Great Works Wednesday: Conan’s Farewell Speech Is a Great Kick in the Butt

We were recently knocking back the remains from our commuter mugs while setting up for a morning shoot, hashing out how we envisioned the student talent interacting with the typography in the TV spot. The energy was dynamic between the four of us and each was warming to the images pinging around in our heads.

As we bandied around the different approaches, Mark, from Orangetree Productions offhandedly mentioned how one designer treated Conan Obrien’s NBC sign-off speech several months ago.

I realize that Great Works Wednesday is meant to offer something to your Hump Day beyond advertising, marketing, design and media. But bear with me; this is not just some rote bit about a designer killing thousands of hours on a pet love.

This is about a person, Jacob Gilbreath, NOT accepting a good-bye address assignment as simply another sign-off from a defrocked star. I don’t know the back-story or how Gilbreath came onto this project, because obviously there was some deep pre-planning put into it. But the point is, he refused to simply look at Obrien’s good-bye speech through the same trusty, rusty filters.

Because that’s how humans are programmed, right? Find your pattern and hope to God nothing tweaks the routine. What’s your morning pattern? Mine’s like a Katy Perry pop song, a gratefully predictable practice of the same old boring steps.
But through Conan’s sayonara, Gilbreath provided me a much-needed reminder that you can always, always tackle life’s mundane moments differently. I need to remind myself to go out of my way and consider the different approach.

I know I’ll find a little more wonder in life and work by occasionally abandoning the routine and tackling something so mundane as a goodbye speech differently.
Have a great Wednesday.


About Great Works Wednesday
These are blog posts that shine a light on those people, places, institutions and organizations that do wonderful work. It’s a step outside of the daily marketing and advertising worlds that many of us occupy, and calls attention to the outstanding thinking that may inspire or help you see things in a different light. It is an online salute to the power of great works. Click here to see Ding's Great Works.

Greg Fine

As a principal, creative director and head of business development for Ding Communications, Greg is responsible for shaping and forming the advertising and marketing for an array of clients. Those businesses include prominent financial institutions and money advisors; large and small medical practices and care facilities; regional tourism and hospitality bureaus; commercial and residential real estate and title firms; and a host of non-profits. A native Nevadan and graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno (BA Journalism), his focus has always been marketing centric. Leading up to the opening of Ding Communications, he freelanced for several prominent regional advertising agencies. Prior to that, he was a copywriter for the San Francisco Chronicle/SF Examiner marketing department; and served as publicist for both the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority and Harrah's Lake Tahoe. Greg's two daughters have been responsible for his hair loss, but he accepts that. And his wife, Shelli, manages the firm's financial reins. In off-duty hours, Greg rides his mountain bike around the hundreds of miles of single track surrounding Reno and Lake Tahoe. Winter finds him wandering the same mountains, but on skis. He is a founding member and actively involved in the K-8 Wellness Initiative, an all-volunteer committee dedicated to helping Washoe County Schools foster and adopt daily physical education and nutritional practices for its students to prevent obesity. He serves in advisory role to Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, an organization dedicated to making the Truckee Meadows "America's Cleanest Community." And finally, he sits on the board for the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada.
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