d.henrilaw blog

Comments on the Advertising Industry


Daniel Lawrence

Advertising. Animals. Advertising Animals.

If you are like me you cannot wait to get into the advertising industry, not because we know everything is all peaches and cream or that we think once we FINALLY break into the industry we are set for life. No. We can’t wait to get in and experience the culture and day-to-day life as an employee of an agency.

Sit down and ask someone who has worked in the industry for a while what they think about it. 

–> Chances are you will get 1 of 2 responses (or a combination of both).

1. “There is nothing like the ad industry. EVERY SINGLE DAY is a new beginning to a new road to create a new exciting spot or bring an old, outdated brand back into the limelight again. I love it and there is no other industry for me.”

or…the more cynical and honest answer would be something along the lines of this…

2. “Some days are incredible. Everything just works and we create incredible work. Others consist of long, tedious days where you either can’t think of a good idea/solution or every solution you think of gets quickly retired to the island of “maybe land.”

Okay, truthfully I am overgeneralizing but my point remains the same. You will never know how the industry is until you actually break into it–which according to some is borderline impossible (always lovely hearing that).

There is nothing worst than hearing about all the bad things that surround the industry that you still have yet to even get involved in (and are still dreaming about entering). It is demoralizing. Literally. I wish I could just say, “stop right there sir/ma’am, if you’ve got nothing good to say than don’t say it because I have heard all the bad and am choosing to ignore it for the sake of one day being a part of a team that gets shit done and creates incredible work.” I don’t recommend that response though.

Instead, just hear them out because sometimes the negative side of the business can make for some relatively hilarious stories, especially if the comments are added to nature clips replacing the people with animals. Yes, you have finally made it to the reasoning for my strange title.

Thanks to the creative folks over at The Variable, in Winston-Salem, NC we now have nature videos that capture the real day-to-day agency life. Advertising Animals, if you will.

A little something to bring your hope back and put a smile on your face.



Dog Safety From Our Friends At Pedigree

Every family needs a dog. 

Since I was a young boy, I have always had labrador as my partner in crime. Currently, I have a chocolate labradoodle (due to both my mother’s and my asthma issues).

There is so much that you learn from growing up with a pup in the family.

  • To live in the moment
  • To not hold grudges
  • To care about and take care of somebody besides yourself
  • To be loyal and dependable
  • To listen
  • To appreciate the small things in life

I could keep going. My point is that there is value in having a furry companion in the family.
They are always there for you, no matter what.
They always make you smile and enjoy life.

There is a huge problem with mixing children with dogs, especially pups.

Children can, unknowingly, be rather brutal on animals. This can lead to an aggressive reaction, which can come in the form of growls or even bites.

According to the Pedigree, “every year in the U.S. there are around 4.7 milllion dog bite incidents with 70% of these bites happening to a child. The majority of these incidents occur in the home and, 75% of the time, the dog is known to the child. Often it happens because the child doesn’t know how to behave safely around dogs or how to read a dog’s body language.”

Now, thanks to Pedigree, there is a way to avoid those negative reactions from our animal friends.

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Pedigree has launched a free application for apple and android phones which teaches children how to treat animals in every possible scenario. It is the brain child of Colenso BBDO, leading dog behavior experts, and Auckland Council’s Animal Management team.

The best part? It is an incredibly well animated game that looks like it is actually fun.

What a great way to incorporate an important lesson into generation Z‘s passion for video games and digital media.

Oliver Downs, marketing director at Mars Petcare, which owns and distributes Pedigree in New Zealand, said in a statement that the company aims to the make the world a better place for dogs and people to live together, and the app is an important educational tool to help achieve this.




A Trip Down The Inspiration River.

Everyone has their own path in life, and I often find myself wondering what led them down that path.

What made them choose that specific career ?

Why do they think that way?

Who do they look up to?

How did they first discover that interest? 

As you are aware, or could probably guess, I have a passion for advertising. There is so much about the industry that I admire. There are so many people within the industry that keep me motivated, interested, and inspired, and that is what this post is all about.


Inspiring People. 

People who challenge the norm and don’t give up on their dreams or their beliefs. 

People who make me drop what I am doing, shut up, and listen.

There is no proper path that one must follow to receive a spot on my list, and there is no specific style that I look for. The only thing that I do look for is passion.

Here are a few passionate folks that I have never stopped looking up to (I hope they inspire you too):

David Ogilvy
The mastermind behind Ogilvy & Mather

Tham Kai Meng
Co-Chairman & Worldwide Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather

Everything that comes out of this man’s mouth is creative GOLD.

Lee Clow
Chairmain, TBWA/Media Arts Lab
Director of Media Arts, TBWA\Worldwide

Andrew Robertson 
CEO of BBDO Worldwide

Seth Godin
Best selling author

All of these people are icons–and I don’t use that term lightly–yet they have different perspectives. Can you guess what they share? Passion. They all have a passion for what they do.


Note: These are not my videos (obviously). They were found on YouTube (of course).





OoMH: The Warby Parker (NYC) Experience

Warby Parker has become one of my go-to brands for perscription eyewear, both optical and sunwear.

My Warby addiction began a few years ago when I stumbled across their site after searching all over the internet in order to find an optical brand that would accomplish 3 things.

  1. Allow me to put my current glasses to rest (never shop for glasses alone, it will not end well).
  2. Not burn a massive hole in my wallet. 
  3. Not break after a week of use. 

Believe it or not, Warby Parker, at that time, was not a very popular brand. When I called my eye doctor to ask for my prescription, even he had no idea what I was talking about. I remember his reaction vividly, “Warby, who?”

What did I have to lose though? I wasn’t about to spend $600 on a new pair of frames from his office, I couldn’t stand the look of my current frames, and my vision is terrible so going glasses-less was just not an option.

You should have just bought some contacts, you say? Yeah, well, allow me to bring you back to my budget. $200 will buy you contacts for a few weeks (maybe months) but I needed a more permanent solution.

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 9.17.16 PM.png

Long story short, I discovered Warby Parker and came across the Home Try On Kit, which allows each member to choose 5 frames to try on FOR FREE.

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I was hooked. ….Or they hooked me, either way, I ordered the trial box. It arrived a few days later, and I fell in love with the 1st frame I tried on (this time I asked for opinions from my friends and family to make sure that I wasn’t making a huge mistake again).

I shipped the box back and ordered that frame–total cost, somewhere around $150.

I could see again–and no longer looked like a “serial killer,” according to my family.


This brings me to the main topic of discussion today, the Warby Parker NYC Store experience. 

I wanted to pick up a new pair of sunglasses, even though, as my mother would say, “I needed another pair of sunglasses like I needed a hole in my head.” To be completely honest, I think I really just wanted to experience the store for myself, the sunglasses were just an excuse to do so.

I love New York. My mother would often bring me into the city growing up, so I had grown a sincere attachment to it.

I was so excited to go into the city on a mission to visit the store , I mean incredibly excited. Like tapping my feet on the subway the entire way there excited. It is always a treat to see what the brand is all about and a brick & mortar is the best way to discover just that. I just hoped that it would live up to my expectations. 

It did. Located in SoHo–one of my favorite areas of the city–the store already spoke to me.

Upon walking into the store, I noticed the awesome (terrible word, but whatever) displays they had in the windows and the vast amount of selection on the shelves (their spring line had just dropped).

The employees were helpful, kind, and courteous throughout my hour long visit. They assisted me in finding the perfect frame and allowed me to try on literally EVERY frame in the store. I even spent some time talking about UNC and our legendary sports teams with one employee.

The store was beautifully designed with a bookstore theme. Something about it just made me feel right at home. It was just hipster enough for my tastes.

As soon as I left, I pulled out the glasses and wore them around the city, during the entire subway and train ride, and even all the way home–it was pretty dark out, mind you, but did’t take them off until I got home.

The sunglasses came in a nice clamshell case with a lens cleaner, and a simple black and white box. On top of all of this, the cashier handed me a canvas/cloth bag to carry the little extras around with me for the rest of my New York adventure.

How have the glasses stood up to my abuse? Incredibly well, actually. I use them almost everyday and honestly see no difference in quality compared to my other prescription Gucci glasses, which is saying something.

So what is the key to understanding this experience? What is the consumer insight?

–>Customers want an honest & sincere company<–

Don’t believe me? Try my test yourself.
Think of your favorite brand and start listing reasons why you enjoy it so much. I guarantee it will eventually boil down to the fact that a brand stays consistent throughout it’s presentation of itself. The details truly matter, even the small ones. Finding a brand is similar to finding a good friend. If someone is fake and you find out, their reputation is instantly tarnished. If they remain consistent in their personality, if they are honest and sincere with you, the friendship will last for ages. Once that person begins shifting away from who you believed them to be, then well…I think we all know what happens then.

  • My loyalty to this brand began with the unique market position; cheap, high-quality glasses.
  • My interest was peaked due to the unique offering, the Home Try On Kit.
  • My loyalty was reinforced after visiting the store and seeing that the brand was truly representative of what it’s roots. What was reflected online was perfectly reflected in store.
Question from Professor:
Given this insight, try your hand at making a recommendation for marketing of this product/service.
How would you improve the 4P’s (product, the pricing, the distribution or the promotion) to make it more consistent with your insight?
Product: Well, I love the product. That is, of course, one of the main reasons for my loyalty to the brand, but there is always room for improvement. The screws within the hinges of the glasses are of low quality, so they often ‘stick’ making opening and closing the glasses a pain. This is a simple yet incredibly important fix.
The brand already offers a wide variety of styles and color ways, but I often do find that I wish there were more options for us men and women who enjoy larger sunnies. Again, minor complaint, but definitely something important to address.
Price: They are incredibly inexpensive for the quality. My one gripe lies in the fact that the price seems to have been increasing on some of the newer models of frames. This could be due to an increase in the quality of materials used, but it is something that always catches me off guard and bothers me a little bit.
Distribution: No company is perfect, but Warby does a great job in the distribution department. Home Try On Kits, a wide selection of frames to choose from and an array of destinations available to ship to. My one possible improvement? Team up with a bigger brand like LensCrafters to make the frames more widely available in brick & mortar locations. I can understand why the brand hesitates here though, part of the WP charm comes from it’s unique stores. They all have a personality that reinforce the brand’s personality.
Promotion: Be yourself. Keep that same style and personality that I originally enjoyed in everything you do. I see a lot of potential in social media advertising, especially on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
I would also recommend improving top-of-mind awareness by bringing the brand onto sites and sponsored content/native ads with Jack Threads/Thrillist, GQ, etc (which the brand has done to some extent).
Another idea would be to collaborate with well-known brands that it’s consumers also follow like Frank & Oak, Kith NYC, Burton, etc.
Well, that might be the longest post yet, but I hope you enjoyed what I had to say.
Summer is coming up, so go out and get yourself a new pair of glasses.



Featured Image

Samsung + Lil Wayne = Perfect Collaboration

As you could probably tell by the name of this post, I will be discussing the latest Samsung spots featuring none other than Lil Wayne

If you don’t like Nike or Lil Wayne, I am very sorry because this week I have been somewhat biased in my selection of ads. BUT if you don’t like Lil Wayne, then you probably don’t like my writing style either, so I’m crossing my fingers and hoping I don’t lose my MASSIVE amount of visitors (200).

Yes, that was a joke. (Insert laughter here)

Back to the topic at hand. 

Lil Wayne has starred in multiple ads for Samsung (about 3 as far as I can tell), and it seems that every one is progressively better than the last.

So why do I like these ads so much?

They come across as sincere–you know, except for the disclaimer on the bottom of the ad that pops up saying, “DO NOT ATTEMPT” when Lil Wayne is pouring champagne ontop of his new Samsung S7.

While the commercial centers on something that is not recommended by Samsung, it allows Lil Wayne’s true personality to show. He is a funny, light-hearted party animal. THAT is why these spots (and this one in particular) work so well.

Whether you love or hate his music, the guy is hard not to love. He always seems to be happy and excited yet somewhat laid-back, and this spot does an excellent job of showing just that.

Before Wayne was poppin’ bottles and pouring them on his phone, he starred in two other commercials; one entitled, Canoe, and the other, Elephant Baby. These two spots focus on the incredible virtual reality feature that the S7 can handle (VR goggles sold separately, of course).

These spots feature Wesley Snipes too! What could be better than that?

Elephant Baby, as you might have guessed, shows Lil Wayne sitting on his couch and virtually delivering a baby elephant. Personally, I am rather glad that the ‘delivery’ is virtual, because I am pretty sure that I don’t want to see ANYONE delivering a baby elephant on TV.

Canoe, again, pretty obvious content here, focuses on Wayne speaking with Snipes about his virtual reality experiences, but Snipes seems relatively unbothered…(until the end).

Hope that you all enjoyed. Let me know if you have any comments!

Nike Takes NikeiD One Step Further for Air Max Day.

Instantly Personalized Kicks for Air Max Day. On March 26 Nike, along with R/GA, installed an interactive installation that reads your style and creates a customized pair of Air Maxs, one of Nike’s most popular shoes. At this point, I believe the generator will only be able to craft you one of original silhouettes…but still…I mean how much easier could life get?

If you are lucky enough to live in one of the following cities you probably saw the display (that is, if you are a Nike finatic like myself):

  • London
  • Istanbul
  • Prague
  • Warsaw
  • Moscow
  • Athens
  • Abu Dhabi

According to Creativity-online, any visitor “can stand on a podium in-store and have their sartorial tastes translated into trainers that match their outfits.” 

“R/GA London combined a Kinect motion sensor with its own body recognition algorithms to create the scanning device, which is not affected by other people moving around in the background. The color matching is designed to be dynamic and randomized, so that it generates interesting and truly personal combinations.”

Customization has always been an important aspect of the Nike community culture, but this campaign goes above and beyond. Maybe this concept is only interesting to me because of my infatuation with the Nike brand, but I think the idea is a great one (especially in this age where customization is so important to so many buyers).

I anticipate seeing a multitude of other brands imitating this technology, or, at least, I hope to see it.

Another short post. Hope you enjoyed it.

Oh, and these bad boys were released on Air Max Day–Nike Air Max Zero OG



Canada. Home of the Montreal Canadians, Maple Syrup (the good stuff, no, not Aunt Jemimas) and great french cuisine. There is a problem in Canada though (and everywhere else in the world as a matter of fact). The population of bees is steadily declining, threatening the way of life for the citizens. General Mills Canada decided to take a stand and fight to alert the public.

Buzz, the famous Honey Nut Cheerios mascot, is being ‘removed’ from the boxes. All that is left is an outline of the poor guy. Don’t worry, Buzz fans, this is only temporary. The point is clear though, if we keep ignoring this ongoing issue of declining bee populations, Buzz–and the rest of the bees–might be gone for good. We would have to say goodbye to over 1/3 of the foods we adore. We cannot let that happen.

General Mills put out a really powerful video showing other species being saved by brave men and women, and ended with a call to action to help save the bees too! According to Emma Eriksson, Director of Marketing for General Mills Canada,“we wanted to leverage our packaging to draw attention to this important cause and issue a call to action to Canadians to help plant 35 million wildflowers—one for every person in Canada.”

  • Free seeds to plant wildflowers, saving the bee population has never been any easier. Way to go General Mills and Cossette.
  • I won’t ruin it attempting to break it down, instead, I have posted it below.


I had to share this because I believe it is an incredible example of cause marketing. If you would like to learn more or help out by planting some wildflowers, go to their microsite HERE. 

They are pretty close to their goal already! (85% as of March 21, 2016)




How To Ensure That You Enjoy Your Spring Break

Soo Spring Break is over for us Chapel Hill-ians? Whatever you call us, Tarheels from all over the world are returning to the wonderful campus that we all call home. But did you enjoy your break? This post is all about discussing how I believe one should spend their spring break.


Spend some time with the family.

There is NOTHING more important than family. I cherish every moment that I have with my mother, father, and brother. Yes, we are a dysfunctional bunch and yes, we probably drink a wee bit too much but that is just who we are. I wouldn’t trade my family for anything. You can always hang out with some good friends, and I understand the desire to go out to the bars in town but family should always come first. I think you get my point, spend more time with mom, dad, and siblings (even if, sometimes, you cannot stand them).


Make sure to get some good food (and drinks).

Aaahhh. Buon cibo, buon vino, e buoni amici. (Good food, good wine, and good friends) I am blessed to have a family and friend groups that like the same things that I like. My brother and I are constantly searching for some good eats—but don’t you dare call us foodies. Name a restaurant and we have either been there or are planning on going. Over this break I have eaten at some of my favorite places; Undici in Redbank, Novecento in SoHo, Tommy’s in Seabright, etc. I am a little upset that we didn’t visit any New York Speakeasy’s, but we should save that for summer, right?


Secure an internship before you leave for home (and brace yourself for the new adventure).

Well, you are probably thinking, easier said than done Dan. BUT this is incredibly important to ensure a carefree spring break. If you know me, you know that I am constantly worrying about EVERYTHING. Finding an internship before break just allows you to relax a bit more. I am interning at one of my favorite advertising agencies of all time, Ogilvy and Mather. Landing a great internship will not only relax yourself but also your parents. GET AN INTERNSHIP (or at least apply to some great places). You never know who might fall in love with you.


Learn some new things and do things that you wouldn’t normally do

This spring break I spent a lot of time researching living in the city (New York) because I cannot wait to work there. Research is important. Hold on a second, let me repeat that; RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT. IMPORTANT. Do your research because it will make your experience that much better. Whether you are interning in a big city or a small town, learn about it. Advertising campaigns rely on research to produce a campaign, why wouldn’t you?

Make the most of every moment (in a way that makes YOU happy).

This is a sort and to the point topic; make the most of every moment. Enjoy the moments that you would normally take for granted.


Drink lots of coffee (to be awake for every moment).

If you are a New Jersey native like myself, go to ROOK Coffee Roasters every morning (and afternoon). The coffee is ridiculous. I have mentioned the coffee about three times in this blog so far, that is how good it is. Don’t take this for granted, the coffee is Chapel Hill is terrible. Caribou Coffee? No thanks. Starbucks? I would rather just buy a redbull.


Line up things to do during summer break.

Make a list. Hate making lists? Me too. BUT you have to! The week of spring break will go by incredibly fast and you don’t want to miss anything. This point really lines up with making the most of every moment, but it is an important one in itself. Throw a list together before you take that flight home. Jot down everything and everything you would like to do (AND DO IT).

I hope that you read this and remember everything that I said for your next spring break. Make the most of it. Pretty soon you will not have a spring break. Don’t let others influence what you want to do, just do you. With that said, don’t hide inside all week, get out and do some different and fun things. Just go out and enjoy your break. No regrets. That is all.

OoMH: Virunga (Reviewed)

I have always been interested in learning about life.

I have also always enjoyed documentaries.

You know the saying, you have to see it to believe it, well, that is exactly why documentaries are interesting to me. If I want to learn about a part of the world I have never been to or a ritual that I have never experienced, I want to see it (and traveling isn’t usually an option).

My OoMH assigned blog post this week is to watch a documentary and report what I discover. I will be mainly focusing on the 3 questions that my professor provided, but I will, of course, add anything I seem to think is especially interesting.

So shall we begin? 




More detail?

“In the forested depths of eastern Congo lies Virunga National Park, one of the most bio-diverse places on Earth and home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers – including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a dedicated conservationist – protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they’ve worked so hard to protect, with the filmmakers and the film’s participants caught in the crossfire.”


What are the major elements of storytelling used in the documentary?

Multiple Perspectives/Interviews: This documentary doesn’t seem to focus on one particular person, nor is it narrated by one main speaker. Instead, you are transported inside the culture of the Congo. You hear directly from the people, reporters, investors and militias, as well as those sworn protectors of the Guerillas. This approach makes the story feel a bit more authentic, but it does not really flow as well as, say, a BBC documentary like Blue Planet–which is good and bad at the same time.

News Interviews: The documentary was frequented with what seemed like news interviews to me. These interviews were used to show how little the big companies like SOCO International (an oil company) cared about the Congo and Virunga National Park. When the interviews were over, the viewers had formed a common enemy with the makers of the documentary and were only that much more interested in finishing the documentary and even googling SOCO International to find out more (at least according to my friends that had seen it).


How does the filmmaker draw you in? I mean, really draw you in? 

Music: As you transition to a heartwarming scene the music switches to an upbeat and exciting style. The heart breaking scenes, on the other hand, feature slow and draining music styles. It is an obvious attempt at highlighting the different moods of the film but it is also an effective one.

Lighting/Contrast: Approaching the lighting much like the music, sad scenes features relatively subdued and dim lighting. I would say that the happy moments of this film were celebrated with very light and bright lighting, but there really were not many happy moments. The M23 and other rebel groups strike fear in everyone living in the area. This is something that the documentary really shines light on. With that said, there were moments of hopefulness and they were somewhat more light than those sad scenes.

Ending Text: Looking over the beautiful landscape of the Congo, the documentary ended with a few short lines of text describing what happened to a few of the Park Rangers. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but what I can say is that this was an effective way to end the documentary. It did a great job illustrating the seemingly corrupt nature of SOCO and how it alters the lives of the residents who just want to see their park survive.

Uncovering the Reality: The director does an incredible job of uncovering the truth behind how this part of the world lives. One second he will be on the battle field filming the constant struggle between poachers and protectors, the next he will be outside of town filming a memorial service for an unlucky Guerilla. You witness so much of the really goings-on that you feel much more connected to the people going through these horrors.

What idea(s) do you have to incorporate into your next presentation, after watching this film? 

Look at things from the perspective of the audience, not your own: Virunga was so well put together that it seemed to answer every question that I had when watching it. I didn’t get bored while watching either. Why? Because they included incredibly well-captured shots of the areas and people that they were describing. Some pictures/videos is worth a million words. At certain points they would just rely on the image on the screen to cause a reaction. I recall two scenes rather vividly. One was of a Guerrilla and his caretaker. You could almost feel the bond between the two. The other was when the group of townspeople were carrying a dead guerrilla after he had been attacked by poachers.

Let other people speak for you: Similar to the idea that a picture is worth a million words, letting an expert or someone that experienced something firsthand talk is worth a couple million. Letting someone else speak, whether it is by playing a video or just breaking up your presentation with a few other people, can be incredibly important. I believe that was a big part of the reason why I never got distracted or bored throughout the entire film.

Rating? Opinion? 

Well, I have to say, Virunga was a rather impressive documentary. It was the right amount of information with the right amount of emotion. I also enjoyed it particularly just because the Congo is a topic that has been overlooked for too long. There are multiple documentaries on cooking, animals, and hunting (and even all 3 together) yet this was the first documentary about the endangered guerrillas and threatened people of the Congo that I have ever seen.

4.5/5 – Well Done. Some minor quality issues but nothing too crazy.

Feel motivated to help out the cause? Click here. 






Here are a few other documentaries that are currently on my must-see list:


  • Encounters at the End of the World
  • Cave of Forgotten Dreams
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  • The Blue Planet
  • Life
  • Planet Earth
  • The True Cost
  • Blackfish
  • Fed Up
  • The Act of Killing
  • Cowspiracy
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop



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