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Bram Pitoyo 30 January 2008

Bram Pitoyo

Account planner, creative researcher, brand strategist & most other things

Up until 1.5 years ago, Bram Pitoyo had not considered ‘riding roller coasters’ to make a living too great of an idea. This all changed when Wild Alchemy, an account planning agency, inspired him to play in increasingly challenging ponds with likeminded, inspiring people.

However, his co-founding of brashCreative, the Art Institute of Portland’s student advertising agency on November of 2005 had firmly stamped the ideas that:

1. More impossible problems are ‘more better,’ and

2. You always have to generalize first and specialize second (more on that later.)

It is interesting to note that, at school, he first focused on Art & Creative Direction for a year before moving his sight to Copy & Scripwriting for about the same length of time, and finally to full-time Account Planning & Research until he graduated. He sort of thinks that this makes him an creative who is generalized enough to be in tune with the zeitgeist, but specialized enough to know what to do about it.

He believes that:

* Innovation happens with the things that you already have in your hand.

* Social software web development and ethnography is closely interlinked.

* Much like design, a belief will benefit from having more critical discussions, brutally honest dialogues & the ability to laugh and rip itself apart.

* A brand should sing killer choruses with an equally beautiful opus.

What are you up to?

I believe that all field of knowledge must converge somewhere, no matter how disparate they may be; and that the understanding of those convergence points can make me a creative that’s in touch with the zeitgeist.

As such, I’m proud to dabble not only in account planning, but also ethnography, user experience, social software, web app development, typography, scriptwriting and art direction.

What are you into?

Having meaningful conversations that spark ideas, like Collaborative Ingenuity that meets every Saturday from 12–4 pm.

Working in a place that I can take part in building and growing. Presently, that place is CoatesKokes.

Publishing a blog (coincidentally named ‘Link En Fuego’) that can serve as a kind of ‘Wunderkammer’ for the public, a source of inspiration for creatives, and an extension to my ever-growing list of bookmark items.

Writing long headlines that inspire, rather than short, vague sentence that is common in today’s web copywriting.

Listening and practicing a kind of music that most people would call ‘elevator,’ wherein I usually deny fervently while substituting the word ‘jazz fusion’ in its place.

Taking interest in the most disparate fields of knowledge, “from dada to dabberlocks, dacron to ducksauceology.”

What do you like most about Portland?

Portland is one of the city wherein both a creative mind and a road bike is considered ‘assets.’ Having culturally and environmentally aware folks doesn’t hurt, either.

Also, because community-conscious chefs and locally grown groceries are relatively accessible.

Should I be a generalist or a specialist?

I have struggled with this question pretty much the whole time that I spent studying at The Art Institute. There are two opposite school of thoughts that I equally embraced (and had served me rather well):

First, co-founding and nurturing brashCreative, the school’s student advertising agency required me to be and do everything all at the same time. This allowed me to dabble in a lot of different subjects equally and experience interesting exchanges of ideas between the creative and the account people.

Second, being a freelance Account Planner required me to do just one thing, digging for insights, very well. This, until I realized that my research will ultimately influence the final products, and it helps the creative teams a lot if I can translate consumer-speak in their language.

Conclusion: I found out that I enjoy being a specialist at one time, and a generalist at another. I found out that this is not wrong, because the ability to ‘switch gears’ is what makes us human beings (and, no, it’s not because “specialization is for insects.”)

I also found out that maybe I had formulated the wrong question. Because it’s not about being a generalist or a specialist. It’s about having fun. Because if you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.

We creatives seem to know, albeit rather vaguely, how to evaluate design, ads, or campaigns. But, more often than not, we have no idea why certain artists are in our playlist but not others. How, then, do you evaluate a piece of music?

I can only think of two reasons. The songs in my playlist either:

* Challenge and stretch aural perception, or

* Tell stories and evoke places.

Those that do both ranks up higher, with preference given to the former item. Simple as that.

Not incidentally, these two factors relates closely to my measurement of good design, good advertising, good reading matter, and good whatever else. In those contexts, ‘challenging’ becomes ‘witty’ or ‘shrewd,’ but ‘telling stories’ are still telling stories.

I think that without challenge, a medium will not caught any attention. Without story, it will fail to be remembered and savored.

PLEASE NOTE that while these pieces are all instrumental, this fact shouldn’t be taken as an indication that I listen to elevator music all day (though there are certainly times that I do.) I do think, however, that lyrics tend to blunt the ‘telling stories’ aspect of the song—because, duh, words can’t not tell a story.

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