Reasons To Watch Lemonade Again


No, I’m not talking about the recent Beyonce HBO show. I’m talking about the 2009 documentary film by Eric Proulx. Have you seen it? This is the story:

“What do people who were once paid to be creative for a living do when they’re laid off? They get creative with their own lives. Lemonade is an inspirational film about 16 advertising professionals who lost their jobs and found their calling, encouraging people to listen to that little voice inside their head that asks, ‘What if?’

All resources for Lemonade were donated. From cameras to lights to flights, this is a project by and for those who have been affected by unemployment.”

I went to the Detroit screening years ago and met Eric and supported it any way possible. I attended the event with many friends who just lost their jobs. Years later, I find myself in the same position – again.

Those of you in marketing and advertising long enough know it’s a common occurrence. You handle it with as much dignity as possible. If you’re new to the industry, it’s good to develop a tough skin now – you’ll need it.

Lemonade is still inspiring, because it addresses “what’s next?”

My layoffs have been about four years apart. In that time, the ad industry has changed dramatically.  Calling myself a “copywriter” seems too limiting. Everything from content strategist to social media manager now fit my experience background and these positions weren’t prevalent a few years ago.  Your “free time” is also time to  contemplate should I do something completely different?

Lemonade examines all of this and reminds you that you are not alone. It’s still worth watching again or for the first time.

If you’re ever feeling weak in this situation, I draw strength from here:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

James 1:2-8 (NIV)


How To Get The Boss You Want


When we’re on the job hunt, we often forget that interviewing is a two-way street. We’re too focused on impressing the interviewer when we should also take the time  to get to know that person.

Even at senior-level positions, we all answer to someone. During the interview, you will eventually meet your potential supervisor. This person plays an important part in shaping your future career. So don’t you think it’s important to know how they plan to do it?

“Do you  have any questions for me?”

Every interviewer asks that question and you better have questions for them. If you don’t know what to ask, here are some icebreakers:

  • Is this a new position? If the company is structuring for growth, you want to know how you can grow with it. If they are filling an old position, you want to confirm what skills they liked about the previous employee and what new skills they want to bring in with the new hire.
  • How is the department structured? This gives you a better picture of how you would function in the organization. Are you partnered with someone? Who are your direct reports? Does anyone report to you? Knowing the department structure also gives you an idea of how you can grow with the company.
  • How long have you been in your position? If your future boss has been at the job for a short time (under two years), they may be still trying to figure things out. If they’ve been there for a while, you want to see if they are set in their ways. Are they open to new ideas or do they want you to just maintain course? Neither one has to be a red flag. You have to know what you’re most comfortable with.
  • What are your immediate and overall goals and how does this position contribute to it? You want want a supervisor with a pretty clear plan and you want that person to have an idea of what you’ll be doing day one.
  • How will my performance be measured? To know if you’re doing a good job, it helps to have goals to measure against.

After you get the questions rolling, the most important part is to listen. Do you like what they are saying? More important, do you feel you can learn from this person? Can you grow from this experience? These are keys in choosing you future supervisor. Make sure it’s a person whose supervision matters to you.

Remember, these are career-deciding questions. If you aren’t hearing what you are looking for, your instincts are telling you that this may not be the job for you.  It’s ok to walk away. God has other plans for you.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” ~ Psalm 32:8, NIV

Gain Your Creative Edge From CES- NOW

Yes, CES has been over for weeks. That doesn’t make it old news. It’s a new opportunty you should be taking advantage of now.

Years ago, I developed this concept for an Olympic training village for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games Torch relay. I proposed a place were attendees could train to be a ski jumper, figure skater and a hockey player with the help of virtual reality. I was envisioning uses for VR long before “Oculus” became a familiar word. I don’t take credit for advances in the medium. I got the idea from following CES.

Virtual Jump Olympic Tent

If you’re any kind of experiential marketer, you should still be checking out the International Consumer Electronics Show. There’s plenty of “best of” material that’s posted. CES is a a rich resource of engagement material for digital and event marketing audiences.

Many of these companies are looking to do business and get exposure for their products, even with the items that are still experimental. This gives you opportunity to propose something fresh and exciting in your next marketing campaign (and maybe at an affordable price).

Here are a couple of things that caught my eye:

ChefJet1 ChefJet2

ChefJet. This 3-D printer creates dimesional, edible goodies. Unique giveaways go a long way in creating a memorable experience at events.


LG Rollable OLED Display. A video screen with this kind of flexability opens up a ton of ideas and possibilities.


Drones. Pictured above is the Parrot Disco Fixed-Wing Drone. There were several drones at CES, even one you can ride. I like drones for their filming capabilities.  If you’re shooting videos or commercials, they are an inexpensive way of obtaining overhead shots.

Tech is exciting, but it should not be the focus of your idea. Never be “gadgety” just because you can. The tech should be a way to enhance your idea, but they should never be the idea.

Programs like CES challenge the boundaries of reality, giving us solutions on how to bring your ideas to life.

Your first step is to find the products that interest you. Contact the company to learn more. Believe me, most of them will welcome the chance to talk your ear off. If the work seems mutually beneficial,  the possible results could be groundbreaking.

Ready To Be A TV Personality?

As a proud uncle, I have to do some bragging about my niece Morgan’s recent appearance on Ellen Degeneres.

Morgan on Ellen

Next, I use this moment to segue to an opportunity for you to be a talk show host and media personality.  Detroit TV20 is hosting live audition to be the face of the station.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 11 a.m – 8 p.m.

Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center
Ontario Exhibit Hall, 3rd Floor
400 Renaissance Drive
Detroit, Michigan

Tis the season for job hunting

November marks the anniversary of my current position.  In other positions, I was hired in November and December. Yes, you can find work during the holiday season.

It’s a slow time for hiring but it does happen. Many people put off their job hunting until January. You can wait if you want to or you can position yourself for you next opportunity right now.

Personally, I see the market falling into two camps:

  1. Spend-my-budget-before-it’s-gone departments
  2. Holiday help

The first groups have job recs open they may need to fill before the end of the year. In some cases, they need to hire or risk losing the positions and the funding.

Freelancers benefit mostly from the second group. Companies are “threatened” by the employees who have waited until now to use their vacation days. Some jobs are vacant due to maternity and paternity leaves. Fortunately for you, there is a lot of work that needs to be done from now to December 31. That’s where you come in. I was a freelance copywriter during the holidays and they extended the job through March, because they like my work.

When you recover from turkey coma, plan a December search and see what happens. Worse case scenario  is that you get ahead of the January job seekers.


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.