Haft2Know just reminded me of Pop Bar. It was on my list of places to visit during my last trip to NYC, but I sadly ran out of time. It's definitely on the To Do List for my next juant! Food on a stick is the best – especially when it's made with gelato and premium toppings... drool.
Just finished reading Debbie Millman's "Look Both Ways" – a collection of essays that surprised me by their intensely personal connection to the author. A quick read that took me a couple of hours one lazy afternoon, the book covers a series of reflections Debbie has about certain brands or even city landmarks that she has come across in her life. In the book she recounts how profoundly humans connect to stories and ideas that brands represent and how we can create entire worlds around these things, places or concepts. Essentially, this idea, is the cornerstone of all branding and advertising and she punctuates this repeatedly by giving examples of her strong ties to the ideas specific brands embody.
All told the book is engaging because the voice of the author is sincere and authentic and the presentation of the text as handwritten pages is charming.
That said, I was disappointed that after her long successful career, that she felt the need to end the series by saying that anyone that pursues our line of work (commercial art / advertising / branding) has somewhat sold out just because it's a secure living. I think I would have reframed the path she was heading with this idea (because she clearly states she is looking for the next professional chapter/challenge in her life) and simply stated that humans cannot do one thing for their entire lives and expect to be satisfied. Sure, that's how things are structured so you can climb the ladder, build credibility and make more money – granted. But humans, in my humble opinion, are only truly happy when there is a steady and consistent opportunity to grow and learn something new. After 20+ years in any business, a person could get restless – sure. Does this mean one should suddenly discount their career choice and abandon it? Or should they just acknowledge that maybe it's time for a change?
Our industry gets so much flack for not being real, or artistic or worthy of respect. Sure, if you want to judge an entire industry by the lowest common denominator, you can label it crap pretty easily. But given that Debbie chose not only to devote her professional life and career to it, but also create a book with countless stories about the strong connection of her love for various brands – surely there is something of value there to her that transcends merely selling buying and stuff? As I see it, her questioning of her next professional step causes her to undermine the whole point she is making in the book.
Branding and advertising is modern day story telling. Yes, it's littered with bullshit and crap, but there is also work out there that changes not just what people buy – but how they think, act and treat one another. The transformational power of brands is big, real and can be awe inspiring and can change the world. So why call yourself (and the rest of us) a sell-out? Was Tibor a sell-out? I wish people in our industry would stop apologizing for what they do and own it – celebrate it. We work hard and sometimes, we get projects and clients that provide the most marvelous opportunities to change perceptions.
Understanding human desire and motivation is fascinating and it drives and inspires me daily to create new ways of communicating. Whether it's for potato chips, phones, handbags or oatmeal, landmine awareness or protecting freedom of speech – there is value in all of it. No regrets over here.