Monthly Archives: May 2010

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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Meet the lalidogs!


While Nissan figures out who the new boss is, we’ve been spending our brief break from automotive advertising by channeling our inner cat ladies. The last day or two has been devoted to concepting new media executions and PR stunts for Pedigree’s cat counterpart, Whiskas.

As you can see from the above photo, we’re actually dog girls. As a matter of fact, our cubicle is home to three lalidogs! Samson (lab/beagle), Tyler (chihuahua/daschund), and Penny (sugar/spice) make up the remaining 3/5 of lali. Whether they’re entertaining our coworkers with their arsenal of tricks (Samson), growling at every passing dog (Tyler), or walking across conference tables in serious meetings and taking a turn in each person’s lap (Penny), the workday wouldn’t be the same and lali wouldn’t be lali without our dogs.

Sometimes you have to sell things you don’t know as much about. I happen to have a cat who I love very much. Nathan Jr. is fat and orange, and can give you a high five on command. But neither of us is a cat person, per se. It’s been an interesting exercise trying to identify with an audience we are not a part of.

Makes you wonder how many tampon ads were thought up by guy creatives :)

xo, li

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Remain calm and submit ideas in an orderly fashion.

Something we’ve learned lately is the value of composure during a fire drill. When a creative director, client, ECD, Global CMO, or the like says they need ideas by end of day it’s best to relax your thinking muscles, accept this as normal, and start putting pen to paper. In our case, during a lali brainstorm, it’s li who literally puts pen to paper (she’s good at not even letting half-ideas go unnoted) while la checks her phone, grooms the dog, or hunts for the next red bull (she’s a good multi-tasker).

Some would say the pressure of a quick turnaround is what makes the ideas really start flowing. Others would say “Can we have a brief, or some time to research the topic at hand?” *Scoff* Brief? Time? This isn’t ad school. This is the real world and we need to sell some cars… stat!

One thing we can say for sure is don’t give li an entire bottle of sake and expect good ideas. A glass or two max should do the trick. Anything else is danger zone. On the other hand, a bottle is exactly the right amount of sake for la.


xo, li


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oh lali lalipop.

Work dies at ad agencies. All the time. But life (and lali) goes in.

When work dies, we write thank you cards. This time, count 19 recipients, with some lalipops. Hopefully that’ll be enough to get us at least an Emoto sweatshirt or two, if we can’t have a finished spot.

Such is the world of advertising. At least we’ll have blue lalipop tongues and the day off tomorrow!

xo, la

PS A little Emoto shout out on the blog. They are great. You have to have the pleasure of a working session with Emoto to understand that something special they bring to every project.

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There’s always a reason to party at an ad agency

After a day like today (google search Joel Ewanick Nissan GM) we deserve a margarita.

More to come on the day later. For now, more margaritas for lali.

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