About David Everitt-Carlson

David Everitt-Carlson

David Everitt-Carlson has worked in the communications industry for 30 years. Graduating from Southern Illinois University, David was first featured in the New York Art Directors Show in 1982 and began a career of industry firsts and award winning work with companies such as The Richards Group in Dallas, Bozell & Jacobs/Dallas (American Airlines) and Earle Palmer Brown - Wash D.C. (Marriott). His work for American Airlines garnered four CLIO finalists which were followed by four more the following year for his work on Marriott and one for personal work for a total of nine CLIOs in two years.

He moved to Korea with Leo Burnett in 1995 as VP/Executive Creative Dirẹctor on the heels of his team’s Nintendo GameBoy campaign achieving both a Chicago Film Festival Gold Award and 2.5 times the projected sales volume. After two years, he formed Korea’s first 100% foreign invested advertising agency, CarlsonCreative, Inc, in Seoul in 1997 and successfully competed against two major multinational agencies to win the British American Tobacco account.

CarlsonCreative also served the Korean Ministry of Finance, Samsung, LG and Hyundai and received creative awards from the New York Art Directors show, The New York Festivals and the Korean Art Directors club. David moved to Vietnam in 2005 and lectured and consulted in the communications business for Global 500 companies and Universities. He currently lives in Munich, Germany.

Latest Posts by David Everitt-Carlson

Occupy Wall Street Explained



A work in progress: Over the months too many people have asked me to explain how Occupy Wall Street works and too many times I have confused them all by trying to explain. Time for the infographic. For those of you on the feed, please come back later for the full explanation. For now, chew on this graphic for awhile…

Emerging and Submerging Markets: An American Company Shows Me the Difference


Funny. Having dinner with Dr. David Williams from Mojo Innovations in Shanghai and the ideas roll around to ‘submerging markets’ (David coined that) – the idea that we work in emerging markets but David, an Englishman, and another Brit, a woman from The Netherlands and myself are having a bottle of white and figuring out why we are all here, instead of living in our birth countries – the submerging markets – rich countries and the only victims of the recent financial crisis (and then we order the fish).

The woman from Holland, a young professional woman, is leaving an executive job at a foreign university here, to move to Istanbul, Turkey, with no job at all – just to live life, and live the best. Neither David, nor I nor the English interior designer showed much interest in going back to our home countries, for individual reasons. And so many of those reasons have nothing to do with money.

We are all career professionals, all capable of getting name-your-number six-figure salaries back home, yet we do not. Why not?

It’s all about where the future is, and we have all run into the roadblocks of our western countries trying to maintain the status’ quo of an old century while things here are just the Wild Wild East. It’s fun, and a whole lot better than pushing sand uphill back home to feed an economic model that is so obviously broken.

This all came to real this week when it came to getting paid for my first month at an American webzine, The Morton Report. When it came time to pay, an editor said they would ‘send me a check’. Ha. I laughed. Were they serious? Turns out they were.

When I explained that the check system they used in the US (Yes, printing personal money that may or may not be any good) did not work outside country, they truly didn’t understand – and then they got mad. “Wire transfer? WTF is that?”, they said. Now, this particular webzine, luckily has an online shrink, so I’ll leave it to her to figure out how f-ed-up that is – but that was the story. Getting mad over watching the world change? “Gee, American money is no good anymore?”. You’re broke guys!

And in telling that story, David chimed in, “Ha! I had an American client look at my invoice and say ‘What’s EFT?” – Electronic Funds Transfer. “I’m not sure we know how to do that”, the American company responded.

So it’s true, in submerging markets they will never understand that the reason the other markets are emerging, is that they are not just not doing the SOS. They are building something, something their children won’t have to pay for like America’s children will have to pay the Chinese.

So we are, in Asia, emerging and America is submerging. Do the math.

Good Morning America!

Motorbike Helmets for Kid’s in Vietnam? Not Yet



A few years ago Vietnam finally passed a law requiring motorbike riders to wear a helmet but this law only required them for adult riders. Kids don’t need them. Is somebody kidding somebody? We could blame the lawmakers for not seeing the fatalities and injuries amongst children but that shouldn’t release parents from their basic responsibilities to protect those children should it?
I didn’t think so. And so an idea was hatched (yeah, bad pun) to do a public service campaign to speak to parents about the importance of the whole family wearing a helmet. In a country of what might be easily, 30 million motorbikes for roughly 80 million people the motorbike is a way of life in Vietnam. In fact it’s an extension of life, an extra limb it has been called. But it’s also a way of death, the highest rate of highway fatalities in Asia before enactment of the law.
On launch day, the government deployed 5000 police around the city (Saigon) to enforce strict fines ($10 is strict here) and lo and behold – one day nobody had a helmet and the next day they did. Except for the children. And this baffled the crap out of me. Didn’t the people understand that a not fully formed skull can be crushed up to 60% easier than an adult’s? Didn’t they see it as important? And the answer is, ‘no they didn’t’. What was important to them was not paying a fine to comply with the law. Sad, I thought. No thought about the reasons one should wear a helmet at all.


Ask anyone what they believe to be a symbol of birth and childhood and you will eventually hear the word ‘egg’. So I took that visual and put a helmet on it. It was funny. And it worked. We all know eggs crack easily and putting a helmet on them just reinforced the point. Photographer Mads Monsenand I worked together to create this campaign and we did it without a specific client in mind – because we thought the idea was important. Should you know of any organization in Vietnam who might be interested in running this work as a public service, please contact me. We would love to get this campaign up and running and doing the job the parents should be doing – getting all their kids to wear a helmet. 

So Kate Made 50 Days in England, But Could She Make 100 in Korea?


Last week I saw all the hoopla over the Dutchess of Cambridge passing 50 days as a royal and it reminded me of the Korean celebration of baek-il held for children 100 days after birth. Read all about it here at TMR

‘Agency’ in the Age of Corporate Decision Making

Entrepreneur and marketing guru Seth Godin said this about the concept of agency in a recent blog post:
Philosphers and lawyers talk about agency. Responsibility comes with the capacity to act in the world. If you can decide, if you can act, you have agency. Why then, do organizations and individuals struggle so intently to avoid the responsibility that comes with agency? “It’s not my job, my boss won’t let me, we’re prohibited, it’s our supplier, that’s our policy…”

I dealt with a Japanese advertising agency recently in which all of the above excuses were true - ”It’s not my job, my boss won’t let me, we’re prohibited, that’s our policy, etc”. I was dealing with a man who was arguably second in command in the company, but he couldn’t make a $2000 decision. He couldn’t sign a contract.

With my small company in Korea I had only three employees, and all of them had agency to an assigned degree. They had the ability to act and to spend money in their appropriate assignments. After two years of running our company, I felt the need for a long vacation. We had won the big account, were financially on good footing and I felt I had earned the holiday.
In making plans for the trip, I told my second in command that there were only three reasons to call me while I was away, “Death, famine, nuclear warfare” – somewhat in jest, but basically true to make the point, “Don’t call me”.

I went to my lake house in Michigan, listened to the ducks, read and just enjoyed the hell out of myself. I was in the middle of a divorce and knew that I might never enjoy that house again.

Upon my return to Korea I was informed that a ‘client emergency’ had cropped up and my staff had taken appropriate steps to make the client happy and solve the problem – and they had committed $5000 to various suppliers to get the work done. This was not the thing to do without a signed agreement with the client.
But my staff had acted in good faith, and to serve client needs – a good thing. I suddenly realized that the number $5000 should have come directly after ‘nuclear warfare’ in my instructions of when to call me. But the failure, if any, was mine for not explaining fully and maybe giving a little too much agency to my #2 in the situation.

So I quickly set about to repair the damage – calling suppliers, cancelling jobs, stopping printing presses. The client in this case, a marketing assistant, had no authority to have been ordering the work. But my staff didn’t know that. In the end, it cost us $2500 but I was very careful to not put the blame on my staff and let everyone know that I stood behind the person who made the decision to do the work. Over time that stood as a pillar of our company’s trust in our employees and let them know that we would stand behind them when they made decisions, even some wrong ones, for the greater good.

The poor Japanese man I met with last week. No power to make decisions. No power to even sign for work he was ordering. No agency at all – and he worked for an agency. Go figure.

Motivated Reasoning: The Opposite of A Suspension of Disbelief

by Jonathon Rosen
In a recent post exploring Nicholas Humphrey’s new book, ’Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness‘ I argued that the thesis here with ‘A Suspension of Disbeliefs’, that we all create realities that are essentially states of suspended disbelief by our choices of religion, political persuasion, career, country, love, belief or not in the magic bullet theory, or choice of architecture’ was paralleled by Humphrey in ’Soul Dust:. Combining theories in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology, he states, ”Consciousness, is nothing less than a magical-mystery show that we stage for ourselves inside our own heads – this self-made show lights up the world for us, making us feel special and transcendent. But reader, John Rachel, disagreed. He commented:

“You seem to be blurring an important distinction, meaning your equating suspension of disbelief, which effectively is an intentional but sub-textual firewalling or deactivating a critical faculty, with what Humphrey describes as an active and creative filtering, ordering and reconstruction of incoming data and internally generated interpretations, formulations, judgments, etc. The former is kind of like turning off a switch and the latter is engaging all of the machinery whose switches have been left on.”

Now I know what theoretical psychologists sit around and argue about over beers. So I was left to consider and reinterpret what I believe the core concept of ‘A Suspension of Disbeliefs’ to be in relation to how we live our lives. Essentially, I consider it a positive faculty – to suspend ones disbelief that they can be a great writer, or a rock star or a president. Maybe you don’t believe you can be an NBA draft pick, because the odds are so horribly against you, but suspend that disbelief and you release energies that say “I can”, not because it’s mathematically possible, but simply because you have removed your greatest obstacle – your own disbelief. Removing other’s disbelief is more difficult and many times, impossible. I fell on an article in Mother Jones magazine that illuminated to me what the opposite of a suspension of disbelief might be.

The theory of  ’motivated reasoning. This is held by people who do not want to believe something. They strongly want to disbelieve it. Even though it may be true and even offer good things, they choose to hold on to their old beliefs because those beliefs are so deeply ingrained. “The earth is flat”. These are people who refuse to suspend disbelief because that would be too challenging, too uncomfortable.

“Consider a person who has heard about a scientific discovery that deeply challenges his/her belief in divine creation — a new hominid, say, that confirms our evolutionary origins. What happens next, explains political scientistCharles Taberof Stony Brook University, is a subconscious negative response to the new information— and that response, in turn, guides the type of memories and associations formed in the conscious mind. ‘They retrieve thoughts that are consistent with their previous beliefs,’ says Taber, ‘and that will lead them to build an argument and challenge what they’re hearing.’”

So if I am willing to continuously challenge my beliefs, I am employing a suspension of disbeliefs, in search of new knowledge. I am willing to consider things I don’t believe in. A positive thing – as opposed to using ‘motivated reasoning’ and just sticking with what I already know – a not so positive thing.
I have found there is little greater motivation than being told one can’t do something. The only person I need to convince that I can is myself – and I do that by challenging my ingrained belief that I can’t. I suspend my own disbelief, and then I can.

How I Met Oscar Schindler


Nearly two years ago I was beginning a trip to Europe from Vietnam and our first stop was Frankfurt and a meeting with Oskar Schindler – you know, the one from Schindler’s list fame.

But not exactly in person. I would meet Mr. Schindler through the gift of a book from a friend, and even have a short visit to his last apartment.

Finally this year I got around to reading that gift ‘Oskar Schindler – The untold account of his life, his wartime activities and the true story behind the list’ by David Crowe. As you might have guessed, it’s not the same story told in the Spielberg film.

In this telling, Crowe, a historian and President Emeritus of the Association for the Studies of Nationalities at Columbia University, brings us a less-than-riveting portrait of a man who was both conflicted and complex in his wartime work and personal life.

A lover of wine, women and song, a spy, a man playing both sides in more than two sides of his life, Schindler is presented by Crowe as more of a historical study. Much less is revealed about his motivations. Given this document of study and a Hollywood film we still know little about the man himself.

But I learned a little more that day. I learned that given the Internet and new ways to communicate, that a jazz singer from L.A. living in Germany and a man from New York living in Vietnam (who had never met) could meet and find common ground over Schindler. So even in death he has an impact. A positive one.

Schindler’s wife was less charitable. At his grave, she had this to say:

Well, Oskar, we meet again. But this is not the time for reproaches and complaints. It would not be fair to you or to me. Now you are in another world, in eternity, and I can no longer ask you all those questions to which you would have given evasive replies…and death is the best evasion of all. I have received no answers. my dear. I do not know why you abandoned me…but what not even your death or my old age can change is that we are still married. This is how we are before God. I have forgiven you everything, everything.

Now, two years after a trip that had too many unknown unknowns, I understand that I may not ever understand what really happened – that I may never have many answers.

My mother would die with many secrets and one day my father will too. And the rest of us are left to piece together what they left us. And that in turn will become our own personal suspension of disbelief – the book of our own lives that we alone may write.

Willing Suspension of Disbelief

Did anyone else find the display and joy of Americans in the streets over the death of Osama Bin Laden just patently morose and self serving – even crass by conservative standards? I am American and I did. I also live in Vietnam, a country where America killed nearly 1,100,00 north Vietnamese soldiers over 40 years ago during the conflict and infected another estimated 5 million today with diseases and deformities as a result of Agent Orange dispersion – the 2nd largest display of attempted chemical genocide ever in modern times. Perspective is needed here. Information is needed here. History is needed here, compassion is needed here – not gloating in place of proper grieving for our small number of lives and architecture lost. This week was a media event, a play into our willing suspension of disbelief to have a bad man die at the end of a battle. You can leave the movie now, it’s over. Time for another presidential election campaign. I felt we as a country behaved deplorably in a moral capacity this week.

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