Thursday, October 22, 2009

If you could follow JUST one person in your creative career…

Everybody needs a mentor.

Recently, I was asked who has had the greatest impact on my career?
Over the years, I have worked with some great and talented people, I’ve learned a lot from several of them, but I don’t think I can really name one person in the workplace that took me completely under their wing. Pondering the question, what I came to realize is that one of my main mentors is actually somebody in this business that I consider a friend. I haven’t worked with her at all. I’ve only met her face-to-face a few times but we’ve just had some great chats over the years and I’ve listened…to EVERYTHING she has to say.

What I learned a long time ago is that this business is not just about the work you create, but also about making the right connections and contacts. Whom you rub shoulders with can be as important to your career as your book. As I have mentioned in past articles, I have found full-time agency work by chatting up Creative Directors at an industry function with a glass of Scotch in my hand.

Social Marketing takes this networking to a whole new level. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. are like being at the cocktail party or award show reception 24/7.
You can introduce yourself to anybody. You can follow their words. You can have many mentors and follow many people.

I have no idea how and when I met Heidi Ehlers, but I knew from the moment I met her that this was one person I would stick close to the rest of my life. In the world of advertising and design (especially in North America), Heidi may possibly be the most important and knowledgable person you could ever know. A former creative herself, Heidi is the owner of BLACK BAG creative recruitment + career management. She’s not just a headhunter, she is THE headhunter. BLACK BAG is about creative talent. Finding creative talent, strategizing careers with creatives, studying what causes the best creative talent to be the best and what causes the hot shops to be hot.

I could go on about her “Diary of a Creative Director” series or “Camp Black Bag” workshops. I could write endless paragraphs about how inspiring she is when listening to her speak, or how many times she has been able to steer me in the right direction. But I will simply end this post with two little words of advice...


If I could only have one mentor in this world, or if I could follow just one person that I believe would be the greatest asset to my career, it would be Heidi.
I think you should be listening too.

On FACEBOOK: BLACK BAG creative recruitment + career management

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Status Quo

Potential Client:

Hi Ronnie. We would like to use your creative services but we would like to see some ideas and concepts before we give you the go ahead.

Ronnie Lebow:

Sure. And since you are a Dental office (and I'm already here), lets go into the next room so you can whiten my teeth. If I like the results, maybe I'll agree to pay you.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Bald Media…a new launch.

Around a year ago, I was busy putting together a new guerilla marketing company that I believe is fantastic for trade shows and on-the-street product giveaways. In today’s digital world, anything on the street and in the public’s face is great exposure and my company sure does draw attention.

Bald models heads are airbrushed with a company brand, product or service and are unleashed on the unsuspecting general public. Imagine 5 guys walking through a packed shopping mall during the holiday season or handing out product samples at a trade show. People can’t help but look. It only makes sense that my company’s slogan is “heads that turn heads.”

Unfortunately, while I was putting it all together, an advertising agency in New Zealand came up with basically the exact concept for a client, it made some news, and I had proof the idea had potential and I should launch the company. To top it off, a media journalist saw my ad online (searching for the models) and decided that it was an interesting story that simply couldn’t wait to be told. I had no choice but to work through the weekend and get everything ready for its Monday release.

The story broke and the phone started to ring. I had 3 gigs booked right out of the starting gate. I figured my company was going full steam ahead. That’s basically when the economy tanked and the projects quickly got pulled because the clients began to “trim the fat”. Bald Media was simply an extra touch. All the “extras” started getting cut out of the budgets from worried corporations.

I have several friends in the staffing and event planning industry and they saw the same thing with their businesses this year.
So I decided to stop focusing on promoting the company, and figured I would lay low only to launch again when the time was right.
Bald Media will get a company or message noticed. Especially to large captive audiences. It is not only a fact, it is guaranteed.

The procedure of application is also a crowd pleaser. Having the airbrush artist on-site at an event is an advantage as people will gather around to watch the logo/message being applied. In today’s world of limited attention spans, it is guerilla marketing at its finest. With over 25 models of different ethnicities in my roster, I’m always ready to go.

I teamed up recently with my airbrush artist and decided to do a test street run. We wanted to see what would happen and the timeframe involved in the application process. Since it’s my company and I shave my head, it only made sense that I would be the guinea pig.
We did two artistic versions. One, a company logo for a potential client for the upcoming Canadian Poker Expo ("The Maven" David Chicotsky...who has an online poker training institute), and the other, a generic application for Bald Media.

Upon walking out the door and into the street, the results were unbelievable. I literally stopped traffic as cars slowed down to look at me. I had the airbrush artist grab the video camera and run way down the street to capture the reactions and results for posterity.

If it could generate this kind of response within minutes of being outside on a moderately quiet street, I can only imagine the exposure possibilities for a corporate brand in the right setting.

To watch the application video and street test run, please visit the site…

or on YouTube