Schmaltzy As A Work of Art

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Thinking about photography in advertising, I immediately thought of Annie Liebovitz, one of my favorite portrait photographers. Considered one of the most talented commercial photographers of today, she is most known for her Rolling Stone Magazine Portraits of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, actresses Meryl Streep, Whoopi Goldberg, and Demi Moore as well as so many other covers that were photographed while working for the Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair magazines.

In 2007 Liebovitz started the Disney Dream Portrait ad campaign to promote Disney Parks’ “Year of a Million Dreams“. This series took noteworthy celebrities and turned them into Disney Characters giving the audience a sense of familiarity but also creating a whimsical and imaginative ad to attract Disney fans of all ages. Just to name a few that you might remember seeing: actor Russell Brand as Captain Hook, singer Jennifer Hudson as Tiana from the Frog and the Prince, and actors Will Ferrell, Jack Black and Jason Segel as Phineas, Ezra and Gus from the Haunted Mansion attraction at the Disney Park.

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To critique the photographer, in 2011 The Huffington Post is quoted saying, “Though the photos can be a bit, shall we say, schmaltzy, they are still works of art as advertising.”  Personally I would say when it comes to advertising sometimes the schmaltzier the better! From what I’ve learned “schmaltzy” isn’t necessarily a bad thing in the world of advertising. The Disney Dream Portrait Ad has been in publication for years and is still successfully being publicized today. Keep that in mind as you’re coming up with your own advertising ideas. Give them something they will remember! We’re always thinking of imaginative ways to represent RSVP and to advertise your business.

As Annie Leibovitz has said in the past, “my hope is that we continue to nurture the places that we love, but that we also look outside our immediate worlds.”

You can check out Liebovitz’s latest installment of the campaign, taken of one of the newest Disney movies, Brave, with Actress Jessica Chastain here.

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Contributed by Crista Kling.

Police Rides, Blindfolds and Art: How Each Helps Inspire Leadership


I had the good fortune recently of taking a leadership class at a local university. Alright, if we’re being honest with each other I wasn’t happy about driving the hour down to this night class after working all day.  That is, until I sat down for that first class. I knew this was going to be no ordinary class the minute it started.

I learned two major life lessons under the watch of my exuberant and charismatic professor.

The first life lesson I learned in this class was that we need leadership – and all kinds, very badly. I’m not just talking about in positions like politics. One of our assignments was to do a police ride along – and when he announced that this was one of our projects, I saw more than a few heads shake, obviously unsure about having to do it. But those very people were probably the ones who learned the most from it. It gives you a whole new perspective about leadership. It shows us that we need leaders in each aspect of our lives.  Whether you run a business, a department, or a family, your leadership will touch those around you, and if you do it right, the energy you exude will wind around those you lead and lift them to whole new levels of motivation, cooperation and productivity.

Second lesson? The phrase ‘that’s just how it is’ no longer applies to my life. Everyone knows school is a pain, and if you ask nearly anyone they’ll tell you they ‘don’t miss those days.’ Well, if they’d taken my leadership class, they certainly wouldn’t feel that way. From timed team art projects to being led around campus by my peers while we were all blindfolded (near some light traffic, I might add), we learned through experiences, and not a book, what leadership meant. He challenged us in a way that no professor had ever done for me, and he made school fun again.

If every professor had his passion and energy, I guarantee grades, attendance, and undoubtedly, tuition would go up. The point is, he could have made a PowerPoint, and he could have simply lectured like every other class, because that’s just how school is. It certainly would have been easier, and still earned him a paycheck. But he went above and beyond, and he challenged what a ‘normal’ class should be. He showed me that things don’t have to be ordinary. They truly can be extraordinary.

For anyone who might say, well you’re just out of college, so wait until you’ve been in the real world a while, I’d say to you that I already am. I have been fortunate to find a boss who is open-minded to new ideas and routinely asks how we can make things more effective, cost efficient and creative. If you don’t have leadership like this, don’t give up. Do your part, and inspire those around you to do the same. It will all come full circle; you just have to believe in the extraordinary.

For an hilariously inspiring example of leadership, and the future of it, I encourage you to watch the following video:

Contributed by Ashley Hudson.


Why Administrative Professionals are Your Best Friend in the Business World.

Thank you to Virtual Officenters for this accurate depiction of Administrative Professionals!

You rock…and we know it.

How many times have you heard that dreaded sound coming from the copy machine? You know, the sound of paper crunching and the copier making that weird noise that means only one thing? PAPER JAM! As a wave of panic begins to wash over you, you quickly scan the office for the one person who can solve this disastrous problem….your friendly, helpful Administrative Professional!

In my humble opinion, Administrative Professionals are the crux of any work environment. From answering the phones to creating spreadsheets and proofing power point presentations, we can do a plethora of tasks assigned to us at a moment’s notice.

We support individuals, departments and entire offices. We love helping people, making their lives easier and making sure offices run in efficient manner….we are, your best friend!

Make sure you keep that in mind, because Administrative Professional’s day is coming up soon – April 23rd, and you’ll want to make sure you thank those you work with for all they do. Some great ideas are a workspace makeover, buy them lunch, let them work a half day, or a spa gift certificate! Whatever you do, even if it’s just a card, make sure you let them know how much you sincerely appreciate them.

Contributed by Marcella Gillespie

Finding Your Rhythm

MetronomeEver feel like you can’t seem to make progress?  Feel like some days you are taking one step forward, and three steps backward?  Can’t get in the groove?  In a funk?  Maybe it’s your work, or your family, your relationships, your workout plan, or your faith….  Maybe it’s all of these?

Moderate and periodic chaos is part of real life, agreed.  However, if we find ourselves reacting and running, then I would suggest we may need to find or recapture our rhythm in life.

What is rhythm?  It’s that place or condition where  most aspects of your life that are important to us are all being advanced in a net-positive direction daily or weekly and in moderation.  When rhythm exists, setbacks and stress in any area of life can be addressed in a healthy way, and the gifts of this life can easily be recognized and embraced.

I’ve noticed in my life that lack of rhythm manifests during periods of interruption.  Interruption can be caused by outside influence, by trying to please others, trying to accommodate others’ requests of us, calendar overload, running the kids from activity to activity, over-attending work or social functions, or lack of margin in our schedules.   It can also be caused by not defining and protecting the boundaries around those resources and activities that are critical to our health and well-being and our success.

My Dad used to say “easy does it” to my brothers and I as kids.  I used to think, why take it easy, when you can go wide-open, and get done quickly and now!  He understood that slow and steady wins the race.

Rhythm is often associated with and so important in music.  We often hear about the pace of play in sports, golf, soccer, football.   Rhythm is critical in education, as we know that life-long learning occurs when material is absorbed in a consistent and methodical fashion.  Cramming hours for a test and pulling all-nighters for a week is far less effective than 30 minutes of exposure daily over the semester.

Imagine attending a symphony performance, where the conductor or any of the members allowed a call or text from his own cell phone to interrupt the rhythm of the orchestra.  Or mid-performance, an audience member jumped on stage and said “excuse me sir… can I speak with you?”…  These things don’t happen because there are defined and understood boundaries around behavior during a symphony performance; otherwise the rhythm of the performance would be disrupted, and the effectiveness of the movement is lost.

There are many good reasons to stop, react, divert, interrupt, or be distracted.  Catching a baby’s smile, spontaneous activities with our spouse, significant other, or family member.  Or stopping what we are doing to help someone in need.  We must be flexible to recognize and react in these and similar situations.

However, in order to be successful in accomplishing business and personal goals, we must establish and protect our rhythm.   At work, it’s staying focused on the 20% of activities that generate 80% of our effectiveness.  We must protect that time in our calendar, and protect others inside and outside the organization from interrupting that rhythm. The same applies at the gym, at the dinner table, during family events, and at our place of worship.

When we are in our rhythm, we are focused and in our zone for maximum yield.  We can sell and produce more at work, support and connect more at home, build more muscle and burn more calories at the gym, connect and worship deeper in our faith.

Thomas Merton said “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”  I believe the quality of our life is in direct correlation to the rhythm we choose to establish and maintain!

Contributed by Anthony Sucato