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Posts Tagged ‘Ideas’

As part of a new business pitch this morning, we’ve been reviewing the Lighthouse philosophy of challenger brands as espoused by Adam Morgan and the big brains at “Eat Big Fish.”  At the most simplistic level, a Lighthouse Identity helps a brand define what it stands for, both out in the marketplace and inside the company hallways.eatbigfish_logo

It’s a well-reasoned, very pragmatic approach to positioning and shaping brand considerations and perceptions.  And last night, over omelettes and coffee at a roadside Perkins, it got a few of us thinking about what we would consider our own agency identity, what one thing galvanizes us and represents the best of this advertising business.  We quickly arrived at one thing: enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm for the process, but far more importantly, enthusiasm for our product: ideas.  In the marketing business, ROI really boils down to Return on Ideas.  Ideas create perceptions, differentiation, empathy and engagement.  Ideas separate and celebrate.  Ideas are our ultimate product.

And anyone who touches them, influences them or sells them does that better when alight with the energy and group-lifting zeal of enthusiasm.  YEAH!

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79
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My wife and I wanted to do something special to mark our older daughter’s sixteenth birthday.  Sunday afternoon, it became glaringly obvious that taking her to the U2 concert at Soldier Field would definitely qualify as something special, and after a quick trip to Stub Hub, we scored four tickets to the show.

Reasonable people may ask what we hoped to accomplish taking not just one but both our young daughters (we do things as a family so Zoe’s nine year old sister came too) to a rock concert, on a school night no less.  Aside from some lessons we weren’t looking to teach either of them (“Smell that?  That’s marijuana smoke and we better never smell that on you.”  “See them?  They’re tripping on ecstasy–notice how stupid they look.”), the lesson that was declared with rib-thumping, giga-watt intensity was the transcendant power of imagination and possibility…

Smell That?  I Better Never Smell That Near You

It's About So Much More Than Music...

How could four guys from Dublin evolve from a high school cover band to an international cultural phenomenon that transformed both music and activism on the global stage?  How could their pure love of music lead them to create an 80 ton ‘spaceship’ for a stage, an eye-popping behemoth Bono jokingly referred to as “…the latest in a long line of U2 collectibles.”  How can music unite 65,000 strangers into one arm pumping, head bobbing, grin wearing mass?

All of this happens from ideas, from imaginations running loose to explore new possibilities.  And more than anything else, I hope Zoe takes that as her gift.  She’s a sweet, thoughtful kid whose remarkable imagination first impressed me back in the first grade.  She crayoned a drawing of clouds, each in a different pattern of stripes or polka dots and the rain she sketched falling from those clouds fell in stripes and polka dots as well.  It was a marvelous bit of whimsical fancy she tossed off without thinking, without consideration, something bubbling up pure and sparkling from an unfiltered muse.  Knowing all of the obstacles that rise up and conspire to stifle that free-thinking spirit, particularly during the often casual brutality of the high school years, I hope and pray she takes last night’s lessons to her latent artist’s heart.  And never stops dreaming.

Maybe that’s a Disney movie sentiment, but hey–it came with an awesome sound track.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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Not Exactly the Wisdom of Crowds           

Not Exactly the ‘Wisdom’ of Crowds

If you go to Flickr and type in the phrase “Holding Up the Tower of Pisa”, you will get 324 results, all featuring tourists documenting themselves as they interpret this classic comedy meme of flawed Italian architecture optical illusion photography.

There is nothing original about this gag, and yet, like the compulsion that drives Pacific salmon to swim hundreds of miles to return to their birthplaces and spawn, thousands of tourists can no more leave the Pisa area without documenting themselves in this act then they could visit Kiev and not order the chicken.

As advertising adapts to the realities not only of convergence, but also the creative democracy of mass amateurization ushered in by today’s wonderfully accessible digital photography, video editing, audio mixing, and desktop publishing tools, one fundamental truth becomes absolutely inescapable: the best idea wins.

Despite budgets, despite production values, despite credentials and titles, in the final measure, the best idea wins.  Most times, that won’t be an amateur’s idea.  But if you spend anytime surfing the net, and you see things like this, this, and this, you can’t deny that a good idea can come from anywhere.  And does, just often enough, to create a vague sense of doubt among some clients about whether or not they should buy a concept…or wait around and hope for something better.  From someone.  Anyone…

It’s a major frustration of the business.  But the only way around it is to have the best ideas.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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To the creative mind, thoughts are like birds.  They come, they go, they swarm and flock and mess up the public statuary…  Okay, maybe that’s pushing the metaphor: regardless, I needed a place to let mine roost; a repository of thought and opinion for big ideas, little insights and total misses.  Some thoughts rarely stray from your synapses, returning to your consciousness time after time like swallows to Capistrano.  Involuntary thoughts, if you will.  But others fly off, never to be seen again.  Those are the ones that inspired this blog.

Consider this a Facebook for ideas about the advertising and marketing industry.  A little spot on the web where we can friend thoughts and then let them go off to live their own lives and chase their own muses…until that day comes when we want to contact them again.  And then, voila, we’ll be able to find them roosting right here, conveniently accessible in perpetuity.  Which is, you know, nice…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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