Stupid thoughts from a pharma ACD


It’s me, pitches

Your author. Contemplative, constipated, or tooth ache?

Your author. This is my “holy crap there’s a lot to do” face.

I feel like I’m in 8th grade. I’m in the school cafeteria, which has turned into a dance floor. Boys and girls are separated by a sea of emptiness as Wonderwall by Oasis plays on a garbage speaker system.

Across the way, by the Fruitopia vending machine, I spot the girl I like. Of course, she’s surrounded by friends and there’s no way I’m going to talk to her. So instead, I hang out with my friends and talk about who’s looking hot and whether or not there’s more Mountain Dew to be had.

Time passes. Dozens of glances are exchanged between me and my crush, but we can’t work up the nerve to do anything. Exasperated, a friend of hers drags her to the dance floor, points to me, and motions me to come over.

I’m standing. I’m walking. My heart is pounding. I’m instantly sweating. This could be amazing or horrible or some combination of both.

That’s how I feel right now.

I’ve been selected to work on a pitch.


I suck at this

Fit it in, dummy

Writing takes time. Writing takes thought. And planning. And preparation. And revision.

Writing doesn’t fit into my day. It doesn’t fit into anyone’s day.

I, of all people, should get it. I wake up at 6 AM so I can go to the gym and lift hundreds of pounds in the wee hours of the morning because otherwise I won’t fit in my workout.

I’m going to do better.

Write about right now

My lunch hour is sacred. Not because I love my lunch. No one loves chicken breast that much. No, my lunch hour is sacred because it gives me a chance to read something, write something (like this), or watch something. Something that someday may be a catalyst in the creation of some cool idea that makes people go, “Woah!”

The Big Moo works like this


For lunch today, I read a gifted copy of The Big Moo, which is the literary equivalent of NO-Xplode preworkout for marketers. I read it and I wanted to change the world! I want to turn the whole industry upside down. Then I pause for a moment and realize I have to finish a manuscript for a new flashcard before 3 PM.

Still, there are lessons to be learned.

Optimist? Not me

The rule in improv is, “Yes, and…” Never say no. It kills the whole magic of improv.

In pharma, there’s a knee-jerk reaction to being told to try something “different”. I immediately throw up my shield, hoist my pike, and prepare to defend my stance of “that’s not going to fly.”

But I have to stop that. I have to stop killing ideas when they’re young and fragile. Especially now as an ACD.

So, I’m taking idea parenting classes. I’ll be better. Promise.


Writing is harder with a pencil

That’s my hand. And my pencil. Don’t touch my pencil.

The prodigal copywriter returns!

For some reason I don’t understand, folks are still finding their way to my blog, sometimes upwards of 100 a day. And for what? Stale, old, posts written by a different person than the one typing now.

Hi, I’m the Kent of 2014. I’m 30 years old. I own property (if you’ll recall, hated renting). I’m further along in my career; and yes the career is still in pharmaceutical advertising.

I’ve been fortunate enough to find myself in a new position with new “authority” to influence the digital work my agency puts out. As a result, I’ve been exposing myself on a daily basis (no, not in that way) to exceptional digital work, the kind shown on theFWA and Awwwards. I’ve noticed that there are an incredible amount of resources out there for UX Designers, and Designers in general, that provide critical analysis of the technology and techniques employed to produce award-winning interactive work.

But what about copy? Is anyone picking copy apart the same way designers do? Evidently not.

Copywriters aren’t writing about copywriting

Most copywriting sites I’ve stumbled upon are focused on the kind of copywriting that’s used for small businesses, such as crafting sales letters. Or they’re all about “content marketing”, which is just a fancy term for disguising sales pitches in the form of information that can be used to bait potential customers–a bit of the ol’ free sample trick.

I get it. It’s copywriting. And maybe I’m in the minority here, but as someone who works at ad agency and has to create emails, videos, web sites, TV spots, apps, and digital sales aids, “5 Steps to A Blog Post That Will Armageddon Your Inbox” is not the most pertinent article for me. Even this article with 29+ Killer Resources to Learn Copywriting (hello, content marketing) may not directly help me write an app or a :30 spot! I’m lost in a sea of SEO-optimized “copywriting” sites that aren’t beneficial at all!

A copy community

Are agency-side writers sharing and critiquing copy the same way designers do on Behance or Dribble? I don’t think so. I think we’re all working in our silos, and unless we’re in content marketing trying to sell something, we’re going to continue working and writing alone, never giving our words the recognition and respect they deserve.

I’d like to see more analysis of copy. Analysis that goes beyond response and open rates. I’d like to see writers celebrating the poetic. The impeccably clear. The humorous. I’d love to see someone’s take on what goes into writing a radio ad–not necessarily the concept part–but the constant editing and chopping that goes into curating the final spot. Same goes for TV, apps, and web sites.

I know I’m asking for writers to fill in yet another blank piece of paper, but I think we can do it. And we don’t have to do it alone. Starting next post, I’ll do a bit of analysis myself. The topic: writing with a voice that is soooooo not your own.

Journey of an iPad

I finally bit the bullet and bought one. Pretty excited even though I’m way behind the ball.

Anyway, tracking an international shipment is quite fun.

Quite the traveler.

I’m the most popular me

Wow, this is terrible. My last post was in January. Lots of things have happened but the biggest one is I’ve taken my advertising career from New York to southern California. That’s right, I picked up everything and moved out west.

However, in this information age, my geographic location has no impact on whether or not someone can get in touch with me. In fact, it is very easy to find me. Thanks to Google, this blog, and me dropping my name in some important places, I am officially the most popular Kent Sewell on the Internet. At least when it comes to Google searches. I will ignore the fact that most people don’t have my name and that I’m not competing with any celebrities. Sucks for all other Britney Spears’ of the world.

The best part about being the most popular me on the Internet? Meeting people, giving them my name and asking them to “Google me”. In one search of my name you see this:


Like I ask my dogs, "Who's that?!"

1) My LinkedIn

This is great because it helps prove that I’m not a moron and am quite employable! This is corporate me. *firm handshake*

2) My Google Profile

Now that Google+ has rolled out, people can see what kind of word vomit I put together when I get a free moment. When I get a mo’. Obviously, this is not-so-corporate-me. *high five*

3) My Portfolio

And at this point, if people think wow this guy is employable and relatively interesting, they can see if I’ve actually done something.

There’s no crown or championship belt for being the most popular you on the Internet. I know, it’s a crying shame. But nevertheless, it feels good. Why? I don’t know. But in a world where being relevant or nonexistent is a click away, it’s nice to be front and center right when I need to be.

Aromalicious Bakery in Rahway, NJ

So many treats to nom...

Right before Christmas, Aromalicious, a Portuguese bakery, opened up on Cherry Street right in downtown Rahway. I’m a big fan of supporting local businesses, especially now. Times are hard, Cherry Street is not the most beautiful area of the city so I salute these entrepreneurs for opening a new store! If more follow their footsteps, downtown Rahway can be the fantastic city center most residents long for. More after the jump.

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The total distance from my train station in New Jersey to New York Pennsylvania Station is approximately 21 miles. The trip takes 65 minutes and in those 65 minutes, the train makes 6 stops, not including mine.

The train moves at an average speed of 19.38 miles per hour.

It is 2011. I work in the city with the  busiest public transportation center in the country. And the best we can do is 19.38 miles per hour.