Ads that make you cry and why that matters.

Advertising

This article was originally published on MMI Agency’s blog. The read the entire article, click here

You’re sitting at your desk checking emails when your friend sends you a seemingly innocuous YouTube link followed by a crying emoji. You take a sip from your coffee mug, glance around to make sure no one is looking, and click play.

In the course of ninety seconds, you are transformed from a slick, confident business person to a weeping infant who would rather be in the fetal position under your desk than sitting behind it. You try to hold it together, but it’s too late. You know that Judy from Accounting has heard you sniffling and the charade is over. You can’t hide it anymore: an ad just made you cry.

Click here to read the full article. 

FOUR WAYS TO TELL BETTER STORIES

Advertising

This article originally appeared on MMI Agency’s blog. Read more here.

In the ad world, it seems we are all about storytelling these days. Everyone is talking about it—and for good reasons. Stories are entertaining, engaging, and valuable. When told well, they create meaningful connections between brands and consumers that move consumers emotionally, and generate conversations that can boost a brand’s visibility, cache and credibility.

Brands do this all the time. Think about Dove’s stories about women discovering their true beauty, or Nike’s compelling narratives about driven athletes who wear its apparel. Chipotle hit a home run with its short film that told the story of a scarecrow as dedicated to healthy, fresh ingredients as the restaurant brand.

Good storytelling takes skill, no question. However, not everyone in our industry has an English degree, studied psychology, or has been the beneficiary (or victim) of a storytelling workshop. But you don’t need those—or a Pulitzer Prize in literature—to be a compelling storyteller (although, it wouldn’t hurt).

So how do we hone our storytelling craft? With training and practice. Before you start telling yourself, “not for me,” consider these four easy ways to become a better storyteller…

Storytelling is a piece of work.

Advertising

14D4C516_Luna Book_D4C-FO_8x8

Another day, another item checked off my bucket list. Recently I got the chance to write a children’s book for one of our clients at MMI Agency: Dentistry for Children. To help educate children about oral hygiene, MMI developed a books series for Dentistry For Children featuring a lovable character, Luna the Tooth Fairy. For the third book in the series, I got to throw my hat in by developing a new storyline incorporating Luna and her friends, Lionel and Libby.

The story focuses on a major tooth crisis: the moon, which gets its glow from the shiny teeth collected by Tooth Fairies, is losing it’s brightness. Luna needs to tell kids about dental hygiene, and asks Lionel and Libby to help her.

The following are excerpts from the 15-page fully illustrated book (feel free to read the whole thing):

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Right Brain Left Brain

Uncategorized

Most of us have heard the “left brain verses right brain” argument enough times to make both sides of our brain hurt. Creative people are said to use their right brain, while more analytical people are said to use their left side. While this is based on neurology, the assumption that one side is “better” than another is not.

In college, I minored in psychology which means that a large portion of each semester was geared toward the study of the human body, and, more specifically, the brain. So I know the science behind the argument that right-brained people are more creative than left-brained people. But I find this knowledge to have severely crippled society and led people to believe that there is only one type of creativity.

In addition to my psych minor, I majored in Creative Advertising, which included a course called Introduction to Creativity. In this class we studied the theories of creativity – yes, it’s a science. And one of the most beneficial nuggets that I learned was the concept of multiple intelligences. Intelligence here is described as having a well-developed aptitude for something. In short, it means that everyone can be innovative, we just use our creativity in different ways.

What are the Multiple Intelligences?

Musical – rhythmic and harmonic
Visual – spatial
Verbal – linguistic
Logical – mathematical
Bodily – kinesthetic
Interpersonal – interaction with others
Intrapersonal – self-reflective
Naturalistic – relating with natural surroundings
Existential – spirituality

Basically, I value the idea of right/left brain, because it’s based on science and how our brain actually functions. But, I refuse to let it define whether or not you can be creative, because our creativity is what makes us uniquely human.

So, what are your multiple intelligences?

All The Time In The World

Advertising, Lists

This is what my schedule looked like today:

Photo Aug 08, 6 12 29 PM

And that doesn’t include the actual work I had to do – plus the fact that I am working late tonight.

So what does one do when there isn’t enough time in the day?

  1. Make A List – Check.
  2. Utilize Your Clone – Although a stereotypical answer, the clone card is still relevant. Sadly, my clone lives in Dallas and has no knowledge of the advertising industry.
  3. Make a Cardboard Cutout of Yourself – The perfect device for being in two places at once.
  4. Ask Siri For Help – It’s worth a shot.
    Photo Aug 08, 6 06 22 PM
  5. Pitch A Tent – A stellar idea. I’m considering keeping a tent in my cube. In the meantime, I’ll have to settle for a fort made of paper balls, my emergency hoodie, and some paperclips.
  6. Invent A New Time-Scale – If time is relative, then I should be able to make more time. Right? Right. From now on there are 47 Haley-hours in a day.
  7. Cry. Then Do One Thing At A Time. – A cathartic process, but could get messy. And it’s far too practical.
  8. Do Everything At Once – The inevitable solution. Every time.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to tackle my task list and managed to get most of what I needed done. And I didn’t even have to resort to the cardboard cutout.

What do you do when you’re out of time?

YouTube thinks I’m weird.

Advertising, Everyday

The Internet is a wonderfully complex organism. It thinks. It responds. It knows what you are looking for in a potential mate. But most importantly, it likes to recommend things for you.

In this era of smart technology, I’ve come to expect a lot from social media websites. I expect them to know what brands I like, what politics I preach, and what Twitter followers I’d most likely follow. This expectation crosses all social media platforms. And I feel like most have a fairly accurate opinion of who I am – except for YouTube.

Below is a screenshot of some of YouTube’s recommendations for me this morning:

youtuberesults1. One of my current Broadway obsessions is the musical adaptation of Matilda. Kids rocking out like Spring Awakening? Good work, YouTube.

My Nerd Points: 20

2. I’m subscribed to Emma Blackery’s channels (she’s one of the many YouTubers I follow from across the Pond). Two points: YouTube.

My Punk Points: 10

3. I have no clue what this is. But it disturbs me. And is Emo Dad an actual web series? And why am I being recommended the finale of this show? Minus one point: YouTube.

My Emo Points: 5

4. Now I’m trying to think of what I have watched in the past that might make YouTube think I’m one of “those” people who are in the REAL Apocalypse Shelter market. Wait. Am I one of “those” people? Excuse me while I have an identity crisis. Minus one point: me.

My Gun Toter Points: 25

5. Apparently YouTube thinks I’m dying to know what’s next in the world of Soaps. My question: is the girl in the picture “the bold” or “the beautiful?” I am now intrigued. Minus one point: me.

My Cat Lady Points: 15

6. Everything about the title of this video confuses me … First up on #TableTalk: what happens to you when you die? And after you’ve given yourself a complex, let’s talk about your dating life.

My Cat Lady Points: 25

7. I don’t think I want to watch The Dirty Old Greek Man do anything. Unless it’s a deleted scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding, because I’m on that like dirty old clothes on a greek man.

My Possible Unabomber Points: 10

I’m not sure if it’s me or them, but the folks at YouTube HQ must think I’m weird. That or a cat-owning, show-tune-singing doomsday-prepper. But then again, is it possible they me better than I know myself? Maybe I need to stop questioning their recommendations and start watching them. For all I know I’ll like Emo Dad. But probably not.

Haley Takes SXSW

Advertising, Everyday, Travel

Tomorrow afternoon I’m driving to Austin for the SXSW Interactive Festival. Many of you already know this because I either haven’t stopped talking about it or you stalk me on Twitter. Or both.

For those who don’t know what SXSW is, here is a brief synopsis: it’s awesome. But in all seriousness, it’s one of the largest festivals of its kind. Spanning several weeks, SXSW is broken up into several sections, namely Music, Film, and Interactive. Most people are familiar with the music and film aspect, but I will be attending the Interactive portion of the festival.

SXSW Interactive focuses on interactive media and emerging technology. The website explains further that “the event features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line-up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to experience a preview of what is unfolding in the world of technology.” Cool, huh?

So why am I going? My agency is sending me and four others to the festival in order to learn more about upcoming media and new technology that so that we can gain a better understanding of where our industry is going and the opportunities for where we could take it in the future. So, over the next 5 days I’ll basically be in creative nerd-land listening to some of the brightest minds in the media world. And that is just the place for a young advertiser.

In classic Haley-style, I considered blogging my trip just like I have my other travels in the past (see: Scotland and London). However, I also realized that I’m going to be crazy busy and people may not necessarily be interested in my day-to-day laundry list of activities. Thus, I’ll mostly be logging my trip through my Twitter account. If you’re interested in following my adventure, you can get live coverage by clicking here.

Other than seminars and workshops, I’ll also be getting a lot of free swag, enjoying free parties and food, meeting some cool, like-minded people, and catching up with several old friends who will be attending as well.

Overall, I’m super pumped. Can you tell?

Pitch, please.

Advertising, Lists

Before we begin, for those who don’t know, the advertising world is all about pitches. Pitches are the way to win new business and new clients. Basically, it’s the official process through which an agency “pitches” ideas to a prospective client. They are usually a two-week process during which you must respond to a prospective client’s prompt (what we call a “creative brief”) and develop several campaigns, with several different pieces in each campaign. At the end of the pre-pitch weeks, the agency will present their creative ideas and business plans to the client. Then, the client will think on it a long time and then choose which agency they liked best. Usually there are three or more agencies competing for the same business, but it depends on the client and the situation. It’s generally a very exciting – and very stressful – process that feels awesome when you win and pretty sucky when you don’t.

Now that we have that out of the way… I’ve been working on a pitch at work and it has been an event to say the least. We were given two weeks to prepare our presentation, but one of those weeks happened to be during Thanksgiving and you can imagine how helpful that was.

The Things I’ve Learned From Pitches

1. A Pitch is kind of like a marathon. Except you can’t train for it. And there aren’t people on the sidelines cheering for you.

2. There’s a lot of food involved. Catered. For Free.

3. Weekends become weekdays. And you spend more time at work than at home, which makes work feel like home, which makes finally going home feel weird.

4. Elevator music never stops playing. Even at night. When all the lights are off.

5. Night janitors wear headphones when vacuuming. That’s not a joke. Just an observation.

6. No one cares about recycling. We just print things. Over and over and over again.

7. You should be allowed to wear sweats to work everyday. And bunny slippers.

8. Illustrators are strange beasts who only communicate through email and never call you back.

9. Waiting for “Pitch Day” is like waiting for Christmas, the last day of school, and getting your lab test results back at the same time.

10. If I had to work nights and weekends, I wouldn’t choose any other team to work with. It’s feels awesome to stand in front of “The Wall” and see all the crazy, amazing, funny, inspiring work that you and your coworkers created. And I’m happy to have shared in the creative process with them.

For us, D-Day is this Wednesday. That’s when the pitch team travels to the mystery location (mystery for you, not for me) and delivers “The Pitch”. Then we’ll have to wait a bit for the client to deliberate and notify the agencies involved of their decision. I’m pretty confident in our work – and all the hard work and creative thinking that went into it all. We’ve produced a crazy amount of awesomeness these past two weeks. I really want to win. But, win or lose, I’ll just be glad when I can go home and enjoy a home-cooked meal. And change the water in my fish bowl.

Me when I had to work all weekend:

Me when I had to work all weekend.

Me the Monday after having to work all weekend:

Me the Monday after having to work all weekend.

Ads are scary.

Advertising

Here are some flyers I helped make for our office Halloween party. Simple and sweet. Shout out to Leigh for her awesome art-directing skills.

Side note: I am mad that my team lost at Pictionary. If my team could guess “werewolf” from cat ears and “phantom” from a stick-figure wearing a mask, then we deserved to win. There were cheaters. We were wronged.

Hard Smell

Advertising, Everyday

I wonder how hard it was to sell the first deodorant. These are the things that I think about, go figure.

Today, most of us couldn’t imagine living without the sweet smell of antiperspirants, but there was once a time when it didn’t exist and people were oblivious to the fact that they all reeked–or at least silently tolerant of their smelly brethren. I mean, people used to only bathe once a week, if at all. And let’s not forget about the lack of proper air-conditioning. People used to suffer through the heat, working outside, in heavy fabric, creating moats of sweat that trailed away from their aching bodies. The stench must have been thick and impermeable. Yum.

You might think that it would be an easy sell. A guy walks into a store and declares a solution to the incredibly overwhelming odor that people suffered every day. Who could say no? But there are a few things that might have made it awkward…

Wikipedia doesn’t shed light on the gender of the person we all owe our noses to because apparently the name on the original patent was lost, which sucks (mostly for them, but a little for me because now I have to make assumptions). However, we do know that the patent was submitted in the late nineteenth century. Good work, historians. Needless to say, that man–or woman–had to get a test-subject. That means that the anonymous inventor had to tell people that they smelled bad. Oh they could have tried it out on themselves, but a true inventor knows that eventually they would need to broaden their experiment to include other subjects. And that must have been awkward, because, let’s be real here, everyone was probably pretty used to the rankness of their world and stopped noticing. How would you like to be the person he picked?

After the first deodorant passed the test and Dr. John Doe did a little happy dance, the next obvious step would have been marketing. Now before you go all “she’s sexist” on me for making our smell savior a man, please remember the historical context of my imagination and assume (see, here come the assumptions) that a woman probably had a harder time securing a patent than a man. Then again, maybe that’s why the name was conveniently “lost”… This could turn into a far more interesting story on the early beginnings of women’s rights, but I have already written Dr. John Doe’s name twice and don’t feel like going back and changing it. So there.

Continuing on. Even if the Doc started selling the roll-on salve out of his garage, he would have had to used some form of advertising to get the word out. I can imagine it now, hand-printed flyers with “Do you smell bad?” printed in big, bold letters. He could even use his first test subject as the face of the campaign. I’m sure people were begging to be the first person in line to declare their lack of personal hygiene–I know I would be. Or maybe Dr. John created a special section in the back of the pharmacy that worked like a speakeasy. He could have created a bunch of really fun passwords that his customers had to whisper at the counter and embarrass themselves in front of everyone else. Maybe there was a secret hand gesture. Or maybe not.

Whatever actually happened is lost to history. But, one thing is for sure, it would have been an interesting time to be in the perfume market.