Everybody's waiting for the weekendly linkly.

Been a while since I did one of these. Here's the greatest hits since the year began.

A look at one of the most interesting restaurants and chefs in LA. I went here. It's a strange dining experience. The food is cheaper than it should be, the restaurant is extremely quiet, and it's only around for a limited time. Even if you can't eat there you should read about it.

Triage thinking and advertising.

What Orwell can teach us about war and language.

What it's like to date a horse.

Thoughts about agency bigness.

Rethinking the consumer

An article about comedian Kate Berlant, a very funny person whose work you should become familiar with.

A podcast dedicated to dissecting individual components of songs.

In the same vein, Paul Belford breaks down the thinking behind one of his great ads.

Charlie Kauffman chats about Anomalisa.

One DP's 10-year quest to digitally replicate the look and "feel" of celluloid.

BriTANick finally has a new sketch out. A a pilot order from

Google streetview in a miniature world.

Pretending to be a gay rapper.

Eat crap!

Some very funny people made a very funny movie.

My friend directed this video for a rapper you may have heard of. (You know, the one who owns Ciroc.)

New work for Avvo.

Avvo is a website that has lawyers on it. Sounds kind of boring until you hear that half of Americans will need a lawyer this year. Not for bad stuff like lawsuits and divorces, but also happy stuff like starting a business or adopting a kid.

So Avvo came to us and asked for a campaign that built off of last year's. Essentially something that showed a buttload of potential legal situations. It was one of the best briefs I've ever gotten in my entire life.

As we were coming up with stuff Andrew and I realized we really didn't need to shoot anything. Or really create anything. Because all the proof we needed is uploaded to the internet every day.

And so we got a campaign that inspired a nearly unlimited number of spots. We released the campaign with 15, with more slated to come out later in the year. We call it Law Happens.

Here's a few of my favorites:

And a link to the rest. You can leave your thoughts in the comments.

This campaign could not have been possible without a bunch of really great people. 

Tom Adams, Paul Keister and Jeff Bossin led us and always pushed to make it better. Laura Rothman kept things from falling off the rails internally. All the people over at Avvo for letting us to push this into a space no legal service would dare enter.

Damon Silvester was the poor editor who had to sit with us as we found just the right 8 seconds of every video. Bryan "Cutty" Cuthbert also had to sit in the room and try to wrangle us at all times. Luis De Léon provided those super sweet search bars and end transitons.

Jukin (who owns pretty much any video that goes viral these days) provided us with thousands of hours of videos to use. And had us over to their space so that we could abuse them to their faces. Lime in Santa Monica mixed it for optimal comedic effect.

And that annoyingly catchy song is "The Whistle Song" by The New Mastersounds.

There's some fun digital stuff coming out down the line. Keep an eye out for that. 

And remember, when you need a lawyer find the right one for you on Avvo.

House Hunters is the most important show on TV.

(Today marks 5 years of this blog's existence. Instead of reflecting on that, I wrote this.)

So I was watching House Hunters. That's a lie. I was mainlining House Hunters, taking it in 3, 4, 7 episodes at a time. International, Domestic, and Renovation editions. Compulsively watching couple after couple after couple find a home. 

Why? Because I the inherent sadness in every single episode of it. It's a show stitched together with schadenfreude.

Every episode has a couple of well meaning people with a list of stuff they want it in a house. But we all know that they're not gonna that. Not at all. And they're going to visit 3 homes that they'll probably talk shit about. While the dramatic irony in all of it is that we know they're going to end up in one of these homes. Delicious, delicious irony. 

House Hunters is all about people coming to terms with the fact that what we want isn't what we get. It is impossible to have everything on a wish list. The wish list is a fallacy that deceives us into thinking it's a reality. But, unless you want to be homeless, you need to buy a house. 

And what I've come to realize is that this show is the perfect metaphor for life. Because in life, just like the show you want things. Great things. So you make a little wish list of goals, hopes and dreams.

And although a portion of those things happen, very rarely do they all. You succeed in business but got a bit fatter than you wanted. You ate at that famed restaurant but it gave you the runs. You took that great vacation but missed out on a huge opportunity at work that vaulted other people to a untold riches and fame. You bought Microsoft stock when you should have invested in Apple. Insert your own here.

The point of this is that life comes with tradeoffs. And that's never made more clear than on House Hunters, watching people choose from a group of houses that are all wrong in certain ways.

Now you probably think this is deterministic. Or depressing. Or disheartening. But that's because you haven't watched enough House Hunters. 

You see at the end of every episode something magical happens. The show revisits the people in their home a couple of months later to see how they're doing. 

How are they doing?  Great, of course. After replacing the awful wallpaper, bringing in some art, and replacing the furniture they've made the house theirs. Which is a very nice takeaway. It's a lesson that despite things not going 100% their way they are still living. They have no choice. They bought their house. They live in it. They make it work.

Just like life. 

Advertising agencies are all the same.

Agencies all try to have a point of difference. A special sauce that make them different from the other guys. So processes are invented, systems designed, designs designed, buzzwords coined, tag lines generated, ethos written, and so on and so forth. Then these agencies, most agencies, walk into meeting touting their special sauce as the one true way. The answer, of course, couldn't be Drama Told Excellently it's all about Excellency Through Drama. And for all of the differences agencies purport to have, most of the output looks dramatically the same.

Why is that? These agency positioning aren't bullshit, they're pulled from somewhere. But they also don't mean all that much because agencies are willing to undercut their brand for their bottom line. As long as it looks good on a slide in the next pitch an agency positioning doesn't seem to have much impact on the agency's business.

So then what differentiates agencies? If finely-tuned positioning don't mean anything what makes one agency produce work that is better than the rest. I'd argue it's a matter of taste. 

And taste, put simply, is the barometer for quality of the work that makes it out the door.

A very lovely picture of taste buds. Not related.

It's taste in the creative work. Knowing that the audience is the customer, not the client. Knowing that people don't respond to a litany of bullet points. Knowing that the things that people respond to in popular culture are the same things they respond to in ads. (This does not mean stealing from or copying popular culture, it means striving to put things into the work that people can connect to the way they do popular culture.) 

It means having an opinion on what makes good creative work and what makes bad creative work. It means saying no a thousand times because it will hurt the work or the client. It means saying yes when new ideas are exposed. This is simple Advertising 101 shit. Stuff that should be baked into the creative process but agencies seem to forget or ignore.

But taste has to extend beyond creative work. Because creative doesn't work in a vacuum. Most agency creative departments could churn out at least better than average work given total control.

However, there's a big ecosystem in any agency that has to carry the burden of taste alongside the creative department. And that looks different for every department. But the overall goal is to keep the agency's product intact which means the core creative product needs to be spot on. It means having morals as an agency. Knowing when to say no to client requests. Knowing to not prioritize short term goals over longevity. 

That's different than flat out refusing business, but it's doing business in a way that respects people first, the client second, and pleasant relationships third. A really good example of this in how Ally & Gargano approached how they'd approach advertising cigarettes. 

Now taste is any easy thing to start with but not an easy thing to keep. It takes work every day to remind yourself what you're working for and working towards. It means always, always taking a introspective look at the things you're about to release on the world. The things you're about to sell to a client.

And the nicest part about taste is that it's not something that's concrete. Good taste means something different to everyone. So as long as everyone agrees on what taste, either individual or as an agency, means there's plenty of room for difference among agencies. 

But even with so many different definitions of taste it'd be hard to argue that advertising has much of it at all right now. 

RELATED: This the contract between DDB and Avis on how their advertising would be run. It'd be nice if this kind of client relationships came back into fashion.

Weekly Linkly: cowering in a corner edition

Do you ever find yourself frightened, tucked into some kind of corner? Just because you started thinking about the minuscule scale of yourself against the wide world and winder universe. You know, the infinitesimal meaningless of it all? What's that? Ha, yah, me neither. But if you need me I'll be over here in this corner, clicking these links.


What happens when you die alone? The New York Times Investigates.

Behind the excellent Channel 4 (UK) rebrand.

An LA mansion was turned into a street art gallery.

The role of the fool. It's a brave one.

What if we made guns uncool like cigarettes? (And would it then make suicide very fashionable?)

Old Chicago bank becomes badass cultural center.

Mental health and advertising. If you respect yours, read this.

The lost art of copywriting.


Appel. The story of a true friendship.

Girl knows how to sing.

Fab squad.

249 Days

Is a hell of a long time to go without writing here. The last time that happened was before this existed.

And I've missed it. There was no cause for the gap. No inciting incident that set off a downward spiral. It was much more insidious than that. I got busy, then lazy, then it didn't feel like it mean anything.

That isn't true. While this might not matter to anyone else, it does mean something to me. And I have felt myself mentally atrophy because there wasn't a constant filter running on ideas that could work here. Concepts I wanted to tackle. I let my world shrink because it was an easier way to live. 

That was dumb. And I'm sorry to you if you expected something from me. And sorry to myself for being so, so lazy. It won't happen again.

Oh. And sorry I called something dumb if that offended you. It will probably happen again. 

In this time of need we turn again to the Weekly Linkly for comfort.

Calm down, calm down. There's plenty of links to soothe everyone. Please see Madam Godfrey for intake.


The Problems with (ads as) Content

Why are we cool with people profiting off of online joke-theft?

A different side of Larry David.

Does creativity equal bravery? A smart person thinks so. (I agree but it's not like you asked.)

I hate listicles. I do not hate this listicle. Six things that make a great client.

Are agencies terrible places for introverts?

And, along those lines, is adland just one big fucking echo chamber that's perfectly content to follow the whoever? (Longer post about this next week.) 

What happens when Chinese art forgers are asked to paint themselves?


Reactions to virtual reality porn.

Quaking in my boots.

Light entertainment.

Pauly D on Eric Andre.

Fox ADHD is flawless

This 5th anniversary post brought to you by: Frustration! brand sprays.

Five years. Five fucking years. That's a lot of time to spend blogging. 

Or, lately, not blogging. Then reflecting on that not blogging. Then hating myself because my only thought was to blog about blogging. Which is what I'm doing now so the irony is I should have just gotten over it and gotten on with it.

But that didn't happen and now we're here. To be honest I don't know how to proceed. When I started this blog, or rather the blog that became this blog, I was in a completely different place. Physically I was sitting on a bed in one of my college friend's parent's house. And mentally I was some dumb kid who thought the best way he could show he could think was to share opinions about a lot of things.

Okay, maybe completely different place is an overstatement. But lately I've just been so bored by straight ad blogs. There were times I thought they were the sun and the moon, the ocean and the stars! But lately they've been wet farts in the wind of the internet. 

(Of course I'm not talking about YOUR ad blog. Yours is perfect.)

Doesn't it seem that way? Or is that a byproduct of saturation? Have I filled my head with so many ad thoughts that I can't bring myself to gush about slightly regurgitated ones the way I once did? Maybe. It is a bit like eating the same sandwich every day for five years.

And there are times I just feel so dull writing impassioned posts into this blank box. It's not hard, necessarily. It feels silly. There's a billion topics and problems to tackle and I choose to rant about advertising for the thousandth time? No wonder my friends got sick of me before I got sick of myself.

The small bit of solace I have is that I'm not writing a marketing advice blog. Or a blog of top-ten lists. Or a careerism blog. those kind of things make my skin crawl up my back, rip itself from my body, and go find some other, better human. It's a place that stays true to me even if that truth is a gelatinous, slippery thing.

So five years in I'm in the same place I was when I started blogging. Just a dumb guy putting thoughts out into the ether. It's a great way to not make a living.

Now congregation please open to Weekly Linklys 1:2 and repeat after me.

There's been a lot of talk on the internet. People saying LINKS are too much temptation. But I say to you today: read these links and go in peace!


Broad City's marketing department is on point with this Al Dente Dentist blog.

This post about good advertising being the best strategy. (Read the first comment too. It's a great discussion)

Short thing about how getting mad at the oscars is dumb. (Easy to parallels here regarding ad award schemes, too.)


Old spice is still great.

Fighting Cock Bot

Boyhood/Boy Meets World Mashup

Cool little documentary about Subway 

No, no, no. This isn't right at all. This is the daily linkly. *I* ordered the weekly linkly.

So it's a new year and I haven't blogged a bit. Really killing it in 2015. (Provided that "it" is doing fuck all with this blog.) Well here's some lovely internets from the past few weeks. Maybe longer. Who knows anymore.


Self-taught Chinese street photographer's vaguely absurdist photography.

Martin and Olly tackle content stats. Or, rather, tell you why ad view rates are complete bullshit.

Absolutely riveting article about a man's grandmother poisoning his family.

Why people act like they're all into food online.

Incredible solution to the whole stuff-left-in-the-bottom-of-jars problem. (Seriously. It's brilliant.)

Yo dudes, want to know what it's like to be oggled in public like a woman? Carry a cake.


I have no idea how this was done.

Parody of McDonald's golden globes ad.

Absolutely perfect radio ad for Lucozade. (via Ant Melder)

Okay. That is quite enough. Goodbye.