Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mutt Wellness Shelf

A new season, a new beginning. We are out of vodka and hence, the wellness shelf has arrived. Vitamins, detox tea, band-aids, allergy medication, cough drops, really anything you need to live happy and healthy. Mutt style.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mutt Fun Day, round 2

I love people–watching. I've watched for almost 23 years. It's how I learned invaluable lessons like riding a bicycle or pretending to listen and not–so–important lessons like where to hold my arms while standing for long periods of time. By watching others, I learn everything they know about what it is they're doing. This is how I reassure myself when trying something new and possibly humiliating or dangerous. For the most part, watchers watch and rarely do — we leave doing to those less afraid of making mistakes than ourselves. As a watcher, I never did anything without fully understanding the possible consequences, effectively eliminating all sports and outdoor activities for me early on. Imagine my surprise when I found myself holding a paddle in swimming trunks and a life vest on a raft — for fun.

I've only been a mutt for three months, but I've spent a majority of my time watching the other mutts and I thought I had them pretty much figured out. I knew that there were some who enjoyed light hikes and short camping trips, I didn't peg anyone as extremely adventurous or very athletic (I mean, this is a creative agency). Like most companies, Mutt has an annual fun day, sometimes a fun trip. Last year, the mutts went to Palm Springs for pool–side entertainment. The year before that, they threw a huge anniversary party at Beast in Portland. I was thrilled to find out where we were going for this year's real fun day (we already had a "fun day" that turned out to be an all staff meeting at Cromer's house) as soon as the email from Cheryl popped up in my inbox. Anxiety quickly replaced my joy when I read over the word "rafting" in the subject line. Rafting? The only other time I went rafting was at DIsneyland and I didn't even like it. I couldn't understand everyone else's excitement, I was terrified. What if I fall in? Or get lost? How should I wear my hair?

By the time rafting day came around, my nerves had come to a head. No amount of watching could have prepared me for +3 to +4 rapids that kicked our asses. The water was cold, my nose was sunburnt and no one stayed dry. Surprisingly enough, I did not fall in, get lost or care too much about my hair (only after the first water splashing fight). Even more of a surprise to me was that someone called me "athletic–looking" out on the water, literally the last adjective I'd use to describe myself. Getting out of the studio and onto the river with the mutts for a day was truly an experience — one I am glad I jumped into without over–analyzing and we all got to see my adventurous side, which almost never happens. Although we seemed a little hesitant toward rafting day at first, we all had a blast blowing off steam with water fights, paddle races and cliff diving in good company. Also, I am clearly an awesome rafter and might have found a new favorite pastime.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Controlled Chaos

Around midnight

I often wonder if this is just how advertising works or if there is a special brand of controlled chaos here at Mutt.  Take a new business pitch as example; I’ll try to describe what I witness.  Now, I’m a bit of a spectator to the process since I deal in money & operations here but I think this gives me a unique perspective and a 40,000-foot view if you will.

Initially, when we learn of a new lead there is generally an air of skepticism, either having to do with how real the prospect seems to be or our odds of landing the business.  There is always a warm up period, it’s kind of like needing to psyche each other up to go for it.  Questions, doubts, reinforcements etc.  But once we get there, watch out.

This is where the controlled chaos starts; it’s all hands on deck.  Research goes crazy, finding all kinds of interesting (and sometimes not so interesting) information on the category, the business, the players, the target – everything.  Here’s my first moment of wonder in the process.  So many questions start flying around; good questions, thought provoking questions, silly questions, stupid questions.  It becomes fun and everyone’s opinion is listened to.  The entire agency participates, including myself.  It’s pretty amazing that out of the opinions of 20 people comes that 1 nugget, the truth of what we believe will set this client up for success if they’re only smart enough to listen to us.  And what’s interesting is that there is a mind shift here, the prospect hasn’t chosen us, but we begin considering them our client.  You have to when you’re that deep & committed.

And now the hard part. The late nights start, the tense situations arise, tempers get a little edgy, empty wine & liquor bottles are all over the kitchen in the morning.  We have to take our truth and make it come to life and come to life in inspiring ways.  Make the client see why this is going to work and how it’s going to work.  So many options and creative ideas are generated. The conference room is littered with ideas on the wall, ideas in a pile on the floor. The distillation down to 2 -3 pathways is hard and again, I wonder at the collaboration & intelligence that gets us there.

And it always comes down to the wire; the team is here late into the night & up until the night before the pitch.  This isn’t laziness or true chaos; It’s passion.  There is so much passion to do this right, every detail is thought about.  How do we knock their socks off?  The presentation deck is done & re-done & re-done.  The ideas are refined & elaborated on.  There is always some doubt that we’ll finish in time and that we’ll have everything fleshed-out, but I’ve never seen us go in unprepared.  In the end, it comes together and is amazing.

This is my biggest take away – I work with passionate, crazy intelligent, fun-loving, hard working perfectionists.  It’s impossible to avoid controlled chaos when you’re dealing with Mutt.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Growth Spurts

Happy Mondays folks! This is kind of an awkward subject to bring up because it's not exactly current. But I have been meaning to mention it, so here it goes...

Mutt's been going through some growth spurts lately- spaces, faces and cosmetic surgery. Once the paint dries and the sawdust is swept we'll take some stellar photos to share. For now though, I'd like to introduce you to the new faces here at Mutt in a little series called, "Be The Best." Here's installment number one...
Chris Lawson, Producer.

Mutt: Would you rather have the ability to see through walls, or the ability to unlock any door? 

CL: See through walls.

Mutt: Where are you from? 

CL:  I was born in Reno, Nevada, but moved around a lot: Chicago, Dayton, Cincinnati, San Diego, then back to Fernley, NV. Fortunately, my father took over the parenting roll when I was 13 and I was shipped to the the NW, where I spent the remainder of my formative years. 

Mutt: Best Job (besides Mutt, of course)? 

CL:  Freelance Production Manager. There's always a new challenge.

Mutt: Top 5 most played songs in your iTunes? 

CL: My work computer isn't a good representation. If it was accurate I would guess it would be one of my many favorite bands: pixies, xtc, nick drake, the clash, elbow.

Mutt: Aside from any family members, who inspires you the most? 

CL: My friends who are small business owners and artist who have the courage and vision to create and produce work independently.

Mutt: If you could grab a cocktail with anyone (living or dead) who would it be? Where would you go? And what would you order? 

CL: This is a hard one. I guess I would say Antoni Gaudí. If he wasnʼt available I would love to get a drink with Picasso. I would order whatever they were having.

Chris Lawson, ladies and gentlemen...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Love Hurts

I've gone through just about all of the stages of grieving since opening this post page. And I'm still hurt, especially my strawberry tart

Let me fill the rest of you in. Today was D.Webb's last day with us (Mutt's).

I never know if I should write for everyone else in the office but this one's easy. I'm pretty sure about fifteen of us are right now, at this moment, weeping. Sixteen if you count Mona's howls. This is the face of devastation... Even those of us who are just finally getting to know the Man  the Myth  The Legend, are feeling a little hole swelling up inside.

Okay, I'm crying.

Damien was kind of a big deal. He's a killer designer, a stand-up guy and great friend. And he's English (which finally makes that strawberry tart joke funny). Plus he has two motorcycles. Let's be honest, he's totally cool. Which is only salt to the Loss Wound. 

But I've reached Level Five: Acceptance now and I just figured it out. Mutt's a family, and that bond lasts forever and, perhaps most logically, you've got an iPhone. 

I'm sad. We all are. But I'll be sending you iChats just as often.

Love you. Miss you. 

Please Come Back...

Monday, February 21, 2011


Mutt is looking to hire a junior or mid-level account person. If you're interested email us at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mutt Europe: On a Horse With No Name

As McCommon pointed out, I am Mutt's sole European correspondent for the next couple weeks which means I find myself extremely busy handling all of my duties here in the land of burning euros (i.e. jamon department, octopus and potato taster, American songwriter, tour manager, language butcherer & unleaded into diesel automobile master) I won't lie. I am, as far as I know, Mutt's only songwriter/copywriter and they've known all along I have this bad habit of seeing the darker side of things, writing folk songs about it and playing them in far away places where no one I know is around to make my skin crawl.

For Dolorean, my band of ten years, it's our first tour in support of our new album The Unfazed which came out on January 18th of this year in the US and Europe. In the three years since our last album, You Can't Win, another band hailing from Barcelona, Spain has claimed the name Delorean (slightly different spelling) and has seemingly made love aurally to every music blogger, painfully hip record label and American Apparel shopper on the planet. Even worse, they probably fix a beautiful breakfast before they leave in the morning... While the music of Dolorean (us) and Delorean (them) is very, very different (they specialize in electro dance music), in the world of zeros and ones this has become a bit of a nightmare - comment threads get heated, show listings get messed up, even iTunes got it wrong for half of the day when our album came out. So what do we do? Like any glass-half-full crew of optimists we decide that we will ignore it and tour Spain for a week and a half to kick off the support of the new album.

The Spanish leg of our European tour was incredible - Burgos, Zaragoza, Castellon, Madrid, Cadiz, Huelva, Granada and back to Madrid again. Every venue was pleasantly packed, we sold every single CD and nearly every LP that we brought for this leg of the tour and the Spanish hospitality is unmatched. The food, the drinks and the late nights in Spain are world class. So what to make of this Dolorean/Delorean confusion. Did we really lose our name, our identity to another group of musicians? The answer came to light in our last night in Spain. At our booking agent's request we played an all acoustic set in his friend's perfectly curated bookstore called La Buena Vida. It was arranged last minute, the invitation was spread via word of mouth. When we set up to play at 9:30 on a Saturday night in Madrid the bookstore was packed. It was probably the best show of the tour so far - no PA, no tickets, no green room. What's in a name? Who cares, there's so much more in a song.

From Paris where just moments ago I told a French waiter "Gracias" -
Al James, Mutt Copywriter
First tour photo set lives here. (enjoy a selection below)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

If you love something set it free.

Mutt's very own Al James will be leaving us soon for Dolorean's European tour. We wish him much luck. Fly little birdy, fly.

Want to hear a little?