It was a startup called "UFuss." At least, that was the name that Founder Jason Ross first proposed, while sitting in my tiny Ohio office.
Together, we scratched UFuss (rejoice!) and he engaged me to conduct a complete brand exploration. Eventually, the exploration landed us on the name "JackThreads," along with a super-rad Primary & Secondary logo and building blocks for the brand to grow. In the early days, we personified "Jack" in handwritten letters going out to some of the first customers, styled and shot the products in a small warehouse off 5th Avenue (Columbus), all while carefully directing the development of the first-of-its-kind 'flash sale' site and app. If you're familiar with JackThreads, you'll likely know how the story goes...it was acquired by the Thrillist Co and valued at $92MM.
JT for life. Millions of loyal followers agree.
It was a showdown at Staples Center. 148 - 145. EAST. But, if Curry had sunk that last three...
Meanwhile, another show took place close by and all weekend, at The Majestic Theater: The NBA Crossover event, a celebration of the influence that basketball has on culture and the world around us. From music to fashion, tech to entertainment. Lest I forget the kicks. Always...the KICKS.
I was hired by Mirrorball NYC, as Creative Director, to concept, design, and pitch a highly experiential activation for Crossover 2018. What came of it was something of the extraordinary and resulted in the most talked about NBA Crossover of all time.
We went in ballin,' turning the Majestic Theater into every NBA fan's most unexpected dream come true. Their experience began with a personalized tunnel entrance of their very own, brought to life (paparazzi and all) by Tissot. The .gifs of which are circulating like crazy. Next up, fans could cannonball into the foam finger pit; shoot some 3's with Curry; drool over the custom sneaker collab and gallery; get an NBA-approved haircut; score a front row seat to hear some of their favorite players talk ball and try to soak in all the culture brought to life around them.
In true Mirrorball (and my) style, we pushed for even MORE of an experience. Namely, a shoppable Craig + Clyde Atelier, an NBA 2K Custom Avatar station, and "Bron Bron's Cookie Jam" stand. But, we'll table those until next year. But scroll on down to see The King's cookie stand concept.
Read more on the event in the Los Angeles Times.
In the meantime, I'm glad to see a W comin' from Team LeBron and wish the finger foam pit could be installed in-office.
S/O to Michael Blatter and my stellar team at Mirrorball.
No one was caked in the making of this campaign or experiential activations.
However, as I wrote in the tweet pinned on ASICS feed, "The wait's over. Welcome to the crew @steveaoki." In an effort to ramp up the Global 'I Move Me' campaign (Saatchi & Saatchi), ASICS North America and United Entertainment Group engaged famed artist, Steve Aoki, as the new face of the brand.
As Creative Director (Contracted) with UEG at the time, it was my honor and responsibility to not only oversee and launch the North America campaign, but to also activate the major brand announcement with a series of experiential events, drawing big press and lots of talk.
On October 17th, 2017, we invited an intimate group of NYC's top editors and writers to The Public Hotel, for an ASICS overnight experience. The overnight was highly curated and personalized for each individual, with a Gifting Suite overlooking the Manhattan skyline to welcome them. From there, no detail was missed. Dinner was served Japanese style, in a room transformed to feel like a Zen Garden. Rooms had the guest's favorite hot tea served before night's end and little surprises popped up along their stay. On October 18th, we awoke the Editor's bright & early for a quick energy bite and then rushed them off to a room transformed into the hottest workout space in Manhattan. (Move over Rumble.) At this time, Aoki joined... for the workout, for brunch, and for individual interviews regarding his involvement with ASICS.
THEN, there was "THE JUMP ROOM." An activation near and dear to my heart, evoking the spirit of Aoki alongside the ASICS ethos. Taking place at an unsuspecting gallery space in the Lower East Side, select celebrities and influencers entered the guarded space to find two giant trampolines and a serious party awaiting their arrival. More on that here.
Pause to watch the videos linked in the photo section, definitely worth the three minutes it will take to get through.
Imagine having a single weekend to concept, write, film, interview, edit, mix, record VO, edit again and deliver a television spot for one of the World's largest Entertainment brands.
That's all while gaining internal *and* client approvals.
Done and done.
Cirque du Soleil's IRIS was set to leave LA's Kodak Theater, for good, and our job was to spread the word: To get everyone to see the show before it was too late. Which is exactly what we did, with time to spare. Watch the spot, below!
You'll be happy to know that no one was harmed in the making of the video. Though we did pull an overnight in edit bay and I did finalize the script an hour prior to VO recording, all sans sleep.
This commercial assignment, in addition to work on the DESTINATION: IMAGINATION digital sales app, was all part of a year's worth of work with HEILBrice and Cirque du Soleil.
ASICS isn't Dad's shoe company anymore.
In fact, the brand has taken their recent repositioning seriously, gaining big traction in the millennial market. As the Contract Creative Director at United Entertainment Group, an Edelman property, I was charged to seamlessly integrate the ASICS brand into Pitchfork's 21st Anniversary Concert. As the sole (no pun intended) presenting sponsor, alongside Virgin Mobile, we had a large concrete room with which to bring the brand to life.
And that we did.
Transforming the space from concrete and dust to gallery walls and mid-century mod vibes, we welcomed over 2,000 people into "THE VINYL CLUB." It was a spot to chill; a spot to look back on the 21 best records we curated alongside Pitchfork's ultra-talented music aficionado's; a spot to rub elbows with rising music stars and a spot to showcase ASICS dawning emergence in culture.
Live screen printing, photo stations, velvety lounge chairs and some of New York City's finest Vinyl DJ's spinning until 2AM accomplished our charge. We gained brand awareness, along with some serious disappointment when we had to call it a night. The party could have kept on going.
Almost forgot, check out Topaz Jones, thank me later.
Ooh la la. Pure skin nutrition.
Before Raw Sugar was ready to launch its product in Target stores nationwide, Joni Parenti and I needed to give it lots of love: Revamping the overall positioning, look, feel and tone. The result was a strategic shift that emphasizes the benefits and uniqueness of ColdPress Technology© as well as new packaging, new copy, new product names and a fresh digital presence.
Now, the product's flying off the shelves and leaving in its wake lots of 5-star reviews. Check out this sweet little video, too.
NOTE: Do try the Body Butter. And be on the lookout for special 'Sugar Notes' whenever you see RS!
If you're a Laker's fan, it's best to turn away now.
I moved to Southern California to work on the Clippers account in 2012, at the peak of the City divide between Purple & Gold vs. Red & Blue. My job was to help re-position the Clippers as a contender and to unite Clipper Nation. The result? An award-winning campaign titled REPRESENT. For the entirety of the 2012-13 season, the word could be seen, heard and felt across LA. The players, coaching staff and front office had the words of the first television script painted on their locker room walls. It became a rallying cry, a movement. #RepLAC became the loudest NBA social buzz.
Then, in 2013, with a Championship season ahead we launched the supporting campaign "It's Time." It, too, spoke perfectly to the Clipper's brand we continued to build.
Upon moving home to New York at the height of the ownership change, my agency (SME) was tasked with the complete re-brand of the organization. As the Creative Director, it was my honor to continue work for a brand--and group of players--I so very much respected. Partnering with Steve Ballmer (Owner) and the Team, the re-brand work was completed and activated across uniforms, court, apparel, etc.
Watch the LA market spots below. Writing, filming and directing the Lob City crew (s/o DeAndre, CP3, Blake G and Grant Hill) was the illest.
REPRESENT - "Heartbeat"
REPRESENT - Media Day
IT'S TIME - "This is Our Time"
IT'S TIME Activation - Jumbotron Player Intros
LaLaLand is just so dreamy. Minus the traffic.
The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board challenged my team at HEILBrice to create a campaign that increased meeting and convention bookings / sales throughout the city. "MEET L.A." rose to the challenge. In fact, check out this 2017 LA Times article!
"The Los Angeles Convention Center reported an operating surplus of $10.2 million, a 5% increase from the previous year’s surplus of $9.7 million." -LA Times
Through digital, traditional and experiential activations, MEET L.A. has become one of the most recognized campaigns in the Travel Trade Industry.
The Pinstripes speak for themselves.
My rockstar team at SME (Justin Wright, Ed O'Hara, Daniel Gold, Brandon Cabassa) worked on the Yankees brand for many years. We were brand watchdogs and creative influencers: working on ticket campaigns, ticket design, stadium photography, fan experiences, social media and more.
The Yankees brand demands perfection at every touchpoint. We operated and delivered creative to this standard, always. One of my proudest pieces of work is the 2015 Season Ticket Design (shown below.) The concept was to pay homage to Yankee history while giving the tickets life beyond the turnstile. We landed on a series of 20 rotating tickets that resemble baseball cards of the past. To this day, the tickets are sold for thousands of dollars to collectors and amassed incredible buzz.
Sitting in a two day 'Communications and Agency Partner' meeting at JPMorgan Chase headquarters (Columbus, OH) resulted in knowing more about the banking and finance industry than I'd ever really hoped for. Really.
But, it enabled me to own and understand the Chase voice: A voice that's transparent, friendly and straightforward. Over the course of a year with Bandujo Advertising, I wrote and directed hundreds of digital campaigns, email blasts, direct mail pieces, ATM screen prompts and in-branch marketing collateral.
In addition, I developed editorial content for Chase.com and JPMorgan.com to help inspire customers throughout their personal financial journey. JPMorgan Chase was the first institution to solidly push useful financial literacy content to its audience, and the first to embrace the idea of "transparency" in banking. And they see that value through at every brand touchpoint.
Mad respect. And now I'm a customer.
Golf is hard. Working to shift the perception of sports supplements is harder.
But, as the Marketing and Creative Director for swingOIL, that's exactly what I did. For over a year, I built the brand, the team and the image of THE ULTIMATE GOLFER'S DRINK. (A positioning line we developed to explain *what* swingOIL was.) Working with the World's #1 Golfer, Jason Day, 50+ PGA Champions Tour Players and dozens of influencers, swingOIL became a popular sports supplement--the first made specifically for golfers.
Media planning, social campaigns, PR monitoring, artwork development, editorial marketing, branded content creation, #TeamswingOIL management and investor relations was all part of the gig, on a daily basis.
Today, with most of my original team still in place, swingOIL can be found on the shelves of Dick's Sporting Goods, The PGA Store, National clubhouses, Sports Authority and more. The brand has over 200K followers on its social channels and continues to promote the subscription model we engaged. SMOOTH.
Back in my hometown of Columbus OH, sits a beautiful "campus" full of beautiful products and ideas. The campus is home to Limited Brands, or "L Brands," including Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works. Magical, indeed.
For several years, I had the distinct privilege of working with L Brands Corporate on various marketing initiatives including; photoshoot direction + styling, branding loss prevention programs, product naming and VS Fashion Show creative.
My favorite VS Fashion Show Theme? "I Want Candy" circa 2005. Mainly for the amount of delicious candy that fell from above, during the show.
Sex is awkward to talk about, baby. But there's no sense in holding back when speaking up could mean saving lives.
The New York City Health Department is on a mission to make sure that everyone has access to free condoms and sexual health support. In an effort to market the NYC branded condoms and empower New Yorkers, I directed an integrated campaign titled "Play Safe NYC."
After a hefty amount of research, my strategy was to target the message to Women. Mostly due to the fact that condom campaigns are typically all targeted towards Men, and because very few Women ever carry condoms themselves. On average, Women are not raised to be prepared. So, this strategy flipped the script and empowered New York Women to *own* their choice and proudly carry condoms. By eliminating the cultural shame typically associated with this decision and maintaining a playful, sexy tone, the campaign positively supported SAFE sex and informed New Yorkers of products available to them.
I still have the original presentation, the notes, the sketches of the logo from our first meetings with MLS, David Beckham, LA Galaxy and Adidas. (Someday, I'd love to write a book with Ed O'Hara on this and other defining Sports Branding moments.)
In 2007, when the MLS was in dire need of repositioning and The Beckham Era was beginning, SME was engaged to help. As the Associate Creative Director, I helped write and deliver the original brand pillars, manifesto (included here) and new positioning. This work was being done simultaneously to the LA Galaxy and Colorado Rapids re-brands. No small feat for our small team at SME.
The MLS grew in considerable ways and continues to evolve as a force in the world of Fútbol.
Crunchy french apple. Tart Key Lime. Fluffy chocolate cream.
Marie Callender's Restaurant & Bakery is a west coast fave and HEILBrice has been the long-time Agency of Record on the account. Working with the HB team, I strategically directed, wrote and developed lots of sweet culinary creative for the brand. Including; radio spots, digital ads, menus, product names, seasonal themes, television spots, social campaigns and you-name-it-we-did-it.
The toughest part of the job? I experienced severe and frequent pie cravings.
In 2013, Condé Nast and Amazon announced a deal that changed the publishing industry as we knew it.
The publishing giant and e-comm site joined forces to simplify the subscription process for its glossy magazines. It was the first campaign of its kind to push the industry to become more digital and begin to phase out the stacks of magazine insert cards and direct mail.
You can read about it here.
Our team, at Bandujo, partnered with Condé Nast to launch the new process, create an "All Access Plan" for magazine subscribers and improve the customer journey. A journey, it was. One that made some publishing and digital history.
The "runner's high" is real, and when you walk into the office of NYRR, every person you meet seems to be feeling it.
It's inspiring. In fact, a lot of what they do is inspiring. From their Youth Programs to their Senior Workouts, to the 26.2 Mile New York City Marathon which draws millions of people from around the World.
And that's the message I wanted to get across while working with SME on their new brand platforms. 'RUN FOR LIFE' became their new positioning and we worked to activate that message across every spoke of the brand. Here's one example, a Manifesto I wrote (below) to bring the positioning to life. The NYRR community uses the Manifesto content in so much of what they do now, uniting people in spirit and strength. The words came together in a rhythm--a cadence--one foot in front of the other.
Run LIKE A BOSS.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is comprised of 15 of the top academic and athletic institutions in the United States. With the addition of potent programs like Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, and Louisville; the ACC was ready to evolve it's brand messaging, strategy and overall positioning within Collegiate Sports.
The year prior, the SME team had redesigned the Primary Mark, and it was our job to continue pushing the conference ahead. We were tasked with the development of new Brand Pillars, Tone & Voice, Look Tools Kit, Corporate Sales Presentation Materials and a complete Brand Book.
You can download the final Brand Book here.
I get chills every time I look back on this work and read the Anthem. Writing it and presenting it to the Office of the Commissioner ranks up there on my list of surreal career moments.
Founded in 1898, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is the oldest dedicated comprehensive cancer center in the country. In 1974, the Buffalo, New York, facility was 1 of the first 3 institutions to be National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated as a comprehensive cancer center. It is world-renowned and full of the brightest minds in medicine.
I was lucky enough to meet some of them. After interviewing 40+ Doctors, researchers, staff, and stakeholders it became very clear that the passion, integrity and dedication of Roswell Park is unparalleled.
We were assigned with developing an integrated campaign that reached the entire New York community of politicians, philanthropists and private investment groups--as Roswell Park's government funding was being (dangerously) cut.
Our answer was the award-winning campaign "Cancer Can't Win." A fully integrated campaign that crossed many audiences, many channels and went on to become an EMMY® winning television series in upstate New York.
Watch the original spot here.
PSA: While developing this campaign, I learned some very valuable lessons that I'd like to share. First, always get a second opinion on cancer diagnosis and treatment options. Second, never ever ever give up and always ask about alternative treatment options, with clinical trials.