let cleveland teach you all you need to know about advertising
by brokaw



lesson one: know your voice.

As you can tell from the giant turntable-shaped hall of fame on our lakefront, Cleveland is known as the rock and roll capital of the world. Now, we’re self-aware (and self-deprecating) enough to realize this isn’t entirely true, but we’ll take it because at least it’s a thing. And it could be worse. We could be the toilet paper capital of the world. (Suck it, Green Bay.)

lesson two: keep it simple.

Local favorite Slyman’s Restaurant doesn’t try to sell a million things. They just make a huge corned beef sandwich. Seriously, it’s as big as a cantaloupe. Or a quart of paint. Or a small dog. Not so much a Yorkie or a Maltese, but maybe more like an overweight Pug. You know, the ones with all the respiratory issues. Regardless: that’s all they do, and they really nail it.



lesson three: use strategic weirdness.

Next to Cleveland City Hall lies the Free Stamp: a giant, reddish/pinkish sculpture of a stamp that says “free” backwards. It was created by Claes Oldenburg in 1985. And to this day, none of us know what it means. But it’s weird enough to make you stop and do a double take and think, “You know who has great or maybe terrible taste in art? Cleveland.”

lesson four: make sure it’s measurable.

The Great Blizzard of ’78, AKA The White Hurricane, AKA The Storm of the Century, AKA Please Don’t Happen Again, used hurricane-force 82 mph winds and -100 degree wind chills to leave 10 ft of house-covering, food-shortage-causing, national-emergency-declaring snow drifts (and decades of earned media impressions) in its wake. Talk about ROI…



lesson five: stand for something.

This is a statue of Commodore Perry, the Hero of Lake Erie. As far as we can tell, he stood for two things: blasting the British the hell out of our lake and growing an impeccable set of muttonchops on his cheeks. Check and motherf*cking check.

lesson six: drink good beer.

Full disclosure: this one doesn’t really count. We just really like good beer, and Cleveland has a lot of it. Especially 20+ year client and Portfolio Night sponsor Great Lakes Brewing Company. BTW: this is in no way an attempt at a quid pro quo exchange where we put their name in this book in the hopes they’ll leave several kegs of delicious Eliot Ness Amber Lager on our back stoop (wink-wink).

lesson infinity: keep learning lessons.