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Just Stop Already: Use Your Brains
By: Brian Keller
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Searching our notes for topics this week, we found notes on different “goings-on” in the ad world (and even the regular world) that have coalesced into this column. The topic is good for us, but it’s — kind of — too bad that these items are woven into the entire fabric of our business. Smart thinking is being eroded.
 
As a public service, we are fixing it with our service called “Just Stop Already.”
 
If You Want My Brain, Hire Me and Pay For It
The odious task of filling out job applications has been made more odious by companies trying to vet hires even more.
 
The following exercise has been appearing in applications:
 
“In 150 characters or fewer, tell us what makes you unique. Try to be creative and say something that will catch our eye!”
 

150 characters to explain your whole life to a potential employer? Good.
 
Your potential Beyond Madison Avenue answer: “My answer to your question is: No one else has my DNA. Read my resume & look at my work & figure it out.”

People looking for jobs are anxious. To lighten anxiety, benevolent employers are giving the applicant assurance and showing trust in their judgment by trusting the applicant with their brand.
 
NOTE: The questions below were taken from an actual application. 
1. What drives brand loyalty? Give an example of why you feel loyal to a particular brand. Why would people be loyal to the ____brand versus our competitors? 
 
 
2. What do you believe is _______ strongest brand attribute? How would you leverage this in a marketing campaign? Please limit answer to two paragraphs. 
 
 
3. How would you think about adapting the _____ brand into a different language and culture? 
 
 
4. What is your process for coming up with creative concepts for marketing campaigns? What inputs would you use, what outputs would you put together to share with colleagues, how do you get to a final agreed-upon concept?” 
 
Your potential Beyond Madison Avenue (encompassing) answer to all the questions is: “If you want my thoughts on these important subjects, pay me. You have a great brand; show it in your application process.”
 
So, just stop already.
 
Depicting Behavior in “Office Commercials”
There are a plethora of commercials that are set in offices where the dialogue and behavior is almost a tribute to “The Office.”
 
“The Office” was brilliant because it parodied offices. You want your client, who may work in an office, to sell to offices where most of the populations in said offices don’t think they are stupid.
 
Intel would have you believe that a “staffer” would purposely spill coffee all over his computer during a meeting so he could get a new one like “the new guy.” After his idiotic act, he looks around for someone to “fist bump.” Write us as to how many times this has happened in your office and how many new computers were given and how many “fist bumps” were offered or accepted.
 
We would like to let Subway know that there have been no fights over their sandwiches that we know of.
 
So, just stop already.
 
Applicant Tracking
Applications such as Jobvite, iCIMS, Smart Recruiters, the Resumator, etc. are taking the human touch from hiring. They are buggy and redundant. Isn’t it great to upload a resume and then fill out a job history? This process manages, very well, to pass many unqualified folks to the next level and “pass on” many qualified folks.
 
So, just stop already.
 
Too Much Information

Employers are asking the years of school graduations and making answers mandatory. Stop obfuscating what you really want. Judge on as much merit as you can find in the hiring process. No one in the public knows who creates the work or how young or old they may be.
 
So, just stop already.
 
Being Politically Correct is Important to Advertising Folks

Most know how sensitive we are. We also love humor. Humor sells, so to be humorous without offense we have targeted a few safe “demos.”
 
1. White men of a certain age are always clueless and IQless. It would be nice to not see this group portrayed as dim bulbs standing under the glare of fluorescent lights with ugly ties and vacant looks.
 
2. Dads (no matter the color) are always portrayed as "spayed" as moms and the kids always run the house and have the answers. 
 
3. Families going on vacation are always bland, sexless dough balls wearing beige with hints of ugly colors. Don't forget those sandals.
 
So, just stop already.
 
*NOTE: As to race. It seems that if you make everyone a doofus, it doesn't matter what color they are. 
 
*NOTE: We think that it’s still safe to use the French for humor.
 
You Don’t Need a Coach
We have actually seen people’s titles in searching some sites that include: 
 
1. LinkedIn Profile coach
2. Facebook Profile coach
 
If you need a coach you shouldn’t have a profile. What are you going to do if you get the job?
 
So, just stop already.
 
Headhunters
You love to go through our resumes, find the ones you like, and then subject us to pre-interviews, associate interviews, and interviews with the senior management to see if you want to pass the resume to the junior folks in creative services who interview us and set up interviews with senior folks in creative services who set up interviews with the potential supervisors who now arrange Skype interviews with entire teams who can't seem to get the “entire” part right, causing a series of partial interviews. We also like the idea that if we don't get the position we will never hear from the headhunter again.  
 
So, just stop already.
 
We have brains. We have technology. We don’t seem to have the patience to use what we have properly.
 
We are becoming lazy. We are becoming less human; we are becoming more disconnected. 
 
So, just stop already.


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About the Author
Brian 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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