Early Morning Learning at 4A’s Rise and Shine

November 11, 2015 | Wendell Willat | Industry Info

Last week we hopped aboard an early ferry from Sausalito. We embarked for San Francisco to The American Association of Advertising Agencies / 4A’s Rise and Shine event held at the sparkling new offices of Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP.

Sausalito FerryThe morning event ended up being fun, insightful, coffee-fueled, and quite honestly highly motivational for a boutique agency like emotion studios. Above all, we came away with an emboldened sense that the industry is in a strange and difficult time of flux, but it’s the strong, creative, and bold that will be rewarded by doing the best work for their clients moving forward.

We were super glad to be in attendance and listen to some of the most influential people in the industry. If you weren’t able to get to the event, here is who gave 20-minute talks and what we all learned about the current and future state of advertising.

Wieden+Kennedy’s Dave Luhr
In 1982, with one shoe company as its only client, Wieden+Kennedy started off in Portland, OR. Today, W+K is one of the top creative advertising agencies with eight worldwide offices, 1400 full-time employees, and responsible for company-changing ads from KFC, Coke, and Chrysler to name a few.
What Dave let us know:
  • This is a time of transition in the industry and many are panicking about what’s next
  • Because of this, it is time to stop asking, “what’s the vision?” and just get down to work
  • We have to be creating real relationships with viewers, not advertising to them
  • Don’t be afraid to fail – do something different. Again, this is a time for a change. It’s up to us whether it’s negative or positive
  • Creativity is what can solve all of our problems
  • Knowing this, try to walk into work stupid every morning. That is, come in with a clean head every day – no preconceptions about your clients
  • Believe in chaos over process
  • The work comes first – just do amazing work
  • Have a short memory – have ADHD – and always dream big
  • Staffing in new offices – start from scratch – their model is two creatives to one account guy
Casi Hughea and Gabrey Means from Grow Marketing
These two veterans from Levi’s and The Gap saw an opportunity and started their event marketing agency 12 years ago. With truly unique vision and burning bright energy, they’ve attracted and made happy a wide range of top clients including Google, Sephora, and Visa.
What we learned from Casi and Gabrey:
  • As much as we would like to think it’s about testing and learning, the truth is: Don’t f-it up
  • Experiential marketing is the growth sector
  • Get energy and press engaged in marketing
  • What can we create to give an experiential emotion experience?
  • Integrate digital marketing creatively and seamlessly into your live events
  • Work to create a flawless live experience
  • Ask: What’s the desired emotional response of the event?
  • Surprise and delight your audience at every turn
Paul Venables from Venables Bell & Partners
Paul and two partners split from Goodby Silverstein & Partners 14 years ago to start what is now one of the most successful independent agencies of the day.
This author is lucky enough to play softball with Paul and he’s really as good with his glove at third and bat in the lineup as he is creating amazing campaigns.
  • Paul did a very entertaining venting session about the top 10 things he did wrong and how fortunate he is to be where he is today even with all the mistakes he’s made
Rick Sittig from Secret Weapon Marketing
Secret Weapon Marketing was involved in every aspect, including starring in, what was arguably one of the most successful and entertaining fast food television campaigns in recent history. Tapping into humor, truth, and “out of the box” creative, Rick’s focus on increasing sales also helped his clients turn their companies around.
Title of Rick’s talk: “Shit I’ve found to be true”
  • Long campaigns are good – consistency long-term payoff – we are creating assets
  • They put their ad trophies in the bathroom and client’s sales charts in the office
  • Give clients an asset that accrues over time.
  • We are not artists – art is subjective- we are not in the art business. We’re more like architects – use art to build a structure that works. We’re in the do something business. Not to satisfy our muse but to get people to buy stuff
  • Pauses are funny – e.g. classic hamburger marketing
  • Get more deeply involved with fewer clients. Nobody gets lost. Gotta differentiate yourself. Everyone’s interest is aligned
  • Don’t do jobs to prove to future clients that you’re the best agency for them. Do the work to make your client more money
  • Ad research proves that ad research doesn’t work – because majorities of ads are forgettable are we that insecure that we need to test strangers to know of a product is good – use our experience and judgment to make decisions
  • All stories need conflict – Every brand need differentiation – Without difference there is no preference – clients hate conflict and differentiation – opposite of best practices (just copying other people’s stuff)
  • It’s better to charge for your use. not your time – we sell IP. Campaigns. Assets. We sell ideas – ideas are not commodities- We will have better conversations with clients by understanding this
  • If you don’t have an ending have a puppy
  • Great creative is creative that works to drive sales
Chris Schmed from Phenomenon
Chris was the chief strategy officer for the world’s largest advertising network. Originally going to school to become a physicist, he is now a top consultant for the world’s leading consumer brands.
Chris’ 20 minutes can be boiled down to:
  • Phenomenon has been in business for 9 yrs and has never done a pitch
  • Phenomenon is an ideation company – no awards no PR, etc.
  • Their goal is to let the client shine and put zero spotlight on the agency
  • Be pragmatic to the nuts in the world
  • Showed us an awesome spot they did for Wilson’s employees as they rebrand

We can’t wait for next year!

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