Meet Jelly Helm And His Idealistic Followers

Wieden’s in-house ad school W+K 12, got a real life assignment from Good Magazine. The task was to create a spread that conveys the theme “I Heart America.”
W+K’s team, led by the great Jelly Helm, came up with a positive twist of a theme line, “Love it, or fix it.” Good Magazine posted a video on You Tube, showcasing the making of this campaign. One of the students in the video says, “Advertising has the potential to be a really good educational tool, so why not use that potential? Why not tap into it and use it for good?”
In other words, the video is dripping with youthful idealism. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing at all, I’m just calling it what it is.
After Adfreak posted the video, some ad grunts got a bit sick. One, going by the screen name of “Nauseous” says:

You could easily put the name “Christopher Guest” on this and pass it off as a mockumentary about over-earnest, over-grungy advertising geeks. They (and so many others in this biz) are trying waaayyyyy too hard at appearing “creative.”

I guess when you’re living in Portland as a 20-something, listening to The Village Green and M. Ward all day, it’s easy to be over-earnest about things. But isn’t that better than being overly cynical?

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. “love it, or fix it”?
    kinda in the same vein as that “hate something, change something” the UK folks did for Honda. no?

  2. “But isn’t that better than being overly cynical?”
    Yes. And that’s coming from a cynic.
    Something else to consider is that ad school (be it UT, Circus, or W+K12) is all about getting students to shift the way they’re thinking about…whatever. If borrowing a little from their UK office, or wandering shirtless with a taxidermied racoon helps, who are we to say that its wrong?

  3. guest commenter says:

    idealist / cynic?
    I think it should be a bit of both. Isn’t that where America is in his/her history. But I would hope the hope and trust prevail. It really is a beautiful country. How many have seen it in its entirety?
    And the other choice of something like:
    America–lie, laid or lain?
    somehow just rings wrong.

  4. guest commenter says:

    Additionally, in reference to a headline in your banner at one time:
    neither as equally well done as:
    American pie, paid, or pain.

  5. Ginven that “America: Love it or leave it” is one of the more obtuse arguments I’ve ever heard, I’m pleased to see an intelligent repsonse to it.
    Criticism is the first step toward active citizenship. Doing something about the identified problems though, that’s the linchpin.
    “Stop bitching, start working” is another maxim we might keep in mind.

  6. Dan Barczak says:

    What’s wrong with youthful idealism? I understand that most designers and advertisers come out of school with hopes and dreams of shaping some aspect of the world around them….but it isn’t until we’re completely jaded in the industry that we try to get back to that design innocence. If we could all tap into the creative energy that we had when we were much younger, there might be more invigorating design in our lives.

  7. Why the picture of Britney, though?