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

By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

To Create The Impossible Product…. A Pheonix Rises From The Ashes

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Mission. To create a branding product that may be hyper-tailored to a REALTOR’S specific, social relation needs that adds a new revenue stream to their bottom line. As we all know, Real Estate professionals tend to have a single source of revenue. By providing a relevant product that accelerates their marketing efforts AND provides an additional stream of revenue to their bottom line, we can assist REALTORS in building a truly, well-rounded brand.

This is the task that I have set for myself for 2015. The past few years have seen me simply create, build and manage platforms for other brands through Ardynn Media Groups consulting arm. But I built a name for myself as a professional that could identify and solve industry wide issues. There is something to be said for building an actual product and seeing it being used by professionals across the country.

So, while I will never turn down a speaking engagement, consultancy deal or interview request, this Simplistic Professional intends to get back to the grind and deliver a product that changes the way our industry handles social branding.

Michael Harris – Arzon
President, Ardynn Media
@SimplisticPro