Hoffenberg is prone to making such gains for his clients. His theory around the creation of ad holds the elegant code to his successes. On the Propulsion website, he writes, "I've been schooled in the art of understanding customers for over 25 years — what makes them tick and how to connect with them. I hope to keep learning and never graduate."
Hoffenberg focuses a great deal on the "power of sight and sound in any medium," or simply relating the body of the observer to the product. "Business has always been about connecting with customers," he said. There are two sides to this: "What you say and where you say it," he said. "In the past, there was a lack of accountability." With the surging use and capabilities of the Internet, the advertising question, Hoffenberg said, is no longer just what's being said, it's about "connecting with them where they are, who they are, and when ... they're involved in media. Connecting with them [the customer] is cornerstone. The Internet is a great venue to get accountability [in advertising]."
And Hoffenberg has earned the license to comment. He has won almost every creative award granted to advertising geniuses, including several Clios, One Shows, and Cannes Lions awards. On his website, he notes his most cherished award as the Advertising Council's highest award for volunteerism, The Silver Bell, for his work on the Points of Light Foundation; and he's not slowing down.
His recent clients (along with Stew Leonard's) include the environmental engineering company Malcolm Pirnie and Forbes magazine. He also recently named, co-designed, and launched a campaign for an all-natural, preservative and hormone-free chicken product called Naked Chicken. Sales have jumped 300% from last year.
Hoffenberg is among the few successful advertisers who actually studied the craft and achieved a college degree in advertising and design. He began his hands-on experience humbly with an internship at a "one-man shop" in Florida where he said he got to experience everything, rather than being lost in a big agency. He said he was an average student as a junior but returned his senior year after the internship experience to complete his studies at the top of his class.
For those suited for the art of advertising, Hoffenberg offered much encouragement. Acknowledging that artistic types can often be queued to the parameter because of non-traditional ways of thinking, he said these are just the people that advertising needs: those who won't bore the customer. Original ideas are the future of advertising. As entertainment value within ads gains importance, the ability to create "a dialogue with customers...a story that involves a listener" is crucial.
He encouraged the development of networking and connecting for young ad professionals and reiterated the basics, like creative writing, technology, and art direction as absolutes in being able to "communicate the strategy of the product." Hoffenberg asserted that technology can make nearly any artistic vision a reality, but not to let its current limits limit the creative mind. "Do something that's never been done before...but at the core of the product, the service must be there."