Saturday, September 29, 2007

Recruitment, part 2

Observations from reviewing portfolios*:

For copywriters:
Include copy in your portfolio.
Preferably several sentences in a row that demonstrate your mastery of the english language.

For Art Directors:
Include type design in your portfolio. Preferably several sentences in a row that demonstrate your ability to select, set and thoughtfully use type.

Yes, this is an industry that's all about ideas. And all about "I want to see how you think". But it's also an industry that's about ROI. And that means agencies need to be able to assess your ability to contribute from day 1.

I saw 25 books. and of those, I saw something like 15 ideas for "elevator door wrap."
I get it. Elevator doors. Cool. The first time. Which was, i believe, eight years ago.

I saw a lot of logo-in-the-bottom-right-hand-corner visual solutions. In fact I saw entire books like that. Copywriter books, even. If you're going to take that risk, you'd better blow me away with ideas, photography, and everything else that comes along with visual solutions. You'd better present visual solutions that make me want to pull money out of my own wallet to hire you.

Beyond that? Describe how you'll make an invaluable asset to a good creative department. Have a sense of humor. Be professional. Do the things that get you remembered: write thank you notes and follow-up emails. Especially emails that prove you (copywriters) can actually string two sentences together with eloquence and proper grammar. Use your spell check. Have someone who knows what they're doing proofread your work.

It's hard to get a job as a creative.
It's equally hard to hire one.
Make me want to take a risk on you.

*This is not an indictment of Miami Ad School. I thought many of the books I saw were great. And I thought several of the students I met were more than qualified. And I can't wait to get them down here and put them to work.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I'm headed to NYC on Thursday to meet the newest graduating class from Miami Ad School. This on the heels of the latest Ad Age supplement about recruiting and retaining the industry's best talent. Read Sally Hogshead's article. It's a good one.

General recruitment tactics? Money. Perks. The promise of good work. A great creative city. Etc. Which begs the questions: why would a great creative want to make their way to Dallas?

Here are 10 good reasons to start (or restart) an advertising career in Dallas.

10. Dallas is a city that's all about new: A new light rail, new roads, new infrastructure, high-tech upgrades citywide. Dallas also embraces retail trends in its own unique way. There's some historical stuff, but the eyes of this city have always been on the horizon. What's next.

9. Dallas is a city with sports teams. That's important. The Cowboys, Mavericks and Stars are all consistently great teams. Championship teams. And you can actually get tickets to the games. So you can go to a game and the home team might win. (We call that a win-win)

8. Food. As Mike Hughes said, people don't go to Richmond for the restaurants. Dallas, however, takes its restaurants very seriously. This is one of the three reasons I moved back to Dallas. And something you may want to consider before taking a job in Harrisburg, PA.

7. Dallas has a well-rounded ad community. Texans. Transplants. Folks who spent ten years at the Richards Group and now run their own agencies. Folks who worked at their own agencies for ten years and now work at the Richards Group. Cutting edge interactive agencies like Slingshot. Graphic design boutiques, Latin agencies, traditional agencies, hybrids. And a ton of editorial, post production and new media places. Big enough to have some choices, small enough to build some cred.

6. A first-class airport. When you have to climb on a plane, nothing is more than 4 hours away: Boston, Belize, Miami, Canada, LA, or Portland. On a direct flight. It's as easy to vacation as it is to travel for business. And Southwest (out of Love Field) can get you around the state for the price of a bus ticket.

5. It's near Austin, but it's not Austin. I love Austin, but the traffic congestion and the price of rent are insufferable. Drive down for the weekend (or fly down on a $100 Southwest flight). Most decent Austin bands put Dallas on their schedule too, so we definitely bask in the glow of the Music Capital of the World.

4. It's cheap to live here. And the housing crisis hasn't hit us like it hit Miami and LA. So you can spend more money on plane tickets, clothes, a new computer, a barbecue brisket sandwich. And less time sneaking into happy hour buffets (although I know a few of those down here too).

3. This city is crawling with new business. There are 11 companies in this year's fortune 500 headquartered in Dallas. And this is a city of VC. Of business professionals with big ideas. And deep pockets.

2. This city isn't afraid to pay good talent. Look it up. People get paid very well in Dallas. And that money goes a long way compared to the standard of living. (see #4) Plus there's no state tax. As a recent expatriate from Pennsylvania, that is a huge consideration.

1. Texas. I love Texas. I'm a transplant and I probably have no business liking it as much as I do. Texans are good people. They respect and value family. And Dallas is an intriguing mix of southern charm, business professional, oil cowboy, and serious multicultural diversity.

Monday, September 24, 2007


As part of my campaign to prove my Play-Doh worthiness, I submit the latest in my series. The dog (made of plasticine) has been utterly abused, but still exists in a somewhat patheticly squashed state on my ledge at the office.

This poor bastard dried out and imploded in a few hours.

Photo Tuesday (on Monday)

I love this guy. I love his work. I love that, the two times I've shot with him, I ended up going swimming afterwards. Once, here at Barton Springs, in Austin. As Summer draw to a close, I thought this was a great collection to share: Part of a project Will's been working on - since 1983.


Photo credit: Will Van Overbeek.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Referral of the week

Of all the random searches that lead readers here: this kicks ass.