Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bye Bye Blogspot

I'm moving my blog over to

It will be hosted by WordPress. In two weeks, I will start to redirect this url to its new home.

For all subscribers, you may have noticed this change already. You should be fine and still getting the feed. (That's why I used Feedburner but please check.) But, as many of you also may have noticed, it's not running perfectly smoothly...yet. (Hopefully within the week.) So apologies if all past posts have been refreshed in your reader and if full posts are not being displayed right now. And finally, if you're not already subscribing and would like to you'll see nice big Subscribe in the upper right hand corner of the newly-designed blog.

A huge thanks goes out to Eric, who in addition to helping me register and manage my domain names as well as make the transition, has been invaluable in giving me blogging advice.

For the love of god man, when you write your last post on the blogger platform, get to the f-ing point! I'm paraphrasing but check the first line of the post. Message received, man.

Why am I changing platforms? I wanted my blog to grow up. More than just wanting and being ready for a change (which would send me off on a political rant), I felt like this blog design and url were actually impacting my writing. This is partly true because it was boring me a bit to have the same template for almost two years. (I made one change about six months into blogging.) Yet, it is mostly due to the fact that everything from the brown wallpaperish background to the left column of widgets to the width of the space used to the blogger search bar on the top to the address ( had put me in a box and the walls were starting to close in. A serious post didn't really feel like it fit. A more thoughtful post didn't either nor did the design inspire these types of posts. (Forget for a fact that schedule doesn't always permit either.) While I've heard there are also benefits of power/speed and utilities/plugins, I really just wanted to be re-energized around this blog, and I want to make it better.

I'll be making some changes over the next couple weeks, including going back and tagging + categorizing all my posts (which I failed to do here). But it's going to be pretty much the same El Gaffney (whatever that means to you). I hope you all enjoy the new and improved site.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Work and The Work

I've been pretty much ignoring this blog save a few running for charity and trying to start a non-profit posts.

What a good guy!

But truth is, most of my time has been spent trying to get you people (especially the sports fans among ya) to feel a deeper, stronger connection to ESPN. I do this primarily, as many of you know, by developing interesting strategies for their variety of properties. These ideas serve as platforms for our creative work.

That's what we call what you call "ads" here at W+K, the "work." I wanted to use this post not only to make an excuse about being super busy with work but also to show you the most recent work I have been a part of bringing to life (in my own small way).

When most sports fans think of ESPN's advertising, they think "those SportsCenter commercials." And that's a good thing because most of them 'em. I do too (even if they don't require a "planner" and brief). When we set out to announce the start of SportsCenter going live in the morning, however, some strategic thinking was essential. Planning's role (my role) was as much about tonal approach as it was about message. The news itself was not wildly important news to sports fans nor would it have a huge impact on the show, so we had to be honest, transparent even, and make the campaign the news/entertainment. The tagline (as it often does) encapsulated our strategy "More work for us. More better for you." You seen it (and my handwriting) here already.

In addition, I am particularly jazzed (yeah, I said it) about latest work we did right after the Olympics. Our clients smartly wanted to be proactive about making a statement that celebrated this global event (which of course ran on NBC, not ESPN). We framed the challenge to figure out a way to be true to our personality without being self-serving. We turned the work around within a week and the response to our ad in the Sunday New York Times has been great.

Also very recently, we launched our campaign for Monday Night Football on ESPN. The idea is simple, Monday Night Football helps you get through Monday. Was this a planning breakthrough? Hells no. But it's the truth, and in my career as a planner, I've found some of the campaigns I'm most proud of working on have started with identifying a clear truth like Mondays suck or You need a vacation (Bahamavention). Back to the MNF campaign, I'm really happy with how it turned out...and only partly because MC Hammer is in one TV spot. (Whose beeper keep beepin' and beepin'!?) Check out Creativity's nice write-up.

Other than that, I've been working to get our office's blog in full swing, updating my Tumblr, and of course wishing I was responsible for the brief that led to this work.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Marathon Update

Two months and one day left until I Run the NYC Marathon to Stop MS.

Perfect time for an update. Well, to be honest, tomorrow would probably be the perfect time given it will be exactly two months. But since I can't guarantee there will be time write this post tomorrow, I'll say today is the perfect time to write and tomorrow is the perfect time to read it. I'm glad we were able to compromise. Wait, but then I wonder if I should change that first line to address the many readers (double digits at least), who have better things to do than read this on Labor Day. At least those New Yorkers, who have been blessed with a beautiful one for tanning and barbecuing. (Okay, "blessed" is a bit much). And especially those people, who'll be headed back to an office with a desk in it with a computer on it that they'll be sitting in front of all day tomorrow. Or is it today? Tuesday? You there? Here?

Exhausted yet? Confused perhaps? I promise there's a complete sentence. In the future. The update:

Since I (officially) started training on July 15th, I have run approximately 130 miles. That includes everything from my first 4 miles with the Run MS crew on that Tuesday night to yesterday's 10K (6.2 mile) Nike+ Human Race, a global race which I ran solo on the West Side Highway and in which I'm currently placed 2936th (out of how many I'm still unsure). My longest distance has been a little over a half marathon, so I'm going to have to step up the mileage in September in order to have a nice taper toward mid October. That means stopping drinking and wearing white pants. (I don't know which will be more difficult!)

In addition to training, I've raised $3,345 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society—only $105 short of reaching my total goal. And with 2 months left, while I'm hesitant to explain why I chose $3,450 as my initial target (fine, it was because I'm aiming to finish the marathon in under 3 hours and 45 minutes), I'm less hesitant to shoot for a new fundraising goal of a nice even $4,000.

That's right. Four large. (I think that's what large stands for but if not, just refer back to the four thousand dollar figure.) Before running at that goal, I want to thank all the people who have helped me to (just about) reach my (old) donation pledge:

Jess April, Stephanie Redlener, Andrew Tchabovsky, Hara and Michael Cohen, Matt O’Laughlin, Robert Nelson, Lisa Michel, Kirsten Shiroma, Eric Friedman, Kim Nguyen, Jeff Friedman, Jason Brupbacher, Steven Krammer, Sherri and Jeff Feinman, Matthew Jung, Mark DiMassimo, Vince and Ila Gaffney, Paul Garvey, Zach Lev, Eric Mishlove, Tom Theys, Larry and Linda Fields, Erica, Dave and Noah Ellenbogen, Barry Blyn, Jen Giroux, Eve Silverman, Jason Oke, Pete Brown, Justin Eshak, Ron and Diane Kaufman, Michael Katz, Matthew Johnson, Steven Fields, Leah Zamkow, Donna and Ed Mishlove, Tori Greene, Marie Shadi, Lee Goldstein, Chad Blakenship, Slyvan Garfunkel, Arthur Marino, Phyllis and Jarrett Pikser, Aki Spicer, Noah Brier, Evan Schepps, Sarah Saline, Sean Cox, Kamila Prokop, Genna McKeel, Steve and Patti Cohen, and David far :)

Once again, I really appreciate all of your support. It's both touching and motivating. Almost as motivating as my new "Power Song" (which may or may not have been featured recently on The Hills - don't judge):

For anyone else wanting to make a donation and see their name in the bright shining lights (read as: text) of this blog, you have plenty of time. Just click on this link to donate.

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Please Vote for HourMission!

Yes, I went there; I put an exclamation point in the title. I'm already second-guessing it. But moving on...

Yesterday, my buddy Matt and I submitted an idea we've been working on quite a bit (especially lately) to American Express' Members Project. If you haven't heard of Members Project, it is a contest in which people can submit their ideas that make a broad positive impact as well as rate, discuss and vote on all the submitted ideas. We would love if you would take all three of the latter actions (rate, discuss and most importantly VOTE - all caps is my latest punctuation faux pas). The entry deadline has passed unfortunately for those interested (though fortunate for us, since we don't need any more competition than the other ~1200 ideas in contention).

The voting deadline is September 1st. The top 25 projects advance to the next round, and the top 5 get some serious cash money. (Eat your words, Wilmer. And then go volunteer.) We would sincerely appreciate your support by voting and if you're so compelled passing this post or this information—

1) Please log into: (Yes, you have to be an Amex Cardmember, which is definitely a bit annoying. Hopefully you are already and have a login.)
2) Search for: CKGW4D (HourMission: Volunteering Made Easy)
3) Click: "Nominate This Project"

—to your friends, family, do-gooders and do-baders you know (we'll get them out of guilt).

Here is the widget I've downloaded from the site. Click on the blue hourmission link within it to go vote. (Punctuation is self-censored at this point.)

And for those interested in more info, here is a brief presentation we put together a while back:

hourmission 2.20.08
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: nonprofit time)

Lastly, if you're still with me, here is a sneak peek at the new logo we're working on with the extremely talented John Cornette:

Hope you found that interesting. Hope you have been inspired to vote (if not get your ass in gear to volunteer). No better way to end than with a rhyme.

P.S. Any feedback on the idea is greatly appreciated. Thank you all so much.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just Blog It

Inspired by the image below (via tokyohanna) and of course this Nike commercial (via our Portland office), I made that note to self (and anyone else needing a reminder) above. That's about as artistic as I get. (Though did I mention I have commercial-worthy handwriting?) That's all. Now, how about that kiss.