Day 179

My, oh my, how busy I've been! 

Over the past week, I had the opportunity to speak with a whole slew of great individuals. It all started last Thursday, when I got to watch / briefly meet with a group of U of M students at an AAF luncheon. Although I didn’t get to chat with them individually, just watching them present proved they all have bright futures in the industry.

The following day, I sat down with Michael Phillips of Choose901 / City Leadership to discuss downtown Memphis and how the city is changing for the better—especially when it comes to attracting and retaining creative-types. Then on Tuesday, I met with Andrew Lebowitz and Billy Nation of AIGA | Memphis for lunch at Rendezvous. They had very kind words for #TGAA and offered up some great advice on how I can better build support for the project. They also host the Creative Memphis podcast and I highly recommend everyone check it out. It’s a great listen, no matter where you live.

Finally, I headed to Aldo's Pizza yesterday for a great conversation with Memphis blogger and resident creative, Holly Whitfield. We chatted about all things Memphis and how the city compares to the other places I've visited so far. To be honest, I'm really bummed I wasn't able to meet any of these awesome individuals earlier in my residency here. However, one thing is for sure, each and every one of them is having a positive impact on the city's creative offerings and overall growth. 

And that brings us to today. I know May is one of the shortest months I have booked, but it honestly feels like I just arrived yesterday. Alas, at 10:40pm Saturday, I hop on yet another train and begin my overnight journey to St. Louis. But before I venture to Stop 7, I want to send a big “thank you” to the Red Deluxe team for showing me a great time in Memphis and introducing me to the city’s incredible BBQ.

Looking forward, my next month is going to be exciting for a number of reasons. Not only does it mark the halfway point of the project, but I’m also hitting one of the most interesting agencies I’ve ever come across — Boxing Clever. Part ad agency, part record label and part book publisher, BC certainly has a lot going on and I’m thrilled to be a part of it. From what I can tell, this group really thinks outside the box and I feel we’re going to get along swimmingly. 

On a final note, a strange set of circumstances transpired on Memorial Day and I somehow ended up on the news. It feels weird being labeled as a "Grizzlies fan" while wearing a Cleveland Indians hat. But, let's look on the bright side... I made the news! Surely, this can be chalked up as a victory somehow. Right?

-Steve-

Day 165

Over the past two weeks, I’ve come to find that Red Deluxe is much different than any of the other agencies I’ve visited. While still highly creative, it’s easy to see that they skew more toward the analytical side of the industry. It could be their mix of clients or just the culmination of how they do their best work; but all in all things are a bit more traditional, a tad more reserved. I can also tell that much like the rest of the Memphis population, this is a hardworking team that strives to deliver excellent results without excuses.

On the creative front, I’ve already had the pleasure of jumping on some projects for a few non-profits the agency works with. It’s an interesting change of pace, as I don’t believe I’ve done anything for the non-profit sector in a long time. It’s also teaching me a lot about Memphis’s charitable and philanthropic efforts, which will surely play an important role in the city’s continued growth.

Aside from joining in on their current projects, the RD team has also been showing me the ins and outs of Memphis—and more specifically, their BBQ. They’ve already treated me to a few delicious lunches around the neighborhood and even gave me some great recommendations on other places to check out. I mean, just this week they introduced me to Aldo’s Pizza and Lenny’s Subs. I honestly think they're trying to spoil me with all of this delicious cuisine!

It just goes to show that even in a more conservative office environment, the people in it still know how to cut loose and have a good time. In fact, at the end of the month, I’ll be lucky enough to attend the agency’s inaugural State of the Union gathering, which they affectionately titled the “Que One Barbeque”.  Weather permitting, it should be taking place on the office’s incredible roof deck, which you can check out a picture of on The Creative Group’s #TGAA Pinterest page.

As usual, I can’t believe I’m already at the halfway point of my stay in Memphis. I know this is one of my shortest stops along the way, which is a shame because I’m having such a great time here.

-Steve-