Posts Tagged ‘humor’

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.

7567682-martini-icon-on-square-black-internet-button-original-illustration

 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.

cover

 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.

Screen shot 2011-07-29 at 3.22.29 PM

 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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in the mood

April 28, 2010

The villa was lovely with its view of the beach and heated pool.  I could have remained on the porch indefinitely watching coffee cups, wine glasses, and olive pits pile up. Instead, a morsel of motivation prevailed.

We piled into the mini van and, after an hour of wrong turns and Google maps, found the village. A castle rose from the top of the hill, guarded by a statue of a 12 foot tall knight in full armor. Did someone say M’lady?

We passed through the gates and entered the 13th century.

It took me a moment before noticing the music.

No apps. No guided tours. Just the sounds of classical guitar filling up the courtyard and mingling with the ruins. We climbed ramparts and looked over the turrets. Easy to imagine busy markets or peasants below.

Sometimes, in advertising,  we get so caught up in embellishing moments with a special effect or over-the-top visuals that we forget the simple power of music to move us. It weaves an atmosphere and helps tell a story.

In this spot below for Che Men’s Magazine, I love how the music puts us in the mood.

What music puts you in the mood?

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.

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.

push_up_bra

push_up_store

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?

SouthAfrica

your happy spot

August 25, 2009

balloons

Is that optimism I smell in the air?

Here’s a little happiness from Passat. And if the singing doesn’t lift your mood, look for the smiling sheep near the end.

What do you think–is the tide turning?

begin with personality

June 23, 2009

We gave a session on brand personality and writing at the 2009 North America Promax/BDA conference last week.

The conference was terrific and our morning session was SRO for the second time in as many years. Think the a.m. crowds were hoping for free cappuccinos? Note to conference committee, next year larger room and Barista. Nary a tomato was thrown. In fact, the crowd wanted more. Actually they wanted a link. So, due to popular demand and the bing of our blog here are some highlights.

Part one.

Picture 10

In the future, everyone will have balls.

We will have them. You will have them.

By balls, we mean personality. First, a quick question. Do you have a personality?

Please watch the following.

Did you find either one funny? Phew. You do have a personality.

Personality is what makes us distinct. It’s  how we relate to each other.

And the root of personality?

Personality.

All media is becoming more personal.

And so are brands.

Ever wonder what the opposite of balls, or personality, looks like?

Voila.

BUDWEISER

Those old ads make us laugh because they’re devoid of personality. Everyone is too perfect, and perfect just isn’t human.

Perfect balls.

So, when you’re filling out your creative brief, forget  “engaging, upbeat and likeable.”

Think cranky teenager, like Adult Swim.

Or . . .fun loving predator,

Shark

Or bitch.

PerfectBitch

Remember, you’re the mastermind of your brand’s personality.

When it comes to Network brands, their balls are in your court. Proof positive your job is more fun than being a massage therapist.

For a copy of the entire session and some unforgettable (but liscensed spots) check with Promax/BDA.

If you would like information on our critically acclaimed workshops on brand personality, writing and creativity, click here.

the language of humor

June 2, 2009

If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. That’s my take on Mumbai, the most densely populated city on earth.

What gets noticed in a city filled with the clamor of cars and the roar of the crowd?

Humor, the universal language. 

See  more great spots and crowds at our upcoming Promax/BDA session Write With Balls 2  Thursday June 18th 10:30a. Namaste.

 

*Thanks, Artie Scheff, for finding this great spot.