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Monthly Archive for April, 2010

Recently an ad student at well-known art and design school came up to me and said, “I just had some of my work produced for a real client at a national agency.” Here’s why this is a disturbing story. The kid had done this work, and a lot of other work, for this agency as […]

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If one more person tells me they want something to “go viral” I think I shall retire to my chambers and weep softly until dusk. “Go viral”? Please. Take the Beatles. The Beatles didn’t hold a meeting in the 3rd floor conference room and decide, “Okay, we’re going to ‘go famous.’  Ideas, people?” No. They […]

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A Good Day to Count my Blessings.

There are certain brands that it is just a thrill to work on. And often, they’re brand names you don’t have to explain to your mom. “Hey, Mom. Yeah, we just won the ComGlom-Aero7 account. … What? … Oh, they make these engine parts that go inside of, well, not the inside  but …, ummmm, […]

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Full disclosure up front. What follows is four paragraphs about some Southwest Airlines work. I don’t work on that account and this isn’t my personal work, but we did it here at GSD&M and I think it’s pretty cool. I love that description. A brand is a promise paid off in the store. That’s what […]

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How I Use Twitter.

If we were to meet at a party, the first thing you would notice is that I am not there, because I never go to parties. I am an introvert and I never “do things.” I also take great pains to avoid ever having to “chat.” I find small talk makes me uncomfortable. In fact, […]

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COPY: You’ve seen them. Those signs in airports around the world, hand-painted and with just a hint ‘o’ creative. “Pardon our mess while we FLY thru making a better airport for you.” Well, it was that time of year again here in Austin, Texas, last night when airport creatives gathered ‘round the stage to honor […]

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I was born in the year 1954 when stamps were three cents. If you thought, “Wow, three cents??” you’re a digital immigrant like me. You’re a digital native if you thought, “What are stamps?” Unfortunately, there is a third group: digital rejectors — you’ve met them. The eye-rollers; the shoulder-shruggers; the print and TV addicts […]

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Capitalism is OKAY.

(Article I wrote for the Los Angeles Times.) My mother, a dyed-in-the-wool Minnesota Democrat, is sitting across the breakfast table from me. She’s reading the paper and comes across an ad for the big after-Thanksgiving sale at The Mall of America. “How can people even go to that place?” she laments. “It’s just a … […]

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Have Heroes.

(This is an article I wrote for Communication Arts in, I think, 2002.) When I first got into this business back in 1978, I had heroes. In fact, I had a list of heroes. Their names were all written in the indexes of the 1977 and ’78 One Show annuals. I saw these people as […]

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Getting Off Promotional Drugs

(This is an article I wrote for ADWEEK back in 2002. Still feels true.) The similarity between the addiction to cocaine and the dependence on month-to-month retail promotions, is chilling. Similarity #1: Both addictions give short bursts of euphoria and a sense of wide popularity. A deep discount on popular items, like handing out free […]

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