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Left Behind....Hate and Love

I took my two kids to stay with my parents at their ocean front house on the coast of Maine this week. An absolutely beautiful view that would normally cause one to "Collapse Into Cool" (oh, sorry...see previous post)

The problem is that I have two parents whom I love dearly and who made getting through cancer and unemployment possible. The streets would have been my home otherwise. My mother, bless her, is a control freak. She will not admit this stating that, "This is just the way that things are done" and "When I was a kid...blah, blah, blah..."

The kids had to eat a certain way, play a certain way, talk a certain way, etc. Now I do put myself into the category of a fairly disciplinarian type parent. But, for God's sake, there are limits.

This past week I came to realize that because I was brought up the same way she treats my grandchildren, I was an absolute wimp for ten years after leaving home. It took me all that time to realize that I could have an original thought and not have to have 3 people validate it before I was confident of that thought. After all this need for guidance and approval, I was sitting in some meeting in a conference room filled with marketing people and I suddenly realized that I was smarter then every one of them in the room! That day drastically change the way I approached my work and how I presented it. Granted, it should have happened ten years earlier but it happened.

Now, I love my parents and all us kids turned out great and became successful and happy and she does have good advice to give. I just wonder why the road had to be so limiting. There must be more then one way to grow up successfully.

That week, I was also reading about the Left Behind series that talks about Revelations and the end of the world and all that stuff. And I began to think...what the FUCK is the importance of whether there is a crumb on the floor or whether my child puts a puzzle together a "different" way?

I know that possessions are important to my parents because they had none growing up. It's not so much materialism but more an accomplishment to be treasured so I understand the sometimes rigid ways of my parents. I have some of those qualities to. I am in the camp where cleanliness is 95% prevention and 5% actual cleaning. So I understand my parents ways of "keeping house"

It just doesn't seem all that important anymore though.


by Steve Hall    Jun-28-02    

Starbucks...Ingenious Marketing

You all read about the Starbucks campaign "Collapse Into Cool" that was recently pulled. No surprise. I was a visual of two skyscraper looking frozen drinks with a butterfly flying around them. Remind you of something? If not, you come from another planet! Anyway, it was pulled for obvious reasons.

But, I have to place my self in the conference room of which ever agency handles Starbucks. There is no fuckin way that they did not know that that campaign would immediately bring up memories of 9/11. No fuckin way. They'd have to be from another planet if they didn't know.

But, morality be damned and marketing to the rescue, they launched the campaign with what HAD to have been knowledge that it would create an outcry. And, of course, create MORE awareness then the campaign ever would. Smart marketing....but in a moral vacuum!

by Steve Hall    Jun-28-02    

Never Miss An Ad

Ever wanted to have instant access to an ad you think you remember seeing for your client or a competitor? You can now at Ads.com. It's a great resource to dial up that commercial for quick review.


by Steve Hall    Jun-18-02    

The Problem With This Blog

I should know from being in the ad business that when creating something, it better have one clear point and not a jumble of thoughts. Well, I have certainly broken that rule with this site! Originally intended to be mostly about my career in advertising, most of it is about other issues in my life which no one probably cares about. But, hey, that's life. Life isn't a pre-packaged ad all nicely tied up in a bow with one simple headline. Life is a jumble of shit that comes together to make your life. Which...is why, I think, I like the whole point of this site.

Advertising is not random. Life is mostly random. This site is random.

Read it or not:-)


by Steve Hall    Jun-16-02    

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If Anyone Cares...

I set out a while ago to relive/recap/memorialize special women in my past. While have written about three, it seems to kind of trite. Why does anyone care about the girls/women in my life. The only reason that I think I will continue is that it is therapeutic to me in some sense. I've always been about nostalgia but my wife is all about looking forward. I think, in some way, this whole ridiculous effort might let me put my nostalgic longings to rest for good. So, I continue...three down:

Robin R
Beth O
Amy P

Skipping Gretchen as I can't really come up with anything to write about her.

So anyway, that's how it stands. If you care, check in once in a while. When the feeling moves me, I'll pump another chapter out.

Initial Post:

Old Flames....They Never Leave Your Memory

For some unknown reason, I feel the need to revisit all the past emotions I felt and how each one of these girls made me feel and what they meant to me. Probably none will ever see this but it is something I need to say. So, stay tuned to this blog for a riveting and emotional outpouring on the following pieces of my heart:

Robin R - My first realization that girls where something important
Beth O - My first awkward courting methods
Gretchen S - My first problematic relationship
Amy P - A brief fleeting moment on the dance floor
Gail P - A great girl who might have been my prom date
Liz K - The swim club Hottie
Eve F - My first " I wish she would like me" relationship
Jeanne M - The first time I realized the poetic beauty of a woman
Sue I - My first close female friend
Caroline F - My first "quirky" romance
Anne S - My first on-again, off-again flirtation
Timi S - My first burning sexual fantasy
Barbara K - My second, and more sophisticated burning sexual desire
Lisa S - The cute young girl I moved way too quickly with
Lori R - My first "really sexy friend of a girlfriend" girl
Diane K - My first intelligent relationship
Walden Pond Girl - My first experience in a "girl away too young" relationship
Barbara D - My first "girlfriend turned to enemy turned back to friend turned to long lost" relationship
Sue R - My first truly serious, long term love, turned to longing memory
Kim D - My first "I really like you and want to have sex with you and finally have sex with you but get Clamidia" girlfriend
Mary G - My final turn at love


by Steve Hall    Jun-16-02    

FINALLY...someone said it!

Thank you Tom Hespos...

"Friday, June 7, 2002
What is Integration?
By Tom Hespos

A few years ago, the concept of integrated communications began to get really hot, especially as it pertained to the relationship between an ad agency and its clients. As the concept of integration became more popular, we began to see quite a few agencies tout integration as a major selling point. But what does it mean to be truly integrated?

Quite a few marketers buy into the concept of integration. To clients, a major benefit of integration is the idea that one agency can handle all aspects of marketing communications. This is beneficial for several reasons:

Communications are guided by one organization that stewards the brand - Dealing with one agency means that any communications programs recommended by that agency are the result of one overarching strategy. By using only one agency, a client can be assured that anything recommended by that agency is going to support a larger initiative in a consistent fashion.
Clients like simplified processes - As a client, which would you rather do? Brief one agency on your business and communications objectives or worry that a combination of two or three agencies won't be able to cooperate to develop a cohesive communications program? Ensuring that multiple agencies work together in a constructive way can be a nightmare.
Integrated agencies are more efficient - Especially when smaller pieces of business are concerned, it's often less expensive to keep the entire business at one shop than to split the business up among several agencies. Integration realizes efficiencies.
But just like many other hot concepts and buzzwords in our industry, the notion of integration has strayed somewhat from its original meaning. Some agencies claim they are integrated when they outsource entire pieces of business. How can an agency be integrated when it outsources?

The truth is, it can't. Integration is all about the elimination of seams. Seams are a bad thing in this industry. Wherever a seam exists, so does the potential for tactical recommendations that stray from the core strategy. A few weeks ago, I described the game of telephone in this column. The comical results of a game of telephone are produced by communication breakdown at the seams (i.e � one person passing information to another). To produce the most accurate and consistent messages, clients must ensure that there are as few seams as possible. It's not enough to ensure that the overarching strategy feeds all aspects of marketing communications. One also has to be sure that the various contributors to a communications campaign don't interpret that strategy in different ways.

To communicate a message to a target, three basic questions have to be answered:

What is the message and how will it support a client's business objectives?< /I> The account planning and account management practices at an agency are the groups typically responsible for answering this question.

What channels will be leveraged to disseminate the message? An agency media department is the chief contributor here.

How is the message expressed? This is where the creative department makes its contribution.

Typically, integration starts to unravel when multiple channels of communication are involved. Once a strategy is crafted, an agency might disseminate it to several groups. A traditional media planning group might make a recommendation for TV, radio, print or outdoor. An interactive media group might recommend web advertising or e-mail. Yet another group might recommend wireless tactics or interactive TV. These groups are competing against one another for a budget. They might be groups within a larger agency (with or without separate P&Ls) or separate business entities altogether. And sometimes the determination of who gets the lion's share of the budget doesn't necessarily come from an unbiased view of which media vehicles best support the client's brand, strategy and message. Traditional media groups often emphasize television because TV makes the most money for the agency. Interactive groups get a smaller slice of the budget because producing interactive ads is significantly less profitable than producing TV commercials. Wireless and iTV might not get an allocation at all because they present less of a profit opportunity than interactive ads.

Integration entails an unbiased look at all avenues open to a client, set apart from profit motives and free of pushback from an agency with less-than-comprehensive capabilities. Truly integrated agencies develop a strategy and then leverage the most appropriate channels for the tasks at hand.

A great way to minimize the number of seams is to hire an agency that employs generalists � people who are well-rounded with respect to experience with various media vehicles. These people will work to reach a target where the target lives and won't recommend a 90% spend in television when the target spends 40% of their time online or 30% of their weekly media consumption with outdoor ads during their commute to work.

How can an agency become integrated? Not only does it have to work to minimize the number of seams in its business, but it also has to work to eliminate biases by prioritizing the client's best interests above its own profit motives."

Thank you, Tom!!


by Steve Hall    Jun-14-02    

Got Laid Off

Yup...again. It was only part time anyway so the money's a wash. I'll get just as much from unemployment as I was from working. AND, I'll have more time to look for a full time job. Oh, the wonders of life...cancer, unemployment...what's next?

Hey, I'm optimistic!

by Steve Hall    Jun-14-02    


If you are in the ad business, have you ever noticed the frequency in which we use the word fuck. It' amazing. People who I know who have come in contact with me in the office or who have sit in on meetings are amazed at the "fuck frequency"

To me, it's just another word need to convey the point. It's almost as if their can't be a conversation without the word. No way to get around it really:

After hanging up the phone with a client, "Can you fuckin believe what that fuckhead wants us to do??"

At the prospect of meeting another sales rep, "I have to fuckin meet with another rep"

One creative person to another, "Those fuckin AE's. They don't fuckin understand creativity!"

At the prospect of a newly request client project, "Can you believe the fuckery this client wants us to go through?"

At the disbelief with which agency management handles ANYTHING, "What the fuck are they thinking? What a fuckin idiot!"

AE to Account Planner, "You want how fuckin long to do that research?"

Account Planner to AE, "If you want messaging that makes any fuckin sense, we need to know the market, the competition, and a fuckin clue as to the direction we need to go in."

Creative to Planner, "How the fuck can I come up with an idea all fuckin boxed in by your fuckin research?"

Client to agency after a long intensive pitch, "What the fuck were you thinking?" :-)


by Steve Hall    Jun-11-02    

Post Office Square

If you're not from Boston, you don't know about this great place. It's a park with gardens, walkways, a water fountain, trellises, benches, etc. all right in the center of the city. Just the perfect place to just slack back and do nothing. Unless, of course, it's lunchtime. Then you are forced to take in the "scenery". It is just impossible not too. I talked about eye candy before. Well, there's plenty of it here.

But...my favorite time there in mid to late afternoon when there are just a few people there and you can really let your mind go without distraction. Not easy to find a time during the day to just think. This is the place for it.

by Steve Hall    Jun-10-02    

So I Like Eminem

I'm 40...what's the big deal?

by Steve Hall    Jun- 8-02    

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