Video Highlights From the Idea Conference

David Droga, Facebook's Owen Van Natta, the Inventor of 'Will It Blend?' the Geek Squad Chief and More

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NEW YORK ( -- Last week's second annual Idea Conference brought together a number of creative thinkers from both inside and outside the marketing industry. Below are some of the event's video highlights.

Ad Age Videography by Steve Raddock

David Droga: "There's a Lot of Laziness in Our Industry"

NEW YORK ( -- "There's a lot of laziness in our industry," Droga5's founder and creative chairman, David Droga, told the Idea Conference. He pointed out his agency doesn't start out each new ad project with a specific medium in mind or with the traditional writer and art director team. Rather, the process begins with a meeting of diversely talented creatives who study the overall media potential of a project.

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George Wright: Inventing "Will It Blend?"

NEW YORK ( -- George Wright had been with BlendTec for less than a year when he noticed some odd sawdust piles on the floor of a blender demonstration room. He learned that CEO Tom Dickson regularly put pieces of lumber into a blender to see if he could break it. That, Mr. Wright said, was when the light bulb went on, leading to the creation of the wildly popular Millions now surf to that site to watch Mr. Dickson grind up glass marbles, cans of Spam, golf balls, transformer toys and anything else that catches his fancy.

Owen Van Natta: Linking Ads to Facebook's "Trusted Referrals"

NEW YORK ( -- Facebook's chief operating officer, Owen Van Natta, said the huge amounts of information being shared between millions of Facebook users offers a rich new advertising venue for marketers. The new "Facebook Ads" system enables advertisers to attach commercial messages to those social interactions. Mr. Van Natta said users "love" the new commercialization strategy.

Dr. Mark Eisenberg: Enhancing the Creative Process

NEW YORK ( -- It is unfortunate that the advertising business has never been more frantic, insecure or stressed out because the human brain functions at maximum creativity in an environment of low-stress relaxation. Nevertheless, said Dr. Mark Eisenberg, you can increase your level of creativity by constantly doing it. The chief of neurosurgery at North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System offered some insights into the creative process.

Robert Stephens: Good Ad Creatives Steal

NEW YORK ( -- Quoting Picasso, Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens said "good artists copy but great artists steal." He started his company with its signature uniforms and Volkswagen Geekmobiles in 1994 and was acquired by Best Buy in 2002. "I steal ideas from the hotel industry because I'm really in the hospitality business," he said. Mr. Stephens said his employees have to believe they're on a mission. "I tell them, 'You're not going to cure cancer at the Geek Squad, but you might mix the computer of someone who will.'"

Luis von Ahn: Creating the Computer "Captcha"

NEW YORK ( -- You don't know Carnegie Mellon assistant professor of computer science Luis von Ahn but you know his work. He created the "Captcha" -- those distorted character sequences you have to enter into a field in order to access various sorts of web pages. The device lets humans in but keeps bots out of sensitive web areas. And now, the professor has found a new way to use Captchas to help digitize the world's books.
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