A Short and Entertaining History of Advertising – A Review of Art & Copy


“I think advertising is poison gas.”

“It should choke you up; hit you in the face”.

These are the word of George Lois, well known for Esquire Magazine, Tommy Hilfiger and his biting and intense presence.

Lois was one of a dozen advertising giants featured Friday night at the Portland premiere of Art & Copy, a new film that told the story of the ad industry and some of its most prominent innovators. The film was precise, well-cut, and very entertaining. There wasn’t a dull moment. It was also very familiar, as there was quite a bit of footage from Portland’s Wieden+Kennedy, as well as interviews with founders Dan and Dave.


David Kennedy opened the film and introduced the audience to a video of Dan Wieden, who apologized for not being able to be there. He told us we were in for a great surprise, and we were. Kennedy was also there after the film to answer questions from the audience.

Advertising’s Beginnings

The story of Bill Bernbach started with an overview of the ad industry before and after he became involved in it. It was explained that advertising was saturated with ingrown mediocrity. Only those from the right school with the right connections could participate, and Art Directors has no input in the creative process. But he had a tremendous way of understanding how to cut right through the tradition in the way of a product selling. He put Art Directors together with the Copywriters and changed everything.

Mary Wells and Branff Airlines

Highlights of the film included interviews with Mary Wells, a copywriter for McCann Erickson. Her advertising campaign, “The End of the Plain Plane” for Branff International Airways was a turning point in the airline’s success. She explained that her origins in theatre largely contributed to how she approached advertising.

The End of the Plain Plane – Branff International Airways

Lee Clow

Viewers were introduced to Lee Clow of TBWAWorldwide, whose biography was covered via scenes of sun, surfers and sand. His entrance into the world of advertising seemed like a vibrant color in a mess of gray soup. A smell that woke up the senses. It also marked him as a ‘dangerous person’ within the confines of the agency he originally worked for.

“I think fear is a very great depressant. It is okay for ideas to get killed. Ideas are supposed to be killed. But it is important to be in an environment where one has a community where they can get help in picking themselves off the floor”.

-Mary Wells

Hal Riney, The Image-Maker

Hal Riney’s interview and work left the audience completely absorbed and silent, especially after viewing “Morning in America”, Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Presidential re-election campaign.

Morning in America

The Birth of “Just Do It”

Dan Wieden talked about some of the more interesting effects of the “Just Do It” campaign, especially those that extended beyond sports. Some of them included

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners

Rich Silverstein was a stark and minimalist contrast to Jeff Goodby, who was interviewed in what looked like the agency’s server closet. They talked about the “Got Milk” campaign as the camera cut between Silverstein’s almost neurotic antics and Goodby’s relaxed creative messiness.

George Lois

No character was as extreme as George Lois, who shocked the audience again and again in ways that are much better explained through the screen.

Expect a pleasant and enlightening journey through some of the most successful ad campaigns in history.

Watch for:

-The real history of the phrase “Just Do It”.
-The great Greek guy from New York.
-A great quote from Dan Wieden at the end.
-David Kennedy explaining the Totem Pole in the middle of the W+K atrium.
-An introspection into the secret lives of billboard rotators.
-TBWAChiatDay and the story behind Apple’s ad campaigns


Dan Wieden, Dave Kennedy, Lee Clow, Rich Silverstein, Jeff Goodby, Bill Bernbach, George Lois, Mary Wells, Hal Riney and others.

Missed the Film?

You can see it at one of Art&Copy’s various showings.

Art&Copy Trailer


Amber Case is a cyborg anthropologist, consultant, writer, and analyst from Portland, Oregon. You can contact her at caseorganic at gmail.com, or on Twitter at @caseorganic.

Save the Date | The New Communicators at Substance 10/28/09-10/30/09


Last night, around 6 pm, an event at Substance brought together many members of the Portland design/creative/new media/innovative community. Those tags do not describe the types of people there, no do they describe how it was to be at the event. Why? Because I wasn’t able to make it.

I’m going to review the event anyway (or at least provide information for others who couldn’t make it), as well as use some great pictures taken by Haley Lovett. I’m including them here, so you can understand some semblance of the event.


Okay, so what is The New Communicators about?

According to a post on the Substance website, “New Communicators are compelled to engage in conversation. They stand taller and stride farther when traversing the current media landscape. They are a mixture of digital and analog. Their message is everything interactive. Everything transmissive. Communicating is a give-and-take, speaking-and-listening, and New Communicators utilize a mixture of new and traditional tools to share their point-of-view with the world. Evolving conversation, they share their ideas, their truths, their lives”.

The New Communicators Video

If you missed it, here’s a Q&A in digital video!

The New Communicators Q&A – September 1, 2009 from The New Communicators on Vimeo.

The gathering was “about the evolution of conversation: exploring the pathways through which an originator interacts with a receiver. These connections can be fulfilling and triumphant; the failures potentially tragic and illuminating. Regardless of the outcome, these experiences are relevant, useful and inspirational. They should be open, discussed and analyzed in the interest of understanding what it means to be a New Communicator”.

What Next?

From Wednesday, October 28th to Friday, October 30th, you’re invited to hold an event around the theme of Evolving Conversation and explore what it means to be a New Communicator. The intent is to curate events for specific time slots in the mornings (8am to 10am), afternoons (4pm to 6pm) and evenings (7pm to 9pm) across the city. However, if those time slots become filled and you still want to hold an event, we got you covered. Any individual, group or company who wants to be a part of the convergence is welcome to do so and we will promote your events on our web site. Although, get those ideas in early if you want top billing and mentions in press content.

Event Response:

There was a lot of buzz about The New Communicators on Twitter. Some of my favorites:

hillerns: I learned something important this evening. When you invite folks to engage, you begin by asking, “What do you think?” #thenewcom

momothemonster: Great conversations at #thenewcom meetup tonight. Consider my fires officially stoked.

ephanypdx: 2nd thing I learned at #thenewcom: exchanging contact info is so 2004. Now we just follow each other.


Needless to say, I’m looking forward to hosting a session. Although I’m not sure on what yet. You can help me if you want by commenting below.

If that’s not enough for you, here’s a quick Q&A:

Who are you?

We are a group of like-minded individuals who believe the nature of conversation is evolving. It is our mission to illuminate this evolution, educate on how to traverse the new media landscape and inspire others to initiate conversations of their own.

What do you mean by “Conversations”?

Conversations are any kind of engagement in which thoughts are shared, ideas are exchanged and lives are changed. A Conversation is a dissemination of a point-of-view, a connection with an audience and a reciprocation to the originator. It is how we learn and grow.

What is a New Communicator?

Anyone who is compelled to engage in conversation by utilizing a mixture of new and traditional tools to share their point-of-view with the world.

Why are you doing this?

We want to seek out and share the stories of those who have found a way to break through to their audience in an authentic way using any medium, digital or otherwise. Too much emphasis is placed on the technology behind interaction, when it is the content and quality of the conversation that matters most.

How do you intend to make this happen?

We see our role as gracious facilitators providing an online space for participants to promote their gatherings, connect with collaborators and venues, and use our connections in the community to provide a context to share their experiences and promote their ideas.

Where is Substance Located?

Looking for 1551 SE Poplar? Here’s what it looks like from outside: http://twitpic.com/g5705

How Can I Participate?

Simply visit The New Communicators, or follow them on Twitter at @thenewcom, and the hashtag #thenewcom.

Hey! What Are You Doing!? | 10 Ways to Optimize Your Time and Increase Productivity


Being a webworker is a fun but challenging task. It calls for dedication, focus and the ability to not get distracted by all of the distracting stuff out there on the web.

Since taking on the challenge of working for myself, I’ve learned a few things about being productive online. If you’re struggling with productivity, or thinking of taking your work online, you might like these tips. If applied correctly, they’ll save you a lot of wasted time. If you’re your own boss, it’s sometimes difficult to keep on track. And more time is what you can get from working for yourself. That time is time spent traveling, or with your spouse or kids, or with your friends.

1. Make a To-Do list Before Using Your Computer

Before even looking at your machine, sit down with an analog piece of paper and write down what you really need to do. Organize these tasks into categories, like “time” or “finance”. Organizing the tasks will allow you to do all of the tasks related to finance at the same time, instead of switching around to different tasks. Do the easiest tasks first, and allow only one or two minutes for each. Tackle the most difficult tasks after taking a short break, or break up the difficult tasks into small pieces and attack those similarly.


2. Set a Time Limit

If you’re jumping on a task, set a time limit for yourself. Say, “I’m going to only work on this for 20 minutes. Let nothing else distract you for those 20 minutes. When the time is up At the end of 20 minutes see how much you’ve accomplished the task.

3. Don’t Try to Do More Than 2-3 Big Things Per Day

When I first considered starting a blog, I wanted to do everything in one day. I later realized that doing small things would be more feasible and stronger. If a beach is made of a trillion particles of sand, then a powerful web presence is the accumulation of millions of tiny actions, slowly building themselves into something over time.

4. Use Paper to Organize Your Thoughts

Before tackling a blog post or E-mail, use paper and pen to organize the main points you want to achieve. It will allow you to understand which pieces you’d like to cover, vs. which pieces are not.


5. Don’t Multitask

This is probably the most difficult piece. Multitasking comes naturally, but at a cost: the more fragmented a task becomes, the longer it takes to get completed. Pick simple tasks and do them in one sitting. Resist the urge to check E-mail. If you get stuck, walk around the room without looking at the screen. Try to keep thought processes in the realm of the mind, instead of externalized in Google. This will help the brain to stay agile when faced with problems that take critical thinking to solve. The activation energy it takes to complete a task is often higher than grabbing a search in Google, or a quick look at news feeds, but keeping that analysis internally will help to complete a task in a short period of time.

6. Don’t Bite off More Than You Can Chew

Many projects seem exciting at first blush, but turn into dull chores when actually tackled. Even the smallest of tasks can balloon into enormous projects if not organized correctly. Simplify and clarify before taking on a new task. Make sure to point out key deliverables and communication points. This keeps information from falling through the cracks. Be wary of clients who do not fully communicate their needs or expect you to do multiple processes you are not comfortable with. Simply your deliverables into a cohesive, actionable timeline, and let the client understand what the touch points are.

7. Turn Off the Internet

Forcing yourself offline will push you to reconsider your task list and what you’re really trying to get done online. Use an offline E-mail app like Outlook for PC, or Mail.app for Mac and compose E-mails and drafts offline. Use a piece of paper or a text document to organize tasks that you plan to do when you go back online. At the end of the offline working period, turn on the Internet and send out E-mails in bulk. Look at your tasklist and begin accomplishing tasks that require Internet access without checking E-mail, Twitter, or news feeds. If you need specific answers, feel free to ask your social network, but do not dwell there reading feeds. This is a goal that requires a lot of restraint. Feeds are created to be addicting, and it is often difficult not to sink into the fast-flowing river of news.

8. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

While looking at what others are doing in your field good for informative or inspirational purposes, don’t dwell on what you’re doing in comparison to them. The Internet is a massive landscape, and it is okay to do things that aren’t as awesome as what other people are doing. If you’re not careful, comparing yourself to others can detract you from focusing on goals at hand. When it seems like every website or project has been completed in one day, reconsider. Success takes a while to accomplish, and the more you focus on your own goals, the more powerful you’ll become.

9. Check Your E-mail Twice a Day

Checking E-mail is one of the worst detractors from productivity.

10. Read the 4-Hour Workweek

Tim Ferriss might not be quite the master of what he preaches (I was told that he definitely works more than 4 hours a week), but he sure knows how to get things done and achieve his goals. If nothing else, his book is a great reference tool as well as an aid in creatively considering new avenues for innovation.

Tim’s ideas explain how to take normal tasks and compress the amount of time and space it takes to accomplish them. Although part of his book talks about outsourcing, the rest has a great deal of sound business advice that has really helped me out. And while it is often difficult not to constantly fragment my tasks and check my E-mail constantly, when I think before I act, the results are generally terrific. I highly recommend it.


Get it: Paper Edition of the 4 Hour Workweek.

Or get this one: Kindle Edition of the 4-Hour Workweek.

Looking for more tips?

Last year, I interviewed Feroshia Knight of the Baraka Institute about how she stayed productive online. She related 5 tips that can be used offline as well.

Read Lifehacker’s Top 10 Productivity Basics Explained. It’s a great post full of useful tips, including how to employ and develop Ninja-like research skills.

Image Credits

1st image: petecarr
3rd image:  cijmyjune
2nd image: kompott

You can find many more here: FutureBuzz – 50 Stunning Creative Commons Flickr Photos.


Amber Case is a Cyborg Anthropologist and New Media Consultant from Portland, Oregon. You can follow her online at @caseorganic

May 27th | 52ltd is Hosting a Creative Panel with Crispin Porter, Trailblazers Interactive, Cyborg Anthropology

Creative Staffing for Portland & Seattle - 52ltd.

This morning I met with Brooks Gilley, Partner and Managing Director of 52ltd Portland’s only locally owned and operated full-service staffing resource for the creative industry. We had a great discussion on how marketing is changing, and how some companies really ‘get it’, or at least attempt to experiment with this strange new medium, while others are left behind.

We were meeting to talk about a creative event that will be occuring on May 27th at Univeristy of Oregon’s White Stag Building in downtown Portland. The event will feature four panelists from fields ranging from advertising, social media and sociology/anthropology. I’ll be on a panel discussing cyborg anthropology, new media frameworks, and changes in marketing in the digital era.


I’ll be speaking with a variety of others, including an executive from Crispin Porter + Bogusky (the agency that worked on the infamous Facebook Burger King Whopper Sacrifice campaign).

Other panelists will include the Directory of Interactive Media for the Portland Trailblazers (whose community engagement strategy has been quite impressive), as well the possibility of a professor of Sociology from Portalnd State University, but I am unsure of his name yet. All told, the event should be a great chance for all of us to share different perspectives and strategies with each other and an audience of creatives, freelancers, and marketers.

More Information

I’ll post more details as the event nears, but it should begin at around 6:15 Pm at the White Stag Building on NW Couch street. There will be ample time for networking, so if you’re excited to meet new people, come on out. It is a free event too, so you’ve got nothing to lose. Check the 52ltd website for details as May 27th approaches, and if you’re looking to hire a creative or looking for a creative gig, consider making an appointment with them.

If you have any questions you’d like us to cover on the panel, feel free to E-mail me at caseorganic [at] gmail [dot] com, or simply reply to me at @caseorganic on Twitter.

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Grmfwklsnaxp! | A Lession in Pronunciation

Let me preface this blog post with this simple phrase – “We had to do this”.

Hence, the following sound byte.



Grmfwklsnaxp is a concept that is becoming increasingly important. Since its first incarnation only a week ago, it has increasingly grown in the field of AWESOME.

As Grmfwklsnaxp reaches a plateau of importance, it may begin to enter the vocabulary of everyone around you.

Grmfwklsnaxp is VERY Important

In this case, it would be best not to look ignorant.

This is why It is important to understand how to pronounce the word Grmfwklsnaxp. But we need your help. Well, specifically, we need @mettadore‘s help. But since he’s not here right now, we’re left to our own defences.

Thanks for listening.