published work

Mad (wo)man

12:00:00 AM

I have never worked in an advertising agency; I never applied for a job in one. Although my degree in Communications could have helped me land an entry-level post straight out of college, I was never interested enough to give it a shot. I don't have anything against the industry; it just wasn't my thing.

But the funny thing is, even if I haven't worked in an advertising agency, there was a time when I worked as one. It wasn't supposed to be that way. My job was to come up with a project brief and have the agency execute it, and that was very clear to everyone. The problem is we didn't have an agency.

Our retainer with this big agency (that will remain unnamed) was terminated when they failed to come up with fresh concepts to promote the brand. We were supposed to hire another one, but we were also trying to save money. So I had to step up and actually make print advertisements for the property.

It was a weird setup. I was the client: I decide the message of the ad, and I write the project brief. But I was also the agency: I write the copy, I come up with the concept, I put together the draft. And since I have absolutely no Adobe Photoshop skills, I resorted to exploiting my friends into helping me.

By exploiting, I meant that I would ask my Photoshop-savvy friends to create the final artwork based on my direction. I give them the photo/s, the logo, and the copy, and I tell them where to place these things in the layout. The only thing they need to decide on is which font to use.

Then I just promise to give them credit for their work, copies of the published ad, and a nice meal to be paid for by the company. I had two go-to guys at the time, Tzi and Mathew. They helped me get the job done almost all the time. I say 'almost' because there was one time neither of them were available.

I was panicking on the inside, but I had enough self-control (and pride, maybe) to not roll on the floor crying. I had the copy and the photo. In my head I could already see the final artwork. So out of sheer desperation, I tried my hand at Adobe Photoshop (CS2 at the time). Here are the results:

Study 1. Airport?
Study 2. Love the shadow!
Design-wise, the ads are (too) simple and clean, and I know that any seasoned Photoshop user could have done this in ten minutes or less. It took me four whole hours to finish these, because I had to Google instructions every two minutes. But hey, at least I actually finished them. I know this is shallow, but I consider these two babies an achievement!

I really can't remember which is which, but one of these was published in a magazine, while the other was used for an email campaign in 2009.

P.S. The title is a play at AMC's Mad Men, a television drama about the people who worked in advertising in the 1960s.

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