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!)


1 Comment

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One response to “Manis and Moods

  1. As a copywriter with virtually no skill at the photoshops, making moodboards is oddly exhilarating. I have to make them every once in a while just to show my AD that I can copy direct with the best of em.

    Thanks for your documentation of what it’s like to be an ad girl at Chiat. I met you there the other day and am hoping I get to join in that job description. Till then I guess we’ll just be blog buddies!

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