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Ad Folks on Summer 'Vacation'
By: Brian Keller
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Many things separate civilians from advertising people in that “ad folks” see things about services, products, etc. that may not be apparent to many. Where some see one store we see a nationwide chain. We don’t see a small-market TV spot; we see the next bold step into the expansion of a brand. Where some people see a fun vacation beach shack, we see a chance to create something out of nothing. Where some see vacation, we see happiness only with putting in 50 hours during vacation week. Where some see an escape from work for a week, we see an escape to new kinds of fun work we can land.
 
South African M. L. Lee is the Executive Creative Director at Marcus Bailey World Wide and rivals only Alex Bogusky in making up names for shops he may start. M. L. took a “Summer Vacation” with his wife, Dakota, and granted us fly-on-the-wall status.
 
Overheard in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
 
Dakota: “Why are we here?”
 
M. L.: “We are here, Dakota, to be amongst the people so I can observe them and pinpoint vacation behavior. I like to call this street demographics.”

Dakota: “It smells familiar.”
 
M. L.: “It’s French fries and whatever else can be fried.”
 
Dakota: “Like Frites?
 
M. L.: “Like Frites. Rehoboth has a large gay population and as you know we in advertising, the straight ones, wait for a gay breakthrough and sample it in original work. We like those ideas from what well-balanced Americans call the urban population.”
 
Dakota: “There are gay people here? There must be a restaurant of value.”
 
M. L.: “Yes, but kids aren’t welcome in the restaurants. Where are the kids?”
 
Dakota: “Bundle and Fios are at the Learning Annex. I had planned on seeing them, but our schedules don’t match. “
 
M. L.: “I’m looking forward to querying them.”
 
Dakota: “Being a mom is fulfilling.”
 
M. L.: “I love this place. There are seahorse paintings, shell paintings, and I’ve never seen a rug like this. Do you mow it?
 
Dakota: “I think it’s some kind of fabric.”
 
M. L.: “With the right push to this place, we’re talking monster boutique hotel chain, Schrager ‘80s big. I want Innovation Strategy here.”
 
Dakota: “You’re pitching this place? Innovation Strategy can’t even describe what they do.”
 
M. L.: “Pitch, yes. Innovation Strategy can’t be understood and most clients find their posturing stupefying but won’t admit they don’t know what they’re talking about either. It’s brilliant.”
 
Dakota: “Isn’t this, uh, resort for average, doughy Americans? Why do they carry such huge cups?”
 
M. L.: “We take our partner Glycemicola. We call Batman. We make 54 oz. cups, with Batman on them, the same price as a small soda. We have them go to the Batman loves Gycemicola website to win more soda. We sell them T-shirts with Batman on them. Hence the cups. Some twits in New York City are trying to ban large sodas.”
 
Dakota: “This room has an odor.”
 
M. L.: “It’s seawater, humidity, and cleaning fluids. Ah! ‘The Sea Shell Resort, a step up from camping.’ That’s the campaign. We’ll start with a whole new Identity and collateral system. I’ll have Mario Batali sign on for the restaurant and we’ll sell Batali’s American Frites and Haute Dogs and then work that brand into Whole Foods. Then there’s the website. We’ll turn again to Banksy for the first tagged, hand-painted website. We’ll not give out the address, phone number, or web address. We’ll do a Super Bowl commercial all in type.”
 
Dakota:  “You’re brilliant.”
 
M. L.: “We’ll bottle and label their tap water and we’ll sell Sea Shell Resort Water in Target. I need to be talking to the owner before the twits at Bartle Bogle Hegarty get a hold of this.”
 
Dakota: “They may not want to be pitched. They only have 20 rooms.”
 
M. L.: “Luxury Suites.”

Marcus Bailey Worldwide took over the Sea Shell Resort for the week, pitched the owner, and won. M. L. left his vacation early as he felt that the pitch work he did would attract more hospitality clients. He went to Hong Kong and pitched the Peninsula, won, and resigned the Sea Shell.
 
The Sea Shell Resort is now the most expensive hotel in the world, overtaking the Peninsula in Hong Kong. The work created by M. L. for the Sea Shell is breaking. The website is the prototype for Web 4.0.
 
Sometimes to us, a vacation, a ride, a flight, a new product, or an interesting but underused service is an opportunity to see things a bit differently and creatively. Sometimes we can be just a bit insane, but that’s part of the fun of being ad folk. Happy Summer Vacation.


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About the Author
Brian Keller is the Creative Director at teeny agency in Baltimore. He graduated from the University of Maryland (English), went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies), & attends University of Baltimore School of Law.

Brian's been working primarily in the digital space for years but enjoys all communications avenues.

He has built the creative departments at two agencies.

He likes skateboarding with his son. He also falls off his skateboard and amuses his son. When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence.

Find him online here and at www.teenyagency.com.
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