Over the years, I've had the honor of working on a variety of projects, from light-hearted to life-saving, impish to impactful, tiny one-off ads to complete rebranding projects. Click on any of the images below or the text links above to explore some examples.
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To sell a product, first sell an idea. The wrong idea can cause people to run away. But the right idea is a magnet.
The years we spend baking in the sun can result in precancerous spots called actinic keratosis or AK. But instead of expressing regret and having our audience change the channel, our team reimagined AK as souvenirs of a life well-lived. We pitched and won the Aldara busines with one campaign, tested it, and ran it. Website hits surpassed all expectations. Memorable indeed.
Pleasantville Music Festival
How to build an event and a reputation at the same time. The Pleasantville Music Festival has been one of my favorite annual events for a decade: thousands of people getting together for food, friends, fun, and of course great music. But over the past few years, it began to feel like the Festival's heyday had passed. So in cooperation with the Village of Pleasantville, I led a team to revive enthusiasm and revitalize the event.
We analyzed the issues, built a new organization, expanded our year-round and day-of event staff, reimagined the event layout, established new infrastructure and new relationships, and created a new ticketing approach:
We created buzz right away by appealing to loyalists and early adaptors, talking about Village pride and the fun experience of the day, and convincing them to buy deeply discounted tickets before they knew the musical line-up. That allowed us to pay for higher-earning bands.
We also expanded our marketing plan, with a revamped website, sponsorship kit, and press releases that I wrote, an e-newsletter, radio and online advertising, print and posters, social media, and new partnerships that all contributed to our presence and sales.
The result was the highest-grossing Pleasantville Music Festival to-date, with a re-polished reputation and a new benchmark for years to come.
Sometimes the competition isn't a product but a mindset. People with high "bad" cholesterol often have good intentions, yet they have the wrong idea about how they got high cholesterol in the first place, so they don't know the right thing to do to lower it.
Moreover, the market leader was running commercials portraying beautiful people with high cholesterol as buffoons. So we set out to do it differently: to recognize our audience's good intentions and debunk the old ideas . To tell a charming tale and change the paradigm, in rhyme.
This was by far the largest broadcast production I've been involved in, shooting in Argentina, editing in Madrid and New York, and recording with Patrick Stewart in Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo.
Some products need to be experienced to be believed. Such is the case with diabetes test strips. Our charge was to convince people who tested their blood 8 times a day that this strip was different. And we did, by showing someone being convinced right before their eyes.
The result? Sales through the roof, and the highest-testing commercials in this category's history. Also gratifying was that, on set, we were able to discover and work with the client to develop new opportunities to expand their reach.
"Fish where the fish are." In advertising, we like to intercept people where they live, show them their life as it is, then show them how it can be better with the product we're selling. That's what we did with these two brand extension launch ads that hit home with consumers nationwide.
For Bounty Napkins, we started with a universal truth: Cheap napkins are terrible. We just needed to show that in an interesting way. The result was a light, convincing spot that everyone could laugh with, without feeling laughed at.
For Bounty In A Box, P&G asked hundreds of people why they didn’t keep a roll of paper towels everywhere. The answer, more or less, was, “Are you kidding?” That's the story we told in the commercial. I wish I could take credit for the brilliant but equally obvious tagline.
Pleasantville Farmers Market
In a way, we were launching a 15-year-old start-up. The Market had always been a nice place to grab fresh produce and go. But we wanted more.
So a bunch of us — a brand strategist, a brand manager, a designer, a freelance writer, and I — worked with the Village and the management company to change the layout, add weekly music and events, increase vendors, and turn it into the place to hang out and meet friends on a Saturday morning. Attendance quadrupled.
But we didn't stop there. We formed a not-for-profit, created a Board of Directors, rebranded the entire experience, created and executed a complete marketing campaign, and turned the Pleasantville Farmers Market into the biggest, most lively, most award-winning market in the county. We call it "a delicious good time."
The truth pours out. Heineken has been true to its original recipe since 1885. So our team pitched and won on a platform of authenticity. This campaign of true conversations heard over a Heineken were taken from observations on real life. Including one phone call I had with my wife. Write what you know, right?
For Murphy's, an even older company, the message was similar but the strategy was completely different. As an almost-complete-unknown in the US, our team intentionally set out to say that we were really great brewers but really naïve marketers. Hence the slightly offbeat headlines and media placements like the one seen here.
Charm, disarm, and convince. OXY was going through a sales slump, amid an identity crisis and heavy competition from more beauty-oriented products.
So we decided to stop playing in the beauty arena and get back to killing acne bacteria. But how could we convince cynical teens? By showing one reacting to the science.
By animating the characters and giving them an adult to laugh at, teens embraced the message, and sales again soared. (Even as our happy scientist plummeted.)
Being motivated and staying motivated are two different things. Welchol is a pill for people whose "bad' cholesterol and A1C (a measure of blood sugar) are almost at goal. So we first created a campaign highlighting that "almost there" is not the same as "there." Then we constructed a multi-media campaign to make it easier for people to create and sustain healthy habits, including the habit of taking their medicine.
This was one of many cases where I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience, including many rounds of research working closely with the client.
Pleasantville Community Television
To know someone is to love them. With not-for-profits, awareness is a crucial first step. This holds especially true for a public access station that needs to maintain its relevance in the digital age. So to help make this amazing community resource — and its mission — top-of-mind, we began this campaign, highlighting the public in public access.
It's all about you featured recognizable people from in and around Pleasantville who have been on PCTV, who have contributed to PCTV, or have just enjoyed watching it.
Copywriters love visual solutions. After all, why write a thousand words, when a picture is worth just as much? In this telegraphic launch ad for Nicorette Orange, one image erased any doubt that a flavored stop-smoking solution could be just as effective as the original.
In a time when Nicorette was forcing itself to tell a very complicated story, the fact that we could do something this simple was a real coup.
It may be my favorite headline yet.
They say that radio is a visual medium. It's also a great opportunity to experiment (with client approval, of course). These are some of my favorites: my first produced ad ever (for Liberty Mutual), my first celebrity-voiced campaign (featuring Rip Torn for Sheraton), a campaign based on Sun Tzu's The Art of War for TAG Heuer, and a fun man-on-the-street campaign for The Wand dental equipment. Take a look.