Tag Archives: TBWA Chiat Day

Go shoeless at work? Sure!

Of our 173 blog posts, 5 have referenced our Toms shoes.

After today, we’ll be 6 for 174! That’s because today is One Day Without Shoes and lali is doing our part to spread awareness that millions of children live without proper footwear, exposing them to injury and disease every day.
lali goes shoeless for One Day Without Shoes

Clearly we’re a fan of the Toms brand, enjoy the four pairs of Toms shoes we own between the two of us, and love the way they’ve merged capitalism with conscience. We were even willing to scurry shoeless through the kitchens at the risk of stern reprimand!

And we’re also super excited to welcome them to the neighborhood. They recently joined our cool-companies-with-warehouse-offices-in-Playa-del-Rey club, and now basically share Chiat’s parking lot (that’s them at the end).
toms and chiat are now neighbors!
PS to our neighbors: if you’re reading this, we’re still anxiously awaiting a tour and chance to go down the twisty slide we can see from outside your window while we’re parking our cars. Also, we should collaborate on some ads sometime, don’t you think?

So thanks, Toms, for giving us a reason to concept shoeless other than our usual love of comfort and bare feet. We hope lots of kids have brighter futures after today.

xo, li


Leave a comment

Filed under lali

Portlalia. (two ad girls trying to make it in a city of hipsters)

So lali just got back from a shoot! You’ll find out all the juicy details about who and what and with whom we were shooting later. But for now, just know that we went to the lovely hipster city of Portland to shoot it!

So, for a rainy week in March, lali presents:

Two ad girls trying to make it in a city of hipsters.

Watch this first to get in the mood:

And now… look at these hipsters!

All these clothes in this suitcase I got at a thrift store.

Going through security is so mainstream.

We thought the snacks on the plane were supposed to be vegan.

I hate rain. Oh wait, I hate everything.

This breakfast better be gluten-free.

Especially those donuts.

We only take the director seriously because he has a mustache.

Not one but two bike lights required for our other director.

We only eat food prepared by people as cool as us.

Craft services got the hipster memo.

Food tastes better when served with a mustache.

Yum Nom Nom!
Is the beer I’m having for breakfast from a local brewery?

We went to four years of film school for this?

Is this vintage shirt organic?

I’m only smiling ironically.

I bought this hat with my mom’s credit card.

We only buy things at thrift stores. Bonus if it’s thrift store and Native American.

I left my fixie outside. Boom.

Oh there it is painted on a wall.

Twinsies no exclamation point.

And then we took a trip to visit our old Chiat pal Chris Capretto Wieden + Kennedy and got all hipster up in that joint too.



And finally, we had a music meeting at the Dandy Warhol’s studio, which was like a rock ‘n roll playground.






Ahh, city of hipsters. All in all, Portland was a town with good food, nice people and lots of rain. We can’t wait to go back in a month and give you another Portlalia update!

hipster lali!


Filed under lali

L.A.’s Most Outrageous Office Space! (TBWA\Chiat\Day)

So last week, we finished a Chiat culture video for a new business pitch. We can’t share it, or really talk about it, because just like L.A. Confidential, new business pitches are always off the record, super QT, and very hush hush.

Conveniently, however, Refinery 29 decided at the same time to do an article about the Chiat Day offices. So instead of share our video, we can share their article!

Refinery 29: TBWA Chiat Offices

Here’s how they introduce our office:

Tour L.A.’s Most Outrageous Office Space & Peep Some Killer Style
If Don Draper could hop in a Delorean, he’d park it in front of TBWA\Chiat\Day’s eff-the-establishment office space in Playa Vista. Home to the whiz kids behind America’s most prolific ads (Apple’s splashy neon billboards, the Energizer Bunny, and Taco Bell’s chihuahua), the radically modern building designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects serves as fertile breeding ground for the quick-witted tone of the unconventional agency.

It makes us super proud to work in such a cool place. You can always tell when someone is new to this building – because they can’t stop staring up down and all-around. It also makes ME super proud that my sister interned at Clive Wilkinson Architects while she was still in school. Making that video and seeing this article remind us that industry we work in and the company we work at are just super, super cool. Here’s to being a Chiat Pirate!

And check out a few of the photos from the article:



concept room
(oh hey, we know that room… lots of ideas have come out of the red couches room)
tired & concepting
(look familiar?)

basketball court
(and oh there on the left is Joe! he’s producing something we’re working on right now!)

Ok, back to hanging out in this cool office space!


Leave a comment

Filed under lali

Being in production: The reason we all got into advertising

There’s a joke I’ve heard more than once, that you’re supposed to start all your scripts with “open on the French Riviera” or weave some serengeti animals into your plotline. CDs with a few more years under their belts than lali tell tales of the days, pre Sarbanes–Oxlely when ad men would spend ungodly amounts of money on advertising boondoggles, getting flown around the world to snap a picture of a car or whatever.

These days, ad people take budgets and regulations quite seriously (ref: our anti-bribery training) so lali may never experience the true advertising boondoggle. BUT, every once in a while, we do get to take part in a fun production or two.

Last week, I had the privilege of art directing photoshoot in sunny San Francisco. There were only three downsides: I had to be apart from my better half la (insert super sad face), our hotel was almost in the Tenderloin, and my L.A. tendencies annoyed more than one local (oops!) but that wasn’t on purpose. But other than that, the shoot went amazingly well, and I didn’t take for granted — even for one minute — that being in production makes all the hard stuff about our jobs well worth it.

The rundown, in photos…

It wasn’t first class or anything, but A2 is almost as good as it gets on Southwest!

Our hotel was cute, in an eclectic “vintage San Fran meets Nat Geo” sort of way:

The studio was super cool:
photo 4
photo 2

And the commute was lovely:
pretty city

We photographed LOTS of food:
photo 3

ate food at famous places:
photo 8

and drank a variety of cocktails:
Last night in SF

sake sampler

All told, cutie pie account girl Brigette and I vistied over 23 fine establishments in our seven nights there, including the original Bigfoot Lodge, which we know and love from back home:
photo 9

(As a result, Airbornes and coffee were consumed in mass quantities):
photo 6
photo 7

Craft Services was delish:
photo 10

I multitasked many comps and conference calls on set, but took pictures of my glasses when I needed a little break:
These are my glasses

The crew was so amazing/fun, a wrap party ice cream social was in order on the last day!
photo 11

And just before it was time to leave, I managed a quick trip to the record store:
I cleaned up

Also, I saw a cat on a leash:
photo 12

At 16, when I decided I wanted to be an adgirl, I imagined a life in advertising might include (for example) an office with an indoor basketball court and fancy trips to awesome cities. Check! Here’s me as a bona fide adgirl:

xo, li

Note: If you’re my friend on Path or Instagram, you’ve already seen pretty much all these photos :)


Filed under lali

Love was in the air for lali last week

It may already seem like a distant memory for many of you, but last week included a day society calls Valentine’s Day — a day set aside for nothing but love. And let me just tell you, there was nothing but love going around the lali world.

On a professional level, days and days of hard work paid off when we had a successful client meeting early last week. Nothing like a successful client meeting to up the endorphins and, as a result, love for one’s teammates. A sweet and ever-helpful account person on Kraft sent us this little love note:

I know everyone probably told you this, but your concepts yesterday were AMAZING. It is so nice to deal with, every step of the process, a concept that I actually believe in.

And no, the all-caps AMAZING was NOT added by lali for emphasis :)

On a personal/professional level, la and I delivered warm and fuzzy Valentines (complete with hologram sticker) to our coworkers:
Justin Taylor‘s Valentine, as seen on his really sweet Path post:
photo 4

On a personal level, la and her BF Grant had a mellow V-Day and some puppy love:

And I came across this heart on the sidewalk…
photo 1
…on my way to the Venice farmer’s market to buy myself these ranunculus:
photo 3

So when the all-nighters start back up again, the CDs shred our work, the clients kill things mid-production (please, god, no, not again, please) la and I will look back on this post and feel the love!

Hope you all enjoyed as many smiles, hugs, and delicious treats as we did…
photo 2


1 Comment

Filed under lali

Female Creatives in Advertising, the adgirls ponder the endless debate.

“85% of brand purchases are made by women, yet only 3% of advertising agency creative directors are women.”

Picture 1
(Tiffany Rolfe, among her Old Navy mannequins)

Last week, Tiffany Rolfe of CP+B wrote an interesting article for Creativity. Entitled: Female Creatives Need to Step Up and Promote. In response to the fact that she is always asked this question: Why aren’t there more female creative directors in advertising?

She doesn’t answer the question, necessarily. Instead, she poses a solution:

Women are hardwired to kick ass and nurture at the same time. But unfortunately the advertising business isn’t known for nurturing. It’s competitive, it’s fast and it’s filled with insecurities. We don’t want to be replaced by the newer, younger, better model.

But maybe if we were better mentors for young people, they’d see a reason to keep us around when we were past our prime. If there is one type of person who could both juggle their own life/work balance, as well as nurture new creatives, it’s women. Think about it — if every female creative in a management role could mentor and promote just five other women, each of those can help five more, and onward, and before long we’ll be in the hundreds. Call it a pay-it-forward meritocracy.

So, in a nutshell, she’s telling other women to be better mentors and to promote. She’s asking women to change the industry for other women.

Well, lali, being, as you know, “two adgirls trying to make it in a world of madmen,” has been sent this very article by many people. So we felt we needed to respond.

What’s it like being an adgirl?

When we first walked down the walkway of Chiat Day, we had a decision to make. Do we try to blend in with the boys? Or do we embrace our girliness? As you can guess by the subhead of our blog, we went with the latter. And we’re glad we did. It’s not because we’re being feminists, or we’ve got a chip on our shoulders, or because we want to use it as a way to climb some sort of ladder. It’s because that’s who we are.

And maybe it’s opened some doors and closed some others. It gives us an immediate cache, a one liner kind of personality to hang onto and to define us. Minus youngbloods, we’re the only girl/girl team in the building. It makes us stand apart. When presenting, our “girliness” tends to create an immediate level of comfort and openness.

On the flip side, sometimes being female creatives, we’re not taken as seriously. And our ideas aren’t either. And we have to be conscious of what we wear, and how that changes perceptions. When we look around an office full of talented women (less in number than men, but still better than a lone Peggy Olson), is it a coincidence that a lot of them are attractive? That fact could be a weapon or a curse.

At RPA, I got asked to work on a new account – La-Z-Boy – because they were targeting “women” buyers. And the client had specifically asked for female creatives. At Chiat, we were asked to work on Diet Pepsi (much to our delight), targeting midwest moms. Again, the client and agency specifically felt female creatives would have a better insight on that work. Maybe we did. But it doesn’t mean we couldn’t have just as many insights on college football, which we’ve worked on. Or a car targeted at millenial males. Which we’ve also worked on, and which also got me, the copywriter, condemned for being sexist. We’re just being chameleons, talking to different people – just as sincerely, but from different view points.

Does being a female creative make us better at that then male creatives? Worse? Or the same? I don’t have an answer. Maybe a blog reader will.

I can say that while we may have worked with an at-the-time female ACD, (xo Xanthe!) with a bunch of female teams, at the end of the day, men were responsible for the final creative work inside the agency and men were responsible for approving the work that got produced. Which leads to the next topic…

Why aren’t there more female creative directors?

As with anything, it’s probably a combination. And seeing as we aren’t creative directors and haven’t really been in the industry that long, we don’t hold the definitive answer on that subject. But I can sure write at length about it.

Babies. Probably the easiest thing at which to point our fingers, and rightfully so. We work long hours. We work hard hours. We never know when we’ll be here til 6p or 6a. And when you’ve got kids at home, it’s just a societal fact that women are more often the ones at home with them. Some by choice. Some by society’s programming. We can’t all be Margaret Keene, popping out a baby and then marching off to shoot a commercial.

WPP creative consultant Neil French said: “They [women] don’t work hard enough. It’s not a joke job. The future of the entire agency is in your hands as creative director. You can’t be a great creative director and have a baby and keep spending time off every time your kids are ill … Everyone who doesn’t commit themselves fully to the job is crap at it.

He then was forced to resign, but he still said it.

Was he right? Even if he could have phrased it better (the feminist in me prickles in indignation)? Or does it lead to another reason why there are far fewer female creative directors than males: Advertising is, still, a boys club. With more men at the top, it’s more up to men to promote and hire. And this industry isn’t gentle, it’s more cutthroat. Age-old prejudices about the simple fact that I may end up pregnant and on maternity leave and distracted whether I am now or not probably still exist. As well as the standard cliches about women as leaders. Not to be crass, but we’re either gentle and therefore weak or bitchy and therefore bitchy. Or our skirts are too short. I’m not saying I agree with these viewpoints, but maybe they still linger in the back of people’s minds, never voiced but ever present.

Or maybe it’s just that when there’s a bunch of boys around making jokes and coming up with ideas, they just GET other boys’ ideas better than they get girls’ ideas. Comfort and familiarity. Get-along-together-ability trumps talent every time.

So, do we as women not want the role of creative director? Or do the men not want us to have it? Or both. Inherently, in an industry that would create the environment where those questions would have to be asked, there’s a lot of work to be done to both answer it and change it.

So what do we do?

At our old agencies, we’d never worked with a female creative director. Why? Because there weren’t any. There were women who headed up departments, just not the creative department. So when we walked into Chiat Day, with giggles and lalipops and matching pink lamps, we were glad to find a whole host of female creatives, and a select few female creative directors.

So first, let’s celebrate our fellow adgirls. The CDs we’ve worked under. Margaret, for her undying dedication not just to her job (which is undeniable) but to loving everyone who works beside her as well (which is also undeniable). Xanthe, for her persevering quest to be the best creative director she can be. The partners we’ve had. Liz, for always being on top of it. Chelsea, for having an artist’s soul. Ariel, for being more than a partner, for being a best friend. To the beautiful and talented ladies of Chiat Day and Night, Shawna, Kristina, Suzanne, Mindy, Michelle, Helena, Kat, Denise, and more, who make great work but more importantly make this a great place to work.

And second, let’s not let our gender get in the way of ourselves. Stand up for ourselves if something’s unfair, but more importantly, just be ourselves and it’ll probably be more fair. Good creatives are good creatives regardless of whether they pee standing up or sitting down. And great advertising that comes from good insights is just that, great advertising. Whether it’s for tampons or beer. And remember, adgirls, we can make great ads for both.

The Tiffanys and Margarets and Xanthes have made things better for us. We can make things better for the girls behind us.

And while the fact that 97% of creative talent probably is NOT male (sorry guys), we can change it and change it we will.

In the meantime, we’re just gonna try and produce some work and have some fun. And listen to some Regina Spektor too.


PS For information, inspiration, questions and some answers, visit adwomen.org
Their quote: “If the great advance of the 20th century was the inclusion of women as equals in society, then an even greater advance in the 21st century will be the incorporation of women’s thinking.” Amen, sister.


Filed under lali

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,


Filed under lali