Nick is a writer in Portland. If found, please return him to his devoted pet, F. Cat Fitzgerald.
Chicago Tourism Creative Pitch
Concepting. Copywriting. Story Boarding. Pitch Writing.
The president of the Chicago Tourism Board came to us with a plea. “We have to stop trying to be all things to all people,” he said. “We need a point of view. And maybe,” he paused, “a little bit of an edge.”
I dreamt up 2 of the 3 concepts we pitched, handled copy for all 3, and wrote the pitch presentation itself. My 2 concepts are described below.
Our first concept asks travelers to feel— to collapse the distance between the vibrant city and their own senses—to let the city in.
The second concept is about fusion and collision—the distinctly urban sensation of cultures mashing up to create something new. It invites travelers to experience the bold, complex and thoroughly unique. And to think of themselves as the same.
Let The City In
Concepting. Copywriting. Story Boarding.
Molina Healthcare came to us looking for ideas. As a family-run company built on compassion, they wanted their core values to shine brighter in their branding. The result is a campaign that humanizes the organization and gives Molina a way to stand out in the cluttered health care marketplace.
Chicago Flu OOH
Concepting. Copywriting. Pitching.
"The research is in on PSAs and it's conclusive," our contact told us over lunch. "They don't work. They don't change behavior. But," he took a sip of soda, "I still have a budget for them. And I want to make waves."
With an art director, I created "Shut the flu up" to do just this. A bit crass and sophomoric, the messaging is built to be passed along in middle school hallways, to be relayed with a chuckle to coughing colleagues. This jibbed well with the audiences the city had struggled to reach through its previous flu vaccination campaigns. Combined with the harsh, clashing color palette—the work creates something that doesn't feel at all like a PSA.
But of course, that is the point.
Chicago Vaccines OOH
Concepting. Copywriting. Pitching.
Chicago schools need thousands of kids to get their vaccinations before the start of each school year. So the city turned us to help get the word out through an outdoor campaign of billboards and public transit signage.
We wanted to depict school aged kids as their parents see them, sun-kissed, angelic and innocent. And then contrast that with a bracing message. Here is the result.
Varicose and spider veins are ugly and often painful. Nearly half of all women get them. Close to a third of all men too. Most people don’t seek treatment. Instead, they hide their body and feel shame for something entirely out of their control.
With an art director, I created “Save the Shame” for Vein Clinics of America. The idea was to fight stigma with laughter, to deflate the stress of the problem while offering a solution. For VCA, this meant growing the pie of people willing to get treatment while growing their share of that same market.
The campaign was to be played out over a variety of media new and old. We hired improv comediennes to play with the topic in TV spots. We created a social media campaign to generate stories of unfortunate ways people hide their legs. Sample tweets:
- Casually used Macy’s tester make-up on the back of my knees. #savetheshame
- Tried to get my office to drop Casual Fridays for Amish ones. #savetheshame
- Was the only bridesmaid in a pantsuit #savetheshame
Save the Shame 1
Save the Shame 2
Save the Shame 3
Various Website Projects
Copywriting. Creative Directing.
I have played a number of roles in creating websites for companies large and small. Sometimes it is simply creating directional copy (like for @ Properties) so the user experience is pleasant and intuitive. Sometimes it is working closely with designers to reimagine the homepage tone and approach (like for CNA insurance). And sometimes it is a more deeper involvement of concepting the entire site and the paths users will take through it (like for The Trip Studio, Magnani Continuum Marketing and Emmi Solutions).
Herb Pharm brand work
My challenge has been to give a voice to a 40-year old company. Consumers have long chosen our products for their quality but even our repeat buyers didn't know the care, expertise and ethics behind our herbal extracts.
So job one was to launch a new brand voice, and with it a new tagline. Gone was "Treat yourself to better health." And in it's place came, "Made of plants and ethical choices."
Next, we needed to take that voice for a walk to see how it could impact the broader brand. So we built a tradeshow booth on our ethical choices for the mammoth conference Natural Products Expo West. Rather than make the booth out of plastic and plywood, we built a functional greenhouse, filled with real plants and endless interactive exhibits. (After the show, we took the greenhouse for use back on the company farm to cut down on waste.)
Having found success within the trade, we took our story to social media to connect our core consumers with stories of our ethical choices. We doubled our Instagram following. We rebooted a blog to generate content across platforms. We wrote about rescuing bees from the wild (yes, it's a thing). We wrote about visiting Peruvian mountaintops to find Maca. We turned a tagline into a wider brand.
Next we're launching a website to bring the brand to life and create a way for customers to connect our choices to the products we sell.
From Farm To Facility in 59 seconds
Herb Pharm product launches
Herbs can be confusing if you're new to them. So we launched a line of products to make the whole process easier. My role was to name them and give them life on social media. The names let people know when and how to use them. Not Now Nausea is for your moment of need, while Immune Season is something you can take regularly over time.
With my Art Director, we created an approachable look, feel and packaging. The idea was to make the products feel vibrant, fresh, natural, and yet still serious. He designed a merchandising display that held the brochure I wrote, so consumers could self-educate right in the aisle.
Advertising took the form of gifs on social media. Colorful, arresting and friendly, they were targeted at consumers who needed a nudge from herbal capsules to liquid herbal extracts.
Marriott B2B Web/Direct Mail
Most hotels make a majority of their profits from large events and groups. Those events are often booked by meeting planners at organizations large and small across the country. For years, Marriott Hotels have turned to us to drive business with this audience through a contest we call “Run The Warehouse.” A little wordplay, some direct mails, and the lure of a 60-second run through the Prize Warehouse in Las Vegas—it all adds up to something like a 290x ROI annually.
Here’s a look at the rockstar theme from the 2015 campaign.