Each year, Bend hosts a marketing conference that’s so off-the-hook awesome that it’s like the Big Bang of business-building information, presented by some of the most knowledgeable experts in the universe…and that’s putting it modestly.
One of Swivel’s bevy of speakers this year is creative genius, Cal McAllister of Wexley School for Girls Ad Agency in Seattle. Wexley describes itself as, “An agency that’s probably the best agency in the solar system…A modern think tank with ideas so big we had to extend the roof. And people so good looking we had to put in extra mirrors. And brains so intelligent that Mensa wanted to borrow some stem cells. And arms, legs and pecs so buff that MMA denied our collective application to fight.”
Hyperbole notwithstanding, Wexley was honored as Ad Age’s Northwest Small Agency of the Year just a few months ago. But that hasn’t exactly changed the perspective of Cal’s six-year-old niece, Louisa, who describes her “Uncle Cow” this way: “Uncle Cow is a man, and he is nice! He is a joyfle man. He has 2 neeses, and 1 nefuwe. He likes chikins. He has soft scruffy hair. He has a nice wife named Amanda who takes showers 100 times a day. He has a verey good tast. He is a strong man. He is a writer at Wexley School for girls.”
In a recent interview in anticipation of the conference, Cal gave a taste of things to come.
What does it mean to you to be named Ad Age’s Northwest Small Agency of the Year this year? It is a pretty big deal for us..we try and do things differently than other agencies, create unexpected experiences and stretch the bounds of media. So to be recognized for that was important to us. It validates our approach, and makes us want to go bigger next year.
The topic of your workshop is A Search for Joy. How important is it to find her these days and where should we start looking? I’m excited to share that with everyone. I was inspired by my daughters, five and eight, who at any given moment, if I asked them what gave them joy (which is deeper than happiness), they could tell me. And I could not tell them. We find substitutions in our lives for joy and I just don’t think that’s where we should be as humans. We’ll start looking at the conference. Joy is one of the most important things we can discover.
How did you manage to become so gosh darn handsome since the last time you were here? I find with age comes beauty and there is no stopping this train. I am going to be one sexy son of a b*tch at 80 years old. So I am only at the beginning of my attractiveness. Sorry, prom date, for getting the short end of that stick.
You’ve always surprised us in the past with your off-the-wall sessions … can you give us a sneak peek into this session? This session will be informative but also a lot more about exploring ourselves, our motivations, and leaving advertising and marketing alone for a little bit. We’ll get better at our jobs if we understand ourselves better. This industry is tougher than ever because people are trying to quantify creativity, not just results. And that can be infuriating. So this session will be about looking at our own path and plotting it out moving forward. There will also be free pencils, I think.
What are you most excited about for your upcoming visit to Swivel in Bend, Oregon?
Bend is a fascinating place for me because it is full of passion. Passion for work, passion for play, and a commitment to creating that balance. People care about what they do in Bend, both recreationally and professionally. I love the energy of that vibe and I am looking forward to being inspired by the attendees of the conference.
For more information about the Swivel Digital + Marketing conference and to register, visit www.Swivelnow.com. Register before October 6 and save $150.
Kelly Walker, MS, is a brand development and advertising specialist, senior copywriter and creative director with Resonant Agency in Bend. resonantagency.com, Kelly@resonantagency.com or 541-419-9976.