Win The Scholarship That Helped Me

I was blessed to graduate from Wayne State University in Detroit, thanks to a full scholarship provided by the Journalism Institute for Media Diversity (When I attended WSU over 20 years ago, it was the Journalism Institute for Minorities or JIM).

JIM not only paid for my education, it helped me land internships and even introduced me to my first ad agency. I started wanting to be a journalist and ended  working as a copywriter.

The program is designed to encourage diversity in all fields of communications

JIM gave me focus and changed my life. If you’re a high school student, college undergrad or know one, JIM can change your lives too.

They are now interviewing for new scholarship recipients for current and/or future WSU students. Details here. Good luck.

Click the flyer to expand it. Email me with any questions.


I’m The New Creative

2014 I committed the cardinal sin of blogging.

I stopped posting.

It was the fifth year of Professor Ad Man, an anniversary year and a couple of significant things happened:

My original site had to be moved to WordPress. (Eventually, I will The put five years of content on this new platform.)

More important, my career went in a new direction.

I haven’t worked at an ad agency in over two years, but during that time, I’ve had opportunity to do good creative work. When I get my posts back up, you’ll see I’ve always said that you don’t have to work at an agency to be a creative. Now I’m walking the walk and not just talking the talk.

Over a year ago, Advertising Age published an article,”Leaner Ad Budgets Mean More Marketers Rely On In-House Agencies, ANA Survey Finds.” I’ve seen how brands are rely less on agencies ad and doing the work themselves. “The results showed that the penetration of in-house agencies has shot up to 58% in 2013 from 42% in 2008.”

When I was an intern and starting in the ad business, I was told only “failed creatives” and people “who couldn’t cut it” worked at in-house shops. Maybe there was some truth to that back in the 70’s (the people who told me that were in their 50’s back in the 90’s  when I was starting out).

They were wrong.

I’m going to tell you and show you why.

So if you still want a career in advertising, I’m back to school ya with new perspectives and more to say.

Are Your Books Ready For Portfolio Night?

Around the world May 21 is Portfolio Night. From South Africa to San Francisco, many creative directors from major agencies will be on hand to review your work and provide constructive criticism (who knows, maybe an offer?). Many call it “speed dating for creatives.” 

Now in its 12th year, you’ll never get face-to-face time with so many creative leaders. So don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Many host city events are already sold out. Check out the Portfolio Night site to find the event closest to you. Hopefully, your books are updated and ready to go.

In Memory Of A Co-worker, Friend, Family

Consider yourself fortunate when your co-workers are your friends.

Consider yourself blessed when your co-workers are more like family.
Meg was family.
Monday morning hit like a gut shot when I got the news – Meg passed away unexpectedly dealing with an illness. She was an art director partner of mine at Lowes Campbell Ewald for a number of years. We became good friends, while working on Michelin and USAA.  
She leaves behind her husband Mike, son Holden (11) and daughter Allison (8). Friends and family are raising money for an education fund for the kids.
I’d be grateful if you could give.
Yes, she’s a stranger to you, but she was family to me.
Thank you. God bless.

So What If It’s Been Done Before.

I’m paraphrasing the saying, “There’s no such thing as an original idea anymore.” People are far too quick to point that out when criticizing good creative work. Here’s are some recent examples:

A young woman, Leah, sent a Lego kit of herself along with her resume to various agencies, trying to land an internship. She went viral and will very likely land a JOB. Personally, I did a similar concept years ago. I never went viral, but it helped me land my last two jobs. (and my packages sat on my creative directors’ shelves for years). Sadly, I’ll never be able to do it again, because everyone will now think I stole the idea from Leah. 
Deutsch L.A. just launched a series of brilliant ads for Taco Bell breakfasts, endorsed by real individuals named… Ronald McDonald. Yea, W+K did a campaign for ESPN featuring everyday people who share names with popular sports figures. 
That was sports. This is food. 
The average consumer isn’t comparing the two. Right now, they are smiling and considering a Waffle Taco over an Egg McMuffin.

So I say congrats to Leah and Deutsch L.A.. When you create work, don’t worry if it’s been done before, as long as you take steps to make it yours… Add the unexpected twist… Give it a different look and tone… It’s also beneficial if the concept hasn’t been done recently by others.
People will still criticize you, but if the execution is done well, those haters will secretly wish that was their idea. 

Some Take Notes. The Rest Doodle.

A student once asked me, where does my inspiration come from?
I doodle.
I doodle all over my creative briefs.
I doodle in my notebook.
I even have a doodle app on my phone.
I doodle during meetings.
It’s not because I’m not listening.
It’s because I am listening.
Even a copywriter knows sometimes it takes more than words to generate an idea. Sometimes I doodle to get out my frustrations in hopes that an idea will come.
CBS Sunday Morning recently aired an episode about “The Higher Purpose of Doodling.” My creative process is suddenly justified. Check it out. Trust me, it won’t be a waste of your time.