Archive for the ‘MIAMIADSCHOOL’ Category

Miami Ad Schools: Agency Tours (Part 2)

Continuing the theme of the last post, we spent the week after graduation (March 24th-27th) visiting agencies all over NYC. As I listened to various senior level Planners talk about their company philosophies/cultures, their work, their approach to planning, etc., I began to notice some major themes:

1) The shift from AUDIENCE —> PARTICIPANTS. Agencies are starting to realize that they need to get people INVOLVED if they want them to buy into the brands they are building.

2) The shift from DIALOGUE —> MONOLOGUE. Agencies have come to understand that the days of shouting at people has passed; we need to encourage a conversation.

3) The shift away from TV spots as the central hub of communication. R/GA said that, “The digital periphery is now the core.” I don’t completely agree with this, but I do think that the days of building every communications campaign around a :30 second spot are over.

In my opinion, the future of advertising doesn’t have a centralized soapbox to promote your product/service. Instead, we’ll have a series of super-targeted communications spread out amongst various channels to build a “brand story” that will engage consumers.

4) The shift from Advertising solutions —> creative Business solutions. When I used to work in the lending business, Mortgage Brokers would rarely tell their customers they could get a better deal from their local bank. Direct lenders, on the other hand, would rarely recommend a Mortgage Broker. Why? Because each side was trying to preserve their own self-interests instead of focusing on what was best for the customer. 

It’s the same thing with Advertising: if you go to an Ad agency with a problem – surprise! surprise! – an Ad campaign will be the solution 10 times out of 10.

While some companies have begun to make this transition, others, like Naked, have built their business on this media-neutral method of prescribing business solutions.

5) The shift from logical/rational decision-making to emotionally-based choices. I’ve been noticing more and more Planners talk about the importance of understanding peoples’ emotions and behavioral economics, suggesting books like Dan Ariely’s “Predictably Irrational” as Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s “The Black Swan“. 

When I worked in sales, I learned that “selling is the transference of emotion.” The same is true in the Advertising world. If you want to get people to act a certain way, you’re not going to get very far by trying to logic them to death. You just can’t underestimate the power of influencing people through emotion to guide their actions. 

To anyone who’s been reading the Advertising/Marketing/Planning blogs, none of these themes are new news. If you’re new to these concepts, however, it’s important to familiarize yourself with them because this is the future of the business. Not only that, you should know WHY the industry is going through these shifts, since “past is prologue.”


Miami Ad School: Agency Tours (Part 1)


Madison Ave Stoplight

Originally uploaded by joey.parsons

The week after graduation from Miami Ad School we had the option to visit a dozen agencies in NYC.

Wieden + Kennedy
Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners
Deutsch (#13 – we set this visit up ourselves)

I can’t stress enough how valuable it was to have the option to visit so many well-known agencies AND meet with so many Planners in such a short period of time.

I’m going to provide some of the highlights of our visits, and the next post is going to round up some overall themes I noticed.

BBH – “Where is an audience without a brand?” The idea that communities already exist – it’s up to brands to harness them.

AKQA – “Planning is creating a story with a series of communications.”

W+K – When building your book/in interviews, “Show perspective of your ideas, your strategic insights, and POV of every project you work on.” Also, memorize your best case study.

R/GA – You never want to have a dead end – if you have enough (or keep uncovering) data you can continue to build on a campaign.

JWT – “Don’t interrupt what people are interested in. BE what people are interested in. Time is the new currency.”

Y&R – “Resist the usual.”

Digitas – “The biology of decision-making is always the same, so don’t discount emotion.”

Anomaly – “It makes no sense to develop theory and pass it on to someone else. If you can create…CREATE.”

“Every piece of communication you have is media.”

Conviction is standing up for your authenticity when it matters most.”

Naked – “Unsexy is the new sexy.”


Miami Ad School: Weeks 9 & 10 Planning Review

March 28, 2009 2 comments

School Bokeh

Originally uploaded by shinealight (taking a break)

FYI – I already graduated from Miami Ad School’s Account Planning program on March 19th, so the classes I’m writing about in these posts actually took place a few weeks ago.

I’m going to combine Weeks 9 & 10 in this post since I really want to move on to writing about Agency Tours in NYC the week after graduation and some other things.

Anyway, our Planning instructor for Week 9 was Neal Arthur from Wieden + Kennedy NYC. Neal started us off with a great quote,

Don’t give then what they want. Give them what they never believed was possible.” — Orson Welles

A couple key things that Neal said that resonated with me were:

1) New business pitches are the best, biggest and most grueling opportunities that a Planner can have

2) Work with as many new business pitches as possible

3) When you get a new business call, it’s because something’s broken with the client

Our instructor for Week 10 was Liam from Hall & Partners, which is now primarily a brand and communications research agency. Nice quote:

Clients often use research the same way a drunkard uses a lamppost – for support instead of illumination.” — David Ogilvy

A few things that stood out this weekend:

  • Just because it’s quant doesn’t mean it can’t tell a story
  • Focus groups should not be boring – they should be fun!

There are certain challenges when working with clients:

  • Inertia – We’ve always done it this way
  • The paradox of choice – too many ideas, with no clear way to prioritize
  • Lack of resources – not enough money; not enough manpower
  • Impatience – lack of willingness to take the long view & invest in the future
  • Culture – heirarchy and procedure take precedence over experimentation and entrepreneurialism

Lastly, Liam pointed out that Planners are thought partners with researchers. It’s important to create a culture that truly believes good ideas can come from anywhere and prizes openness.

Miami Ad School: Week 8 Planning Review

March 28, 2009 Leave a comment


FYI – I already graduated from Miami Ad School on March 19th. I wanted to be a lot more timely in posting about MAS each week, but especially at the end of the program it got really difficult, so some of the upcoming posts about MAS were originally drafted a few weeks ago. 

We had two terrific speakers for this week (end).

Cliff Courtney from Zimmerman Advertising

Domenico Vitale from PI&C

They were both very generous in sharing information, so I’m just going to sum up some nuggets of wisdom they shared with us.


  • Clients care about 2 things: 1) Cash flow 2) Shareholder value. As much as art, design and creativity have a place in this industry, we need to remember that it’s a business
  • When you walk into a room you need to know the most about trends, both macro and micro
  • In our strategies, we’ll be speaking with moms quite a bit since they control the majority of purchases
  • We’re in the business of behavior modification
  • As a Planner, start thinking about your language and how you use it; what is your personal brand?
  • The opposite of love is not hate – it’s apathy
  • “There are no facts – only interpretations.”
  • As a Planner, always question everything
  • in Qualitative research, don’t interview people with a clipboard – it creates a barrier to the truth. Be personable instead.
  • “Brief creatives in the contextual moment.”
  • “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”
  • What makes a great Planner? Three things: 1) Creativity 2) Courage 3) Curiosity


One of the best things we got out of Domenico was that it’s ridiculous to think that Planners can’t be creative and Creatives can’t be strategic. Ideas can come from anywhere and it’s important to draw them from everyone on the team, regardless of title or department.

Categories: MIAMIADSCHOOL Tags:

Week 7 Planning Review

March 23, 2009 Leave a comment


I’m going to keep this post really brief since I was juggling about 5 different things when I wrote this post between assignments, preparing my book and job hunting.

We didn’t have any Planning classes for Week 6, so we ended up doubling up for Week 7. We had two instructors:

Shari Allison with Northstar Research Partners

Scott Tegethoff with Universal McCann

Shari discussed quantitative research. Quantitative is basically the numbers side of research where you analyze all sorts of metrics, like % of people currently using your product. It’s the tangible, scientific side of Planning. If you’ve ever prepared a survey then you have done quantitative research.

Scott’s topic for the weekend was “The Changing Media Landscape.” We did some group workshops together where we were given a short amount of time (less than a couple hours) to analyze a business problem and develop a strategy.

This is a very realistic situation since you may be in a position as a Planner where faster turnaround times are often needed and even expected.

That’s it. I told you this would be a really brief post, didn’t I?

Miami Ad School: Richard Monturo on BRIC POP on Vimeo

February 17, 2009 1 comment

Last night we spent an incredible lecture session with Richard Montura, a Strategic Planner from La Comunidad in Miami. He didn’t come to us to specifically talk about Planning, but to discuss his observations from traveling all over the world for two years.

His story was fun, inspiring and entertaining. To paraphrase one of my Planner friends, “I thought I knew a lot about this stuff, but he made me feel like a child all over again.”

From the author’s website:

“Nearly 10 years into the 21st century, a new creative world is forming.

Very soon, a lot of the world’s best art, fashion, music, entertainment, media, design, and style will be coming to you from Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The BRICs have been tipped by Goldman Sachs (who coined the acronym) to become four of the six largest economies in the world by 2050. But it isn’t just about the money.

BRIC Pop reveals another side to these four countries: their rising creative and cultural power. It’s just as significant as their economic story, and has major implications for entertainment, media, creative and marketing industries in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Plus, it’s fun.

I spent two years traveling to 42 cities, from Ahmedabad to Yekaterinburg, discovering first-hand how the BRICs have shifted from exporters of products, services, and commodities to arbiters of pop cultural ‘cool’.”

Visit the BRIC POP site

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Miami Ad School: Richard Monturo on B…“, posted with vodpod
Categories: MIAMIADSCHOOL Tags: ,

Miami Ad School: Monday Night Lecture

February 14, 2009 Leave a comment

listenearsvia ky_olsen

Every Monday night at MAS we have a new guest speaker(s) from the industry. Some speakers tend to focus on the work their agency has done, while others spend more time talking about ad careers, develop skills and/or current industry trends.

My favorite presentation so far was this past Wednesday night. The speakers were:

Mat Zucker, VP, Executive Creative Director at

Bryan Fuhr, Director of Strategy at AKQA

The main topic of the evening was listening, and how it is so essential for effective communication. I used to be terrible at this – I would constantly talk over people because I was more interested in telling them what I knew than paying attention to what they knew. What I’ve realized over the past few years and what Mat and Bryan discussed Monday night is that some of the best communicators also listen very intently.

I think when two people speak at the same time it’s like two cars driving towards each other on the same side of the road. One eventually HAS to step aside otherwise you arrive at an impasse where neither will arrive at the desired destination.

It’s the same with conversations. There needs to be a constant and healthy rapport back and forth.

When I worked in sales I learned that it’s actually the person that ASKS the questions that has control of the conversation and the sale, NOT the person speaking. I used the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, so I would only speak and ask questions for about 20% of the conversation. The rest of the time I was listening to uncover my client’s needs and understand the situation.

In “Perfect Pitch,” author Jon Steel says that the most important lesson he learned making new business presentations and in life in general was this:

“…successful communication and persuasion is not, as most people think, about being good at talking, having the gift of the gab. No, the best communicators, the best persuaders, are the best at what they do because invariably they are good listeners.”

Moving on, here’s the slides from Monday night’s lectures. Thanks to Bryan Fuhr for allowing me to share these.

Categories: MIAMIADSCHOOL Tags: , ,
%d bloggers like this: