tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Ad Caulk 2016-06-01T17:19:39Z Jeff Kwiatek tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1049176 2016-05-10T19:00:00Z 2016-05-11T20:55:45Z New work I love.

And I didn't even make it.

This stuff is for Snapple. That tea with the facts under the caps.

And that's exactly what some very smart friends of mine (named Andrew Kong and Curtis Petraglia) made spots about.*

They're funny, unexpected, and could only belong to Snapple.

Pretty much everything good advertising should be. 

So watch them, enjoy them, and buy some Snapple so they can make more of them.

*Doesn't hurt that they were assisted by the wonderful minds of Bob Cianfrone and Guto Araki.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1019669 2016-03-25T21:20:17Z 2016-03-26T18:12:23Z If you don't got links get out of my face. It's the somewhat-weekly linkly.

And so the day came when the US dollar had depreciated so much it was routinely used as hamster bedding. In that land, links were the only currency that matters. This post is my savings account.

Pocket Change

An excellent, savage piece of writing about one of music's blandest acts. And 24 other tracks that are indicators about where music is heading. If you read one thing this week make it this. (Warning: there songs autoplay for a few seconds. So if you're Puth-averse you should mute this ASAP.) 

A missive about advertising's talent crisis and the root causes of it. This is the second thing you should read this week. Which is why it's second.

Two pieces on great ad people. The first is lunch with Tim Delaney. The second is a look back at the career of of Hal Riney.

Funniest thing I've read in a while. "Looking back at the poop so toxic it grounded a plane."

How Gü became Gü.

Remember the Social Network's Trailer? Birdman's trailer? Anomalisa's trailer? All this guy. The most visionary movie trailer editor in Hollywood

W+K is trying to reduce their working hours. Hopefully this is an industrywide trend.

Why are so many doors hard to understand?

Photos from the trash museum which is decidedly less trashy than it ought to be.

The movie set that was a full working city and might not ever become a movie.

New York millionaires who want to be taxed more. They can afford it, they say. Who are we to not believe them? 

Advertising's best planner is back with another great post. Fuck art. Let's advertise.

Bonds, Government Bonds.


Trains in distress.


Cool music video that must have taken an inordinate amount of work to do.


Burying someone in the desert is hard work.


How to lose weight in 4 easy steps.

This place was around the corner from my apartment in Chicago. It's open 24 hours a day. Every day. Because it was cheaper in the early days to stay open than to close up and deal with thefts. It's so good and if you're in Chicago I implore you to go stuff your face with a polish or a pork chop sandwich or at least a hot dog (they don't do them as Chicago dogs, just onions and mustard.) Beware of the sport peppers.


How to win an election.


Another video that must have taken so much work to accomplish.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1019203 2016-03-24T19:51:22Z 2016-03-25T18:51:47Z Does advertising suffer from narcissistic personality disorder?

When you spend all day in advertising it's easy to be blind to the ills facing our industry as a whole. Sometimes you have to step back and take a look at the type of industry we've built. Which is what happened the other day when I stumbled across a piece about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and was struck but how aptly it described us.

And since everyone in advertising likes to consider themselves a pop-psychologist I thought I'd try my hand at it. So here is my comprehensive diagnosis according the to the 9 criteria for NPD.

Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g. expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements, exaggerates achievements and talents)
Advertising bills itself as a lot of things. The most creative industry in the world. Cultural movement builders. Creators of the future. But given the billions of dollars that are spent annually on advertising and its lack to affect anything (including, shamefully, the sales of our clients) most of these statements are just the chest-beating of an industry that believes itself better than it is.

Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
As far as I'm concerned we invented this. This is what advertising sells people on. The people they can be. The people they should be. But it's also something that is present in every agency. At every all agency meeting. "Agency X is going to take over the world. Has the smartest people. The biggest reach. The widest skill set."

Believes he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
What agency doesn't have it's own special sauce that makes it unique? Patented processes, ideas, and cultures that are their secret to success. These are the way we get business. Even though they're all the same. And often more full of air than substance. Also throw into this mix that advertising loves celebrities. Celebrity celebrities. Celebrity directors. World leaders. It's a minor glamour industry that believes it is akin to Hollywood. 

Requires excessive admiration.
This is the most apparent one of the bunch. How many awards schemes are there now? Advertising agencies, people, and clients are obsessed with awards. For a lot of people it's the only way to prove you're worth your salt. And if you don't win an award you could always create internal awards. Or an award scheme of your own. 

Has a sense of entitlement.
Our messages are allowed everywhere. We believe we should exist because we have the divine right to. We villainize ad blocking software rather than figuring out creative solutions to work around it. Or make millions of people want to block our messages. We rip off artists with or without their permission. If The Black Keys says "no" to using their song in our ad we just go to a music house and ask them to give us a Black Keys rip. We believe that every bit of culture belongs to us.

Is inter-personally exploitive. (i.e. takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends.)
Uh, duh. This applies to talent in agencies, clients, and consumers.

Lacks empathy (Is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others)
Have you heard the way most people in agencies talk about consumers? They denigrate them. Think they're idiots. An unfortunate roadblock in our quest for creative excellence.

Is often envious of other or believes that others are envious of him or her.
Loads of agencies seem to want to be anything other than an ad agency. They want to be storytellers. They want to create the next Uber. They're in the data game. But they're also waking up to the idea that we can't keep people because other industries are offering things we can't. So...maybe? Probably? (UPDATE: Sir Martin Sorrell just today claimed that the advertising business is no longer in the business of advertising. So I'm moving this to an extremely highly probable.)

Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
Haven't we been through this already?

So, to me, it looks pretty cut and dry. Advertising totally has a case of NPD.

But here's a bit of a walking back from the case I've built. I think this diagnosis is what represents the worst of advertising. It is what people hate when they say they hate ads. It's not only driven by agencies but by their clients and their refusal to say no to those clients. It is a sickness that has so consumed the industry that we believe it to be the way things have to be.

There is still a kernel of goodness in advertising. People who are attempting to buck all the trends that aim to make advertising consume itself. That's the reason a lot of us still try to create something good in the face of all the evidence above. But that means we can't pander, we can't insult the people we're trying to advertise to, and we can't make these elements the thing we're most proud of. We need to do better because it might be impossible to do any worse.

Agree? Disagree? State your case below.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/987075 2016-02-06T03:04:21Z 2016-02-06T03:04:21Z 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.)


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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/983717 2016-02-02T17:00:06Z 2016-06-01T17:19:39Z 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.


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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/979954 2016-01-28T00:26:48Z 2016-01-28T00:26:48Z 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. 

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/916714 2015-10-19T16:00:05Z 2015-10-21T03:13:27Z 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.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/918360 2015-10-18T05:03:01Z 2015-10-18T08:10:48Z 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.

DARK TRUTHS

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.


DARKER FANTASIES


Appel. The story of a true friendship.


Girl knows how to sing.


Fab squad.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/914034 2015-10-08T02:09:19Z 2015-10-08T02:09:19Z 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. 


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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/804239 2015-01-29T16:00:04Z 2015-01-29T16:00:05Z 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.

PUBLIC SERVICE

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?

OLD FASHIONED HUGS


Reactions to virtual reality porn.


Quaking in my boots.


Light entertainment.


Pauly D on Eric Andre.


Fox ADHD is flawless


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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/803379 2015-01-27T21:00:29Z 2015-01-27T21:00:31Z 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.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/800880 2015-01-23T22:51:12Z 2015-01-23T22:51:12Z 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!

HYMNS

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)

Another post about strategy written by someone who knows how to have the entire country parroting his work.

What wonders of the world would look like if time wasn't such a fickle mistress.

Behind the scenes at one of the best coffee shops in the US.

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

We're actually pretty comfortable with robots taking our jobs.

SERMONS


Old spice is still great.

Fighting Cock Bot


Boyhood/Boy Meets World Mashup


Cool little documentary about Subway 
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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/796888 2015-01-16T16:00:07Z 2015-01-16T17:57:27Z 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.

DO-OVERS

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.

REPLACEMENTS


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.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/779261 2014-12-05T19:17:00Z 2014-12-05T19:24:52Z Flogging the rain to death

For anyone who lives in a city with real problems, let me fill you in on Los Angeles' most recent crisis: rain.

That's right. This week the skies opened up and poured down for hour after hour. Starting in the morning and going well into the night. The entire city was blanketed in an off-putting grey color that's so unbecoming of its usual sun-kissed self. Simply dreadful.

And the people of Los Angeles could not get enough of it. Every conversation held in the city pertained only to the rain. It was truly a remarkable event. Most people chose to hide in their homes or apartments hoping that this was just some bad dream.

But those brave souls who made it to work for this two day torrential downpour risked life and limb to do so. Aided by an app called Waze.

Here's a brief primer on Waze for anyone who doesn't live in a city with the congestion of a coal miner suffering from a sinus infection. Waze is a GPS program that finds you the quickest way to get to your destination. It uses real-time traffic stats from other users to determine these routes. It's a pretty nifty tool. There are only two rules. 

First, you have to adhere to Waze's directions absolutely. If you so much as take a right turn that it didn't call for you will be spited by the traffic gods and end up taking an additional 20 minutes to get where you're going. Waze knows. You obey. 

Second rule, you have to be a maniac to use it. Or at least willing to drive like one. Most of the time Waze is perfectly reasonable. It has no vested interest in putting you in harm's way. But every so often it'll have you make a maneuver that would make Jason Statham's Transporter's knees quake. Fun things like ask you to cross a busy 6-lane street at an stoplight-less intersection. Or take a left turn into an alleyway only visible under the third moon of the month. Anything to shave a few seconds off your drive time. And if you're thinking you can get around these directions, please refer back to rule number one.

That's Waze in a nutshell. And the way it determines these routes is based off of other drivers using the app. Waze encourages its users to report events on the road. It depends on these reports to keep your drive speedy. 

Those reports are what I want to talk about.

During my Tuesday morning commute I got an alert asking me to use caution because someone had reported rain.

"Watch out," it chirped, "rain reported ahead."

I laughed. Because it was funny. Adorable even. The All-Knowing Waze doesn't know how blatantly apparent the rain is. 

Then 15 minutes later a second alert popped up. From a different user. And a few minutes and miles later, a third. By this point in time the little alert of "Watch out! Rain reported ahead." was more of a gentle annoyance than pleasant thing I could laugh at.

The day progressed. The rain persisted. Finally it was time to leave work.

That's when the deluge of alerts came in as torrentially as the rain. It seemed I couldn't go a thousand feed without being alerted again.

"Watch out! Rain reported ahead."

"Watch out! Rain reported ahead."

"Watch out! Rain reported ahead."

And so on. What was a pretty funny joke just 10 hours before has turned into a verse from The Devine Comedy. The alerts would not stop. The users of Waze had killed the joke.It had reached saturation but people were trying to get a piece of that action. To feel witty. 

They fell prey to me-tooism. They'd flogged the rain to death.

And while my soundtrack of alerts played on I couldn't help but think of how this same phenomenon plagues advertising. People are so eager to jump onto the latest trend or style of joke. To repeat what they've seen. It's the case over and over. Commercials, banners, tweets, print ads, websites start to coalesce and become this homogeneous blob of things that were once interesting and humorous. Because it's really easy to see something that already exists, identity it as funny, and decide to use it. It makes it really, really easy to get out of the office around six and catch that thing that's so hot right now. (That's going to be bastardized by making it into some ad a couple of months down the line)

Sure, this process works but it also undersells the creativity that agencies have in them. It leads to the chief criticism of advertising that there is no creativity in the business of creativity. That we're a collection of recycled YouTube videos and catch phrases picked from existing media. To a certain extent that criticism is irrefutable. 

Watch out! Derivative creative work ahead.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/769913 2014-11-14T20:23:50Z 2014-11-14T20:23:51Z As you walk down the street you can't help but notice a small but proud flower. "Father," you say, "Father, what's that?" He answers: that's the weekly linkly.

LAST GASPS AS THE FINAL PETAL FALLS FROM THE WITHERING ROSE

It's been an inordinate amount of time since I last wrote something for here. I mean really wrote something. While that has absolutely no impact on your life it bums me out. So I'm going to start doing all that jazz again. If for nothing more than it'll help me get thoughts out of my head and into the world wide internet. You didn't need a missive to tell you that but I thought that unless I wrote it here I wouldn't be accountable to do it. 

Thanks for still reading, if you still read.

PERENNIALS

  • Mark Fenske's blog. Wish this was around when I was cobbling together my own pseudo ad school during college. Oh well.

THOSE HUGE STINKY ORCHIDS THAT ONLY BLOOM EVERY SO OFTEN


Why all hipsters look the same. It's science! Or math! Or something. Just watch the video.


Lee Fields absolutely killing a takeaway show.


Building worlds and spinnin tales in Big Hero 6.


The dangers of whooping cough. From the always funny Hush Money.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/759711 2014-10-24T17:19:45Z 2014-10-25T14:30:03Z There's gold in them links, Tobias. Gold I tell you. And I'll be goddamned if we don't get to them this week.

It's been a while. Which means there's going to be an onslaught of links. But all that means is that you all get tons of interesting stuff so why are you even complaining?

DEEP, DEEP WELLS
The Ad Contrarian's entire series about consumer behavior. Parts one, two, and three. It's an incredible well thought out jab in the eye of a lot of the current theories that drive advertising nonsense. It takes a while to read through all three pieces but I think it's definitely, definitely worth it.

DERRICKS

FRACKING

How to cut cheese.


Making of 'Music for Machines']]>
Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/750417 2014-10-03T18:00:07Z 2014-10-03T18:00:07Z To remain hydrated, consume at least eight links weekly.

SIPS

Portraits of people before and after death

The Fred/Alan Archive. (You might know them from seeing the MTV logo ever.) via Vinny

Why good people are difficult. (i.e. Question everything.)

More posts about your relationships means more insecurity.

The genius of 'Idiocracy'

How one chef is making a generation of TV viewers want to be cannibals.

GULPS


Excellent new Toyota HiLux ad. (via Ant)


Ignorant rap music


Air Sex: The Movie


Documentary about a art forger who did it just to prove he could.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/749033 2014-09-30T19:39:17Z 2014-10-04T18:27:49Z Can you tell me how to get there?

Today I was looking up directions to help people go fuck themselves. 

Because, well, I don't have to explain to you because. Just because, okay? Is that okay with you? Fine.

Well I did it by going to Google and typing in the words go and fuck and yourself. Never in a million years imagining anything would come up. Even with Safe Search off.

But good old Google didn't let me down. It yielded this delicious result that I don't think even the leading SEO experts could accomplish.

Nice work AVN. Very nice work.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/747207 2014-09-26T18:47:41Z 2014-09-26T20:51:07Z The rain beats against our weeks with only links to huddle under.

A TORRENTIAL ONSLAUGHT OF WORDS

Dave Dye interviews Dave Trott. (And if you don't know what that means you need to read it right now.)

David Abbott's 1994 memo that's just as relevant today as when it was written. Except maybe it's more relevant because we don't even have a David Abbott to write stuff like this anymore.

Props master tells you how he decides what to go with for lots of great TV shows.

Malkovich becomes every famous photograph.

Tim Hortons turns a regular, everyday house into a working coffee shop. The neighbors must be thrilled.

Soderbergh really wants you to understand the staging in Raiders.

Fincherview.

Advertising's not dead. Don't you see, Sam? It can't die. Advertising doesn't exist. It never existed goddamnit.

RAINY DAY MOVIES





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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/746714 2014-09-25T19:43:37Z 2014-09-26T18:27:04Z There's not just one thing.

Living and working in LA means lots of time spent in a car. Lots of time in a car means lots of time listening to podcasts and public radio. Well that's at least what it means for me. Sometimes there some really good shit that comes up on podcasts. This is one of those times when that happened to be the case.

I was listening to an episode of Marc Maron's WTF. The whole things. (Sometimes people skip the beginning because they're not all that interested in Marc's quips about his life. I enjoy them.) Anyway, it was a good thing I listened to the whole thing because part of the intro was Maron talking to Carol Leifer. She's a writer, stand up, author, actress, speaker, everythinger. You might know her work from a little show called Seinfeld. But I won't hold it against you if you don't know anything about her because I didn't either before this interview. And now I know a lot. And I'm completely fascinated with her and want to buy her new book. (And who said ads don't work?)

Back to the point, during the interview she was talking about the stage in her career where she was set to star the show she created. She was understandably nervous.But the story she told was about Jerry Seinfeld dropping by set and calming her down with a piece of advice. It's something I'm not sure I heard articulated in quite the way he did. (Another example of comedians knowing exactly how to boil universal truths down to the perfect statement.) 

He said to her: "There's not just one thing."

Meaning there's no one that that makes someone a someone. It's just another day on another job and you have to try your best. Of course things can pay off handsomely, but it's detrimental to go in expecting everything to be the thing that changes everything. 

There have been more than a few times that I felt as though everything was riding on the thing I was working on. I'll get so wrapped up in trying to make something brilliant and unique and transformative that I'll work myself into a lather and end up with diddly. I'll overwhelm myself with the intended result of the thing rather than the thing.

But of course it's not the case that every brief is the brief that's going to do it for you. There's potential everywhere, of course, but chances are that the half-off all board games radio brief isn't going to be the one that really sets the ad world on fire.

One particular example I remember is back when my Lunchables commercial went live. I thought that was going to launch me into super stardom. (It didn't.) But I was thrilled whenever I saw someone tweet about it, write about it, or make a parody of it. For a brief moment I felt like I'd made something that made it into the culture.

And that stuff is like a drug. Every assignement after that I approached like it was the only chance I had to do something big again. Like if it didn't pan out, it meaning relative renown and acclaim and people talking about my work, then the work was a failure. I was convinced everything was The One Thing.

But it wasn't. And it's not. And things are probably better off that way.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/743867 2014-09-20T15:00:06Z 2014-09-20T15:00:09Z There will be weeks. And there will be links. But the two shall never meet.

TWO SHIPS PASSING IN THE NIGHT

MUTUALLY ASSURED OBLIVIOUSNESS


Rush Hour. (via @Awooooooga)


The NFL had a rough week.


Probably the worst bedside manner I've ever seen.


Smart man on toilets. Well, on stage but talking about toilets.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/740721 2014-09-12T20:06:01Z 2014-09-13T08:22:14Z Everybody's working for the weekly linkly.

MANAGER'S OFFICE

  • Sell! Sell!'s excellent Let's Talk Advertising. It's about defining what's good about work that's universally regarded as good and how no one can agree on that. 

FACTORY FLOOR

SMOKING BREAK


Making the It's Always Sunny pilot.


iPhone 6 and 6+ unboxing. Really tremendous technology here, folks.



A master soba maker makes soba in silence.


A rapper that's a little too transparent.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/740713 2014-09-12T19:13:51Z 2014-09-12T19:13:52Z Regular people with fancy titles doing regular jobs.

Everyone's always going on about personal branding. Saying, "You can't just be you. You gotta be a brand, man!" And what that's done is produce a bunch of nonsense titles that are fun to make fun of. Like Guru or Ninja or Podiatrist. But everyone knows that under those titles is just a regular person doing a regular job that isn't nearly as fancy as their job title.

George Carlin was writing about this ages ago (ages being at least 10 years ago when his book When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops came out). Because comedians are always ahead of the curve when talking about life's absurdities.

So here it is, "EUPHEMISMS: What do you do for a living?" from When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops?

American companies now put a great deal of effort into boosting their employee's self-esteem by handing out inflated job titles. Most likely, they think it also helps compensate for the longer hours, unpaid overtime and stagnant wages that have become standard. It doesn't.

However, such titles do allow an ordinary store clerk to tell some girl he's picking up at a bar that he's a product specialist. Or a retail consultant. If it turns out she's a store clerk, too, but he store uses different euphemisms, then she may be able to inform him that she's a sales counsellor. Or a customer service associate And, for a while there, they're under the impression that they actually have different jobs.

These are real job titles, currently in use to describe employees whose work essentially consists of telling customers, "We're all out of medium." Nothing wrong with that but it's called store clerk, not retail consultant, and not customer service associate. Apparently, stores feel they can charge more for merchandise sold by a customer service associate than they can for the same hunk sold by a clerk. By the way, if a clerk should be unhappy with his title, he can always more to a different store, where he may have a change if being called a product service representative, a sales representative or a sales associate.

And I hope you took note of that word associate. that's a hot word with companies now. I saw a fast-food employee mopping the floor at an In-N-Out Burger and---I swear this is true--his name tag said "associate." Okay? It's the truth. Apparently, instead of money they now give out these bogus titles.

At another fast-food place, Au Bon Pain, I noticed the cashier's name tag said hospitality representative. The cashier. The name tag was pinned to her uniform. The people who sell these uniforms now refer to them as career apparel. Or--even worse--team wear. I had to sit down when I heard that. Team wear.

Teams are also big in business; almost as big as associates. In Los Angeles's KooKooRoo restaurants the employee name tag say "team member." At a Whole Foods supermarket, I talked to the head of the meat department about ordering a special item; I figured he was the head butcher. But his name tag identified him as the meat team leader. Throw that on your resume. I guess the people under him would have been meat team associates. I didn't stick around to ask.

So it's all about employee morale. And in a lot of companies, as part of morale-building, the employees are called staff. But it's all right, because most customers are now called clients. With those designations, I guess the companies can pay the staff less and charge the clients more.

I'm Not sure when all this job-title inflation began, but it's been building for a while. At some point in the past thirty years secretaries became personal assistants or executive assistants. Many of them now consider those terms too common, so they call themselves *administrative aides.

Everyone wants to sound more important these days:

Teachers became educators
drummers became percussionists
movie directors became filmmakers,
company presidents became chief executive officers
family doctors became primary-care providers,
manicurists became nail technicians
magazine photographers became photojournalists
weightlifters became bodybuilders,
and bounty hunters now prefer to be called recovery agents.

And now everyone wants to be called a storyteller.
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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/737048 2014-09-05T19:47:12Z 2014-09-06T03:04:51Z O links of fate, thank you for this blessed week.

PSALMS

GRACE


It's Payback Time (potentially my favorite cancer ad of all time. Done by 4 Creative)


Banner Ads


Crazy Madden Glitch


Labels. They're important. (via Sell! Sell!)

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/733848 2014-08-29T19:03:56Z 2014-08-29T19:03:56Z Weakling Linkling

SAND PIT

KICKBALL FIELD


Generic Greeting.


Bissel subway ad. Pretty gross. Pretty great.


This dude knows so much about soda.


If OKCupid did commercials.


FREAKS

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/732939 2014-08-27T18:44:03Z 2014-09-02T16:10:45Z The future of creative departments.

There's a lot of talk going on about the demise of ad agencies and "traditional" creative departments. And I'm sorry to say I fall on the side of those saying there will be a day when traditional agencies will have to fold up their MacBooks and turn off the lights.

But this isn't empty rhetoric as is the case with so many of those other pieces. I have the answers. I know the exact trumpet's call that will be the final thwack that brings advertising to its knees.

It starts with the sun, you see. Millions and millions of years from now.

One day the sun is going to get really, really big. People are going to freak out. They'll start hoarding everything and anything they can get their hands on. Bread. Pickles. Onions. Toilet paper.

Dear god don't forget the toilet paper.

But it's not during this time that agencies will go out of business. In fact these will be days full of plump marketing budgets and wild Big Sun Sales. CMOs will be so flush with cash it'll be like advertising is experiencing another 80s. (Can you imagine!)

It'll be an age of creative resurgence. The world's top budding whatevers will take a crack at advertising because the money's so good that no sane man or woman could turn that down. We're talking billions upon billions for the tiniest TV shoot (not adjusting for inflation, of course. You can't expect me to predict the economic fluctuations of the United States of America and the future of advertising thank you very much.)

Creative agencies of course will be constructed any way they want. Some all writers, some all wildcards, some all account people! Because even in a million years no one will quite know how to structure an agency. Pity. But these are questions to span the ages. Top philosophers (they'll also have an agency called Thought) will debate the proper structure of the agency up to the bitter end.

Ah, the end.  That was what I meant to talk about. That's the only time there are any concrete answers to what the perfect structure for an agency would be. 

And that answer is nothing.

That's right, nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada. You lose Charlie + Bucket Creative. Because eventually that big sun is going to go all white dwarf and engulf not just the marketing people, not just the earth, but the entire solar system. 

And it is that very moment that the need for advertisers will exist. With no world there is simply no reason to keep paying expensive agency overheads. Some clients might feel the desire to take things in house but that won't matter on account of they're dead. 

The end of the world will probably solve a lot of problems for a lot of industries but I, for one, am happy that this question that has plagued agencies for so long is finally put to rest. 

Unless one of you creatives weasel your way onto a craft shooting out into space. God help the next civilization you encounter.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/731112 2014-08-22T20:53:20Z 2014-08-22T20:53:21Z Computer, execute sequence Weekly Linkly One Oh Seven Dot Nine Slash.

ONES

The last true (American) hermit goes to jail.

The almost unknown art of Miles Davis

Herzog on creativity.

There are no easy answers.

ZEROS


I don't even know. But I love it.


Hush Money's Pull Ups


Crazy cool projection mapping in a Mexican graveyard.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/731062 2014-08-22T17:58:30Z 2014-10-21T19:11:28Z Incomplete stories.

I'm thinking about stories. Even after the hubub over Stefan Sagmeister's missive "You are Not a Storyteller" has died down. Not because I think advertising people or even most people should consider themselves storytellers. God no. No God, no. I think people claiming to be storytellers are just searching to make themselves feel better about whatever they actually do.

It also seems that so called "storytellers" don't have a clue of what makes a good story. They haven't studied the shapes of stories, or the structure of stories, or even the essential aspects of story. Rather they throw out these lovely tales about how things just keep getting better because x, y, and z. (X, Y, and Z usually being some set of circumstances brought on by a product.) They are usually stories without conflict, devoid of lessons, and only completely self serving. Which means they're bad stories. So even if these people who claim they are storyteller are storytellers they're bad storytellers at best.

As for advertising it's closer to sketch than storytelling. Because sketch is all about heightening until you reach a point where you can't heighten any more. There doesn't have to be an arc. No one has to learn anything. Hell, as long as you haven't wasted people's time it's a good sketch. There are nuances, yes, and sketch is traditionally comedy but I think there's a bit of humor in any good ad, even if that humor comes from the relatability of some situation.

I learned that lesson while working on a Claussen Pickles commercial. We'd sold this spot that was all about a penguin going to the refrigerated section to find Claussens. Rather than try to make that the best spot I possibly could by realizing it was a nice little trek by a funny animal I tried really, really hard (way too hard to be honest) to fit it into a story. It didn't need to be a story as much as it needed to be funny and adorable. that would have been enough. But in my desire to make a piece of advertising something it wasn't the whole thing crumbled in my hands. (An expensive lesson to learn on someone else's dime.) 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I learned that trying to make something good (whatever that means) far outpaces trying to be something because you're insecure about what you actually are.


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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/728023 2014-08-15T22:36:04Z 2014-08-15T22:36:04Z Throw your butts three times to the right, it's time for the Weekly Linkly.

So Robin Williams died this week and there was an outpouring of amazing writing about him and depression. There's going to be a bunch of those in this post so skip it if you're averse to reading about those kinds of things.

BUTTS ON PARADE

BUTTS IN STORAGE


Pipe Guy can play house music with a shoe.


How to do a great magic card trick and make lots of friends.


Racist Chinese Food.


Amazing cake decorating machine.


Yelling in sleep.

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Jeff Kwiatek
tag:jeffkwiatek.posthaven.com,2013:Post/726002 2014-08-11T17:02:45Z 2014-08-11T17:02:45Z Happy Belated Weekly Linkly, Jake Winthrop.

PRESENTS

  • The Process People from The Ad Contrarian. It's one of the best things about advertising I've read in months.

CAKES

  • Nershfest. It's a music festival but it's digital. It's also really well designed.
  • Edgar Wright's blog. Which I didn't know existed until last week. My shame about this is at unprecedented levels.

CANDLES



The best commuter bike. Maybe of all time. It's Denny.


Rick Fulcher cracks up Will Arnett


Hellman's Jar-BQ (for sad lonely people like myself)


David Lynch Nail polish ad


Shy Boys: IRL

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Jeff Kwiatek