MISSION: Increase tourism dollars by attracting summer drive traffic from adjoining states.
INSIGHT: Over 90% of Wyoming's visitors travel directly to Yellowstone, rendering the remainder of the state an afterthought. We needed to expand interest in Wyoming's many other attractions and geographically spread the tourism dollars.
IDEA: "The Great American Road Trip" campaign, consisting of OOH, TV and banner ads. The banners offered a free "Yellowstone or Bust" travel sticker to those who submitted contact info. Respondents were sent a free "Yellowstone or Bust" sticker along with a Wyoming visitors guide that introduced the road trip promotion, and offered other Wyoming destination stickers to drivers who visited other attractions en route to Yellowstone.
RESULTS: Increased overall tourism visits and set a new record for summer tourism dollars.
WHAT DID I DO?
- I came up with the idea of using retro style destination stickers.
- Concepted roughly half the outdoor lines.
- Wrote the lyrics for the "Roaming Wyoming" song. Bernie Taupin, I'm not.
- Sold in and executed the state of Wyoming's first-ever animated spot.
- Bid Denver's Legwork Studio and wisely hired them to produce the spot.
- Brought illustrator John Bell into the fold to illustrate the travel stickers and collaborate on the animation for TV.
- Mentored an exceptional young writer, Ricky Lambert, who wrote the other half of the OOH and numerous other campaign components.
- Collaborated on design with ACD Adam Nelson, who was instrumental in establishing the look and feel all forms of media including the travel stickers themselves.
- Turned a simple banner ad assignment into a multimedia campaign, while working within the framework of a fairly modest budget.
I'd be remiss if I didn't give credit to a great client and account supervisor, Diane Shober and Christine Berwyn, who fully supported using illustration and animation vs. the tried-and-true photography and live-action routes. Agency president, Bill Schumacher was also instrumental.
"Roaming Wyoming" Summer TV
Wyoming travel map illustrated in the same style as the stickers.
THE MISSION: Generate interest in Microsoft's new Cortana voice command feature.
INSIGHT: Working from a brief from Brass Ideas, SF, art director Matt Mowat and I had an opportunity to chide Apple for launching a "buggy" technology while introducing a better one, known as Cortana.
IDEA: We created a satirical short film wherein a group of disenfranchised Siri users sat carp about their failing voice-automated relationships with Siri.
RESULT: "Siri Group Therapy" and its three pre-roll teasers rapidly racked up a combined two million hits, creating a viral wake among Apple's rabid fan base. The smartphone category was suddenly abuzz, and Cortana was on everyone's radar. Our two-minute film set an unprecedented performance benchmark, tripling the response rate of any previous viral effort from Microsoft.
WHAT DID I DO?
-Co-conceived the pitch-winning idea for Brass Ideas, winning the social assignment.
- Wrote the dialog in collaboration with art director Matt Mowat.
- Brought director Sam Miller onto the project despite a creatively challenging budget.
- Delivered the finished product on a tight timeline and budget.
NOTE: Over the course of one week in SF where we finished the spot, I endured a chipped tooth (day one), a major earthquake (day two), having my computer and bag stolen from a locked car on Market Street (night four), and had a sketchy stay in a flea-bitten Tenderloin district flophouse in order to execute within budget. Which leads me to an equally important question.
"Siri, what's the most effective way to remove human poo from a sneaker?"
MISSION: In the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial market crash, we were tasked with informing consumers that Frost was still financially healthy and that their unique operating philosophy was the reason why — without trashing the category, which was never Frost's style.
IDEA: Rather than pointing fingers at other banks for investing in the subprime mortgage shell game that led to the market's collapse, we created a small booklet containing Frost's "beliefs." It was simple, straightforward, and contained no asterisks or wiggle words. A primer in probity and common sense, it made a series of statements that no other bank could credibly make, particularly at that moment in time. Every "belief" rang true to Frost's core values and helped explain how and why Frost had weathered the worst economic downturn in my lifetime.
RESULT: The "What We Believe" booklet was an instant hit and resonated with people on a far deeper level than anyone had anticipated. College ethics professors and Sunday school teachers requested copies to share with their students. Dick Evans, the CEO of Frost carried copies of the booklet everywhere he went and handed them out. What began as a simple booklet stuffed into the Texas edition of the Wall Street Journal and booger-glued to the inside cover of Texas Monthly magazine formed the basis for a full campaign, with print ads and outdoor boards using individual pages pulled directly from the booklet. "What We Believe" received editorial praise and cemented Frost's reputation back to its rightful place. As you might imagine, consumers began switching to Frost in droves and accounts have grown has steadily.
Not bad for a booklet that was unbranded until readers got to the final page. To their credit, Frost understood the logic of doing so the moment we showed them the idea.
Sometimes clients get what they deserve.
NOTE: James Mikus and I collaborated on the booklet's concept, with Michael Anderson handling the design. Pam Thomas served as Frost's Director of Communications. She is just plain awesome.
[ Other work for Frost appears in this site's historical section.]
This image is from a Frost Bank spot that preceded my tenure. It is in my humble opinion the best bank commercial I've ever seen. It was the gold standard that I held every piece to while a heading up McGarrah Jessee. Doug Irving was the writer. He's also freelances locally. No, I don't happen to have his number handy.
WOW! CABLE TV
Led by a charismatic CEO by the name of Colleen Abdoulah, WOW! is an anomaly among cable providers. It provides phenomenal customer service. In fact, WOW! was ranked in the top 30 company cultures — in any industry —in a JDPowers 2011 survey. Colleen and her philosophy are the reason why. Simply put, she believes in the Golden Rule and has built an entire company around that philosophy. Wow! installers routinely change flat tires for people or loan their personal cells phones to customers when land lines can't be repaired on the spot. They've even helped customers find lost dogs.
WOW!. It's that kind of experience.
MISSION: We were tasked with making people believe that there is a cable company that genuinely cares about everyday people, their homes and their time.
IDEA: We pitched the idea of making the real employees an integral part of all communications, using animation and illustration, and sharing some of the customer stories pulled from WOW!'s files.
RESULT: WOW!'s CEO hugged me when we presented the idea for the campaign and stated, "I've been waiting eight years for someone to walk in our conference room and show me this campaign. The employees got a genuine kick out of being featured in the campaign. It proved successful in helping expand the culture into new markets. In addition to its in-market successes, the TV and print were awarded in the Denver Fifty Show in 2012. Larry Leung was the illustrator and art director on the initial print and subsequent executions were handled by art directors Rob Lewis and Kristan Butler.
BRECKENRIDGE COLORADO TOURISM
MISSION: Highlight the many reasons for visiting the charming mountain town of Breckenridge, Colorado.
INSIGHT: Known for its ski resort, Breckenridge is also a great mountain town for a gamut of other reasons.
IDEA: Based on a concept from writer Ricky Lambert and freelance AD Lonnie Weis, we created the "I love Breck" movement using curated crowd-sourcing. We placed chalkboards throughout the town of Breckenridge and invited visitors to write-in what they loved about the it. With the help of visitor center employees and Breck's marketing department, we aggregated answers and created print ads and OOH while shared the gamut of responses via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
RESULT: Breckenridge's visitors responded enthusiastically to being featured in the campaign, causing Breck's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds to grow massively, which led to record visitor counts. The Colorado Governors convention named the "I love Breck" campaign the top tourism campaign of the year.
WHAT DID I DO?
- Sold the crowd-sourcing idea and designed the specs for the chalkboards along with ACD/AD Adam Nelson.
- Performed on-camera interviews in Breckenridge. Directed and produced the introductory video that launched the "I love Breck" viral movement via social media.
- Collaborated with Breckenridge's marketing department and visitor centers to aggregate crowd-sourced responses and helped expand their social media presence.
- Oversaw the production of print ads, outdoor boards, Instagram and Facebook posts, as well as tweets on Twitter using crowd-sourced materials.
NOTE: This campaign was a true collaborative with Breckenridge's on-the-ground marketing department contributing greatly. Scott Fortner and his people were key to the campaign's success. Final art direction for the campaign was handled by ACD Adam Nelson.
GoBreck Landing Page Video
MISSION: Convince consumers that Shiner beer continues to be a genuine small-town beer. Simply put, that every drop of Shiner is proudly brewed in Shiner, Texas. We needed to squelch the rumor that Shiner had sold out to a large, soul-crushing conglomerate, which was the public's perception after its sale to Grambrinus Company, just prior to mc-j winning the business.
IDEA: Create a campaign focused on the real-life employees of the small brewery and in some cases, the small town itself.
RESULT: Aside from winning numerous awards, the "Brewery Workers" campaign deftly reinforced that Shiner is the real deal. Thanks to much needed capital improvements by its new owners, the brand has steadily grown and is now the fifth largest craft brewer in the country and is sold in 49 states. And it still does all its brewing in little ol' Shiner, Texas.
WHAT DID I DO?
- Co-managed all creatives in partnership with CD/AD James Mikus.
- Presented and sold agency's work to client for six years.
- Grew Shiner brand into a national award-winning showcase for the agency — without big budgets.
NOTE: I'm showing only the ads I personally wrote on this site. Other creatives on the account included Creative Director/AD James Mikus, writers Brian Jordan, Tannen Campbell, George Ellis and Michael McCormick and art directors Beau Hanson, Michael Anderson, Rob Story and April Mathis. All design work was overseen by David Kampa and his talented team of graphic design ninjas.
Our first Shiner TV spots needed to reinforce that Shiner is a genuine hometown beer so went to that genuine hometown and shot the locals telling the Spoetzl Brewery's story. Jeff Bednarz directed and Travis Aitken edited. David Hamburger composed the music. Already shot when I started, I contributed to the TV edits also and created radio commercials from the audio tracks.
Art Director Michael Anderson and I went back and forth debating whether a line was needed. In retrospect, I'm kind of glad I listened to him.
Constantly seeking ways to get more bang for our brew, we bought postings above urinals in Austin bars and nightclubs during SXSW festival. We let the big breweries throw down the boo-koo bucks to be "official" sponsors of the event and settled for hitting people where they recycled their brew.
We discovered it helped to have the brewery worker looking upward in this particular execution.
In celebration of Shiner's 100-year anniversary, I penned this three-leak history lesson. Michael Anderson art directed it. James Mikus tossed a couple nudges and winks.
SXSW 2009 Shiner Beer Turf Wars
During SXSW, we created this visual scrapbook of Shiner's history and stealthily projected it onto walls of buildings during the event. No media buy, no sponsorship paid for, no permits pulled. Sometimes it's easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. Michael Anderson and Brian Jordan spearheaded this effort.
Day One of ACL 2009, attendees were greeted with the unfortunate news.
We arranged to have our Day One board replaced with a new message to potential beer smugglers on Day Two.
On Day Three, we officially forgave Shiner lovers for spending their festival with another brand's beer. After all, we believe that absence makes the heart grow thirstier.
ACL - Protecting Our Turf
Shiner was effectively locked out of the ACL festival when Heineken bought the sponsorship and refused to allow the local brew to be sold on the premises. So we did the next best thing. We created thousands of koozies in the exact likeness of Shiner Bock cans and handed them out like candy to attendees entering the show. We also posted a fresh message per day on an outdoor board just outside the main gate. Both the ACL stunts in this film were conceived by writer Tannen Campbell and art director Beau Hanson. I wrote the day one, two and three outdoor executions that went along with the Shiner Bock "beer can koozie" stunt.
360° in 365 Days
In 2009, Shiner celebrated 100 years of brewing, Here's how mc-j's creative department helped them blow out their candles.
The next several ads feature headlines I wrote for the original Brewery Workers campaign which used actual employees. It was my distinct pleasure to put a few of my own words in their mouths. The first generation of ads were designed by a young art director named Beau Hanson. The second evolution of the campaign, featuring the yellow color palette was designed by Michael Anderson.
We called them 12-oz. Films. The idea came from a round-table working session where we were brainstorming for ways to reinforce Shiner's Texas independence. The idea was to align ourselves with independent Texas musical artists. We generated questions and I performed a series of interviews filming artists young and old, covering a wide range of topics. We talked about their passions, their creative processes, coaxed funny stories from them and of course, talked a little about Shiner beer. Meredith Roach produced this series and Craig Crutchfield provided the design.
7 ELEVEN CONVENIENCE STORES
This is an idea that Lou Flores and I threw in the hopper when GSD&M was pitching the 7-Eleven business. Imagine our delight when the client not only bought it, but it won a pencil at the One Show. Mark Ray was the CD running the pitch and I'm grateful for his support. Craig Gillespie directed. As for casting, it was easy. All we needed was a dude who didn't mind having another dude's appendages in his mouth.