gwendolyn faith is not a crayon.

Hello, I’m Gwen.

I work in advertising. I play in the kitchen.

I’m part tweenager. (Look at my iTunes playlist.)

I’m part Grandma. (Look at my oversize cardi collection.)

I’m part Romy or Michelle. (Look at the height of my hair.)

As a Christian, I'm learning how to glorify God in the everyday. To live into the status quo, like Jesus' own Manchurian candidate, and seep grace through its cracks.

I wish my life were a musical, but other than that, I’m pretty content.

(No surprise I also like to Yelp.)

The Casual Vacancy
The Explicit Gospel
Gone Girl
The Chaperone
Cutting for Stone

Gwen Daniels's favorite books »

Posts tagged "account planning"
So the next time you get ready to launch into one hundred reasons why your cell phone or TV or car is better than someone else’s, hesitate. Because you’re not trying to change the other person’s mind—you’re trying to prop up your own.
David McRaney on brand loyalty in You Are Not So Smart (via jumbodumbothoughts)

(via jumbodumbothoughts)


I was reading this great book, and I found out something which may be useful for economists: that moment when you make a decision among close alternatives, is purely emotional. This is what the book has to say:

It’s purely emotional, the moment you pick. People with brain damage to their emotional centers who have been rendered into Spock-like beings of pure logic find it impossible to decide things as simple as which brand of cereal to buy. They stand transfixed in the aisle, contemplating every element of their potential decision—the calories, the shapes, the net weight—everything. They can’t pick because they have no emotional connection to anything.

This is why companies are now starting to limit the variety in their product lines (the consummate example being Apple, of course), because it makes it easier to make an emotional connection and create post-hoc rationalizations about your choice. It may seem a little manipulative but this decision-making heuristic makes our lives easier; one just has to realize their cognitive biases.

It’s quite in line with the bounded rationality of behavioral economics; that people make choices rationally but only up to the extent of what they know and how they think. If this interests you, Predictably Irrational and other books by Ariely are great reads.

I read Predictably Irrational a few years ago, but three years into my advertising coursework, the book would be worth another read through a more critical eye!

Research on the so-called Zero Moment of Truth—the moment when a shopper goes online to research a product and decides whether to make a purchase—suggests consumers often make purchase decisions in-store, as they read peer-to-peer reviews on their smartphones. I wonder if emotional consumer reviews are more persuasive than more matter-of-fact or features-driven reviews. How do reviews, which so many shoppers rely on, facilitate an emotional connection, anyway, if they can at all?

Developing a communications plan for a class project with Billiards on Broadway, a local three-in-one restaurant, bar and pool hall.


In the past year or so, we’ve been witnessing the convergence of several trends – a shift in online behavior, where users of social media tend to be gravitating toward micro-social networks and smaller, more socially curated sites; the rise of micro-lending, micro-giving, and localism; the growth and innovation occurring in qualitative market research; the higher levels of participation and quality in smaller-scale forms of research; the pruning of “friends” in social networks and tightening of privacy controls, and other phenomena. While disparate in their form, they are all manifestations of a few basic principles:

    • People want to feel that they are having an impact.
    • People want smaller, more intimate, more meaningful social circles.
    • People want brand relationships with a human face.
    • Companies need to better understand their customers, in a human and not purely data-driven way.
    • Privacy is starting to matter again.

It was about persuasion, but now it is about conversation—and it makes sense, of course. No one wants to just be talked at.

Don’t forget the miniaturizing of other things as well, like desserts and packaging :D ~ cake pop, anyone?

If you don’t learn how to be alone, you’ll always be lonely, that loneliness is failed solitude. We’re raising a generation that has grown up with constant connection, and only knows how to be lonely when not connected. This capacity for generative solitude is very important for the creative process, but if you grow up thinking it’s your right and due to be tweeted and retweeted, to have thumbs up on Facebook…we’re losing a capacity for autonomy both intellectual and emotional.
From Fast Company’s interview with Sherry Turkle about her new book Alone Together

(via modernandmaterialthings)

Digitally enabled by easily accessible evocations of their past, consumers’ very memories are now being relentlessly commoditized. Images of our weddings and graduations, memories of kids’ births and grandparents’ faces now get snugly wrapped by ads for automobiles and toothpaste. The commercialization of our personal and collective pasts has significant cultural and marketing implications. As a matter of fact, it’s now doing what was heretofore unthinkable: It’s killing nostalgia dead.

Categories are interesting to anthropologists. They are the “buckets” into which we organize the world. More exactly, they are the buckets with which we read the world. We have a bucket called “bird.” Inside that is a bucket called “Robin.” As spring approaches, we see winged creatures on our lawn and the buckets leap to the ready. Robin! Bird! Spring! This is culture in action.

From this point of view, Pinterest is a treasure. It’s a chance to see American culture as if from a glass-bottom boat. Yes, some of it is a little reductive. But sometimes what people stuff into the categories is a chance for us to see exactly what they mean. Pinterest is a little Rosetta Stone, a table of equivalencies. Oh, so that’s what YOU mean by home. Here’s what I mean. In a culture that flowers with an increasingly diverse variety, this is useful.

Grant McCracken in the Harvard Business Review post “Pinterest as Free Market Research”

I should probably write my own commentary instead of posting quotes all the time, but hel-lo, I have a research proposal to write! Actually, I have two research proposals to write. Ouch.

Don’t do it. Seriously. If you have what it takes to be a good brand strategist, then you probably have what it takes to run a microcredit operation that can bring thousands of people out of poverty, or be an investigative journalist, or make organic goat’s cheese. Any number of things that will almost certainly be better for your soul, and your stress levels, than planning.

advice for the next generation of account planners from victoria kaulback, brand planning director at y&r new york

click through for advice that’s a little more serious for those of us who favor insight to investigative journalism and goat cheese.

No matter which way you cut it, at the heart of the brief there should always be a statement of transformation of consumer/brand behaviour. And compared to the old days, it must move beyond brand perception shift.

Planner Dan Pankraz in his smart blog post Ten Tips for Crafting a Great Communications Challenge The Heart of a Great Creative Brief

Dan already knows what I’ve been learning over the past year or two.

Don’t settle for “persuading” or “repositioning.”

Identify a stale, conventional belief about the brand, product category, consumer or culture; defy convention; and change the target’s behavior for good.

I bet Dan and I would get along.

Reblogged because I love this perspective. And I love TV.


My first (creative) partner was a girl in my ad school during my third year doing a Bachelor of Communications at AUT.

She was great, we did a lot of interesting work together.

There was one thing about her that I found odd.

She didn’t watch television.

Her family didn’t have one. She was raised like this. Instead of watching TV, she’d pursue hobbies like dancing, which is all well and good because she was an excellent dancer.

And her parents took her to different countries when she was little, so she was well travelled. Phenomenally so.

But she didn’t watch television.

And to me, this left a gap in her thinking.

Sometimes, I would suggest an angle we could explore or lines we could use based on popular culture originating from a TV show, and she would come back to me; expressionless.

I think there was one time I mentioned a TV character like Captain Planet.


“Captain Planet. You know, the Planeteers? Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart? Go, Planet?”

“Nope. Are you sure people know who that is?”

“Are you serious?!” 

Good advertising messages stem from insights. Insights about the product, where it’s made, how to use it, the people that use it, an so on.

The best advertising messages stem from life insights. Aspects of daily living that transcend language, age and gender boundaries.

And the best way to come up with these life insights is to experience life.

If you’re disconnected somehow, you’re not going to reach those crucial truths you need.

In a way, this means to travel; see different people and cultures and view life from a unique perspective.

In a more realistic way, this means to branch out from what you already do.

Just because Ted, Marshall, Lily, Robin and Barney hang out at MacLaren’s Pub all the time, doesn’t mean it’s cool for you to do as well.

Read a book you by an author you don’t normally read; see a movie you wouldn’t see; watch TV, a lot; go to a restaurant you haven’t been to and order something you don’t normally eat.

Every new thing you do gives you a new perspective and broadens your thinking.

You could notice how people who can’t handle spicy food look like they’re taking a Lamaze class when they eat, or how the majority of commuters read books on the train, or all the weird tips and tricks for picking out perfect produce you learn from farmer’s market patrons.

They can all birth interesting ideas that come from simple life insights.

Another thing I would recommend is to watch a lot of stand up comedians. All and any you can. Local ones, international ones, male ones, female ones, transgender ones, old ones, young ones, Irish ones, American ones, Spanish ones, Chinese ones, Nigerian ones, bad ones, really bad ones, all of them.

Especially those who specialise in observational humor.

What these people do for a living is take even the tiniest life insight, like the faces men make when we shave, and turn it into something relatable, funny and entertaining.

Gee, that sounds familiar.

And you can tell they’ve hit the nail on the head with these details of daily life because of the immediate laughter from the audience.

Young creatives could learn a lot from these people. The more you watch, the more perspective you benefit from - it’s simple.

As a creative (especially one working in advertising), you’re not just living life, you’re exploring it. And the best way to do that is just do something different from time to time.

A friend of mine, Iain Nealie, a creative at TBWA\Tequila in Auckland, once did something as simple as using a different mode of transport to go to work each day for a week.

He managed it (walk, run, car, skateboard, bus).

Simple as that.

Or just at least make sure you’re getting enough TV each day.