Why You Should Care About My Actor-Friend's Next Goal

He's Part of a Growing Group Trying to Outdo Agencies

By Published on .

Peter Madden
Peter Madden
I have a good friend who's an actor and comedian in Los Angeles. Let's call him Mike Friedman (shameless plug!). Mike has been out there for close to 15 years and is one of the hardest working guys I know. He's also very funny and great at what he does, and the combo of work ethic and talent has lead to his landing some great gigs. He's featured in commercials for Kentucky Fried Chicken, Harley Davidson and most recently he's the bartender in the MGD 64 commercial. He's also responsible the creation of "The Super," a TV show (final plug I swear!) that he's conceptualized and filmed and ultimately trying to gain interest in from the powers that be.

Mike most recently has a newer fascination, and this should be a wake-up call for every mad man and mad woman, small and large, out there: advertising.

He's part of a gang of several (he and some actor buds), but as big brands look for the next big idea, Mike is most definitely in the mix. It seems that every time I turn around, another brand is shuttling an ad campaign in favor of an advertising contest to see who can come up with the best TV ad. And why not? Potentially great (and free) PR as they announce the call for entrants and then trumpet winners; the potential for a truly creative idea that is excellent (that they then take and run with for FREE); and, ultimately, some great viral aspects to any contest via social media or the brand's website.

Everybody's jumping in! How's that make you feel? Let's face it, if you work in an agency, no matter your position, you're already in the entertainment business. Many outsiders -- including your clients -- only know agency life one way: through Hollywood. So if you can't or aren't fulfilling that vision in the first minute they visit your agency, they're going to be a little let down.

Yes, you better have a killer product and great talent, but first impressions count more in our business than any other. People expect an agency to be kind of wacky, different, a different planet than the one they may occupy on a daily basis. They visit us to escape reality. We as agency owners help the escapism by turning the most basic product or service into something bigger, bolder. The answer to some prayers. Spiced with hyperbole and a dash of fantasy.

So when I last spoke with my actor pal, I though it was kind of interesting that as someone who's immersed in fantasy courtesy of his craft, he's bringing it on home to our industry and having fun doing it.

Good for him, I think. Who has a license on what is creative? Does he know brand strategy as well as someone under your agency's roof. Maybe not, but if his creative hits a grand slam conceptually, what marketer wouldn't wrap a strategy around that which is creating impact. We all saw this happen with the Bud "Wassup" guys several years ago. Without question, they lit up the Bud brand.

Me? I think I'm going to talk to Mike about some fun collaborations, whether in front of or behind the camera. We in the creative universe have a lot to learn from each other and it seems that brands will continually try to find their way and look to anyone to get to Oz.

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