February 15, 2010

Dear fellow faithful OutOfWorkAdGuy followers. I write to you as still an Ad guy out of work. Mostly by choice mind you. Between the search for an agency that values the truly creative, and possibly another industry where I can put my talents to good use, I happy to report that I am still creating, and working away on projects that fulfill my most demanding of creative desires. These projects are solely for myself and not for any client. And as of today, I will be sharing them with you. All of them.

Up until now, this OutOfWorkAdGuy blog has been filled with stories of past creative successes. And as interesting and enjoyable as some of you may find them, there is something essentially missing.

The failures.

All those creative failures that I’ve had, that until recently, I realized would make this blog a whole lot more real. For, for every great, successful idea that I come up with, there are about 50 turkeys that accompany it. It’s a fact that even the most successful people fail more than they succeed. So moving forward with this blog, as I embark on new creative conquests, I will be bringing all the ideas I create to you. The good, the bad and the ugly.

In doing so, you’ll be able to see the thought process behind the idea, the execution and the payoff (if there is one). Hopefully this will educate and inspire, as this is my intent with this blog.

And so with this said, I would like to announce that in the coming weeks – perhaps months – I will be launching a new campaign with an absolutely way-out-there idea so big; it might just garner some media attention.

Now I can’t reveal it today as I am still in the stage where idea theft is quite possible. But should I succeed, it could very well send me into the ideas hall of fame. However, should I fail, I’ll risk looking like a bumbling idiot truly worthy of the name, OutOfWorkAdGuy.

Be back soon.


Excuse of the day

January 26, 2010

I know, I know… I haven’t been updating this blog as regularly as I should.

Well, keep in mind this is a blog about creativity, and good creative takes time. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

P.S. I’m working on a couple of exciting things now, and will write about it as soon as it’s done. Stay tuned.

The world’s best promo bar none! Well… maybe a couple of bars.

December 10, 2009

You can be the world’s most talented _________ (fill in the blank). But if nobody knows about you, then you might as well consider yourself the world’s worst. Because no one is using you, so it makes no difference.

Take Kurt Hahn for example, probably one of the world’s most talented musicians / composers around. The guy could play a piece on the piano that would bring a tear to Liberace’s eye and a flutter to Anne Murray’s heart.

Now all Kurt wanted to do was to score music for television commercials. He tried the conventional route of picking up the phone and sending emails and… he got nothing. Not a stitch of work. See, no one knew who he was and in many industries, especially advertising, no one’s really gonna give someone they’ve never heard of a chance.

That is until the day he put out a demo created by a couple of crafty Ad men, that put his name on the tips of the tongues of everyone in the Advertising business.

Have a listen:

The result: Did it work? Of course it worked! I shouldn’t even have to type that.

No news is…

December 3, 2009

Getting no response from a potential employer can be really tough. Even tougher perhaps is getting no response from someone you’ve freelanced for before. Especially when you feel you’ve done good work for them and have established a great rapport. You end up being left with a lot of questions and doubt.

This happened recently to me. I had been trying to contact a Creative Director that I had previously done some campaign work for and was getting no response. I emailed, then a week later, politely emailed again. Then I placed a phone call. David (we’ll call him) picked up, said he was busy and asked me to phone back to which I got his answering machine. I left a message simply saying “Just checking to see if you need any help around the agency…” and again, no reply.

By now I was definitely feeling dissed. And where most people would surmise that it’d be best to leave it alone, and wonder quietly what the reason for the non-reply is… I decided that I’d try something different.

Here’s what I did. A new and improved email:

Subject: No news is..

Hi David,

Hope things are pleasantly busy over there.

Just wanted to write you and say that I’m a big believer in the saying “No News Is Good News.”

And since I haven’t heard from you in a while, I’m guessing that means it’s really great news!

So with that said… when do I start?


—  Jeremy

Ya… it’s ballsy. But it worked because David called me back.

Now it didn’t land me a job right away, but what David ended up telling me is that they had won some new business and that there may be some opportunities in the coming months so I should check back then.

So next time someone is putting you on ignore, you may prefer to leave it alone. And if the thought of  “Why aren’t they calling back? Or, What did I do wrong?” doesn’t nag away at you. You can just write off that potential future opportunity.

But if you are determined not only for answers, but desire to stay top-of-mind in a non-aggressive / humorous way, then you may want to try something like the above.

The Hopeless helping the Homeless.

November 25, 2009

I’ve been out of work many times over my career. And each time you can’t help but to feel a little hopeless. But even in the harshest of times, my heart still goes out to the underdog. Like Mike “The Looney Man,” as he’s referred to by the locals in my neighbourhood.

Mike is known as the Looney Man because all you’ll ever hear him say as you pass by is, “Do you have a Looney?” in an Elmer Fudd meets John Tesh kinda voice. Unknowingly, he really annoys a lot of the locals.

So I figured one day since I can’t help him out with any money (as I was just a couple of government cheques away from joining him), I’d whip up something creative for Mike to aid in his Looney collecting.

Recognizing that Mike is indeed a character as he’s already established himself as the Looney Man, but repels people from giving him money with his approach, I thought what would be best for Mike is if he kept his mouth closed, and let something else do the talking for him.

So I created the Looney Man T-shirt. Check out the picture below.

Thanks to the Looney Man T-shirt, which quietly asks for the Looney’s he so desires in a fun and entertaining way – along with complimentary Looney Bin (no pun intended) – Mike was able to see a 40% increase in Looney’s month over month! Better still, Mike enjoyed a 60% decrease in “Get a job you loser.” from passerby’s.

Pic of the day.

November 20, 2009

Even though I’m the OutOfWorkAdGuy and work in the advertising business, I’m trying not to make this blog about Ads. But here’s one I couldn’t resist posting for a good laugh.


How I got into Animation.

November 11, 2009

For those of you who have been following this blog, you’ll notice that I’ve had to be creative and come up with unconventional methods to win every job I ever got.

Well, my first job in the animation biz was no different.

One day I came across this 3D animation magazine and was struck by its cover. It had this really well built, well-rendered animated character that had me in awe. Thinking it was the coolest thing I had ever seen, I felt compelled to find out who its creator was and contact them. Living in Ottawa Canada at the time, it ended up that this image I was so drawn to was created by a commercial animation studio in Toronto called Red Rover.

I sent out an email immediately to tell them how it would be a dream to work for their company, and asked if they needed anyone. They replied back asking to see my portfolio and when I sent it over, they responded saying they were a little doubtful about my skills being up to snuff.

In my heart, I knew this to be true. But believing in the impossible, I answered back telling them that I’m aware of the current level of my work, but that I feel that it’s not the greatest representation of my true skill. I then went on to propose a challenge. (Yup, you read right… a challenge).

With balls of steel and guts of glory, here’s the tail end of an email exchange between the head animation supervisor and myself:


Email between Kyle Levey @ Red Rover and me:

You wrote…

<I had a thought… since I have nothing else animation wise to show you… maybe you could send me a model of something you’ve made…tell me what you want it to do, and I’ll send it back to you animated… even tell me how fast you want it done.

I figure this is a better idea, than me telling you I’m a better animator than what I have to show for.>



I’m Kyle Levy, Animation Supervisor here at Rover. I have been looking for an animator to help me complete our upcoming spots. The superman test I saw was descent but not enough info to tell if you are up to the challenge that would be involved with this job.

So… I have attached an audio clip for you. Take it and do your thing. If it’s good, you’re in.

Use your superman character. Make it waist up shot and show me good ACTING and LIP SYNC. Send me something before Friday at 3pm Toronto time. Dont wory about pretty renders, a preview is fine. All I care about is acting.

This “test” is optional of course. But you have a unique opportunity here.

Good luck!

Kyle Levy


And here’s the spot that won me the job:

I see alive people.

November 11, 2009

Halloween’s come and gone, making this post a little late. But here’s a fun little idea I saw and wanted to post. Credit: JT.


Assisting the assistant.

November 10, 2009

I once dated this lovely girl from Indonesia. We met in college where she had come from halfway around the world to study photography.

During her studies she had always talked about how she’d love to work for the famous Canadian commercial photographer Shin Sugino.

After graduation, she made many attempts to contact him and sent her portfolio in the hopes of being able to not only assist him, but learn from a true master as well. Unfortunately for her, she kept getting stymied by a rather insecure assistant who was already working there and would say to my partner at the time, “Sorry, Shin doesn’t hire any assistants with less than 5 years experience.”

Discouraged, my partner felt like there was no way in and that it would be best to just give up her dream. But me being the creative person that I am said, “Don’t worry, I got an idea that’ll get you working at Shin’s studio in no time.”

Knowing that many assistants send photographers their portfolio (which is irrelevant because they never take the pictures), I came up with a promo that highlighted and spoke to the job my partner was wishing to do, and did it in a fun and interesting way.

So I went out, bought a box, and filled it with tiny little paper cutouts of photography equipment I printed from the web. I made sure it was the very same type of equipment a photographer’s assistant needs to be trained in using, in order to work on the job. Then I included a little note on the inside that read “Dear Mr. Sugino. I’m an expert at setting these items up. However, I’m also very good at setting up the full size versions as well!”

I then sealed the box, glued my partner’s resume and contact info on the top, wrapped it like a present, and had it express delivered to Mr. Shin Sugino himself.

The result: On the day the package arrived my partner received a call, and by the very next week, was working for her dream mentor. Creativity wins again!


Quote of the day.

November 10, 2009

Some people can read War and Peace and come away thinking it’s a simple adventure story. Others can read the ingredients on a chewing gum wrapper and unlock the secrets of the universe.

– Lex Luthor in Superman the Movie

A great creative person can extrapolate a ton of information from just a couple of clues, just by staying curious.