Work where you do your best work.

November 16, 2010

By Michael Mark, CEO/Creative Director @ NYCA

I work at Carl’s Jr. and in my car.

Where do you work? Is it the place you do your best work? Shaking your head, aren’t ya? That’s why we try to stimulate NYCA – with art, flowers, junk food, painting parties, quotes, a grove of trees, questions on the walls. The place is an idea prodder.

I work best in the morning. I tend to wake up before 6 and go hard at it while still in the dream state before the socializing takes over – the daily hygiene, the dressing, and the conversation. By that time, I am normal and less able creativity-wise.

Personally, I love Carl’s Jr. to work. I’m here right now, 6:45pm on Monday. They have great ‘60’s music playing – “Wooly Bully” is on now — and I am tapping with my foot and with my fingers on the keyboard. And there’s electricity here. And carbs and fat. Idea generators.

They have big windows so I can see the world, get the late sun, and be sparked by the people in adjacent booths and t-shirts that say funny things. And I’ve got a big ol’ desk with all the napkins, salt and pepper I could need. And I think, ‘cause of its macho advertising, it doesn’t attract pesky little kids: Paris sliding over a soapy car in a jeweled thong eating a burger is not everyone’s idea of a happy meal. Ooh, “Midnight Train to Georgia” just came on! Love the Pips! That just drives me to come up with something – whoo-oooh!

Which reminds that I also like transportation when I’m working: movement works for me – trains, planes, buses, cars. Maybe I love windows — they help you see outside and in. Maybe because if I can’t get out of my seat, it forces my mind outwards. Maybe it’s the motion that moves me.

Sometimes when I run low on energy, having sucked the place dry, I will move from a Denny’s to Burger King or a McDonald’s to a Panera to tap into a current. Keeps the thinking going.

Anywhere you work best – that doesn’t mean just for yourself but for your team — is the best place to work. Find out what time of day and where and go at it.

Try the fast food joints – they’re full of positive energy – will work even if you’re vegan. Just being near a Happy Meal makes you feel like a kid again. And kids always have ideas.


Bad Boy Brands – fatal attraction?

May 26, 2009

By Michael Mark, Creative Director/CEO @NYCA 

Frigging Manny Ramirez got me thinking. Well, actually it’s the people who are buying his jersey now, since he’s been suspended from baseball for steroids, who’ve got me scratching my head.

Why would they want to wear his shirt, his name, his dreadlocks, now? If they want to align with a profeadvert-dean-gap_lgssional ball player with equally impressive stats, they can choose others. I guess they like being associated with a bad boy.

And that got me thinking about bad boy brands. Do they sell? Can they sustain a relationship or are they stunt workers?

The Gap used James Dean (by today’s standards a weenie but considered by many to be the original bad boy) posthumously for one campaign, to give generic khakis attitude.

Howard Stern’s grossness put Snapple on the map – and got him kicked off the air, too. And let’s be fair to the bad girls for fear they’d kick my butt: the used-to-be-hot Paris Hilton has or had a perfume, a clothing line, a shoe line, a TV series (I liked her in that for two episodes).

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The controversy-magnet Madonna starred in a TV spot for Pepsi, only to get it pulled. Sacrilege wasn’t the choice of the next generation back in 1989. She kept the $5 million.

 

 

As for product brands with attitude, here are a few:

Axe Body Spray for young men show girls get a sniff, girls go wild, boys are devoured. Sales are up. Makes sense; youth is a natural with brands that reject the status quo. Harley Davidson, the eternal renegade, has theme restaurants for those who weren’t born to ride but live to eat Bad Boy. They are the best at being Bad. Carl’s Jrs.’ commercials get their customers hungry for more than meat. 

 

Paris made a spot for them too, cleaning a car with her body while eating a burger.  Big idea? No, but that’s clearly not the point. The idea is it’s a bad idea.

But not all bad is good. You think Hertz would take back OJ if they could? You think McDonald’s has forgotten Kobe’s extramarital encounters? He was off the payroll faster than he can turn and shoot. So I guess when it comes to brands, there’s Bad and there’s bad.

There’s a PR campaign coming out for Michael Vick. Are you going to buy something from him? How about dog food? On the other hand could a hybrid have a nasty attitude? I’d like to see a touch of road rage among all the pretty puffy clouds and spinning odometers.

Last week’s “American Idol” finale featured the black leathered eyeliner and nail polished Adam vs aw-shucks missionary Kris – a sanitized bad boy vs every Dad’s dream for his daughter. America voted for Mr. Clean.  That’s ok Adam, maybe you’re not a bad boy if you’re too popular?

In the end, it is a rare brand that can sustain a pure bad boy reputation and relationship on a mass scale.

Just proves that, like Manny, bad boys make you think but are hard to live with.