Posts from the ‘Portfolio’ Category
“Connect to the sys. co. Have it reconfigure the shell metals. Use the gold titanium alloy from the seraphin tactical satellite. That should ensure a fuselage integrity while maintaining power-to-weight ratio. Got it?”
After crafting Flow’s Christmas promotion we were given the opportunity to launch their business division, rebranded as Columbus Business Solutions (CBS). CBS’ motto is “one provider, all the solutions”. They’re not exaggerating one mega bit. CBS can take care of all your technological needs except launch your own satellite into space, though I wouldn’t be surprised if that was in the works. That being said, one of the biggest challenges was explaining to CEOs and top level executives what CBS services could actually do for their business. We also needed to maintain a high level of aesthetics to match their high level of IT solutions.
Once we read all of the technical materials (about three times), and sat through a Q&A session with CBS’ engineers, we had an idea about how their products and services worked. It was time to translate geek speak into boardroom talk. An idea sprung up after the IT crash course, a Jay-Z line: Men lie. Women lie. Numbers don’t. When you put everything on the table CBS had the best numbers in the business. So we used that as a foundation for what we called the business of connectivity. We focused on the facts that IT directors cared about the most, while touching on the matters that CEOs are judged by: performance, stability and value.
“Change the scheme! Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you’d be so kind.”
The telecom industry in Jamaica is one of the fiercest competitions across the island, second only the political tug of war between the country’s main parties. However, you wouldn’t believe such a rivalry existed from the press ads, billboards or television commercials where endless smiling faces promoted 3G this or prepaid that. Smiles with every call, it would seem. In this midst of all this, Flow wanted to try something different. They wanted their brand to make a statement, and show a deeper connection between the customers and services. And they asked us to help accomplish this with a classic modus operandi: the testimonial.
Our team’s response was tap into the wide range of human emotion and expression, not just the ever popular smile. We wanted these testimonials to demonstrate how people really express themselves: with their style and attitude. When they’re on a phone call, browsing the net, or watching TV people are not only smiling. They’re also laughing, shouting, and even jumping out of their seats.
The shift in direction, along with our previous work, has made an impact. The campaign was recently referenced by the competitors in their annual marketing conference as one to study, then top. We’ve also been in discussions to possibly manage Flow’s advertising throughout the entire Caribbean region.
“One dance, one look, one kiss, that’s all we get, Albert. Just one shot to make the difference between happily ever after, and oh he’s just some guy I went to something with once.”
Christmas time is promotion time in Jamaica. Lucky participants can win every household appliance known to man, new cars or even millions of dollars. The media is flooded with these offers, and jingles to go along with them. This particular season, Flow’s gifts were a bit underwhelming. They were offering things people could use regularly (phones, routers, etc). along with unbeatable plans. However, when your competitor is giving away a BMW X-5, and cash, it’s tough to turn heads with a DVR recorder.
One advantage Flow did have was that their offerings were available to anyone who signed up for service, and not simply a game of chance. We were challenged to take this advantage, apply any means of advertising magic necessary, and inspire scores of Jamaicans sign up for service. Plus, we had to talk to existing customers and offer them incentives for paying their bills on time. Two different offerings, one campaign. Sure, why not?
This was an opportunity to go left when everyone else was heading right at 100mph. First, the jingle formula had to take a break this season. Jingles work well in JA because music is so ingrained in the lifestyle, but it’s expected. And when you’re the underdog expected is rarely good enough. Instead, we created a catchy song that could play everywhere, from the radio to night clubs, and live beyond the promotion. Christmas is a big party season for all ages and demographics, so a hit song could be heard around the clock. We figured a song like that might as well be associated with Flow.
We also wanted this promotion to have more layers than just the offer. We had so much to work with, and so many messages, that a unifying narrative was needed. One that showed how Flow’s products and services integrate seamlessly through a customer’s life. The promotion hit its mark, the song is still playing on the radio, and we’re now preparing for this year’s Christmas promotion. Not bad for a campaign with no jingle.
“I don’t think they tried to market it to the billionaire, spelunking, BASE-jumping crowd.”
American Airlines is a copywriter’s dream assignment. The look and imagery of the company’s creative is essentially the same around the world, so they rely on copy (big, bold, blue copy) to ensure these images connect with fliers.
We stuck to the lighthearted, cheeky tone of the global campaign and spoke to Jamaicans like they were good friends, not just good customers. We wanted fliers to know that every time anad was released they wouldn’t only get the scoop on new fares, but a few laughs as well. AA continues to be one of Jamaica’s busiest airlines, and wittiest advertisers.
“The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything.”
The Jamaican market was given the rare opportunity to deviate from the global campaign that launched the Coke Zero product/brand. The original campaign, featuring a talking tongue, had such negative connotations within local culture that a different route had to be taken. Another challenge was the dominance of Pepsi in Jamaica. Whatever campaign launched needed to resonate with as many people as possible, while also showing a willingness to integrate with Jamaican culture like never before.
Coca-Cola’s brand team and partner agencies all agreed that for the campaign to have widespread impact, while also showing an acuteness for authenticity, then music had to be its foundation. The biggest reggae song in the world at the time was Serani’s “No Games”, and we were fortunate enough to feature the song/artist in our campaign. We added two other artists that were just as locally endeared, but also had cross-over style and appeal. After these artists introduced Coke Zero to Jamaica, we ended the campaign with a mega concert that featured international star Sean Kingston sharing the stage with nearly all of Jamaica’s leading reggae artists.
“The little things. There’s nothing bigger, is there?”
The assignment, my very first one in the agency, was to connect the joy of cooking to the joy of family. Usually a straight forward task, unless you’re in Jamaica. It’s common knowledge that Jamaica is a Grace Kennedy country, their brand name and products heavily ingrained in the homes and psyche of families. Jamaicans grew up on Grace products, especially their soups, and are eager to pass it on to their kids. Grace’s advertising strategy reflects this position, often showing how one generation passes Grace to the next.
While Maggi didn’t have the same Jamaican history that Grace did, it still had a rich one in many other parts of the world. A legacy of providing quality, yet easily made meals. We just needed to translate this in a way that touched the same emotional notes, but played a unique tune. So we looked at this radio ad from another (younger) perspective. Much younger.
This wasn’t bittersweet. This was more like sweet, then bitter, then sweet again. Sweet, because the client said it was the quickest he ever liked a script. Bitter, because the actual production of the script fell short. Sweet, because it gave Maggi a new direction to explore. And it also taught me a valuable lesson: ideas are great, but execution is everything.
My work at Complex Magazine gave me the opportunity to join a new marketing team for RP55’s Azzure Denim and Indigo Red brands. I was still a full-time student at NYU so I took evening classes to make the schedule work. 9 to 5 in the office, 5 to God knows when in the classroom and library. Read more
Going to a nonprofit children’s choral program from fashion was not by design, but I’m grateful for ending up there. At the YPC I was given my first opportunity to plan and carry out an entire communications program. I also inherited a thousand “bosses”, New York City children from all walks of life.