<moderator> Welcome Trina
<moderator> Moses is here and ready when you are.
<mosesb> Hello Boise
<tsego> Hello Moses & AEF. We have about 35 eager
students watching in.
<mosesb> my brain is here to pick.
<tsego> Can you tell us something about Miller Group?
How many people work there and what are their backgrounds?
<mosesb> we are a small agency, 6 people working
<mosesb> we have a full time copywriter, full time art
<mosesb> some account people and Renee Miller, our creative
director and president
<mosesb> the account people come from a marketing/business
<tsego> How is working at a small agency different from
working at a large one?
<mosesb> I've worked in a large agency before....about
<mosesb> there are benefits in both, but the biggest
I think in a small one is that you get to do a lot more and
learn more quickly about the industry
<mosesb> you get your hands on everything in a small
<tsego> Do you consider yourselves a "creative
<mosesb> we sell our creative thinking
<mosesb> and partner with other companies to fulfill
<tsego> What are the challenges of being with a small
<mosesb> The biggest challenge for me would be the different
hats I need to wear
<mosesb> besides coming up with the creative thinking
<mosesb> I need to coordinate projects with the printers,
<mosesb> in bigger agencies, there are people that do
those day to day operations.
<tsego> We had the pleasure of viewing your print &
t.v. ads during our last class. Tell us more about the production.
Who did what? How long did it take?
<mosesb> we did the TV spots in a month....from thinking
up the ideas, to actually filming it.
<mosesb> myself along with another art director and
a copywriter took the creative brief, came up with different
ideas, and presented them to the client.
<mosesb> Renee, our creative director, made sure that
we stayed on strategy
<mosesb> once the client approved the concept, rick
rosenberg, my copywriter, wrote the script and also directed
<mosesb> we hired a freelance producer to gather the
talent and hire a production crew
<mosesb> once the spots were shot.....all in one day....he
had a post production house edit them for us and got them
ready for stations.
<tsego> You have a degree in graphic arts, yes? Do you
think that is a good way to prepare for a career as an art
<mosesb> for an art director you need to have some sort
of art degree
<mosesb> whether its graphic design, applied art, or
<mosesb> my degree is in graphic design
<tsego> Can you tell us about how you negotiate strategy
with the client? How many ideas did you present before you
hit upon a winner?
<mosesb> we take research from either a research company
or from existing data
<mosesb> we then formulate a plan with a strategist
to see what is the one thing that sets our client apart
<mosesb> we also talk to the client to see what their
<mosesb> we then present that to the client and see
if they approve or disapprove.....most of the time, we are
<mosesb> at the most we'll go back maybe once for the
<mosesb> ideas are another story though
<tsego> So are most of your projects backed by research?
Do you do many focus groups?
<mosesb> we present to the client probably around 6-7
<mosesb> the creative strategy is backed by research
<mosesb> our bigger clients conduct focus groups and
occasionally we will adjust our creative.
<tsego> Why did you choose to work in the advertising
industry? Why not use your art background somewhere else?
<mosesb> because the advertising industry is always
<mosesb> I get to use my creativity at another level....I
am not only worried about making it look good, but also thinking
of creative ways to
<mosesb> give a product a benefit, to make it stand
<mosesb> advertising is never boring.
<tsego> Your website suggests that your agency specializes
in great ideas rather than big budgets. Some are wondering
what is a typical budget? What is a really small budget? Smallest?
<mosesb> in our agency, there are no typical budgets.
<mosesb> we have some pretty high/big budgets, some
<tsego> How is the economy affecting the industry?
<mosesb> we would normally have a lot more projects
<tsego> How do you think the session is going? Do you
have any questions for us?
<mosesb> I think it's going great
<mosesb> what direction do your students want to take
<mosesb> creative or business end?
<tsego> Since we're marketing students, we're wondering
about the "severely" comment. Are people getting
laid off? Are career ops slim?
<mosesb> currently career ops are very slim
<mosesb> that wasn't the case 3 years ago.
<mosesb> some of the bigger agencies had severe lay
offs, but some are hiring again
<mosesb> our agency has stayed the same.
<tsego> Creative or business...it's a mix. Mostly business.
Acct mgmt. 1 Health promotion. Couple for research or acct
<tsego> Any advice for folks wanting to get a foot in
<mosesb> get it in the door anyway you can.
<mosesb> I got in as an intern in the creative department,
then did another internship in the account management dept.
<tsego> You majored in graphic design? Did you minor
in another subject?
<mosesb> nope, just graphic design
<mosesb> but I was aggressive.
<mosesb> to be successful in advertising, you must be
aggressive, type A personalities
<mosesb> that is what is going to get your foot in the
<mosesb> you need to be passionate about what you are
<tsego> What is your favorite ad of all time?
<mosesb> my favorite ad of all time?
<mosesb> that I have done, or that someone else has
<mosesb> I did an ad for our candy client that was a
ransom note using the wrappers and cut out letters
<mosesb> I just like the way it looked and I had a good
time cutting up the letters out of magazines
<mosesb> I really like the stuff that Nike does.
<mosesb> also some of the international spots that IKEA
<tsego> Why do you like those ads?
<mosesb> there is a lot of GREAT creative that happens
in Europe....it's a shame that we can't get away with as much.
<mosesb> mostly since they are strong both creatively
and in getting the sales message across. The Nike spot that
ran last year of the guy running
<mosesb> while the world around him was going crazy
is my favorite
<tsego> We viewed some European ads (Clios). We like
the Nike ad that featured soccer players from around the world.
Can you tell us more about how the European aesthetic differs
<mosesb> Europe is more open to off the wall humor
<mosesb> not as much is taboo over there.
<tsego> Cultural taboo or legal?
<mosesb> legally they are bound by the same lawsuits
and such that we are here.
<tsego> Have you faced ethical challenges in your job?
<mosesb> not yet
<mosesb> the agencies I've worked at have always had
clients that I agreed with.
<mosesb> there are things though that I wouldn't help
<tsego> Can you tell us about the creative process?
Where do you get them? Do you have a special technique that
helps you generate ideas?
<mosesb> the creative process starts with, as you know,
the creative brief.
<mosesb> I sit down with my copywriter and we just talk
<mosesb> we try to think of uncommon ways to present
something that's common, or draw upon our personal experiences
and see how they can apply
<mosesb> the "sports" campaign is a good example
<mosesb> the print campaign I'm currently working on.
<mosesb> I'm a HUGE sports fan, so figured I'd try to
work that in.
<tsego> How about the 2003 Legacy ads? What is the concept
behind those? What work are you doing on them now? Sports
<mosesb> that merged from the creative brief
<mosesb> they wanted to show 3 things....
<mosesb> customer service, quality, and their manufacturing
<mosesb> we thought of that "commitment to excellence"
sports idea and applied it to the ads
<mosesb> and picked sports and sports situations that
would fit it best.
<tsego> Since you're a creative boutique, who makes
decisions about media? Does the client have that predetermined?
Who does the media plan?
<mosesb> we hire a media buying service to come up with
a media plan.
<tsego> Sounds like a lot of relationships with outside
companies. Is that a challenge?
<mosesb> not really.
<mosesb> big agencies do the same thing
<mosesb> the only thing that we do not have in-house
is the media and research
<mosesb> we have relationships with companies we work
with all the time.
<tsego> Tell us more about full-service vs. boutique
biz. Do you think you lose something in that you can't offer
the media side?
<mosesb> I don't think so since the client gets the
same ideas for media.
<mosesb> the only difference is that they aren't down
<tsego> How do you prepare for a pitch? How much work
do you do on spec? How do you mentally prepare for presentation?
Any stage fright ever?
<mosesb> I try to find out as much about a company as
possible. An example is that currently we are in the process
of pitching a sports club
<mosesb> so of course I'm going to go workout at one
<mosesb> most of our pitches involve spec work....mostly
because of the economy
<mosesb> because you want to show the client your thinking
<mosesb> stage fright?
<mosesb> not anymore, I got over that quick
<mosesb> otherwise I wouldn't be working
<mosesb> and this coming from a huge introvert growing
<mosesb> mentally I know the creative is good, and I
<mosesb> I try to convey the passion I have in creating
<mosesb> it's all dependent on the client though
<mosesb> some are more conservative than others, so
part of being good in advertising is reading people
<tsego> Do clients sometimes come to you with strong
ideas about strategy? How do you suggest changes to their
<mosesb> oh yeah, all clients are different....some
I can just mention that it's wrong and they take my word for
<mosesb> others are very headstrong and you try to sway
<tsego> Had any experience with conflicting accounts?
How are those handled?
<mosesb> we have in the past. we tell the client what
clients we already have.
<tsego> Where do you find new business? New prospective
<mosesb> we have someone in the office that does new
<mosesb> she researches companies and sees what they
are doing with their marketing
<mosesb> talks to them, tries to set up a meeting to
meet and we take things from there.
<tsego> What is the culture at your job? Do you wear
a suit everyday? Or what?
<mosesb> I'm wearing tennis shoes, jeans and thermal
<mosesb> but the account people have slacks, dress shirts
and nice office clothes.
<mosesb> as a creative, I have that luxury
<mosesb> and of course when I meet the clients, I dress
up some, but see what the client is like.
<tsego> Has your website helped you win new business?
<tsego> Ever won a big account away from a goliath agency?
<tsego> Sometimes? Any details?
<mosesb> we get some calls from people that see the
site, but most are from us contacting them or the clients
being referred from other people
<mosesb> we had Kenwood Home auto for a while...we won
that from a big agency here in LA.
<mosesb> the loved the creative and how we worked.
<tsego> What are your future professional plans? What's
in store for you and Miller Group?
<mosesb> eventually I would like be the creative director
of some big agency...I say within 15 years
<tsego> Back to agency culture....Do you work 9-5?
<mosesb> I work from 9-6 on a good day
<mosesb> after-hours as well
<tsego> Thanks so much for your time. We enjoyed chatting
with you. Thanks to the AEF for hosting this!
<tsego> We are inspired.
<mosesb> thank you
<moderator> Thanks for a great discussion!
<sharon> Hi Trina and Moses. I think this session went
really well. I'll be in touch with you soon.
<mosesb> thank you Boise
<mosesb> and to the AEF staff
<moderator> our pleasure
<moderator> A transcript of this discussion will be
posted to aef.com soon.
Content Master, aef.com
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