Amazing Reach | Fabulous Frequency

I will have to say that a year can really be flipped upside down, drilled sideways and built back stronger than ever thought possible.

This brutal semester has finally come to an end. And guess what?


Masochist? Maybe. But after learning Media, Digging into Account Management, Playing Account Planner and finally getting to solve real problems as a Creative, my love for advertising has actually grown so much more.

I wanted to share two recent advertisings that hit me hard. One was so brilliant I only saw it once and I was hooked. Saw it on TV, went to YouTube, played it four times, shared it on Facebook, then watched it four more times there.

What was this magical advertisement? Michael Jackson The Experience video game for the Wii and XBOX Kinect, of course!

I say no more, here it is:

The second one made me appreciate media planning, placement, buying, creating, managing and PR – and everything else advertising for that matter – to the next level.

I saw this awe inspiring video/commercial on a random website; I then YouTubed videos for almost 15 minutes (I have a 4-year-old, you see); then I was totally hit by a 10 minute interview with Jim Dooley, composer of the video game’s music, while listening to NPR News’ The Record on the radio on my way home from school.

This was such a perfectly executed advertising campaign, I cannot wait to learn who put this brilliant campaign together.

But, I will just let you see the brilliance that was that original video/commercial.

And FYI, I am absolutely “getting the game for my son” this Christmas.


Stay cool, stay connected, stay balanced,





22 And Counting | Managing Relationships

My USF ZAP class interview assignments keep my interest for the ad agency world ignited.

This time I luckily got to chat with 22Squared’s Frank Morales, Hispanic Account Director for Publix Super Markets. Frank, a ten year veteran with an impressive brand repertoire to his name, was engaging and more than willing to share insights about account management, the Hispanic market and even took some time to talk about opportunities for me in the copywriting field.

Frank recently moved to 22Squared from Zubi Advertising, where he managed their entire SC Johnson brand portfolio. He sounded excited and enthusiastic about coming to Tampa and helping 22Squared and Publix expand their advertising to the Hispanic market in the region.


“Jack of all trades; master of none.” “Be a mile wide and an inch deep.” – Frank Morales

Frank shared his day to day life in a macro and micro level. He said that the big picture of his day is filled with casting, creative concepting, checking on his teams and hiring. Then, he told me that his day is also filled with electronic messaging; preparing meetings, presentations and calls; attending meetings; developing strategies; researching and working with the creative team.

I was glad to hear most of the many details I have learned in my classes literately coming right back at me. The fact I was able to have a 45 minute conversation with an ad professional and understand everything he said feels like a #win for me.


After the “interview” was over, we talked about great advertising books and what I could do to become a legitimate bilingual copywriter. The passion in his voice and the general willingness to even help me really made me respect Frank.

He told me “E Book,” “Where the Suckers Moon,” “Hispanic Marketing” and “Art of Account Planning” were must reads, if I was serious about getting into the field. (Looks like I have tons of reading ahead of me.)

He also advised me to go to portfolio school, Miami Ad School to be specific, which I got to tour last week with the USF Ad Club. I am glad my passion, inspiration and love for this field keeps getting stronger and stronger. People like Frank and my professors at USF keep giving me more and more reasons to want to get into the ad world. Thank you.

And if you are a student in advertising or you are thinking about getting into advertising, make sure you supplement your school learnings with real conversations, shadow days and internships.

Stay cool, stay connected, stay balanced,

Alex Santiago

Once a performer…

This past Monday I got to finally speak in front of the USF Ad Club. I was invited to speak while in San Francisco and it was a little strange because since then I had become part of their exec board and had been working with them for awhile. But, I had a blast doing it.

Our own Jordan ‘YouSleepWhenYouDie’ Zimmerman dropped by and surprised the club, which was really great and added a nice level of reality to our presentations. He definitely made everyone nervous, which made us spend more time than allotted, but I still think we all did okay.

There were four of us presenting: Sarah Page, PP+K Tampa; Erica Novak, Zimmerman Advertising Ft. Lauderdale; Julia Powling, The Creative Farm NYC and I spoke about my 4A’s MAIP McCann Erickson San Francisco summer experience. We all had great stories to share, so I think we got through some people.

I had to rush through the presentation, but I guess once a performer, you are always a performer. If you would like to see the visuals, the presentation is hanging out below. And if you would like me to share the presentation with your organization, send me an e-mail.


It is strange being asked to hopefully influence or inspire your own peers. Most people probably think were are nobody’s, but hopefully I am wrong. Needless to say, I think we all represented our companies and experiences very well.

Expand Your Margins

In the middle of my presentation, I shared this document I created earlier last week during a quiet moment filled with inspiration. It was honest. It was pure. And I am really hopeful that some people got it.

And since I have this nifty tool to express and converse with those interested, I would like to share the document and ask for your opinion.

Am I right, wrong, kind of close? It is a personal experience, so I understand if it is not fully relate-able, but I believe it speaks in many different planes. I am just curious about your opinions.

Expand Your Margins

Thank you for reading.

Stay cool, stay connected, stay balanced,


‘Shadow’ II | Smart. Creative. | ‘Bad-Ass’

Yesterday felt good. Staying in my home town to shadow a talented production ad agency was quite refreshing. After all, Lakeland’s reputation and talent is often disregarded or not spoken about. So, seeing it in this level was quite refreshing.

I spent my day with Fred Koehler (owner) and Chad Kostella (“bad ass” freelance designer) at Smart Creative, a young ad agency with a great core of clients and a fun, talented staff in the heart of Downtown Lakeland.

A Day At the Shop

I am not going to lie, not having to drive to Tampa or Orlando and still enjoying the feel of an awesome ad agency was quite fantastic. The vivid red from the front door to the office space, kitchen and war room gives you the feeling of doing something. Quite a nice location and atmosphere the Smart Creative team has created.

Being a smaller shop, I really got to converse with the owner. He told me all about his life story and how he got into the business. And, he actually took the time to give me pointers so I can grow and enter this market, which really made my experience unique.

The food was great as well. Got to try a local shop I had not tried before so that was cool, but I believe perspective was the most flavorful dish served that day. Sometimes you just have to have a heart-to-heart with a brilliant person to help you grow and reach new levels of brilliance yourself. It was a wonderful experience to have.

Luckily, I got to work a little, too. Due to its sensitive nature, I cannot share details, but I got to do some back and forward with the owner – and that was just cool. Two interactive shadow days where I got to do some work — not too shabby.

How to become a Fred or Chad

Fred – BA in graphic design, few small agencies, Peace Corps Health Program (did marketing work within), Polk County School Board public relations, The Partner Marketing Group, Publix corporate, opened his own agency.

Chad – BS in graphic design, The Mallard Group, toured the US as an indie artist, pre-press artist at The Ledger, began a career as a freelance graphic designer.

At the end of it all…

Passion, dedication and hard work has definitely been the winning formula for most of the people I have shadowed, worked and spoken with in the past year. Doing this helped me realize that pride for one’s successes is nothing to be ashamed of — yet one more thing my college adviser was correct about.

Stay cool, stay connected, stay balanced.


22Squared = 484 | My Day As A ‘Shadow’ | ‘Yah you are…’

Most people idolize rappers, actors or other “celebrity-like” people; I idolize agency Creatives.

Last Friday, I got to shadow two Creatives who I idolized for years (they just did not know it). These Creatives are Garen Boghosian (Art Director) and Jeff Pospichal (Copywriter) from 22Squared Tampa.

For years now, I have loved these commercials, and I got to spend a whole day with their creators.

Publix Holiday Surprise

Publix I Miss You, Too

Buffalo Wild Wings Extra Innings

Buffalo Wild Wings Basketball Overtime

A Day With Garen & Jeff @22Squared

My day began at 10 AM sharp! Terrible, right? Well, what most do not know is that my car engine blew up the day before while driving on I4. That was the second time this year. (But you can read about that in a different blog. There is no bitching allowed here.) ¡El que persevera alcanza!

What was originally scheduled to be a “laid back day” was actually a fun-filled day with tons of work, meetings and delicious food.

As soon as I got in, a producer – Lori – walked into their office to run through some casting. How amazing! I got to sit through casting watching over 150 people deliver the same lines. And, I actually felt like we had the same feelings about most of the people, so right away, I felt like I was part of the team. “Yah, you are…” <– inside joke

As Dane Cook used to say, “Dream it you #(*&*^ dreamers!” I dream… I dream.

Next, one of their ACDs walked in, “Want to do lunch?! I don’t want to go alone with…!” We could not because we had (listen to me, we, psh!) some director calls to make for a spot, which was on a TNT field. (This last line is for my traffic people out there.) We made the calls, three of them to be exact, with their ECD – Tom. Real cool guy. Real cool guys, period. I had a blast listening to the back and forward between the agency, directors, AEs and producers. Side note for students: Yes, it is a relationship business. Listen to your professors.

How You Become A Garen, Jeff, Lori or Tom (Other than busting your ass, of course.)

Garen – AA in film, BA in Marketing, Miami Ad School, Internships in Chicago, Minnesota and SFO

Jeff – AA in commercial art, Miami Ad School, multiple ad agencies

Lori – BA in radio, TV, film production; worked as an broadcast coordinator in LA, returned to FL worked some more, freelanced with multiple ad agencies in the South East

Tom – BA in graphic design from the University of Wisconsin, worked at a design firm, discovered and fell in love with advertising; years later, won two Bronce One Show awards. *Rock N Roll*

My shadow day at 22Squared was a satisfying day filled with excitement, real world drama, a little Mad Men action and a whole lot of laughter. These people love what they do. And they are good at loving their work. And indirectly, it made me love their work, too. I just know who they are now.

Stay cool, stay connected, stay balanced


Tech Overload

Today, I hung out with my step mom, who usually has the talent of making me think bigger and learn a thing or two. And today was not the exception.

All of the neat things we spoke about are way too complex and amazing to write about so here are the videos.

Microsoft _ XBOX _ Kinect

TED _ MIT _ Sixth Sense

And for good measure, I wanted to throw in IPG Labs mega cool interactive mirror prototype.

I mean it:

Stay cool, stay connected, stay balanced,