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 207

Well... my time in St. Louis has come to an end. It was certainly an interesting experience and I think I came out of it with a newfound appreciation for this city and those who inhabit it. Before I arrived, I didn’t know much about the area or what it had to offer, but now I can officially say that this is one hell of a place. Everyone is so kind and motivated too. In fact, I don’t think I heard a single negative phrase uttered in my entire time here. I also learned you can’t judge a city by the size of its downtown. St. Louis is just too far spread out and the best of what it has to offer is certainly found in its accompanying neighborhoods. 

I certainly want to send out a huge thank you to Boxing Clever for letting me be apart of what they do here and for showing me an absolutely incredible time. They’re definitely doing something special and I’m a better person for having been involved with it. I also need to thank all of the other wonderful people I met here—everyone at Bruton Stroube, CoolfireCannonball, Group 360, 90 Degrees West, Hoffman Lewis and Moosylvania, as well as Wesley Hoffman, the crew at Strange Donuts, Archie McKinlay, the list goes on and on. Lastly, I need to send a special shout out to Casey and Sara Latiolais for letting me crash in their spare room for the month and for being my impromptu tour guides of the city. Without them, I would’ve missed out on A LOT of cool things. 

At 7am Saturday, I head to the windy city, where I’ll soon begin my tenure at TRIS3CT. Although I’ve been to Chicago a few times before, I know it has a lot more to offer and I’m excited to take it all in. We’re halfway through this little project of mine and if the second half is anything like the first, we’re going to have a great time together. 

Go Team USA!

-Steve-