Presenting Ambient Pieces

A guerilla piece (alternative, ambient, whatever you want to call it) has already become an essential part of any book worth reviewing. And for good reason.

But I see a wide variety of how those pieces are presented in student books. I’ve seen very good ideas presented very poorly. Some examples of common mistakes would be:

  • Overly and needlessly art directed boards.
  • Little / no / unclear explanation of what the piece is about.
  • Too much explanation of what the idea is about. It needs to be clear, but not belabored.

If you need clarification, look at how these types of ideas are presented in the annuals. Or pick up a copy of Advertising is Dead, Long Live Advertising. Or just write a sentence or two as if you were explaining the idea to your parents.


5 thoughts on “Presenting Ambient Pieces

  1. First, I love the blog. I’m a young copywriter in Madison and I’ve been reading the blog for a while. Anyways, file this under the advice section maybe.Today an account exec whom I respect and think does a great job offered me a really inspiring little line. We were chatting about a naming/re-brand project we’re working on and I told him I’d had a cool experience abroad with the product and how we should be thinking on a global scale, and how cool this thing was, etc. And he told me:“I can tell you were excited to share that by your facial expressions alone. Now go name it.”It’s like my mind had a shot of adrenaline. Knowing that I’d have the chance to name something I had a unique experience with. Nothing groundbreaking, but it might be worth a post on the fact that working on a global brand can be a very, very powerful creative tool.Cheers,Nick


  2. Great post. Tell the story of how the person on the street (or wherever) will experience your campaign. Use as few explanatory parts as possible, but like Greg said, make sure it’s clear. If there’s a website, copy on the site can often serve to set up/explain the idea a little.I’d just add that just because you have a little explanation with the ambient stuff in your book doesn’t mean you need it with all your campaigns. It drives me nuts when I see books with a paragraph before each campaign that explains what the strategy is. That should be obvious from the campaign.


  3. I just discovered this blog last week. Good stuff.I’m the ACD at Extra Bold Portfolio School in Madison, WI. We’re a 1-2 punch. Classes at night, a small ad shop during the day. Students learn how to be copywriters and art directors in the school. Then get real-world experience working in the ad shop. The goal is for them to have a bulletproof book plus the experience needed to get their foot in the door at agencies.Anyways, I plan to recommend your blog to them. Is that cool?Plus I have a blog where I vent on creativity/advertising/life/etc. Maybe you can stop by when you have a few minutes. Thanks!


  4. Welcome, Nick and Chad. Thanks for the kind words.Nick, great quote, great enthusiasm. We talk a lot about creativity in this business, but sometime we forget to talk about enthusiasm, which is so key.How did this thing turn out?


  5. Greg,Hey so far, so good. I’m probably not at liberty to discuss many of the project details, but the work I did conveyed, hopefully, the excitement that came along with working on a piece of business I admired.


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