Some Kid In Atlanta Stomps All Over My Good Name

And That's Fine With Me

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
I'm in Atlanta trying to drum up some business for the new effort. My initial observations:
  • Atlanta is a good starter city if you're planning on driving in New York City at some point.
  • As far as I can tell, a driving test isn't required to get a South Carolina license. The same thing can be said for Washington State.
  • There is something called a "thunderstorm" that occurs with relative frequency. (It just rains in Portland. No thunder.)
  • Atlanta is a very good radio city. 92.9 Dave FM, in particular, is a great station.
  • Make sure you get addresses right when using Hertz's NeverLost. I ended up getting lost using NeverLost from the airport. I wanted to blame the GPS, but it was my fault.
  • My hair doesn't do so well in this climate. It's a look somewhere between Jim from "Taxi" and a very very dumb Einstein.
  • Overall, I really dig Atlanta.
It's been a very enjoyable trip. In my typical, sorority-girl-attention-span fashion, I've managed to cram a lot of varied experiences into a finite amount of time.

Yesterday, I had a chance to meet Norm Grey and visit the Creative Circus. A friend of mine (who was part of the Radio Mercury Awards student award-winning team) is finishing up his first year and I wanted to know more about the program. As the name implies, it's a fun place. What hit me the most was the list of alumni and where they ended up after graduating. It's like the Oxford of advertising. Calling it impressive wouldn't do it justice.

Today, in between meetings, I made it over to the World of Coca Colaand Centennial Olympic Park. I didn't have time to actually take the tour, but I did make it in to the store. The first thing that popped into my mind was the ill-fated Coca Cola clothing line from the 1980s. I participated back then by sporting a "sweet" Coke rugby shirt. The store itself is fairly engaging and has some interesting items outside the usual bric-a-brac. (note: Kyle O'Brien from Entercom owes me $5 for working "bric-a-brac" into this post.) In keeping with my tradition of getting suckered into things, I purchased a cool custom print from the Wieden & Kennedy design collection that I will proudly hang in my office when it arrives in two weeks.

After cheerfully parting with my money, I went outside (where my hair did an immediate 180 in the humidity) and walked into Centennial Olympic Park to walk around a bit. I made it to the south end of the park, looked up and saw Nancy Grace's bitter mug flash on the display at the CNN Center. After gagging a little, I recovered and looked down to see bricks with names engraved on them. These represented people who donated $35 to have their own brick in the park for the 1996 Olympic Games. Mine was around there somewhere. The Woody Allen side of me thought that it was misspelled and buried in a remote corner under a pile of dirt. As fate would have it, my brick was sitting in an area next to the park's fountain and near the one purchased by Billy Payne, the man who ran the Olympics back in '96. A happy child ran past me and over my brick. Being stomped into the ground never felt better.

What I got out of this experience is the idea of being part of something iconic. The Creative Circus has graduates who touch major, iconic brands. Coca Cola. CNN. The Olympics. All global, major, historical brands.

On a local or smaller level, the idea of being iconic can be daunting. But it really shouldn't be. Crazy Eddie, from my Jersey days, was an icon. Tom Peterson is a household name and beloved by generations of Portlanders. I suppose a couple of the main challenges in becoming iconic today would be two things in short supply at times: time and discipline. It can take what seems an eternity to build that kind of love, and advertisers may not have the intestinal fortitude to build those kinds of relationships. Plus, carving out that space in the consumer's mind is at an emotional and financial premium. However, and at the risk of sounding incredibly daytime Emmy-ish, I think it can be done. Who knows? Today's small car dealer or struggling artist could be your market's next big thing. And I believe it's definitely worth a shot.

Now if I could just get that image of Nance Grace out of my head.

Quick Hits

Are there advertisers/people in your market who you could consider iconic? Why?

What do you think it takes to be iconic?

Is it possible, in your opinion, to be iconic in light of the challenges advertisers face in the crowded arena of advertising? Why or why not?
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