Transcript of online Ambassador Program with
University of Florida's Creative Strategy and Research class.
<kshepley> What is your stance on the
debate between some copywriters and account planners on the
value of quantitative research?
<nstamell> can you be more specific re the debate?
<kshepley> Some copywriters do not appear to believe
that there is much value to quantitative research and numbers,
and feel that they should be dealing with primarily the qualitative
aspects of the target market.
<nstamell> I don't find most quant research to be very
helpful or "nurturing." Especially when it comes
to copytesting, it does get boiled down to numbers too much.
I would tend to take the creatives' POV on this.
<nstamell> more on this...
<nstamell> when it comes to market tracking or usage
studies, etc, I find the info useful, but typically that's
way before creative development
<kshepley> Is there a possibility in the future of incorporating
emotional response measures into traditionally cognitive research
studies, such as tracking studies?
<nstamell> we try. The problem is that it all has to
be closed-ended (usually), so you can be in the position of
putting words in people's mouths. Got any examples of this
sort of thing?
<nstamell> the inherent problem is that words are generally
not emotional (i.e., visceral)
<nstamell> for example,
<nstamell> I doubt I could make anyone laugh right now,
or cry or otherwise emote (at least not as easily as with
<kshepley> What is the job market like right now for
<nstamell> Hard for me to answer in general. At FCB
Chicago, we have about 25 or so full time planners, and have
hired 2-3 a year for the past 3 years.
<nstamell> We're definitely in demand, and there's still
lots of buzz about Planning
<nstamell> But ...
<nstamell> it is a Catch 22. To my knowledge, Planners
are hired almost exclusively with several years experience.
<kshepley> What is the most important skill for account
planners to have?
<nstamell> if that's a skill!
<kshepley> How did you get into and get experience in
<nstamell> via more traditional research. I started
as a researcher at Leo Burnett, a larger organization that
did hire entry level people and train on site.
<nstamell> the transition to AP started early to mid
<kshepley> Can you tell me your code of ethics at your
<nstamell> regarding what?
<kshepley> Do you hold any particular values /lines
you cannot cross?
<nstamell> integrity definitely counts for something,
with me anyway, and with the people I work with.
<nstamell> maybe that varies by agency
<nstamell> but it's very important here
<nstamell> so, that affects what you..
<nstamell> are willing to say in advertising, how far
you'll bend over to satisfy a client, and many other aspects
of the job
<kshepley> How much interaction do you have with the
creatives, media planners, brand managers, etc?
<nstamell> A lot, and as much as possible. We are organized
by account team, so I sit on a floor with account mgt and
media people. Creatives (still) operate best in their own
space, and are on separate floors.
<nstamell> There has been much discussion..
<nstamell> about seating Planners with Creatives, and
in fact our department head is on the creative floor, next
to the Creative head.
<nstamell> Planners try to keep involved in every aspect
of the business, which is quite taxing
<nstamell> So, the challenge is to balance meeting time
with actual THINKING and DOING time!
<kshepley> What is the structure of the account planning
<nstamell> One dept head, several "groupers"
(no, not the fish), then various levels: Acct Planning Director;
Senior Planner, etc, down to Associate Planner I think
<nstamell> A Group Director might service 1-3 different
clients, and within that, many brands
<kshepley> What do you like most about your job?
<nstamell> I love problem solving. It's like doing puzzles
-- there are pieces all out there somewhere that fit together
neatly, and you have to find them and tell a story with them.
<nstamell> I also like that there are tangible end-products
<nstamell> Also -- the people in this business are fun
and know HOW to have fun
<kshepley> What are the benefits of having a master's
degree when looking for a job in advertising?
<nstamell> I think that many firms looking for acct
management people like to see the masters. You need to have
good business sense and be able to relate to the clients'
concerns and sensibilities
<kshepley> Is there a value in having a master's degree
for a planning position?
<nstamell> I'd say yes, in that I think it signals an
inquisitive mind, someone who has spent extra time considering
topics of interest, and grad school also offers more oppt'y
for internships and real world experience
<nstamell> It helps, externally if not internally. The
ideal would be to study what you truly love, and not worry
about what it gets you...
<kshepley> Why are ad agencies adding more length between
account mgt and creative? To add to Account Planning, recently
DDB Needam/Chicago started this new position called Creative
Catalyst. Don't too many cooks spoil the broth or is it otherwise?
<nstamell> when you say length, are you saying that
Acct Mgt is getting more distanced from the creative process?
<nstamell> Planning is sort of smack dab in the middle
right now, and there is certainly sometimes a power struggle
with Acct Mgt.
<kshepley> so in the end what is the role of an account
exec, account sup, account mgr, account dir, account planner?
<nstamell> I see Planners are filling a specific role,
and doing it better than Acct people, who are trained to do
lots of stuff I'd have no clue about
<nstamell> It's about specialization and getting the
most from each individual
<nstamell> so --- too many cooks? could be, at times.
<kshepley> So isn't all this just confusing the end
<nstamell>ideally Planners are operating more independently,
working with Creatives more, and Acct Mgt lets us.
<nstamell> The idea is for us to get very specific about
what we are asking of the advertising. So hopefully there
is much LESS confusion in the end.
<nstamell> Creatives embrace Planning because it helps
set more clear direction
<nstamell> If you give them too big a box to play in,
they come back with advertising that's all over the board,
and that IS confusing
<kshepley> How important is it to have internship experience
when applying for a job in advertising?
<nstamell> Internship -- I'm sure that helps a lot.
I'm not involved in recruiting, but I know that when I do
see someone who's had internships, that's what we talk most
<kshepley> Could you give us an idea about how the present
recession in the economy is going to affect the ad industry
now and in the next two years?
<nstamell> well, in my breakfast with Greenspan the
<nstamell> so hard to say. We are taking a hit now on
a few accounts
<nstamell> it happens fast
<nstamell> I'd expect tightened belts in general, and
ad budgets are often (wrongfully) the first thing to go
<kshepley> Can you tell us more about the accounts you
<nstamell> Quaker Oats -- Gatorade Energy Bars (try'em!),
Chewy granola bars, cereal bars, rice cakes, new products
<nstamell> I worked on Gatorade beverages for the past
<nstamell> what do you want to know?
<kshepley> Can you tell us a little bit about the strategy
behind the Gatorade campaign?
<nstamell> you asked the right guy!
<nstamell> the Gat advertising used to be more about
"wholesome fun in the sun" and there was an underlying
message that Gatorade had the electrolytes your body needs
-- that it replenishes
<nstamell> Anyone remember "Deep Down Body Thirst?"
<nstamell> In 1995 we did some soul searching
<nstamell> I did a lot of work with athletes regarding
the essence of sports and what they got out of it.
<nstamell> Internally, at the agency, we did brainstorming
around the topic of what Gatorade was and really should be
<nstamell> Lots of sports quotes surfaced, lots of ideas
about "going all out" etc.
<nstamell> We settled on the idea that Gatorade was
The Will To Win, In A Bottle.
<nstamell> It was a real creative breakthrough when
the team came up with the sweat technique (colored sweat)
to represent Gatorade's presence in athletes with great will
<kshepley> Which position would be better, AP or AE,
for someone with both an advertising and business background?
<nstamell> I think it depends on you and what you want.
Find out more about Planning, and I guarantee that's the route
<nstamell> I got an MBA before deciding to get into
advertising. It helps me understand some of the client issues,
though in all honesty I haven't used the business skills much
<kshepley> Does FCB use brand placement in TV/movies
as part of a campaign media plan? If so, is the placement
done through the ad agency or through a; product place product
<nstamell> I think it's actually more a client thing,
though we may certainly make recommendations. There are companies
devoted to placements like this.
<kshepley> Our graduate Creative Strategy class at the
University of Florida thanks you very much. We appreciate
<nstamell> no problem -- I enjoyed it. Now PLEASE --
buy some Gatorade Energy Bars, and tell your friends!!!
This transcript has been edited
for relevant content.