I have a great view.
While I’ve only been in this office a few days – here are a few shots from my desk.
Yes, I’m enjoying the view. I hope my son doesn’t see this. He’s been asking to go to the 102 floor for months. This will only make him increase his efforts.
This morning, on my way to the office on 33rd Street, three things happened that I found weird, ironic and touching, although not necessarily in that order.
I decided I needed a haircut. Since my usual barbershop closed in Grand Central Terminal, I needed to find a new place. So today, I walked into a barbershop on West 35th Street. This place was a throw back to a time where men would hang out in the barbershop all day. The only difference was that instead of Floyd the barber, the men sitting around the shop all looked like Russian Mafia. You know, guys that you don’t want to owe money. Lots of black leather. The smell of cigarettes, which are not local. Interesting accents that reminded me of watching Boris and Natasha cartoons from my childhood. (Would you like glass tea?) And of course, when Serge pulled out a straight edge razor, I thought I might have said something to offend. Instead, he proceeded to give me a very nice haircut. He couldn’t have been nicer. I think I’ve found my new barber. I’ll have to ask a friend to teach me a few choice words in Russian for my next haircut.
No more than 15 steps outside of the barbershop, someone calling my name, stopped me on the street. I look up from my phone and I see an Art Director I worked with for a short time. “Peter? Wow it’s been a long time – how are you? What are you up to?” We stood there for a few minutes and exchanged work stories for a few minutes. I asked if he kept in touch with anyone, he asked how I liked my current job. You know those sort of questions you ask people who haven’t seen in 10 years. Then, just as we were about to walk in our separate ways, he stops and says the nicest thing anyone can say to a creative director. “I’ve always wanted to tell you something, when we worked together, you had an incredible influence on my career. You kicked my ass in ways nobody ever kicked it. You made me dig deeper than anyone before or after. Thank you. I’ve always wanted to tell you that.” I was floored. You always hope you have a positive influence on people. I was touched beyond belief.
I continue my walk to work, and I popped in my earphones to listen to music and mute the outside NYC noise. Right near my building were two women giving away bibles. Their display asked, “What can the bible tell you?” I found it ironic at that exact moment I was listening to REM’s “Losing my Religion.” I laughed to myself.
That all happened during my 10 block walk from Grand Central to 33rd Street. Perhaps I’ll kick someone ass today. But hopefully only in a positive way.
I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about a guy who sells very high-end audio equipment ($200,000 was mid-range) and it got me thinking about my musical tastes. It also got me thinking of the first albums I purchased with my own money that I earned on my own. (Probably mowing lawns or something) Looking back – I can see how my entire musical taste was formed by the purchase of these three albums. All bought at the same time. All released in 1970.
This album had everything. Just look at the songs – it was enough to drive my parents crazy. Drug references. Dance music. It had multiple Top Ten hits to make it approachable, yet enough cool R&B sounds to keep it interesting. I wore this album out.
The concert happened in 1969. I bought the soundtrack as soon as it came out in 1970. I loved screaming the ‘F” word to Country Joe McDonalds ‘Fish’ cheer. This album began my lifelong love of Crosby, Still, Nash and Young, The Who, Santana, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone (again), Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, and Richie Havens. I could never figure out how Sha-Na-Na made it onto the album and Janis Joplin did not.
1. I Had A Dream (John B. Sebastian)
2. Going Up The Country (Canned Heat)
3. Stage Announcements
4. Freedom (Richie Havens)
5. Rock & Soul Music (Country Joe & The Fish)
6. Coming Into Los Angeles (Arlo Guthrie)
7. At The Hop (Sha-Na-Na)
8. The ‘Fish’ Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’- To-Die Rag (Country Joe McDonald)
9. Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man (Joan Baez featuring Jeffrey Shurtleff) Joe Hill (Joan Baez)
10. Stage Announcements
11. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
12. Sea Of Madness (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
13. Wooden Ships (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)
14. We’re Not Gonna Take It (from Tommy) (The Who)
15. Stage Announcements
16. With A Little Help From My Friends (Joe Cocker)
17. Rainstorm, Crowd Sounds, Announcements & General Hysteria
1. Crowd Rain Chant
2. Soul Sacrifice (Santana)
3. Stage Announcements
4. I’m Going Home (Ten Years After)
5. Volunteers (Jefferson Airplane)
6. Max Yasgur Medley: Dance To The Music/Music Lover/I Want To Take You (Sly and the Family Stone)
7. Rainbows All Over Your Blues (John B. Sebastian)
8. Love March (Butterfield Blues Band)
9. Star Spangled Banner/Purple Haze & Instrumental Solo (Jimi Hendrix)
I loved Elton John’s early music. Elton John (the album), Tumbleweed Connection, Honky Chateau, Madman Across The Water all earned very high marks in my record collection. Loved them all. I think I stopped buy his albums with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. He had changed. I didn’t like where it was going. But his second album – Elton John – was filled with incredible tunes
None of these three albums were the top sellers of 1970. Bridge of Troubled Waters, Led Zeppelin II, Chicago, Abbey Road and Santana dominated that year. By the way – the #11 album of 1970 was Crosby, Still, Nash & Young’s “Déjà vu.” I still love it today.
Please let me know you first purchase in the ‘comment’ area.
For months my family and I have planned on taking a ski vacation to New Hampshire this week. Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate – and the mountain where we were going to ski closed two days before our arrival.
That’s when my wife announced that we were still going away, just not to New Hampshire.
After 12 hours of research, cashing in some American Express and Delta miles, we were on our way to Lake Tahoe to ski at Northstar, Heavenly Valley and Squaw Valley. In some ways I can’t believe that we’re really here. I’m a planner. This no planning thing doesn’t work in my Virgo mode.
But on the other hand, I have to admit its pretty cool. This morning, we woke up early and were on the mountain by 8:30 AM. By lunch we had already skied over 10,000 vertical feet. And by the time we stopped for the day, we had hit 17,500 vertical feet. Keep in mind, at Butternut were we ski in the Berkshires, we average about 4,000 vertical feet on a good day. So it’s fair to say, we are a little tired.
Today was amazing. With one exception. I think I broke my thumb. I slipped on some ice and took a hard fall. Jammed my thumb. From the first knuckle to the tip, my thumb is completely black and blue. Actually, it’s more black than blue. And it hurts. And it’s throbbing. But I don’t plan to stop skiing. My goal is to ski 125,000 vertical feet this week. (I’ll post my ski pictures and statistics every few days)
Broken thumb or no broken thumb.
Wondering where I’ve been?
The past few weeks have been (possibly) the hardest and most exhausting weeks of my career. As the agency had four pitches in five days in four different states – New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Plus we’re prepping another dozen for the next few weeks. That will include pitches in Florida, Washington, D.C., Basel Switzerland and glamorous Morristown, New Jersey.
Yes, It’s been busy.
On top of the new business activity, we’ve been creating some amazing work for our existing clients. I’m proud of the work we’re doing. One of our clients just approved an amazing new website that – the day it’s released – will be a huge step forward in pharmaceutical websites. We’re hosting an event for another company that will be huge and will frankly be unlike anything anyone has ever done before. We’re shooting multiple TV campaigns, we’re creating a video for a pro bono client’s 50th anniversary, we’re shooting 3 print campaigns, designing multiple trade show booths and attempting to create a new agency website at the same time.
Not to mention all the daily projects that are too numerous to mention. Print ads, brochures, digital web banners, interactive visual aids, RM programs, eCRM programs, QR codes, out-of-home executions, and pharma’s coolest iPad apps.
And you know what? I love it. I love the buzz, I love the activity, I love the passion of the people working on these projects.
I’ve come to realize that when it comes to new business, it’s not really about the winning and losing. If you’re good, you’ll win your fair share. And even if you’re good, you’ll lose a few that you should have won. I’ve won pitches that I probably shouldn’t have won. I’ve lost pitches I never should have lost. But at the end of the day, I’m proud of the teamwork, the camaraderie, the intelligence, the passion, the drive, the determination, the guts, the depth and the vision of our team.
It’s hard work doing what we do. But I still wouldn’t want to do anything else in the entire world. And I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else. Yes, this week has been a hell of a week. And I can’t wait to see what happens next week.
I love print. The perfect image. A tightly crafted headline. Beautiful design. Great ideas.
I’ve decided to attach some of my favorites from the past few years. I like the simplicity. I like the fact that someone actually sold these ideas to a client. I love that they all have an interesting simple idea. And that they happen to be beautifully executed. Enjoy.
HIV and AIDS
This is a very simple idea using striking visuals and ‘stealing’ a device to get the message home with today’s digital generation.
MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FOR TRAVELERS
A global campaign to get the message across — get sick overseas — we can help. Take a look.
This organization has had a history of doing great work. I love this campaign. The thought “write a different history” is simple and powerful. I hope you like it.
Love them or hate them, this organization did a great job with the “David versus Goliath” campaign from my sister DRAFTFCB office.
I hope you enjoyed these campaign. All great. All award winners. All effective. I’d love to know which one you preferred. Please fill out the poll below. Have a great weekend.
I watch a lot of TV commercials. Here’s one that when I saw it, I laughed. I also love the premise.
And it’s the type of campaign I love, as you can imagine the rest of the executions within the campaign.
Plus it has a copy line at the end which is just perfect.
I wish I was in the room when the creative brief was written. You know it had a simple message. You know that everyone in the room laughed and said “I wonder if we’ll ever REALLY get away with this.” I can also imagine the creative team presenting the idea to their clients. “We see these friends driving backwards all day!” I can picture the clients squirming in their seats a little. “Will people really watch the commercial – I mean it’s about guys driving in reverse.” And the creative team will answer “Yes, we’ll give them just enough to make sure our message gets across.”
And they did. And it went viral. In a good way.
I’d love to know what you think. Please post comments on the WordPress site instead of FACEBOOK. (I’m trying to get on the front page of the wordpress site.) Thanks.
I don’t know exactly when I decided I hate e-mail. But sometime over the course of the past few years, I’ve decided it’s the one thing I hate more than just about anything.
I hate that people send an e-mail with an attachment verses coming by and showing me work. I hate that I get plenty of ‘cover your ass’ e-mail instead of people telling me what’s really going on. But most of all, I hate the volume of e-mail I get every day. If I sat and really read and responded to every e-mail, I would have time to do nothing else.
This morning, I turned on my computer and looked down at my e-mail. Today I have 2910 items in my in-box, of those, 99 are unread. So I decided to look at the 99 unread e-mails. Of those, 25 we’re automatic reminders to approve expense reports, 12 were second reminders to approve expense reports, 5 were PTO requests, 10 were online receipts for lunch orders (while eating at my desk so I can read e-mails), 3 agency wide e-mails that I wrote (which I don’t have to read) and some stray promotional e-mails from photographers, production houses and retouchers.
The rest – are probably really important e-mails that get lost in the sea of e-mails. Here are some that I probably should have read sooner:
Subject: Today’s presentation – Immediate response needed
Hmmm, I probably should have looked at that one when it was send last Thursday.
Subject: Call me before you leave the office
Opps that was sent to me two weeks ago. Interestingly, the person never called me to find out why I never called.
Subject: Touching base
OK, here’s a trick – if you’re trying to get my attention don’t send an e-mail that says ‘Touching Base.’ Because I view my e-mails by subject, every e-mail called ‘Touching Base’ gets lumped together. Right now, I have 7 e-mails all titled ‘Touching Base.’ I haven’t read any of them. Mostly because they’re from people I don’t know. But also because if you really wanted to touch base, you’d come to my base (my office) and ask me a question. The one on top of the pile that I didn’t read was from January 24th, “Hello (notice a form letter not personalized), I am in the marketing and lead generation industry …” Thank heavens I didn’t take time out of my day to read that one.
Subject: DEADLINE APPROACHING!!
I think I didn’t read this because of the use of ALL CAPS and the double exclamation point. Actually, the real reason is that it’s the 500th e-mail from my son’s school looking for a donation (which I already made on the first e-mail).
Subject: Richard, it’s your lucky day
A free subscription to an industry magazine that I already get for free is not what I’d call my lucky day. Perhaps Richard, you just won $100 million in the lottery – I would consider THAT a lucky day. Or maybe even, Richard, you just won someone to read all you unread e-mail – that would be an incredible prize.
But of all the unread e-mail this is my favorite:
Subject: Got a minute?
No, I don’t. In fact, this week I’ve received 19 e-mails all with the subject line ‘Got A Minute?’ Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t respond to these e-mail eventually. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care. What it means is that in my time stretched day, writing an e-mail that asks ‘Got A Minute’ is too easy for me to answer ‘no, I don’t.’ Now an interesting subject line should be, ‘What can I take off your plate?’
Anyway, enough ranting about e-mails. Oh, by the way, in the time that it took me to write this post, I’ve received 47 more e-mails. I read only two.
This past weekend, it snowed in Cambridge, which happens once a year if we're lucky. In the middle of a driving snowstorm, I dragged my poor husband - who was on a huge deadline at work - outside for a walk. The man is a saint.
I hopped out of bed the next morning and wandered around Cambridge for three hours with my camera the next morning, although not much of the snow stuck to the buildings - which made it less scenic than I had hoped.