Raisin Brahms

In case you haven’t seen it already, there’s a terrifically funny commercial from the Americans for the Arts created by the Leo Burnett agency. Although I don’t think the ad will have much impact on the general cultural consciousness but there’s no escaping the fact that this is one clever and creative spot. By pure chance I sat next to a creative agent from Leo Burnett on one of the longer legs of my international flight a few weeks back (I have no idea if he was involved in the Brahms spot). We started talking about pro bono work and he became very passionate about some of the one off projects his firm has produced in recent years. He also mentioned that although the ads likely have little measureable impact on sales for each respective company, the process (which is fueled by the freedom to take bigger risks) allows the firm to improve the quality of traditional spots and hone their competitive edge. There are numerous lessons to be learned here, just take your pick.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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