Friday, September 28, 2007

How can the globe warm up to us?

I went to Keith Reinhard's Brand America Part 2 presentation yesterday and came away sorry that I couldn't stay until it ended. (It was my turn to drive the 5 p.m. shuttle to soccer practice.) Reinhard, who in his post-DDB life is president of a group called Business for Diplomatic Action, is all hot and bothered about America's declining status as a world brand, ranking, according to a BBC study conducted earlier this year, between Iran and North Korea. "On this survey, at least, we have joined the axis of evil," he said. So, the point of yesterday's seminar was to have four advertising, um, entities crack the following hypothetical scenario: if the government gave you $500 million a year for four years, how would you use that money to improve Brand America? The reason I say entities is because the four presenters were two teams from Rick Boyko's VCU Adcenter (BTW, when did Boyko start to look like Dan Wieden?), a guy from Draft FCB who described himself as Indian-Canadian but I didn't catch his name, and a team from Tribal DDB. (I hear that Tribal DDB won with an idea called "united states of mind" but I missed the presentation, and, no, the panel of judges did not include anyone from DDB.) But the winner wasn't the point, I don't think, as much as looking at interesting ways to work on a vexing problem. The two presentations by the VCU kids weren't flawless but they weren't half-bad either. Better than what I saw of DraftFCB's, which centered on the U.S. improving its image by taking the lead on fighting global warming—I found it a bit patronizing. But the VCU teams both aimed at finding the common ground that citizens of the world have with one another, using technology ranging from widgets to face-mapping as the underpinnings of their ideas. We spend a lot of time in this business trying to figure out twentysomethings—this exercise underscored how different their perspective is. The word "TV" was never mentioned.
Will any of this work get produced? Probably not. Then again, with Reinhard making this his current passion, hey, you never know.

1 comment:

JesseB said...

Great post on some of my fellow VCU students. I loved their work, and Im happy to see it has gotten warm responses outside.

Thanks for showing that us 20 somethings have some pretty big ideas between our ears.