Confessions of a first-time teacher
Apr 2012 19

Today I submitted the final marks for my Copywriting 1 students at OCAD here in Toronto. Yes, that’s where I’ve been the last week — marking. And now that I’m on the other side, I’m just starting to wonder – What happened? What did I teach? Was I a dick? Was I inspiring? By the way, the answer to those two last ones are probably ‘sometimes’ and ‘when he wasn’t the former’.

Like anyone who’s been (luckily) asked to teach, when I was approached I had two very different visions of how it might turn out. One of them being incredibly inspiring and having kids do the whole ‘O Captain my Captain’ stuff standing on desks for me in defiance of the ‘man’, and the other, laden with fears about making them completely run in fear from this business of advertising. Hey, now that Geoffrey Roche is retired, someone should take up the slack.

I think what really happened is somewhere in the middle. The ones that took off running probably shouldn’t be in advertising, and the ones that should be I guess didn’t mind my often colourful language and inappropriate tales of Canadian Advertising.

At various times if you came into my class you could’ve seen a clip from Mad Men, a chart about strategy, Super Bowl TV spots, or me spouting on about some crazy ad party I once went to and this dumb thing happened. Just for the record, I didn’t say it was good to go to an ad party and sleep with a stranger, I was just saying this stuff happens. Sometimes I was super nice supportive guy, and at other times I channeled the most temperamental demanding Creative Director I’ve ever had. Cause they’ll meet one someday.

But it was always about ideas. That’s what Copywriting is about I think. It’s not about the best grammar or where to put commas (thankfully) or the best adjective to describe the feeling of chewing a marshmallow. It’s about coming up with ideas as much as figuring out how to word thingy them. Got Milk? Shakespeare it ain’t. But the ideas behind it… Now there’s a bit of Einstein at work there if you can see it the way I do.

Thanks to all the students that came to my class if they’re reading this. All of you did inspire me like I was a new to this business myself. This advertising stuff is a fun way to make a living. Really, I love it. I hope I made that clear. It’s fun to go to work. You meet the most creative and interesting people. And you get to create on top of it as a bonus.

And I’m sorry I used the term ‘Alright I’m back, bitches!’ in one of my emails. Like I said, you meet creative and interesting people in this business. But here’s the thing – I’m just marginally controversial at best. Wait til you really work in this business…
Class of Copywriting 1, 2012… Go forth and create. Get excited about ideas. Get other people excited about them. Words are truly powerful. But nothing is more powerful than a great idea – no matter how you express it.

Apr 2012 13

I pulled myself away from final marking for OCADU long enough to see the trouble that’s been brewing for Burger King since last week. Apparently, Mary J. Blige started it all off by saying the Burger King ad she was in (featured below) was not the scripted version she signed off on. African American groups said the ad played to stereotypes about fried chicken…

So Burger King pulled it. But then Second City took the idea and ran with it, as you can see at the bottom of the post. Inappropriate Comedy Gold.

The Original from Burger King

The Second City Campaign

Apr 2012 10

As if being on ‘The Price is Right’ a few months ago wasn’t cool enough — he did really well by the way, helping a lot of contestants win — here comes Snoop Dogg with his own rolling papers. Snoop Dogg King Size Slim Rolling Papers, don’tcha know.

And how does he launch them? By making a smokable book with some of his lyrics printed on each page. Brilliant.

Apparently, these will be given out at Coachella (4/20), where Snoop is headlining.

AGENCY: Pereira & O’Dell

NDP MPs delighted to find Easter eggs hidden in Thomas Mulcair’s beard
Apr 2012 08

Fuji Tamale Breaking News, Ottawa




PHOTO: Chris Wattie, Reuters

Apr 2012 03

I like a lot of stuff that Droga5 does. And this Newcastle Brown campaign is shaping up to be one of them. The strategy? It seems to be something along the lines of “Just good beer, no pretentiousness”. And I like the potential to make fun of some of the other um, more self-important beers out there.

Like this billboard poking fun at Stella does…

By the way, someone I know from Great Britain says that Newcastle will cause blindness in large quantities.