Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

30 June 2008

Top Reasons to Go Into Advertising

Blow in her face and she'll follow you anywhere.

In February, I asked agency professionals what their top reasons were for going into advertising. I also asked whether they had any thoughts for college students with moon eyes for an ad career.

Read their responses (two pages' worth of insights!). But here's a taste of some really good stuff:

Don't get bogged down in what is and what isn't the "right" way to do things.

Once we solve the problem, we need the next one to move on to, if it isn't there, then we go in search of it. I don't think it's overly surprising that there are a lot of gypsies in this business.

It [struck] me that one probably actually gets paid for doing this advertising design thing - in other words not beerless - and maybe even bourbonful, which indeed it was (this was 1964, folks!). So I changed schools and majors. I liked the program, and I love the job that came out of it. Now I get to manage a small agency and some creatives who are just as easily upset by client changes as I was (I am over that now - jaded, I suppose), and I am having fun designing bourbon packages. Is that amazing or what?

The ad biz has taken me all over the world, from NYC to Jakarta Indonesia. Along the way, the friendly folks at JWT, BBDO and a few other agencies have been generous enough to pay me for creating ideas. It’s been a good gig.

Learn a foreign language. Preferably Chinese, Indonesian, or Spanish.

There is NO good reason to go into advertising.

I got tired of all the insipid ads on both TV and Radio. I wanted to provide a creative, (notice the word creative) instead of the simple repeats of someone elses idea for promotion.

For account service, an advertising degree is great, but really - if you have some great internships and experience your degree can be in basket weaving and it won't hurt you.

The opportunities on the interactive side of things are endless. There is a huge shortage of talent in a category that is growing daily. Programmers, designers...pretty much anything having to with the interactive side of things is marketable in many arenas.

As one of the previous posters stated, the most important thing is experience. Intern, intern, intern.

Why did I get into this? Like many others, I fell into it.

27 June 2008

Pregnancy Pacts Don't Happen in Real Life

Too bad. I had my cake all baked and ready to go.

Way to disappoint, Time.

Pregnancy pact aside though, there might be an interesting story behind why suburban high school kids choose to have babies in the first place.

When I was in high school, it happened a lot. And the closer we got to graduation, the more pregnancies there were. I used to joke that babies had become some kind of contagion: touch a boy? Oop! You're pregnant.

Having a baby felt like a Next Step, a path that came to us so we wouldn't have to stare into some gaping void and ask, "What do I do now?"

I'd say it betrays a problem in how we perceive the future in general. The country demands that kids go to school for at least twelve years. What next? Nudged forward by their parents, a lot of kids decide to go to college.

After college, so many of us flail around confused because we've run out of prescribed steps: it's all you, alone with your decisions -- and the doors that slam behind you when you choose one thing at the expense of something else.

What if you're a kid out of high school who's not really thinking about college? Next logical step: find work, get engaged, make a baby, not necessarily in that order.

I got engaged. Oh yeah, and there was some college in there too.

Lucky for me I never got around to conceiving, because I probably would have been one of those "This is a sign, let's keep it!" girls. And I probably would have dropped out of Berkeley and moved in with my fiancé in Iowa.

Today I could have been standing barefoot in a corn field somewhere, waiting for homie to get home from blowing coke with his DS-Max chums, and watching little Alice and Tom play catch. Wouldn't that have been something.

Gold Foil, Creamy Middle, Dirty Fingers

I got to try a Starbucks truffle today. It came in an unmarked, shiny package and was pleasant taste-wise, but no grande of a turn-on. (Contrary to what the photo suggests, however, it does not have a creamy cottonball center.)

One thing I never understood about Starbucks: why hasn't it seriously tried exploring dark chocolate? If it wants to play up its "luxury destination" cachet, it ought to know nothing goes better on a cultured tongue than a frothy cappuccino melting over 70% cacao. 

Coffee "liqueur," loyalty program, Mickey-Mouse truffles, copies of Kite Runner. The topless mermaid isn't getting anywhere with her grocery store mindset.

26 June 2008

Dubai Goes Sci-Fi with Dynamic Tower

Check out the Dynamic Tower, a shape-shifting skyscraper that's expected to cost $700 million. It will be fully constructed by 2010.

Based in Dubai,* it consists of 80 pre-fab apartments that each spins to its own tune (seriously -- at VOICE COMMAND), with help from wind turbines around a central column. Italian architect David Fisher says the building will never look the same, "not once in a lifetime."

Similar structures are planned for Moscow and New York. I recall a similar structure with rotating apartments and wall-to-ceiling mirrors (Rio? Sao Paulo?), but I can't find the link and, in the face of these changeling-looking things, boy could I care less.

Via Amanda Mooney.


*Where else? The sheiks there pour vinaigrette over dollar bills and have it as salad.

25 June 2008

Douchebag, Meet Booj-Bag. Try Not to Pull Hair

Retrospect for Life taught me a new word: booj-bag. n.

Short for "bourgeois-bag" and apparently inspired by Corner Case, a booj-bag is "someone who is of a certain financial status obtained through education and employment as opposed to family money, and who is also a big time douche."

Go have fun with it.

Real-Live Mad Men, OMMA Social, and Awkward Behavior

Ric Kallaher sent over this neat picture of me recording Ed McCabe at the Real Men and Women of Madison Ave. exhibit, which was great, and which I highly recommend next time you're in NYC. (Remember: it'll be at the New York Public Library until September!)

I also got to check out OMMA Social, which was cool even if the finger food was sorta melty and lukewarm. Walking through the door I nearly slammed into my friend Josh Warner of Feed Company, who overwhelmed me with his rapid-fire greeting ("I'm so glad to see you! Married yet? Still write all day? Are you happy?") and introduced me to Rohit Bhargava, whose many interviews I've seen splayed-out all over the internets.

"You're shorter than I thought you'd be," I said.

"Well ... I'm an Indian man," he said mildly.

"It's really neat to meet a man shorter than me!" I said, banshee-like, and Josh -- ever vigilant -- saved my ass with a jovial, "Angela abuses all the men she meets."

"Does it work?" Rohit asked.

"SOMETIMES!" I shouted, unable to lower the decibels.

Rohit laughed and gave me his card: little more than a pocket-sized promotion for his new book, Personality Not Included, and an email. I thought to myself that if he ever regrets handing one to somebody (like me, for example), he never has to worry about them (me!!!) calling his cell phone at lunchtime.

Preemptive thinker.

I caught up with Josh and found Bill Green. We sat for two hours and made over-obvious facial expressions, then decided to leave for the exhibit.

On our way out I took one of the ultra-thick paper napkins from the Yale Club bathroom. It fell out of my folder and onto Bill's shoe. I looked up at his face, expecting to meet eyes with his naked condemnation, but instead he said "Aren't those GREAT?" and I said "Yeah!" and then we left.

OMMA Social shots here, Real Men and Women of Mad Ave. shots here and here (videos too!), Ric Kallaher's "zany!" Wrath of Cannes shots here, and I promise that at some point I will label all my flickr pictures.

23 June 2008

Watch While I Distill a Story and LINK BACK.

For those that have been following the teacup-tempest, no formal guidelines were formed between the Associated Press and bloggers -- which will most likely continue excerpting bits of Associated Press subscription content at will.

Last week the AP and the Media Bloggers Association were supposed to meet to negotiate some kind of good-faith agreement on legitimately quoting paid content. No meeting occurred. Probably for the better: most bloggers were against it anyway, because the AP shouldn't be able to make content use restrictions that are more stringent than actual fair use law (see Wikipedia hash-out on that snaggly bad-boy).

AP says it continues to conduct "constructive [exchanges]" with members of the blogging community, but the MBA is just happy nobody had to go to court.

It's the Ithaca Parade!

The Ithaca Festival -- which natives dub "the weekend we celebrate the departure of the college students!" -- kicked off with a huge parade last Thursday. Benj and I came early so we could score good viewing spots. (I also wanted to be very close to the people throwing candy. My scheme was a great success.)

"I am Ithaca" was the theme (complete with papier maché tiki man) and all species of Ithacan were represented: marathon runners, middle-aged mermaids, makeshift gypsies, the Leche League (see giant breastfeeding woman), umbrella-sporting geriatrics, human peacocks, stilt people (I didn't even notice them at first. I think all the ad conferences made me immune), the Infamous Bag Man, and strawberry spawn -- among myriad others.

Also see: 

Like pet, like owner!

It's the Volvo ballet!

The parade ended with the arrival of two fire trucks, one of which was towing a not-so-little piece of history.

"Isn't it amazing?" Benj said. "That's how they used to put fires out. To think it was drawn by a horse. Look at the modern equivalent!"

More photos here. Also, catch short videos of the children's band, some whimsical violinists, and -- ooh -- belly belly BELLY dancers:

18 June 2008

Mad Men: Not Just a Series; It's a Lifestyle!

The magnanimous One Club has invited me back to NYC to cover the launch of Real Men and Women of Madison Avenue: Their Impact on American Culture. The exhibit will be showing at 188 Madison -- the Science, Industry and Business Library -- until September.

If you're a serious ad-head, YOU MUST GO. No excuses! I scheduled an event on AdGabber for ultra-easy planning magic.

Bring mutti and vati if you want. Everybody loves a trek down Memory Lane -- what do you think keeps VH1 in business? -- and Real Men and Women of Mad Ave. covers about 80 years' worth of crunchy nostalgia. Revisit Meowmix! M&Ms! Old-school Nike! Maybe even Snausages!

You'll also learn more about the secret lives of advertising's heroes, those engineers of my childhood and yours. Expect cameos from those still living, like legendary copywriter Phyllis Robinson; and old rogue Jerry Della Femina, whose Meowmix song and Joe Isuzu prototype still ring in my ears.

I'll be in the City from Sunday-Tuesday. I'm gonna try to catch part of OMMA, if only to abuse the finger-food; and I also look forward to swapping notes with Ric Kallaher, who mentioned he might check out the Wrath of Cannes.

He promised me zany pictures. And baby, I love me some zany pictures.

Because It's Too Handy Not to Post Somewhere

Here's WHDb's list of 100 Awesome Webmaster Blogs by and for Women -- a list I'll probably never make because 1) I am not a webmaster, and 2) I am an armchair misogynist. On Tuesdays, anyway.

17 June 2008

Areas Where the 'Net Could Really Use Transparency

  • When someone LOLs. Are they really LOLing, or are they sitting in the dark, staring at my statement in disgust?
  • When I yell at a PR dude, and he emails back with an undeservedly-friendly two-sentence response and a smiley face. I am suspicious of smileys.
  • When I send someone a link and they don't respond for two minutes, then they give me a generic but satisfying "OMFG" or "LOL." Did you really click on that link, or did you fake me out with an elongated pause? (For this reason, I give tests. "Think fast: lines in the chorus! Color of main character's face! Tagline!")
  • The state dude was in when he embedded yet another College Humor video in my MySpace comment box. Was he laughing at the time, or did he do it with a furrowed brow, the picture of concentration his teachers were never able to see?
  • The empty space before iChat video loads. I want to see that vulnerable moment when people are picking at their noses and fussing with their hair.
  • When somebody leaves a long, thoughtful comment with no typos. Show me the TextEdit version, because you know there was one.
You know what would be awesome? A back-end timer that divulges how long it took to produce a comment. That way admins can see if someone copy/pasted (elapsed time: 1.5 seconds) or if they're one of those comment framers:
"Great perspective, Carol. I only wish I had a rebuttal! :-)" Elapsed time: 26 minutes.

16 June 2008

AP Wages War Against Bloggers

In particular, it takes issue with bloggers that quote extensively from an article, even if they link back to it. Michael Arrington has already boycotted the AP on TechCrunch.


12 June 2008

Hey, PR Guy. Bill Green Ain't Takin' Your Shit Anymore

Bill Green over at Make the Logo Bigger has decided not to let random -- and just generally crappy -- press releases beat him into blogger submission.

In retaliation, he created a step-by-step PR template for those hoping to get in his good graces (and on his site).

The best part? If you don't abide by the model, he's gonna MARK YOU AS SPAM!

11 June 2008

2 Loves, 1 Loss

Two things I liked in the past couple of days:

Yogurt: the official food of women!

BMW meets Kerouac.

And one thing that made me choke:

"I was seduced by his looks, his charm and his intelligence. He has five or six remarkably fertile brains."

09 June 2008

Rhea Scott Gets Personal on Adrants

A few weeks ago I got to interview Rhea Scott, the brains behind Little Minx.

Little Minx is a production company that seeks to turn ad directors into filmmakers. Directors' ad work is supported with a dream budget and serious creative license (mostly courtesy of parent company RSA).

To promote its directorial talent, Little Minx launched a series of films under a campaign called "Exquisite Corpse," which was inspired by a storytelling game of the same name.

One of the productions -- which incidentally features Rhea's daughter -- drove me on a discovery mission for the origins of a song called "Come Wander with Me."

I like the idea of advertising as a multi-layered manifesto. The purpose of an ad is to make a product relatable to people and reinforce an existing brand "personality" -- why not go to town with it? Every successful spot doesn't have to feature some celluloid Whipple man.

Catch the Rhea Scott interview on Adrants.

On Chaos Theory, or Being a Thunder God

The scene: walking home from farmers market in a Godforsaken heat wave. We've arrived at a crosswalk. I am wheezing. Dry air and blooming flowers make me do that.

Benj: "Let's stand just here. We can invoke the chaotic theory and maybe start a thunderstorm."

Me: "It's 'chaos theory.' You know, like a theory about chaos. The theory is not itself chaotic; it's pretty straightforward."

Benj: "What do you know about chaos theory?"

I wiggle my bum into Benj's lap. He leaps back. "What are you doing?!" he demands, nostrils flaring, a perfect picture of British indignation.

Me: "Invoking chaos theory!"

Benj: "You know nothing about chaos theory."

Thunder booms in the distance.

Benj, lifting arm up in salute: "Yes, chaos theory, YES!"

07 June 2008

The Junetime Reassessment

I spent the week in Miami, covering ad:tech. Everyone there is beautiful, half-clad and thirsty for distraction.

In that sweltering city I found a firey-orange dress. It had halter straps, a latticed leather waist and a back so low that if I had a tail I could swat people with it.

The dress was gorgeous. And while prancing around the store in it, contemplating a week's poverty in exchange for ownership, I realized something: I could have worn it five years ago.

It fit all right, but I'm different.

I am 24 years old today, and I would like this to be the year I stop pursuing things that are gone, including the blinding glare of teenhood.