Monthly Archives: May 2011

How did VW get inside the lali brain?

So the world is full of strange happenings. And advertising isn’t immune from that.

Blog readers, do you remember a spot called Kidzilla? In which a kid destroys his entire toy collection… and only the Nissan Altima is strong enough to survive. A metaphor for how the real Altima can withstand the abuse of life. We hope you remember it, because that was a lali spot.

We also did a Funny or Die video in which a kid tries to destroy a pinata, but can’t, and so the Juke Guy comes to the rescue.

Here’s the kid:
magician 2

And here’s the kid with the pinata:
magician 1

Now, take a metaphor where a kid tries to destroy a toy that happens to be a car. Now take a pinata. Now take the EXACT SAME KID from our Juke video. And you’ve got a VW spot that just recently aired.

Here’s their spot:

(same kid omg!)

Crazy, right?! It’s like they were INSIDE OUR BRAINS, concepting with us, casting with us, and even art production reviewing with us, because the pinatas are the same colors.

Watch and be weirded out, just like we were. We hope there’s some doppelganger team a block away at Deutsch (VW’s ad agency), ad girls with glasses trying to make it in a world of mad men, bringing their three dogs to work, talking too loud and singing too much, working too late and maybe even blogging away, just like us. We’re glad that doppelganger team got to make their spot, as we can’t seem to get anything produced around here lately! And after all, it’s a cliche cuz it’s true – great minds think alike.


oh! and PS speaking of other things that look alike, li got a haircut! And not only does she look like Emma Stone, but she’s also beginning to look more like me… (also, we accidentally matched one day last week, the day I started writing this blog post and have finally finished it today!)

Emma Stone reference image fail:
photo 1

Emma Stone:

Lindsey Montague:

And matching us!
photo 4


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Manis and Moods

If you know anyone who works at Chiat, you know Chiat is all about making decks. In fact, last week I heard a nickname for the first time: TBWA\Chiat\Deck. And it’s true! La and I have made an ungodly amount of decks in our 1.5 years here.

Case in point. I just went to type “amount of decks” and thought to myself maybe I should type “number of decks” because I learned that gramatically, you’re supposed to say “number” if you’re referring to something you can count, but since I’m physically UNABLE to count the number of decks I’ve made, I opted for “amount.”

I digress.

If, in your occupation, you don’t build decks, let me explain. A deck is a nicely-designed PDF or keynote presentation that helps to make people understand your ideas through pictures and words. They’re incredibly useful when your clients aren’t local and you have to walk them through your ideas via conference call. This seems to often be the case at Chiat, for whatever reason. (You’d think more clients would want their base of operations in sunny SoCal, but maybe it’s because our taxes here are too high or whatever.)

Early in the concepting phase, decks usually consist of manifestos and mood boards. Or, Manis and Moods, as I just named them this morning. Manis artfully state what you believe about your product and they’re nice because they make your idea sound like poetry. Moods look like a collage of relevant images strategically tiled together on a page, and they’re nice because pretty pictures make your ideas seem more magical than they really are.

So, as one creative director here put it, more manifestos have come out of this building than communist Russia. Leading nicely into an example of a lovely Mani la has written: I Am Soy

“I am old. And new.
I am small but powerful.
I like dirt.
And I was green before green was a movement.

Hot summers make me happy.
But sometimes I say
Let it pour.

People blog about me today.
But my story began centuries ago.
In China, where I was considered sacred.

And now I can be found everywhere
All over the world.
So find me.
I’m good for you.

I’m a bean.
From a plant.
From the earth.

I am soy.
And you can find me

And here are a few Moods I made for Nissan back in the Margaret Keene days:

Picture 51

Picture 53

Get the idea?

Lots of creatives knock Manis and Moods, and I totally get why. They drain precious time away from ACTUAL concepting, and once made, they get circulated to 46 gazillion people who all have opinions about it and you have to make 5 months of revisions… and that’s how you end up with a folder on your desktop with 2.77 GB of decks only… for ONE car!! That hasn’t even launched yet!!! Sigh.

But truth be told (just between you and me) la and I kinda like decks. We like making our ideas sound like poetry, and we like when pretty pictures all fit together beautifully on a page. In fact, perhaps in my next life I can just make mood boards for a living. That would be awesome.

xo and sorry if you thought this was going to be a post about manicures,


PS From la, this can’t be about manicures because li and I are too busy making advertising manis to get real manis. (let alone pedis!)

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lali explains how to break in to advertising to aspiring ad girl tina cho.


it was super fun to receive an email from miss tino cho a few weeks ago, a lali blog reader and aspiring ad girl. we invited her to lunch here at chiat so we could get to know her, and tell her more about the business.

maybe because la and i are talkers. maybe because people helped us out when WE were aspiring ad girls. but la and i seem to find ourselves telling our story and giving advice to newbies kinda often. we pretty much always say the same thing:

  1. take bookshop classes (if you live in LA) or something similar so that you learn how to concept. basically, teachers there are going to have you come up with fake ads for real things, then tell you why they’re good or not. they also give you due dates so that you have to make concepting a priority, even if you have a day job selling furniture or something.
  2. decide if you want to be an art director or a copywriter. they are NOT the same. you’re either better at art or better at words. pick one and get lots of practice. keep in mind that these days, you are expected to be able to think of ideas for TV, online, social media, print, outdoor, PR stunts, etc. so don’t specialize. think holistically.
  3. try and find a partner! art directors are going to need copy. and even more so, copywriters are going to need help turning ideas into pretty ads. when you find someone you like who thinks of good ideas, and (perhaps more importantly) understands YOUR kooky ideas, hold on and don’t let go. maybe someday you two will create your own blog about advertising.
  4. learn what makes ads awesome. see what won at cannes or the one show last year. watch art&copy (especially the parts featuring lee clow) and check out the portfolios of your favorite ad agencies. and if you don’t know who your favorite ad agencies are, start googling!
  5. take your time getting your book together. you’re going to think your first few ads are awesome. after a few rounds, you’ll realize they were not. wait until you have ideas you love before showing to people whose opinions matter. i made the mistake of sending my very first attempt at a book to everyone i knew in the industry. really bad first impression. one guy said “are you sure you want to be an art director?” and another guy i cold-called at dailey said “hmm. maybe you should do voiceover instead.”
  6. GET YOUR FOOT IN THE DOOR, even if it means answering phones and doing expense reports for the creative department. la and i both started as assistants and it’s a great way to prove you’re indispensable and (hopefully) smart! once you’re in the door, don’t be annoying …ad people are busy and can only help you out so much… but at the same time, don’t ever say no to a project. when the HR department says “here’s a list of people who still need to take their sexual harassment training” take that to mean “make funny wanted posters and put them up around the office so creative directors can see how clever you are.” click here for a few examples of the silly stuff la and i did back in the day to show we had potential to break out of assistant-hood (and please don’t judge).
  7. if you opt to go to ad school — and we can’t give you advice on that because we didn’t — you can probably ignore #6. hopefully your book will turn out awesome after shelling out $90K and some type of career person at your school will place you at a great agency and you can skip the grunt work.
  8. don’t give up. this entire process will take longer than you think but you’ll most likely find that it was worth it when you’re traveling to fancy shoots and working the occasional half-day while your peers are crunching numbers at banks or pushing papers for the man. plus, when people ask you what you do, you can say “do you watch madmen…?” or “did you see this year’s super bowl…?”
  9. then, after you’ve made it big, hire lali!! and don’t forget to post your very first creative success on freshmen ads for a nice chuckle.
anyway, here’s a shout out to tina cho! way to show initiative, you’re going to do awesome. and if anyone reading this is a big wig at an ad agency looking to hire an entry-level aspiring ad girl who has the lali seal of approval…let me know and i’ll put you in touch with tina :)
xo and off to a meeting about CG lettering,


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