Quotes for the Soul and Wherever!

It’s that time of the month again! Time for assorted quotes from a variety of folks. Take them to heart and add them to your diet as food for your soul. Enjoy.

It is easier to tone down a wild idea than to think up a new one. — Alex Osborne, Advertising Hall of Fame

The heart of creativity is discipline. — William Bernbach, Advertising Hall of Fame

Consumers are statistics. Customers are people. — Stanley Marcus, Advertising Hall of Fame

Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing. — Benjamin Franklin, Advertising Hall of Fame

Human beings must involve themselves in the anguish of other human beings. This, I submit to you, is not a political thesis at all. It is simply an expression of what I would hope might be ultimately a simple humanity for humanity’s sake. ― Rod Serling

Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of a man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in art, in music, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.  – John Steinbeck

Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack. – Dr. Seuss

You can’t be a creative thinker if you’re not stimulating your mind, just as you can’t be an Olympic athlete if you don’t train regularly. – Sir Ken Robinson

Success or failure in business is caused more by mental attitude than by mental capacities. — Walter Dill Scott, Advertising Hall of Fame

Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message. — William Bernbach, Advertising Hall of Fame

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

Wonder What Mr. Data Would Think: Robots Creating Ads? Hmmmm.

Lt. Cmdr. Data of the USS Enterprise

Well, Data, as all Trekkers know, was an Android, not a robot. It was a very sensitive distinction in his day. Yet, one can’t help but wonder what one non-human form of life would think of another non-human form of life creating advertising in the manner humans do.

While humorous, I can just picture Klaatu instructing Gort about a forthcoming ad for NASA’s Artemis IV mission to Jupiter. (Note: Those of you not having a clue as to what I am referring, Google “Day the Earth Stood Still” especially the 1951 version)

Gort

Recently, I read where a reporter from the Wall Street Journal did an article on the role of AI (Artificial Intelligence) writing and redoing advertising. Interesting, I thought, so I made it the focus of this week’s blog post about another aspect of creativity in the early 21st. Century. My thanks to both The Journal and Patrick Coffee for lending credence to this post.

In late 2021, as states eased pandemic restrictions and consumers began flying again, travel search company Kayak needed a message that would help it stand out against bigger rivals.

Most travel ads focused on “the family reunion space, soft piano music, the get-together on the beach,” said Matthew Clarke, vice president of North American marketing for the Booking Holdings Inc. company. Kayak took a different approach with the “Kayak Deniers” campaign, which went live in January and poked fun at the rise of online conspiracy theories. In one ad, an angry mother insists to her family that Kayak isn’t real, screaming, “Open your eyes!”

Inspiration for the ads came from an unlikely source: artificial intelligence.

Kayak worked with New York advertising agency Supernatural Development LLC, whose internal AI platform combines marketers’ answers to questions about their business with consumer data drawn from social media and market research to suggest campaign strategies, then automatically generates ideas for advertising copy and other marketing materials.

Supernatural’s AI found that Kayak should target its campaign largely toward young, upper-income men, who it said would respond to humor about Americans’ inability to agree on basic facts in politics and pop culture, said Michael Barrett, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Supernatural.

“That gave us a good amount of license to zig where the category was zagging and to be more relevant, more provocative,” Mr. Clarke said of the AI findings.

The campaign has been one of Kayak’s most successful to date in driving brand favorability, Mr. Clarke said.

Marketers have primarily used AI in a creative capacity in services like creative automation, which tests thousands of slight variations on elements such as ad copy and color schemes to determine which combinations will best attract consumers’ attention.

But AI is expected to change marketing practices drastically in coming years thanks to new tools like OpenAI Inc.’s automated language generator GPT-3, which allows algorithms to better understand different languages and produce original text content, said Tom Davenport, distinguished professor of information technology and management at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., who co-wrote a 2019 paper on the subject.

Unilever PLC’s Dollar Shave Club recently began working with AI firm Addition Technologies Inc., whose platform can analyze millions of social-media posts, to help identify themes for use in marketing products that range from razors to wet wipes.

“It’s like having a machine hive mind that you can just keep asking questions because it has completely consumed all comments on the subject,” said Matt Orser, vice president and head of creative at Dollar Shave Club.

Addition also worked with ad agency Droga5 LLC to create an interactive ad campaign for the New York Times that turns headlines from each subscriber’s reading history into a visual “portrait” of that person. Some headlines were too long to fit within the portraits’ design, so Addition programmed its platform to rewrite them in fewer than 50 characters, said a Times spokesman.

AI’s primary benefit for marketers is its ability to quickly complete projects, such as brand strategy briefs, that would take humans days or weeks, giving staffers more time to focus on other work, said Supernatural Chief Creative Officer Paul Caiozzo.

When Signal Messenger LLC, maker of encrypted messaging app Signal, wanted to plan its first major marketing campaign in 2021, it turned to AI marketing consulting firm DumDum LLC.

DumDum invites marketers to discuss their most pressing challenges in brief “thinkathon” sessions, then runs those ideas through an AI platform that matches them with potential solutions based on a growing pool of behavioral data and consumer surveys conducted by DumDum to provide CMOs with outside perspectives.

DumDum presented Signal with several options, and executives chose one that focused on the fact that Signal, unlike many other digital platforms, doesn’t collect user data. They bought several Instagram ads designed to highlight how its parent, Meta Platforms Inc., targets users with their own personal data, said Jun Harada, head of growth and communication at Signal. One post began, “You got this ad because you’re a certified public accountant in an open relationship.”

Facebook responded by shutting down Signal’s ad account, according to Mr. Harada. The move came only days after Apple Inc. announced sweeping data-privacy changes that would upend the digital advertising industry.

When used correctly, AI forces marketers to consider new perspectives and avoid simply repeating approaches that worked in the past, said DumDum founder Nathan Phillips.

“You can create a dance between human and computer that changes the way you think,” Mr. Phillips said.

The idea of AI as a creative partner isn’t new, but most campaigns have positioned it as a gimmick.

In 2018, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus released what it called “the world’s first advert to be scripted entirely by AI.” However, a Lexus spokeswoman described that effort as a “one-off,” and it still needed a human director.

Increased use of AI could potentially eliminate some entry-level marketing jobs, but it will never replace the people required to ensure that content is fit for public consumption and to prevent controversies such as Microsoft Corp.’s anti-Semitic chat bot, said Mr. Davenport, the Babson College professor.

Ad industry leaders agreed that AI will supplement, not supplant, human ingenuity. “While [AI] can unlock the creative capacity of people by making their work more efficient and effective, sometimes we need to throw logic out the window and fall back on our intuition,” said Rob Reilly, global chief creative officer at ad giant WPP PLC.

More creative firms will begin using AI tools in the coming years, but most will not position themselves as AI-driven businesses, because CMOs aren’t particularly concerned with the process as long as the resulting campaigns are successful, said Mr. Caiozzo of Supernatural.

“AI is just the tool that is freeing me to do my job,” he said. “Most people don’t care how you bake the bread.”

Like it or not, AI is here to stay and will only adjust and modernize the ad industry for years to come.

 

Notes:

Sources: The Wall Street Journal and Patrick Coffee. Appeared in the August 11, 2022, print edition as ‘Robots Turn Creative as AI Helps Drive Ad Campaigns.’

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

 

 

Quotes – It’s What They Said

It’s that time of the month again when we feature different quotes from a variety of people in the fields of creativity, the arts, psychology, advertising and many more. Some are very well known while others not so much. In any event, they are thought-provoking, interesting and in some cases, rather surprising.

 

Creators, makers of the new, can never become obsolete, for in the arts there is no correct answer. The story of discoverers could be told in simple chronological order, since the latest science replaces what went before. But the arts are another story — a story of infinite addition. We must find order in the random flexings of the imagination. – Daniel J. Boorstin

The writer’s role is to menace the public’s conscience. He must have a position, a point of view. He must see the arts as a vehicle of social criticism and he must focus the issues of his time. — Rod Serling

Rod Serling on set

Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas. — Donatella Versace

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. — Edwin Land

If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad writing business at all.
Leo Burnett, Advertising Hall of Fame

Creativity is no longer about grabbing attention or raising consumer awareness. Its goal is to remind consumers about what is fundamental and gratifying about a brand. — Peter A. Georgescu, Advertising Hall of Fame

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. – Milton Berle

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks. – Yo-Yo Ma

Meetings are all too often the burial grounds of great ideas. — Keith Reinhard, Advertising Hall of Fame

The more complex the world becomes, the more creative we need to be to meet its challenges. – Sir Ken Robinson (Mar 04, 1950 – Aug 21, 2020)

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

Quotes – Special Edition

Forty-seven years ago this week, June 28, 1975, creativity lost an icon. A mentor to many both near and afar and an inspiration to those of us putting “pen to paper.” Rod Serling, creator and host of the TV series, The Twilight Zone, was a master at utilizing one’s imagination and turning it on its ear. And we loved him for it!

These quotes pay tribute not only to Rod but to various creative artists and thought leaders who have also played a role in tweaking our imagination and how we think.

I just want [people] to remember me a hundred years from now. I don’t care that they’re not able to quote any single line that I’ve written. But just that they can say, ‘Oh, he was a writer.’ That’s sufficiently an honored position for me.Rod Serling

An important idea not communicated persuasively is like having no idea at all. — William Bernbach, Advertising Hall of Fame

Human beings must involve themselves in the anguish of other human beings. This, I submit to you, is not a political thesis at all. It is simply an expression of what I would hope might be ultimately a simple humanity for humanity’s sake. ― Rod Serling

Like the musical score, a mission statement is only as good as the performance it inspires. — Keith Reinhard, Advertising Hall of Fame

Let’s gear our advertising to sell goods, but let’s recognize also that advertising has a broad social responsibility. — Leo Burnett, Advertising Hall of Fame

Treasure diversity. Seek unity, not uniformity. Strive for oneness, not sameness. — Dan Zadra, American businessman and author

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. – H. G. Wells

Good advertising is written from one person to another. When it is aimed at millions, it rarely moves anyone. — Fairfax M. Cone, Advertising Hall of Fame

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd. – Miguel de Cervantes

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity. – Eleanor Roosevelt
 
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor. – Truman Capote

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

 

Live long and prosper, Ukraine.

Beyond The Majestic: The Evil Doer

A sequel to the short story Stopover at the Majestic

PROLOGUE

When last we visited, the year was 1965 and our two strangers were chatting up one another in the lobby of the Majestic Hotel, just before it was to be torn down. One of the strangers is Timeline Police. The cop knows our Time Traveler is not from 1965 but the closely guarded Timeline has been disrupted; how is not known. The police are investigating. Could our time-traveling Stranger end up being trapped in 1965 at the Majestic? After their conversation, our Time Traveler, Mr. Curtis, decides it is time to move on. So with a doff of this hat and a swirl of his cane, he does and in a flash, he’s gone. Again. Only to encounter unexpected twists along his journey through time.

 

 

The year is 3068 and Mr. Curtis is now visiting another world in the Gamma Quadrant of the Solexa Solar System. The planet, similar to Earth, is not all that old. However, the surface is desolate except for one large city. Mr. Curtis, it seems, has been drawn here to see the city’s largest building. He is, among other things, a curiosity seeker.

The building is a relatively old hotel, rather grandeur in stature. Upon first glance, he thought he recognized it but he’s never been here before. Then it hits him: It’s a replica, an exact replica but a working replica nonetheless of the long-ago demolished Majestic Hotel in Lake Charles, LA, back on Earth in 1965.

How could that be? Who built it and why the Majestic?

As he stands there in front of the lobby admiring its architecture, he feels a tap on his shoulder and a voice, “Hey there. Fancy meeting you here.”

Startled, Mr. Curtis swings around to see who is disturbing him.

It’s the Timeline Police cop from Earth!

“I could say the same thing about you,” retorts Mr. Curtis. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m investigating the breakdown of the Timeline back in 1965, when you and I first and last met,” says the cop. “You seemed to have left the Majestic awfully quickly. And now I see you here in front of another Majestic Hotel more than 200 years in the future. Curious! What gives?”

“Well, it is curious. I felt a strange yearning to come to this planet and when I arrived, I was drawn to this spot, where the hotel is. Believe it or not, I did not expect to see another Majestic Hotel,” explained Mr. Curtis.

“You said you were investigating the breakdown of the Timeline back in 1965,” inquired Mr. Curtis. “Have you any answers?” he asked. “I know I did nothing to impact the Timeline. That’s not to say I wasn’t tempted, mind you.”

“Well,” intoned the cop, “something happened to the Timeline because the Majestic Hotel back then was not torn down in 1965. Oh, sure, a parking lot is in its place or was but that was later.”

Mr. Curtis interrupted, “But, all the history books say the hotel was torn down in 1965 and show photos of its demolition. How could that be if it was not torn down then?”

“Trust me,” said the cop. It wasn’t. And the only way for that to have happened was for someone to adjust the Timeline. I don’t know who and I don’t know how but it was done. The evidence is where we are standing. This is not merely a replica of the Majestic, Mr. Curtis. It is the Majestic. Somehow when the Timeline was altered, the hotel was transported to 3068, right where we are standing.”

“Okay,” sighed Mr. Curtis, “now I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. Before we know it, Rod Serling is going to come out from behind the Concierge Desk!”

“So where does this leave you in you investigation, Mr. Timeline Policeman?,” asked Mr. Curtis. “Since this happened back in 1965, wouldn’t it make sense to return to that time and ask around?” he said.

“I’ve considered exactly that, but I may need some help to draw out our Timeline provocateur,” said the cop.

“What did you have in mind?,” inquired Mr. Curtis.

“Come join me for a cocktail at the Majestic Bar and I’ll fill you in with my plan,” invited the cop.

Continue reading

Quotes . . .Quotes . . .

It’s that time of the month again wherein I present an array of quotes from a variety of well-respected folks offering numerous perspectives. From Obama to Burnett to Serling and more.

Take note. Take a listen. Take heed. Put ’em into practice if you can. Enjoy!

 

Promoting science isn’t just about providing resources, it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient, especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. – Barack Obama

Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.  – Mae Jemison

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstance. — Bruce Barton, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

The place to start in advertising is the basic selling appeal. An appeal that fulfills some existing need in the prospect’s mind, an appeal that can be readily understood and believed. — Morris Hite, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

I have learned that any fool can write a bad ad, but that it takes a real genius to keep his hands off a good one. — Leo Burnett, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure. – George E. Woodberry

A teacher’s influence doesn’t stay in school. It goes out into the world and cannot truly ever be measured. Every student you inspire to do something great goes on to inspire others. There is no limit to your impact. – George Couros

It has forever been thus: So long as we write what we think, then all of the other freedoms – all of them – may remain intact. And it is then that writing becomes a weapon of truth, an article of faith, an act of courage. – Rod Serling

A good ad should be like a good sermon: It must not only comfort the afflicted, it also must afflict the comfortable. — Bernice Fitz-Gibbon, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

It is easier to tone down a wild idea than to think up a new one. — Alex Osborne, member, Advertising Hall of Fame

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

 

Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!

Turning Gobbledygook Into Useful Garbage

Stumped. Writer’s Block. Stymied. Confused. It’s all a jumble of nothingness.

What Do You Write When You Don’t Know What to Write About?

So, how do you turn nothingness into somethingness? Start writing! Anything.

The words will come, thoughts will flow and, eventually, creativity will blossom.

You can’t force it, however. It must evolve naturally, at your own pace. Usually, if a creative suggestion doesn’t appear in your thoughts within about 20 minutes or so, abort the process and go on to something else. Then come back to it hours later or the following day.

Some writers think before they write. Some think as they write. Some writers don’t think at all; they just write a bunch of gobbledygook. That’s fine, as long as you go back and turn the gobbledygook into useful garbage.

Turning that garbage into something quite palpable and enticing will take a process of editing and refinement but when you’re at this stage, you’ve got it made.

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog, Joe’s Journey, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.

 

Live Long and Prosper, Ukraine!

 

A Toast Unlike Any Other

New Year’s has a lot of tradition surrounding it. Champagne and toasts are usually at the top of the list, right alongside resolutions. It takes a certain amount of creativity to come up with a toast, so when I came upon this toast the other day I thought it somewhat appropriate to share. I couldn’t help it, given that I’m from the Bayou State of Louisiana.

Enjoy! Cheers!

 

 

Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!

Be sure to check out my other blog,Joe’s Journey, for personal insights on life and its detours.

 

 

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

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

The human brain can get stuck in a rut thanks to neural pathways and a fondness for the familiar. So 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 Play can 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. Continue reading

Obsession with Productivity Can Kill Creativity.

Don’t Let It Kill Yours!

How would a “productive day” compare to a “creative day”? What would, if anything, they have in common? Chances are not much.  One might think a productive day would be closely aligned with scratching off items on a to-do list. On the other hand, someone’s idea of a creative day might not even have a to-do list. 475px-The_Scream

Our current work world is obsessed with productivity. We are inundated with books, articles, white papers, to time block this and time block that; all just to do more work. But our relentless quest to be productive is undermining one of the most important abilities in today’s workplace: creativity.

What of the future, though? Will machine learning and artificial intelligence perform the routine aspects of our work at the expense of our ingenuity and creativity? So how do we create the right conditions for creativity, particularly when we are trying to deal with a to-do list?

Consider this comment from screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (the mastermind behind the television show West Wing and films like Moneyball and The Social Network). He told The Hollywood Reporter that he takes six showers a day. “I’m not a germaphobe,” he explains but when his writing isn’t going well, he’ll shower, change into new clothes, and start again.

Sorkin’s trade relies on him minting something fresh on a regular basis. And it occurred to him that his best thoughts were not happening in moments of fevered concentration, but when he was in the shower. So he had a shower installed in the corner of his office and makes regular use of it. He has described the process as “a do-over” for triggering original ideas.

In 1939, James Webb Young, a Madison Avenue advertising executive, wrote a definitive guide to the process of creativity, A Technique for Producing Ideas. In this short book, Webb Young reminds us, “that an idea is nothing more nor less than a new combination of old elements.” In his view, the skill of creativity is the ability to spot new connections between familiar thoughts, and the art is “the ability to see [new] relationships.”

Fifty years later, Steve Jobs observed something similar: “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” Webb Young also lays out a remarkably simple technique for creative thought. It involves stimulation. Continue reading