Posts tagged ‘Fort Worth ad agency’

Lessons Learned, Part 4

LigiaSix months ago, I graduated from TCU and jumped right into this internship; I didn’t know what to expect, and I definitely did not anticipate how much I would learn.

Working here at Zag is not like your typical internship. It’s a real job and everyday is a learning opportunity, and more importantly, a chance to get better at what you do.

Here are a few of the many things I have learned at Zag:

Control your stress, don’t let it control you. As a designer, some days the stress can be overwhelming.  You have to meet a deadline by a certain time, and your design ideas don’t seem to work. These days, stress can start to control you. Once that happens, you’re not focused anymore and your work suffers. So even on those high-pressure days, take a moment to step away and take a deep breath. Give yourself a pep talk or take a short walk. I’ve learned that just 5 minutes is enough to calm down and get back to work.

Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes, your mind is exhausted and it’s hard to come up with ideas and/or designs. You feel like you hit a wall and a project suddenly starts to seem impossible. I have learned that ideas and designs don’t always spontaneously appear — sometimes you have to look for them. Talk to people around the office; look at books; browse the Internet or just stare outside the window (my favorite). If you give it a little bit of time, one of those things will trigger a good idea instead of settling for a mediocre one that you forced out of yourself.

Lastly, I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help. Here at Zag we are very lucky to have GCG and Site Smart Interactive employees as resources. Their opinions and guidance have been crucial to our success, because we are all very young, and most importantly, we are all still learning about this business. I’m the kind of person that when I run into a problem, especially in web design, I want to figure it out by myself no matter how long it takes so that I can truly learn how to fix it. Unfortunately, I don’t always have the time to do that, so instead of spending over an hour figuring out a code, I can just walk down the hall and ask someone from Site Smart Interactive in a matter of minutes.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to see what my fellow designer Rolando has to say!

11/13/2009 at 2:15 AM Leave a comment

Lessons Learned, Part 2

AlexYesterday, Kelsey got the ball rolling for X.Y.Zag’s special blog theme this week. To reiterate, every staff member will post a few things they have learned and loved about agency life in honor of Zag’s six-month anniversary.

Over here, everyone has a different hat to wear; I fall on the creative side of things (but that doesn’t mean I have stayed there — more on that later). Because of these differences, we all take something unique from Zag as a whole.

Here are a a couple of things I have learned in lieu of our six month anniversary as a writer:

  • A copywriter’s job isn’t glamourous, but it’s very important. I like to say we are the first line of defense for clarity. We write messages that are clear and concise and edit content for the same criteria. It doesn’t matter what type of job it is, a copywriter/editor will find their way into it.
  • In a small agency like ours, job titles tend to shift around. Though I am formally a copywriter, I have had to do a lot of work related to account service such as research and presenting. Getting out of my comfort zone has been interesting, but ultimately worthwhile.
  • Tag lines are the bane of my existence. Writing short, simple and sweet is nice. But it’s definitely easier said than done. In most cases, I will write 20 or 30 tag ideas in a list, and it will naturally whittle away to the best one, which is really time-consuming.
  • An AP Stylebook is a (media) writer’s best friend. With our wide and diverse client base, I have had to deal with some strange grammar and style issues, and our work would have greatly suffered if it weren’t for this inexpensive paperback.
  • Like Kelsey said yesterday, enjoy the little things. We are service-oriented in this business, so we have to be constantly open and available for clients. The moments we have free time are spread out pretty thin, but it’s more about the quality in the time you spend rather than the quantity.

Get ready to read tomorrow’s post from our butt kickin’ account executive Collin — he’ll definitely have some interesting things to say (in a good way of course).

11/10/2009 at 11:40 AM Leave a comment

Halloween in review

AlexWho would’ve thought that attending a few Halloween parties this weekend would be a learning experience?

Taking a day out of the year to be somebody else is always interesting. If there is anything I can take away from Halloween this year, it is that the holiday is an overt demonstration of trends and pop culture within our communities, and each costume carries a marketing message.

As consumers, we naturally follow fads. This year I saw a good mix of Halloween mainstays like Superman, Batman and Catwoman; these are established brands that show up every year like clockwork. But there were also a large number of costumes that easily reflect recent events and trends within our society.

According to CNN, some of the most popular costumes this year were of celebrities who recently passed away. I can attest to this because I saw a fair share of Michael Jackson impersonators this weekend — including the creepiest mask of the King of Pop I have ever seen, donned by a small child.

There were a couple of other inventive costumes reflecting the year that was and is. I got a real kick out of people creating last minute guises as the balloon boy and Lady Gaga, another big trend this year.

There are of course a few costumes that I really, really hated this year. The sheer amount of Kate Gosselin wigs drove me insane and the whole Twilight vampire schtick really set the genre back.

One of the hidden functions of these costumes is to drive a brand through free publicity. Whether it is a person, place or symbol, whenever somebody puts on a costume, they are basically a street team for the given persona.

All I know is that I’m happy that The Joker did not make a return this year. Why? I’m afraid of clowns, so you can understand how much of a nightmare my past Halloween was.

Moving forward, it’s now November, and there’s plenty to celebrate in the coming weeks. For one, it will be our agency’s six-month anniversary soon! Thanksgiving and Christmas are kind of a big deal too.

11/02/2009 at 4:42 PM Leave a comment

Trends worth thinking about

kelsey-polaI read an article today on brand and marketing trends for 2010. Typically, I don’t read stuff like this because they all seem to say the same thing. But this one had some interesting insight, and I want to share it with you.

There were ten overall trends that Robert Passikoff, president of consumer loyalty and metrics company Brand Keys, found to be worth nothing:

  1. Consumers want a reason to buy — value is in.
  2. What makes something valuable will increasingly be based on what the brand stands for (i.e. J. Crew stands for a new era in careful chic)
  3. Differentiation is critical for success; a brand must stand out from the crowd.
  4. A brand must have measures of authenticity in order to allow the consumer insight into what it truly stands for.
  5. A brand must identify and capitalize on unmet expectations.
  6. Consumers are on to brands that try to play into their emotions for profit — be careful with this one.
  7. A brand with the right street credibility can go viral with awareness following, not leading, the conversation.
  8. If a consumer trusts the community (i.e. eBay), they will extend trust to the brand.
  9. Social networking outside of the brand space will increase dramatically — people are talking with peers on Facebook even before checking out the brand’s Web site.
  10. There are four engagement methods: platform (TV and online), context (program and Web site), message (ad or communications) and experience (store/event). Brand engagement should be the main objective for all marketers next year.

As always, I hope you learned something new, or even recalled something old from reading this post. Thanks and have a great weekend!

10/30/2009 at 2:14 PM Leave a comment

A day to be remembered

kelsey-polaWith 4,000 burgers sold, Saturday, Oct. 24 was a day to be remembered for all Kincaid’s fans.

Customer Appreciation Day at the original Camp Bowie location was set up as a thank you to all of the loyal customers who stood by Kincaid’s during its lease battle in 2007. After finally negotiating a fair lease, the Gentry family wanted to show their gratitude for all of the overwhelming support.

At the event, there was a memory box where customers could write their most memorable Kincaid’s experience. I’m looking forward to hearing those!

If you weren’t able to make it Saturday, I would still suggest taking a trip to a Kincaid’s near you  – it’s well worth it!

Customer Appreciation Day

10/28/2009 at 2:56 PM Leave a comment

A belated look at the fair

kelsey-polaSo, I finally gave in and made my way out to the State Fair of Texas two weeks ago. In hindsight, what was I thinking? Not only was it the day of the Red River Shootout, it was also the last weekend of the fair. Later I found out that Saturday set the single-day sales record for the fair. Let’s just say I truly got the full experience.

Even though I didn’t make it to the fried butter stand (thank goodness), I did see a lot of things I hadn’t originally expected.

The first thing that comes to mind was the auto show. It’s amazing how much money is spent on marketing for this event. There was also an entire building dedicated to home items – it was like a mini-tradeshow. I got to check out the latest in saunas, high-tech windows, rustic furniture, cookware and jacuzzis. For these vendors, this may be the main form of marketing utilized all year.

While there is nothing wrong with that, it does seem a bit like a shot in the dark. For example, I would talk with the salespeople, but I really had no intention of buying from them – there was no way I would walk around the Midway all day clutching a set of pots and pans.

The question I ask myself is, “was it worth it for these companies to have booths?” I saw one cookware company with four different sites throughout the fair grounds. Yes, the chance for increased awareness is a valuable thing, but that does not necessarily translate into direct sales. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but as a marketer I found it interesting how much time and money seemed to have been invested by these companies.

As always, you can count on me to bring marketing into anything. I have to ask, what do you think?

10/26/2009 at 12:57 PM 1 comment

The good, the bad, and the confusing

CollinWe are always entitled to our own opinion. Advertising, like pretty much anything in life, is something that can be critiqued and analyzed. Ever since I became a part of this industry, I find myself watching advertisements with a more discerning eye. Over my lifetime, I have seen some really good ads, some really bad ones and some that just keep me thinking – in a bad way most of the time, but there have been exceptions. Here are a few examples of recent ads that I have enjoyed, hated and never understood:

The Good – “Laptop Hunters” from Microsoft

I honestly can’t remember any Microsoft advertising in the 90’s and early 00’s, but with Apple increasing its market share, Microsoft had to kick into high gear. After a string of misguided attempts (i.e. the Jerry Seinfeld spots), they finally got it right with the “Laptop Hunters”. A counter-attack to Apple’s “Get a Mac” ads, the “Laptop Hunters” spots were great because of how the messaging was paired with the timing of the economy. Instead of focusing on their systems, Microsoft highlighted how Mac’s are substantially more expensive than PC’s and even hinted that Mac’s were successful only because they were viewed as a fashion statement. In an economy where price and frivolous spending definitely matters, these spots hit the nail on the head. In fact, the “Laptop Hunter spots” were able to drastically hurt the public perception of Apple while simultaneously helping the perception of Microsoft —which really is what advertising is all about.

The Bad – Palm Pre campaign

I don’t think I have met a soul on this earth who enjoyed this campaign. The music is strange, and the copy sounds like it came from a failed haiku writer. But what everyone (including me) seems to hate is the woman featured in the ads— I don’t know if it’s her blank gaze that she doesn’t break once, the horrible writing or the fact that she looks like a cross between that guy from the movie Powder and the witch from Narnia. This woman creeps me out and makes me uncomfortable. The agency responsible stood by their work, saying they meant for the ads to do that and they’re happy that people are talking about it. First off, history has proven multiple times that the “any press is good press” idea isn’t true— just ask O.J. Simpson. Secondly, if the agency meant to get the reaction they have from the ads, then I think they need to canned for sabotaging their client.

The Confusing – Playstation 3’s Baby

There are times in advertising that an agency’s creative department can get a little too creative and release something only Hunter S. Thompson can comprehend. This is one of those ads. I don’t know what just happened, I don’t know what a porcelain doll reverse crying has to do with video games, I just know I’m a little scared of my Playstation at home now.

10/23/2009 at 2:13 PM Leave a comment

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