Archive for the ‘small town advertising’ Category

Chief Cook and Copy Writer

February 4, 2010

Ah….it feels good to be back. Or does it?

My sweetheart had a serious car accident. In a second, priorities shifted. But now that he’s better, reality  has shown its large ass and I’m reminded what the entrepreneurial experience is all about. After 27 years on my own, why am I still surprised how intense a day can be? It’s like the bus pulled up and everyone got off at the same stop. Clients need copy changes. Media needs to be planned.  Staff need a paycheck. In order to give them one, bills must go out. And surely, there’s a Yellow Pages Sales Rep who needs to be cursed.

In a small agency, you don’t have time to bask in gossip, awards, or winning new business. You learn to spin plates, buy time, reason quickly, stash snacks in your desk, keep beer in the fridge, teach clients to work on your time table, not theirs, and do it all with a certain amount of grace. That last part I have yet to master.

Today, I made a dent in the pile, engaged a potentially awesome new client, and planned tomorrow. I left my desk after 12 1/2 hours, numb and brain dead, but thankful that tomorrow I won’t have to answer to some ego crazed Art Director, put up with some annoying intern (no, not YOU Mags!) or a too-familiar office girl. It’s my nest and along with the stress comes the right to surround yourself with cool people who love makin’ the work. No Assholes Allowed.  It’s good to be  back!

Please…take a number!

A parting gift

November 4, 2009

Our Intern this summer…she was a walking, always talking, nervous, sound effects machine.  But we loved her. When I finally kicked her outta the nest, she presented me with a gift that keeps on giving.  That girl has a bright future.  Check it out:

WTF

Don’t make me use my stamper!

Turning on a dime

October 28, 2009

When you’re a small agency, you can do that. Turn on a dime. You can jump through a hoop and make it happen without inter-office bullshit, egos, protocols or hierarchy. So today when a client called and needed to change his commercial to push bananas at 39¢ a pound, we stopped everything else and did it.  In less than 3 hours, revision uploaded to the FTP. Boom. Done. I work with such cool people.

imagesDime turning.

It’s what we do.

It feels good.

Etch-a-Sketch Art

October 27, 2009

There’s no recession in Hooterville. Today has been a blur. We’ve got one client with the Swine Flu, and one who thinks he’s going to get a full blow presentation of spec work by Thursday. THINK AGAIN. So I got out my Etch-A-Sketch (had one as a kid, and have one at work) to pass some time in thought…then I found this. Whoever did this has nothing to do…or was on a conference call with that ONE client…yawn.  (via GadgetHIM)

Picture 5

They Said, I Thought

October 14, 2009

It’s really a wonder we have any clients left. The guys I work with just shake their heads. The older I get, the more impatient I become with clients. When I decide to waitress, I hope I can keep my mouth shut.

Our in-house designer?  Oh, she can do that.

If she could, then you wouldn’t be here…give it up.

We don’t know who the customer is, we’re hoping you can tell us.

If you don’t know, then I KNOW I don’t.

My wife is really artistic…these are some of her logo ideas.

Then you should hire her.

We did these ads.

Your children are ugly, oops, I mean these ads suck.

And I really have said this:  “With all due respect, what you are currently doing obviously isn’t working, or you wouldn’t be in my office.”

Welcome to small town advertising.

Tricky, but very legal.

August 20, 2009

Another great example of just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

You get to deal with him personally.  “We are able to get your add brought up when your customers are looking for your competitors site.”

 Please… someone buy this fellow a dictionary.

Picture 2

Tricky, but very legal.         

I. LOVE. IT.

Playing cards at the club…and other reasons why we don’t get hired

July 18, 2009

Hiring an agency….no matter if  it’s on Michigan Avenue or  Main Street Hooterville, clients have their reasons.  The Ad Contrarian has another excellent message inspired evidently by Seth Godin. Both are very good.  And it got me to thinking about business on our level here in Teeny Town.

I don’t belong to a country club. We have TWO of them here in our 45,000 population town. Lot’s of OLD money here. LOTS of Good Old Boy stuff going on. We have several kitchen table ad shops.  One describes herself as “The Walmart of Advertising”. (You can imagine the stuff they put out.)  Then there’s the guy who used to run an Auto Glass business who decided to be an Ad Agency. He has a fair bit of clientele because he’s learned to “talk the talk and walk the walk” of the system.  He sells below average work to his country club pals.  It isn’t about strategy, quality, message or execution … it’s about who won at cards Tuesday night at the club.  And that’s ok.

I have a wall in our reception area that “showcases” some of the work done by Auto Glass Guy and Walmart Girl.  Prospective clients can look at our competitors work without ever having to step foot in their offices. I want them to see the difference.

I know I’m not a very good networker. I hate schmoozing with people I don’t respect or care for.  Business After Hours…YUK. Chamber events? No thanks. I’ve really tried to be better at this game, but I just don’t have it in me. And, word travels fast in a small town: That “over-the-top” adchick….man, she’s tough…and bossy. Right. I am NO order taker. I ask them respectfully, if you know how to do this, then why are you here? Clients who work with us do so because we help ’em sell their stuff and do it better than the Auto Glass Guy and the Walmart girl. We want to get the business because we are clearly the best in town. (That’s what a new client said.)  Not because we pretended to be someone we’re not.

I don’t play that game. What else ya got?images-1

Small might just be the new big

June 3, 2009

It must be nice at those big agencies, I think.  To have teams of writers, planners,  executives, designers, divisions, groups, juniors, seniors, vice-presidents, CFO’s, CEO’s, COO’s, principals and the like.  But I think smaller shops have become increasingly popular in the era of the Big Dumb Agencies, as dear George Parker describes them. I have a few suspicions why:

1.  Nimble.  Because we don’t have a lot of people to get in the way of progress, we can turn on a dime for a client. They like that.

2. Loyal. Genuinely and to a fault. We need our precious clients to be successful, or else we’ll cease to exist. So we tend to act like we’re their partner.  And really, we are.

3. Honest. Maybe too much at times. The rest of my team jokes about how “blunt” I can be with a client. Hey, if their hours suck, their staff is surly, the inventory dated, or the prices too high, someone needs to tell them…might as well be a “partner”.  I care.  (See Number 2.)

4. Efficient. Time is money.  We’re small and don’t have the luxury of waxing poetic about a piece of creative for months.  We study the issues and then work hard to sell something. Isn’t that what advertising is supposed to do, after all?

5. Hungry.  We don’t eat till someone sells something. And we all know it, so we take nothing for granted.

6. Cost-conscious. Small agencies “feel the pain” of our small clients.  We have to make money, but we don’t nickle and dime a client for every breath we take on their behalf.

7. Ego-less. Well, somewhat. If you think you’re the smartest one in the group, then you can’t work in a small shop.  Arrogance just doesn’t work.  Collaboration does.

There is no corner on creativity and problem solving. The layoffs are many in big agencies, and sadly, some iconic firms are closing their doors. All the while, here in Hooterville, we are busy, enjoying the creative process, raising our families in a sweet small town, designing, writing, producing and living.  Sure, we endure the same client crap, just on a smaller scale. And true, we’re not creating the image for a big national brand where there is so much at stake, but I do believe we could have developed a better Pepsi Logo…and for a lot less money.

images

The Fungus Finder 4000

May 19, 2009

The Red House ad was better…or worse. It’s amazing that big agencies spend all that money when evidently this is all it takes.

A furniture store for ALL people.

May 1, 2009

NO…we did not produce this, but damn, I wish I had. What a great addition to anyone’s demo reel. (And from High Point, North Carolina, too…the Furniture Mecca….what were they thinking?)

(Thanks to my friend Kathy (the best chick announcer ever) for bringing this to our attention)