Image copyright: Larry Fink

It’s one photograph. Taken at a birthday party in May 1981. Chances are no one remembers the party. But the photograph — Pat’s 12th Birthday — is one you’ll never forget. For it represents everything that photography is, and all that a great photographer can achieve.

As with all photographs, Pat’s 12 Birthday captures a brief moment that couldn’t have lasted more than the time it took to press the shutter.

Only for this second was Jamie Sabatine, a cigarette dangling precariously from her lips, slicing the first piece of birthday cake for Pat’s birthday.

Jamie is not quite in…

The real problem is that we expect too much. We want every game to be like Super Bowl 49, when the Patriots’ rookie cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a Seattle pass in the end zone with 66 seconds left to cement the win.

And we want every commercial to be another VW The Force, a commercial so charming we can’t wait to see it again.

If we work in the business, we hope for even more: a spot as inspiring as 1984; an ad that becomes as much a part of the vernacular as Wassup; an idea so original it raises…

I’m pretty excited to have worked on the fifth edition of Hey Whipple, Squeeze This — The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads with the original author and legendary copywriter Luke Sullivan.

Much as changed about our industry since the last edition of this legendary book, never mind the first, which came out somewhere back in a previous century. …

For young creatives, it can be tough staring at the blank white screen or page. Here’s a helpful guide to start generating ideas.

Brand or product: What is it, what does it do?

Its truth: What is the single truest thing you can say about the product? Be honest. (Examples: See this.)

Features: What distinguishes it, defines it, makes it special? (Example: Lasts long.)

Benefits: What are the benefits of those features? (Example: Get there quick.)

Benefit of the benefit: What does that enable or make possible for a user? (Example: Re-connect with family. See the inside.)

One word: If…

Ali Mattaway, COM ’15, receiving a Silver Hatch Award.

By Andy Slaughter, a first-year BU COM graduate student in public relations and The COMmunicator’s editor in chief.

Eight undergraduate COM students celebrated campaign awards on Wednesday from The Hatch Awards, the country’s largest regional creative advertising show hosted at the House of Blues.

Judged by many of the most accomplished creative directors in the nation, students in Professor Edward Boches’ Portfolio 2 course took home two Hatch Bowls, one silver, one bronze, and four merit awards, earning six of the nine student awards in the show.

“To be honest, we would have won more, but we footed the entry…

Use the right typeface.

If you’re updating your resume: avoid the Comic Sans typeface. It looks friendly but is the equivalent of Porky Pig reading the Gettysburg Address. I have worked with the documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, who conducted an online survey and discovered that people are more inclined to believe something printed in Baskerville. It has an amazing refinement and credibility.

So says designer Michael Bierut in this great interview in the WSJ.

Both need creativity, storytelling and data.

An older and somewhat dated distinction.

As advertising becomes more about earning attention and creating owned content, and PR agencies do more video and creative production, it gets harder to distinguish between the two — other than the typical examples that might compare corporate PR or IR to an ad agency’s creative department. In the past, PR was about reputation management through third party influencers; advertising was about buying media and having more control over the message. Not anymore.

For students, the question becomes:

“What is the difference and how do I decide which path to pursue?”

Left-brain vs. right brain?

More corporate/less corporate?

I asked a host of industry pros and C-level execs from agencies (advertising and…

This Volkswagen missed the boat. The chrome strip on the glove compartment is blemished and must be replaced. Chances are you wouldn’t have noticed it; inspector Kurt Kroner did.

In 1960 Volkswagen ran what may have been its most famous ad ever. Lemon. The one-word headline described a 1961 Beetle that would never make it to a dealer. It had a blemish on the glove compartment’s chrome strip, enough for VW engineer Kurt Kroner to reject the vehicle and inspire Julian Koenig, the DDB copywriter partnered with legendary art director Helmut Krone, to pen the famous ad.

The copy mentions…

“At the heart of an effective creative philosophy is the belief that nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action, even though his language so often can camouflage what really motivates him.” Bill Bernbach

Writing a great brief is harder than you think. It’s not simply about filling in some blanks. You have to provide your creative team with facts, inspiration, and an insight that will lead to great work.

We could talk at length about each section of the brief and in class we will. How should…

Surprisingly when I ask that question of students in my introductory creative class only about half the class raises their hands. They’re often taking Fundamentals of Creative Development because it’s required for all advertising majors, not just those interested in becoming a writer, art director, or designer. If I have one goal it’s to convince everyone in the class that he or she is creative. We’re all creative. Everyone is creative.

Sadly, most of our public schools, in their misguided efforts to prepare students for standardized test taking, destroy kids’ natural creativity. Studies have even shown that creativity drops precipitously…


Documentary Photographer / Creative Director / Writer / Author / Original Partner, Chief Creative Officer MullenLowe US / Former Professor Boston University

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