Think Outside the Box

Think Outside the Box

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

As creatures of habit, it’s easy to fall into routine and it’s harder to break away from the ‘norm’. It’s often suggested to change your daily routine every so often – take a different route to work, try somewhere new for lunch. The same should apply to your advertising and marketing efforts. 

Clients don’t want the same old, they’ll get bored and move onto another agency that knows all about the latest and greatest. While shoving the newest thing in their face everyday isn’t it either, it’s important to find a middle ground that’s impressive and innovative, but not overbearing.


First things first, Get Inspired.

Take a look at some really great ads that make you sit there and admire them. Listen to music that pumps you up. The key here is to come up with something unique that will excite the client as much as it excites you. Put yourself in their position and think about what they’re trying to accomplish, or what they’d like to see. Forget a stock image for a print magazine – what about an image you fold to make an origami bird that comes out looking like your ad? Nothing is impossible… not yet. 


Once you’ve come up with that big idea, Be Realistic.

Right now you’re envisioning your ad on NASA’s new rocket ship – you’ll get the eyes on television for added value! But, we might have to come down to Earth just a bit. Contradicting to nothing being impossible, huh? Welcome to the world of advertising! Think about everything that might become an issue: budget, cost, and if we didn’t mention, budget. It might be a bit expensive to launch your ad on NASA’s rocket ship, but it shouldn’t stop you from executing your big idea. Think smaller scale now – if people will be viewing the launch on TV, create an ad that says “wish this was on the Rocket” to play on humor, create a commercial that plays minutes before, tying in the rocket launch. Pretend your idea is a fitted sheet – it might take a couple tries, but once you mess around, it’ll fit the bed.


Read the Room around you.

Ensure you know your audience well enough before you get too carried away. It’s important to accomplish what your client is looking for, and it’s more important to exceed their expectations – but don’t scare them off by thinking too big, or risking too much. Not everyone is an adventure seeker that enjoys the thrill of roller coasters. Even if they do enjoy roller coasters, match their excitement, but be mindful there’s a chance it could fail. People do get stuck on rides, it happens all the time. Having a back up plan or solutions to any potential challenges that may lie ahead will make all the difference. Be mindful you’re pitching someone something that will cost them money. Most people want to be sure it’s worth investing before they spend a dime.


Say it Out-loud to your co-workers.

Sometimes things just sound better in our heads. Running through an idea with your team can do one of two things: 

Help you realize it’s a great idea


Help you realize it’s a terrible idea 

It’s important to get the opinion of the account manager – they understand the client and their needs very well, and sometimes can even add onto your idea, knowing exactly what the client will love. At the end of the day, show your client you care about them and enforce that you constantly think of innovative ways to help their business. It’ll go far, and they’ll appreciate it more than thinking you’re just a crazy adventure seeker who doesn’t consider cost.

Avoiding Communication Pitfalls With Clients

Avoiding Communication Pitfalls With Clients

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

It’s two days before deadline and the client is frantically calling. “This isn’t what we wanted at all! We wanted more energy in the ad!” Suddenly, the muscles in your shoulders tense under stress. You call up the point of contact, who says that the client didn’t provide much direction in the first place but when they showed them draft designs, they picked the one that eventually became the final design that you’re looking at. So, what went wrong? 

If you think this is only happening to you, think again. Communication is the number one barrier between delivering what your client needs and understanding what the client wants. In a world clocked correctly by IDEO Executive Chair Tim Brown where “everyone is a designer,” your client can come to the table with an idea in their minds that they can’t readily explain. 

That’s why it’s important for us to be able to translate. It’s not enough to be a fantastic, creative mind in the ad world—you need to be able to translate the client’s wants into their needs while making it all their idea in the process. Here’s some tips to help you get to the “yes” portion of the project with a client.

Identify the Client’s Needs

 This is where you always start. Clients oftentimes come to you with an idea already in their mind of what they want to do. Because everyone is surrounded by a world of advertisements, clients tend to build off of ads that either they found receptive or that they thought were particularly clever. Before you put the cart before the horse, you need to identify the Five Ws for the purpose of the ad and the Four Ps to determine the range and scope of the ad. Hone in on needs, messaging, and audience and a clearer picture will form on what your client wants.

Brainstorm with the Client

This is the part where those communication skills need to be dusted off. I find the greatest success with client satisfaction is when you bring them in on an initial brainstorm for ad ideas. This is where they’ll pitch their idea, allowing you to ask all the questions you need to get clarification for their vision. It’s also here where you can steer the conversation into ad territory that you know will work for your client. This may be difficult if the client is dead set on a specific idea. It’s important to keep the conversation focused on positives, such as the things that you felt were good with their idea. Then take those positives and incorporate them into your pitch. In this way, it makes it seem like it was their idea all along.

Get a Second Opinion

One of the best parts of working in a team full of creatives is that you have the opportunity to get plenty of professional feedback. Sit down with a co-worker or confidant and tell them about the pitch. Share draft concepts that the client likes. Sometimes, you need a second pair of eyes to point out something obvious or asking questions that you yourself didn’t ask during the brainstorm. Catch any mistakes here so you can correct them before you go too deep in the project.

Check in with the Client

Be wary of “Looks good!” emails from the client. What you may hear is, “Great, please proceed with making this the main focus of the ad.” But what the client may have meant was, “Good start, can’t wait to see your other ideas.” The communication process is where messages get lost in translation. Think of it like a telegram: the sender encodes a message, but did you decode it correctly? The only way to know for sure is to respond and receive feedback. When you do, be clear about what you are asking for. Ask for clarification. Be sure that you are both on the same page.

Dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s

So, it’s two days before deadline and you’re ready to send the final proof to the client. Did you do all of the glaringly obvious things that you think you already did? Spellcheck? Had a normal look at it for a genuine audience reaction? One of the most common things I joke about with my ad team was to make sure that you check for hidden swastikas. You’d be surprised how often people don’t do the bare minimum before sending the final version to a client. Be sure to pass the ad around the team one last time to see if anyone can pick out anything that jumps out at them.

Pat yourself on the back

So, you not only delivered on what your client wanted but also what they needed, and they couldn’t be happier. Congratulations to you on knocking it out of the park! Be sure to build off your successes and use them as your building blocks for future client satisfaction. Be sure to learn from any mistakes you made along the way, too. Remember, clients may come to you for similar reasons, but every one of them is different and will require a different approach to translating their needs and wants. Be thorough, be concise, and everything should turn out nice.

Non-Traditional Ways to Get a Job: Part 2

How Using This Sweet Trick Landed Me A Job

By Michael Ortiz de Villate (September 26, 2017)

A Resume in Your Belly

If you haven’t already heard of this guy, you’re about to start praising him for this ingenious idea. He’s known worldwide as the “Donut Guy,” but his real name is Lukas Yla, and he’s a Lithuanian marketing professional. While new to San Francisco, Lukas set out on a quest to get his foot in the door of every ad agency he wanted to work forliterally.

Some may call his strategy brilliant, others may call it desperate. Lukas pretended to be a courier for delivery company Postmates, showing up at his favorite companies armed with a box of pastries from downtown favorite Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Inside the box? His resume with the headline, “Most resumes end up in trash. Mine—in your belly.” The outcome of his efforts? 10 interviews.

Cover Letters and Cookies

Reading Lukas’ story inspired me to do something similar. I wasn’t going to pretend to be a Postmates delivery courier, but I was going to make my resume and cover letter more savory. Seeing a recent opening for an ad agency I’d applied to several times, I wrote a new cover letter and re-formatted my resume. I printed both out and proceeded to the nearest Publix where I was delighted to find BOGO cookies. Then, I grabbed chocolate chip cookies for the recipient of my application, and heath bar cookies for myself. In case things didn’t go as planned, I figured I could eat my weight in cookies.

Dressed business casual, hair slicked, and heart-pounding, I drove over to my possibly-future workplace. I blasted “Sorry not Sorry” by Demi Lovato to build up my confidence, and it worked. But, once I got to the building and proceeded up to the third floor, I felt my confidence slipping. I walked up to the receptionist, dropped my resume and cover letter with the cookies, then walked out. Within a week, I received an email from the Account Manager thanking me for the cookies and asking for an interview. After that, things quickly proceeded, and I’m now a Social Media Coordinator at Evok Advertising.

During my interview, the VP of Client Service complimented me for my brilliant cookie idea. The only downfall was that, for a while, I was known as “The Cookie Guy”.

How Businesses React to Hurricanes

How Businesses Reacted to Hurricane Irma

By Eileen Roundtree (September 21, 2017)

It’s hard to believe that a week has already passed since Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction through the Florida peninsula. In the days and weeks leading up to Irma’s landfall in the United States, nearly every TV station brought us stories of local companies reacting. For some, this was a great public relations move, offering the opportunity to build goodwill and customer loyalty. For others, it was unwelcome exposure for some egregious decisions. Let’s explore the lessons learned in the aftermath.

The Good

  • When the cone of uncertainty began to show a direct path toward Florida, citizens took action. Residents in coastal cities and low-lying areas evacuated to nearby states. JetBlue stepped in to lessen the cost of evacuation with $99 nonstop flights. Though the flights went quickly, they were a great method to build brand loyalty and show compassion.
  • Trying to get in contact with family and friends after a hurricane is unpredictable at best. Cell phone carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, waived overage charges for those affected by the storm.  This decision did not go unnoticed by customers.
  • In the same vein, Comcast opened free access to more than 137,000 XFinity Wi-Fi hotspots. This decision allowed first responders and residents to communicate despite downed power lines and cell towers.
  • Orlando’s Rosen Hotels & Resorts welcomed South Florida evacuees with waived pet fees and distress rates as low as $59 per night. The company also made the cancellation process easy: they provided a peace-of-mind policy for guests who cancel their reservation or seek refunds when a named storm is in effect.

The Bad

Of course, there were some companies that missed the mark on decision-making leading up to and following Hurricane Irma.

  • We’ve all seen companies take advantage of customers needs by price gouging. As stores ran out of water, consumers turned to Amazon sellers to order their cases, where they were greeted with $25 price tags.
  • Flights out of Florida were at a premium as Hurricane Irma barreled toward the state. Many evacuees struggled to find affordable airfares. In fact, a Delta flight from Miami to Phoenix, which typically ran for $547, was being sold for $3,200!
  • Perhaps the most outrageous company decision came from Autoline, a used car dealership in Hallandale Beach, FL near Miami. The company chose to park 47 cars in a parking garage in reserved residents spots. The news spread like wildfire on social media, igniting response from residents who felt the dealership took advantage during the natural disaster. Autoline’s owner is now facing $12,000 in fines and 60 days in jail for using public property for private business.

The Lesson

Hurricane Irma affected so many in Florida and beyond. While many companies chose to show an element of humanity that helped build their reputation, others acted in their own best interest. My hope is that other companies learn from the fallout Autoline has faced — after all, companies that treat customers with care and compassion will reap the reward in the long run.

Share Your Thoughts!

Have an example to contribute to this story? Share it on social media!  #ad2orlando

The Struggle Is Real: Part I

Hispanic Heritage Month: Put Your Batteries In

For Hispanic Heritage Month, Put Your Batteries In

By Karina Ross (September 15, 2017)

Central Florida ranks 2nd in the nation for population growth of Spanish speakers. As such, Hispanic Heritage Month is a great way for us to connect and celebrate the different cultures represented throughout Orlando.

But, who says the opportunity should be limited to a month? Forty percent of Central Florida’s population is of Hispanic ethnicity, and the community saw a 23% growth in Spanish speakers between 2010 and 2015.

Do you have a plan to target or engage this growing demographic? Here are a few tips to help you reach out to Spanish speaking audiences all year round.

Translation isn’t enough.

A popular phrase in Spanish is “ponte las pilas.” The literal translation to this is “put your batteries in.” But colloquially, it really means something more like “get ready to work hard” or “put some more effort in”. This is just one example of a time when running copy through Google Translate isn’t in your best interest.

The clever copy your writers took so long to come up with might lose its meaning when translated to Spanish. The same can be said with puns or jokes. It’s important to translate the overall message rather than doing it word-for-word. Once translated, if the message doesn’t resonate with a Hispanic audience, it is time to rework and rethink your approach for your audience.

Aside from the overall message, there are cultural differences among different communities. In Florida, we’d say “soda” instead of “pop”, or “sub” instead of “hero”. Similarly, different Spanish-speaking countries use different words.

To help recreate an appropriate campaign for Spanish speakers, try running it by other Spanish speakers in your office, or consulting with agencies that specialize in Hispanic marketing. Testing ads and messages will give you the chance to craft a cohesive campaign and get insight into a different market.

Now what?

You’ve got an awesome campaign, all in Spanish, with appropriate cultural references. Great! But, if a primarily Spanish speaker calls into your office, will there be someone on the line to speak with them? Often, companies create wonderful campaigns, but there’s a disconnect once the customer is ready for the next step. To lead a successful campaign, you’ve got to have more than a campaign – you have to have the follow-through. Continuous effort and commitment is needed when marketing to the Hispanic community.

With Florida being the 3rd most Hispanic-populated state, it’s easier than ever to embrace and celebrate Hispanic heritage. Chambers of Commerce, festivals and the growing diverse population in Orlando all offer us rich opportunities to expand how we think through advertising strategies.

Running an ad through Google translate may be a good start, but to reach a Hispanic audience, you have to be ready to “put your batteries in!”

Hurricane Prep Checklist: Agency Edition

By Karina Ross (September 7, 2017)

While Central Floridians are preparing for the storm at home, it’s easy to become distracted and not prepare for the hurricane at work. To help alleviate some Irma pandemonium, here is a Hurricane Prep Checklist – Agency Edition.

Communicate with Clients

Those outside of the cone of uncertainty may be experiencing a different kind of uncertainty. Project statuses and due dates might be moved around with a natural disaster and it’s important to communicate with clients and alert them on any possible delays. Safety concerns for you and your team and a loss of electricity might delay project timelines. While your world is revolving around Irma, a client out of state may still be focused on the projects on their radar.

Back Up Files

Keep an eye on the clouds in the sky and your files in the cloud. Make sure to backup all your important documents, emails and the like, especially if you might not be able to go into the office and need to work remotely.

Stay Connected

Make sure your team has a way to communicate. Whether it’s sending panicked gifs over Slack or having a copy of everyone’s emergency contact info, it’s a good idea to stay in communication. Knowing where your team is and who to contact if a work emergency occurs outside of, you know, the Irma emergency, is important.

Stock Up

Water may be scarce, but that secret bottle of liquid courage stashed away in your office’s desk drawer is still there. Don’t forget to bring it home with you.

Above all else, stay safe, Orlando!

Non-Traditional Ways to Get a Job: Part I

How a Wallet Could Land You Your First Job

How a Wallet Could Land You Your First Job

By Michael Ortiz de Villate (August 30, 2017)

To work in creative, you need the wow-factor, that one thing that will help you stand out from other qualified candidates. You could be the most talented graphic designer in your school or region, but someone else could have one teeny-weeny advantage.

To avoid the challenges most graduates had to land their first jobs, Tuesday Poliak came up with an ingenious way to land herself a callback from every creative director she aspired to work for. Tuesday Poliak is currently executive vice president and chief creative officer of Wunderman D.C., a leading global digital agency. Poliak Graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., in 1994, a time where digital portfolios were non-existent. It was a heavy price to pay to print out a portfolio, which meant most could only print one or two to send out to an agency. Poliak found a way around that and was able to print her portfolio not just once but eleven times at a low cost.

Poliak got every creative director to pursue her by shrinking all of her work down to the size of a wallet. In fact, Poliak created 11 unique wallets that looked like they belonged to each of the creative directors they were assigned to. Inside, she created a realistic version of their driver’s licenses and placed examples of her work inside the photo sleeves. Where bills would normally go, she put larger ads. In the back was a phone card with her contact information, alongside her resume (made to look like an American Express card) and her school ID (to show them her educational background).

The trickiest part for Poliak was getting past reception in order to drop off the wallet — to literally drop it off somewhere random in the office. Poliak would leave it lying around for an employee to find and deliver to the creative director.

After all was said and done, Poliak successfully got a call from every creative director she reached out to and accepted her job with TBWA/Chiat/Day Venice as an art director. We’d call that a job well done.

Tell Us What You Think!

What do you think about Poliak’s method of acquiring a creative role? Tell us on social media!  

Seeking Local Nonprofits for Pro-Bono Marketing Campaign

ORLANDO, Fla. – (July 27, 2017) Ad 2 Orlando, a division of the American Advertising Federation, is currently accepting applications for its 2017–2018 virtual agency client. The selected organization will receive a full-service, integrated marketing campaign completely pro-bono from Ad 2 Orlando’s nationally acclaimed in-house digital agency.

Ad 2 is a national organization for advertising professionals ages 18-32. Annually, dedicated volunteers and board members in each chapter join forces to create an in-house creative agency complete with a creative director, accounts director, media buyer and more. They select a local nonprofit and use their professional expertise to create a complete, strategic marketing plan tailored to the client’s goals. These campaigns are not just theoretical – they are executed and seen through to completion, with the goal of making a real difference in each local community.

Last year, Ad 2 Orlando selected Tech Sassy Girlz as its virtual agency client. Tech Sassy Girlz is a local nonprofit empowering young females to get involved in STEM careers. Together, Ad 2 Orlando and Tech Sassy Girlz strategized, designed and executed a full rebrand and awareness campaign. All promotional, marketing and sales materials were updated and creative was sent to digital, print, radio and out-of-home media partners. Billboards ran on Interstate 4, a new website was launched and radio ads played during drive-time as part of the initiative.

Upon completion of the campaign, Ad 2 Orlando spent 2,000 man-hours working to achieve over 3.5 million impressions for Tech Sassy Girlz. The total campaign is valued at $500,000.

To be considered for the 2017–2018 virtual agency campaign, organizations must fill out the online application available here or via The top six candidates will be invited to interview with Ad 2 Orlando’s in-house agency, after which a final selection will be made.

Requirements: To be eligible, nonprofits must be exempt from Federal Income Tax under Sec. 501(c)(3) or similar sect of USIR code. All applications must be received by 11:59pm EST on August 11, 2017.

About Ad 2 Orlando
Ad 2 Orlando is the local young professional division of the American Advertising Federation. We represent the future of advertising, creating a means for up-and-coming professionals in the industry to gain the contacts, education and leadership opportunities they need to become tomorrow’s industry leaders. We strive to provide educational, developmental and networking opportunities while mentoring students and providing annual advertising support to nonprofit organizations in the Orlando community.

Ad 2 Contact
Creative Director: Nick Olko
Accounts Director: Jessica Warner



Ad 2 Orlando’s End of Year Celebration

Written by Nathalia Bailey

The 2016-2017 year came to a close last night at Ad 2 Orlando’s End of Year Celebration. Many friends were made, careers advanced and conversations enjoyed as members gathered over beer and wine at Ten 10 Brewing Company in Ivanhoe Village.

Board members reminisced on the challenges and successes of the year. Co-President Marissa Curran made a big move to Texas just a few months before her term was up, leaving Co-President Rebekah Bouch to take the reigns. Luckily, she had plenty of help from her friends. Several key board members stepped up to fill the void, including Helenn Bustillo, Michael Gualandri, Nick Olko, Karina Ross, and Alicia Abbott. All were honored with awards by a “really” appreciative Rebekah.

Yet, everyone contributed to the wins the board made at the Ad 2 National Conference this past June. Our Orlando chapter claimed several victories, including prizes in Diversity, Communications, Club Operations, Government Relations and Education. Not to mention our 2nd place win for our Public Service campaign for Tech Sassy Girls.

With the year at an end and a new year unfolding, Rebekah passed the gavel to new Co-Presidents Erin Pearlman and Ralphy Perez. Erin and Ralphy, having served as Vice-Presidents for the past year, are primed and ready to take the lead. They slide naturally into their new roles, their enthusiasm and support of Ad 2’s mission obvious in their inaugural statement and in their interactions with all members.

Moving forward, Ad 2 Orlando has it’s eye on the prize. Members are busy hatching innovative ideas for this coming year, the passion for the work ahead is clear. Members are all in, looking forward to a new year of new friends, new challenges and new impact.

Member Monday Spotlight: Michael Gualandri

Name: Michael Gualandri
Hometown: Metamora, IL
Day Job: Project Manager at Three21
Board Position: Membership Co-Chair

What is the best part about your job?

The best part about my job is keeping an eye on and adapting the latest marketing trends for our agency and our clients!

How would you describe your responsibilities in a tweet (yes…160 characters or less)?

Responsible for maintaining client accounts, discovering & analyzing their needs, and making sure they are beyond satisfied!

Why did you join Ad 2 Orlando?

I joined Ad 2 to surround myself with like minded people; young professionals who want to do more than the usual 9 to 5 in their careers. Everyone’s enthusiasm and curiosity for the industry is invigorating to say the least!

Most memorable Ad 2 moment?

My most memorable Ad 2 moment was helping with the Public Service committee’s video shoot for their selected non-profit, Tech Sassy Girlz. I was asked to help last minute and I didn’t contribute much, but the gratitude from the committee and the women in Tech Sassy Girlz made me so thankful to be a part of something much bigger.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I would love to have the ability to teleport. Fulfilling the Millennial stereotype, I’m a naturally impatient individual so I would love to cut down an 8 hour flight to Europe down to an instant!

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

I would be a house cat. They get a pretty bad rep, but I’m trying to understand how being taken care of AND getting to sleep all day is a bad thing? Plus there’s a 99.99% chance I could easily become internet famous.