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 368

I’ll be the first to admit that I was rather nervous about how my time at the Evolution Bureau would turn out. They’re an agency I didn’t have much contact with over the past year and I was unsure as to how they’d react to the project. Well, those anxieties have come and gone, and now I find myself sitting in the EVB office, eager to show the team what this little adventure is all about.

At first glance, EVB's digs remind me a lot of Recess Creative. It’s a smaller space that encompasses two levels and utilizes an open-floor plan to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Throughout the office, large wood beams, exposed ducts and plenty of crazy knick-knacks help create the space's rather unique and vibrant personality. And much to the dismay of my waistline, they also have a rather large stockpile of snacks. While I’ve only met a portion of the team, I can already gather that they’re a fun and energetic bunch. They continually exude a certain liveliness that fills the room with laughter and cheerfulness throughout the day. It’s a vibe I’ve grown used to on the trip, because it turns out happy people tend to be more creative—go figure. I have a feeling this is one of the many factors that helped EVB win their extremely impressive roster of clients, which includes Jameson, Facebook, Nike and HP. 

Much to my delight, I've actually come to learn that several people in the office already fully support what we're trying to do with #TGAA. In particular, I had a very nice conversation with EVB's CEO, Daniel Stein, where we discussed the trip's progress, as well as ideas on how to cap the whole thing off. We're also going to set up an in-agency Q&A session next week, so I can field questions from the team's younger members and also give everyone a better idea of why I'm there. As if that wasn't enough, they're also going to help put me in touch with other agency folk around the city and administrators at the Miami Ad School. It's only my third day in and already I can't thank EVB enough for how much they're doing to ensure I get the most out of my time in the bay area. Needless to say, December is shaping up rather nicely. 

-Steve-