Wednesday, July 12, 2017

7 a.m. in Memphis - I called the FCC, both my senators and my congressman

Have you called yours?  Google Net Neutrality, go to - they'll connect you to everyone, give you a script to put into your own words.

Or you can not call and complain when no one can get to your Portfolio Site.

It's your world.  Take control of it.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 12th – More than the day before I teach my first class in two Qs.

If you have no problem reaching this blog, it’s because a long hard fight was won in the name of net neutrality.  Under Donald Trump’s new chair of the FCC, net neutrality – the right of all web presence to be accessed equally, with privacy protections and regardless of ads/no ads, paying/not paying fees escalating with bought and paid for speed – is in serious danger.

Instead of this blog, you could be getting “This site not available, try later” or “Unable to access, try later.” “Use html version.”  Under the new “tax refunds for 2% vs. health care for everyone” administration, proposed rule changes will allow Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and others to charge fast lane fees, slowing traffic to this blog and millions like it to a slimy snail’s crawl.  All to allow bigger, paying customers to hog the web.

If it seems an insignificant change, consider this: the mom and pop t-shirt shop I use for A and Copy Sin shirts will lose enough site traffic to conceivably put a family and the student designers they employ working for Walmart.  Those specialty sites you use for whatever?  The portfolio site you’re building?  You’re smart enough to be reading this.  You figure it out.

I shop Amazon, but what is it really?  A clearing house for small businesses paying to be included.  Squeeze out the little guy and if you want to read this blog, I’ll be paying someone -  an aggregator like Amazon or a Comcast – so you can find the blog and read it for free.  

I might be forced to accept ads, school and agency sponsorships. Implying endorsements I am very careful to avoid.

Even more worser, you may need a paid subscription to read information I now share freely.

When you go to work for an agency, you'll not only be using your creativity for readership, awareness, commerce, click through.  You'll also work on accounts in the slow lane and you'll have to figure ways to beat it.  If you don't that client - and your job - may not recover.

Know the ancient arcade game, Frogger?  Trying to cross lanes of fast moving traffic without going splat?

Without net neutrality, we’re all Frogged.

July 12th is Net Neutrality Action Day.  Net neutrality and privacy advocates will be drowning officials with demands for free access and privacy. Put your words in gear, call or write your Congressperson.  Senators.  The FCC.  Google net neutrality, you’ll have a million options of petitions, phone connections, letter forms, protests. 

The web’s your world, not mine.

Own it.  Fight for it.  Create the free world you want to live in.

This post, along with everything else on this blog, (c)2017 or earlier,  Doreen Dvorin/Kamikaze Creative

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Holy Kamikaze! In which Doreen corrects an earlier confusion and reminds you who we work for

Two terms ago, David Baldwin met w/my class to initiate my “Team Skyper” sessions.  It’d been a long time since David team taught with me.  As usual, he was fabulous (the shirt’s in the mail, David!). 

He also reminded me I was remiss in my teaching.  At one point in the sessions, he said (in a coded message to me, I’m sure), “Everything we do is Objective Based.”  Score One, David.

The last time David and I team taught, I was experimenting with my first class in Object Based Kamikaze Creative Strategy.  It was something David, David Glaze (then of genex/LA and Designatory, now of Amazon) and Minsoo Pak (Sparks Grove/Atlanta) and I had been playing with.  Making the medium the concept.

I taught it at the Circus.  Blogged about it (6/1/11, 7/30/11 + sprinkled throughout).  Reworked the Kamikaze Creative Work Plan.  Then seemed to forget about it.

I was still teaching Kamikaze Creative Strategy, but dropped the Objective Based Thinking.  When David, David, Minsoo and I were trying to figure out how to teach it, we were way ahead of the curve.  The curve caught up.

Last term, I went back to emphasizing (and did my Friday seminar on) Object Based Kamikaze Creative Strategy.  Will be doing a seminar on it at the Circus tomorrow (if you’re in town, 9:30 a.m. at the Circus, tell the security station/receptionist you’re here to see me, they’ll direct you to Carol Vick Bynum Auditorium).  In the revisitation, I realized I made a mistake earlier.

I should never have moved the Objective ahead of the Prospect.  On the form. In the teaching.

It’s failed logic.  Objective Based KCS (Kamikaze Creative Strategy) does make meeting the Objective part of the Creative Concept (CC or KCC).  Knowing the Objective doesn’t mean squat, however, unless you have a good handle on your Prospect.

In Objective Based KCS, Prospect still rules.

What good is knowing you want to introduce something if you don’t know who you want to introduce it to?  Ditto creating awareness, branding, rebranding, positioning and every other Creative Objective.

Objective Based Strategies are first and foremost What are we trying to do.  Concepting the media mix, vehicles you can use creatively (innovate and/or reinvent/invent) to meet the Objective.  Putting the product in front of the Prospect so they cannot ignore it.  Integrating it organically into the fabric of their lives.

To creatively meet your Objective, you must know who you’re reaching for inside/out.  Same as for every other Kamikaze Creative Strategy. 

As in all things Advertising Creative, Prospect still rules.

The form is correctly as follows:
1.      Prospect Definition
2.      Creative Objective
3.      Prospect Problem to Solve
4.      Competitive Information
5.      Promise
      Reasons Why*
6.     Kamikaze Key Fact
7.      Mandates & Limitations

Mea Culpea.  Even Doreen is not perfect. 

GRRRR...for some reason, cannot get Reasons Why to show as its own bullet point.  It is.  Sorry.

This post, along with everything else on this blog, (c)2016 or earlier,  Doreen Dvorin/Kamikaze Creative

Monday, July 11, 2016

Forgive me, Mother, for I have sinned

Last term I asked other writers/CDs, ECDs, Innovators - some former students, some not, to team teach my Skype sessions.  I know I have a strong, seemingly unbendable voice.  I put more emphasis on Professionalism and personal responsibility than I am told others do.  I also recognize mine isn't the only - or even the best - way to do/teach. 

I want students to hear other voices, other points of view.  From people they respect, whose work they admire, whose success they wish to emulate.

The experience showed I'd been guilty of one of my major "nevers."  I let several classes of if-they're-not-in-my-facebook/twitter/linked/gram/buzz group-they-don't-count students get to me.  So tired was I of this insensitivity and egoism, teaching became tedious, almost impossible. 

How could I teach people Prospect Centric/Objective Based Creative Strategy if all they cared about were self-reflections on a four inch screen? (See blog entries 5/7/15, 6/21/15 also one posted earlier today)

Growing up, my mother instilled in me an insatiable appetite for learning how those outside my immediate world thought, felt, lived.  Attending fourteen different elementary schools fed it.  Living my life to its surprising, fearless-if-foolish fullest filled in the blanks.

A woman ahead of her times, my mother filled our dinner table with people of all sexual orientations, religions.  Different nationalities, colors, social and financial strata.  Sometimes opposite philosophies, politics.  Before the years of marches and protest rallies, she did it out of an innate respect, caring and curiosity about people.  A gift she passed on to me.

Unknowingly, Diana raised an instinctive creative strategist.  Someone unafraid to confront those different from - even threatening - me, how I thought. What I did - and didn't - understand about faces in the crowd not like mine.  (See blog 3/1/15)

Last term, David Baldwin (look him up - he's the guy you'll spend your entire career trying to work for) team taught two sessions with me.  David said a lot of important stuff - some of which reminded me I had become so myopic teaching structure, content, style and smart less-wordiness, I no was longer focusing on - or even including - an aspect of Creative Strategy I tried to introduce ten years too soon.

"Everything we do is Objective Based," David told the students.  Reminding me of a class I taught on Objective Based Creative before most agencies knew what it was.  I invited three ahead of their time CDs to that class, each to give Objective Based assignments, then return to help critique the resulting work.  (David Glaze from LA/now Seattle, who will be team skyping this term, David Baldwin from Raleigh and Minsoo Pak from Atlanta participated.)

I never totally abandoned Prospect Centricity.  I used it as a tool to teach young copywriters how to write/relate product to prospect.  Focusing on what they wrote, how.  On the Kamikaze Copy Sins, integrating product into copy/concept.  

David reminded me I had to do more.  Time to get back to Objective Based/Prospect Centric Kamikaze Creative Strategy.  Look back in this blog - way back, to entries from 12/13/12, 7/30/12, sprinkled throughout others.

If you're in Atlanta, attend my Creative Circus Open Workshop (required if you're in my class next term) Friday, 9:30 a.m., 7/15/16.  I'm not doing Kamikaze Copy Sins (although too many writers need it).  I'm doing Objective Based/Prospect Centric Kamikaze Creative Strategy. 

If you're not a Circus student, tell Security you're here to see me. We're usually in the auditorium. All are welcome.

If you opted into my Creative Circus class this coming term, be forewarned.  Yes, I'll be picking apart your copy, requiring revision after revision after revision.  Translating thoughts.  Avoiding Copy Sins. 

The big difference:  I'll be skewing the way I teach writing to meet a Bigger Objective, not just calling out cliches, run-ons, reminding you we deal with Prospects and Products.

I'll also be hitting up friends, colleagues, former students for team teaching sessions.  Am working on a new Kamikaze Copy Sin list in response to changes I've seen the last few terms.  Challenging you, I hope, to earn one of those "I nailed Doreen's..." A shirts.

As for my Mother, thank you, Diana.  You gave me the people addiction which lead me to learn everyone and anyone who's not like me - has a part that is.

Ryan Martindale also team taught last term, but due to scheduling issues, worked with recent and soon-to-be grads, leaving each of them gushing praises and thank yous.

On a personal note, I am now living in Memphis, TN.  Loving the conflicting reality of a city living music in the face of some of the worst poverty I've seen outside Third World Countries.  

I'll still be teaching at the Circus.  Hope to continue my start-up consultations and freelance.

Once the moving in's over, getting back to helping deserving students (A shirt or not) hook up with creatives and creative directors to find their first great first job.  I'll also be more regular and focused on this blog and several other writing projects I've been struggling with.  Even Doreen gets lost sometime.  Time she found her voice again.

(c)2016, Doreen Dvorin/Kamikaze Creative


Am I saying writing copy is dull dry can never be fun?  Unexpected?  Funny?  Attitudey?  High/low brow?  Without style, individuality, its own creative point of view?  Absolutely not.

I’m saying if you want to write short stories, novels, screenplays, poetry – do it at home.  Ad writing isn’t about you – isn’t about what you want to do, say, your style or your vocabulary.  It’s about the Prospect.  Who oddly enough is rarely you and/or your friends.

There’s always a product.  One that needs to be included in the copy.  Not every mention necessarily by name, but mentioned often enough in clear enough terms so the Prospect can see himself in the copy, involved with the creative and the product. (AKA writing visually - not dulling it down with too many descriptors.)

Ad copy is grown-up writing.  Professional.  It’s not always three paragraphs and a headline.  Sometimes there’s no body copy.  Sometimes no headline.  Often, not even an ad. Whatever it has, it's always in Prospect visual, visceral, verbal, current vernacular.
There’s always a product. Always a client.  Always someone in the agency pushing toward Product Centricity instead of Prospect Centricity.  Don't fall for it.

Always concept/write for prospect first, product included, not forgotten.  Great copywriters never write for ourselves.

I love writing copy.  It’s easier than Creative Writing.  You know who you’re talking to.  What you’re talking about.  What kind of a result you want.  

How you put it together is from your Creative Strategy, not your wildest imagination.  Concept, Copy, Visual - as original as they may be, are an integral part of a calculated Prospect package.

A package strategically, stylistically, conceptually and contextually for the Prospect.  Not the client.  Not the writer.

If you can’t accept that, work at Mickey D’s, write your novel on the side.  Get your MA in Poetry.  Move to LA, pitch screenplays.  Fight to be that one in a million produced on the Great White Way.

Why am I saying this?  For too long, too many students, writing ad copy has been about themselves.  Written only for those people in their selfies, circles, tweet, buzz and friends lists.  Written only in styles they "feel" like using.

if there must be a product, let’s stick the #, logo, URL at the end.

I was beginning to think it’s time to retire from teaching.  Then my Miracle Quarter happened.  I was challenged by eight of the hardest working, most formula challenging, prospect centric, strategy respecting, conceptual style writing students I’ve had in years.
Embarrassing for me, no matter how hard I tried to find a flaw, each and every one of them earned an A shirt.  Eight shirts.  One class.  One entire class.

Why?  More than hard work, intelligence and flat out talent, it was drive and a sense of reality about who the Prospect really was, all the possibilities they’d respond to.

As proud of them as I am, it saddened me when a different class' student told me on no uncertain terms first-person copy written from the point of view of an Adult Depend incontinence wearer is an award-winning creative breakthrough.

Made me want to throw things when I was told there's nothing Sexist about an ad touting low cut blouses and push up bras as the fastest way to the corner office for 35-45 year old female professionals.

It ticks me off when strategies for spaying and neutering pets are all about doggie sex, not the millions of homeless animals killed every year.  

Frustrates me when Prospect is only a word, not the most important part of the process.  

Total creative control? That’s reserved for the Creative Writer, some dreamer who forgets this is a business – creative, innovative – but a business no less.  Who ignores our job to solve a Prospect’s problem by presenting product benefits to them honestly, motivationaly, creatively.  With affection and respect.
Our own problems?  Don’t count.  

Our own inclinations?  Just inclinations.  

The Prospect rules and it’s our job as strategic, conceptual copywriters to use all we have to motivate that Prospect – not an individual, really, but a pool of individuals with similar traits, needs, problems.  With some emotional bond.  For the prospect themselves.  For the client.  Never for ourselves.

(c)2016, Doreen Dvorin/Kamikaze Creative

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A TALE OF TWO CLASSES: Two classes, tons of talent, hard work, growth. Doreen explains Why one entire class earned A Shirts, the other earned none.

If anyone told me I’d be giving an entire class A Shirts I’d have laughed.  Yet here I sit, A Shirts earned (and awarded) to my entire Summer 2015 Copy Class. 

Ah, you say.  Superior Creative Juices.  Higher quarters, more previous classes to grow from.  You went soft.  Many excuses/explanations.  One truth.

The entire A Shirt group pushed. Hard.  Themselves, each other, me.  Went from Kamikaze Copy Sins to Advanced Style Work.  Experimented (at times successfully) with avant-garde grammar bending.  Couldn’t scare em.  Couldn’t confuse em (something I'm supposed to be very good at).  Couldn't deter them from their goal.

In the end, an entire class without one late/missing assignment or revision.  Most did extra work – if I asked for ten good headlines, this group sent me twenty.  If I cried “Copy Sin!” once, with few really tough exceptions, I never saw it on that student’s paper again.

I offered to slow down.  They pushed faster.  If someone couldn’t read my comments, a classmate translated.  In the end, writing at least two term levels above where they started (the minimum individual growth and the hardest requirement for the A is two terms' growth in one).  No missing work.  No challenges unmet, usually with multiple solutions.

Even the T-Shirt guy was shocked.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m proud of the students in both classes.  Shirt or no.  Also embarrassed.  Is Twenty-four As in forty months too many?  Not when they work as hard, push beyond the expected as every student in this one class did. 

Besides, talent, hard work, experimenting with tricks and personal innovation copy rarely considers (I don't mean cussing or disparaging language), the Miracle All Shirt class had one other powerful difference:  As competitive as they are, they didn’t compete with each other.  Only themselves. 

So all you CDs, recruiters and ECDs reading this, take a good look at the pictures.  I also have some Shirt winners from more previous groups (one or two shirts/class), even one writer who earned two (took both Beginning and Advanced Doreen).  You don’t want any of these copy smart copy starts to get away.  Most are getting ready for graduation.  Some already working in impressive shops.  Some are waiting for “The” Job.

Want their names?  Call me.

The bigger question, Why then, after an all A Shirt class, did the next group earn not even one?  Lots of talent.  Lots of growth.  Lots of hard work.  A few came close – 1.5 terms’ growth’s darn good, but still half a term’s growth from the shirt. 

The difference?  The second class didn’t put as much into their own – and their classmates’ - work as the Shirt Class did.  If I found one student really working on editing a classmate’s copy (peer edit), that classmate rarely considered what their peer editor pointed out.  I didn’t hear the stories of collaboration and help the Shirt Class told.

My point?  As competitive as Advertising is, it’s a team sport.  What anyone else does on an assignment has not to do with what you do on yours.  Genuine collaboration, however, does. 

If you can’t get comfortable with student mentoring relationships among your peers, you’ll never be comfortable with mentoring relationships in The Real World.  In some agencies you’ll be competing with your entire group for the “winning” concept.  What other group members do still has nothing to do with your work.  They may, however, be able to see the flaw, the blip, the confusion, the falling short point you miss.

Don't expect them to volunteer it.  You must ask.  

That All A Shirt Class?  They aren’t afraid paranoid embarrassed too shy to ask their peers what they think.  They took advice and collaboration, turned it into that last half-term of growth, learning from the very people they’ll be competing for jobs with. 

Truth be told, I looked forward to working with both groups.    Not everyone liked me.  Not everyone agreed with me.  Not everyone even liked me.  Doreen’s door’s still open.

The moral of The Tale of Two Classes?  Do whatever it takes.  Ask whomever it takes.  Support and be supported by your group.  Competing for assignments, agencies, titles – that’s just business.  Working as a team – that’s where better work than you ever thought you’d do hides.  Not in furtively competing against each other, hoping Karma will take care of the rest.

The Miracle Class On the Fountain

The Fountain looking for another Miracle Class

Time to start your own miracle.  I'll order as many shirts as you earn.

Friday, August 28, 2015

OMG! She wants me to learn print! In defense of teaching body copy in a print illiterate world

Every term I meditate on what I teach, how, its relevance in today’s ever e-ing four-inch-screen world.  I teach writing print. Don’t call me Old School for it.

Why teach writing print/body copy when life is streaming, online, in video, ten second Snaps, #140 characters?

I know my demands for adherence to format, Copy Sins, Prospect Centricity, Creative Strategy and learning to write print my very low tech/high expectation way is called O so very last century. If that’s you think, you’ve been screen staring too long.

Yes, I teach writing print copy. Yes, I am painstakingly persnickety, talk about things that happened long before you (or I) were born, bring in strange music to torture you and make you take notes on paper with (gasp!) a pen. 
Here are smart reasons to indulge my lunacy.

Writing print is the basis of everything we do, even if all we do is digital, broadcast. Got a favorite band, rapper, hip hop, country, punk, dub step reggae death metal whatever artist? Their lyrics all start in print.

Like movies? Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and every TV/Radio/Streaming entertainment medium there is? How do you think actors learn their lines? You betcha. Print.

The Old School pen/paper note taking? Sends a mind/body connection, rearranges your brain synapses to process information in a more open, memorable and creative way. Touch screens, keypads, speech recognition can’t do that.

If you can’t write a great line, how are those banners, websites, pop-ups, videos, tweets working for you? 

If you don’t know proper grammar, how to invisibly manipulate it, how are those corporate site and trade show brochures coming? 

If you don’t know history, literature, old and world music, aren’t culturally literate - how are you going to put your ideas in conceptual context, understand the elements and appropriateness of writing in different styles. Find a piece of music so unusual and interruptive it stops Prospects and award show judges in their tracks. (Don’t get me started on old music – read Steal Like an Artist instead.)

If you knew enough about old, you’d hear it in every new sound your generation discovers.

If you can only write in one voice – yours – better stay 24 forever.  Pray you never get assigned a bank, Depends, credit card, hospitality, AARP, Get It Up or hormone replacement product. Pray your current agers find Peter Pan and the Lost Boys – it’s not enough to age along with them – you have to see life coming before they do.

No matter the concept, format. Being able to transition from one idea, product feature, benefit without changing tone, losing logic, lecturing or worse – boring the bejesus out of them – keeps you connected.  Gets it approved. Produced. 

Writing great print makes broadcast (radio, TV, web, video) easier. Without all those Copy Sins print teaches you to find and edit, you’ll have a harder time saying what needs to be said creatively in under ten seconds, under ten minutes.

Will print ever go away, replaced by e-everything? Not in my lifetime – or yours. As long as kids and their parents share Doctor Seuss; you can’t feel paper’s texture under the screen. As long as language keeps living, writers keep writing, print will survive as the basis for everything. You’d best know to read – and write – it well. 
Some of you will be much better creatives than I. Many of my former students already are. But right now, today, what I know about writing print, ways you’ve not conceived, let alone explored, played with, translated, keeps me ahead in all mediums required. 
Writing print is the foundation, the launch pad of history, music, popular culture past and present. All give entre to Prospects' heads, hearts, guts. Teach relevance of different values, beliefs, jokes, music, speech, feelings.

An app may work fine, but it can also cut you off from the very people you’re being paid to motivate.  Without intimate, one-on-one understanding. Without the ability to write your ideas in amazing print, then translate it into other mediums here now, around the corner in the next future. You’re building your house on sand for the lack of basics.

I teach writing print. Want you to take its every little detail seriously. What I commit skillfully, conceptually, stylistically, organically to printed page can grow into any media, any message I want. Any way I want. 

And the kicker - almost every CD I know bemoans the lack of writers who can actually write.
Why I know you need to learn it, too.