Bang Bang has been my absolute favorite podcast (it’s the one that stole me away from music, that dirty cheat). Originally named Comedy Death-Ray, this weekly audio-blessing uses a talk show format (very loosely) where host Scott Aukerman has conversations with comedians, celebrity personalities and musicians who either play themselves or made-up characters.
Now I know this sounds like a basic overview of the show (and it is), but trust me, this show has opened my eyes to some of the funniest people on the planet. The effortless humor these guys can come up with on the spot is awe-inspiring to me. As I’ve stated before, I’m a huge fan of comedy, and because of this podcast, I was introduced to some of the best comedy writers out there today. Throughout the years, writers from shows like Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn 99, The Good Place and much more have come onto the show and just goofed around. But even in this relaxed format, you can get a feel for the type of people they are and the comedy they produce and easily connect the dots as to how they write.
This podcast is so much more than just “something to listen to” when I’m driving or at the gym; it’s helped me form my own comedic point of view and potentially helped me become the writer I am (which might not be a selling point if you’ve been reading this blog). It’s great for a laugh, and it’ll show you the funny side of a lot of your favorite celebrities (John Hamm, Neil Patrick Harris and Aimee Mann to name a few) as well as introduce you to some of the funniest people you’ve never heard of (Harris Wittels, Thomas Middleditch, Paul F. Tompkins and so many more). It’s worth a listen, and it’s helped me… at least I think.
3. WINNING AWARDS IN THE ADVERTISING INDUSTRY
I’m not a guy that really likes brag about anything he does, unless I’m clearly being ironic. That said, I’m also very proud of how far I’ve come in life and the work I’ve done to get me where I am. So, as you can see, I’m a huge contradiction. I’m also an award winner, so maybe cool your judgments and bask in my glory.
Before I started at L&S, I attended a year-long ad portfolio school in Minneapolis. This school very much helped me get into the mindset I needed to effectively become a creative at an ad agency. I worked with a great number of talented people to create campaigns from the ground up. After I moved, a classmate of mine submitted one of our campaigns to an Ad Fed awards show, and it turns out we did really, really well. Like, best of students, well.
Yes, I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but I’m really not trying to (much). I’m just prefacing this story a bit. Anyway, I spread word to L&S about how well we did at the awards. And upon my return to work, I got a brief congratulations from the team… and then it was back to work.
And that’s what I really love about this industry, and awards in general; the work just keeps coming. Just because you did well in one thing doesn’t mean that you stop. And just because you have an award in something doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to be hitting proverbial home runs from here on out. It’s almost poetic. It’s like, “Good job, we’re very proud of you and all, but get back to work. We have deadlines that we need to meet.”
4. THE PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS ON JNCO’S WEBSITE
You know how I said that I don’t like to brag about myself? Truth be told, I never really thought anybody should brag about themselves. Mainly because I figured that there would always be someone better to come along. That was until one of my friends directed me to JNCO’s website.
You remember JNCO, right? They were a clothing company that was literally and figuratively huge in the late 90s and early 2000s. You might recognize them as the quintessential baggy jeans of skateboarders and nü metal kids in that time frame. You know, the jeans with the huge back pockets with a jester’s hat or something embroidered on them. The jeans that could easily fit a regular-sized family of possums in each leg. The jeans that could double as a tent if you were to ever be lost in the woods. You know, THOSE jeans.
It turns out, they’re still around (…well, not for much longer. They’re actually going out of business, but that’s beside the point), and their website is glorious. They still have the giant jeans and graphic tees that you remember, but now they come with the absolute best descriptions. It seems their copywriter longs for the days of JNCO past and spins these wonderful yarns about a majority of their products.
It’s seriously beautiful to read. The copy focuses on a simple graphic or color on the clothing, and then just creates an entire story about it. I know that’s what copywriters are supposed to do, but this person goes way above and beyond, especially for a line of clothing that hasn’t been in the limelight for nearly 15 years. It’s inspiring.
And as you can see, it’s not just for the main products either. They write this way for nearly every product on the website. This person even goes out of their way to write straight-up poetry about the simplest graphics. And I just can’t get enough of it. I want them to win every award possible and retire on top of a mountain of all the money in the world, plus some oversized denim jeans.
5. GETTING PERSONAL WITH ADS
Ok, this last one is very cool to me. I guess that’s why I put it on my list.
Many companies have access to reports as to what is selling, what isn’t, and exact numbers. Well, media streaming services also have this information, and they’ve been using it to very tongue-and-cheekily target their customers.
For example: Spotify ran a year-end campaign in 2016 called “Thank, 2016. It’s been weird.” They would find random spikes in songs, unique playlist names and stats about what was played overall to target people in a very funny way.
Netflix also did a similar thing last year. Except, they took to their Twitter accounts instead.
Now I know that some people could view this as an invasion of privacy, and I get that… sorta. I mean, no direct personal information was shared, just maybe some embarrassing tidbits. Regardless, if you have a sense of humor, and don’t take yourself too seriously, you could see how this is funny and has a lot of potential. It’s a great way for you to connect with your audience, while also showing the lighter side of your brand.
I mean, obviously I hope hospitals, emergency rooms, and funeral homes don’t really take this approach. I have a sinking feeling that it wouldn’t work as well as a music-streaming service. But there is some potential there, and people will get the joke.
As you can see, the world is filled with some pretty cool (and absurd) stuff. Some of them are directly-related to the industry, the others are clearly not, but I do my best to loosely tie them in. You’re smart enough to figure out which ones are which. Until next time.