Friday, October 06, 2006

Jonathan Schoenberg: Commit to Your Mistakes

Last night Jonathan Schoenberg, creative director and partner at TDA in Boulder, spoke at a Kansas City Ad Club event. Although he had something important to say, he was smart to let his work do most of the talking. When your work is as good as his, it's easy.

Jonathan's message was "commit to your mistakes." He took us through many of the mistakes he made in his career, and by mistakes he meant things that didn't quite work out or risks that drew negative attention. However, Jonathan had no regrets. As he showed us his work he would say, "man, we're really gonna piss some people off with this Dick joke ad," "every movie theater in California banned this one," or "will we still run the
ad if the he's really dead?"

That's not to say TDA just pisses people off for the sake of controversy. Their messages have a purpose. Jonathan likened advertising to a conversation. You want to talk to someone who has something interesting to say and advertising should be the same way. TDA knows their approach isn't for everyone, so they end each client pitch with a video entitled "hookers"
. If the client laughs, they know it's a good fit for their agency. If not, the client probably wants a different type of agency that won't make mistakes.

One of Jonathan's mistakes even earned him an upcoming appearance on
the Late Show with David Letterman. He also announced that TDA had just won the Jones Soda account and had already done some work for them including a video response to the Diet Coke + Mentos phenomenon.

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