This past January, our Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann was invited down to Miami to be a guest speaker at the world-renowned Miami Ad School.
The campus, which is nestled among the mural-covered warehouses of Miami’s design district, is a creative utopia. The sun ricochets off the building’s vibrant pink exterior. The courtyard is full of abstract sculptures, all of which are equal parts wacky and genius. The inside is just as inventive, with denim-lined walls and a towering gorilla constructed of duct tape.
This is much more than just a school. This is a museum of ideas. A place of inspiration.
Tom approached the podium and addressed the student body as “the leading creatives of 2020.” In a way only he can, he inspired and challenged the room full of young writers, designers, planners, and thinkers to use their creative power for good.
Over the course of the next half-hour, Tom shared his unique perspective on advertising with the audience. He talked about the future of brands, the power of actions over ads, and the qualities needed to hone your creativity and direct it toward making a positive impact on the world around you. It was an empowering presentation. To view an excerpt from the speech, check out the video below.
Tom Christmann at Miami Ad School from DiMassimo Goldstein on Vimeo.
Throughout the remainder of the week, Tom led two classes in an agency-simulation exercise. In a very real-world scenario, the students were assigned a client, handed briefs, and tasked with presenting campaigns in just two days. Watching the students, many of whom were from foreign countries and different cultures, come together as a team to collaborate on ideas left us feeling inspired. Creativity is the language of the world.
We’d like to thank all the staff and students of Miami Ad School for welcoming Tom as one of their Industry Heroes. We hope to be back again in the future!
To hear more from Tom Christmann, look out for his upcoming podcast titled “The A List,” in which Tom interviews a who’s who in the creative world.
Agency Partner and Chief Creative Officer Tom Christmann has been a busy man as of late. Aside from spearheading our awesome creative department, he’s been recording podcasts – and great ones at that.
This time it’s the Don’t Get Me Started Podcast, hosted by Dan Balser, the advertising head at the Creative Circus in Atlanta. For a little over fifty minutes, Tom takes us through a timeline of his career, recounting pivotal moments and events that have altered his philosophy and the processes behind how he works. Other topics Tom and Dan discuss are subcultures and how they align with the advertising industry; the advantages of game theory; the importance of a work-life balance; how to review a portfolio; the Mad Men Bowling league; and the challenges facing the industry today.
This podcast has been years in the making, but the conversation was well worth the wait. Listen to the the full episode below.
And, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Tom’s last podcast appearance HERE.
Sometimes we say, “actions, not ads,” but what if you find yourself working on an ad? What do you do?
Do you feel inspired to see your assignment as an action, not just an ad? Or do you feel like your company doesn’t value what you’re doing?
Does the challenge to make the ad not just creative, on brand, on strategy and effective, but also an action, feel inspiring? Or does it feel like we are freighting a banner or print ad brief with a standard that can only ever apply to a minority of what we do?
I think that sometimes inspiring action means inspiring actions. But sometimes it means ads that inspire action rather than just manipulate or motivate it.
For any given brand, we are likely to do both.
Instead of brand ads and direct ads, we’re doing inspiring actions and we’re inspiring action. Too often, brand ads just tell people what the brand claims to be about. And direct ads just try to bribe or manipulate people into responding.
The same brand could say one thing in its brand ads and act like a completely different company in its direct ads.
We say everything represents the brand. Even a selling email is an action that the company is taking. So, we don’t say, “No emails.” But we do say no brand-killing, manipulative soul-sucking emails.
We are not against ads. We’re against just ads. We’re against the idea that an ad is ever just a means of transmitting the information on the page or screen. Because the very fact of the ad as an action the company is taking speaks volumes about the company.
Are we saying that people think this deeply about ads.?Of course not. But it’s exactly because they react rather than consider, instinctively rather than rationally, that they judge this way.
When we say, “Actions, Not Ads,” we’re acting in a provocative way, hoping to provoke you to higher standards whenever you inspire, write, inform or work off of a brief.
Now, back to work.