Here’s an equation for you:Photo Credit: BusinessWeek
Great Venue+Great Speaker+Great Format=Amazing Event!

Do you ever walk out of an event thinking “WOW I just got more than my money’s worth!” ? It doesn’t happen too much in today’s society where you often walk away from an event feeling uninspired.

The San Diego Ad Club played host to an event last night entitled An Evening with Alex Bogusky of Crispin Porter+Bogusky critical acclaim.  The event was well worth it as many of the people I talked to on the way out were blown away by the experience to sit in a room and asks questions of the man who has the hottest ad agency in the country.

Alex Bogusky’s famed work including VW, Burger King, Coke Zero, Dominoes, and Truth (anti-tobacco) do more than just get a little buzz, they increase sales, by a lot. In an industry where the client’s bottom line is really all that matters Alex knows that to stay in business your work has to tell a story and that story has to sell your stuff, in an honest, funny and in some cases shocking way.

What made it great was a combination of things really. Of course the venue was great – held at the esteemed USD Center for Peace and Justice. The room held only 300 people, so to say it was an intimate event was to speak truthfully. The format was more of an open discussion (James Lipton style) than the typical stand up and lecture blah blah blah you get from most speaking events. And the speaker himself was awesome. Alex Bogusky made us laugh (a lot), made us think, ask questions and really get inspired about marketing.
An Event with Alex Bogusky

He talked about his modest upbringing with no plans of going to college because his parents didn’t expect much of him. He explained the benefit to starting his shop in Miami and how similar the it is to the small market environment it is in San Diego. It gives you the ability “to stew in your own creative juices” without being distracted by Madison Avenue.  He told us his strategy from moving up from local to regional to national clients and what were the challenges along the way. And he had lots of examples with lots of stories – the case studies were used to prove the point that a great story, taking a chance on the creative and embracing the power of the masses (viral marketing) will help boost your brand’s awareness and sales and lead to your own success.

There is really so much to talk about from this event but I though I would sum it up with 10 takeaways:

  1. The only thing you should fear is mediocrity – anything else should be discussed
  2. Don’t market by lying, find the strengths in any product and  broadcast those
  3. Your campaigns should always start with a powerful story. Don’t start with the media, start with a press release that tells that story and then go from there
  4. Be bored of the past work, striving to be different with every project
  5. You can hate ads but still be an amazing advertising professional
  6. You should build up your brand equity and pull it out as needed. Don’t kill anything that was created a year ago
  7. Do away with time sheets. Why? Your best work may come out of a project you are actually loosing money on, but you are investing back in the company
  8. Embrace small market independence and delusional positivity
  9. Live to work – work because there is nothing else you would rather do
  10. If you are looking for a job – come prepared, bring your portfolio and raise your hand first. Alex hired a new intern on the spot – now that’s spontaneity!

I think everyone is looking forward to what comes out of the agency for Microsoft’s first big ad push at a time they are looking most vulnerable.

The video tape of the event should be made available soon through the San Diego Ad Club – check back for me to post the link:)

Top Photo Credit:
Bottom Photo: Alex Funk