Day 383

I’ve always known that like the ocean, the ad industry is defined by its never-ending movement. Yet, over the past year, I’ve come to learn just how much things can change in a year’s time. Some things come about unexpectedly and others are welcomed with open arms. There have even been times they've caused more than a handful of hiccups for the project. I chalk it up as a learning experience and think you’ll agree much of what’s happened spells good things for the industry as a whole—or at the very least that many of the agencies I’ve visited are on the fast track to greater success.

Way back in the planning process, whenever a new agency would join the project, I was always given a point of contact to speak with prior to my impending arrival—that’s 14 different people in 14 different offices. The interesting thing about it all is that of those 14 people, only seven of them were still working at the agency on my first day.

What I learned over time was that a majority of them went on to higher-paying jobs or other industries entirely. Of course, the people still at the agencies had nothing but positive things to say about these folks, so I consider it as good things happening to good people. It's also an uplifting sign about the current state of hiring within the industry too. That’s always welcomed news, if you ask me.

A number of agencies also rebranded at some point during the project—TRISECT (who dropped their '3') in Chicago, Campbell Mithun (now just Mithun) in Minneapolis and Y&R Group (formally Wunderman) in Seattle. Whether it’s through an acquisition or the result of changes within the agency, you can’t deny that every once in awhile a new coat of paint can do wonders.

It could've all been spurred by a change in management, location or focus, but they all know you have to keep up with current trends if you hope to continually find success. The same goes for people working within the industry. That’s why a lot of creatives end up going back to school, attending monthly seminars or furthering their education in some shape or form. Relevancy is a magical thing.

The final change I’ve come to notice has to do with location. Three agencies have since relocated their office since my departure (97 Degrees West, Mithun and We Are Social) and Evolution Bureau is actually moving their office from San Francisco to Oakland next month. On top of that, Recess Creative added more space, Red Tettemer opened a west coast branch (stop #14) and I wouldn’t be shocked if Pollinate and Boxing Clever relocate within the next year, because they’re bursting at the seams with growth. It’s exciting to watch these agencies succeed, especially as I now consider many of them to be friends. 

What it all comes down to is that this is not an industry for procrastinators, dilly-dallyers or lazy asses. Everything moves at such a rapid pace, if you close your eyes for too long it will pass you by. In the end, I think it’s safe to say that determination and hard work really do pay off in the ad world. I’ve seen far too many instances of it across this country for it to be a coincidence. Do your very best, keep up with current trends and never be afraid to try something new. Those are the lessons I’ve learned and that’s what keeps me moving forward in this crazy, crazy business.

-Steve-

Day 260

Minneapolis is an incredible city and from what everyone tells me, I came at the right time of year. Turns out, it tends to get a little cold up here in the winter. So, how does the city combat the scourge that is snow, ice and wind? Well, as I recently learned, by building the Minneapolis Skyway System—a climate-controlled walkway that links sixty-nine full city blocks. That’s more than 11 miles of walkway! 

In all honesty, the existence of the walkway didn’t even register until someone at Campbell Mithun told me about it. I guess I just don’t look up enough. But once I started to explore the various paths and halls, I have to admit that it's a pretty ingenious idea. Not only does it connect nearly every building in the downtown area, but each hall also offers a variety of shops, eateries, stores and outlets. It’s like a whole other world in there. You can go from Campbell Mithun Tower to the Target Center to the Wells Fargo Center to the Minneapolis Convention Center and never have to step foot outside.

Perhaps it’s just me, but I find that pretty incredible. Of course, since learning of the skyway, I’ve come to find it’s not the only one in the world. Cities like Montreal and Toronto also have them, while Houston's resides underground. But to me, it’s impressive nonetheless and I think more cities should consider investing in a similar system (ahem... Cleveland). 

That’s not the only interesting thing I learned about Minneapolis either. I discovered the Minnesota Fringe Festival, an annual performing arts festival that began in 2008. Each year, they host between 150 and 180 shows over the course of two weeks, while drawing in an audience of around 50,000. While this year’s event began before my arrival, I did learn of it in time to catch two great shows.

The first was a comedy show called, “Captain Do-Good Saves the Future From Wal-Mart,” while the other was, “Top Gun: The Musical.” Both were highly entertaining and it’s clear that this is one event everyone should check out if they’re in town for it. In my opinion, more cities would benefit from an art-focused festival such as this, if they only give it a chance to shine. 

-Steve-

Day 249

Did you know Campbell Mithun has their own tower? Pretty snazzy, right?

I’m thrilled to be working here for a variety of reasons. And after a few days on the job, I can officially say this place has lived up to each and every one of my expectations. Although, I'll admit being back in a large agency is taking some getting used to. The team I’m sitting with consists of absolutely amazing individuals and it fills me with anticipation for what the next few weeks will hold. For those of you who don’t know, Campbell Mithun is home to a pretty outstanding client roster too. They do work for the likes of Popeye’s, (Cleveland's own) Key Bank and Land O’Lakes, who I’ll be focusing on for most of my time here.

More importantly though… the music is back! After three months of fending for myself, I’m finally in another office that uses music to set the mood. I was starting to wonder if the whole “office music” thing was just on the east coast, but Campbell Mithun has changed all that with an eclectic mix of jams to brighten each day. The space itself is pretty awesome too. Although a bit more modern, it reminds me a lot of the fictitious Sterling Cooper office. As you wander around the various floors CM calls home, you’ll find brightly colored accents, beautiful murals and a plethora of posters, knick-knacks and comfy couches. I’d imagine this is what most people think of when they try to picture an advertising agency.

I’ve also had a busy week outside of the office, having lined up future lunch meetings with great people from the likes of Egg Music, Colle+McVoy and 5ive. I always love meeting new people, because it gives me a chance to tell them about the project and hear, firsthand, what it’s like living here. Thankfully, everyone I've met here so far has been nice, genuine and very personable. I haven’t even been here a week and I’ve already got a whole page of recommendations I need to visit before I hit the road. I also learned about the wonder that is the ‘Juicy Lucy’. I don’t want to spoil the fun by telling you what it is, so here’s the Wikipedia entry on it. Pretty amazing, right?

On a side note… Guardians of the Galaxy? I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect movie. A+!

-Steve-