Saturday, January 26, 2008

Audio Schizophrenica

What do Eddie Vedder and Luciano Pavarotti have in common? Well, they both made it on to my credit card when I popped in to Starbucks today -- just for a cup of coffee mind you. This post is a little about music, a lot about the power of persuasion, and maybe a word or two about loneliness... (no, it isn't gonna' get sappy -- philosophical, maybe, but not sappy.)

I went in for a cupa' joe... I left with $36 worth of "stuff." Not 'cause I needed it... but because it "sounded good..." it felt right... it was there in front of me. I bought my coffee (to show that I had focus,) and I grabbed some trail mix (easily three times more expensive than the grocery store's bag o' nuts and berries) a bottle of Pellegrino, some "coffee mints" to hide the fact that I had just chugged their product, a CD by the dear departed tenor, and -- get this - an $11.99 rigid card that said Eddie Vedder: Into the Wild; a tasty technology morsel from our friends at Apple. It's an iTunes Digital Release card that allows the user to just enter the secret code into their Mac or PC and 7 minutes later have the Eddie Vedder experience. Oh yea... and it's a great opportunity for Apple to say "As long as you're on our site -- wouldn't you also like to buy (fill in the blank...)?

OK -- I'm enthralled by all of this... but I have a moral dilemma as well. The convenience is great, but I confess, it's getting easier and easier to live a life without people in it. Yes, there was a cashier at the Starbucks, but nice as she was, she was just following the script;

she: Thank you! can I get you a tasty scone or something else from our bakery display?
me: I've got $36 dollars worth of "stuff" here and I'm already fat...

she: (still smiling blankly) A scone?
me: No thanks. Do you have baked Alaska or escargot?

she: (same smile) That'll be $36.21
me: Do you take I.O.Us?

she: (taking my credit card and breaking eye contact) Next in line...

To the point (if there is one): Many of the folks at ADG are reading a book by Susan Scott called Fierce Conversations (ISBN: 0670031240). It's about talking. REALLY talking. It's a skill that I seem to lose more of year by year as I shoot more emails, send more IMs, text more messages, and yes... post more BLOGS. It's not that any of these are inherently bad -- quite the contrary, they're very good -- until they become a substitute for conversation. Honest, "hey I'm interested in what you have to say" kind of conversations.

Yes, ADG is in the business of "e" marketing, design, and learning... and yes, we want to attain recognition like Starbucks, and Apple, and so many others that have influenced entire markets... but we also want to be known as a firm that cares about people. Inside people (our employees) and outside people (our clients and partners.) As a matter of fact -- I don't want to think in terms of "inside and outside" -- but it's hard. I'm unlearning some crazy bad habits and trying to throw off the residue that still lingers from the days. Maybe you can help me... Somebody call and invite me to go out for coffee and challenge me to not talk about business. There's a time and place for that -- but there's also time for a good 'ol fashion fierce conversation.

I patiently await my invitation :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Corporate Citizenship

There's the sappy... and then there's the sincere. And of course, there are the sincere who are also kinda' sappy. I think that we're the latter. ADG is an organization of people that count their blessings quite frequently. So to that end, we're formalizing our practice of giving back to the community at large. This year, ADG will be considering worthwhile causes and adding our corporate partnership and support to assist them in their mission.

It's our distinct pleasure to identify the first of these partnerships for '08; Adventures For the Cure, as they Race Across America in search of a cure for Diabetes -- a disease that effects over 20.8 million children and adults in the United States alone. Visit Adventures directly at for additional information, and we hope that you'll consider supporting them as well.

Oh yea! And make sure to see Adventure's really cool trailer above!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Charmed, I'm Sure.

ADG's annual holiday hoopla, Gumbo & Mistletoe ( was a huge success thanks to the many friends, clients, family members, and creatives that attended. The event boasts a ton of really cool things, but among them is the coolest crawdaddy cake you ever laid eyes on. Baltimore's only Charm City Cakes, made famous by the hugely popular Food Network, provided a delectable confection for the event that satiated the appetite and satisfied the eyes. Lorrie Holihan, ADG's Agency Manager, is shown with Charm City's owner Duff Goldmann and the original cake concept provided by ADG is shown below. The event's complete press release follows as well. Bon apetito!

(PRLEAP.COM) ADG Creative, a Columbia, Md. strategic communications, marketing, design and interactive media firm, is ringing in the holidays with Cajun music, a hot pot of gumbo and a truckload of toys for the children of New Orleans. The price of admission at the company’s annual “Gumbo & Mistletoe” party is a wrapped toy to be shipped to the Ninth Ward in time for Christmas Eve. ADG is one of a growing number of companies who prefer to focus their holiday parties on charitable giving. “We are not a typical office and this is not a typical office party,” notes Jeff Antkowiak, ADG’s Chief Creative Officer. “We view this event as a celebration of family and friends, and its only natural that we would want to share our good fortune with such deserving kids. Last year, we collected nearly 300 toys to send to the Ninth Ward. It helps us to remember the true meaning of the holidays.”

The first Gumbo & Mistletoe party started on a whim more than 10 years ago. Dreading the thought of yet another potluck affair, ADG’s staff decided to pool together ingredients for a steaming spicy pot of gumbo. Today the tradition continues, with each invitation containing a secret code that reveals the ingredient the recipient must bring. “As everyone shows up the gumbo evolves,” explains Antkowiak. “So every guest is necessary for the evening to be a

Music by the Crawdaddies and a Charm City Cake by celebrity chef Duff Goldman will round out the evening of Cajun holiday cheer for the more than 350 guests.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Mobile Agency

ADG's talents are "hangin' around" everywhere. Following ADG's annual "Hey! Get back to work!" breakfast, the office Queen Bees (Karen, Lorrie, and Julie) buzzed around judging mobiles created by, well... Creatives. Pictures of the wiry masterpieces are featured below, as well as photos of some of the Creatives in miniature. The firm's staff kicked back and shared a few "did you know" facts about themselves and some kid-pics, showing off their baby fat and toothless smiles. Speaking for myself, the only thing that's changed is now I have teeth. So who's who? You'll just have to take a guess. Enjoy!

Mobile Creativity

Immature Creatives

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

ADG Launches Our First BLOG

Another BLOG... yipee. OK, I'm with ya -- but this is different! We're gonna' try to make this a "no whining" zone, and rather spend our time letting anyone whose interested get a peek inside ADG. We do great work -- but it's because we're fueled by great people. To that end, visit here every now and again to get to know us better. We'd love to hear what you think of the BLOG as well. We hope to keep folks updated on what's happening with ADG, throw some interesting industry news about, and feature some of our new projects from time-to-time. Thanks for taking a minute to peruse.