Plop a Plant in Your Office

Posted by Roger

Flexing your green thumb may help fend off an afternoon slump. Texas A&M researchers found that volunteers who kept a vase of vibrant flowers on their desks, along with green plants elsewhere in the office, generated more creative ideas than those in a vegetation-free setting.

In a separate study, Kansas State University researchers used brain scans to analyze 90 male and female typists; some tapped keys next to plants, while others worked at bare desks.

The result: Women exposed to flowers were less stressed. (Oddly, men didn't experience the same benefits.) Look for hybrid varieties of azaleas, cyclamen, and kalanchoe, which flourish in small pots. While you're at it, add a few dracaenas, an easy-to-care-for floor plant, to accent empty corners.


Creativity: The Brightest Spot in the Economy

Posted by Terry

An article by Linda Naiman entitled “Reports on The Creative Economy” concludes that, according to recent reports from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the “Creative Economy” is undergoing unprecedented growth compared with traditional services and manufacturing.

The Creative Economy: How People make Money from Ideas (2001) by John Howkins defines creative industries as “the sum total of four sectors: the copyright, the patent, trademark, and design industries – together constitute the creative industries and the creative economy.”

Economist Richard Florida suggests that America’s (and Canada’s) workforce advantage lies in our ability to solve problems, forge new frontiers and quickly adjust to changing economic forces. The creative economy recognizes everyone is inherently creative and that creativity is a driving force of innovation.

Here is what got my attention about the creative global market:

  • It’s forecast to grow by 10%
  • It’s the leading sector in advanced countries
  • It’s stimulating the urban regeneration of cities
  • New ventures for developing countries leap frog into value-added areas

And from the Conference Board of Canada, July 2008:

“Not only does the arts and cultural industry make a valuable economic contribution in its own right, it also stimulates creative activity in other sectors of the economy,” said Michael Bloom, vice-president of organizational effectiveness and learning. “A dynamic culture sector plays a key role as a magnet for talent, enhances economic output, and acts as a catalyst for prosperity.”

Our future depends on our ability to cultivate imagination, creativity and innovation, to foster social and economic growth, and improve our quality of life.  Yet our current government has cut 60 million in funding for arts and culture programs by citing the need for good governance and the need for fiscal responsibility. This isn’t an either or proposition. We need both. Clearly, in this economic climate, the same it even truer for the U.S!

Just two years after these sentiments were spoken, and in current light of the economic and political issues we are all faced with today, it is good to note that America’s strength still lies in its creativity and innovation. And those traits, which have distinguished the American spirit for so many generations, may still guide us toward a brighter economy.


Chevrolet Outdoor Board Campaign

Posted by Roger

Each year for the last 15 years, hundreds of thousands (and now, even millions) of car enthusiasts gather in Detroit to celebrate the world's largest automotive event - the Woodward Dream Cruise.

And each year, Chevrolet commissions its agency, Campbell Ewald, to develop a series of outdoor boards for the weekend event. Based on some of the fabulous pieces that have come out of this campaign, Chevy obviously allows the agency to have a lot of fun with the development of the creative. Here are some of our favorites from the last 10 years.


Hey, what’s the big idea?

Posted by Roger

Information, innovation and ideas can happen at light speed. The time frame between the genesis of an idea and the point where you can get feedback or activity on it is being compressed all the time. You can share your ideas with a multitude of people and in a variety of ways that just weren’t possible before. When building brands and selling products, this creates a whole new set of tools and opens the door to new opportunities to communicate to audiences you have never had access to if you’re creative and thoughtful. This is your opportunity to knock the playing field from level – no matter your industry. Today you have an opportunity, if you’re clever, to deliver your products in a way that’s fresh and different.

We’ve always been confined by the :30, the :60 increment; the billboard; the print ad – the boundaries of what can or cannot be done in those media. Now, you can develop a three-minute piece and put it on YouTube with no problem.  If it’s really clever, 500,000 people could watch it in a matter of days – and with no media cost. It doesn’t have to have high production values. It doesn’t have to look really polished. Viewers today are used to handheld cameras and homemade films. In fact, it’s almost better to look that way – it looks more genuine. None of this means the traditional forms of advertising are going away. It just means we – and our clients – need to look for different ways to do things.What separates a great agency from the rest is taking ideas to clients that are bigger: new ways to position products – or even ideas for entirely new products. This is what clients should be expecting from their agencies.

People in our industry have to be more about great ideas and less about production. And we can only succeed when we have clients with some of the same desires and courage. Very often fear of failure keeps us from putting ourselves on the line with a big idea. It often pushes us back to that non-productive comfort zone. But…what if that crazy, outside the box, scary idea succeeds?

The purpose of this blog is to pay homage to the value of good, creative thinking. And there is no limit. It’s not just a pretty picture or a clever headline. It’s any and all things that may help your client or your company distinguish itself, provide better service – unlevel the playing field. We challenge ourselves to think that way. And we challenge our clients to have the courage and conviction not to be happy doing the conservative and safe thing but to expect a lot more of us and a lot more of themselves.


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