Archive for the ‘Promax’ Category

writing tips for the criminally inclined

May 2, 2013

Great writing takes guts and danger and an edge of crazy. Not for the faint of heart. If you want to plunge into that world, here’s what you need to know.

1.     WRITE DRUNK

Hemingway said, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” Martinis aside, he meant don’t hold back in your first draft. Dump every insane, half-baked, inspired, stupid idea onto the page. Later you can carve it up with the exacto knife.

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 2.     STEAL

In his book, “Steal like an Artist,”  Austin Kleon claims that no original ideas exist. So seek inspiration everywhere: from that pop song, to the Chagall exhibit, to that trailer that blew you away. Don’t be afraid if something’s been done before. Steal, then transform.

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 3.     PUNCH

Forget soft, wimpy words. Seek out action verbs. Make your sentences brief and direct. Use short words—they get into the brain faster. If your sentence starts with “there is” or ‘it is” then, pal, your punch lacks power.

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 4.     FAKE YOUR IDENTITY

Engage in identity theft. Try on other personalities in your writing. Personality inspires word choice, cadence, and can transform something dull into entertainment. Just ask Randall, the guy who turned a film on Honey Badgers into 59 million YouTube hits (and counting)!

  5.     MURDER

Once you’ve spilled your guts onto the page, go in for the kill. Axe those extra words. Strike out adjectives. Murder those ideas that you love, but don’t fit the goals this time. Kill your darlings. Only the strong survive.

What are some of your favorite writing tips?

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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

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.

writing bootcamp

May 26, 2010

This June we’re packing up our gear and heading to bootcamp in the tony jungles of LA.

Promax/BDA, the organization of TV promotion execs, invited us to put TV novices and honchos through some basic writing drills. Because, frankly, promo writing has gotten listless and lazy. Time to lose the love handles around the verbiage.

Ready for a bootcamp preview? Check here over the next few weeks. You’ll find out how to:

-Kick your spots into award-winning territory

-Pack muscle onto your prose

-Settle the showdown between pictures and words

-Tell a competent story, soldier.

And if you’ve got a spot that you think would be prime example of any of these topics, we’re paying attention and we love showing you off.

At ease.

kicking ash

April 19, 2010

Airport shut-downs across Europe, thanks to a moving cloud of ash, seemed surreal. So much for being in control, with travel apps, Google maps, and carry-on luggage. The volcano was laughing.

While our European friends faced cancelled flights and airport slumber parties, we lucked out with a direct shot across the Atlantic. Momo and I arrived in Lisbon at the Promax/BDA European marketing event and discovered not everyone was put off by the hassles. Vanessa, who runs Promax Europe, hitched a 31 (not a typo) hour ride with the tech crew. She was waiting for us, bright eyed and lively as ever, to run our rehearsal.

Giant hassles are just gentle reminders that the only thing we control is how we respond to the curve balls that come our way.

How do you cope with the cabash on your well orchestrated life plans? Can you overcome the simple setbacks or, as the spot above shows, the major ones?

Tell us–what did you rise above to be here today?

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.

a song, a message, a movement

October 17, 2009

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It was a tremendous conference. Presenters from all corners of the globe and I was honored to be among them; marketers, designers, even a futurist with a fabulous accent.  Still, the highlight for me were the attendees; passionate, gracious and hungry for information.

With the conference over I said good bye to colleagues and friends, and welcomed my family who flew in from Boston.

Back in my hotel room we watched the DVD of the previous evenings award show winners. All the winners were inventive and shared world-class production values but one campaign was more than branding.

Channel O aspires to be an Original African music channel that delivers world class content. Its ‘Young Gifted and Black’ campaign as its Facebook fan page announces is nothing short of ambitious.

“It’s a song. It’s a message. It’s a movement. Join up and Wear it Loud!”.

Taking impetus from the 1970 Nina Simone song ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ the network created a music video, a fully integrated ad campaign, a T shirt contest, and full range of 2.0 efforts that celebrate the musical talent that is found in Africa, both historic and current.

We began the day walking through Soweto where I struggled to digest the horrors of apartheid. It’s too fresh to even be called history, apartheid is a current event. We ended the day watching the YGB music video and the FB fan page was not ambitious it was right.  It’s a song. It’s a message. It’s a movement. And, it is as current and relevant as any campaign I’ve seen.

The music video below.

What do you think?

uncorking ideas

October 15, 2009

It’s spring in Johannesburg and if that’s not enough to put a smile on my face, new friends and fantastic wine does.

Preparing another session of Write With Balls, this time for Promax/BDA Africa and I turn on the TV. What’s on in the southern hemisphere? Plenty of channels and a familiar line-up; Discovery, Nat Geo, Cartoon, and CNN. But I watch for the ads.

So, how does Coke talk to its customers? With music of course. There’s a detergent for doing laundry in a bucket vs a washing machine.

Plus ads for a very special kind of bra. Well, not exactly a bra — something you wear over a bra. These print ads show you what you need to know.

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More from Jo-burg in a day or two. In the meantime do you ever turn the TV on when you travel, if so what do you like? I once saw a game show in Italy that was over the top. You?

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