Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BCD Does Green for Fed Ex

Bryan Christie Design's work promoting FedEx's green packaging initiative launched today! The effort's main piece is a web animation that appears to crumple the entire content page of the site on which it's placed, without requiring a rollover, as if it's a sheet of paper. Click here to check it out. The "wad" disappears into a FedEx ad frame on the page's border as a corrugated FedEx box drops down with copy announcing that the majority of FedEx boxes are made from recycled materials. BBDO/NY created the concept and handled the development side of the effort, which also includes two additional animations of the FedEx box, one creating it from rays of light, and one creating it from clouds. Frames from the animations are being used in national print ads. Something like this...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just say "No, (thank you)"

Everyone wants to work. It's always been difficult to turn jobs down, and nowadays, few folks will no matter what the situation is. A recent experience reminded me of the importance of not losing sight of the "big picture" and knowing when (and how) to say no. This time it was a project for a sizable, national consumer magazine, but the same holds true for other types of clients/projects. The clients came to us for what at first sounded like a pretty cool series of images: three full page conceptual still lives illustrating the changing investment landscape and consumer mindsets due to our tanking economy. We NAILED it, and presented 2-3 sketches for each of the shots. The PE said everyone loved them, but that they weren't quite right for the feature (ie. not literal enough), and could we think about it some more and present some alternative directions? A weekend passed, the deadline loomed closer, and the following Monday, several new concepts were presented, getting a lukewarm reception. We were then asked to revisit the original directions, but to change them so they more closely fit the financial subject material (can you say, "literal"?!). After bastardizing the first round, making further changes, twice, we were finally ready to shoot. At that point, I believe EVERYONE was fatigued, and because it was too late to do differently, we forged ahead with approved concepts that NO ONE felt great about. Unfortunately, it showed in the work, and even after re-shooting one of the concepts, I'm certain both parties will bury these images once the feature runs. Looking back, we took the job not just because we felt it was a good creative opportunity, but because we felt we "needed the work". Even though editorial fees are at the bottom of the industry pay scale, something is better than nothing, right? - especially when things are tight. Sometimes not. We should have bowed out of the job gracefully when they reacted the way they did to the first (and certainly the second) round(s) of creative we presented. By not doing so, we put everyone through alot of frustration, the job went over budget, and most likely, they won't be calling us the next time they need imagery. Lesson learned. Again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tough Times, Stupid Offers

I hate to admit it, but I'm old enough to have been on the front lines at Tracy-Locke in the early '80's, which gave me a great opportunity to witness what was then the dumbest marketing idea I'd ever heard of, the introduction of More Nacho Cheese Flavored Doritos, from Frito-Lay. I was an account executive, fortunately working on the smaller F-L brands of the day, Tostitos and Sabritos, so was able to watch the debacle unfold without taking any direct hit personally. The thing was, Doritos ALREADY HAD a Nacho Cheese Flavored product. Somehow, the client became convinced that having more Nacho Cheese Flavor was not only enough news to talk about, but was compelling enough to relaunch the product. They directed the agency (never known for it's creative chops, as it was) to concoct a series of TV spots around the news, which resulted in the most expensive production the company had ever funded. VERY expensive drivel. The CD at the time was euphoric that he'd sold a spot that was going to to cost over a million bucks to produce, which was unheard of at the time. We watched from the sidelines as our account brethren went through the process, which ultimately ended up with the campaign being pulled after a few short weeks from lack of results (duhr...) and the agency getting a black eye. Why talk about all of this now? Because I just heard a radio spot from Frito-Lay which essentially said that because of the tough times we're all going through, they've decided to help out and give us more product in every bag for NO EXTRA CHARGE?! WTF?! You mean the product will no longer feel half empty when purchased? We were always told that the emptiness was to keep the product from getting crumbled...was that a lie? Feels like deju vu to me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Comrade Takes a Punch

Michael Rodriguez (aka Comrade) just sent me a self portrait he took yesterday. You should see the other guy...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Where's My Check??

Went last night to see a "panel of distinguished guests" speak about the recent news that Omnicom (holding company for the likes of BBDO, DDB, TBWA/Chiat Day and a host of other agencies)has changed its contract language to shift its liability to NOT pay vendors for services rendered until it is paid by ITS clients. In addition, they purportedly will no longer be paying any advances for production. Both changes are incredibly bad news to anyone who counts agencies as clients, and are ludicrous, if they are indeed put into in practice by Omnicom's agencies. My takeaway from last night's speakers panel was that there's not really a whole heck of alot we can do about it as long as there are people willing to work under the new terms, which in this economy, few would turn down. Ironically, we are working with Atmosphere BBDO at the moment. As much as we enjoy the folks we've worked with there, as well as BBDO/NY and Energy BBDO in Chicago, the agency's accounts payable has ALWAYS sucked, and getting money from them on a timely basis is impossible. On that note, one of the panelists made a great suggestion, which is to date the invoice with the date of the shoot, regardless of when it is billed. According to her, the invoice date is not scrutinized by the front line budget folks (ABs, ADs, AEs) but is by the accounting clerks, who schedule payment based on that date. I'm going to try it on my next job. At the same time as this bad news arrived, we're also seeing more clients willing to pay electronically, which speeds up the payments greatly. Could that be the silver lining we all are looking for? Maybe. Now all we need are some projects to bill...