February 24, 2012
Well, folks, I have a new job. Effective immediately, I am the Executive Creative Director of gyro in San Francisco. Having logged but one day, I’ve only just begun meeting the team. They were gracious and welcoming. For any of you reading this blog: Thank you. And my apologies for adding yet another bald head to your ‘thinning’ ranks.
Obviously, in prior weeks I got to know members of gyro’s leadership team. They are in large part why I took the job. The CEO Christoph Becker is also its Chief Creative Officer. Bonus! A German born in Madrid and living in New York, Christoph is a difficult man to describe in a blurb. He has a poetic soul and a passionate vision for this agency. I found him to be an inspirational force. Robert Ray will be my business partner in San Francisco. Bob has an extensive background in technology (agency and client) and a healthy enthusiasm for more. I share his bold aspiration for the company. In a way Christoph and Bob represent the yin and yang of gyro. “A global ideas shop with unconventional DNA.” I’m over the moon to be joining them.
As for San Francisco, What can I say? The pioneer spirit called out to me. Go west! The Chicago winters also played a role. And so I am leaving my birthplace, where, incidentally, I have lived and worked my entire life. Did you know my children were born in the same hospital I was? You better believe it would take something special to get me out of Chicago. I believe I found that in gyro.
Back when I crossed the ten-year mark at Leo Burnett, I honestly thought I’d spend my whole career there. I felt like I had the best job in the best company in the best city in the world. And I did. Now I look forward to saying the same exact thing about my new company and home. If only someone could help me find a corporate apartment that is not a mixed bag of meh with a monster nut…
Here’s an interesting side bar. Last week, the two big winners at the Chicago ADDYS were none other than Leo Burnett and, yup, gyro.
June 10, 2011
These films for Old Navy by my former colleague, Jamie King and his creative partner, Roger Camp came out of nowhere. I didn’t even know Jamie and Roger had a thing going with Old Navy. When they started their new agency, Camp + King in San Francisco I assumed they’d have to start small and go from there. Old Navy is a lot of things but it ain’t small.
And neither is this startling campaign, which makes uproarious parody of fashion advertising, suggesting it’s time to “dress like a man…not that guy.”
In one film, “that guy” is an ass-clown in pleated khakis, ill-fitting polo shirt and a fetish for his smart phone. In other words, like every other guy you see at the airport. How are men like this ever let out of the house dressed like that? You’d think their wives would intervene. Being a guy myself, I mostly don’t give a shit. Regardless, it’s an ingenious send up of suburban males and their hopelessly outré wardrobes.
A second film, “Supar Tool” goes the other way, in a more expected (but no less entertaining) parody of those smarmy, effeminate fashion campaigns that play more like soft core porn than clothes advertising. Yes, we’ve seen these sorts of parodies before. Years ago, Saturday Night Live famously did one that still resonates. But so what? Adland has been copping ideas from SNL as long as I can remember. In my view, being derivative is only a sin if you do it poorly.
These spots, by Epoch Films’ director Greg Bell are wonderfully produced, delivering the concept in spades. Though made for the Web the films look like a million bucks, proving that making cheap video for the Internet is a decision not a mandatory.
Say what you will about Old Navy they always push the envelope. They are fearless. And while I didn’t like many of their previous campaigns from Crispin Porter & Bogusky, I respected the hell out of them. Rarely if ever have they resorted to posing models in contrived locations. In this latest effort they literally make fun of the convention. I don’t know if Old Navy can ever be a real man’s store but this is a hell of a way to find out.