Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The valve

I mentioned TED before. If you haven't seen it, you really owe it to yourself to watch some of the talks. These people can charge a room of people thousands of dollars for a fleeting moment of their time and you can watch it all for free.

More recently I  saw Elizabeth Gilbert talk about creativity. This talk specifically.

It got me wondering as to how my creative process worked. Seeing how we egomaniacs have graciously labelled ourselves as creatives.

There are two modes of creativity that I experience. 

The first one is forced. At times we are asked to do the most mundane of tasks. Write a line to describe a series of exclusive bungalows. Sure you can make it sound nice, but our task here is to sell. So you sell it as best as you can in the tone and manner it requires. In this case one that is more hoity-toity works best. Yes, boring.*

Then there is the other mode.  Most often called upon when we have to solve a very LARGE problem. 

I don't often enter this mode. It triggers automatically and only after we have enough information and I've mulled over it long enough. It happens at any time. When we're smoking, when we're in a room discussing it, when I sit down and tell myself, "Ok look. This is what we're going to do". 

And all of a sudden it comes.

This blank state where I'm looking into nothing. I should be thinking about something, adding things together in my head, considering factors A-Z about audiences, what's been done before, if we can show this on TV, does it meet the brief?

But no, usually it's just blank.

Slowly something emerges, it's like a funnel right into my psyche. Something makes its way into my cranium and it comes as a whole. Not piece by piece. It grows until finally it's tangible enough for me grasp.

And then I say, "I have an idea".  

 

 

 

*To my ex-group head. If you're reading this and you know who you are, I know that I should take more pride in my work even with the shittiest of ads but there's only so much I can do with a property brochure. I also had 50 million more important things to do so I'm calling the priorities card on this one.

How the recession is affecting the creative industry

I guess I had to talk about the economy at some point. The recession hasn't reached our part of the world just yet, but I already have a couple friends who have been "let go". How does this affect advertising though?

 

The advertising industry

Well everyone assumes the first thing that gets cut is the advertising budget. True, but the smart clients try and maintain that as much as they can. In a time where everyone cuts off consumer communication, you're far more likely to get heard (assuming you say anything at all).

Traditional mediums such as print and TV also cost a fuckload, so clients are looking at more daring alternatives. For the creatives this is our chance to shine. All those ideas the client thought were "too creative" are now being pulled out of the drawer. Not only do they cost less, you really need more bang for your buck right now. 

  

The creatives  

As mentioned, you do get to fuck around a bit more*. But we haven't been spared from the layoffs. If you're in an agency with a big client that's about to fold, start prepping that portfolio. 

Of course being the fuckarounds that we are, even firing people has to be done creatively. So Nice, a small Belgian agency set up a website where their employees could plead for their jobs. Don't get enough votes? You get let go. I can't be sure if it was for realsies or a publicity stunt.

Looking to get into the industry at this time?

It's always been hard getting into the industry.

But it's hard getting into any job right now. News about hiring freezes in creative departments have been coming in from all over. But have faith. The best creatives will always have agencies knocking at their doors. 

Of course if you're not as capable or haven't won a dozen pencils there are other resources. We're meant to be creatives after all.

There are support groups in Canada where creatives meet up to talk about their work and any leads on jobs. 

A copywriter is in the midst of changing his blog into a creative classifieds.

 

Times are bad all around . But have heart. And if that doesn't work,  use your noggin. That's what you're paid for.

 

 

*But let's be responsible. I think very often we forget some of our campaigns can feed small island nations.

Monday, February 23, 2009

New single from The Prodigy

Oh my look what I stumbled upon

Invaders Must Die

I guess I might as well share it since it's already out there.

Yep

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Twilight Action Girl 101

 

Right. So everyone who knows me well, knows that I'm at Barsonic every Friday for something I keep calling TAG.

 

 

WHAT IS TWILIGHT ACTION GIRL?

What began as a party night for a bunch of guys who couldn't get the music they wanted in clubs has become some huge fucking indie monster. 

An indie/electro night that happens every Friday @ Barsonic @ Zouk. Run by veterans of the industry, DJs Bunga, Chaseylain, Ah Xu and Ribut. Ah Xu also features in local electro duo LapSap.

Expect music from Johnny Cash - The Black Kids on the indie front. Stuff from DJ Barletta - Daft Punk on the electro half. 

Indie and electro go together very well, as you may have noticed.

 

 

 

BUT WHAT DO I WEAR?

It's an indie party. Pull out the t shirt, jeans, converse or any variation and you're good to go. If you're feeling adventurous you can go the electro route which is a mishmash of neon colours. You can see my crew is pretty traditional. 

 

 

 

IT'S A CLUB, WHERE'S THE BOOZE?

Pretty much all over the fucking place. Here's the deal. It's RM65 (bout 20 US dollars) for two fucking pitchers/jugs of some liqour combination. My poison? Vodka Redbull. Gives me wings*. You can tell the noobies from the veterans by what they're drinking. Bottle of whiskey on the table? Single glass in your hand? Oh my you must be new, drop that shit and let me buy you a round.

 

 

 

SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE. YOU WORK IN ADVERTISING, YOU MUST BE A LIAR.

A lot of people who see our photos from TAG always ask how smashed we were. Yeah we may have had a couple dozen drinks, but honestly it's just so much fun we really are as happy as we look. Some of you might not appreciate indie/electro. But let me tell you this, most people become converts pretty easily. This is great, but also a problem because several women I used to date happen to frequent the venue after I bring them there. Moral of the story? Don't fuck where you party. Pick up and fuck somewhere else.

 

 HOW DO I START?

Bring your friends, drop the inhibitions, get the pitchers (they're two for one remember), sing along, pump your fists in the air and fucking rock out.

One love baby.

Everyone knows everyone and if you don't, you will eventually. It's the best party night I've ever been to and trust me I've been to parties. You're never gonna find another event that is as unpretentious as TAG.**

Drop by, say hi.

This is the hookup:

TAG facebook group

Barsonic facebook group

Gets you in for free once you join.

 

 

 

 *Having wings is great but eventually things go all wobbly and you're down quicker than Icarus. Mmmmm vodka.

**People you don't know will grab you and you will be kicking your feet in the air simultaneously singing along to Chelsea Dagger by The Fratellis. Then they will shove a pitcher of some liqour in your face and make you drink. The camraderie is documentable. And don't worry if you're trying to get laid, beautiful people are in abundance. Despite its humble roots, this is one of the hippest parties in the city. 

 

 

 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mad Men and Trust me VS Real Advertising

A doctor friend of mine once told me he found great pleasure in watching House M.D. Because he recognised and read about all those exotic conditions mentioned. I could never relate. In fact I may have accidentally yelled, "YOU FUCKING NERD". I don't think he noticed.

But oh how the tables have turned because there are now not ONE but TWO TV series based on the wonderful world of advertising. Oh my, is this a new trend in white collar dramas? From Doctors, to Lawyers and now Advertisers?

 

If you keep track of the popular TV shows available today, you'll have heard of Mad Men. 

Set in the 60's. An honest time. A good time. Where families were wholesome and everyone lived in large houses with white picket fences, 2.5 kids and a Golden Retriever named Rover. 

Also a time where everyone smoked, drank at all times of the day and cheated on their spouses with anyone wearing a skirt.

My dad confirms this.

The smoking, drinking and fucking is dead on. In fact, since advertising hasn't really changed throughout the years, the show remains pretty true to life. There are tons of references to campaigns done in the 60s. This fills me with glee, such as when they mention Bill Bernbach's "lemon" ad for Volkswagon. I was working at DDB at the time and couldn't help but feel a little proud.*

 

 

 

 

More up to date is the show Trust Me

Based on modern advertising, the show was created by the guys who used to write for Nip/Tuck. Who also used to be copywriters! 

It's about two partners working in a fictional Chicago agency. Now if you really wanna see what happens in ad agencies today, I highly recommend watching this show. Falls into the Dramedy genre ala Boston Legal.  

I REALLY like this show but I think people will inadvertently judge it. Writing a show that is heavily based on a creative environment has to be fucking tough. It's already hard being creative in your good ole' agency. Imagine what it' s like trying to be creative writing a plot about other people being creative.

That's like trying to bake an intricate cake with a smaller intricate cake inside that's a different flavour. All while making sure it tastes good.

If done well, you sir, have made the twinky a product of the past. Hand me a slice of your Chocolate Banana / Strawberry Cheesecake amalgamation. 

I sincerely hope this show makes it past the first season. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I now work at an agency called Dentsu. They're Japanese and as far as I know, own everything in Japan. 

Random trivia: In the first episode of Trust Me they kept mentioning the Clios. I don't know if this is because that particular award was the fucking shit when the writers were still working in an agency, but nowadays people want Yellow Pencils or Lions. I'm chill about a lot of major things, such as getting robbed or getting into a car accident but for some reason I'm pedantic as fuck when it comes to shit like this. 

For example:

It irks the fuck outta me when people use redundancies like ATM MACHINE. The fuck is that? People gave you acronyms to make your life easier. Morons. 

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Look How They Shine for You.

I'm Rudy and I think that Manda Choe is the coolest, most intelligent woman there was to exist on the face on planet earth.

Stole this off... *pandaaa.



Okay, it is way too obvious that this isn't Ruud, and the dead giveaway is that I'm grammatically incorrect and that if I didn't have prior assistance, I'd probably have spelled "Giveaway" as two words instead of one.

I have something to ask... How many of you, who DON't KNOW Ruud read his blog?
Coz he's an asshole.
A lovable one, nonetheless.




.
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.
.
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How long do you think it'll take until you find out what your purpose in life is, exactly?
Hi Ruud, it's your blog, but YES, I'm making this about ME, because I'm good at that. ANYWAY, Try reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The most significant line that has been prompted- time and time again is "ten thousand hours". For those of you who don't know what ten thousand hours might mean... picture yourself as a musician. Trying your best to make it in the industry, not because to of the simplicity of money-making, but pleasing your audience by your orchestratic genius, and because you want to please everyone, including yourself as an artist because you've made the best of yourself. That whole process of learning how to better yourself for the sake of your audience and yourself - that's what "ten thousand hours" means. Before the Beatles made it big, they were jamming, as any other garage band was, these days, trying to find their sound.

Before Jane Austen or William Shakespeaere or any of our modern writers, be it fiction like Mitch Albolm or J.K. Rowling figured out what kind of writing they were more prone to or leaned torwards... they had to go through their own "ten thousand hours".


My question is... What if we never really go through those ten "ten thousand hours". What if we go through life born artistic, but bred as corporate, and end up doing something we're not passionate about? What if we never get a chance to realise or figure out that there's much more ahead of us?... AND... What's worse is... what if we never achieve those "ten thousand hours?"

Friday, February 13, 2009

The morning after party condition

AUGHHGHGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

It feels like Jose Cuervo punched me in the face and then gave me tongue.

I'm not hungover. It's one of those times where you wake up and you still feel a little tipsy from all the drink.

I remember telling myself this is the first time in 2 weeks I get to wake up at an inappropiate hour. But I ended up rolling off a couch at 8.30 am in some apartment anyway.

I wonder if anyone's ever been pulled over for drunk driving at 9 am (that's when I drove home).

I want to go eat pork noodle soup near my house, but my friends are all lazy and still asleep.

I have to go to work later.

Well I don't but I should.

Only because Sunday might feel too rushed.

I really don't mind working on weekends. Makes me feel needed.



Is it Valentines?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Official Super Ultimate Undeniable Valentine's Post

It's about that time of year. And to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time in 5 years I'm lacking a partner for Valentines Day.

Which means I've got a surplus of a thousand dollars to spend getting shitfaced tonight and tomorrow.


I don't hate Valentines. I think the general perception is I hate everything warm and fuzzy. But the more insightful of you, dear readers, will realise that Valentines is a corporate facade much like any other holiday. Hence I love it.


However since I don't have anyone to show fake-affection to this year, I figure I'll give it to you.


Here you are my beloved(s), a stillborn ad that will never see the light of official day. Men, print it and give it to your ladyfriends. Ladies, aren't I sweet?



By my math, we spent a gajillion hours doing this. According to 4 A's rates, this ad cost over MONEY DOLLARS to make.

And it's all yours for free.



Also





Happy Valentines!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Top 5 movies you didn't know were coming soon

Unless you're a somewhat accomplished nerd.

We're not stating the obvious here. So if you're looking forward to Watchmen, Terminator, G.I Joe, Coraline, Wolverin:Origins, Transformers 2, Time Traveller's Wife, Chun Li, Avatar, Star Trek, Dragonball(are you fucking serious?), then so is that annoying guy in the office who will ramble on about it like he's been a fan for the last twenty years*.

Onwards to the list!


s.Darko




Set 7 years after the original movie. Donnie Darko's younger sister, Samantha, goes on a road trip to Hollywood with a friend. The car breaks down in a town where a meteorite crashes and she's plagued by bizarre visions that might be Frank the bunny.
Lacking the original writer/director, it's hard to tell whether this will compare with the cult classic that is Donnie Darko. Looks to be a straight-to-DVD release.


Akira live action movie



Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, it appears that the script remains faithful to the original anime movie. The movie has been described as Blade Runner meets City of God. But if you've read the manga or watched the original, you'd already know that. Brought to Warner Bros by the studio exec that bought the rights to 300 and The Dark Knight.


Preacher



Based on the graphic novels from DC Vertigo. Jessie Custer is a preacher from the south imbued with the power of "The Word". Allowing him to tell people what to do, which they must follow. You might imagine hilarity ensues with this sort of ability, but it's darker than most graphic novels ever produced. Written by the brilliant Garth Ennis (also of Hellblazer fame). From what I've read on the net, Jessie Custer is to suffer a similar fate as John Constantine. Sigh.



ZMD



Brought to you by the peeps that did Outlander. A special ops force goes to the Middle East to fight zombies. The influx of good zombie movies recently has been amazing. Dead Snow came out a month ago and a movie remake of the book World War Z is in the works.



Y: the last man




There's an epidemic that kills off every male on Earth except for a pseudo-magician called Yorrick and his also male monkey, Ampersand. Based on the graphic novels by Bryan K. Vaughn. One man has to survive in a dystopian future run by women that need him to repopulate the earth or want him dead because they believe the plague has cleansed men from the planet (ew feminists).

Source: Superherohype







*I like wikipedia a lot. It's taught me stuff I'd never have otherwise known about things from Marmite, to the bird-mask that plague physicians wore in the dark-ages. But don't you fucking hate it when you're having a conversation on IM/MSN about some random topic and the other party goes silent for a few minutes, and then comes back gushing with all the most basic information you would know about Zach de la Rocha. GODDAMIT WIKIPEDIA, YOU'RE ENABLING MORONS.

You might argue that at least they're learning something. But I disagree. This is a serious fucking problem.

You're removing validation from people who would otherwise impart useful information on a less-informed party, thus making them less likely to educate in the future. So if they don't bring it up to another party because the previous asshole stole the limelight, future asshole won't get a chance to wikipedia that information and learn. What then smartypants?


I find these interactions EXTREMELY important. See TED.com for example. A forum where some of the most brilliant minds in the world just go up on stage and talk about something you wouldn't otherwise know. Can you imagine if the audience wiki-ed everything the speaker said and yelled it back at him as if they knew shit?


I highly doubt he'd be giving anymore talks for TED.

How to get into advertising part 1

Content may be specific to Malaysia only. But for the most part, applies to everyone.

1)Decide what you want to be. Copywriter, Art Director, Designer, Planner, Account Servicing.

Copywriter






Writes "copy" for ads. Generates ideas. Sorts out strategy. Presents at meetings. Computer games when bored. Secretly wants to write a novel/movie script/TV show.

Main tools: Microsoft Word. Microsoft Powerpoint. Pencil/Pen. Moleskine notebook. Non-specific blog application.



Art Director


Art Directs the ads. Generates ideas. Master at D.I(digital image editing). Sorts out strategy. Computer games when bored. Secretly wants to become a photographer/film director/music video director.

Main tools: Photoshop. Illustrator. Pencil/Pen. Sketchpad. Deviant art.



Designer


Designs logos/fonts/products/packaging/layout/leaflets/brochures/posters/everything. Wants to someday work in the Apple/Louis Vuitton design department. Some of the best designers I've seen have taken a simple idea for an invite card and made it into a transformer*.

Main tools: Photoshop. Illustrator. Pencil/Pen. Sketchpad. Reference books for typography/design. Photo of Steve Jobs on an altar.



Planner



Provides strategic planning for brand direction. Provides planning for campaigns. Crunches numbers on demographics/psychographics/brand advocates and regurgitates them into 50 slide powerpoint files.

Main tools: Powerpoint. Survey websites. Google insights. Google keyword tool. Trips to the psych to solve identity crisis of "not quite a creative but not quite a suit either".



Account servicing a.k.a Suit



Manages client expectations. Liason between clients and creative. Maintains brand consistency. Writes briefs for creatives. Bills client. Sorts out timelines.

Main tools: Powerpoint. Excel. Several telephones. Heavy duty brush for scrubbing off the shame in the shower every night.




That's the gamut. There are other more specific job titles. Such as "interactive so-and-so" and your media department. But your common agency will have a setup with the jobs listed above.

However we are in exciting times and things are-a-changing.

I spoke with Scott Witt from Droga5 a couple years ago. His job was something along the lines of "context man". Who did everything from creative directing/planning/media for full campaigns.

In CP+B they have a full-on industrial design dept. that just makes new products everyday. In Dentsu Japan, it's quite prestigious to be a receptionist**.

Part II when I haven't come home at 1 a.m from the office on a public holiday***.






*I'm not kidding. We were making an eco-friendly card for an eco-friendly event. The card could fold in on itself several times to reveal random messages on maximising paper usage before eventually settling on its final shape of a flower pot.

**This is the fucking truth. They are tested on looks, manners, their VOICE etc.

***Still want to work in advertising? Stay tuned!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Minimalist Design

I don't know a lot about design and art direction (Does this mean I can't win a yellow pencil from D&AD?*). Being a writer sometimes ostracises you from crafting the aesthetic. I think of ideas then I write the words that breathe life into them. My partner generally does the pretty work.

Yesterday I was locked in a room with three art directors discussing why "a glossy surface gives a clean-clinical feel, thus better showcasing a modern business environment in contrast to the key visual element". This really makes me feel inadequate. I've contemplated drawing classes/adobe classes etc. but I'd rather spend my free time honing my own ability first.

But who says writers can't art direct anyway.

Check out this minimalist lego design from a NY times writer:




I also love minimalist design. I'm very attracted to compositions offering the bare minimum. Very often one or two simple things work harder than a million items put together**

It's also very hard to do. Ask our art directors.



Also I want to get a house and do this:



I now have this immense urge to apply a sledgehammer to the walls of my home.



Source:
Lego New York

*The Yellow pencil is one of the most prestigious advertising awards available today. Only one has been awarded to a Malaysian agency. Ever.

**Some might argue that one thing has to work harder than a million because it has to put in a million times more work to achieve a similar quality. This is not true simply because it is impossible to quantify creative work in such a way. How many high school writers are equivalent to one(1) Oscar Wilde?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 random things

If you're on facebook, this title explains itself. The biggest meme on the web right now* has corrupted even the most defiant of trend-haters.

I like to gauge a memes popularity based on mass media coverage. Seeing how MSNBC has covered it, this means two things:

1)Its fucking huge
2)Its going to expel its last breath in mere moments now


I've also fallen prey to this meme, so for the benefit of those not on my facebook here it is.**

1. I'm named after a German guy. My dad's best friend or so I'm told. I think he's passed away and making me was cheaper than making a solid gold memorial statue.
2.I was born in Sarawak and I used to go every year. But I stopped when I was 10 after my maternal grandmother passed away.
3 I love my paternal grandma but I don't see her enough.
4. I can't sing and play guitar at the same time.
5. The only band I'd pay large sums of money to go see live: Sigur Ros.
6. I hate that "-_-" comes out as looking as rather pleased on facebook chat. It's supposed to be my "What the fuck is wrong with you emoticon"
7. When I was growing up I wanted to be a pilot
8. My left arm is shorted than my right, due to a metal plate.
9. I really really really like listening to soothing jazz ala Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald
10. I have every book ever written by Neil Gaiman.
11. I've had sex on a balcony in the dead of winter. Nope, no frostbite.
12. I have realised I will never read all the books/watch all the moveis/play all the computer games I want to before I die.
13. I'm still not over this
14. I used to believe in love being more special
15. Top trait I'm looking for in women right now: Someone who'd be ok with the hours of my job
16. I hate that I'm turning 25 in two years
17. I'm going to motorcycle from Perth-Sydney at the end o the year. I think this is because of the approaching quarterlife crisis.
18. If I had my way I'd ride a fucking horse everywhere instead of a car. What're the laws on that?
19. I think it's unfair how men can sleep with anyone and be a stud, and women who sleep around are sluts. Mainly because it's harder to sleep with women due to this.
20. I hate 90% of my teachers that taught me anything pre-college
21. I haven't shaved my face in a few days
22. I want kids. But don't want them.
23. I don't believe in marriage, so maybe kids are unlikely.
24. I can speak Iban
25. Most of my girlfriends have been older than me



*This is true at the time of writing. However as is the case with most articles regarding the Internet, it's probably redundant by the time of publishing. All of several minutes later.

**The more astute of you will realise this is just a cheap attempt at getting more content up. At least there's slight guarantee it will be entertaining. My friends who are on facebook will hate me for this though. I'm a fucking rerun. What? You're not on my facebook? Why the fuck not!?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Best ad campaigns of the last couple months

People love ads.

Or rather, good ads.

Working in advertising, I find that people have been quite polite towards me despite my profession. Though surveys show that most of you consider me to be lower than insurance salesmen on the likeable scale.

We in the industry tell ourselves it's because you're jealous of all the big parties, hot models, cool clothes and laissez faire attitude in creative departments.

But looking at some of the ads we get that make it to mass media, I'm not surprised you think we're morons.

There are many factors to this, but if you want a lecture on the dynamics of creative marketing, I'd point you to I have an idea. Or go intern in a fucking ad office. Free labour is never a bad thing. Call me. Pretty girls are more likely to get in*.

I'd show you which campaigns I've worked on, but shy la.**

Anyway.

No one hits a home run 100% of the time, for the most part we're just trying to win the game on aggregate. But once in awhile we do get the stuff that puts a smile on your face. You then talk about it, show it to your friends. That's what we try to do. It's hard but we don't stop trying.

Here are a few home runs

Heineken




Fairly simple idea. The production/director saves this. If you looked at the storyboard for this it would look as simple as:

1. Girls go to room

2. Girls walk into massive closet and scream

3. Male screaming in the background

4. Cut to men in a similarly large fridge

5. Men scream and clap as women do when they see shoes/babies/Patrick Dempsey

The sell to the client had to be fucking amaizng.


T-mobile



Flash mob idea.

Truth be told I fucking hate flashmobs. They've been done to death by every ad exec who's had anything resembling a half-baked idea. The beauty of this is the sheer execution. Getting that amount of choreography into a hall of that size with that many pedestrians is harder than teaching chimps a rendition of West Side Story.

It's just hard.




Electrabel is a power company for some countries in yoorup.

The message is fairly simple: lighting up your fucking shit.


There's a recurring theme in these ads. I don't blame you if you don't notice it, because I only did like 2 seconds ago. Seems to me that they're all simple ideas, and what seperates them from everything else you'd see on TV/Internet is the amount of work that has gone into bringing your idea to life.

Most of the time we sit in a room trying to think of something completely radical, just so you'll notice us. The thing with the radical is that sometimes the message gets lost in the idea. We are often tempted to be creative for the sake of being creative.

Maybe we should forget that and focus more on the craft.

*There's a valid reason for this. We deal with a lot of clients and no matter what department you're in, at some point you're expected to present/sell ideas. Most clients are dirty old men, or dirty old aunties. Making them like you is never a bad thing. Also I like hot women.

**This is a complete lie. If you're with me in the real world, I will stop the fucking car to show you which ad is mine while yelling , "HEY I DID THAT THATS MINE AREN'T I FUCKING AWESOME?!"

Monday afternoon holiday antics (or lack therof)

Nicole says:
boo
-TheRuud says:
argh
Nicole says:
what
-TheRuud says:
you scared me
Nicole says:
did i ? aweeee
-TheRuud says:
:(
-TheRuud says:
I'm telling