RIP John Aguillard: AAF District 10 Legend, Memorial Services Announced

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We, the American Advertising Federation District 10, lost a good friend and a true-to-form legend (and not in his own mind) when John Aguillard passed away a few days ago. If you ever met him at a district conflab or national convention, consider yourself both lucky and blessed. If you didn’t, too bad; you really missed out.

John was a prankster and a very passionate one at that. You also needed to know how to take him. Some folks didn’t and paid the consequences. He was a very quick-witted and smooth-tongued conversationalist, and loved to lure you into one of his “controversial” conversations. He also had a wicked sense of humor.

One of the first times I met John, he dished out some satirical remark, and I responded in a rather direct and satirical manner, and, for a brief moment, John wasn’t sure what to do. He quickly shot back his delight in getting that kind of reaction from me and remarked to a friend sitting next to him, “I like this guy!”

One of my fondest memories was when we were involved in a major discussion one year in Dallas in the Hospitality Suite until about 3:30 in the morning. I was joined by Frank Kopec (Dallas), John (San Antonio), me (Houston), Darrell Boyd (Lake Charles) and one or two others. I was proud that despite the late hour (or early depending on your perspective), there was plenty of respect to be had. Continue reading

Bored? Good! Quarantined? Yes! How’s Your Creativity? Read This.

Anxiety, panic, fear, pandemic stress: The cornerstones of the negative universe. Yet, while all hell is breaking around us, can we still muster up the courage to innovate and create. Is creativity still alive or is it merely napping? Do we create out of despair or want? Out of necessity or desire? I guess that depends on each one of us.

In a recent article in Psychology Today, boredom is cited as an almost certain stimuli for creativity. Now, some of you may not agree with this, and that’s okay. If you don’t and even if you do, let me hear from you with your reasoning.

According to the article, which contains some very interesting points I want to share with you, you’ll see explosive creativity everywhere you look: in how people stuck at home are constructing elaborate recreations of their favorite artworks for the #GettyChallenge; or how we make ways to connect—whether it’s singing from our balconies or happy hour delivery via drones—while social distancing; even in the acerbic memes and uplifting stories flooding social media to offer inane distractions and inspire hope during this crisis.

Interestingly, quarantine and the resulting ennui (a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of excitement) of our home-bound brains have proven to be a catalyst for innovation. Thus, boredom breeds inventive creativity, as long as it’s the right kind of boredom.

Fruitful Boredom

Psychological studies describe five levels of boredom: indifferent, calibrating, searching, reactant, and apathetic. In its seeking state, boredom drives us to find something to engage and delight us. Think of the imaginary friend you had as a child; you did have an imaginary friend, didn’t you? Or the games you’d play with that certain stuffed animal, whose goal in life seemed to be avoiding Mom’s washing machine. Both scenarios seemed to trigger one’s own imagination, and, thus, your creativity. (Note: At least it did mine.)

In today’s society, real boredom escapes us; it seems everywhere you look, all eyes are staring into multiple-shaped devices hosting 24/7 news and entertainment. It’s as if we have to go out of our way to truly be bored.

bonding time of mother and child

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

While technology provides us creative outlets and a means of connecting when we are physically isolated from one another, these distractions are like the digital equivalent of junk food for our brains while good old fashioned boredom is a hunger that nurtures creative thinking.

What’s unique about this quarantine is that it constrains us in so many ways.  Our typical means of working, socializing, and even provisioning ourselves have been dramatically restricted. And while people tend to think that constraints limit creativity and innovation, research proves quite the opposite to be true.

Continue reading

Creativity: Might Advertising’s Special Sauce Be Turning a Wee Bit Sour?

Although the topics may vary from blog post to blog post here, one central theme usually always emerges: Creativity. Even before the nasty onslaught of the COVID-19 virus outbreak, creativity was quite important and pertinent in our industry. Now, it’s more important than ever.

In reading various articles on the subject of creativity, I found it interesting that the Brits are complaining about its overall effectiveness. One such cautionary study comes from an account manager with M&C Saatchi. Among others, he cited the legendary John Hegarty who called creativity “advertising’s special sauce” partly due to the significant effect it can have on achieving or even surpassing objectives and increasing ROI.Sir John Hegarty Cannes 2016

Advertising, to increase effectiveness, has to appeal to consumers by conveying emotions and helps to build memory structures, allowing them to choose a brand easily and instinctively. Creativity is the best way to convey emotion.

IPA (Institute for Practitioners of Advertising) studies have proven that creativity can increase ROI by 10x. Furthermore, communications that are built upon a foundation of emotion and that eventually become famous can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a campaign. Even with a fairly modest budget but a strong creative idea, a company can enter the public consciousness in a truly unique way.

Taking the idea and backing it with an effective use of budget can create a huge level of earned media, and by becoming news worthy, can generate a great return on investment.

However, creativity does not operate in a vacuum. Numerous other aspects of a campaign contribute to its effectiveness like media spend, and changes in price of products, for example.

That’s why measuring effectiveness with various KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and economic models is so important. Furthermore, as the “Saatchi Study” indicates, it is important to remember that while creativity can act as a multiplier for ROI and other measures, creativity should never be used as a substitute for solid media investment. The best campaigns have a good balance of both.

Clearly, a creative campaign that appeals to the emotional side of peoples brains, is memorable and sparks conversation, eventually entering into public culture can have a great impact on business results. However, creativity is just one very important part of advertising and not the sole means to an end.

But even creativity, as seen in some circles, is meeting with raised eyebrows as its effectiveness is being called into question. Might it be turning a bit sour?

Continue reading

Special Edition – Global Quotes: COVID-19, What it Means to the Advertising Industry

In a London-based publication on advertising, Shots conducted Q&A interviews with various agency and production firms around the globe.

They were asked one thing: How are you and your company coping with the current restrictions and what impact do you think they will have on the industry and your business?

In this special edition of Quotes, relating to that question, we hear how businesses are coping, what the potential fallout of this crisis could be, and about the initiatives being put in place to foster creativity during this isolation period. Here are some highlights.

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Recovery will happen, however, many of the brands and clients we work with have other priorities right now and we are very sensitive to this. Sarah Cutler, Director of Partnerships, makemepulse London

Right now, the world is in isolation physically and emotionally – I believe there will be a reaction to this. Simon Hatter, Founder & Creative Director, Rumour Has It Amsterdam

Some are set up for success and, for others, this will be a wake-up call.  Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Chief Creative Officer, FCB Toronto

The world must keep moving and creative problem-solving has a vital role to play.  James Razzall, President, Advertising North America, Framestore

As crippling as this crisis has been for our industry, finding ways to support brand messaging in a time where consumers are looking to them to give back is a vital role. Justin Wineburgh, CEO & President, Alkemy X

Our Chinese co-workers shared their best practices at a very early stage, both from a business and safety aspects.  The worst scenario would actually be not to come prepared for what’s next. We must help companies and brands to be up and running just before lockdown ends.  Olivier Lefebvre, CEO and Partner at FF Paris

The best response is to think how you, as a brand, can be genuinely useful to people. Sam Walker, ECD, Uncommon London

This will result in less projects and less work and unfortunately, in the long run, put companies out of business. Espen Horn, Executive Producer, Motion Blur Norway

I see this hitting of the pause button not just as a problem but, just possibly, as an amazing opportunity.  Charlie Crompton, Managing Partner & EP, Rogue Films London

Due to the fact that there is zero new business coming in… we also started to develop self-improvement ideas for the whole company.  Patrick Volm-Dettenbach, Executive Producer, ELEMENT E Filmproduktion Germany

The world is also changing how it consumes media. Print will likely take a hit (Playboy was the first to announce it had stopped printing).  Héloïse Hooton, Founder, Hooton Public Relations

Our biggest priority is to relieve the anxiety of everyone in the company. Joseph Bonnici Partner & Executive Creative Director, Bensimon Byrne Toronto

I am convinced that advertisers will have to continue communicating through campaigns/commercials, especially once life returns to normal. Ruben Goots, Founder and EP, Hamlet Belgium

What will never change about our business is that creativity, craft and smart solutions will always win the day. Ari Kuschnir, Founder & Managing Partner, m ss ng p eces

It is simply impossible for any business to survive a period of expenditure with no income over a prolonged period of time. What we don’t want is a lag in getting going again and that is very much the views of the agencies we have spoken to. Spencer Dodd, Joint MD & EP, Merman London

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If this crisis has one upside for entrepreneurs, it will be to force us to focus on essentials, reinvent how we do things in a leaner way.  Simon Cachera, Co-Founder, Victor & Simon Amsterdam

 

 

 

If you liked this post, check out some others here . . .

What’s the Future of Television? View the Webinar Below to Find Out.

In a previous post, we learned about the future of advertising, which is still unfolding. This post deals with the future of TV, which is definitely still unfolding and evolving. Long gone are the days when we would settle in our easy chair to watch the national news at 5:30, then continue on at 6 for one’s local news.

Today, everything seems to be easy on, instantaneous.

So much so that we find ourselves in an unprecedented time where consumers around the globe are turning to TV and internet entertainment as they adjust to world events. View the webinar below as Innovid CTO Tal Chalozin walks through today’s ever-changing TV consumer trends, what they mean for advertisers, and what brands can expect in the immediate future.

You’ll learn:

What the data reveals about viewer impressions and device usage across key markets,

How advertisers are adapting their campaigns,

Best practices for strategy adjustment planning,

Predictions for what’s to come.

 

Future of TV

 

 

 

 

 

Crisis Coping for Creative Pros – Part 3 of 3

Over the past two blog posts about crisis coping, we’ve listened in on a conversation between the author, Ellyn Kail, and photographer Danny Ghitis about various methods to cope for creatives who have been entangled in the Coronavirus pandemic.

In this, the third and last post of the series, they explore what it’s like finding a sense of community during these very scary times.

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In the last two weeks, I have received more than two dozen emails about the temporary closures of galleries and studio spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve received several more about canceled exhibitions. This is a period of uncertainty for the photography community as a whole, but in this time, we’ve also witnessed people coming together.

In between those letters about closures and cancelations, there have also been emails from artists who are hosting camera giveaways, publishers who are discounting their books, and non-profit organizations who are offering free talks and photog resources.

Globally, photographers are sharing information about how we can donate supplies to local hospitals and encouraging us all to practice social distancing for the safety and well-being of the community.

Over the past week, we’ve spoken to the photographer and professional development coach Danny Ghitis about how creatives can cope during this time and continue to create meaningful work in unprecedented circumstances.

Photography, like any art form, can be a solitary pursuit, but it’s also full of communities and resources. With all the recent gallery closures and exhibition cancellations, how can photographers stay connected and engaged with one another?

“This is so crucial. One of the main causes of my own burnout was a feeling of isolation as a photographer, and that was way before all this coronavirus mayhem. We are wired to need other people. That lone wolf photographer icon can be really damaging because it makes asking for help look like a weakness when, in reality, it’s a superpower.

“In a way, this moment offers a unique opportunity. Everyone is struggling with the same overarching challenge. Everyone needs help, and we have the technology to easily stay in touch. We’re not as spread thin as usual with a thousand networking events, galleries, meetings, etc. So reach out, offer support, provide feedback, invite conversation, have a virtual coffee, host a roundtable discussion.”

Has the creative community faced any upheavals like this one in recent years, if not on the same scale? If so, what can we learn from that time, and how can we apply those lessons to the here and now?

“I graduated from college with a photojournalism degree in 2006, the year before the iPhone hit the market and changed everything. The newspaper bureau where I interned closed a couple months after I arrived (not my fault, I swear!). I started my freelance career at the same time as the 2008 financial meltdown.

“Somehow, I made it work and grew as a human and professional. And guess what, I’m not that special. Human beings are resilient by evolutionary design. We’ve outlasted and overpowered nearly every other living organism and are capable of incredible adaptation. If you’re reading this and you’re human, you already have the tools you need inside your body.”

What are some ways you see the creative community coming together right now to support and help one another? Any moments that have given you hope?

“All of a sudden we’re in it together. We have a common struggle and purpose. We’re thinking collectively like a tribe like in the good old prehistoric days. Of course, we don’t wish sickness and suffering upon anyone and hope this goes away soon, but it does offer a unique opportunity to see the big picture.

“I keep getting emails and social media posts about virtual gatherings and support groups, and I am getting more messages than usual from friends checking in. I just started an online meetup group, and there are lots of others out there if you’re willing to search. It’s all about taking initiative and reaching out.”

How would you advise photographers and other creatives who suddenly have a lot of free time on their hands?

“This can be viewed as a great opportunity because we’re being forced to evaluate how to spend our time wisely. First, the mindset work. If you’re not in a good state of mind, it’s very hard to be focused and productive. If you want business results, practice self-care. Remember how flight attendants demonstrate putting on your oxygen mask first? Same deal. Take care of yourself to take care of others.

“Ask yourself, ‘How can I serve?’ It’s easy to get caught up in self-centered problem solving during a crisis, while orienting toward service can be more effective in creating action and will make you feel better. What do others need, and what skills do you have that can help them?”

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We are truly living in unprecedented times. Deadly times. History has recorded plagues, wars, and various catastrophes yet we’ve managed to survive. Granted, the planet has lost life in measurable means before but we’ve never faced a global pandemic like this before. I guess, in a sense, this could be compared to chemical warfare on a global scale from an invisible enemy.

Yet, we will live on. We will create and innovate. We have to do that now to find a vaccine to nullify the virus so we may begin to get used to a new normal. Things won’t be the same since we won’t be the same, those of us who will survive. But we will. We have to. Together. Smarter. Stronger. More persistent. Less partisan.

Wait, what’s that? It’s creativity knocking at the door. Let’s welcome her in, shall we!

 

This is part three of three of our interview with Danny Ghitis. Here are parts one and two.

 

A World Tour in Images Via COVID-19, the Coronavirus

Awesome images. Deadly.

Unforgetable. Diabolical.

stock-photo-coronavirus-ncov-novel-coronavirus-concept-resposible-for-asian-flu-outbreak-and-coronaviruses-1625951248

 

Known the world over, yet we’d like to forget.

We never will.

 

 

 

Strikingly bizarre. Amazing how some life form that microscopic can wreak such havoc on mankind.

CoronaVirus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Enemy #1

Image 3-18-20 at 10.47 AM In some strange way there is beauty among these images. Strange and weird and deadly. Awesome.

 

Corona Virus-yellow

 

Let us never forget what we’re going through, will go through and have gone through.

The Horrors.

The ones we’ve lost and will lose.

Those of us who will survive.

Image 3-18-20 at 10.49 AM

warningsigninlondon

 

 

No matter how advanced we think we are, we’re still no match for microscopic life on this planet.

 

 

moscow

Moscow

buildingnewhospitalinWuhan

Building new hospital

market fears

Stock market woes

From Hong Kong to San Francisco and Italy to Israel and all points in between, the Coronavirus or COVID-19 has made its mark and as of this writing sees no stoppage.

Make no mistake, we will find a cure.

But what of next time?

What of next time?

 

Boosting Your Creativity – Just Like Einstein – Even in Crisis Times! Part 2.

4 Ways Combinatory Play Gets You Out of a Brain Rut, Plus Helps One Deal with a Crisis.

Now that you see how the human brain can get stuck in a rut thanks to neural pathways and a fondness for the familiar, how can you free your brain and lead it on a path to innovation? Based on research and real-life examples from great minds, here are four ways Combinatory Play can to get you out of a brain rut:

1. Cross Train Your Brain

Each cross-training activity works a different, but complementary, part of the body that will help get you stronger in the overall event, task or project. In other words, if you’re a novelist, try your hand at poetry. If you’re a painter, dabble in sculpting. If you’re a computer scientist, play around with web design.

For instance, how did playing violin help Einstein theorize about matter and energy? A study from UC Irvine and the University of Wisconsin found that giving piano lessons to preschoolers significantly improved their spatial-temporal reasoning— a key skill needed for math and science—much more than giving computer lessons, singing lessons, or no lessons at all.

So try a new activity within your field or related to it; you’ll expand your neural connections and strengthen your brain overall.

2. Take a Shower, Go for a Walk or Do Some Other Mundane Activity

First, creativity and relaxation could be linked. I’ve found that whenever I’m really tired, my creativity just hits a wall. Trying to go on is fruitless. Wrap it up and go to bed or walk away from whatever it is you’re working on and come back to it in several hours or the next day.

Depending on when you’re doing this, try something boring, like showering or taking a walk (though some folks would argue that this exercise is not boring) or go for a swim. These tasks don’t require substantial cognitive effort, so our brains are free to wander. And contrary to popular belief, a brain “at rest” isn’t really resting at all.

ZZZ's

Some researchers believe there is a positive correlation between our daydreaming state (occurring in a brain region that becomes more active at rest) and creativity. Mind-wandering may allow the conscious to give way to the subconscious, so the brain can connect disparate ideas.

Second, distractions may boost creativity. Research by Harvard professor Shelley Carson found that high creative achievement was associated with low latent inhibition, or the capacity to screen out irrelevant information, especially if the participants had a high IQ.

For the creative mind, inspiration can be found everywhere. Sometimes, you just need to distract yourself long enough to notice it.

3. Sleep On It

Regarding the process of discovery, scientists have proposed that there is an incubation period during which “unconscious processes contribute to creative thinking.” In his memoir, A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway reveals how he safeguarded his creativity through such a process:

Ernest_Hemingway_in_London_at_Dorchester_Hotel_

“I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything…”

And in a later chapter:

“I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing; but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”

In 2009, a study out of the University of California San Diego was published suggesting that sleep may assist combinatorial creativity. In particular, researchers found that study participants who were allowed to slip into Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM)—the stage during which we dream—showed an almost 40% improvement over their earlier creative problem-solving test performances, while those who had only non-REM sleep or quiet rest showed no improvement.

The authors of that study hypothesized that when we’re in REM, our brains are better able to integrate unassociated information, which is essential to creative thinking (it explains why dreams are so bizarre).

As mentioned earlier, when you’re stuck on a problem or the creative juices stop flowing, try going to bed. You’ll have a refreshed and different perspective the next morning.

4. Feed Your (copy) Cat

Is anything truly original? Uh, doubtful. In fact, according to artist Austin Kleon, the answer is no. Kleon presented a TED Talk “Steal Like an Artist” and a book of the same name, in which he asserts that nothing is original and all artists build upon previous work.

With this in mind, don’t plagiarize someone, but get inspired by and improve upon someone else’s creations. In this Age of the Internet, one can’t help “borrow” from someone else’s idea. That’s in part why I’m both sharing this article from Amy Rigby and the Trello blog but also adding some of my own perspective.

Suggestions:

  • If you’re suffering from writer’s block, buy a pack of those word magnets and rearrange them until you come up with creative phrases on your fridge;
  • As previously mentioned, break your concentration, especially when it’s hard for you to focus, and go for a walk or go to bed (depending on the time, of course);
  • If you’re not sure how to move forward on a project, bounce ideas off of your teammates and see if you find any hidden gems in their suggestions;
  • If you’re building a product and stuck in the design phase, search for competitors who have made similar products, find where their customers are unhappy, and design something new that solves the problems your competitors failed to address;
  • Step back from your computer or tablet or canvas or whatever tool you’re using and try and get a bigger or completely different picture of what you’re doing. Go wherever your mind wants to go. Although you may want to continue working on a particular piece of creative, your mind may not. Try doing what it wants. You’ll end up with a different perspective, and, maybe even a new project or topic.
  • During crisis times, our emotions seem to be at their peak. Don’t let them get the best of you, but learn from them. You’re already jacked so let your new-found motivation help guide you to your (new) goals; what was important yesterday may not be as important today.

We all get stuck in a rut at times, even the greatest minds in history like Einstein did. If you need a new way of thinking, use Combinatory Play to give your brain a boost:

  • Participate in creative cross-training to expand your brain’s neural connections;
  • Let your mind wander by doing something mundane or even boring;
  • Go to bed and let your subconscious mind connect the dots during REM sleep;
  • Use another person’s work as a springboard for inspiration and improvement;
  • Go where your mind wants to go and gain a different perspective.
  • Emotions tend to peak during crisis times; learn from them.
Abstract design made of human head and symbolic elements on the subject of human mind, consciousness, imagination, science and creativity

“Diversity of the Mind” Thanks to iStock Photo


Thanks to Amy Rigby in

Map Locations of Creative Class Growth Meet Up with “Rise of the Rest.” (Part 2)

Let’s face it: Economic growth is boring, though important. The better it is, the more resilient a community becomes. Out of this comes the culture and cultivation of the Creative Class. Houston may be the 4th largest city in the country but its creative class designation is, while on the upswing, crawling.

In this Part 2 blog post, I share some of the findings of Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, and his colleagues. Houston, despite all its size and culture, remains a lukewarm bed of creativity, especially when compared to New York, LA, and even Chicago. Most of that is due to the client base in Houston; much more B2B than B2C. More oil-n-gas than cornflakes; more energy than autos.

Based on Florida’s research and his colleagues’ input, they found that one of the most troubling trends of the past decade is the deepening geographic inequality across the U.S., especially through the clustering of particular types of talent in coastal cities like San Francisco and New York.

But a growing chorus of economists and urbanists suggest that we may be seeing the “rise of the rest,” a result of both increasingly unaffordable housing in established hubs and the improvement of the economies in less-established hubs.

While startups and tech employment remain highly clustered, recent reports suggest that some Rustbelt and Sunbelt metros are increasing their ability to attract college graduates.

Cincinnati Riverside

Cincinnati saw nearly 20 percent growth in its share of the creative class from 2005 to 2017. Aaron Bernstein/Reuters

Investigating what is actually happening to the geography of talent, Florida concentrated on changes in the location of the creative class for a period immediately before, during, and post-recession. While most studies equate talent with the share of adults who hold college degrees, his creative class metric is based on occupation.

About nine in 10 Americans with a college degree are members of the creative class, which is made up of knowledge workers in education, healthcare, law, arts, tech, science, and business. But, only six in 10 members of the creative class hold a college degree.

CreativeClass 2005

In 2005, the top ten list read like a veritable who’s who of the nation’s leading knowledge and tech hubs, led by Washington D.C., San Jose, and San Francisco. But Baltimore (with a large cluster of medical and scientific research centers around Johns Hopkins University) and Minneapolis-St. Paul also make the top-10 list, besting bigger metros like New York and Los Angeles.

In 2017, the creative class makes up more than half the workforce in the leading metros, and there are substantial changes in the rankings. San Jose tops the list, followed by D.C. and San Francisco, and now Denver and Philadelphia have joined the top ten.

CreativeClass2017

The map below shows the percentage growth in the creative class from 2005 to 2017. A number of Rustbelt and Sunbelt metros which have previously lagged now show robust growth. Salt Lake City posted the fastest growth, with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati next in line. Las Vegas, which had the smallest creative class share of large metros in 2005, also saw significant growth.

Of leading creative class metros, only Seattle and Baltimore registered comparable gains. On the flip side, superstar hubs New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., all ranked among the ten metros with the slowest creative class growth.

CreativeClassGrowth

The even better news is that the creative class—which often garners the highest paying jobs—appears to be growing as a percentage of total workforce employment across the board.

This next chart shows Houston coming in at 32nd out of 53 metro areas, between St. Louis and Pittsburgh for the 2005-2017 time span. Houston’s Creative Class growth rate approximates 37% over the 12-year span.

Growth:Change 2005:2017

According to Florida and his research associates, the creative class has seen remarkable growth over this time frame, increasing from 44 million members in 2005 to more than 56 million in 2017, as virtually all large U.S. metros saw growth. The rate of creative class growth (27.2 percent) was more than double the growth rate of overall U.S. workforce (13.6 percent) over this period.

Florida believes we may well be seeing the beginnings of a tipping point in the geography of talent as housing prices continue to rise in superstar cities, while metros in once talent-lagging parts of the country capitalize on the significant cost advantages and quality of life they have to offer.

Houston Skyline Glow

Houston Skyline Sunrise Glow Panorama – Color Texas Canvas Print is a photograph by Bee Creek Photography – Tod and Cynthia.

In Houston, as in other comparably sized metro areas, technology and shared work spaces are in the forefront of change and innovation. The medical community, at least in Houston, is striving as never before to consistently research and provide for better and faster disease fighters. Economic and infrastructure expansion in the Texas Medical Center continues to roll along. This progress goes hand-n-hand with expansion of the Creative Class.

But we can’t let up. Just as important as innovative medicine development is, so, too, is the expansion and underwriting of the arts, culture and creativity in its purest form.

 

So, let me know your thoughts, questions or comments. I’d really like to hear from you.

 

Richard Florida is a co-founder and editor at large of CityLab and a senior editor at The Atlantic. He is a university professor in the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and Rotman School of Management.

This is one Whopper we pray will never find its way onto BK’s menu.

WARNING: If you’re squeamish, prepare yourself and, please, don’t throw up on your computer monitor!

burger-king-moldy-whopper-2020

        Burger King highlights “the beauty of no artificial preservatives” in its Moldy Whopper campaign.
Burger King

In a word, BLEAHHHHH!!!

Last week, according to Adweek, Burger King unveiled a global ad campaign  highlighting its commitment to dropping all artificial preservatives. Such campaigns, while laudable, come and go somewhat often without generating much more than passing interest.

This one is truly bizarre. It tests just how far Burger King can virtually thrust its product down its customers’ throats before they gag.

The Moldy Whopper campaign, created through a partnership between three agencies, features intriguingly high-resolution photography and video of a Whopper being consumed not by humans, but rather by the horribly incredible passage of time itself. In other words, we get to see a Whopper rotting. Lovely!

Adweek reports that each ad shows a Whopper whose ingredients are being engulfed in mold, alongside a date stamp letting you know how long the burger has been exposed to the elements (too long, but typically about a month). The tagline, are you ready for this, describes the images as “the beauty of no artificial preservatives.”

Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?

The work promotes the brand’s pledge to drop all artificial preservatives, which it has accomplished across much of Europe and 400 locations in the United States. By the end of the year, Burger King says it will have removed artificial preservatives from Whoppers in all U.S. locations. That’s nice and laudable.

I’m still feeling nauseous.

“At Burger King, we believe that real food tastes better,” (no kidding) said Fernando Machado, CMO for Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International. “That’s why we are working hard to remove preservatives, colors and flavors from artificial sources from the food we serve in all countries around the world.”

burger-king-moldy-whopper-outdoor-1-2020

Burger King

I’m sorry but this just looks gross! It’s certainly not appealing at all. I get what they’re trying to convey but I wonder if BK ever considered giving out Tums, Alka Seltzer or nausea tablets with their meals.

In addressing reality, Adweek posits that the mold campaign might be challenging to common sense, but it was also a difficult one to accomplish in terms of craft and required months to achieve.

“We are very proud of crafting this idea,” said Björn Ståhl, executive creative director for Ingo, one of three agencies involved. “Mold grows in a very inconsistent way. We had to work for several months, with different samples, to be able to showcase the beauty of something which is usually considered undesirable.”

” . . . the beauty of something undesirable.” Really? Sort of sounds like a contradiction in terms. I’m still feeling nauseous.

burger-king-moldy-whopper-outdoor-2-2020

Burger King

So how will it go over? According to Adweek’s reporting, in the short term, the likely answer is: not great. Head-scratching advertising tends to generate quite a bit of short-term negative publicity, usually thanks to morning talk shows and late-night monologues.

And some within advertising will call the work “awards bait,” knowing that juries at Cannes Lions and other awards festivals tend to swoon over concepts that challenge every seemingly obvious but unwritten rule of advertising, such as “Don’t make your food look like it will literally kill people.”

But in the process of sparking debate and consternation, the campaign is also likely to resonate across the industry and encourage other brands to take similar moves, knowing that the ideas will be easier to sell when something so “off the wall” (that’s one way to put it) has already been sold to a major global corporation.

burger-king-moldy-whopper-vertical-1-2020

Burger King

This campaign will indeed show something else:  How strong are BK’s customers’ stomachs? This is revolting no matter how “beautiful” the photography. Just because a global corporation has gone along with this hideous idea doesn’t make it one to copy. After all, how many global CEO’s have signed off on something that should never have come out of committee?

What will definitely be interesting to see will be the types of “toned down” ideas and executions coming forth that are based on the Moldy Whopper campaign.

In the meantime, BK needs to supply their restaurants with plenty of Tums and barf bags, just in case.

 

PS . . . Thanks to David Griner (@griner), creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek’s podcast, “Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad” for source material for this blog.