The names Boone and Oakley may conjure images of coonskin caps and sharpshooting contests, but the Western monikers will soon grace the stationery of an upstart ad agency in Charlotte, North Carolina. David Oakley and John Boone, the creatives responsible for award-winning work for the Hornets, Wrangler, and Nissan, among others, are leaving the security of The Martin Agency to start their own shop. Are they freaking out? "A little bit, yeah. We were at the edge of the cliff, and now we're free-falling," concedes Oakley. In the excitement of the transition, they have managed to find time to argue about the agency's name, BooneOakley or OakleyBoone. "John might be more visual, but I've done a lot of radio and OakleyBoone definitely sounds better," Oakley deadpans.
Advertising agencies frequently occupy unusual spaces: converted lofts, warehouses, even former sweatshops. The founders of Workhorse Advertising in Boulder, Colorado, didn't think twice before moving into a building that had formerly housed a weaving shop, even though the exterior of their building is painted with sheep. "People know this building for the sheep," says Matt Neren, one of Workhorse's founders. Though the structure is something of a landmark, Neren notes that its aesthetic merits are dubious. "I'd call it folk art. At best." The founders could not decide the fate of the sheep by themselves, so they have opened the debate up to the community (and anyone else who's interested) with an online vote. Vote to save them or slay them at www.savethesheep.com.
When Honest is Too Honest
With a short film about the birth of an ad, Tim Hamilton has set himself up to be either the most revered or the most reviled director in commercials. Though the action and even the tones of voice in his film are polite and business-like, characters unabashedly speak their minds. When a marketing executive asks one of his employees, "You wanna shove your tongue up my ass and give it a few twirls?" the employee responds graciously, "I'd give you a handjob in a stationary closet if it would get me a good review." Though the film is a string of inside jokes about advertising, it speaks to the universal discontent with office politics. "I have a cousin who designs laundry chutes, and he said `The politics are the same in my office,"' grins Hamilton. He originally created the short as an opening video for Marketing Magazine's award show, but it has become a viral phenomenon on the Internet. Hamilton notes that the film may have gone farther than it should have: "A friend was in a client meeting and the client said `We know what you think of us! We saw that film!"'
Diamonds Are a Prude's Best Friend
Though Laetitia Costa is welcomed on runways around the world, she has been summarily dismissed by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and a Times Square billboard. This diamond.com ad from Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer caused the Times to request more diamonds on the chest. Michael Lee, CD on the campaign, finds the prudish response surprising, especially in Times Square: "What are they protecting us from? Please, help me. You're in Times Square for Lord's sake."
Weekend Fun. Not.
So, what are you doing this weekend? Not much, according to a survey from The Creative Group. The survey reports that a quarter of ad execs work at least three weekends a month. Only a paltry five percent can brag that they never have to donate a Saturday to the cause.
Strikin' and Drivin'
Agencies may brag about the quality of the talent they're able to find among non-union actors, but now a SAG member can boast about the quality of a commercial he has made without an agency, not to mention a production company. The spot, incredibly polished for its negligible budget, depicts the calamitous results of working with non-union stunt drivers in commercials. (Remarkably, stuntmen are part of the same union as principal actors.) Brent Fletcher wrote and directed the :30. "I'm not a director, I'm a stunt driver," he says. "The strike has been major. Probably 75% of my income is from commercials. I'm lucky because I do dabble in TV and features, but I know guys who haven't worked a day in six months."