My Intern is Smarter than Me!


There is no doubt about that. I have used paid interns since the time I started my own business in 2001. I had worked successfully in the corporate world and then I started Blank and Associates. I had business cards quickly but I didn’t know much beyond that on how to create a job every day for myself.

So I went back to where I started. My youth. I had nothing to lose then. And then I connected with youth to help me. I hired my first paid intern. He has been in the workforce for a decade now and I pitched him this week on a project.

I have continued to use paid interns since then. Continue reading

In the New Normal Agency Life is a Game of Jump Ball


I really don’t know much about Basketball having grown up in Canada. I do know quite a bit about Hockey though. I do know that Basketball was invented by a Canadian named James Naismith. Wikipedia said he was a Canadian American, although I don’t think you can get such a passport that would pass with TSA or INS.

I like talking to agency principals. I have written about that in the many times in the past.

I was having some wine with an agency principal from a global agency the other day. Part of a major agency holding company.  He makes more money in a year than I make in 3 years. He hadn’t had a raise in three years. It is all about the bonus baby, if you make the number. That number was created for NYSE but not for the New Normal.

They were lamenting how much the agency business has changed and that even the larger clients are dropping AOR relationships for project work. This reminded me of when I saw the CEO of Razorfish speaking at a New Business Conference a couple of years ago. He said that 50% of his agency’s work was project based.

I remember thinking, how do you manage that when you have to make payroll for 3,000 people? Continue reading

What I Have Learned By Going to Conferences.


One of my goals this year was to go to more Conferences. It was the concept of, If you want to be a big fish act like a big fish. I mentioned it in a blog called How Agencies Can Move Up the Food Chain.

Now I put a lot of skin in the game making this decision because I have to personally pay for all the expenses. I did get a free pass to one of the Conferences but I also had the brutal shock of a hotel bill in NYC.

I attended two conferences this week. One was a Branding Conference in New York and the other one was Interactive Day in San Diego which is certainly closer to home.

The Branding Conference certainly had a lot of heavy hitters on the panels and attending. There were representatives from major brands in financial services, consumer products, and a myriad of other industries. The companies that are on the NYSE. You know the type. The speakers worked at all the big places with all the impressive titles. Some of them remain firmly entrenched in the Old Normal. Continue reading

Common Mistakes Advertising Agencies Make Online.


I know a lot about advertising and digital agency websites and their online presence.

When I am conducting an agency review I check out a lot of agency websites.

When I am helping agencies find great talent, I check out their websites and their LinkedIn game.

When they need to outsource digital development I connect them with my partner in Buenos Aires.

When I hunt for agencies, I check out their online game because in the New Normal clients will definitely do a Google search on you.

We all know that agencies admit they are Cobbler’s Children when it comes to marketing themselves.

I have blogged about that in the past. Most don’t listen. They say I know I know but rarely change. Change is hard in business and life. Continue reading

Corporate Theme Lines Often Don’t Align With Company Culture.


I love being involved with the development of agency corporate theme lines.

When we were pitching a new campaign or a piece of business, out would come one of the presentation boards that was placed on rails in the agency conference room. Then the reveal moment.

One of my favorites was when I worked on a Laxative called Nature’s Remedy. Out came the theme line reveal. When Nature Needs a Nudge. Brilliant, as the British say.

In the New Normal I have seen a lot of theme lines that are just Gold Smoke. Companies just talking to themselves. Continue reading