Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Work vs Life via James Victore

"Work vs. Life.

There’s a lot of talk out there about balance, and finding just the right amount of it when it comes to work and life.

The actuality is– there is no “right” amount, and there is no magic answer out there. The best you can do is to look inside yourself for the answer that feels right for you. And at different times in your life you’ll need different answers. So don’t get hung up on other people’s ideas of what the “perfect balance” is. There ain’t no rules. It’s not black and white.

The world is much bigger than that. There is room enough for whatever you want to do or make—its big enough to set your own ideas of success. So make your own rules, and ask yourself, "What is my own idea of success?"

I’ve often thought, “How much more advanced in my career would I be if I had stayed single and never had kids?” The answer is that I probably would be a bit further down the road professionally, more hooked-up… and I’d be extremely depressed.

I have had two (count ‘em two) exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, but do those increase my daily happiness or give me lasting relationships? Nope. It doesn’t even get me a discount for the subway.

At the end of the day, it’s family and friends and the quality of life lived that counts… and bragging about how much time you spend at work shows a lack of commitment to your life. The “right balance” is up to you. Be brave, get deeply honest with yourself, and get to the heart of the matter. My guess is you’ll always choose life.

Now get out there and give ‘em hell"

- James Victore

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tino's just warming up

Literally and figuratively, Tino Gonzalez-Kakouris is warming up. After taking a few courses at the School of Visual Arts, Tino has decided to move to Miami and focus on creating a portfolio at Miami Ad School.

Armed with a mighty-fine beard, a love of oddvertising and an intense passion for becoming the next great copywriter, Tino is taking his education (and future) to the next level.

Best of luck to you, Tino. For everyone else reading this, take a look at Tino's work for Trident gum below.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Azze, the world turns

Sean Azze was a student in Creative Thinkers Wanted a few semesters ago.  An unassuming man with unbridled potential, Sean quickly became a leader in his class.  Mastering both a wry sense of humor and a touching sense of humanity, his work for Utz potato chips and Coalition for the Homeless has been recognized by both Archive and CMYK respectively. (He even volunteered with the CFTH to get a better sense of the things they do for the homeless population here in New York).

Following in the footsteps of other Thinkers, Sean completed an internship at Tribal DDB and went on in search of a junior copywriter position to jumpstart his career. 

It is with great pride that I announce Sean's placement at Publicis in New York.  Well-deserved for a man of great talent and even greater dedication.  Best of luck, my man.

A few of Sean's greatest hits are below...

Pohl Vault

Neil Pohl is at it again. His serious improv chops, off-beat sense of humor and penchant for developing rock-solid strategies ended a short-lived job search successfully. Skyrocketing to higher levels of success, Neil began a new job as junior copywriter at Digitas this past June.

Congratulations, Neil!  Best of luck in what I know will be a rewarding career.

Below are a few of his greatest hits.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's 3 AM. Do you know where your munchies are?

While many are outraged by the pervasion of 7-Eleven here in New York City, you must admit that the chain offers many creature comforts found in cities that actually do sleep.  

Late night hours. Snacks. Smokes. Booze. And the brain-freezing Slurpee. It's the convenience store for suburbanites who think a bodega is the swamp where Yoda lives.

Capitalizing on the fact that 7-Eleven is not only a one-stop-shop but a haven for odd people who are up at odd hours, art director Justin Bettman brings us the Legends of Late Night.

Quirky characters are brought to life in portraits and copy that create a unique world for the brand.  While you may not be in the market for a 50¢ taquito at 3 AM, Justin has given you a reason to drop by 7-Eleven anyway - customers as bright and colorful as the neon that shines on their ghastly, pale faces.

Justin not only takes credit for the art direction here, but for the photography as well.  A double threat, he spends his days as an AD at Ogilvy and every other waking moment as an independent photographer.  Check out his work here.

They're Grrrrrrrreat!

One of the biggest criticisms of student work is that it's cute and/or corny.  I can't say I originated this criteria (I picked up through Vinny Tulley and Sal DeVito's teachings), but it certainly helps in weeding out the worst ideas.  And when you assign something like Kellogg's Frosted Flakes, you expect some derivative of Tony the Tiger to send the cute and corny meter into overdrive.  In the real world there are agencies that have taken animated brand ambassadors to a new and more sophisticated level (google: Goodby Cheetos), however, many ultimately fail in connecting adults with a product that has been traditionally marketed to kids.

Enter copywriter Neil Pohl and his campaign for the (literally) starchy brand.  

Gone are the black and orange stripes and red bandana of a goofy, non-threatening tiger.  Replaced now by an acerbic, all-too-true-to-life summation that cereal is the ultimate meal when there is no other choice.

Appealing to adults who have a sense of humor, a nostalgic yearning and an empty stomach, Neil has crafted outrageously funny work that satisfies. 

And, in case you're wondering, Neil is up for grabs.  Recently finishing a stint at Tribal DDB, he's ready for the next opportunity.

Goin' Out West

If you follow this blog semi-quarterly — about the same rate I actually update this thing — you'll know the name Afshin Hatami.

After taking my class for two semesters (and a semester over at AdHouse), Afshin started killing it at Ogilvy as a junior copywriter.  There, his flair for humor and storytelling have brought ideas to life for Ikea and AmEx.  Working with top brands and top talent haven't gone unnoticed.

Living everyone's dream of heading out west to be a star, Afshin is embarking on a new journey in his career as he joins Deutsch LA later this month.

It's with a tear in my eye (metaphorically speaking, as advertising has dried the well) that I say bon voyage to Afshin.  Not only has he been one of my greatest students, Afshin's been a solid friend and drinking bud and will sorely be missed on the east coast.

Let's all raise a shot of Jack to Afshin and his continued success.  With that, I leave you with his latest work for AmEx featuring the equally brilliant Tina Fey.

Best of luck, my man.