Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

how to give creative feedback

April 15, 2013

“Not only were all of your ideas lame, but you know I hate the color pink!”

So began role-playing for our creative feedback workshop. Yes, this was the “bad” example.

Food Network’s marketing team wanted to hone their communication skills. So there we were, two groups of thirty marketing and creative folks, crowded near the crackling fireplace at the Maritime Hotel, role playing, creative briefing, and — between laughs over lukewarm coffee and cold danish — applying a new process for creative feedback.

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We call it CRAFT.

C   Criteria

R   respect

A   actionable

F   focus

T    truth + tact

As one person put it at the end of the day, “The team at Tooth and Nail brought together our creative and strategy teams.  Their leadership, encouragement and guidance provided us with the tools to continue to produce great creative work.”

Giving feedback is as much an art as writing and designing.

What’s your favorite feedback story?

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unleash your writing genius

April 2, 2012

Hola from Barcelona!

One of our favorite cities for architecture and inspiration.

When we weren’t cruising the city, we were soaking up the sights and sounds of Promax Europe. Including the awesome Reep One. The conference was jamming!

Then we shared our tips for unleashing your writing genius. First step–find what inspires you . . . (click the picture to see the graphics and spots from our presentation).

Bare your assets

July 6, 2011
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The room was buzzing at our Promax session in New York.
Were we in the buff? Nah.
We were stripping spots down to their bare essentials:
Message, Ideas, and Words.
The pictures were just a tease.
Click the bra to see what we showed.
Give it time to load. Chock full of fun spots!

Write with 3 Balls

June 28, 2010

This year the Promax/BDA conference in LA brought in great speakers from around the world and smashed last year’s attendance numbers. We felt honored to be included.

We had a blast presenting “Write with 3 Balls” to the audience of marketing executives, and they returned the feeling. Loved seeing that SRO crowd. As promised, here’s what we showed. Enjoy and please let us know what you think!

[The presentation is packed with good stuff and videos–please give it a few moments to load up.]

Promax Presentation

Add New Post ‹ sharpen your tools — WordPress, posted with vodpod

cooking lessons

June 22, 2010

Ever have an over-achieving sibling? Then you probably know that being born under the shadow of greatness can stink. Just look at Cain and Able, Jimmy and Billy Carter, or Marcia and Jan Brady.

My point is this, when one sibling is a star the other kids can have a tough time keeping up.

On the other hand when family dynasties work, they’re a thing of beauty; The Medici’s. The Kennedy’s. Venus and Serena Williams.

So when Scripps, parent company of Food Network, decided to birth a second channel dedicated to food and cooking, they faced more than the usual launch challenges. They had to find the sweet spot for viewers, advertisers, and affiliates, of course. But they also needed to create a sibling Channel to Food Network that carried a distinct personality without stealing Food Network’s thunder or encroaching on its loyal niche.

And they wanted to launch the network in five months.

It might have been impossible but Scripps put the seasoned pros from Food Network on the case; Michael Smith, Susie Fogelson, Patalia Tate, Katie Ilch, Joanne Harmon, and team. They knew to build Cooking Channel from the personality up. At the foundation was a distinct point of view, clear attitude, and language that resonated with the new audience.

Given our deep love of Food, and our passion for branding, being invited into the new network delivery room was a pinch-me moment for the Tooth+Nail team.  Early on we explored personality directions, clarified the target audience, honed in on a single voice, and crafted brand guidelines, language, and a tagline that captured the battle cry of all Food People, “Stay Hungry.”

Foundation in place, internal and external teams were off and running. The new network flourished: affiliate and ad sales marketing, graphics, packaging, the launch campaign, topicals, and the million other details. Creative partners included Leroy and Clarkson for the image campaign, Trollback and Co. for on-air graphics.

Enjoy the collected works of the Cooking Channel team. Think of it as a birth announcement. We’re so very proud.

Food Network, meet your younger sister, Cooking Channel. She’s so cute, and just the right kind of feisty.

aim true

May 31, 2010

Promax Boot Camp preview


Every award-winning spot shares one thing in common.

You’re probably thinking big budget, but not so fast. What’s the one single thing award-winning-wows-around-the-water-cooler spots have?

They have a single message. One point. One idea.

As Grandpa Button used to say, “You can’t hit two targets with one arrow.” It only looks easy. Nailing that single message takes plenty of practice so let’s give it a go.

Here’s a kick-ass spot. You tell us the single message. We’ll bet four to one you get the answer.

What is the main message?

A. OMG, there really IS a water shortage!

B. All my voice-overs should have a French accent.

C. Axe=Sex

Think you’ve got the hang of it–good. Next, how do you decide what that single message should be? That, my friend, is for Boot Camp.

At ease.

endings+beginnings

March 22, 2010

3 brilliant spots.

Each makes a different point about beginnings and endings.

The first celebrates the end of a soldier’s tour of duty. I love how honest and simple the execution is.

The next is the perfect sequel ending to one of the most popular viral videos ever.

And the last sparked imitators world wide because–in a brilliant twist–the ending is the beginning. (Stay to the end, it’s worth it.)

All three  spots move me in different ways. Two of them cost almost nothing to produce. They inspire by strong writing and unexpected twists.

Flannery O’Connor once said “Beginnings+endings are critical moments . . . the shorter the narrative, the more important their function and their import.” These short ads make the most of both.

I hope they start something in you.

good morning, sunshine

March 15, 2010

We love spring.  Crocuses nosing up from the earth. Sunshine spilling onto the sidewalk when you leave work.

But up in Inuvik, the Canadian Artic, sunshine has an even greater power. For sixty-six days of winter, they’re encased in darkness. Which makes this documentary style spot, from Tropicana Canada, so charming. And their message about brighter mornings so meaningful.

Find a story. Or make a new story that meshes with your brand. Tell it honestly. You invite people to experience your message, instead of bracing themselves for your sell.

What story is waiting for you?

can’t help ourselves

February 28, 2010


Thirteen of us crowded onto the sofa and chairs around the Superbowl, and this spot came on. A man, a boat, and a horse. The guys laughed because it poked fun at what they think women like: six pack abs, diamonds, and “tickets to that thing you love.” The women laughed because this guy is pumped full of himself.

Women and men: now that’s a tightrope of humor. Old Spice pulled it off, towel and all.

That’s the beauty of finding the right point of view in your brand personality. When it works, you can’t help yourself.

How have you used POV to grab someone’s attention?

*If you want to meet the guy behind the Spice, go here.

sounds like genius

February 22, 2010

First, a confession. I’ve always been a sucker for radio.

You supply the story, the audience supplies the pictures. Now that’s interactive. Plus, compared to print and television, radio is inexpensive to produce. $500 for an award-winning spot? That’s how much my first clio winner cost.

Turns out, audio is even more powerful that we thought. Two recent articles reveal how aural persuasion taps our unconscious.


In this week’s Time magazine,  Martin Lindstrom, author of the best seller “Buyology”, hooked up participants to neoro-sensors. He discovered that some sounds zap right past our thinking brains and compel us in primal ways. Irresistable forces.

The New York Times magazine looks at how the top two contenders for Best Picture, “Hurt Locker” and “Avatar”, both use sound to create entirely new worlds. The lush jungles of Pandora and the dry, still world of bomb defusers — would either movie be as effective without their world of sound? Not likely.

How are you using sound to change minds?