Clarity hurtling towards you at 21,000 mph
Clarity hurtling towards you at 21,000 mph

According to some British scientists, on May 19, 2031, an asteroid about the size of Manhattan is predicted to center-punch the Earth, effectively eliminating all human life within a few months.

Bummer.

So, we probably don’t have to put quite as much emphasis on that global warming issue. (What is Al Gore going to do?) Not to mention those who are currently building a house don’t need to opt for the more expensive 30-year roof.

21 years left.

So does knowing the exact amount of time you have left change anything? Does your list of “somedays” take on a newfound urgency? Are you now going to quit your job and go help the less fortunate around the world?

I say if that’s what you want to do, you should pursue it with unbridled vigor. For me, knowing now I will never retire actually provides a little more clarity. How many times do you attempt to look way off in the future and you feel like you somehow won’t live the life you have at present. Well, no need to worry about that anymore I suppose.

Now we all have something in common to worry about: May 19, 2031. So let’s all just stop worrying about everything else that is suddenly not so important: the economy, our 401K’s, the death of advertising, or TV or NASCAR. We’re all going to be just fine. You know how I know? Because if you’re reading this, you are probably in the advertising (uh, sorry…the “communications/social influence”) business. Which means you’re in the greatest, most exciting and interesting career on the planet. You make a living on ideas. That is NEVER going to change. Sure those ideas will manifest themselves in new ways, but who cares? Great ideas will always be great ideas up until that fateful May Monday in the not too distant future.

So take a look at what is on your desk right now. There are a million excuses not to make it the best it can be: “I don’t have enough time,” “I’ve got too much on my plate,” “It will cut into my Facebook time,” “The AE is clueless,” “The client won’t like it,” “The creative director is stupid,” “The strategy is wrong,” “There is no budget,” “They’ll never buy it,” “I can’t make a difference,” “The category is shunned by the shows,” “My computer screen is too small,” “I am a hack,” (okay, I admit I still believe this one). The difference between good work and GREAT work is the unwillingness to give in to the voices. So just take things one at a time. Pick your projects, clients, etc. that will most help you make a difference. And have fun. Most importantly, make whatever you do GREAT. Make it memorable. Make it funny, or serious or compelling. Just make sure to get it done by Sunday night, May 18, 2031. I can promise you, this time there’s no way you’re getting an extension.

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District Addys

Creative projects from Lewis Communications received four Gold and three Silver ADDY awards at the recent District 7 ADDY Awards Competition, which includes Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. Lewis won for Vanderbilt Sports Medicine, Brannon’s Restaurant, Scribbler Stationery, Aquila Game Preserve, Upstate University Health System — and Best of Show in the Broadcast Television category for Alfa Insurance. Gold award winners from the district competition automatically advance to the National ADDY Award competition next month.

Beer and Beef Jerky: The Intern's View
Beer and Beef Jerky: The Intern's View

As we’re watching some video footage about a fancy medical procedure for a client one Thursday afternoon, one of the creative guys asks if we want anything to drink. Assuming he would be coming back with a Coke, I said no thank you. When he came back from the fridge with Yuenglings, however, I knew I was going to like it here.

I’ve been an intern at Lewis for about a week now, and I see this culture is about more than the stockpile of beer and beef jerky in the fridge. And I see advertising is about more than making cool posters. I’m not sure what I expected agency life to be like, but this definitely isn’t it. I think I imagined people being bossy and on-edge all the time, and I think I imagined every meeting and conference call being a calculated battle. This imaginary office I built in my head couldn’t be farther from the truth, at least in Lewis’s case anyway.

People wear skinny jeans, colorful scarves and hip glasses, and they make me feel cooler just by being around them. Every cubicle is decorated with cool artwork and/or pictures of adorable children. As much of an oxymoron as it may seem, the thing I’ve found most odd about the agency is how normal every interaction and meeting is. The way people communicate with one another and with clients is just so relaxed, so easy, so normal.

This simple, understandable communication style each member of the Lewis team seems to possess is the reason I have already learned so much. Just in the few days I’ve spent following people around here, I’ve realized how complex, compelling and fun the advertising industry can be.

Caroline is a summer account service intern. She graduated from the University of Alabama in May, and she will be continuing her education at the University of Missouri in the fall. Follow her @carolineemurray.


The new Edelman Trust Barometer Study is out and causing quite a stir among marketing people. The buzz surrounding the report is primarily because it shows a significant one-year decline in the perceived value of “friends” as a trusted source re: brand trial and preference.

Many pundits are gleefully quoting this single datapoint as evidence that the social influence “fad” is starting to fade.

I think this is a big mistake.

For starters, words matter and the term “friends” has been severely cheapened and confused due to the social media lexicon. Real friends will forever remain a source of trust and confidence for Americans. We are greatly influenced by people we know and admire, and as media fragmentation continues, our reliance on these sources will increase.

Secondly, it is important to remember that brand “conversations,” as we define them here, have never been limited to or framed by the social influence movement. We don’t endorse a cannibalizing view of social media and we openly reject the “advertising is dead” mantra.

Instead, our position is that “we do work worth talking about,” no matter what the media. This is not a new position for our firm, nor is it an attempt to promote ourselves with a social media spin.

We are marketing communications experts who are passionate and gifted at stimulating, measuring and sustaining brand conversations — which is vital in an era of “always on, always accessible” media.

Therefore, while the term “conversations” may become a casualty of the social media debate, what should not be lost is a singular focus on helping customers better connect with and through a client’s brand.

This has always been the strength of great agencies and it will never lose its value.

See the good.

#GoMobile
GoMobile

Let me ask you a question: Where are you reading this?

Chances are, you’re on your desktop computer, and by desktop, I’m including laptops. What about a tablet? Okay, maybe. But mobile phone? Not likely. It’s not that people don’t use mobile devices for entertainment and social purposes. It’s that they’re more likely to use their mobile phones to take action. Find a restaurant. Get directions. Make a phone call. So the fact that you’re probably on a desktop says more about where you are than who you are.

This is a fundamental shift in thinking for those of us in the business of marketing and communications. When it comes to the mobile space, the most important consideration is no longer demographic, it’s geographic.

That’s just a taste of some of the yummy tidbits we feasted on at the Mobilizing Mobile event put on by Google the other night here in Mobile, AL. The event featured Jason Spero, Director of Mobile at Google, and Edward Boches, Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen.

The main takeaway for agencies and their clients is that we must stop treating mobile websites like the kid brother who wants to tag along with big brother desktop website and his buddies, TV and Print. The mobile web is its own thing and needs its own strategy and implementation.

A 30,000-foot view of taglines.  Make that a 22,841-foot view.
A 30,000-foot view of taglines.  Make that a 22,841-foot view.

Make that a 22,841-foot view.

Just Do It. Sounds trite, but I firmly believe that I stood on the top of Mount Aconcagua, one of the highest mountains in the world, on Jan 14, 2011 because of an ad man from Portland, Oregon. Our industry has the power to influence. Sometimes for good, sometimes not. I’m not a copywriter, as witness to this blog post. I’m an art director. And while I do believe that art can certainly move you, words, on the other hand, have a lasting quality and a power that transcends a memorable photo or a striking illustration.

“Just do it.” has remained Nike’s official tagline for over 20 years, and is one of the most memorable slogans in advertising history. It’s also a mantra that can be heard on any weekend bike ride, or college keg party. You can hear it at the local gym, an 8th grade dance, or maybe on a morning jog with a few buddies. It always comes to the surface when someone is contemplating something new. Something that will most likely push them out of their comfort zone. A tagline written for a shoe company has changed lives. It changed mine, of that I have no doubt. No, I don’t have a Nike shrine under the stairs at home. I don’t even buy Nike shoes. But I bought in, 100 percent, into their marketing effort. I love “Just do it.” Sometimes it gets me in trouble. Sometimes it puts me in places I thought I would never be. Like the summit of the tallest mountain in the Andes. So in a way, I guess I do use Nike’s product. The fact that I think about Nike’s tagline every time I push back at the urge to sit on my ass, is testament enough.

Words have power. The power to persuade. The power to motivate.

A simple note can change the course of someone’s life. A single paragraph from a paperback book, graffiti on a wall, a love note passed in a 5th grade classroom. Just a few words from a speech put 12 men on the moon. Words can move people, change people. Words can make you cry, make you laugh. A message on an answering machine, or even the lyrics from a song can have a profound impact. Like the tagline of a shoe company that put an old art director on the summit of Mount Aconcagua.



New Campaign Launch for Stony Brook Medicine
New Campaign Launch for Stony Brook Medicine

Today we launched a new name, branding and service line advertising campaign for our client, Stony Brook.

In early 2011, our client asked us to take a look at how we might update and expand their brand structure and identity. Stony Brook had faced inconsistencies over the years in how their brand was communicated internally and externally.

They asked for our help in developing a larger, more academic and research-focused brand.

A solution and strategy emerged. Our answer was to unify all entities—the hospital, five health science schools and 35 off-campus healthcare facilities—to establish a solid brand structure that allowed for improved communication internally and externally. The new brand that emerged was Stony Brook Medicine.



» Visit the new Stony Brook Medicine website: stonybrookmedicine.edu/idea


In addition to developing the strategy and naming structure for Stony Brook Medicine, we also created a new look and feel through logo development for Stony Brook University, their overarching brand, as well as their five health science schools, major centers and institutes. Our work in brand identity and logo development included everything from stationery and business papers to interior and exterior signage for Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine.

Throughout the remainder of 2011, a new website, stonybrookmedicine.edu, was also created. We developed the site’s design, worked hand-in-hand with the client on sitemaps, built the site templates and launched the site this past February.

Earlier this year, we went into campaign production on multiple advertising elements that would launch internally at Stony Brook Medicine as well as externally though paid media. This week, the external advertising campaign launched with TV and radio spots, banner ads with videos and print ads.

We are very excited and happy to share the advertising campaign. You can view the new campaign for Stony Brook Medicine at the link below on their new website: stonybrookmedicine.edu/idea

And now, if you listen closely, you can hear the corks pop as we celebrate with a bottle of champagne!