*Eunoia is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five vowels. It means beautiful thinking. This blog is a collection of just that, beautiful thinking from the worlds of art, advertising and culture.

A Condensed List of Some of the Stuff I Teach at SCAD

Luke Sullivan:

I once read that smart companies should give away what they know. I didn’t get it at first but the more I read, the more I saw how these “generous brands” attract paying customers. Cool. So, with that in mind, here is a condensed version of pretty much everything I try to cram in my students’ heads every quarter.

When everything is okay, people are not interested.

Bad is stronger than good.

Without is stronger than with.

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Luke Sullivan is one of the smartest, dogged, creative people I know. I’m certain SCAD still doesn’t know how lucky they are to get this guy. The entire list of his teachings are required reading for anyone in the business, newbies and vets.

Packaging: Pantone Inspired Beer


DESIGN: Pantone Inspired Beer Packaging

Here for this. The packaging for these cans match the color of the beer to its corresponding Pantone color.

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Love thinking of color as flavor. Works well in beer.

'District Voices' weeklong series to feature videos from iJustine, Veritasium and other YouTube channels


The videos will run on the film’s Capitol TV website and YouTube channel, presented as programming sanctioned by the totalitarian Panem regime. Each episode will cover a different facet of life in the fictional world of “The Hunger Games,” hosted by YouTubers whose channels align with a specific industry from one of the districts.

Lionsgate launches it’s first installment today in the week long series, “District Voices” in collaboration with YouTube stars. Each film  promotes a different district. What sounds potentially cheesy on paper comes off as a legitimate extension of the dystopian society into our present world. The tone is appropriately stylized and stilted.

I much prefer original content that dimensionalizes the film vs a massive media buy that promotes the trailer. This kind of multi-party collaboration is a welcome sign of things to come.


WATCH: Damien Rice releases first music video in eight years


The video, set on an eerily deserted lake, was filmed by frequent Sigur Ros collaborators Arni & Kinski.

This video is a stunning study of how to make special effects feel completely natural. The pacing of the edit and his actions is hypnotic. Videos are best when they enhance the song, versus overwhelming it. This does that gloriously. I can’t wait for the album.

Speaking at BDW

Last week, I headed westward to speak at a few advertising/design schools. My first stop was in Boulder to take part in BDW’s Speaker Series. I had read a lot about this program and was excited to see what it was all about. David Slayden, the Executive Director, Founder, is from the midwest too, graduating from IU Bloomington with a PhD in English/Cultural Studies.

As soon as I walked in, I could feel the energy in this funky, compact space. It was midday, between classes, so it was a bit quiet, but still full of life.

David is conducting a personal social experiment by chucking his 4,500 square foot home to live in an Airstream adjacent to the school for 10 months. Of course, it was beautifully appointed and designed perfectly.

I learned about why he started the program, what it’s goal was- “Adapting to a world in permanent beta”, and where he wanted to focus. I have spent a fair amount of time at schools in the past few years, and it was the first time I’d ever heard someone remark that their students were too focused and diligent, that he wanted to make more room for play in the program.

He’s right. The demand for entrepreneurial minded, tech savvy kids is high. Place like Google and big agencies snap these students up faster than he can develop them. But to properly do his job, he knows that he needs to give them space to experiment. 

I was able to sit in on a Design Thinking class and hear a client give a real world assignment to the students. I loved hearing their questions, which were all thoughtful. Later that evening I spoke, a little apprehensive that my talk wouldn’t resonate as much with this crowd. But they were a lovely audience and asked dozens of questions. 

These students are going to head out and help change the world forever. Possibly the most valuable thing they’ll walk away from their training at BDW is not only the acceptance of change, but the ability to drive it.

*Totally random fact: David had a brief stint in Indianapolis years ago, where he freelanced for our founder, David Young. Small world.

Chanel No 5 launches epic ad by Baz Luhrmann featuring Gisele Bündchen


The cinematic ad, “the one that I want”, was created in-house and somewhat emulates Luhrmann’s film The Great Gatsby.

Someday, I may be able to work on an ad that’s as cinematic as this one is. Gisele has become the advertising darling of 2014, with her Under Armour ad, and now this. Baz Luhrmann directs this epic dream in the same disorienting way he directed Gatsby. The track, “You’re the one that I want” is the last track on earth I would’ve thought of, but it is what makes this piece.

Hanging with the students and faculty at BYU AdLab this week.

I’ve been to a few schools around the country to speak, and I have to say, I’ve never been met with as much enthusiasm as I was by this group yesterday. It was a joy to speak to them. 

I’d heard a lot about the AdLab program from other recruiters and Creative Directors. In the past few years, it has become a darling of both groups. They are known for putting out bright, talented kids with a killer work ethic.

After digging into the program, I was surprised to discover it’s an undergrad program. For some reason, I thought it was a grad program. Maybe it’s because they run an advertising agency inside the program called AdLab. The lab takes on assignments from both clients and agencies. It’s a pretty fascinating model. 

I was also able to spend time with Pat Doyle, the Director of AdLab and Kevin Kelly, a professor. Seasoned vets, these two bring a level of focus and rigor to the program. Last week, they took 10 students to NYC to Advertising Week. That level of exposure to the industry and agencies (they toured all the best agencies there) is unprecedented at an undergrad level. 

I am excited to be connected with this group and the potential of working with the AdLab, and its students. 

Google Embeds Itself in NYC With Some Delightful Site-Specific Outdoor Ads

"Google search has always been about inspiring curiosity and enabling discovery," a Google rep tells AdFreak. "This is the inspiration behind encouraging New Yorkers to re-look at familiar landmarks—both big and small—in a new light.

I love how they picked the highest tourism destination to appeal to locals. Charming lo tech application of tech.

These Starbucks Ads Prove Texting Will Never Beat Real Life Interactions

Elite Daily:

In each instance, someone sparks the conversation with a remark they wouldn’t be able to make if the people weren’t face-to-face, such as “I know that look!” or “You’re blushing.”

I found these commercials from BBDO when I read about the new documentary for Starbucks by 72andSunny. While I love the idea of the 24 hour global documentary, the execution didn’t move me the way these ads do. They came out a few weeks ago.

Most of all, I love the nuance of these spots. I wish I could’ve been in the room when they were sold to hear how they convinced the client that people would understand that people weren’t texting in a Starbucks.

As much as I’m drawn to the new real-time documentary approach that brands are taking, it’s still hard to beat a good :30 second spot.

Bassett & Partners: “Briefly”


Is the creative brief one that gives you direction for your work or is it just a nonfunctional formality piece? Founder of brand and design strategy firm Bassett & PartnersTom Bassett, decided to explore just that in a short film. 

"The best briefs are audacious and seemingly impossible"— John Boiler, 72andSunny. The topic of the creative brief has been pretty much bludgeoned to death. But, this film, shows the power and beauty of a good brief from the perspective of architects, authors and agencies. Beautifully crafted and inspiring.