Cool new book: Lee Clow’s Beard.

Cool new book.

We all first saw Lee Clow’s Beard on Twitter and we thought, damn, Lee’s on a hot streak. All those one-liners were brill.

Long-story short, turns out they were all written by a writer from Dallas, guy named Jason Fox. Who ends up having lunch with Lee one day. Lee gives Jason the thumbs-up to keep at it, maybe even package it as a book. And now it’s here.

Memorize as many of these as you can – have ‘em locked and loaded – for every meeting you walk into. In fact, buy two copies. Leave the other one out over by where the account people sit.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Dear Asst. AE: Please stop sending PDFs to the client with the closing “Let me know if there are any more changes.”

“What do you think?” is not code for “What’s wrong with this?”

“But some people won’t get this” is one of the first signs your idea might actually work.

You can’t fix a strategy in post.

Before suggesting any changes, first ask “Am I making this better, or merely just different?”

If it needs to be buried in the body copy, it needs to be buried altogether.

Hard to blame clients for not being conceptual when we keep showing them computer comps and ripomatics

The more indecisive the client, the fewer options they should be shown.

Before you decree a standard for others, make sure you can meet it yourself.

Ask “why” when digging for insights. Ask “why not?” when reviewing creative.

“What we are trying to say with this idea” should be asked before writing the brief. Not as you’re showing it to the client.

Always assume no one wants to hear what your ad has to say, then give them a reason to.

Understanding that a single most-persuasive idea should not contain an “and” is apparently more difficult than I realized.

In the ad game, “Well, we got it all in there” should always be said with a deep sense of shame.

The next time someone says “We want to do something viral” sneeze on him. Viral is a phenomenon, not a strategy.

Great ads solve advertising problems. Great agencies solve business problems.

Never borrow interest when you can steal it outright.

Ads need two things. A reason to pay attention and a reason to be glad attention was paid.

Fortune favors the bold over the bold-faced. Write accordingly.

If you can’t say why it’s wrong, don’t say it’s wrong.

When concepting, it’s best to get as many people as possible into one room. And then go somewhere else.

If you insist on spending millions of dollars to go unnoticed, buy a stealth fighter, not an ad campaign.

Inspiration is random. Creativity, premeditated.

Never use two adjectives when none will do.

People should be able to spot your work because it’s consistently great. Not consistently the same.

Criticizing everything that comes across your desk does not qualify you as a critical thinker.

A writer who thinks visually is great. A writer whose words make others think visually, even better.

Sometimes the best way to collaborate is to simply get out of the way.

We sell stuff. Get over it.

Safety last.

 

 

Totally cool outdoor “ad” against drinking and driving.

Was walking down Oglethorpe here in Savannah when I saw this cool car/ad parked in front of the local police station.

You can probably read the first part of the headline on the back fender on the taxi-side: “This ride about $20.00.”

And on the front fender, police/side: “This ride = $1800.00+”

A perfect illustration of what Jason Fox wrote in LeeClow’sBeard: “Ads need two things. A reason to pay attention and a reason to be glad attention was paid.”

My Favorite Writer Died Yesterday.

My favorite pic of Mr. Bradbury.

My favorite writer died yesterday; Ray Bradbury, dead at 91.

Posting this only a day after his passing, I still find myself way at the back of the line of people extolling their love of the man online.

Actor Rainn Wilson tweeted: “R.I.P. Ray Bradbury. You made Mars, time travel & Illustrated Men more real than reality for a 14-year-old me. ”

In her 140-character tweet-eulogy, Nina Garcia quoted the great writer. “Libraries raised me. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.”

Another posted, “I’ll never forget what Ray Bradbury told me after I won a small award: ‘Good for you! Now, goddamnit, go out there and write!’”

And finally – my favorite tribute ­– from comedian and sci-fi geek Patton Oswalt: “Pour out some dandelion wine for Ray Bradbury. Goodbye, Mr. Bradbury. See you in October Country.”

From these posts, it’s clear people loved Ray; not just his books, but the man. He was described by those who didn’t read him as a science fiction writer, but he was just a writer. And his stories, though set in the shadow of dinosaurs or on the plains of Mars, his stories were about humanity.

He wasn’t a perfect man, as his biographer showed me, but he was a good man and he was a writer to the core. He wrote Farenheit 451 in the basement of a college library, stuffing dimes into the rent-a-typewriter machines he found there.

In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King (a huge Bradbury fan) instructs those who want to be writers to do two things: read a lot and write a lot. I try to do both, this humble blog being part of it. And it was in my reading that I discovered Mr. Bradbury’s marvelous books.

Fact is, my most-prized possession is my complete collection of signed first editions of Bradbury’s oeuvre. The books consume me ­– from the 1950s sci-fi cover art to the smell of the 50-year-old pages to the stories those pages tell. My wife often jokes that if our house ever burns down, the camera will cut to the scene of me standing outside the house, holding my Bradbury books safely in my arms, and yelling up to her, “If you push off when you jump, you can probably make it to the bushes.”

After admiring this man’s work for years, I finally said to myself, “He’s gettin’ kinda old. You better tell this man how much his art has meant to you; soon.” So I sat down at the kitchen table to write a letter, by hand. I can remember feeling hesitant to put even a sentence of writing in front of the man, but Mr. Bradbury always said write with feeling and be authentic. So I wrote a paragraph or two saying “Thank you, sir” as best as I was able. I always hoped to hear back from him, but I never did.

That’s okay. He heard from me.

The man wrote about time machines. But it was always his books that were the time machines, taking me both ways: back to dinosaurs and ahead to Mars.

Rest in peace, Rocket Man.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Postscript: Just read an extremely good tribute to the man in the New York Times.

Just read yet another, even better one, in McSweeney’s.