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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  The Road to New Ventures: A Fury of Decision

The Road to New Ventures: A Fury of Decision

Posted on September 26, 2011 and read 2,422 times

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chukaejeckam The Road to New Ventures: A Fury of DecisionChuka Ejeckam
Rain Dog Creative


When I think of the beginning of my advertising career, the genesis of this passion, three names come to mind. David Ogilvy, Donald Draper, and Helen Hunt.

When I was but a lad, 15 or so, I came across the endlessly acclaimed What Women Want. Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt play two advertising executives, competing for a promotion while chasing Nike. In the film, Gibson attains the ability to read women’s minds, which afforded me what would prove a revelatory experience. It allowed me to observe the mental maelstrom of a creative, to witness Hunt twist word and turn phrase to produce “Nike. No games, just sports.” I had an epiphany. I realized then that creation was a career. Immediately I was sold. From those strange beginnings was born a man bent on ideas, innovation, inspiration.

Five years later, that epiphany became closer to reality when I decided to launch an agency in the midst of obtaining a college degree.

Funny enough, it began as a joke. One day after exhausting toil in the halls of tutelage, I sent my then classmate, Dylan, a short message, “The Asylum Advertising. An agency full of mad men.” Dylan responded with, “I like it, joint IPP?” His response startled me, I’d intended only jest. I asked him if he was serious, to which he responded, “Hell no.” We left it at that.

Or so I thought. A seed had been planted. In casual conversation with our advertising instructor, I told him of the humorous exchange. He took it seriously, thought it was a fantastic idea. He encouraged us to make the attempt. After a few other figures we both respect offered similar opinions, we began to really consider this possibility. Could two hooligans barely fit for civilized society really make a go of this?

We had the assets in our corner. Being able to use the considerable resources of the college (quality audio and visual equipment, computer programs and the wisdom of industry professionals) would help us produce more impressive work and allow us to do justice to our creative rather than being constrained by the limits of equipment we could afford. Further, in reference to finances, we were aware that attempting this now meant we could take a real run at setting up an agency without sinking the entirety of our savings into the effort. We could employ other classmates and students by trading our services for theirs and the like. After all, we won’t always be surrounded by people studying graphic and/or digital media design.

On these benefits we agreed, but there was more to consider. Much of our schooling meditated on the changing face of the advertising industry. The large-scale shift to digital initiatives, the influx of small, specialized agencies and design firms, and the explosion of social media. Daily, we discussed how the landscape of this field was undergoing a revolution of sorts. The question was begged of us. Did we bear the conviction to step forth into this arena? To attempt finding a foothold on uneven ground? We realized, though, that these discussions were fortifying rather than fearful. The fact that we analyzed the industry’s changing trends was breeding us to not only survive, but thrive in such an environment. We felt that now more than ever an agency of the size and style we imagined could make something of itself.

And of course, the thought of dropping “I own an ad agency, sweetheart,” as a pick-up line was extremely alluring.

One area where we never experienced uncertainty was that of creative control. Both Dylan and I feel fervent passion for producing creative work of several forms. Choosing this project would allow us a creative freedom difficult to attain. Since we’d decide how to market ourselves, we could pursue businesses receptive to creative of the ilk that excites us, somewhat strange and uncommon work. Our sensibilities synchronize here, we experience a creative resonance neither has found elsewhere. This joke became less funny and more feasible each day. Before we knew it, we’d decided. Our agency was to be.

Then came the question of branding. How to adequately express ourselves without being too illusive or too literal. We spent a night brooding over a few frigid brews, trying to find the right syllables, the right sound. Eventually, the subject of a one Tom Waits arose. We’re both very much inspired by the music and poetry of this man, the characters and settings he creates. There’s something within it, a sentiment or atmosphere we wanted our agency to wear. Thus, the name we settled upon: Rain Dog Creative. It stems from Waits’ 1985 album Rain Dogs, and that record’s titular track. More so, though, it honours the character of the Rain Dog, the madly passionate man, the wild one. We both identify with these characters, the Dean Moriarty’s of the world. Their energy is something we wanted to infuse into our business and work. With that name in mind, we began brainstorming brand extrapolation, visual identity and the like. Potential logos, colour palettes, letterhead, web design. We love the direction it was headed. We are Rain Dogs.

We face countless challenges ahead. Revising and improving our business plan, working with clients while dealing with a full course load and more. We both want to take on projects and business and really get our hands dirty, but coursework can’t be placed aside. We’ve also begun to encounter the realities of the business world, unforeseen variables that stall projects indefinitely. All this has provided us with a quick wake up call, one we’re both grateful for. We realize what we’ve gotten ourselves into, we’re simultaneously excited and terrified. But I’ve an inkling that this will be the best thing we’ve ever done.




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