Wanna put some fun back into advertising? Sure ya do!

Remember when advertising used to be, dare I say it, fun? We actually enjoyed working in this industry. And, I’m not even talking about our three-martini lunches!

The work. The creativity. Client interactions. Clients actually willing to work with us. I know. Sounds like it’s all from a galaxy far, far away.

Well, not quite. You’re invited to come join AAF-Houston on Wednesday, May 16, for a special appearance by a renowned creative from The Richards Group in Big D, Chris Smith.

Come be our guests and learn how to put some fun back into your advertising. Feel free to register right now!

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Our Creative Economy: Listen up, Houston!

This past Monday, April 11, I had the pleasure of attending a day-long discussion “Valuing the Creative Economy” at the third Leadership in the Arts Summit held at the Center for Arts Leadership at the University of Houston. Quite a stunning facility!

I learned about this summit from my friend and Only in Houston Co-chair Alfred Cervantes, who besides being the deputy director of the Houston Film Commission was also a panelist addressing the question “Creative Economy: What is it and why does it matter”?

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Because of the length of the Summit and the depth of discussion that took place and will continue in the weeks and months to come, there will be subsequent posts about our progress and how all this can tie together here in Houston. There will also be photos and presentations from the Summit posted to the Center’s website in the days ahead.

The goal of the Summit, according to Sixto Wagan, Director, Center for Arts Leadership, is “to bring our creative community together to talk and to envision a collective future. The panels are meant to push beyond the simple binaries, help us question assumptions, and move the conversation forward toward action.”

Christine Harris lead the opening plenary (formal seminar-speak) “Creative Economy: What is it and why does it matter”? Christine has been working with creative enterprises and community development for over 30 years and was recently in Houston last November headlining a similarly-themed morning workshop at the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) and an evening panel discussion at Gensler.

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Harris co-founded the Creative Economy Coalition, a working committee of the National Creativity Network, and designed and executed the nation’s first review of defining the creative economy. This study profiled and inventoried how 27 communities around the nation were profiling and measuring their creative economies. She was CEO of Creative Alliance Milwaukee, where she managed a full profile of the regional creative economy and developed online resources for the sector.

It’s not my intent to cover all that was discussed during the Summit in one blog post. We’d be reading for days! I merely want to further the conversation that was “started” last November and continued this past Monday.

And Houston, we’ve got work to do.

Just consider these questions:

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And then, there’s the $64,000 question:

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Obviously, these questions don’t have simple, ready-made answers. They do, however, demand discussion and we need to continue this.

Feel free to comment and send me input on possible answers or solutions to these questions. You can also post your ideas on OiH-FaceBook and/or the Arts Leadership-FaceBook.

The various communication organizations in and around the city are a major resource for input and counsel. So, too, are the fine educational and non-profit venues in our area. Although this Summit centered around the arts, creativity knows no boundaries.

Through the American Advertising Federation Houston (AAFH), Only in Houston (OiH) was born a decade ago. Its intent was, and still is, to keep local creative dollars spent locally. There was even a multi-communication organization formed years ago (Houston Communication Alliance) aimed at bringing together all “creatives.”

Times change as do people and industries. Houston’s Creative Economy and its driving forces need to meet today’s challenges with tomorrow in mind. We may need to rethink how this is done. Other communities around the country are doing so, and it will take just that: A Houston-wide effort. No one organization or person can do this.

At the risk of thinking out loud (even though I’m typing this in silence), maybe Only in Houston morphs into a “Houston Creative Coalition,” which is comprised of organizations like the Houston Arts Alliance, Greater Houston Partnership, numerous professional and arts organizations, etc.? We can learn a lot from others who have started something like this. But Houston needs to create something that works in Houston, not Boston.

And we must do a helluva lot better job of communicating with one another so that we all know what’s going on and when. No problem; piece o’ cake!

The Leadership in Arts Summit 2016 is a recent example of creativity and economics blending and working together for the common good. We need to make sure the conversation continues and progresses.

More to come . . .

Onward!

 

Adobe’s Creative Cloud Conference Good for Creative Community and OiH

If you live and work within driving distance of Houston, you owe it to yourself to come spend a day or two listening to and learning from Adobe’s experts as they teach all you need to know about the various applications within the Creative Cloud.

As the one stop source for finding creative talent in the Houston area, Only in Houston (OiH) is proud to be take part in presenting this Creative Cloud Masters Conference. Thanks to a partnership with Future Media Concepts, OiH members can now save 25% on their registration. Use promo code OiH15 to redeem your discount.

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WHY ATTEND?
Advance your skills with cutting-edge sessions
Discover time-saving techniques
Learn from top instructors in the field
Network with peers and expand your professional network

A must-attend event created for graphic designers and other creatives to perfect and diversify their skills. Join top industry speakers to learn the latest Adobe print and web design tools, plus get started in video production. The conference agenda features 3 days of training on graphic design, print, web design and motion graphics. Organized in Houston on March 11-13. Use discount code OiH15 to save 25% on your registration. 

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Rich Klein – RIP

The advertising community in Houston recently lost a good friend. Rich Klein passed away Sunday, October 12, 2014. This blog is a big believer in creativity and nurturing that in students and young professionals (and pros from all age groups for that matter). Rich was a valiant supporter of young people’s dreams and aspirations, and encouraged many to enlist in the advertising profession.

Jay Hagins, a longtime friend as well as a believer and supporter of creativity, had this to say about Rich:

Rich’s passion for the advertising industry was unparalleled; he mentored literally thousands of advertising professionals and with his partner, Bill Fogarty, built an advertising agency that attracted clients from coast to coast bringing national attention to the Houston advertising industry. Rich and Bill won national and regional clients such as Chef Boyardee, Ranch Style Beans, Waste Management, Advance Auto Parts, Popeye’s, Builders Square, Mattress Firm, BFI, Randall’s Supermarkets, Shiner Beer, Mission Foods, Amegy Bank, ConocoPhillips and many others. Rich and Bill nurtured the industry’s future with a highly competitive internship program with teams of college students that would actually get to present their own strategies, plans and creative to real clients.

Rich was recognized as a Southwest Advertising Hall of Fame member, AAF-Houston Silver Medal award winner and Living Legend. Rich and Bill began giving scholarships to qualified college students in 1991 and later established the Rich Klein and Bill Fogarty Communications Scholarship within the Advertising Education Foundation of Houston where Rich became Chairman leading the foundation to unprecedented growth. This year Rich and the Foundation awarded $30,000 in advertising scholarships to students throughout the Southwest.

From the unlikely pairing of a seasoned packaged goods brand manager and an ex-journalist-turned advertising maven it has been a long voyage from the day Rich Klein had to break it to Bill Fogarty’s wife that the pair was leaving their jobs to start a business with no business in hand. Lucky for advertising in the Southwest, Rich Klein and Bill Fogarty stayed true to their vision and made it happen, creating the best, darn agency in Houston, one with a rich legacy of innovation and accomplishment, integral community work, and programs to inspire future ad folks like themselves.

Rich will be truly missed but to further his legacy and to honor Rich’s passion to further the education of young people, the family is requesting that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to:

The Rich Klein Communications Scholarship
AEFH
P.O. Box 27592
Houston, Texas 77227

I would encourage all who may read this to consider donating to this very worthy scholarship.

Thanks for reading and your interest. Thank you, Rich, for your advice, friendship and guidance over the years. We’ll miss you!

The Creative Process

Those of you in and around Houston are in for a treat. Register now for this Wednesday’s American Advertising Federation Houston’s Speaker’s Series Luncheon. It features cartoonist Mathew Diffee, frequent contributor to The New Yorker and Texas Monthly.

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The Future of Advertising: Up Close and Personal

2013 AAF Houston Student Conference GraphicWorking and interacting with students, especially those of college age, is always interesting, entertaining and fun. Recently, I had the privilege of volunteering as a portfolio and resume reviewer during the annual American Advertising Federation Houston Student Conference. This is usually the prelude to the AAF District 10 NSAC (National Student Advertising Competition).

As with past years of doing this, my table quickly filled as students wanted me to review, comment and answer questions regarding their portfolios. The scene was the same at other tables set up in our hotel ballroom. This was cool, I thought. Then it hit me, “How in the heck was I going to cater to these students given the one hour allotted?” I told them I would give them all my attention if they were willing to wait for it – even to the end of the conference. And they did!

Like sponges, ready to soak up every last bit of information and critique they could get. Bless their little advertising hearts!

Like with some client presentations, some students (agencies) were better prepared than others. Technology is to blame for some of this. We get so caught up in what we’ll present, that we forget HOW we’re going to present. A “Plan B” didn’t seem to be part of the homework for some of these folks, no matter how well-intentioned. That’s okay. I made it known how they could be better prepared.

One needs to make the presentation as simple and engaging as possible. There’s no time to go searching for that now-illusive mp3 recording of your radio ad. Have them in one file for easy and quick access. And, have the script standing by just in case.

Along these lines, I strongly suggested they have a PRINT portfolio readily available, in addition to their digital files. One never knows when the power will go out or if the person to whom you’re presenting actually wants to touch and feel the work sample in their own hands. I suggest this for both students and non-students (the rest of us) as well. Contrary to popular belief, digital is not the end all.

Some of the young people had better explanations of their work, and why it was included, than others. Most wanted to know if their samples were good enough to be included, and how many samples they should include.

While I shared my observations with them, I also provided a few suggestions as to how to get feedback, but stressed that if they had any doubt about a piece, leave it out (unless feedback suggests otherwise). It might be included for the “interview after next.”

While all seemed to know precisely what they had included in their portfolios, I did not get a sense they knew their work “cold.” I suggested they be prepared to present it upside down while standing up. That’s just impressive when that’s done.

Now, I realize this form may be a little tricky to do when presenting digital samples from an iPad, but one should know about each piece and what’s special about it – why one is presenting it.

All in all, the students were very gracious, respectful, and personable.  We all had a wonderful time. They’re smart enough to realize that no matter one’s age, how one presents one’s creative credentials is just as important, if not more so, than the work itself.

Believe in yourself and convey that. Let your passion show. We should all be involved in this continuing education and refining of not only what goes in our portfolio but how we present it. These students are off to a very good start, which bodes well for the future of advertising.