Creator for hire…

That’s right, to prove my chops as elegant persuader I’m going to sell you on the idea that God exists using intuitive and rational arguments. No new age mumbo-jumbo. No beatific platitudes. No doctrine. I won’t apply one single faith-based point in my brief. When I’m done you may still not believe in a higher power but you may well be closer to Him (and hopefully me) than you were before.

First a proposition: If anyone can definitively prove God does or does not exist I will give him all that’s left in my bank account. Non-believers and agnostics crave proof of God’s existence and, of course, it never comes. But why is it we rarely flip the question and demand proof that some Higher Power doesn’t exist? It’s just as impossible.

Let’s go totally left-brain and talk percentages. Applying common sense, one must conclude there is at least a 50% chance that God does exist. However, that also means there is a 50% chance that God does not. “God is everything or nothing.” It’s 50/50. If you had those odds on the lottery –or anything really- you’d take that bet. You’d be a fool not to.

Yet, so many of us are ambivalent about God or even the idea of God. Why is that? Because we can’t see him? Well, you can’t see gravity either. “That’s different,” the unbeliever claims. You can prove gravity. There are equations.

Do you believe in love? For your children? For your wife? Of course you do. But one cannot prove that love definitively exists. You feel love or you don’t depending on your circumstances but you can never see “love.” So, if one can believe in love then why not God? They are both faith-based concepts with no rational foundation. Why is one different from the other?

Do you covet money, prestige or status? Are you addicted to drugs or alcohol? Have you ever been? What about chocolate or coffee? Or your boyfriend? We often make higher powers out of people, places and things. The alcoholic knows this all to well. When she wakes it’s all she can think of. The addict’s drug of choice brings him to his knees every night. They will put spirits ahead of everything else, including jobs, loved ones and personal health. Even the sanctity of human life will not deter the devoted from blindly worshiping their drug of choice. In 12 step recovery it is suggested that the addict replace one higher power for another. When he or she is able to do so the results are demonstrable, even astounding. A freaking miracle.

I’m a cynic and a realist. But I’ve come to believe, even know, God is as likely to exist as not. Such circumstantial evidence may not hold up in court (which ironically trusts in God) but public opinion is all that matters here. Persuasion is an art that uses facts, not the other way around. Have I moved you even five percent closer to believing in a higher power? Or in me?

So, how about that freelance? Let’s do some creation together:


The “Ghost Writer” at your service…

No secret I’ve been looking for a creative leadership position in the advertising industry. But securing full time employment has proven to be daunting, even for a lesser title and reduced pay.

No secret either that Adland has a fixation on youth, especially when it comes to creative. Too bad since most under-thirties are best at creating “ideas” that amuse and delight their peers but sell nothing to no one. However, rather than piss and moan about it (Plenty of that being done already), I have a plan…

I’ll need an accomplice. Perhaps as many as three. Specifically: You’re a Creative Director or an Associate CD. Maybe they dropped the VP title on you as well. Congratulations! Still, it’s been a while since you’ve sold anything. Your stuff is no longer on the agency site. There are junior writers nipping at your heels. They work for you…for now.

Frankly, your team is bereft. Their silly social and gamification ideas raise eyebrows but you can’t sell them through. Why? Because they’re strategically incoherent and the account supervisor vetoed showing them to her client. You’ve already fallen on a couple swords and your reputation for being “difficult” is growing. You’ve also heard rumors about holiday layoffs. You go home at night to try and crack the strategy but you invariably find yourself distracted. After three PBR’s and the West World finale you’re just too tired to write. And why do you have to write anyway? Everything’s video now. Nobody reads copy. Advertising sucks.

Here’s where I come in. You forward me the brief. I’ll come up with a legit organizing principle (aka Big Selling Idea) and write copy for all the necessary touch points, curate it for your presentation and voila! Tomorrow when you wake up it’ll be in your inbox. All yours. It’ll be just like that time in college. Wink, Wink. This I will do for a modest bit of your paycheck, which I dare say will only get bigger after you begin demonstrating your remarkable turnaround. You can call me “The Ghost Writer.” Badass, right?

So, let’s collude on some copy! I know how to do this job better than most and you have better things to do. Ski season, brah! You think I’m joking? Try me:

Author’s note: This post was originally intended as satire but the more I think about it the more I’m willing to break bad. Anyone have the stones to hit me up?

Here come the Hawks! But for how long?

Last Sunday, the media columnist for the Chicago Tribune, Phil Rosenthal wrote a story on marketing potential for the surging Chicago Black Hawks. At the time of his writing, the Black Hawks were about to begin the finals against the Philadelphia Flyers. They are the odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup.

For his story, Rosenthal sought my point of view. He wanted to know if I thought the Chicago Black Hawks were capable of drawing interest from advertisers and if so, how so. We had a long discussion and I was later flattered to have several of my opinions quoted in his subsequent article.

First things first. The Chicago Black Hawks are a terrific story for our city. Period. Especially given the bad to worse problems facing our other so-called professional sports teams. The Hawks are also a good story for the NHL given the team is part of the “original six” hockey franchises. And then there’s the residual excitement from the USA/Canada Gold Medal game at the Olympics, in which numerous Black Hawks played, on both sides.

However, I told Rosenthal that even if the Hawks win Lord Stanley’s Cup, come July, our town, like much of America, wouldn’t really give two shits. Hockey was, is and always will be the fourth sport in Chicago and in most of the country. Exciting as hockey is, and athletic as the players are, the sport just doesn’t fire us up. Not long term. Not really. This isn’t just my opinion. It’s the way it is. (You think Detroit is hockey crazy? If the Lions won a Super Bowl the pandemonium would be ten fold.)

Okay, so what about these Hawks? Will advertisers care? This was the fun part of my conversation with Rosenthal. Under new management, the Hawks brand is exploding. This team is young, exciting and athletic. Wearing (in my opinion) the greatest jersey in pro sports, there is a lot to like and to work with. In addition, the team itself is sporting a new slogan, which is apt and pretty awesome: “One Goal.” Thank you, Ogilvy Chicago.

But, for me, it’s no longer about the McDonald’s commercial or the Wheaties Box. That stuff is old-fashioned. And while the winning Black Hawks will get the winner’s share of it (though paltry compared to America’s more popular athletes), the keys to the kingdom are in social media, augmented reality and online gaming.

In other words, What’s the digital strategy? I was thrilled Rosenthal captured my opinions on this because, frankly, I know I’m right. These young hawks are undoubtedly all over social networks. As are countless zillions of potential young fans, male and female. How can the team leverage that? And how can advertisers play there as well? Figure that out and be the first NHL team to do it. That would be my vision for the Chicago Black Hawks. Even if the team does not win the Stanley Cup, God forbid, I think a rocking digital strategy might be the biggest prize of all.

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