BrokenJPG

A Copywriter’s Blog
Wanted Ben Levy 12, December

CW seeking AD for committed relationship. Looking for a partner to grow with, and complete one another’s stupid side-projects. All art styles welcome, just as long as you finish projects you start on. Only illustrative and graphical tasks required, I will take care of all other aspects including but not limited to- concepting, words, layouts, publishing, money-making, press-releases, URL-purchasing, shit I’ll even wash your car just please for the love of heaven don’t swear up and down twenty times you’ll do it and then wander off when you see something shiny. I’ve been hurt before. If you answer this ad and fail to uphold your end of the agreement the CW has all every right to stab you to death with a blunt teaspoon.

I wrote this as a joke, but you know what? I’ve got three mobile games, three comic books, two books and at least 6 t-shirt ideas that require visual embellishment beyond my ability. Interested parties apply at the-name-of-this-blog@gmail.com.

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Friday Feature: Catvertising Ben Levy 2, December

I truly believe this would be the most successful ad agency on the planet, should it ever be formed. And I despise our entire species because of it.

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A job by any other name… Ben Levy 25, September

…would still pay the bills. But I would most likely hate it, which is why I work as an advertising creative. At companies with wonderfully ludicrous names.

Even before I graduated from Miami Ad School* I was hired by a company called iChameleon/Group. No one, including the CEO, had any idea why it was called this. He thought it “sounded cool”. But it was an awful lot of syllables, and we didn’t always feel like pronouncing them all. So for the most part, we worked at “ICG”.

Later, iChameleon/Group was purchased by a company called “Sapient”, which is apparently latin for “one who knows.” Sapient later merged with a shop called “Nitro” to become “SapientNitro”. This was a slight improvement, as it presumably translates into “one who knows how to blow shit up”.

When I left SapientNitro, I went to StrawberryFrog. This was excellent because it combined two words that people recognized and were sure they heard correctly into something utterly ridiculous. You tell someone you work for Sapient, you get a polite nod. You tell them you work for “StrawberryFrog” and they do a spit-take. Also, the business cards smelled exactly like a failed attempt at fruit-flavored gum.

Which brings me to my current employer, LBi. As a three-letter acronym, it calls to mind the professionalism and longevity of a pre-bailout bank. Which is probably why it’s printed on all our business cards.

Incidentally, that’s not our name. Not our full name anyway.

The agency is known as LBi in the same way, and for the same reasons, that iChameleon/Group was known as ICG. Namely, because people get tired of pronouncing more than three letters. And because no one on the account team is capable of introducing themselves by the full name of “Lost Boys international” without squirming.

(In case you’re wondering, it’s a British agency originally. So the “Lost boys” being referred to are Peter Pan’s crew, not the shitty 80s vampire movie everyone thinks of here in the US.)

As appropriate for an agency named after a group of boys that don’t want to grow up, here is a shot of the company’s CCO leading a unicorn through the streets of London:

0_0_393_http-__offlinehbpl.hbpl.co

*Miami Ad School is the name of an international educational institution, which means it is possible to not only attend Miami Ad School in Miami, but also to attend Miami Ad School in Hamburg, Sao Paolo, or Istanbul, among other places. I spend a lot of time explaining to people how it is that I teach at Miami Ad School in Brooklyn.

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Cheap Shot Ben Levy 18, September

I mean, maybe there are some legitimate reasons why someone would need to play ping pong with a robot. But I can’t really think of one. So when I saw this:

Screen Shot 2011-09-16 at 9.10.28 AM
(Click to enlarge and read the fine print)

All I could see was this:

spoof
(Click to enlarge and read the fine print)

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Friday Feature: Nope! Ben Levy 16, September

I’ve really got nothing to say about this that hasn’t already been said.

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Friday Feature: Illutron Ben Levy 9, September

I try not to post ads on here just because I’m in some way associated with them. I try to make sure that Friday Features are in some way entertaining or thought-provoking. That they show some cool art people have made, or some new application of technology, or at least contain fire/explosions.

Of course, if a campaign I’ve worked on happens to have all three, you can bet your sweet ass it’ll wind up right here:

If you liked this, check out XperiaStudio.com for more.

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Letting others speak for me Ben Levy 28, August

I hate lorem ipsum. As a writer, I feel honor-bound to scorn it. It is the epitome of laziness. But between hurricanes, evacuations, and weddings this weekend, I don’t feel up to a post right now. So, if you’re looking for a humorous paragraph or two, Check these out:

http://slipsum.com/

http://hipsteripsum.me/

Will try for a real post later this week.

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It’s what we do. Ben Levy 25, July

A real office email that actually went out:

“Looking for a very very very specific type of song for the [REDACTED] project and need some help. Shot in the dark… Here goes:

Anyone know where Andy and I can find a Punk Rock Viking Sea Chantey?

Doesn’t hurt to ask I guess… “

A real office email that actually responded, not 15 minutes later:

“Actually a friend of mine back in Australia has a band who SPECIALIZES in eastern european cabaret sea shanty, though recently he’s branching into spaghetti western surf tunes.

Mikelangelo & The Black Sea Gentlemen.

Depends on how punk vs sea shanty vs viking vs spaghetti western surf you’re looking for, I suppose.

Sea shanty
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qsM7EiBpnKk (best chorus ever)

punk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH7LSbzYo8A&feature=related

Ummm, something else
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otOMdqHPjY4

For those of you who have never really understood what I do for a living…this will not help you.

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I decided on two rules when I started this (slightly forced) job search.

The first was the rule I’ve always had when seeking employment: To find a happy place.

I believe the people you work with are way more important than the building you work in. You’re spending a minimum of 40 hours a week with your coworkers. For most people, that’s more time than you spend with your friends, your family, and your significant other. And advertising is not a 40 hour a week job. Not even close. Which means you better find an environment and people you like working with, because you’re going to be spending way more time with them than you are with your bed.

So. Rule 1- find a happy place.

Rule 2- no “digital agencies”.

My first job was at a digital agency, and I loved it. But I found myself getting typecast as a “digital copywriter”. So when I left my first gig, I made it a priority to work at a full-service shop, where they did traditional and digital advertising. Having achieved that, I didn’t want to go back to digital again.

I told all my recruiters I wouldn’t work full-time at a digital shop. Flat out refused. Hard stop. No. Nyet. Nuh-uh. When one of them sent me to an interview with a primarily digital agency, I only went because I thought I might get a freelance gig out of it.

And now I should probably mention Rule 3.

I didn’t know there was a Rule 3 when I started this process, but it turns out there is.

Rule 3 is very simple: Rule 1 trumps Rule 2.

Yes, I could have gone to a traditional agency. Yes, I could have taken offers at agencies that guaranteed I would never be described as a “digital copywriter” again. I had an offer like that.

But I also walked into a little-known, digitally-focused shop that felt like home, damn it. They were easy to talk to. They were playing music throughout the whole office. They had nerf guns on the couch.

They had nerf guns on the couch.

Which is why I completely ignored Rule 2. And why I’m gonna be the new Senior Copywriter at LBi.

Cross That Off My Bucket List Ben Levy 28, February

So at 11:42ish on Friday, I got laid off.

I can’t tell you how relieved I feel. I’ve never been laid off before, and a part of me was worried it might never happen. I mean, if you want to go skydiving, you can knock that shit out in a weekend, weather permitting. Hunting lions in the Serengeti with nothing more than a loincloth and a flint knife? Takes a week to schedule, tops.

But a lay off, that takes serious coordination. You can’t wake up in the morning and just decide “Ok, this it. I’m gonna get laid off today.” It requires an entire corporate machine. A guy (if he’s just plain unlucky) could go his whole life without experiencing that. Not me, man. Knocked that shit out at 27. I just cannot tell you what a load off my mind it is.

Anyhow, here’s my portfolio. Look at it, won’t you? Spread it around. Cause now that I’ve taken care of “get laid off”, I’m really eager to cross “set world record for being re-hired” off my list. Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but I achieved getting laid off last Friday. I mean, come on.

I feel like I can do anything now.

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