We run communications for our boss: the consumer.

July 20, 2010
This is a guest post from an old-time creative who we keep around for his stories about the “good days of ad-makin‘ when creative was for creative.” The comments below do not reflect the opinions of NYCA or its collaborative community.

By O. Codger, Creative

Yeah, I read the trades. All about how the consumer is the boss these days. Endless subservient chicken-hearted articles, whined by marketing officers and reporters who never looked in the empty heart of a blank page and created an ad in their lives; about agencies needing to give up control to the consumer.

Really? Ever see these consumers in action? Power-hungry and completely self-centered divas, the lot. Forever hijacking the conversation, never listening to what advertising experts have to say. And it’s not like these big shots always know what’s best for the business. Let me see their shelves of Mobius or Addy awards, and Clios.

Sure, I saw how the consumer made the best Super Bowl spot again this year, according to the polls. (Then again, who owns the polls? Yup, these guys own everything!)

But that’s not my issue.

I know this is counter to data-driven intelligence these days and I also realize the inmates are running the joint but I got this gnawing — and you can say it’s a control issue (the consumer/boss undoubtedly will) — it’s about responsibility and accountability. Remember those values?

We’re trained professionals; craftspeople who have devoted ourselves to the breakthrough idea. We know what’s best. We get paid for this stuff. Is it too much to ask to be empowered by the powers that be? Consumers should consume and creators should create things for them to consume. That’s the natural order of things. Mess with it and mass confusion occurs; not to mention, lack of confidence in agencies.

The consumer/boss not only wants to create the work, they want to star in it too! They want to represent the brands they buy not just to their families – they want to share their opinions with the world! They want to be the advertising agency and by that I mean the account people, the creative team, the media planners, buyers – all! Just because they spend their money or have a friend (don’t get me started on the word “friend” these days!) who has had an experience with the product or service. And they listen to each other – and act on it. In packs. And the truth is their work is spotty at best. Just ask the award show judges!

Just saying that everyone has a spot in the food chain. The consumer needs to be put in their place: in front of the TV, watching funny spots, eating stuff we told them to eat. And liking it.


Our World

April 26, 2010

By Lynne Roswall, V.P., Director of Production @ NYCA

It’s that time of year again – when winter turns to spring and the Encinitas Street Fair begins the season in full swing.

While hand-holding couples peruse the clothing stands, handmade artwork, bamboo Salad tongs and cutting boards, jazz / new age / classical music floats in between the bodies walking from stall-to-stall. Families stroll in-time with their kids and their teenagers walk a few feet in front of them, escaping. Consumers talk amongst themselves about the things they want to purchase; they have direct conversations with merchants, listen to their stories (some repeat it to their friends or loved ones) while some find interest in – or are coaxed into – handling the items on the table.

Brands are constantly trying to seep, seemlessly, into our lives and become a part of those conversations. Some have made it. Like badges of honor, our favorite logos are showcased on hats, bags and t-shirts.

Inside the walls of NYCA, we work intensely on the best ways to reach you to help our brands grow! Maniacally focused, we cull the work down to the right word, the right image, the accurate stat, the proving points and the most poignant, clearest way to pierce through the clutter of everyday messaging and entice you. We want you to pause, if only for a moment, and ask you to consider us before you pass us by and go on to the next booth.

Tweets, Facebook ads, email notices and new product requests, videos, commercials, print ads, URLs – all encourage you to come closer, stroll up to the table and try us out. We want you to hear our story, be interested in it, talk about us to your friends and loved ones. And, through the music playing, alongside the strollers and teenagers, maybe you’ll become a fan and wear us proudly… seemless.


Being there means your brand cares.

March 23, 2010

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @ NYCA

A client looked me in the eyes this week and told me, “Michael, it’s better to be fast and wrong than slow and right.”

I think it was directional in nature. Still, it was quite a statement. It’s conceding that the speed needed to move at in today’s business environment is reaching a pace of acceptable recklessness.

Woody Allen said something like, “99 percent of success in life is showing up.” Not sure if it’s exactly how he said it, but you get the point: you don’t have to be perfect, just raise your hand and be counted all the time. That’s harder these days as there are so many places to be.

Reminds me of how my mother forced me to go to kindergarten even when I was absolutely dying from excruciating, intolerable, at-the-doors-of-death-pain with a tummy-ache. I didn’t do much schoolwork that day but the important part (to my mom and teacher – you can say, my customers) was that I was marked present. And being there, even physically wounded, counted more than being fully mentally present.

Today’s marketing environment is a great deal about brands being here and there. And these days, with the proliferation of .coms, social sites, applications, and meet-ups, there are so many more parties where one needs to be seen that you could well show up underdressed. What’s a brand to do?

The perfectionist’s motto, “measure twice, cut once,” has become: “cut, oops, cut better, oops, cut, repeat constantly, just keep cutting.”

Why such a rush? Is it worth it? Our successful customer is saying “Yes.” Because consumers have a seemingly all day and night hunger for content and they demand to be served promptly and frequently with constant feedback and the occasional coupon.

Like any close and good relationship, brands and consumers don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Mistakes are overlooked and, because we do move so fast, they are forgotten in a matter of several tweets.

Are we saying that quality isn’t as important as quantity? This makes me queasy but I think so. Quantity is taking precedence because touching all those touch points means you’re there for me in all these places, all the time, and the sum is: you care.

Now, of course, some mistakes are more grievous than others. Be sensible as you speed along, but keep that speedometer pressing on the red as we head to another party at which to be seen.

When he protested that Macintosh wasn’t ready yet to launch, Guy Kawasaki was assured by Steve Jobs, “Don’t worry, be crappy.” They launched and they made it better on the run. Quite a run it’s been.

So here’s the dress code: even if slightly untucked here and there, make sure your brand shows up. Often.

In other words, “Get your business out of bed and get out there right this instant or else!”

Just like momma said.