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Attend a “Creative Town Hall Meeting” in Monday afternoon Ignition Session on October 17

Are you coming to the DMA’s annual conference in Los Angeles next week? Then make plans to attend my Ignition session, “The Devil in the Details,” at 4 pm on Monday the 17th. It promises to be a repeat of a highly successful and well-attended session last year in which creatives shared their pet peeves and inspiration–a town hall meeting for copywriters, art directors and those who work with them.

The DMA took a big risk last year in doing something that’s a no no in direct response: changing your control without testing it. The 3 day conference was compressed to 2 days, and content below the keynote level was reclassified as Insight, Inspiration, Ideation and Ignition depending on the format and content. Ignition is supposed to be audience-led. A moderator facilitates, but the folks in the audience actively participate and lead the conversation. Did it work? Yes. The conference was well-attended and the sessions for the most part got positive reviews, so we’re moving forward with the same thing.

As for my session, I was asked to take over for my pal Carol Worthington Levy and Herschell Gordon Lewis, who for several years had presented a session featuring examples of good and bad creative execution, often hilarious. (Herschell passed away last month after a very full life at the age of 87. He was a major inspiration to me.) To accommodate the new format, I showed a few slides and then asked the audience to pile on with their own experiences, eg what’s the worst project you’ve ever worked on, the worst client etc and what can we learn from it.

It was a huge hit. The room was packed and creatives and account managers loved the opportunity to air their gripes about crazy clients, up-tight legal departments and the “suits”. Now that we’re back with a better idea of how the Ignition format works, I’ll be ready with some examples to prime the pump and then step back and watch the fireworks happen. (Not to mix a metaphor or anything.)

Here are a few topics as a starter list:

  • Those darn kids… why won’t millennials buy my product?
  • Can brands get away with talking like teenagers in social media?
  • My best idea was killed by the ____ [client, suits, legal department etc]
  • My biggest flop and what I learned from it.
  • Can you be funny and still sell stuff?

And there’s more! If you have topics you’d like to add, email me and we’ll get them into the list.  See you on Monday, October 17 at 4 pm!


  1. LaToya Williams wrote:


    May I have a schedule of future town hall meetings, workshops, etc.?

    Thank you.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  2. Otis Maxwell wrote:

    Hi Latoya, I have revised the post to make it clear this is part of the DMA’s annual conference which is taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Center October 16-18. More info is available at

    Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 7:41 am | Permalink

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