Wellness Can Come In Many Forms

>> Monday, August 31, 2009

There are many dimensions to our own personal wellness .... mind, body, and spirit are the most broadly defined areas but there is so much more to it than just that.

Take spirituality, for example. Jeff Schwarz, our agency's head of CRM Operations, shows us a surprising side to his own spiritual wellness.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take the wheel, Jeff:

We all know that spiritual wellness helps contribute to our overall health and wellness. If your mind is in a good place, then your body has a better chance of following along. Let’s face it – if you are in a crappy mood, chances are good that your physical self also seems out of whack. A good example of this is that a bad mood can make a seemingly regular headache feel like a migraine. And vice versa – if you are in good spirits then you can more easily deal with the minor aches and pains of everyday life.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am not a very spiritual person by any means, but that there is one thing in my life that makes me a very happy camper and keeps me in good spirits – Jeeps. Outside of the work world I am known as Jeepin’ Jeff. Over the years I have owned more than 25 Jeeps – many of them from the 1940’s. I bought my first one brand new right off the showroom floor in 1983 and haven’t looked back since. It was my first new car and I kept it for 15 years.

I am in a few local Jeep clubs, won trophies for ice racing, written articles for national magazines, consulted with Chrysler/Jeep, and own one of the largest collections of historical Jeep memorabilia and literature. I also started and ran the Jeep Registry for ten years, a national clubs for Jeep owners. Around my home are old Timex watch cases that house more than 600 toy Jeep models. Yes they light up and revolve. (I have a very tolerant family!) My kids have known since birth which Jeep toys were theirs to play with and which were mine that they could not touch (or else!).

I’m a real Jeep freak.

But what really flips my switch is four wheeling. There is nothing like being on a trail in a topless, doorless Jeep with a bunch of other Jeeps where it takes us all day to go fifteen or twenty miles over rough terrain. The more challenging, the better we like it.

I’m sure a lot of you have SUVs – have you ever driven with your transfer in low range? In my current Jeep, top speed in sixth gear low range is about twenty miles per hour. Crawling over huge rocks, fallen trees, through mud or water crossings up to your headlights, up thirty degree hills that look impossible to climb is what I call fun.

And it takes great concentration to make it over or through these obstacles so while you’re wheeling you tend to forget about everything else going on in your life. I find it a very spiritually cleansing activity and it helps me get spiritually recentered.

Both of my sons also have Jeeps (no surprise there). My seventeen year old just got his first one, a 1995 Wrangler. The first order of business was to take off the hardtop and full steel doors and swap them for a soft top and half doors. He is so into the Jeep life that it scares me. He’s started reading my Jeep magazines, he’s scouring eBay and Craigslist for parts and accessories, texting me questions, wants to go to a club meeting, etc.

Jeep freak #2 in the making! And I love every minute of it.

What’s the moral of this story? Increase your wellness quotient by finding what it is that makes you spiritually happy. Then engage in it as often as possible and weave it into the fabric of your life. It will help you through difficult times or when you have to do any of those little things in your life that you are not crazy about doing, but have to do. You might as well do them with a smile while you think about that special thing you do to boost your spirits.
- Jeepin’ Jeff, Jeep Freak (Jeff Schwarz, VP CRM Operations at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness)


Helayne Spivak on "Art & Copy"

>> Friday, August 28, 2009

There's a new documentary out about the industry in which we have chosen to make our living -- advertising. Our Chief Creative Officer, Helayne Spivak, organized a field trip for her creative team which turned out to be part inspiration and part appreciation. She loved the film and so did they.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Last Thursday afternoon I took our copywriters and art directors on a field trip to the IFC theatre here in NYC to see a film called Art & Copy. It’s a documentary that features some of the legends in the advertising business and the work of their generations: Mary Wells of Wells, Rich, Green, Jim Durfee of Carl Ally, David Kennedy and Dan Weiden of Weiden and Kennedy fame, Goodby & Silverstein, Lee Clow of TBWA/Chiat Day, Hal Riney of Hal Riney, the ground breaker Phyllis Robinson of Doyle Dane Bernbach and last, but not at all least, the rough, tough genius, George Lois.

If you’re not a student of advertising and don’t know these names, please Google them. They’ve influenced, entertained and shocked four generations of consumers.

I had the pleasure of meeting almost all of them, being hired by 2 of them, and admiring each and every one of them. To hear them speak in their own words was indescribable for me. I admit I do tend to romanticize the “old days” of advertising. Days when the creatives were running the place, commercials were talked about all year and not just at Superbowl time, and testing consisted of producing work, running it, and waiting for sales results. They were exciting times and in many cases the results were incredible.

Testing told Cliff Freeman not to run the "Where’s The Beef" commercial for Wendy’s which ran anyway and became a national phenomenon. Client nervousness almost kept designer Tommy Hilfiger an unknown, but the fearlessness of adman George Lois dragged him screaming and kicking to extraordinary success.

There is still much excitement in our field; it’s just not as concentrated in one area. We are, I believe, in the infancy of a new creative revolution. And while it feels good to reminisce about the good old days, I look forward to the ones about to happen.

I also want to congratulate Mary Warlick,the guiding light behind The One Club For Art And Copy for making this wonderful film happen.

- Helayne Spivak, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Texting While Driving

>> Thursday, August 27, 2009

There's a PSA out of the UK that has been recently posted on YouTube. The PSA dramatizes what can happen if you try to use text messaging while driving -- specifically highlighting teenage girls. WOW.

The video is graphic to say the least. It's also very real and very confronting, because quite honestly many of us have been guilty of the behavior.

As a father of teenage kids myself, it also hit me very hard. My daughter just last week got her learner's permit. We've talked many many times about not talking on the cell phone and not texting while driving. And about not driving with a group of kids in the car. This PSA drives it home, so to speak.

The interesting back story is that this PSA was produced by a small police department in the UK and it now has international distribution and exposure, because of the power of social media and then mass media pick-up. The YouTube video was featured on The Today Show. It has a lot of people talking so maybe, just maybe, it can influence behavior and save lives.

I personally talked to my daughter again. And I personally have thought about it several times while I've been driving to meetings in the last two days. Exactly the goal of the PSA.

Safe travels.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Making Choices for Others

We talk at the agency all the time about how wellness is about making choices. As Stu and Jacob have recently submitted on our blog, it's often about the somewhat clear choice between Sex, Food, Sleep, or Talk. 

But sometimes it's about the choices that others make for us. And certainly as marketers it's about how we can help our customers make choices.

Our resident expert on all things digital, William Martino, takes a look at that very notion:  making choices for others.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Making choices for others. Visit a museum and you will experience this first-hand. The curator—the person responsible for overseeing the museum's collection—combed through the museum's archives to present you, the viewer, with a cohesive display of what they felt were the most important and significant pieces out of the entire collection. His (or her) job is to simplify choice.

The digital world is no different. We are all surrounded by an abundance of information—news, status updates, tweets, text messages—and sometimes need help curating. Particularly when thinking about wellness, the need for help in simplifying choices—and separating what's relevant from what's not—is even more significant (what foods to eat, different ways to exercise, trying homeopathic vs pharmaceutical treatment options, etc.).

Relevance, of course, means different things to different people. Google has made a living out of scouring the world's information and delivering relevance (and usually targeted advertising) based on complex algorithms and page ranking scores. Others, like Facebook, are trying to solve this by using the wisdom of your social network (family, friends, co-workers) to help separate the wheat from the chaff and provide a different kind of relevance to you.

We as marketers have our own opportunity to help simplify choice through relevance.  

Sometimes it's by actively doing something to simplify life (one recent example: J&J created an iPhone application for healthcare professionals, called BlackBag, which aggregates news feeds and conveniently delivers that information to the palm of your hand). 

Other times, it's about getting out of the way (for example, by giving your customers an opportunity to voice their opinion, like rating and ranking your products, so that others can see what "people like me" think). 

What choices are our customers making? What information is relevant to them in making that choice?

The only way to find the answers to those questions—and understand our role among them—is to place the wants, needs and desires of our customers at the heart of our decision-making.

Like an experienced curator, we must think in terms of what is valuable to THEM as opposed to what's valuable to US.

- William Martino, Digital Strategist at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Senator Ted Kennedy, Health Care Reform Originator

>> Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We just lost a national treasure. Politics aside. Personal life aside. Ted Kennedy spent his life in public service and was a key influence on many a social, political, and economic issue. We just lost a national treasure.

It's such a shame because Ted Kennedy was one of the originators of Health Care Reform. He died right when the debate is hitting a feverish high, right when we might actually see the kind of change he's been aiming to create for decades.

Ted Kennedy's work on creating an effective health care system started back in the '60s, when he was part of the creation of Medicare in 1965. Through the years, he became a legend in the Senate where he spent much of his energy on healthcare, labor, and economic issues including the Family and Medical Leave Act, the WIC nutritional program, and AmeriCorps, to name a few.

He spent his professional life in public service. And although it's a shame that he didn't see Health Care Reform come to fruition in his lifetime, he did see what in his eyes was hope --- in the Town Halls sweeping the country where citizens are debating Health Care Reform and trying to make things happen. He also saw hope in Barack Obama to continue the work that he started in the beginning of his career.

Politics aside. Personal life aside. We lost a national treasure. But we still have hope for Health Care Reform, just like Ted Kennedy did.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim


Getting the Wellness Knocked Out of You

You know how when you get a cold, all you can think about is getting better? You dream about all the things that you will do when you are feeling better. Like having dinner with friends. Or going for a run in the park. Or getting that special project done at work.

When our wellness gets out of whack, we work hard to get it back. We no longer take it for granted. This is true with the common cold, but is even more true the more serious our wellness is in threat.

Tricia Kieran, one of our account folks here at the agency, had one of those experiences where she literally had the wellness knocked out of her, and she's longing to get it back. She recounts the ongoing experience here.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

How are you feeling, Tricia?:

Let me just say that it is not advisable to put one’s head directly into the blades of a high-powered ceiling fan in a low-ceiling beach house. First of all, it is both immediately painful and surprisingly disorienting. And secondly, hearing your husband tell you, “You’re OK” ten times in a row as he and your son stare at your bleeding head is not convincing ... at all.

If you ignore my advice and decide to have a go at a ceiling fan near you, you too may wind up with five staples in your head, and you too may end up with your husband receiving detailed information on: 

- how to detect a concussion (plans for July 4th margaritas and intense Trivial Pursuit games NOT INCLUDED) 

- a home staple remover kit for a belated wife torture session (instructions NOT INCLUDED). 

Definitely included are some Tylenol and this little gem of information from a cheerful nurse: staples can get really hot in the sun, so it’s best to wear a hat at the beach. Ouch.

Anyone who knows me knows I have never been blessed with grace. I broke my big toe when I was two “rearranging” my parent’s bottles of wine. I had at least 12 stitches in my head before I was ten because of repeated encounters with the same hard-cornered couch and a chance encounter with my sister’s spilled orange juice (near a hard-cornered refrigerator). Arms out of sockets. Bikes flipped over. Stairs descended. Tendons sprained. It seems if you build it, I’ll come hit it. 

The world is my own klutzy Field of Dreams. If I’m walking on the sidewalk, I’ll kick whatever garbage is in my path. If there’s a waiter behind me, I’ll use dramatic hand gestures, ensuring a spilled tray of watermelon margaritas. If I’m putting on a sports bra in a small locker room, I not only punch the woman next to me, I punch her in the face.

And if you’re wondering why I put my own head into a ceiling fan, I was jumping on the bed to cover my son with a blanket while he was napping. Naturally.

But whether it was my Mom removing bandages or a doctor removing a nasty cast, I’ve always been fortunate to be able to return to a state of wellness soon after a less than graceful event. So seven days after the fan incident, after my husband’s staple game of Operation (touch the staple and she screams), I was expecting a speedy return to my normal state of “bruisy” wellness.

It just didn’t work out that way. After a trip to a PCP, ENT, ER, a neurologist and after having brain and spinal MRIs, it appears I am experiencing post-event head trauma. After some online searching, I learned that post-concussion syndrome can last days, weeks, months … or forever

Headaches and ear ringing…forever? The thought of having this indefinitely definitely puts being well in tantalizing perspective. I’ll take a laceration or bad bruising any day over this nagging noggin limbo.

I may shake my fist and mutter at ceiling fans now, but I also can’t wait for the day when I’m well again. Illness free, and ready for another tiny disaster.

- Tricia Kieran, VP Account Supervisor at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


If Barack Can Take a Vacation ---

>> Monday, August 24, 2009

--- then so can you!

The Obama's are vacationing on Martha's Vineyard this week, and they are getting a considerable amount of heat for it. And not just from the August sun. The word is that with so much going on with Barack's Healthcare Reform initiative, how could he possibly take a vacation NOW?

He probably needs it.

We all know that there is no good time to take time off. I certainly feel that way and I'm not one of the leaders of the free world.

But the truth is that vacation time is really essential to our well-being, and makes us even more productive in our work. It helps to reduce stress and it gives us the kind of quality time we need to re-kindle relationships with our friends and family. In a nutshell, vacation time enhances our wellness.

Now I know you all believe me intellectually when I say this, but actually unplugging from work is a lot harder. But with stress levels at an all time high, we need our time away more than ever.

LifeClever.com has a great article that should provide all the added inspiration you need to get out of the office. The site highlights 7 benefits of vacation time that can help you to:
- live longer
- improve mental health
- revamp your relationships
- recapture your childhood
- gain self confidence
- find creative inspiration
- become more productive

Gain self confidence ... didn't think about it that way! Among that list, I find the notion of being a kid again to be the most immediately relevant. When on vacation, we get to get up when we want to get up, eat when we want to eat, spend as much time as we want exercising or reading or watching tv as we want --- we get to do what we want when we want to. Just like when we were a kid.

Talk about a stress-reliever in an otherwise time-starved, overly-scheduled life!

So if you haven't spent any time away from work yet this year, use this blog post as inspiration to make some plans. The planning can often be the most fun part, even if it's just a "stay-cation."

LifeClever.com also has some tips for how to take a vacation:
- create a vacation fund
- let your boss and coworkers know early
- don't ask, declare it
- book your flights and hotel early
- pack light
- leave your Crackberry at home
- wear headphones
- try sleeping pills
- don't plan every minute
- don't cut your vacation time short

If you want to read the full article, click here: http://www.lifeclever.com/7-great-benefits-of-taking-a-vacation-and-how-to-do-it/

So if you haven't put aside your own vacation time for the year yet, please remember how vitally important it is to your personal health and well-being. I'm getting on the phone to plan it right now!

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Wellness is Social

Last Monday, Stuart Fink (an Associate Creative Director here at the SSW) posed a question about wellness choices. Here, we get a little blog on blog action where Jacob Braude (a Strategic Planner here at the agency) puts a new dimension on that same question.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

From Jacob:

I’m still thinking about Stu’s post from the other day on Wellness and choices. He talked about the game “Sex, Sleep or Food” as a great metaphor for the personal choices we all make every day that contribute to our Wellness.

I think something’s missing from that list: “Talk.”

More and more we’re beginning to realize how our own personal Wellness is tied to our social lives. For instance, there’s this data from the Rand corporation that looked at what aspects of our lives most closely correlate with our “life satisfaction.” Number 1? You guessed it: “social contact, family.”
We’re also discovering that social doesn’t just affect how good you feel about things, it can actually affect your physical health. Take for example this startling study done on over 3,000 nurses in the U.S. who were diagnosed with breast cancer. The researchers found that nurses with few friends were an amazing 4 times as likely to die from the disease as women with ten or more friends.

Clearly social has huge benefits for our Wellness. In fact, some behavioral scientists are beginning to argue that rather than intelligence leading to our social behavior, it may actually have been our ability to cooperate in sophisticated social relationships that lead to our superior intelligence.

So what do we do with this? I suggest that it has ramifications in all aspects of our lives.

For marketing (our professional life), the best brands have always had relationships with the people who buy them, making the brand a part of their social fabric. But as friends and “people like me” become the most important influencers on consumer decisions, all brands will have to look for new ways to be social with their consumers, which means things like: listening, being generous, and being open.

For friends and family (our personal life), it means some of us may want to re-prioritize a little bit. It’s hard for many of us who are career-driven to let go and unplug from the everyday madness, but the research is telling us that in the long run, investing your time in friends and family returns the best rewards.

So now play Stu’s game again, only this time your choices are: Sex, Sleep, Food or Talk. Has your answer changed?

- Jacob Braude, Strategic Planner at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Answering the Age-Old Summer Question

>> Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't do it. Ever. Don't let your kids do it. Ever.

It's the age-old summertime question: Is it ok to pee in a swimming pool? NO!

Since we've only got a few summer weekends left, I thought I'd put this question to rest, once and for all.

Is it ok to pee in a swimming pool? NO! Besides the fact that it's really unattractive, it really can make you and others sick.

While we are answering that question, let's also clear up a few myths. Remember when your parents told you that if you pee'd in the pool then the water would turn red and everyone would know? NOT TRUE. There is not a magical chemical that can be put in the water to detect urine.

Has anyone ever told you that the chlorine instantly neutralizes the urine on contact so you can be standing right next to someone pee'ing in the pool and it won't matter? NOT TRUE.

To answer this age-old question, I did what every other red-blooded American does -- I did a Google search. I found tons of information from the CDC, CNN, NBC, LMNOP. It's all there, right in black and white.

Don't pee in a swimming pool. Ever. Don't let your kids pee in a swimming pool. Ever.

Urine, among other unmentionable things, can cause RWIs (yes, there's even an acronym). Recreational Water Illnesses. Nasty stuff like stomach ailments, red eyes, and rashes. The most common RWI is diarrhea.
Of course, having chlorine levels accurate helps, but it only helps. And rarely are the chlorine levels exactly right.

The CDC recommends three things to stay healthy and avoid RWIs, aside from not pee'ing in the pool:
- if you have diarrhea, stay out of the pool (sorry, that's what they say)
- don't swallow pool water
- practice good hygiene like showering first and washing your hands

And if you have kids, also make sure that they take frequent bathroom breaks and that you change diapers inside the bathroom, not right by the pool.

One more little stat for you, according to a survey conducted by the Water Quality and Health Council (yes, it really does exist), 1 out of 5 Americans admit to pee'ing in a swimming pool. And that's just the ones that were willing to admit it.

How about the beach this weekend?

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Healthcare Reform Town Halls

>> Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There's an interesting thing happening on the Main Streets of America. People are voicing their opinions for the first time about something vitally important to them --- healthcare. It's not that any of the debate is new, that's for sure. It's just that for the first time, people feel like they are being asked for their opinions and they feel like maybe, just maybe, someone is listening.

Healthcare Reform Town Halls.

You've seen the media coverage. You've heard about the screaming and the drama. What you may not realize is that we are witnessing people coming together to try to change a system that desperately needs changing. And that's a good thing, Martha.

Ned Russell, our Director of Client Services, weighs in the topic.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Ned:

Iconography is a funny thing. It allows us to quickly capture in an image the essence of a thought, or sometimes an event or place in time, without getting too deep into the details.

The media is great at getting on to iconic images to telegraph the news story of the moment. Captain Scully and his USAir crew helping passengers disembark on the Hudson, Michael Jackson’s last rehearsal, Sarah Palin bidding farewell in Fairbanks, the Obama family puppy. Right now the iconic-image-du-jour is the Town Hall meeting.

This one’s a little different.

First, the images we’ve been seeing in the past couple of weeks are not the Town Hall meetings we recall from Norman Rockwell paintings or the forums of recent Presidential elections. These are ruckus affairs, sort of Marx Brothers ‘Duck Soup’ meets Jerry Springer. Red faces, shrill voices preaching of failure, woe and despair.

The New York Times reported yesterday that organizations on both sides of the healthcare debate are now spending $1 million a week trying to sway public opinion to their side. And despite the YouTube moments where one or two screamers get to confront a politician, most of these Town Hall meetings are reported to be quite constructive gatherings.

So the question is why has healthcare now struck such a nerve? I personally don’t recall Town Hall gatherings during Clinton’s attempted reform in the 90’s. And despite the age of YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, these conversations are happening the old fashioned way: in person!

Although 4 out of 5 Americans have health insurance, we are now witnessing a debate that is in many ways like the Civil Rights cause back in the day. Is it that our own health and wellness is inextricably linked to our personal freedom, which we consider to be the founding principle and great purpose of our beloved country?

Is it that what we’re seeing an expression of concerned Americans who in debating how they and their loved ones will be cared for are upending the image of the passive, uninterested American and taking an active role in their own health and well-being?

Time will tell. But you can be certain that the importance consumers attach to their own health and wellness is not going to recede any time soon, and that the media’s iconography of how this debate unfolds in these Town Halls will continue to tell part of this story. Stay tuned.

- Ned Russell, Director of Client Services at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Mad About Mad Men

The buzz this week is the Season Premiere of Mad Men. I'm not a die hard fan like some, but I do find it fascinating to see the issues confronting our industry from back in the day. Media proliferation. Creativity. Tolerance in the workforce. Competitiveness. Hmmm ... not much different from today.

Helayne Spivak, our Chief Creative Officer, talks about how she is mad about Man Men.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Helayne:

When Mad Men debuted 2 seasons ago, I watched 2 episodes and refused to ever watch it again. I hated…did I say hated...I despised the way women were depicted. Been there, done that, didn’t need to revisit.
Then, on Sunday night, I found myself pulled in by all the hype to the Premier of Season 3, and I ended up hooked.

I loved watching the handsome, beautifully tailored, slick haired men stabbing each other in
the back, front and sides. I adored their efficient, perfectly coiffed, razor sharp secretaries who sat back and waited for their moment to pounce and either marry one of them, or get their job.
As lousy as it was for women in advertising back then, it was also the time when some of the great ones were about to break in and break the mold: Mary Wells, Shirley Polykoff, Phyllis Robinson…certainly not women who let their gender stand in their way. Hell, these women, and
many talented ones after them, wouldn’t let a steel wall stand in their way.
I started my career in the mid-70’s so I didn’t have to fight as hard to get ahead. The glass ceiling had already been well cracked. That’s not to say that the way was clear. There were still accounts that women just weren’t welcome on. "The client doesn’t think that women understand cars", I was told to my face when I asked why I couldn’t work on a certain Bavarian automotive account. Until they met a female planner who was so smart, and got car buyers so well, she was invited to run their business. Nothing eliminates sexism like a little sales increase.
But, I digress. Back to Mad Men. The writing is brilliant, the characters are rich, the actors are gorgeous and advertising is the star. I ask you, what’s to hate?

- Helayne Spivak, Chief Creative Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


How Did You Spend Your Weekend?

>> Monday, August 17, 2009

Wellness is all about choices. We all spend our days and nights making choices that can either improve our wellness or take us a little further away from our goal.

Maslow certainly gives us some good direction, but the truth is that the choices we make are personal as our needs change from moment to moment.

Here Stu Fink from our creative department talks about one of the more fundamental questions we ask ourselves, and how he would answer it.

How did you spend your weekend?

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Stu:

Here’s a great game to play. It’s called “Sex, Sleep, or Food.”

I know what you’re thinking, “wow, that sounds fun, is there a way I can get drunk while playing it?” Yes it is fun, and no it’s nothing like tossing a small white ball into a plastic cup of room temperature PBR. Instead it’s a game that asks you to determine what’s more important to you, “Sex, Sleep or Food.”

And before you ask, no, you can’t say, “all three are equally important to me.” It’s a game. You’re not running for Congress. You don’t get extra points for pleasing everyone. Instead, you have to choose.

So, think about it…do you have your answer? Now, email your answer to Jim. (Seth, that was a joke.)

OK, now that you have your answer, ask yourself this, “would that have been your answer five years ago, ten years go?” “Will that still be your answer next week, next month, next year?”

I don’t know about the rest of you – and by no means am I about to skeeve all of you out – but the way I would’ve answered that question a decade ago is so far a field from the way I’d answer it today, I don’t even recognize that younger guy.

“Sex, Sleep, or Food” is a game. But it’s a game that has a lot to do with Wellness.

Ask ten different people on the street – hell, ask ten different people in our agency – what Wellness means to them, and you’ll get ten different answers.

But, we all agree in principle that it has something to do with our physical, emotional and mental well-being. And we all agree that Wellness also has something to do with making sure all of those separate components are fulfilled.

With that in mind, Wellness, just like the game of “Sex, Sleep, or Food” is fluid. A moving target that evolves and expands as we get older and find our priorities changing by the minute.

It's our job as marketers to recognize these shifts and adapt accordingly. Now if you'll excuse me, my Wellness is calling, in the form of a two-hour nap.

- Stu Fink, Associate Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Behind the Scenes at Our Durex Photo Shoot

>> Thursday, August 13, 2009

We just can't help it. We are so excited about our new Durex campaign that we just have to talk about it. Apologies in advance.

Here the core team of Sarah Hall, Sergio Flores, and Betsy Levine describe the trials and tribulations of working in the category, and of bringing the campaign to life.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Our adventures as sex workers -- or better said, how to capture the Pleasurati!

Sex and work. As professionals in the work place, we have always thought it would be best for our careers to keep them separate. Then we were assigned to our new Durex condoms, lubes and devices account (ok, yes we begged for it ... details details) and the lines became amazingly blurred.

Subjects that were once taboo to discuss at work became not only acceptable, but expected. However, we had to quickly get used to the blushing and stop giggling over every double entendre (and trust us, in this category EVERYTHING is a double entendre).

We needed to identify a unique positioning for Durex in time for the new launch of Bare condoms.

Once we got familiar with the competitive landscape, it became clear that if you weren't 18 or a player, nobody was really talking to you! We then set out to position Durex as the condom for the mature pleasure seeker, demographics aside. It amazed us how many people in established relationships still use condoms and of course are always looking to "spice things up".

The Pleasurati is born. Pleasure seekers would now have a brand that they could relate to.

Time to bring it all to life.

We then set off to Buenos Aires to shoot the "That's My Pleasure" campaign. Much more challenging than you might assume. It was real work.

When the going got tough, Serge (as the consummate professional) was always on hand to give his advice -- advice on how to remain calm during a condom photo shoot.

Focus on the naughty bits.

It may seem counter intuitive, but anything that a magazine won't publish is a complete waste. A fugitive nipple can ruin an otherwise perfect shot. So, by becoming the taste level police, not only do you guarantee publishable results, but you also make the models feel like you're on their side.

If things get heated up for the male model, help a brother out and hand him a stuffed animal.

We wanted to capture the right tone in the photography. This involved two complete strangers portraying intimacy in a believable way. As our couples ‘became intimate’ we felt it would be a good idea to separate them at waist level. Put in a little buffer if you will. To lighten up the mood, the crazy Argentinian photographer thought it wise to place a small stuffed hippo on our male model. Not only did it make everyone laugh and relax, it made our couple avoid the kind of unnecessary weirdness that can result from being sexual with a complete stranger, on command.

When in doubt, cast two exceptionally good-looking individuals that happen to be a couple. And thank your stars.

Surprisingly, artificial sexual chemistry is not hard to create. What proved more difficult was tender, lovey-dovey, worn-in intimacy. And that's where the real couple came in. Their realness was believable, and they helped us create images that fitted the mature attitude to sex we were looking for. Plus, in between takes they could lie around in front of the crew half-naked discussing their supermarket shopping list. Just like we all do.

Let women rule. But you knew that.

When all you're aiming for is tasteful sexuality and avoiding clich├ęs, let the woman dictate the mood. Think about it, we have been bombarded with so many sexual images that our idea of intimacy is rather warped. So creating the right attitude became a balancing act between capturing the kind of sex people aspire to having while avoiding the visual landmines of soft-porn, frat-sex, fabio-esque male portraits, etc. We found out that we could always rely on the women to set the right mood. So we left it up to the ladies to create the right attitude and let the men follow. Like I said, we were trying to re-create real life.

The result? Pleasurati living the life, caught on film for our new campaign. Here are some of the photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=99016&id=76472819397

- Sergio Flores (Associate Creative Director), Sarah Hall (Account Director), and Betsy Levine (Strategic Planner) at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Summer Interns at Saatchi Wellness

All I hear everyone saying is that it hardly feels like summer. Not at Saatchi Wellness!

This summer, we were lucky enough to work with Leah Gorky and Ali O’Shaughnessy, two outstanding about-to-be college seniors, who joined us as interns in the Strategic Planning Department.

It’s no exaggeration to say we put them to work: not only did they each support two planners, they had a special project of their own.

This past week, their last with us for now anyway, Ali and Leah presented their insights to a large group of folks here -- what wellness means to the youth generation, their generation.

The applause – and the interest – were real.

These young women are on their way to being great planners, marketers, or whatever they choose to be.

To cap off their experience, we asked Leah and Ali to blog a bit about what they learned in their ride with us this summer. I think you’ll enjoy what they have to share.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away Leah and Ali:

From Leah: “I just want to wake up in the morning and be happy”

That’s what one man said to us in a randomly conducted street interview. We were working on a wellness project—more specifically, what wellness means to 18-25 year olds and how it’s different from older generations—and we had ventured out into the city to ask people for some answers.

Despite the fact that a lot of people were unwilling to spend a few minutes talking with us, we did come up with a decent amount of data. After looking at all of the responses we’d obtained, we came to a shocking conclusion:

Our generation isn’t thinking about the future.

We asked, “What changes would you like to make in the next five years to be happier?” The responses were typically on par with the “deer in the headlights” look—lots of “um’s”, an “oh God” or two, and a “that’s a really hard question”. I think it’s safe to say these people hadn’t ever thought that far ahead without being probed by someone else...and even then they really didn’t want to.

At first, I found this fairly surprising because I am a planner. I am constantly thinking about where I am going to be in life in 5, 10, 15 years. I’m not saying I do actually know where I’ll be, but I’m always thinking about it. So naturally I think everyone else is doing the same. After getting past the initial shock, Ali and I had time to discuss.

Eventually, I realized a lot of people would have responded the same way. They weren’t the “weird ones” for not thinking about their future, but instead I’m the “weird one” for giving it more than a passing thought.

Most people my age are not concerned with after-graduation plans—they seem to think things will just fall into place. In fact, little to no thought is given to job security, financial stability, or even preventive health measures.

But who knows…maybe my generation has it right. Not burdened with the stresses that often come with thinking about the future, this generation is concerned with the here and now. While these individuals will eventually start thinking about their future more seriously, the current mentality can best be summed up by the respondent who told us, “I just want to wake up in the morning and be happy.”

From Ali: "wellness isn't always a solo venture"

I had a bad day. I pushed my way through the crowd in Penn Station and dodged people like they were obstacles in my way. I was commuting back home to New Jersey on a train like I did every day. I usually put my earphones in and blankly stare out the window waiting impatiently until we pulled into Princeton Junction. This day, however, I forgot my IPOD. I didn’t have my book, and my phone was dead. I knew this was going to be a long ride.

The train was packed that day. A man next to me gave up his seat to an old woman. She fell asleep 2 minutes after the train pulled out of Penn station. I heard a phone ringing from inside her bag. It must have been ringing for at least 10 minutes before I decided to wake her up. Maybe someone needed to tell her something urgent. She yelped and quickly opened her eyes.

“Excuse me, I’m so sorry to wake you, but I think your cell phone is ringing.” I explained. She looked at me, confused. I apologized again for waking her up and then she started hysterically laughing. At that point, I quickly regretted my decision. I apologized again and awkwardly scooted closer to the window.

“Oh, no! Don’t apologize dear. Thank you for waking me up. I just think it’s hysterical. You thought I had a cell phone! Hah!” She said still giggling. Her laugh was contagious. I immediately started laughing with her.

“Why do you think that’s funny?” I asked, “Everyone has a cell phone now.”

“You shouldn’t go jumping to conclusions,” she said with a serious tone.

I learned that she was 79 years old. She commuted every Wednesday to New York from Trenton to work in publishing.

“I used to get up every day happy because I loved where I was going. I still love what I do and that’s why I’m still doing it once a week,” she explained.

We talked the whole way home. I didn’t even realize that I was pulling into my station. Before I got off the train, she gave me a couple expired senior citizen tickets. I refused, she insisted, I graciously accepted.

“Just in case,” she said. “We commuters have to help each other out.”

For the first time all day, I was smiling. I looked down at the tickets in my hand and began to laugh. Nothing, not my IPOD, my phone, or my book has made happier than these expired New Jersey transit tickets.

I keep them in my wallet to remind me of her optimism. It made me realize that wellness isn’t always a solo venture. It’s meant to be shared perhaps through a favor, some good conversation, or even a useless gift.

- Ali O'Shaughnessy and Leah Gorky, Summer Interns in Strategic Planning at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Filming the Pleasurati for Durex

>> Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ad Age broke the story yesterday about our new campaign for Durex where we introduce the Pleasurati, the new personality for the brand of intimacy products. You can read the story here: http://adage.com/article?article_id=138420

The dynamic creative duo of Ryan Smith and Dustin Glick recently had the chance to film some Pleasurati taking about their healthy sex lives, in a forthcoming installment of the Durex site, http://thatsmypleasure.com/

Here Ryan and Dustin talk about the experience of meeting real, honest to goodness, Pleasurati.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Ryan and Dustin:

Is New York a healthy city? Well, that's hard to say. Is it a sexually healthy city? That we can answer — with a big fat YES.

And how did we find that out? Easy: we asked.

Last Friday night Team Durex took to the streets in search of the answer to the question:

"What's your pleasure?"

We wanted to get real answers from regular people, so we set up a bed and a couple of cameras right next to The Cube sculpture on Astor Place. It didn't take long for us to learn that if you build it, they will come. Before we even started filming people were waiting in line to get in front of the cameras and talk about their sex lives.

And talk they did. You’d think that in the age of YouTube people would be a little weary of letting a bunch of strangers film their dirtiest secrets. That certainly isn't the case, as our five hours of footage prove.

What's in that footage? You'll have to wait to find out. But just to whet your whistle, we're not lying when we say we heard stories involving avocados, a riding crop, and a Snow White costume.

We also learned that people are very unpredictable. While some of the best looking people told the lamest stories, some of the least assuming folks had the kinkiest sex lives. If you want to put it in terms of judging a book by its cover, it was like opening up The Hungry Caterpillar and finding an issue of Hustler inside.

And as long your not breaking any laws, that sounds pretty healthy to us.

One last note — if you want to talk about viral, a quick Google search finds that people were Twittering about the event as it was happening, with some of them even posting images!

- Ryan Smith (art director) and Dustin Glick (copy writer) at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness


Healthy Fast Food Options

>> Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not sure if you've noticed, but there seems to be a proliferation of more "healthy" fast food options.

Just a short time ago, if you wanted to grab a REALLY quick lunch, your options were pretty much limited to the big three burger chains or maybe a local pizza joint that serves by the slice. Or maybe a little fried chicken.

Not exactly the most healthy of options.  Have you read Fast Food Nation?

Suddenly I've noticed a shift in the number of healthy yet still quick food options, and I am loving it. And not just in New York.

Salads, pastas, burrito bowls, hummus, even a "better burger". Not to mention the proliferation of frozen yogurt and smoothie establishments. Many of whom publicly post the nutritional content of their food, either in their store or on their website or both.

Like a salad from Salad Works that is "fanatic'ly fresh." Or the Hummus Masabacha from Hummus Place made almost entirely from chick peas. Or the Protein Berry Workout with Whey from Jamba Juice that delivers 21 grams of protein for 300 calories. Even a Burrito Bowl from Chipotle Mexican Grill that is described as "food with integrity."

Now the truth is that you still have to be careful at these places. Overall there are more healthy options when compared to a burger with special sauce, lettuce, cheese, on a sesame seed bun. Some of the options can still have incredibly high fat content, and even a fruit smoothie can weigh in at over 500 calories when fully loaded with granola and other add-ons. 

But if you're smart, you can choose from tons of more healthy options for a healthy and fast lunch. Like never before. Like the air baked fries at Better Burger NYC that promise to be guilt free.

You can turn lunch hour into wellness hour, particularly if you walk to and from, or at least take the stairs back at the office. Have some fun and try a new one every week.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Julie & Dana

>> Sunday, August 9, 2009

I saw two inspiring films this past weekend. Two films that couldn't be more different. Yet each with a NY moment attached.

The first one is Boy Interrupted: http://festival.sundance.org/2009/film_events/films/boy_interrupted. I watched it on Friday night.

It chronicles the life and suicide of Evan Scott Perry, a 15 year old boy with bi-polar depression. His mom Dana Perry directed the film, I imagine in part to raise awareness of this disease and in part to help come to terms with her loss. It made quite a presence at Sundance this year, and it's now playing on HBO through the end of August.

I was blown away. I myself have two teenage kids, and we also work on Seroquel, a drug that helps people cope with bi-polar depression. I can't get the film out of my mind, particularly because it shows how the family and friends of Evan Scott Perry had no options to help him. They were helpless, and the end felt almost inevitable to them. You could clearly feel the inevitability.

In a not-so-rare New York moment, the next day I literally sat next to Dana Perry at a nail salon getting a pedicure (yes, I'm not ashamed to admit that I got a pedicure, it's summer after all!). Yes, Dana Perry.

I am embarrassed to say that I couldn't think of what to say to her. I wanted to tell her that I had just seen her film, that it had moved me, that I worked on Seroquel, and that I have two teenagers of my own. I wanted to tell her how brave I think that she is. But I just couldn't bring myself to break into her privacy. But I really wanted to say something to her.

The other film is on the opposite side of the universe. Julie & Julia.

We had planned to go see Julie & Julia on Sunday. The movie chronicles blogger Julie Powell as she rips through the Julia Child classic French cookbook over the course of a full year, paralleling it with the life of Julia Child while she was living in Paris with her adoring husband. It's actually a great feel-good story that leaves you feeling inspired to do something creative.

It doesn't even compare to Boy Interrupted, can't even begin. But the movie is also moving in a different kind of way. Especially for those of us who do a lot of writing.

Another not-so-rare NY moment. Saturday night, the night before we plan to see the film, we pop into Odeon in Tribeca to grab a quick glass of wine before dinner. Who is sitting next to us but Julie Powell. Yes, Julie Powell.

Feeling embarrassed by not publicly acknowledging Dana Perry the day before, I decide to say hello and tell Julie Powell how inspired I am by her story. It was a little easier to break into her privacy as she was just on The Today Show that very morning.

She was thrilled for the acknowledgement. Thrilled. We talked for about 20 minutes and then rushed to dinner feeling inspired to write a book.

While certainly not on the same scale by any means, I "met" two incredibly strong women with a story to tell. I feel for these women, in very different ways. And both of their stories moved me.
You never know who is sitting next to you and what their story is.

If you haven't already, check out both of their films. One is very Hollywood and at your local theater. The other is very raw and available in your home.

Let me know what you think.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Marketing Across Borders

>> Friday, August 7, 2009

Global assignments always present interesting challenges. Time zones, language barriers, cultural variations to name a few of the obvious. Navigating our differences around the globe is a lot of work.

I am currently working on a really interesting global branding assignment where these challenges certainly do exist. The global branding team I'm working with includes a core team from Spain and Australia as well as other members from around the world. Gosh, even Canada. It's been a lot of work.

Setting up meetings at 7:00am my time while it is the middle of the afternoon in Europe and late at night in Australia. Trying to explain the difference between "restless" and "relentless" to team mates for whom English is a second language. Interpreting different business style across the cultures and understanding their meaning.

Lots of differences to navigate. But what I've also realized is that despite our differences, we have an incredible amount in common. We share traits that are much bigger than time zones, languages, and styles, that are resulting in really good work.

Like passion. I often find it annoying when people say they have a "passion for the business." Working with this team, I now know what it means. These folks are passionate. Me, I just like to do good work and get things done. I guess you can call that passion.

Really smart marketing. I thought I was good, these folks are GOOOOOD!

And an unbelievable grasp of the consumer. A fundamental of marketing, I know, and it's amazing how we all share a deep knowledge of the consumers we are targeting. And how similar those consumers are around the world.

I've been blown away by our common passion, marketing skills, and consumer knowledge. Regardless of country of origin.

The result? A really cool worldwide branding project that crosses borders and brings us together. Something we are all "passionate" about.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Inspiring Client Service

>> Thursday, August 6, 2009

With our new Director of Client Services, Ned Russell, in place now, I'm feeling inspired. Inspired to take our client service to a new level.

As I sat in my office pondering how to create a new "service program", I happened to notice a small little book sitting on my shelf.

The Simple Truths of Service. Inspired by Johnny the Bagger.

My sister had given this to me when she was in sales and I had never opened it. It took about 10 minutes to read -- it's written by Ken Blanchard ala One Minute Manager fame.

In this book is the story of Johnny the Bagger. Johnny bags groceries at the local grocery story. He has been inspired by his store manager to figure out how he can contribute to good customer service.

He comes up with this idea to put a "thought of the day" into each of his customers' bags. He goes home every night and makes tons and tons of these little clippings -- the front is a typed "thought of the day" and the back has his hand-written signature.

Short story even shorter, Johnny the Bagger becomes the "face of the store" as his lines become the longest. Customers start coming to the store more often just to see Johnny the Bagger and get his "thought of the day" each day. You get the picture -- good customer service leads to increased sales.

The sidebar is that Johnny the Bagger has Down Syndrome which makes the story even more remarkable.

The story reminded me that good client service doesn't just come from the client service staff. Sure, they may be the official "face of the agency", but every single person contributes to good client service. Whether they ever see the client or not.

Each person represents the agency, and absolutely influences perceptions of the agency. Good or bad. When the experiences are good, the agency is in good standing. The more consistent, the better.

So my inspiration for client service is that all of us are in client service, whether our official title says it or not. We all need to do our part. We should each be thinking about how we can contribute to good customer service, just like Johnny the Bagger.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


HBO The Alzheimer's Project

>> Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Not the catchiest title in television for sure, but in my opinion one of the most compelling uses of the television medium to deliver specific marketing objectives. One to raise awareness of a horrible disease and two to rally people to support those dealing with it every single day.

I finally sat down and watched HBO's The Alzheimer's Project, the four part series that debuted back in May. (btw, my television life has become completely "on demand" and I love it)

I first checked out the website (www.hbo.com/alzheimers) to get a little background information. I was drawn in immediately. I'm in the industry obviously, but was still naive to the impact that this disease has on people's lives. Especially the family members.
It is the second "most feared" disease, behind cancer. And with the Baby Boom generation coming of age, we are going to need solutions for it.

The film Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? takes a specific look at the impact on children and is narrated by Maria Shriver who has particular credibility on the topic. It'll change your view on "suffering" and who "suffers most", forever.

After I watched the first of four films, I went back to the website to learn more about the disease. I was amazed at how deep HBO had taken the project which now includes information on the science behind the disease with an entire supplementary series dedicated to deeper education.

You can even contribute to The Tribute Wall on Facebook.

I give HBO a lot of credit for tackling these kinds of projects, and The Alzheimer's Project is not their first. It's the kind of television programming (online and off) that I believe the "big brands" ought to help create and whole heartedly support.

As a marketing community, we should take our collective strength, rally around these causes, and help folks deal with their lives. Sort of like Extreme Home Makeover without the screaming crowds. I'm certainly going to encourage our wellness clients to take the marketing to higher ground.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Skechers Shape-ups

>> Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This is not the first time that wellness has hit footwear. Certainly athletic shoes were made for exercising -- just ask Nike.

But shoes that more passively help you get in shape and improve your health? It "recalls" the ad with the nuns playing basketball. Remember that little ditty?

"Looks like a shoe, feels like a sneaker!"

But now in comes new Shape-ups from Skechers. Shoes that actually help you get in shape without going to the gym. Actually promote better health. Improve circulation. Burn calories. Lose weight. Really!

How could this be? Check it out here: http://www.skechers.com/info/shape_ups/?utm_source=SKXHP&utm_medium=TileShapeUps

Too good to be true? I have no idea. But I do know that wellness is hitting virtually every consumer category that we all consume. Drugs, food, even banks. And now footwear like never before.

Those nuns would be proud.

Hope this finds you well -- Jim.


Wellness Can Be Contagious

>> Monday, August 3, 2009

Valerie Bugtai-Elias is a killer account person here at the agency. She leads her team to great heights - creatively, strategically, and apparently physically. Here she proves that wellness can indeed be contagious. Hope this finds you well -- Jim.

Take it away, Valerie:

"Don't Let the Fat-Rat Race Kill You"

According to the CDC, "American society has become 'obesogenic,' characterized by environments that promote increased food intake, non-healthful foods, and physical inactivity".

Well, not here at Saatchi Wellness and certainly not with my team.

After one of our weekly status meetings, we were all talking about our fun summer plans for the 4th of July holiday weekend, when our discussion became a downer --- filled with complaints of aches, pains, and looking fat in a bathing suit. It was apparent we were resigned to this state of being with so many excuses like having no time.

We realized that we were stuck in the RAT race. In listening to all of this, winning the FAT Race was not an option either.

Then we remembered Brandon doing push ups in his cube a couple of months ago and we created a team challenge.

We coined it - Don't Be a Fat A*s!

Brandon, Fred, me and a couple of others on the team each pledged we would run a certain number of days a week for a month. With this sarcastic bunch, the penalty for not running your number of days a week was tricky . But nobody wants to be called a Fat A*s. So there it was -- run your pledged days or be called a Fat A*s, all day.

In celebration of everyone's commitment, team drinks were scheduled for the end of the month. And by close to month's end, we had collectively run over 200 miles and lost 7 lbs.

Coincidentally, the CDC held their inaugural conference last week on obesity and weight control - "Weight of the Nation". The conference is designed to provide a forum to highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental strategies with framers around four intervention settings: community, medical care, school and workplace.

Well, even without an intervention, we took control over our own health and state of mind, or at least got a good start.

Overall, we gained the momentum we needed to live well, feel better and try our best, everyday for ourselves and maybe others.

Who knew this would gain momentum outside the office - my husband dusted off the weights and lost 10 lbs. I also happened to have lunch with someone from another agency who said they would start this same challenge with their team.

And if you're wondering, so far no one actually got called a Fat A*s. Although, the "Don't Let the Fat-Rat Race Kill You" poster does hang in our hallway as continued motivation.

Here's to being well. Gotta run, now.

- Valerie Bugtai-Elias, Account Director at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness