Archives For May 2011

I’m an advertising guy who has a lot of music and writing and comedy performing time under the belt. In all those jobs, the people who were the best at them FELT like they were the best. The best musicians I’ve worked with FEEL like great musicians. The best ad people FEEL like great ad people.

It’s not always about the amount of time they put in, or how they study their craft. Certainly, talent and experience play a big part of being “the best.” But feeling it, feeling like you were made to do what you do, and feeling like you are great at what you do is an emotional thing.

So how do you feel? What’s your emotional commitment to your craft, your vocation, your calling? Do you feel like an engineer, or are you an ENGINEER? Teachers, how teachery do you feel?

I’ve been on the bad side of this. There was a stage in my ad career where I felt burnt. I certainly didn’t feel like the best. My art director partner called me on it, and said “Be an ad guy!” I’ve felt this in music, when i didn’t know a song inside and out, I really didn’t FEEL like a musician, and it hurts the performance.

It’s commitment. Confidence. And totally feeling like you were born to do what  you do.

Think about it while Peter Frampton asks if you feel like he feels.

Nike has created a nation for a soccer team in Brazil. That’s a pretty dang big idea. Check it out. Here’s more on the idea from


Thomas Edison would work for two solid days to perfect experiments, with nothing more than a few naps to get him through. It was a little crazy.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones spent endless hours holed up in his apartment listening to blues albums, in his quest to help the Stones become England’s best blues band. It was a little crazy.

My potter friend Mark Skudlarek has a special kind of clay that gets driven by the truckload from a quarry in Indiana to his studio on Cambridge, Wisconsin, so he can make the perfect kind of clay for his pots. It’s a little crazy.

Creative geniuses seem to have a crazy, offbeat little thing or two that fuels their work, and that makes society say, “That’s weird.”

So, what’s your thing – a habit, routine, trait, trick, oddity, or system that helps fuel your creativity? Why not make one up?

The great “Think Different” ad from Apple began “Here’s to the crazy ones.” They are the ones who changed the world. They were different. They had traits that were a little crazy.

You may not want to change the world. But I do hope you consider inventing some crazy, different thing that can make you be more interesting, more creative, and a bigger contributor to good things on this planet than everyone else you work with who is as boring and similar and common as…everyone else.

In larger ad agencies, radio is the bastard child of creativity. The B Team or C Team or Interns in the Mailroom Team would get those assignments. In some of the agencies I’ve been at, we didn’t do a lot of TV (the ultimate assignment), so I made my radio assignments as big of a deal as I could make them, from idea to script to production.

For some brands and projects, this means deploying the “more is more” theory, which I’ve used to great success. I’ve long believed that if you’re making a radio ad that’s supposed to have a media frequency of 7 or 8 or 9 or 10, well then by God, that ad better have enough going on to make it worth listening to that many times. In some cases, that means deploying the kitchen sink.

Well, I made a radio ad yesterday at Haggar Audio that used the kitchen, bathroom and mudroom sinks, with the great Dave Adler composing a gigantic music track.

It gave me a renewed appreciation for the sublime power of audio. Thanks radio. You’re cool.