Buying in to what you’re working on

In the fall of 2015, the first all-new 2016 Honda Civic rolled off the line at the Honda Manufacturing of Indiana plant in Greensburg, Indiana. A complete, from-the-ground-up remodel, it represented a huge leap forward in both design and aesthetic.


As the Creative Director working on the campaign for this particular vehicle launch, I had the opportunity to see the rebirth of this newly reimagined flagship brand up close and personal, literally seeing it being put together before my very eyes. If you’ve ever been in a manufacturing plant, you’ll know the sense of awe and wonder that comes with seeing first-hand the sophisticated process that produces these modern feats of engineering genius. Heading home from the launch celebration, the seed had been sown: I had to have one.

So it was, that almost a year later, I found myself driving one off the lot at my local Honda dealership here in Birmingham, Alabama. It took me an age to decide the style and level of accessories – heck, it took me two weeks just to decide on the color ­– but here I was, the decision made, behind the wheel of a beautiful Honda Civic LX in dark gray. It was everything I remembered it to be.


And that’s how it is sometimes. We work on a product so intimately, come to understand its value and beauty so minutely, that we become the ultimate brand advocates: We become owners.

Working as I do for a company that seeks to put smiles on the faces of its clients through the work we do and the way we go about creating it, it’s nice to have the feeling reciprocated. Making happy happen is what we do, but it sure is a great feeling when one of your clients can do the same for you.

Make Happy Happen

A couple of weeks ago, o2 launched our new website with a new tagline, “Make Happy Happen.” In a day and age when clients want “solutions” and “ROI,” why are we focusing on happiness?

The answer is simple.

At o2, our focus has always been our clients. Naturally, we provide solutions and ROI, but that’s just the beginning. We also go above and beyond to deliver the best client service and creative work possible. This makes our clients happy. We’ve always done it; we just never articulated it. We make happy happen.

Make Happy Happen goes beyond what we bring to our clients. It also gives us, as an agency, a higher purpose. It’s the mantra that guides our actions and informs our decisions. When we march into battle, Make Happy Happen is our rallying cry.

How exactly do we make happy happen?

That answer comes from the Dalai Lama who, to paraphrase, said, “I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. And we become happy the more we care for the happiness of others.”

So that’s what we’re going to continue doing. We’re going to focus on the happiness of our clients and each other to make happy happen for everyone who works at and with o2.

Five Lessons About Creativity, Taught by Funny People

Comedy writers and performers have, in many ways, the same job as copywriters and designers. They all need to discover their own style. All of them must figure out ways to ignite their creative spark. same sites . They all have to present their work to their audience, except copywriters and designers rarely do so in smoky clubs after midnight.

Here are five lessons about creativity that creatives can learn from funny people.

1. Procrastination is its own reward.
“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” –Bill Watterson

2. Confidence is key.
“I have always been a huge admirer of my own work. I’m one of the funniest and most entertaining writers I know.” –Mel Brooks

3. Keep working on the work.
“This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If you just keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.” –John Cleese

4. Don’t know what you don’t know.
“Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.” –Steve Martin

5. The creative feeling is a good one. Embrace it.
 “Your creativity is not a bad boyfriend. It is a really warm, older Hispanic lady who has a beautiful laugh and loves to hug. If you are even a little bit nice to her, she will make you feel great.” –Amy Poehler

From the Desk of the Interns

Many internships are a joke. Maybe sub-par at best. You don’t get taken seriously, you never work on real projects, and no one wants to hang out with you outside of work. At least, that’s what we hear from our friends. But sometimes, when you’re in the right field, you find the right place. For us, the Right Place was o2ideas.

Here’s what we learned:

Emily, Art Director: After my 10 weeks at o2, I now have a better insight on the ins and outs of advertising. It is full of collaboration and improvisation. Along with some cool new Photoshop tricks (that I’ll definitely be showing off to my friends), I have learned how to design on a tight deadline. This skillset isn’t always taught in school. We might have an entire month to polish one project. I’ve learned to go with my instincts, be bold, and get the job done. Ipaddress . I couldn’t have asked for a better experience or co-workers to build me into a stronger art director.

Anna, Copywriter: I learned how to make progress through criticism – how to present my work, accept rejection, and completely start from scratch (to present later that week). I was accustomed to the evenly spaced project load in school. Here I learned time management because, in the real world, tasks come in consistently and almost always overlap. I learned that, although having sole creative control is lovely, it can be way more rewarding to work with a team, especially when it’s the right one. And the most important thing I learned during my life as an intern? Just keep writing.

Mitchell, Client Services: Oftentimes, the first thing people think of when they hear “ad agency” is what they see on an episode of Mad Men. That makes for great television, but that’s not how it works in the 21st century. After my experience as the lone intern in 2014, I had to learn to let other people do what they were hired to do, and for me to focus on my own responsibilities. After this internship, I found that a successful agency means everyone plays their part as well as they can. And, when everyone does that, then the finished work will ultimately benefit.

The past 10 weeks have presented challenges and successes that inspired us to work harder, faster and smarter. However, the most profound part of this internship was how we were embraced by the team members (sometimes literally). We felt valued, respected and competent – and, as interns, that’s a pretty cool feeling.

We’ve loved the time we’ve spent at o2ideas and the people who have guided us. The culture here is unique, nourishing and productive, and we wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.

Thanks, o2!

How to Design Like a Beast

There are good designers, there are bad designers, and then there are the select few whose work is so incredibly amazing you want to slam your head against your cubicle wall every time you “accidentally” see their work come out of the printer. Those who can whip out a spectacular poster in an hour with no client changes and whose fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants ideas turn out to be the best ones. I am not one of those few.

However, great design doesn’t always come from those who are naturally gifted, and there are a few practical ways we can all learn how to design (write, illustrate, photograph, what have you) like a beast.

1. Humility
Though we call them design beasts, their attitude is just the opposite. The best designers are the most humble, able to take criticism seriously and respectfully. Not only are these people the best to work with but they are continually growing and learning how to be better.

2. Own your style. Master your style. Push beyond.
If you want to be a great designer, start with what you know you’re good at. If you’re good at logos, do that. If you’re a good photographer, do that. If you like to draw with your eyes closed, do that. Then keep practicing and honing your skill. As you do this, you will learn more about your style and yourself. When you feel like you are starting to get comfortable, push yourself out of your comfort zone to develop new skills.

3. Research!
Design is 90% thinking and 10% doing. Research is key to coming up with a great idea or discovering a new style. Try finding a different technique that you can learn, a fun marketing strategy or some new designers for inspiration. Research will help you keep up with current trends and keep you inspired.

4. Take risks.
Great advertising is always unique and stands out above the rest. Taking risks in your design is essential to being awesome. The client could absolutely hate your idea, but we all know the best learning comes from failure. And who knows? Maybe your idea will be the next big thing!

5. Love what you do.
When you’re having fun, it shines through. And people like to have fun. So let them have fun with you through your work.

Lucy & Ruby’s Brainy Day 2015

One of my client’s annual fundraising events is just one day away. It’s a draining, stressful and overwhelming project, requiring branding, design, interactive, video, PR, event planning and social media. I’m also working with both the easiest and hardest clients – myself. Along with my 8- and 10-year-old daughters.

blog_article_image-1For Lucy & Ruby’s Brainy Day, I am client, mom-of-the-client(s), account executive, account director, producer and publicist, while also doing my job as director of client service for o2ideas. The stress may be high, but the reward is worth it.

As the third annual Lucy & Ruby’s Brainy Day approaches, I’ve been reflecting on three things every project needs to succeed.

A Great Idea

I’m surrounded by great ideas on a daily basis. At o2ideas, it’s what we do and who we are. I’m not typically the idea person, though. I’m the make-it-happen and make-sure-everyone-is-happy person. But Lucy & Ruby’s Brainy Day is different. The idea initially came from my then 6-year-old daughter, Ruby. Her daddy had brain cancer and she wanted to do something to help, so she asked if she and her sister could have a lemonade-and-cookie stand to raise money for his hospital. Ruby didn’t think about where the cookies or lemonade would come from, where the stand would be, how we would advertise it or any other detail. She just had an idea and it was a really great one.

The core idea determines the success or failure of a brand, campaign or project.


After I pointed out some of the logistics involved in creating their lemonade-and-cookie stand, Lucy and Ruby recognized the importance of not just having a great idea, but also following through. They made posters, asked Publix to donate cookies and lemonade (another great idea) and asked me to post about it on Facebook so my friends would come. They took three relatively small steps and raised $3,000 that first year.

A great idea remains just an idea until action is taken to bring it to life.


Now that Lucy & Ruby’s Brainy Day has grown beyond a child’s lemonade stand, it takes a team of people who are a lot better at a lot of different things than I am to make it happen. o2’s culture has always been one of teamwork and selflessness, and I’ve been reminded of how special that is through Brainy Day. A team works together. They care about a project’s success as much as the client. And they challenge each other to make it better. You can count on them day in and day out. And that’s a great thing, especially when your event strives to make life better for people affected by brain tumors.

Teamwork makes it all possible.

So, here’s to great ideas, taking action to execute them and to the best team in the business. Oh, and of course, to great clients, if I do say so myself.

To learn more about Lucy & Ruby’s Brainy Day, visit