Day 354

As I close out my last full week here at Pollinate, I still find myself impressed with their endless enthusiasm. Even when dealing with stubborn clients and ridiculous requests, they’ve managed to get the job done every time—all without batting an eyelash. Every person comes into the office with a smile on his or her face and they always leave the exact same way. Perhaps there’s something in the water here in Portland. After all, it’s pretty much an accepted fact that we all hate some of our clients from time to time. How else do you think the advertising industry continues to prop up the liquor market, year after year?

I guess what it comes down to is that Pollinate believes in the work they're doing. It’s a trait they share with the likes of Recess, Red TettemerBooneOakley and most of the other shops I’ve visited in the past year. If only every agency could be so upbeat; I think a lot more people would enjoy their workdays. Then again, perhaps their jolliness comes from the amount of sugared goods that make their way through the door on any given day. Last week alone, I was subjected to waffles, crepes and donuts—and by subjected, I mean placed in the vicinity of.

All in all, I’ve had an amazing month here at Pollinate. They’ve kept me busy with a lot of great projects and introduced me to some of the most wonderful things Portland has to offer. It’s kind of funny, because prior to my arrival I hadn’t had much communication with anyone in the office. Yet, once I got here everyone opened right up. If San Francisco and LA continue the trend, I guess I’ll finally have to admit the west coast really is as great as everyone said it would be.

Finally, while today might seem like an ordinary day to most, it’s actually a very special one for me. This afternoon, I finally get the chance to Scott Huber and the Postano team. For those who don’t know, Postano is one of the project’s great sponsors and the company behind the amazing ‘social wall’ you’ll find on the #TGAA homepage. They signed on back in January and have been incredibly supportive ever since. In fact, they’ve been kind enough to go the extra mile and sponsor all of the Q&As I’ve been doing. I cannot begin to thank them enough and I do hope everyone out there will check out the services they offer; I know I’m a fan! I’ll be sure to send out a photo or two after I tour their office later today.

That’s all I have for today. I did want to mention that I’ll be posting on my normal blogging days next week. So, be sure to check out the site in-between your meals. As for my Turkey Day plans, I’ll be dining at BlueHour. I was told they have an amazing Thanksgiving menu and if I’m going to be dining alone, I might as well do it in style (The price ain't bad either). 

-Steve-

Day 137

The BooneOakley team cutting loose

Just one day after joining members of the BooneOakley team for a Knights’ game at the new BB&T Ballpark; I had the distinct pleasure of tagging along once again for the Bobcats’ final regular season home game. Not only that, but for the first time in my life, I got to experience it all from the comfort of a stadium suite. I don’t think I ever understood the appeal of watching a game from the confines of a hotel-like room, but I get it now. It was luxurious, hassle-free and downright relaxing. I made sure to savor every single minute, because you never know when an opportunity like that will ever come around again. The Bobcats ended up defeating the Bulls in overtime, so the night ended on a joyous high note too. 

While I had a great time with the BooneOakley team, the occasion itself reminded me just how important camaraderie is to the agency dynamic. You can’t build a successful team, without strengthening the relationships that hold it together. I’ve seen it at every agency I’ve visited thus far. BooneOakley does it with events like this, Red Tettemer embarks on annual retreats, Recess Creative hosts a variety of shindigs, and so on and so forth. Sure, you have to keep the business end of things running smoothly with traffic and status meetings, but these less formal get-togethers are crucial for boosting morale, re-establishing the agency’s culture and most importantly—having a good time.

Romare Bearden Park, located adjacent to BB&T Ballpark

This is an incredibly hectic industry we work in. And I believe it’s an agency’s responsibility to not only foster great work, but to also nurture and stimulate those who help create it. I’m not saying every agency has to go out of their way with some elaborate gesture, but I know for a fact that every creative in the world appreciates an opportunity to cut loose every now and then. Of course, the occasion can’t be forced either. It has fit the culture. Throughout my career, I’ve been apart of several such events. Some of them were hard to stomach, feeling more like a middle school dance than an agency get-together. But some of those I attended were so delightful, I couldn’t help but brag to my friends the next day. In the end, it doesn’t have to be something spectacular, it just has to be something enjoyable and real.

What I’m trying to say is that agency life can be tough. It’s the frequent cause of sleepless nights, hectic weekends and pre-mature grays. But it’s also a place where we can meet life-long friends and find our true callings. So, the next time you’re looking for plans, why not ask the person sitting next to you? Strengthen your relationships with co-workers and encourage your agency to do the same. When you can call the people you work with “friends” the results will always be positive.

-Steve-

Day Eighty One

A Zombie at the KidRobot Store in SoHo.

One thing that’s continuing to keep this project fresh and exciting is the range of clients I’ve already had the pleasure of working on. From helping to launch a television network to building social content for athletics apparel, I’m expanding my creative capabilities—city by city.

It also goes to show just how varied the opportunities are across the nation. Although I’m only three months into my journey, I’ve come to find that great creative isn’t regulated to a certain city, agency or region. Take Recess Creative in Cleveland for example. They’ve done stellar work for the likes of Sony, Marvel and Gatorade. Yet, when I was in college, I was always under the impression that you had to be had a large agency in New York, Chicago or LA to even get near global brands such as these.

At the same time, I’m discovering brand channels that I didn’t even know existed. Here at We Are Social, they’ve afforded me the opportunity to see just how massive the world of social media truly is. Before I arrived, I only considered traditional social outlets—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Now, I’m beginning to fully understand just how in-depth a brand can make their social engagement, if they only think outside-the-box and in the abstract.

A Frozen Waterfall in Prospect Park. 

So, if you’re just entering the field or currently looking for a career change, it’s important to remember that good opportunities can be found anywhere. You don’t have to live in a city that makes you miserable just to fill your portfolio with global brands and top-of-the-line creative. Just expand your search and you’ll find a plethora of new opportunities. Every stone left unturned has the potential to be a missed opportunity. I encourage everyone to check out the agencies I’ve already visited to see just how varied their work, clients and capabilities truly are. 

Lastly, I wanted to mention that Monday night, I took a stroll through Prospect Park and discovered the beautiful new Lakeside Skating Rink and Bluestone restaurant. It's random discover like these that make city life so exciting. With so much going on, it's impossible to keep track of it all. That's why exploration is so important. This afternoon was an absolute wonder, as well. A few members of the We Are Social team treated me to lunch; where we discussed the work I’ve been doing here, as well as the TGAA project itself. It was a good time with great vibes all around.

-Steve-