Try Harder, Again.
It's 2023 and we are 63 years past the "The Golden Age of Advertising." An era where creativity abounded amidst the backdrop of dramatic economic and societal changes, human rights activism, and a burgeoning interest in alternative lifestyles.
Advertising's creative minds gave birth to the spokesperson, the mascot and the brand personality. These fictitious characters entered our homes, their shiny, smiling faces stared back at us every time we opened our pantry. Even if a mascot had overt racial or sexist overtones, we turned a blind eye to the offense. And it would take decades for the bitter history behind those characters to be challenged. Because in 1960, unlike in 2023, we just wanted to eat those pancakes in the box.
Advertising creativity evolved again in the 1970s and '80s with the support of consumer insights. It went beyond staking a claim on demographics to owning and manipulating our psychographics. Insights became the fertile ground to plant creative seeds. For brands, it made the proposition of owning a mindset, and building brand perception based on that mindset, more coveted than selling the product itself.
Fast forward to today, amid cultural conversations driving societal re-examinations of representation and equity, what is our creative responsibility now?
As history has shown us, advertising retains its power to make indelible imprints on society and on self-perception. When this power is used irresponsibly, the impact is irreparable for a brand. Trust is lost, credibility is annihilated, and regaining a position of relevance is an arduous, upward, often unsuccessful climb. The 1990s mantra of "Just Do It" encouraged us to run more than the corporate "rat race," but shifted to running as a source of joy.
Our responsibility now is to use culture to guide us toward unearthing the unseen moments of innovation and inclusion that exist. We must look beyond the familiar, to make way for stories that are complex, varied and truly representative of the whole of humanity. Apple's "The Greatest" sheds an empowered light on accessibility by dialing down the limitation of disabilities to celebrate the exponential possibilities. The last three years have forced us to reflect on how we see the world around us and participate in cultural conversations we were never invited into before. As creators, our job is not to be opportunistic but to always see where an opportunity for understanding is needed and make a path for it. To bring divergent points of view, histories and experiences together, and to create thoughtfully shared realities.
As creatives, we must push our craft and guide our clients to try harder:
• Try harder, at being conscious and inclusive by delivering purposeful, representative storytelling.
• Try harder, at knowing how to hold UP the mirror versus trying to BE the mirror of customers.
• Try harder, at making an impact by showing up with a purpose to serve society first, not ourself.
Make "action" the strategy. When a brand is committed to being creatively conscious by design, only then can they lean into the spaces and sometimes uncomfortable places where their actions and voices can authentically be heard, be useful, and empathize with the consumers they aspire to serve.
Committing to building conscious creative is how we move forward and how we make advertising truly try harder, again.
Edited from an article by Vida Cornelius is VP creative at New York Times Advertising
What would John, Paul, George and Ringo have been if they had all walked separate paths? Talented singers, but not the greatest band ever assembled. Collaboration of creative talents can form incredible and lasting results that can't be achieved individually. Admarc can boast of such collaborations through the years. Some the of best work we ever created was with some of the most talented, artists, musicians, directors, writers and especially clients.
As we embark on our 39th year in business we look forward to the many creative collaborations ahead of us and are thankful for the countless we have had the pleasure to be part of in years past. We are much better together than apart, which is probably a good way to approach all we do in life, especially as we begin a new year.
There is Hope and Joy in Christmas
Christmas is a great time to reconsider joy. It is deeper and richer than holiday lights, Christmas carols, wrapped presents, and social gatherings. It is a reality rooted in an authentic relationship with real person who has come to give joy to our hearts and minds.
As I reflect on Christmas past with family, I remember the fun times with mom and dad, siblings and later with our kids when they were young and their eyes were full of wonder. That wonder and joy can still be present this Christmas. A joy and wonder that can’t be found in presents under the tree or a balance in your bank account. This joy is made real as we cherish His truth and trust Him for all of our needs. Everything else, no matter how pleasant, is secondary as a source of joy.
Perhaps the Christmas season, more than any other time of the year, reminds us of how quickly life passes and changes. Rather than grieve or complain about our fleeting memories, we should let Christmas spark encouragement in the reality of our eternal joy.
So, this Christmas, let the fullness of joy be present in your celebrations of Christ. It is the ideal time to let your joy be rekindled. By His strength, I pray this Christmas will be a season of great hope and joy in YOUR world.
I was headed to Lubbock to visit our office like I did every other Tuesday and left early so I could get there by 8 am. As soon as I drove up to the office I got a phone call from my wife saying the one of the World Trade Center Towers had been hit by a plane and for me to head home. If you're old enough to remember the astonishing images of the 9/11 attacks, you undoubtedly remember where you were and the people you talked to in the aftermath while trying to make sense of such an unexpected and tragic catastrophe.
The first question anyone asks in a time like this is “Why did this happen?” If we believe God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble during tragic events such as 9/11 then we must believe He is the same when times are good also, because He is faithful and constant.
Even after 20 years, let us remember these facts: the world can change in a moment, we are all mortal, and what we don’t know can change everything. This fallen world is not our home. As a result, we must trust Jesus even more today, trusting his leadership, redemption, and care until the day he leads us home.
God was our refuge and strength then; he remains so today.
Value Your Values
Values may not be all that popular anymore. In a world of “faceless” communication, values can sometimes feel irrelevant. Folks are not necessarily held accountable for how they behave. But at Admarc, values are taken seriously – we hold ourselves accountable.
Values are the set of principals we follow, our standards of behavior, what we feel is important in life. Values have always been important to us but maybe now more than ever, we value our values.
When we first built Admarc (way back in 1983), we established a simple set of values that we uphold to this day.
Do The Right Thing. Treat the client like you want to be treated. When our friends, our clients, our colleagues or even strangers are in need, we help them.
Committed To Inspire. Great companies give back and inspire others. Work is important. People are more important.
Design Matters. Good design is good business. It exists to communicate purpose. We love what we do, we love the people we work with and our passion grows every day. We listen.
Deliver Trust. Deliver service, expertise and transparency. Earn trust by choosing long-term relationships over short term gain.
What are your set of values? What keeps you responsible to yourself and to others?
The resurrection of the Jesus holds just as much power today as it did over 2,000 years ago.
The first followers of Jesus lived in a scary age. The Roman occupiers crucified dissenters, and diseases like leprosy brought despair and doom to entire households. In 2021, the headlines are full of stories about fear, war, hatred, mistrust, financial disparity and doubt.
But when Jesus came, he brought HOPE. In his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ defeated death once and for all.
Now, Cancer—or COVID—has no victory. (1 Cor. 15:55) Ultimately, Jesus has destroyed the power of death. His resurrection is a taste of what is to come for all who are in Christ.
One day, He promises us that we will return—in a victory as real as His own resurrection. (Rom. 6:4)
How can any news be better than that?
The first step in improving your ranking on Google search and Google maps is to claim and update your business information. You will find and manage your account here: Google My Business.
Once you've claimed your business, enter complete business information so users know what you do, where you are and when they can visit. Your page is your digital storefront on Google so make it attractive and inviting.
Step #2 Verify your business. This is as simple as requesting a verification code from Google - either via the phone number Google has on file for your business or from a postcard mailed to your business address.
Step #3 Add owners or managers as authorized users. Levels of access can be managed through your Google My Business account. We recommend assigning on-going responsibility for various tasks (updating photos, responding to comments, etc.) to a specific manager.
Updating and verifying your Google account is the initial step in improving your local ranking. Keeping this information up to date with fresh photos, current phone numbers and addresses, new locations, etc. is important.
To learn about other ways to improve your ranking with Google, give us a call.
Coffee: Let Me Count the Ways
For as long as I can remember I start each business day with a cup of coffee. It usually doesn’t stop there, since I drink it all day long now, probably 10-12 cups a day. There is something about the aroma and smell that even surpasses the taste. I’ve said before that as long as it is hot, I’ll drink it. I wouldn’t say I am a connoisseur of coffee by any means like many of my friends, knowing the background of how and where it is grown, etc., but I do love a hot cup of coffee. For me, it is the bridge to conversations, inspiration, and relaxation and focus on the things I design and create.
There are so many analogies to what I do and life itself found in coffee. Take for instance the coffee bean, they are all different and unique, just like the many creative designers and partners I have worked with through the years. Each bringing their own talent and flavor to the project. When the beans are ground they mix together for a special flavor all their own, then when heat and water are added they become a product for all to taste and savor.
Through the years I haven’t always stopped to enjoy the projects that I have collaborated with
to design. In his new book, Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey states, “We need to take time where we stop and do inventory. Let’s go back to our last week, who we were in it. How did we do?'” After 45 years, I have spent more time recently reflecting on the incredible talents of the thousands I have had the opportunity to share coffee with during the creation of designs that have touched so many. A strong aroma of gratitude lingers in regards to the thousands of hours spent to develop identities and brands for companies large and small.
Coffee, like the work I love, continues to motivate me for more. Solving a client's problems, whether design or procedure, motivates me to drink another cup, and enjoy the taste. The taste of satisfaction while realizing how blessed I am to get to do this thing called design that I love so much. Most of all, I'm grateful to God who reigns and am humbled by how he continues to use me in many small ways.
Now it’s time to go back to work, and pour another cup.
Hope is a Person
Hope was what the angels sang about. Hope lay in the manger. Hope caused Mary to wonder in her heart. Christmas is a hope story because it heralds the coming to earth of the One who is hope, Jesus. For each of us born in a world damaged by sin there simply could not be any other source of hope. Good education would not solve the problem. Benevolent government had no power to solve the problem. More and better laws couldn’t penetrate to the source of the problem. People couldn’t help one another, and they surely couldn’t help themselves.
The condition of sin infects every single human being from birth and has scarred every aspect of the world we live in. The only solution was a Savior. He would not come to set up an earthly kingdom and enforce his rule on the unwilling. He would not come to judge and condemn. He would come to serve, to suffer, and to die so that his kingdom would reign in the hearts of people. He came to seek and to save. He came to rescue and restore. He came to give hope that we could be redeemed and the world could be renewed.
When Jesus was born, so was our hope. May your Christmas be filled with true joy this year, and may you find the one person that is hope...Jesus.
Fresh insights shared in the morning when ideas are fresh and the coffee is hot.