The world of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an Orwellian dystopia where mechanically augmented people have been marginalized after an incident engineered by, yes, the Illuminati. It's all very dark and conspiratorial. So we brought the world of the game out into the world of the gamer in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Montreal, wild posting government propaganda posters that have been described as Norman Rockwell meets George Orwell. After several days, the posters were attacked by spray-paint hit squads from the Underground, then counter-attacked by government supporters. Dark, "captured-moment" videos portraying augs as sub-human—or dangerous—were also seeded across the Internet. The message boards went wild with gamer sightings and speculation about the new game.
Jumo makes a “games-to-life” mobile video game that uses Bluetooth to seamless connect to some truly bad-ass action figures and a line of lethal weaponry that wouldn’t feel out of place in a modern art museum. So gamers itchin’ for a fight can engage in heated, head-to-head warfare more or less anywhere they can find a decent Internet connection. Everywhere is a potential battlefield. Your dining table, the café down the street, the high school locker room.
Crafting the voice for this new brand was incredibly fun. Sophisticated yet twisted. It was so much fun, in fact, I wrote all the initial copy, from web to social to video. The campaign was launched with an online trailer, and an all-out, multi-channel, social-media assault that stirred excited conversation across the gaming universe.
Whole Foods wanted to celebrate the many food artisans that help give the chain that certain, bespoke something. Salut, artisans!
Kids are sick and tired of having to help parents with their technology problems. VSPEX Blue makes connecting to the cloud simple enough that grown-ups can do something on their own for once.
In the words of EMC’s CMO, “This is one of my favorite things that we’ve done at EMC.”
You could say the Franciscan Friars are a 600-year-old brand. They have renounced worldly belongings and dedicated themselves to helping the poor and downtrodden since the 1400s. Unfortunately, their website looked like it came from the 1600s. A holy mess. And not likely to appeal to the millennials whose financial support they so wanted.
I rebranded the site “FriarWorks,” and it was redesigned from the ground up to comport with web best practices, particularly as it applies to charitable organizations. The result is an attractive, user-friendly site chock full of testimonial stories that bring to life the great poverty-fighting efforts of the friars.
GitHub is where developers go to share code and help each other create the next big thing. GitHub Universe is where the community comes together to celebrate as one, learn new tricks, and launch big ideas.
The event theme and voice needed to speak to this passionate, intelligent and quirky audience. An audience journey was crafted whereby attendees earned points (tracked via Bluetooth wristbands) for engaging with various interactive activations, mastering the Five Forces of the Universe to become, that’s right, Masters of the Universe.
This interactive Dreamforce installation was conceived to showcase Salesforce healthcare applications. Dangling from a semi-holographic tree are screens with images of healthcare users of every description. Event attendees would interact with the installation via touch-screen stations surrounding the tree. Touch on a face and the corresponding screen on the tree comes to life while you view an informational video highlighting some way in which Salesforce enables better care for the featured constituent.
When you cut through all the technical gobbledygook, Enea's promise to software developers was faster development times. That's where we put our stake in the ground. We owned faster development.
When I start work with a new client, on a new campaign, I like to try to capture the essence of the campaign with a brand manifesto. A rallying cry behind which employees from all corners of the company can band together under a single flag and ride forth into the marketplace with a shared sense of purpose. Sometimes these turn into ads or video copy. Sometimes they are printed large, framed and hung prominently in the lobby. At the very least, they burrow into the communal subconsciousness and get people humming on a common frequency
Here are a few examples of manifestos that helped to land new clients and/or sell campaign concepts.
A cable channel devoted entirely to health education and advice. Not that health advice is hard to come by. But maybe not everyone with an opinion on it is worth listening to.
Let it Die A skate-punk, skeletal emissary from the Underworld lip syncs (or jaw syncs, really, since skeletons don’t have lips) to 70s disco classic “I Will Survive,” intercut with slightly sanitized game shots of characters getting offed in the goriest ways imaginable. Should I feel gratified that this drove hundreds of thousands of gamers to try the game? Or really, really worried.
Puzzle and Dragons Yes, this spot is kind of weird. But it's the kind of weird that launched the game up the mobile charts from somewhere under 100 up into the top 10 within a week.
I would call this a video white paper. HP needed to simply convey the essence of a fairly technical set of data solutions to a somewhat less technically minded audience. This piece was created to key up a live conference in which a new line of HP data analytics tools would be presented and discussed. As is often the case with video produced for events, they want maximal impact with a minimal budget.
Here's a campaign from my historical archives, but work that still makes me smile. Kia was some unheard of brand from Korea with super cheap cars. My job was to give the brand a unique personality, and convince people that, while the cars were inexpensive, they weren't complete crap. We gave them to a driving school, a rental car company, and even pizza delivery guys. Of course, all became commercials. And the brand is now one of the most successful in the U.S.
Tucked away somewhere in the woods of Oregon, Seven Feathers promised all the excitement of a glitzy Vegas casino with a more, shall we say, woodsy vibe.
Crushpad was an urban winery that took people through the entire process of making their own barrel of wine, from crush to bottle. Expert winemakers guided you through the many decisions to be made along the way, depending on the style of wine you sought, resulting in wines that often scored in the 90s in Wine Spectator. They even helped you design a distinctive label to put the final stamp on your masterpiece.
Amgen was well-respected for the quality of their science and the many breakthroughs they had made in treating some of the most difficult diseases. What was less appreciated was the passion their scientists have for improving people’s lives and the compassion they feel for the patients they serve. This film was created to communicate the “why” behind what Amgen does. They study the body to conquer disease. The tagline I created for them sums it up: “The answers are within.”
Technology was a huge factor behind the explosive growth of the Chinese economy, the benefits of which were felt by hundreds of millions of people. Technology is fueled by microchips, and Applied Materials plays an essential role in the manufacture of nearly every microchip in existence.
A community hospital is an invaluable community resource. Many are not aware that it is a non-profit institution owned by the community. So when political debates arrive, or a bond measure comes up, or a vulturous for-profit chain tries to take it over, it's important reinforce that sense of ownership. This spot was part of a multi-media campaign to get the word out in Fremont, CA.
My agency, Groundswell, also created campaigns for the hospital’s medical foundation and many of the specialty programs that fall under the hospital’s umbrella.
ACT! offered powerful tools to help salespeople better keep track of and share details about prospective and current clients. I could have droned on and on about all the minute technical details and put the audience to sleep, or I could find some quirky, attention-getting way to make them smile, capture their interest and communicate key features in a way that would entice the audience to want to learn more. You know, kind of how effective salespeople work.
When Dreyer's came out with their Homemade line, the ice cream was of a style that harkened back to hand-cranked ice-cream makers from another era. My job was to create print and outdoor ads that did the same.
When Medicare Part D first came along, a whole lot of confusion came along with it. Anthem Blue wanted seniors to know they would make it easy for them. Because they have enough senior stuff to do as it is.
There was a time, kids, when teenagers in search of a thrill strapped skates with inline wheels onto their feet and skated the hell out of public spaces. But you wouldn't know anything about that. Too busy jumping off cliffs in squirrel suits.
Some are chosen. Some are not. HP wanted to tout a new feature that allowed companies to pick and choose who gets access to color printing as a way to keep printing costs down. So we thought, "Let's create a little intrigue." Print, outdoor and online ads began with mysterious teasers featuring people who were chosen or rejected, with a reveal that explained what it was all about.
Remember radio? Sound but no pictures. Unless you count all those evocative images your brain creates listening to a good radio commercial. Not as much of it going around these days, but when the opportunity arises, I love writing for radio. Here's a quick sampler of some radio spots. With some pictures, just to help your brain along.
The stats may not have born out that Quantum was any more reliable than the competition, but they wanted engineers to associate them with reliability. Everyone has something that’s important to them, so I thought, why don’t we associate the most precious data a user has with Quantum, no matter how offbeat that might be. When engineers start calling up the company begging for reprints of the ad, you know you’ve caught their attention.
Early education is a highly effective tool for preventing domestic abuse. These ads shouted that message out loud and clear.
Castlight’s ambitious goal is to change enterprise healthcare as we know it by bringing transparency and empowering consumers. Their cloud-based solutions have opened a whole new world of possibility.
At a high-touch event in a New York gallery, portraits of healthcare users, presented like museum pieces, made it clear that real lives are at stake. A brand launch video suggested an entirely new perspective on healthcare. Speakers at the event included notable personalities involved in healthcare reform, including none other than Bill Clinton, Magic Johnson and Steve Forbes.
To recruit new talent, we captured the culture and passion of the company by supplying employees with small video cameras and asked them to document their days. The video won awards and helped the company reel in more impassioned people at recruitment events.
For a guy who grew up in a ski resort, landing an account that comes with a free season pass is about as good as it gets. Heavenly wanted to tap into the inner, spiritual skier, the influencer skier. The campaign tagline: Bigger than a mountain.