You can do more than tweet.

I see this a lot:

  1. Something politically significant happens. A mass shooting. A controversial executive order. A lawmaker gets thrown into the spotlight for dubious behavior.
  2. Copywriters and art directors take to social media with their profound/salient/insightful/funny comments.
  3. Nothing much happens.
  4. Repeat.

As copywriters and art directors, we have power to do a lot more. We’re in the business of persuading. We know how to communicate effectively. We have resources in media and technology the average citizen doesn’t. We use our talents and skills every day to help our clients. But rarely for the causes we really believe in.

Let me give you two dated, but still excellent examples of creatives who did more than tweet their opinions.

In 2008, when John McCain was running against Barack Obama, my friend Steve Yee did not like the idea of McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin, being a heartbeat away from the presidency. So he and some friends created a simple site called palinaspresident.com to show their vision of what a Palin Administration would be like. It was simple and it was hilarious. Did it sway voters? Maybe. Who can say? But it was featured in Time and The Washington Post and Creativity and The Telegraph. Those are pretty big bullhorns for a cause you believe in.

stevengeorgeyee-palinaspresident08115101

In 2009, my friend, mentor, and first creative director, Kevin Lynch, didn’t like the idea of the Olympics coming to Chicago. And he knew most other Chicagoans agreed with him. So he created chicagoansforrio.com. Another simple, hilarious site. You can read more about it here and here. I remember Kevin telling me they launched the site sometime in the morning, and by lunch he was fielding calls from CNN.

chicagoans

So the next time you find yourself wishing you could make a difference, remember: You’re in advertising. Of course you can.

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Amateur Creativity

This is a presentation I gave to the Chicago Portfolio School last month. 

I shortened the 45-minute presentation to about 12 minutes, so I had to cut out some of the showcase pieces.

I also had to rerecord my voice. I swear I sound much better live.

Please send any feedback on how I could improve this presentation to the comments section below.

Personal Projects


Just because you’re at an agency doesn’t mean that your book has to be full of clients you’ve worked on. I love to see books come through that have personal projects and side gigs as well. A good buddy of ours and incredibly talented art director, Steve Yee, has Christmas cards on his website that he makes every year. And just today, he (and I think a friend of his) launched the website palinaspresident.com. It launched at 10am and by 4:00pm had 36,000 hits. Pretty impressive, and just another way Steve shows his talents.

[UPDATE: I chatted with Steve, and wanted to give credit to the other two guys he worked with: Sean Ohlenkamp and Forrest Boleyn. Steve said he and Forrest had the idea, then approached Sean who brought it to life. As of the morning of 10/15, it has over a half million hits.]