As a buddy of Greg and Jim’s, I periodically pass along stuff to them I think might be relevant to Makin’ Ads. Well, this is something I shared and they encouraged me to write a post. So here goes.
This documentary, while not particularly well-made, shows a bit of what Greg and Jim seem to cover a fair amount on Makin’ Ads: Doing something completely different creatively might make you better.
It’s about a band, or more accurately, two bands. (Note: They are not everyone’s cup of tea, but the bigger point remains.) The Bronx is a hardcore-ish punk-ish rock band. Mariachi el Bronx has the same members, plus a couple more, but they operate as two different bands. And yes, they perform in mariachi garb. The two bands are remarkably different, and the members discuss in this documentary how shifting gears completely has helped revitalize the creative process. Sound familiar?
I personally need to do more of this. I’d wager it would improve my work, and if nothing else, I’d probably enjoy the process.
Backstory of how Mariachi el Bronx came about: As I understand it, someone asked for an acoustic version of one of their songs for a compilation. They decided that they didn’t like acoustic versions of hard rock songs, so they did a mariachi version instead and it snowballed from there. Pretty cool.
I love multi-media campaigns.
There are few things as inspiring when looking through the awards shows than amazing ideas executed in ways you’ve never seen before. The Mini launch is a great example of creative media executions. There are countless others that are newer.
These campaigns often include complex installations and things that have never been done before, so a lot of explanation is often required. Fortunately for agencies, they have the means to produce submission videos to award shows to demonstrate the breadth, creativity and sound business results to accompany these innovative campaigns in a clear, comprehensive manner. My agency actually has several people dedicated to this job.
You have your book.
The target audience for your book is a busy group of people. Campaign after campaign of lengthy description multi-media onslaughts may not always be the best approach.
To be clear, I think it’s fantastic to see blown-out campaigns. Assuming they’re great campaigns and blowing them out makes sense. (Times Square installations and transit dominations probably don’t make sense for small start-up companies. Keep the realities of a brand’s budget somewhat based in reality. Somewhat.)
But sometimes, I just want to know you can knock out some killer print ads or OOH or posters or something I can look at for 10 seconds and think, “That’s cool,” and doesn’t have a gazillion moving parts.
And please know that blowing out your campaign doesn’t make it good. As a recruiter at my agency recently said to me, “Just because you’ve done an iPhone app for your idea doesn’t make it a good idea.”
So what’s the solution?
Before you blow out every single campaign in your book, make sure it calls for it. Make sure your book needs another blown out campaign. (I’d say two is the maximum amount I have the ability to fully take in.) Above all, make sure the ideas are great.
Show you can do something with legs. Show you can do things no one’s ever seen before. Show you’ll bring something invaluable to an agency.
But make sure you also, in easily digestible format, show that you can make a traditional ad campaign. Because once you start working, you’ll have to make good old fashioned ads.
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