Viewing entries tagged
advertising

If Adland Succeeds In Diversifying, The 3% Conference Shouldn't Exist In Five Years

Creative agencies are rethinking the hiring process, from adding in-house venture capitalists to using Big Data in order to find diverse voices. At the 3% Conference in New York City, Jay Russell, CCO, GSD&M, Jaime Robinson, co-founder, Joan Creative, Jessica Peltz-Zatulove, partner, KBS Ventures, and Vann Graves, CEO/CCO, FL&G joined moderator Susie Nam, COO, Droga5 to discuss how the industry is tackling its stated desire to increase its talent base beyond the current status quo of white men. 

Comment

A Rose by Any Other Name

A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME

“What’s in a name?” When Juliet, in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, originally spoke these words, Shakespeare was making the argument that language is random. Names are just labels used to distinguish one thing from another. To Juliette, the name “Montague” itself did not create worth or meaning.

 

Up until recently, FL&G did not have a name. We were an entity; a fully functioning company, however we had no set identity. If names are just labels, we shouldn’t need one to create meaning and worth, right?

 

Doing business with no name, however, was a challenge. Without a name, we had to navigate how best to introduce ourselves to prospective clients. We had no business cards, we used temporary email addresses, we couldn’t yet define our brand or our visual identity. We had less to fall back on and more to explain.

 

The sense of identity that a name provides is at the heart of why names are important to us as individuals and business entities. Names are descriptors that allow people to make quick judgments and assumptions about us. While we can understand the harm of assumptions (and the reasoning behind Juliet’s assertion), names provide the human mind a fast way to categorize a lot of information in a short amount of time.

 

Interestingly, names have also been shown to be a crucial factor in an individual’s internalization and development of their sense of self. Names help propel us forward on various paths of life and career. For example, a name can “exert unconscious influence over a person's own choices. Some scientific researchers contend that there are disproportionately large numbers of dentists named Dennis and lawyers named Lauren, and that it's not purely an accident that Dr. Douglas Hart of Scarsdale, N.Y., chose cardiology or that the Greathouse family of West Virginia runs a real-estate firm.”

 

If choosing a name would inevitably have external and internal influences, choosing the right one for our new agency was one of the most important decisions we had to make to date. This decision was one that would shape how we were going to be perceived by society and how we would perceive ourselves.

 

As an agency, however, there were other things we had to consider during the naming process, too. For example:

  1. How would our name influence our brand? We had to consider Brand Law #5, “The Law of the Word”, which dictates that a brand should strive to own a word in the mind of the consumer.  

  2. As a creative agency we had to be unique, and being unique in a world full of creative agencies who had already called dibs on certain words proved to be a challenge. Finding a name that wasn’t already taken while concurrently connotating the right message and voice meant we had to dig far and wide for ideas.

  3. We had to simultaneously find a domain name that 1. paired well with our choice, 2. was available, and 3. wasn’t exponentially outside our budget.

  4. We all had to agree. With five founding partners all located on different parts of the “purely rational” to “out-there creative” spectrum, we were all driven by different reasonings.

 

As we struggled to narrow down our ideas, we decided to let internal and external forces intersect. If society was going to judge us based on the name we chose, then why not include them in the process?

 

Working with Campaign US, we started by choosing five options that we believed we could internalize as we developed our agency’s identity. Then, we left it to society to chose one of those.  

 

As a result, we got the best of both worlds.

Check out the Campaign US articles to see how the process unfolded!

Comment

My career in 5 executions: Vann Graves

From Mr. T to driving on Mars, FL+G's CEO and CCO practices creative alchemy

Name: Vann Graves
Title: CEO and CCO, FL+G
Years in ad industry: 20+
First job in ad industry: Creative Intern at BBDO

Vann Graves began his career under the tutelage of Phil Dusenberry at BBDO. He moved up quickly through the ranks before heading to McCann, McCann Worldgroup and then Fancy Rhino in Chattanooga. Earlier this year, Graves — remaining in Chattanooga after leaving Fancy Rhino — helped found full-service shop FL+G. In an unprecedented move, he let the ad industry at large choose the name of his new agency.

He says being a creative was simpler a decade or two ago, when good work alone could carry a career. Today, though, "you must be an alchemist," he says, "finding the right mix of storytelling, content, technology and relevance."

"It’s not just about the content you make, but how you connect the elements of your work. Every client is different, and each project needs to be approached in a personal way."

Here are the executions Graves says mean the most to him and his career.

Brand: M&Ms
Client: Masterfoods
Agency: BBDO
Work: "Groovy Summer"
Year: 2003

https://youtu.be/9q6B8wPb-1w

This was the first CGI project Graves worked on. "I quickly learned that technique doesn’t garner immediate results," he says. The process took some getting used to.

"On the stool sat a big mirrored ball that, through the magic of post-production, would become the cool and laid-back Green M&M," he says. "It was amazing to watch it all come together and to hear for the first time the magical yet sometimes horrible words, ‘We can fix it in post!’"

Brand: Motorola ROKR
Client: Motorola
Agency: BBDO
Work: "Phonebooth"
Year: 2005

https://youtu.be/8JuMM5OlkqM

This spot featured a large roster of musical megastars and was shot in under a week on two different continents. It was a crucible that "taught me the importance of collaboration, timing, logistics and great production," Graves says. He lauds producer Paul Feldman (who made a cameo as Beethoven.) "Now, like then, I know to rely on my producer," Graves says, "because a great creative idea executed poorly is a missed opportunity."

Brand: Mastercard Prepaid Debit Card
Client: Mastercard
Agency: McCann
Work: "Bodyguard"
Year: 2010

https://youtu.be/F0gblY7_gpA

This multicultural spot was a big hit in the general market, too. But it was tougher sell behind the scenes. "Sometimes it is easier for clients and agencies to want do work that is less creative and fun and default to familiar approaches to multicultural work," Graves says. Getting innovative work approved can be "an uphill battle."

But he learned how to defend the work he believed in — a lesson he uses on every project now.

Brand: Torch
Client: Torch
Agency: Fancy Rhino
Work: "Remember When?"
Year: 2015

https://youtu.be/QkFSkJY23WE

During his time at Fancy Rhino, Graves worked with the tech startup Torch to launch its new brand. "Creating everything from the messaging, to the logo, to the content was amazing," he says. "With startups, you are not just building a brand but working with the founders and innovators to create the brand."

He also learned to stay flexible during the project. "Everything has the potential to change on a minute-by-minute basis," he says. When he started his new agency, FL+G, Torch followed him, becoming the agency’s only launch client. 

Brand: Lockheed Martin
Client: Lockheed Martin
Agency: McCann
Work: "Field Trip To Mars"
Year: 2016

https://youtu.be/ssk5mn19cpM

Graves had long since left McCann by the time this work came out, but such is the pace at which highly technical work sometimes gets made.

Lockheed’s acclaimed virtual field trip was only possible because the creative team took a risk with the pitch, and the client saw its value. "It reminded me that creatively we have an obligation to be more than a vendor to clients," Graves says, "but a true creative partner."

That kind of partnership fosters open dialogue and greater creativity, Graves says. In this case, it resulted in "an entirely new technology platform."

By I-Hsien Sherwood published - Campaign US - June 9th 2016