How Far Are You Willing To Go When Creating An Ad Concept?

By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional


Business is all about taking risks.  For me, I am taking a huge risk in launching a new brand, within an industry that I have never worked in before.  Granted, they say that the average person has 3 different careers in their lifetime.  I just thought that when we adopted the kids and I had decided to semi-retire, being a father was my third career.

Now that the foundation of our new brand, Simply Ardynn, has been laid, it is time to start actively promoting the magazine, cookbooks, streaming video service and online store.  My initial thought, was to use traditional food and cooking images and our tagline.    But no matter how beautiful or tantalizing the images were, there isn’t really anything setting them apart from the million other food brands out there.

A few days ago, I was combing through our extensive database of images that we have purchased or taken over the years and I came across some very tasteful black and white nudes.  It got me to thinking about the very first ad I ever created for the Ardynn Media Group.  It was an image of a nude male that had our logo as a tattoo on his butt cheek for use during our promo at Gay Pride almost a decade ago.


So, I started playing around with cupcakes and nudes.  Not taking it too serious, mainly thinking about using them on social media for their shock value.  Why not have a cupcake of a boy showcase an actual cupcake.  I posted 3 different images with funny tag lines about recipes from Simply Ardynn and to my surprise they have received overwhelming likes and even garnered me new followers.

Now that I have a had a few days to ponder things and consider the possible ramifications, I have decided that going with shock value is the way for us to formally launch our new brand.  Why not get people talking about the ads from Ardynn Media Group for their new food and lifestyle magazine that has nude people showcasing delicious foods.


Over the next week or so we will come up with a total of 10 ads that have shock value and start dispersing them online via social media channels, ad buys and maybe even traditionally printed ads in magazines.


Keeping Things Simple Isn’t Always The Case In Business…the bill always comes due

By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional

Our love of technology has given professionals, such as myself, the option of working our own way…what ever that may be. For me, it is from where ever I happen to be, at any hour of the day. There is no need to see clients face to face when we have FaceTime and real time collaboration apps and tools.

Recently I learned a very hard lesson. That no matter how hard you work, nor what you may achieve…the bill always comes due. For the past year I have been working, quite diligently I might add, on building and launching a new brand in a consumer space that I was not an expert in when I began. The Food and Lifestyle space, while I have lived it well, I didn’t understand the inner workings, until now.

While I am extremely good at my job, and have launched and helped build some of Americas biggest brands over the years, I have to ask myself if I can still do it. Everyone says 40 is the new 30 and when I look in the mirror, I forget at times that I am almost 50 years. Like a woman told me yesterday, I wear my age well, but actions still wear a person down.

For the past few months I have literally been working 60-80 hours a week. And it finally caught up with me. I have heard of people being hospitalized for exhaustion and kinda of wondered how it was even possible for a person to get to that point. Now I know. It hits your like a house being dropped on you. I was down for an entire week and couldn’t even eat, let alone work or take care of my family. The bill came due.

As the person that has been preaching balance, I failed to live by my own words. Take time for yourself. Be good to yourself…whatever that means to you. Make sure you are getting rest. The human body cant keep going on 2-3 hours of sleep a day. It will always protect itself by shutting down and going into a hibernation type mode.

Lesson learned, I am back to work and keeping things balanced. Which for me, means shifting set deadlines, asking for help and being proud of the way our brand has evolved. It is not the company I envisioned 10 years ago, but what has emerged is a brand that I honestly, can’t believe I built. Once the revenue streams are in place, our family will be set for a long time to come. It is becoming a true family business and I had nothing to do with it. They asked to be involved. I couldn’t be more proud.

I am working on our companies first real commercial and mapping out the media outlets to place it on. One of the interesting things I have found is my target audience has chosen me. While. I was working towards millennials, it is actually Gen X that has showed initial support. And I’m talking across all platforms. Isn’t it amazing the information you can find with out paying an outside firm? The analytics provided by social media, Google and WordPress are indispensable.

My point with telling you all of this and being so transparent, is that many of you are friends and peers that I would not want to see this happen to. Learn from my mistake. Keep the balance in your life or you will pay the price. For me it was exhaustion but just as easily could have been a major heart attack. I have already had one, when I was 20 and it runs in the family.

Dadologist Says “Fathers Must Spend ‘One-On-One Time’ With Each Of Their Kids”

By Michael D. Harris-Arzon, Dadologist

As a professional and father, I used to find it extremely difficult to find time to build quality relationships with each of my children.  Granted, as soon as Danny and I realized that we would actually be adopting three amazing children, I started transitioning work to where I could do it all from our home office.  The incessant traveling came to an abrupt end.  I finished up all of my speaking engagements and stopped scheduling new ones.  I embraced smart technology and made it work for me at a time when tech experts insisted that every aspect of a business could not be run from a smart phone or iPad.

 After almost twenty years of hoping, waiting and disappointment I knew that I had to make as much time available as I could to spend with the kids.  Not only to help them with the transition into their new home and environment, but to instill in them the importance of sticking together as a family.  Family is, has been and always will be the most important thing to Danny and I.

Being an Entrepreneur and small business owner, up until that time, had meant innumerable long hours and a work schedule that didn’t always meet-up with other peoples lives.  This craziness had already made me an expert in scheduling and time management.  Thus, it came down to plain ol’ common sense and listening to the one piece of advice we got regarding the raising of kids the most….KIDS NEED STRUCTURE!  So I permenantly scheduled certain times throughout the day and week to spend with the kids.  I actually spent the time to create reoccurring events in my calendar so I wouldn’t accidentally schedule a conference call or meeting during family time.

I will never know whom benefits more from those times, but I look back at my own childhood and I don’t remember either of my parents helping with homework every day because it seems like they were always working.  Having weekly movie nights and Friday Night Dance Parties are just as important as the weekly conference calls with clients, and again not the type of memory I have growing up.  I want our kids to have as many memories as possible of the family doing things together.

Time started passing us by faster than I could ever have imagined.  Soon our family had its routine down pat, the adoption was finally completed and we looked forward to those scheduled family moments, even homework time lol.  The fluidity that time possesses makes it difficult to gauge memories and what is going to standout to our children.   A few years into my newest career as a father, I had a serious health scare and was in the hospital for about 10 days (during the Christmas holiday season no less!).

 Each day Danny brought the kids to spend time with me at the hospital and that is when I started to hear from the kids that they wanted to spend one-on-one time with me.  They were scared and each of them wanted me to themselves.  While laying in the hospital bed and coming in and out of consciousness I noticed that the kids were taking turns laying with me.  It didn’t matter if I was awake or not….. or if I was even paying them any attention.  They simply needed to be with me on their own.

Being as young as I was and being faced with the very real possibility of dying (technically I did since I stopped breathing for 91 seconds) and never seeing my kids again was a wake up call like you couldn’t believe.  Once I was home, it took me months to recover my strength and health enough to even walk to the end of the driveway by myself.  But the very second I felt comfortable enough to leave the house with out help, I vowed I would start spending individual moments with each of our three kids.

Years later, it’s has become something for us to look forward to.  While certain things are always done as a family, the monthly one-on-one adventures gives that child the chance to get undivided attention and now that they are older has become the best time for them to talk to us about more personal problems.