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Posts Tagged ‘Ad Congress’

And the winner is…

quite upset that his prize (a home theater system from Solar Network’s Ad Congress raffle) isn’t available yet. At the agency, we’re used to handling promotion logistics. Having winners wait for their prizes, even though they are gratis, stretches a promise to the breaking point. I do hope he gets his flatscreen TV and DVD player soon. (He also won a PSP in another raffle, so it should keep him occupied until then.)

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We wore the jackets, rode the vans, carried the bags, lifted the streamers. Aside from attending the Ad Congress sessions, we were engrossed in a little guerilla marketing of our own.

The 30s Can Save the World is a homegrown Y&R Philippines movement, a way to make An Inconvenient Truth a little more convenient to face. Y&R helped Al Gore take the message to Cannes. We wanted to start with people we knew, so the ad industry became our natural target market.

The 30 second tv spot has become a symbol of everything that’s default and old in advertising. Its death has been announced quite a number of times, although I have yet to see anything resembling a funeral, so it must be shambling about as a zombie, the pitiful undead of the marketing world.

Since the 30s was now a throwaway solution, we decided to recycle it.

It’s a time format we in advertising are quite familiar with. So repurposing it seemed easy – and convenient. It takes 30 seconds to write on the other side of the paper. 30s to unplug your cellphone charger before going to sleep. 30s to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. 30s to decide to take one car to the client’s office. An old thing becomes a new, easy thing.

We sent TarpBags (recycled from old advertising tarpaulins) to 4As agency heads; inside, the bags held an old u-matic tape converted into a timer, notepads made from printer scrap, “postercards” printed on the backside of ad posters. During Ad Congress, the vans offered free rides to delegates. While they were inside, they could watch our video (recycled from a Powerpoint presentation) and our ad (recycled from an old tv commercial that Chevron, our client, gave us permission to use).

Even if you’re not from the ad industry, you’re more than welcome to follow the movement on Twitter. Spare the earth just 30 seconds of your time. It’s not much – but if a lot of us do it, it can do all of us a world of good.

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Meeting Neil.

I think it is a good measure of the man that people who had never read his work lined up to hear him read, and speak. I heard from Donna (who was handling the event) that there were people who tried to queue at half past midnight. Not all of them were old fans. Many had been drawn to the Saturday event by Neil’s talk on Thursday, where he spoke of elephant chains, fish caught in shadows and why writers always become facetious when asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”

When I met him, he was having breakfast with his son. He signed two books for Lucien. I had brought a pen for him, a Waterman 5 red ripple with a pink (flexible) nib, and we had a brief, lovely conversation about fountain pens before heading to the waiting area beside the stage.

I allowed myself 15 seconds of fangirl squeal-and-jump before taking the podium to introduce Neil. I referred to his Thursday talk (which is a very creative-director-tying-everything-together thing to do), told the audience the general flow of the morning’s talk and signing, and managed to squeeze in why Lucien’s name is Lucien (a factoid that elicited awwws from the audience, much to my surprise).

Neil read the entire first chapter of what he entitled The Graveyard Book, in the spirit of The Jungle Book, because instead of a boy raised by jungle animals, we have a boy raised by ghosts. “It takes a graveyard to raise a child.” We met a toddler who had difficulty with stairs that go up but had no fear of stairs that go down; Jack, an assassin; and Mr. and Mrs. Owens, dead 300 years and still with a yen for childrearing.

There were many questions from the audience, ranging from the serious (on the heartbreak of feeling unoriginal) to the urgent (who does your hair?). I combined the similar ones and worked in follow-up questions. On the elements of various myths and folklore he included in the Sandman, he mentioned that it did feel like the Myth of the Month Club at some point – this after he spoke of cultural tourism, and manananggals. The Q&A took about 30 minutes.

When we got down from the stage, he hugged me and said, “Good job!”

It was better than winning an Araw.

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I was quite happy when my question got an answer on stage. Neil said he thinks advertising is very useful when done well, and very irritatimg when not. He also compared American advertising to English, and did a hilarious ‘oh no, you have smelly feet!’ ad riff with a surprisingly passable middle American twang.

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Everything is black. Except for a top and a pair of not-so-short shorts, which verge on khaki and are just as invisible as black if needed. I spent more time choosing which pens to bring than which clothes to pack; this is normal. I didn’t bring anything for Neil Gaiman to sign. I am still very happy with what he signed for Lucien the last time he came to visit.

I am moderating the Saturday morning session with Neil. I promise not to blather on about why my son’s name is Lucien Constantine. There will be many hangovers from the Friday night parties and that means pish-posh, moderation, we don’t need you at all. So I will be relaxed. (Inside I will be shrieking in pure fangirl form. But you don’t really need to see that, do you?)

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