Monthly Archives: May 2010

A Photo Essay on Concepting Remotely

As I wrote close to thirty Pedigree scripts last night and we have a big Nissan meeting tomorrow I still have to do writeups for, my writing for this post will be in photos. As li is in another time zone, trying to be a bridezilla but still managing to be my art director as well, we’ve spent some time video chatting. It was extremely productive, as proven by these photos of us diligently working.

The last one’s really just disgruntled. But, go lali! Let’s not let time constraints or time zones bring us down!

Back to work for me, although it’s just not as fun without my partner.

Miss you, <3 you, xo you, li.
love, la.

P.S. The third photo down represents the google image search for lali, a coincidental but strangely appropriate metaphor for our partnership.


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working from bed

Since my partner’s off doing things more important than working (wait, there’s something more important than working?) – like half-getting-married – I had the privilege of not only working from home today, but working from bed. Thank goodness for work laptops.

I am writing scripts about dogs and getting delirious. Good thing Winston is sleeping over, as he’s more insight into the minds of dogs today. I happen to be writing about dog joints at the moment, and literally wrote down: “The food in my glucosamine” instead of “the glucosamine in my food.” At least I spelled glucosamine correctly!

Here’s Winston: (and Noah, who gets to sleep now while I work)

And here’s one of my favorite Pedigree spots: (If only I could write one that good right about now. Which then begs the question, why am I blogging instead of Pedigreeing?)

xo, la

P.S. li and I are video chatting tomorrow morning re: Nissan so she’s not actually doing things more important than working, she’s still working!
P.P.S. li, I miss you! xo again, la.

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what’s one lali without the other :(

Tying up loose ends around the office before la takes me to the airport (I’m headed back east for a big engagement party, see pretty photos here). The hard part is lali has LOTS to do while I’m gone. This is not unusual. La and I worked almost our entire Christmas break, despite the fact that I was in Virginia/Maryland and she was in California/Ohio. Happily, we were at least in the same time zone for a few days. Anyhoo, we’re no strangers to concepting over video chat:

Hopefully, by the time I return to California, we have baked an entirely new campaign for Pedigree Canada, thought up a slew of ingenious Nissan commercials, and sold some media arts for Whiskas. Bicoastally.

xo, li

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Don’t Give UP!

So just scroll to 1:28s and listen. It’s our anthem for the day. We’ve been singing it Kate Bush style since our 4p meeting. And although we won’t give UP, I’m too tired to actually write a real post.

xo, la

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High Five

We spent most of the day working on Pedigree or enjoying live music. SO, cats had to wait until after hours. In honor of comping Whiskas ads at midnight on a Friday, here is a video of Nathan Jr. giving my boyfriend Mark a high five.

I should also take this opportunity to say HIGH FIVE to us… lali had four spots go to the top-level Nissan clients today. Fingers crossed!

Now to enjoy the rest of my Friday night! Oh wait…
xo, li


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The Perks of Being an Adgirl at TBWA\Chiat\Day LA

So yesterday, li posted about the perks of being an adgirl. Now I’m going to post about the perks of being an adgirl at TBWA\Chiat\Day LA.

Today, on the Media Arts Lab (MAL) patio, we were lucky enough to see the Shout Out Louds perform over pizza and beer. You know you work somewhere cool when this is the email you get at 9:54 am:

So for lunch today in the world of madmen, the adgirls got to go to a concert. A private concert. I could have thrown a potato chip and hit Adam Olenius while he played the tambourine with his feet, and I don’t have a very good arm. Not that I would do that, but I could have. Instead, I swayed around to “Impossible” (play song here) and took some awesome pictures on my hipstamatic iPhone app.

One more note on just how cool it is to be at a cool place: the first of these concerts was Little Dragon. So good. I saw her from 30 feet away with 30 people in attendance. Then at Coachella, I saw her onstage with the Gorillaz but could only see her face projected on a huge screen through a throng of a hundred thousand people.

If that’s not a perk of being in advertising, someone call up an investment bank, because lali is ready for a new career.

xo, la


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lali learns the perks of being adgirls :)

So… advertising has lots of perks! Sometimes, if you work really hard, you get a free dinner. If you work really hard and get lucky, you sell a spot and then you get to work OOTO for days or even weeks. If you work really hard, get really lucky, AND play your cards right, you sell a spot and get to shoot in a fun location. I recently spent 4 days at the lovely Opus Hotel in Vancouver where, upon arrival, I received a personalized gift bag. Sweet! Working in advertising is JUST awesome.


On a recent focus-group testing trip to Chicago, I (in between hearing people’s opinions about our spot) ate Chicago-style pizza the first night, followed by Chicago-style hot dogs for lunch, followed by Chicago-style pizza the second night… Chicago-style YUM! Thanks advertising.


But we have to say, not everyone in advertising is as lucky as we are. Working at Chiat has perks all its own. We’ve noticed that people here really look out for each other, and bosses care about their teams’ happiness and sanity…how novel! Plus, we have an indoor basketball court, an indoor park, and our very own in-house ad guru. And, of course, one of our favorite Chiat perks: dogs in the office!


ok back to work.
xo, li

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Oh, the glamor.

To be honest, I’ve only seen like 4 episodes of Madmen, but I assume the show makes the life of an advertising creative seem all cool and snazzy. Well, take a look at my desktop right now and judge for yourself. Comping chaos!


3:41am… PDF of 5 spots posted on server and sent to project manager for 10am CCO and 11am client meetings, so lali is off to bed. We’ll let you know if anything sells!

xo, li


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guest adgirl Simone DeBlasio!


Ruth Naperbaumhausen interviews freelance ad exec, Simone DeBlasio.

Q: How long have you worked in advertising?
A: Coming on two decades. So, I started when I was ten years old.

Q: Why advertising? Why not politics, banking, psychology, or the service industry?
A: Advertising is a grab bag of many professions. Only you get to wear jeans and a T-shirt to work.

Q: What was your first look into the world of advertising?
A: Growing up, I loved the show “Bewitched”. Samantha’s magical powers were cool, but I was more impressed with Darren’s copywriting. I loved his pun-filled taglines.

Q: What was your first advertising gig?
A: In 5th grade we were given an assignment to write, direct and star in a TV spot. My commercial was for “Honeycombs” cereal.

Q: Other than the “class project” which is totally legit, what was your first paying job?
A: About eight months after college graduation, and 479 sent resumes later, I landed a job at a direct marketing shop in Mountain View. They hired me as an “assistant account manager” with the caveat I could move into copywriting. That was 17 years ago, and I’m still in management. Advertising folks know how to sell an idea (even if it involves a little finagling of the truth).

Q: Why stay in management if you’d rather be a copywriter?
A: I didn’t know how to put together a portfolio, and I was terrified to ask for help. I took the safer, less satisfying route. Decisions based on fear usually don’t pan out.

Q: Wow – admitting to selling yourself out.
A: Um, that’s not a question…

Q: Fair enough. What are some of your favorite aspects about advertising?
A: Other than the late nights, leftover food from meetings and working with lunatics? I love seeing cool ideas come to life.

Q: What is your favorite commercial?
A: “Aaron Burr/Got Milk” produced by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in the mid-90s.

Q: Why does that commercial stand out?
A: The premise is simple and relatable, and the execution is brilliantly satirical. The strategy plays on the basic human experience of deprivation. Running out of something you need more than anything at the particular moment. Joni Mitchell said it best – “you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.”

Q: Who are some people you admire in the advertising industry?
A: The variety of quirky personalities is endless. Some folks are memorable for representing what NOT to do, while others are etched in my mind for their prolific idea-generating minds. Jon Steel, Chuck McBride and Todd Grant from my days at Goodby come to mind.

Q: Do you think you’ll eventually take the risk and move into copywriting?
A: While I’m a glutton for punishment, I’m not a fan of rejection or rules. I admire creative teams for their inexorable endurance to work inside a cage, and listen to annoying feedback.

Q: What’s next?
A: I’m releasing a book of essays titled Letters from the Dead – inspired by my demented and haunting dreams. After this freelance gig is up, I’m going to Lopez Island (2 hours from Seattle) to finish writing my sci-fi novel.

Q: Any final words of wisdom?
A: Today is the only day of your life – do something you love. Or start drinking, heavily.

Q: And as for lali?
A: Two of my favorite adgirls! You lovely ladies are so incredibly inspiring. Don’t ever stop :)

Simone DeBlasio is a struggling writer and musician living in Los Angeles. The struggle is mostly in her mind. Otherwise she has a pretty dope life, writing her venomously satirical blog, short stories, novels, movie scripts, and really depressing songs. For more Simone, visit

Ruth Naperbaumhausen is a figment of Simone DeBlasio’s imagination.

*ladies, let us know if you’d like to be featured as a guest adgirl*

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“Film, not friends” only works with directors.

An astute Margaret Keene reminded lali after a particularly long day of director’s calls that we should always remember: “film, not friends.”

In a world of madmen, it’s something two ad girls should always remember. The vibe between directors and creative teams is always important, but at the end of the day, the world’s going to see the film, not the friendship, so when we pick who we want to work with, we gotta pick the film.

That said, in this relationship, we’re friends first. When you spend more time with your work partner than you do with your life partner (insert some lesbian joke about partners), you’ve gotta make time for friendship. So before lali can start concepting, we always air out our personal life, usually when getting some air. Getting out of the warehouse and into the sun can really get the conversation flowing about wedding invitations, boyfriend woes and who at the office we’d screw, marry or throw off a cliff. At some point, we’ll get back to coming up with killer ideas for cars, cats and dogs. The stairs behind the employee entrance at Chiat is a popular spot for us. When we’re not holed up in John Castle’s office or another secret place with couches I can’t reveal right now in case some other creative team discover it and snag it away from us, we’re here. La sits, li lies, we usually both have a cup of coffee, and we’re usually also talking about our lives.

Lali spoke yesterday at Chris DeNinno’s bookshop class, and one of the most important things we mentioned was the importance of finding a good partner. You know you love your partner when after a fourteen hour day, you pick up the phone on the drive home to call because you just couldn’t get enough.

xoxo to li, from la


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