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Meme: pron. meem (noun) a cultural unit, an idea or value or pattern of behavior, that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation); “memes are the cultural counterpart of genes”

Alright ad guys. Here it is, the reason that the Internet is made of cats. Memes are the germs of the Internet. You need these germs to make a healthy community. Social networking sites are built on sharing these cultural units. A meme is all about sharing, creating, and improving. Sites like “Today’s Big Thing” and “Know your Meme” are built on propagating and disseminating these cultural germs. It didn’t start with the internet though. Ever heard of Friends? They created a global phenomenon with “How you do’n?” That’s a meme. If you are in the ad business, it is important to know about and study the inception of current memes. People are successfully and often inadvertently doing what we are paid to do. They are creating culture, causing chatter, and affecting behavior.


Not what happens when I’m away

We are not as important as we all think we are. One of the biggest ways agencies benefit from their employees taking vacation is in the form of a big dose of worker humility. It is so wonderful to come back to the office and see that all the things that were life and death prior to your vacating have magically taken care of themselves.  Of course, I also smile a little inside when something has stalled out because I wasn’t there to imbue it with some old fashion “can-do.”  But, overall, it is a very freeing feeling to know that the “must achieves,” “must produce,” “must win” pressures that we face everyday are simply mice in front of up lights.  Now that the pressures feel so much smaller, I feel free to play and to appreciate the fact that I’m paid to do something that I enjoy so much. 

When your brain starts to feel bad, the best solution, get busy.  When I say busy, I don’t mean ‘busy’ I mean actually busy.  There is nothing on earth as good for the creative’s existentialist breakdown as a full plate.  When you don’t have the time to ask yourself if you are happy, that’s the time that you stop evaluating and start actually being happy.  Feeling productive and important creates a bigger jolt to the creative mind than an afternoon in the park or a day at the cinema.  The trick is, to be busy, but not to be a mess.  No one can be expected to think when they are a mess.  Just like no one can be expected to think when the thoughts aren’t due any time soon.  Your brain needs to be swaddled like a little baby.  Don’t let lazy people tell you otherwise.

I have a sizeable brain crush on these ads, as does the rest of the world.  So, imagine my surprise this morning when I woke up and saw the final farewell.  It feels like the party was just taking off.  But, I have to admit, on W+K’s part, this was the smartest time to bow out.  We were getting smart to the device, starting to criticize, starting to be familiar.  No one thinks that the familiar is genius.  The main reason that these ads worked is because I can’t think of a person in my agency that would have presented these scripts, let alone someone who would have approved them.  That’s not a knock on my agency, it is a compliment to this work.  It was so unfamiliar that it shocked us into listening.  Once in a blue moon something really new happens and we are all lucky to be spectators as the star shoots by.  I think that this is the goal of my career, not to win awards, but to do something so new that everyone stops for a moment to watch.

Ok, they do in some ways. But in some ways not so much.  When you win, the expectations rise.  When the expectations rise, going above and beyond becomes the demanded rather than the awarded.  Performing at a normal, sustainable level is no longer acceptable.  Take Brazil’s national selection for example.  They have won more world cups than any other national selection in the world.  The result?  Demanding and unforgiving fans. If they don’t make it to the elimination phase, someone will probably turn up dead.  More than likely it will be the coach.

Today we won a big car account.  It is going to mean a lot of money for the agency.  It is also going to mean that, until we hire more creatives, that Saturdays and Sundays are going to be normal 9-7 work days.  It’s great to finally have a car account, but the air is heavy with the thoughts of what that entails.

Cheers to everyone involved and parabéms.  Now’s the time for a party and some good thoughts about turning this client into the next VW of advertising.

You know, before this year, I was sure that the whole “taste of awards blood makes you hungrier” idea was a load of crap.  I still don’t think it is point on, but I do think that a taste of blood makes you an animal, a scared, quivering animal.  This was my first time winning a Cannes Lion, and to win 4 at a time was a huge and delightful surprise.  However, the bar was set early and high and while the expectations are there, the situation for getting stuff done isn’t much different from before the lions.

Of course, the clients are all clamoring, “We want Lions toooooooo.” But, we still have the same people creating, selling and buying as we did before.  What’s changed?!  It’s awkward. This should be the most exciting thing to happen in my career but, it feels like a huge hole being hacked into my self-confidence and my work/life satisfaction.  I feel like one of those people that has a heart attack and then re-evaluates everything. Except, what happened to me was good and I should be proud.  I should be motivated.  I should be excited.  I’m a little awe-struck.  Awe struck over the head.

Is this normal?  All I can think is, “Don’t let 2010 look like a fluke.”  See photo for alternative definition of fluke.

This past weekend I participated in the YouTube 48 hours Cannes Young Lions Contest. The idea was to get a brief Friday night and make a film and upload it by Sunday night. The brief was for WaterAid. They are an NGO that is pushing governments to keep the promises that they made about improving the potable water and sanitation levels in the 3rd world. 2.5 million people around the world do not have access to toilets or safe drinking water, causing millions of kids to die from something as simple as diarrhea. It’s pretty sad actually, to have to do a campaign to get signature to force politicians to keep their promises. Anyway, this is my film and if you love it, please follow these instructions and help me on my way to Cannes. BTW, the title of this post is about a pony-sized rodent that lives in a very polluted river here in Brazil. It lives and drinks where it poos but it isn’t a problem for the capyvara because it is not a human kid.

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