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Advertising Spring Break Tour: Highlights March 22, 2007

Posted by adstravaganza in Uncategorized.

By Christopher Cakebread

The Advertising Spring Break tour of 2007 was a resounding success, at least I think so. This was the first time I had the pleasure of accompanying 13 BU advertising students with Tobe Berkovitz and the incomparable Robyn Neeley on a visit to six advertising agencies in New York City over three days March 12-14. Now add to the fun an evening at BBDO’s Central Filing, hosted by Shawn Zupp and a young alumni gathering at Latitude on 8th Avenue and you have all the ingredients for a positive, whirlwind experience. Kudos must go out to Robyn for her organizational expertise and to Tobe for spearheading the tour for a seventh straight year. This was a wonderful example of our alumni putting in a great deal of time and effort to help our current students gain an understanding of the culture and mission of six diverse agencies.

While there are many people in New York to thank, I wanted to acknowledge the hosts and hostesses who organized the experiences for the
students. The roster of thanks includes Alexandra Neophytou MS ’04 at Kirshenbaum Bond and Partners, Shawn Zupp ’95 at BBDO, Eric David ’81, Kaplan Thaler Group, Melissa Schulz ’92, Ogilvy, Teresa Christovich ’06, McCann Erickson and Denise Mange ’03, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Each agency provided a mix of representatives from different areas of expertise in the agency including account management, brand planning, digital/content development, creative, promotions and media, just to name a few.

I thought it worth a moment to sit back and reflect on what we heard s a group. Since the business is changing at warp speed, having six such diverse companies present their work and discuss the current status of their business adds a wealth of information about the advertising agency business in March of 2007. This list of thoughts is purely subjective based on what I heard during our tour. I can’t attribute all of the comments made due to the diversity of presenters. Since this note is going out to all our students who participated in the tour, and many others, please feel free to add your thoughts, agree or disagree with my notes. I will gather your comments and add them to a further discussion of the trip prior to adstravaganza.

What we heard in NYC March 12-14.

A summary:
Content, Content, Content.
Digital, Digital, Digital.
Integration, Integration, Integration.
Engagement, Engagement, Engagement.

How do you expand your brand beyond print and television?

  • As head of the content group, “we package and produce areas of creativity that aren’t associated with advertising.”
  • We are faced with two conflicting forces in the market, greater content available to the consumer, less time for them to consume the content.
  • “Time starvation.”
  • We need to create content that the consumer will actively seek out, move the consumer from spectator to subscriber.
  • Many of these new forms of “media” must be viewed as an investment by the client/marketer as measurement is so imprecise. Thus it takes a client with a contemporary mindset who is willing to risk a modest amount of their marketing dollars to test and validate the new media world.
  • You must set the measurement standards you will use for new media campaigns “upfront” with your client before the campaign begins.
  • Creating the digital experience, Snickersdef.com with the Black Eyed Peas. Cingular introducing iTunes compatibility MandM’s personality.
    http://www.amosphere.net will have several BBDO examples.

Other examples of strong digital work Dove Evolution on the Dove site as well as YouTube and on Trojantales.com.

The introduction campaign for cable network G4 and the program Midnight Edge. (Parental Advisory in effect.)

A new definition of media, “finding new ways to get creative in front of people.”

BBH calls their media department “engagement planning.”

Pop-up stores creating a “branded retail environment.”

You need to know popular culture as you will find yourself working with innovative, cutting edge artists.

  • We are in a fluid popular culture thus the need for planners, creatives, media and account people to be a part of it and aware of it.
    “Rebel against the conservative.”

Maybe you have heard this before. This is from a presentation regarding personality traits agencies look for in their entry-level hires plus some added advice:

  • be passionate about the business
  • be able to set priorities and manage time effectively
  • be proactive, a self-starter, resourceful
  • proofread everything
  • be able to work well in a team and work well under pressure
  • when faced with a client or an internal problem, define the problem for your supervisor and provide potential solutions. Take the pressure of your boss to solve the problem. Still confused? Read the above, again.
  • be prepared, ask questions, lots of questions, whenever possible.
  • “It’s a small industry, start building relationships now.”
  • “If the first job isn’t right, don’t give up, move on. Remember, you have a say in where you work.”
  • “When you work for an advertising agency you don’t make decisions, you make recommendations.”
  • “You are as good as your boss allows you to be.”


Creatives can dress any way they please. Casual is an understatement.

The smaller agencies clearly exhibit a company philosophy through the design of the physical space and the geographic location of the agency.

All students of good advertising should immerse themselves in One Show Annuals, Archive Magazine and Communication Arts.

Creatives work in teams at all the agencies we visited. Some teams are consistent, at other agencies creative teams are switched around consistently.

At several of the agencies, employees in all departments work on multiple projects at once and get multiple opportunities. It’s an opportunity to work with smart, dedicated, bright thinkers across a variety of disciples and categories.

The hours are long. Some agencies promote a work/life balance. Do your research.

You must read The Power of Nice by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval.

Linda Kaplan Thaler has a magnetic personality.

We saw some great creative that utilized out-of-home media very effectively, where the message was crafted to the medium. Continental Airlines for example.

See you all April 26 at adstravaganza.



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