Update

Case Study: a52

Last updated on Jan. 15, 2010: a52 Earns Continuous Coverage in Target Market and Industry Trade Media, Extends Key Vendor and Client Relationships

“Strategic Public Relations Campaign Keeps a52 Atop Industry Radar”
See also: a52 MEDIA COVERAGE . ELASTIC MEDIA COVERAGE . ROCK PAPER SCISSORS MEDIA COVERAGE

a52, an award-winning LA-based visual effects boutique serving the international commercial, music video and premium-television industries.

Executive Summary
During DWA’s 10-year tenure as the PR agency of record for a52 (2000-2010), projects touched by the immense talents at the LA-based visual effects boutique earned top honors from Adweek, Advertising Age, ‘Boards, Creative Review, Creativity, SHOOT and Shots, top Automotive Advertising, BDA, British Design and Art Direction, Clio, Emmy (Best Main Title and Best Commercial), International Andy, London International Advertising and PROMAX Awards, among many others… and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in the prestigious annual AICP Show each and every year.
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Love clicks, in the true spirit of the season….

We’ve reached the time of year when I invite you to join me in sending daily clicks to www.hungersite.com, where our simple mouseclicks can benefit a number of vital causes each day. Big thanks to Travis the Elf for picking The Hunger Site as his Project for Awesome entry at this time last year, and for posting this video. Together with my family, I am sending my warmest thoughts to many friends and colleagues worldwide, and feeling a lot of gratitude.  I’m especially thankful to the individuals behind my client companies ATTIK, a52, Elastic, Brand New School, Rock Paper Scissors, Shilo and We Are Plus for helping to support the following organizations over the past several years. Read more

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Expanding Artistry from LA Design Studio Elastic


I expect that most of my Facebook and creative industry friends who have seen all the amazing project work I’ve been sharing from LA-based full-service design studio Elastic will agree that the company’s phenomenal artists have hit every project they’ve touched out of the park. From the recent Honda Accord Crosstour “Instruments” and “Boxes” spots for ad agency RPA, to the Verizon “iDon’t,” “Surfer” and “Homing Device” Droid spots for mcgarrybowen, the adidas “It’s On Me For We” spots for 180/LA, the Lexus HS Pods spots for Team One, and more cool work for FUEL TV, Nike and others, sharing the company’s artistry over the past year has been an amazing adventure for yours truly. At this point, I’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank anyone who has shared the company’s work; your interest in Elastic is appreciated immensely! Read more

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A ray of hope from Levi’s and Walt Whitman, courtesy of Wieden+Kennedy


Since the world we live in is constantly changing, I guess it’s pretty easy to feel that anything from ‘yesterday’ is irrelevent. I recently read a critique of one of my clients’ latest ad campaigns, where the facets included a couple of really cool and interesting microsites. The critical comment said, “Microsites are so five minutes ago.” It made me think, my how some people love to hear themselves talk, even when their words make no sense. Earlier this month, Wieden+Kennedy Portland launched an arguably fascinating initiative for Levi’s called the GoForth campaign, which features the “America” spot I’ve embedded above. Read more

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Oct. 15 Blog Action Day Post on Poverty…

Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event aiming to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters to post on the same day about the same issue. For this year, the goal is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion on the topic of poverty. To me, this horrifying circumstance quickly translates into powerlessness and need. Helping those on the street or without is something I care about, and over time, I’ve identified some practical activities that really help address poverty. The best of these ideas are provided below, along with the hope that we will all rally together today and tomorrow to ease suffering everywhere.


. See someone in need? Do a good deed. Many of us steel ourselves against those who hold “will work for food” signs… or hold out their hands. After reading a powerful book called My Life on the Street by “Joe Homeless,” I realized that it takes a lot of guts to ask for help, and for whatever it may be worth, giving something always makes me feel better than any other alternative.

. Click every day. TheHungerSite.com is an amazing website which for years has given each of us the ability to “click” each day and thereby enable the giving of food to the hungry. I encourage you to bookmark the site and make it a daily point to visit, and to shop their gift store on special occasions. Another great site is ripple.org — which also exists to harness the power of internet advertising in providing a tool for people to help others. Painless, effective… brilliant.

. Search the web — give to charity. GoodSearch.com is a Yahoo!-powered search engine which donates 50-percent of its revenue to the charities and schools designated by its users. Use it to get proven search results and have advertisers donate money to your cause.

. When in doubt, give to the Red Cross. The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers and guided by its Congressional charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and it is committed to providing relief to victims of disasters and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Can’t afford to send money? Give blood — “the gift of life.”

. Choose charities your group can benefit. Each year, I research a new group of charitable organizations to send gifts to on behalf of my clients at the companies ATTIK, a52, Elastic, Rock Paper Scissors, Nonfiction Spots, PostWorks, Shilo, Stardust and Tool of North America. A main tool I use for this research is www.JustGive.org, a nonprofit committed to helping people connect with charities and causes they care about. In the past, we have gifted the Partnership for the Homeless, World Hunger Year and the National Coalition for the Homeless. Use JustGive to learn more about each of these and the many other remarkable organizations who are making an impact on the lives of the poverty-stricken every day.

Thanks for the inspiration and the memories, blogactionday.org.

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Secrets of the visual effects and animation businesses…

In the 106 years since Georges Méliès produced his amazingly ambitious film Le Voyage dans la lune, it’s fair to say that the crafts of visual effects and animation have come a very long way. During my years of working in the film and television production industries, I was very surprised to learn how important these often complementary areas often were in the grand schemes — and since I began representing LA visual effects company a52 in 2000, I’ve gained even more appreciation for the deep talents of the best artists, producers and entrepreneurs who handle these magical feats. Things have undoubtedly changed a lot since I graduated from the University of Central Florida’s Film School in 1990, but back then, I was surprised at the huge gulf of knowledge that stood between my education and what was happening in the real world. Whether you’re currently a student, a recent graduate or perhaps just a hands-on, multi-talented and resourceful person (like Georges Méliès himself), if you are interested in getting the inside scoop on precisely what’s happening inside these thriving niches of the production industry, I highly suggest that you sign up for two upcoming webinars being offered by Studiodaily.com and Studio/monthly magazine.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Kpnbl3tn58]

These two seminars — the first, on The Business of VFX, is set for Tuesday, Sept. 30, and the second, on The Business of Animation, is set for Wednesday, Nov. 19 — will share all the inside information on how to successfully operate as a freelance professional or as a business in these areas. I can tell you from first-hand experience, the producers of these events have thought of everything a person would need to know to be in business in these areas, and lined up some of the most knowledgeable owners of high-profile businesses to share their experiences and insights. The cost of signing up is $55 for one of $95 for both webinars, and they offer a free copy of Digieffects Damage software for signing up. Check it out…

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Setting sights for higher success in 2008…

Big thanks to New York-based experiential marketing agency Renegade‘s CEO/president Drew Neisser for contributing the thoughtful “Top Ten: Marketing Ideas To Consider in 2008” piece to ChiefMarketer.com. Drew provides some great tips in his piece — here are my notes on his topical ideas for entrepreneurs planning new ways to maximize what may be the most viable new developments, inroads and innovations in the field of marketing.


. Customer Service: Drew concludes his list with a great point about ‘marketing as service.’ What could be a better focus for marketing initiatives than solving problems for your customers, or making it easier for them to do business with you?

. Experience Marketing: In my humble opinion, the Toyota family is leading the way in creating brand experiences which translate into customer engagement and loyalty — and marketplace success. One example from an amazing 2007 playbook includes the recent ExpreScion Alcatraz event cooked-up by my clients at ATTIK. What brand experience could drive all other facets of your 2008 marketing and communications?

. Virtual clubbing: Maximizing social networks from the large and ubiquitous to the small and tightly targeted currently rank among chief marketers’ highest priorities. How can you improve your business with the help of your v-friends?

. Gaming: There’s a fascinating story in Adweek today about how the U.S. Army has made its virtual reality warfare game into an interactive exhibit that’s helping to boost recruits — even now. Do consumers’ interests in gaming offer unique opportunities to engage, entertain and/or educate your target audiences?

. Going green: From the business perspective, corporate social responsibility seems largely to have migrated toward environmentalism. Forbes “Going Green” coverage and MSNBC’s “Going Green Special Report” reveal more specifics. How can a green strategy drive your success in the year to come?

. Mobile: With cell phone capabilities expanding and use steadily increasing, specific opportunities to successfully market over mobile phones are ripening. Should people be hearing or seeing your company on their cell phones in some strategic way(s) now?

. Outdoor Marketing 2.0: We’re familiar with billboards, but add-in RFID, motion sensors, GPS and other high-tech innovations, and we are well on our way to the worlds of “Blade Runner” and “Minority Report.” My clients at visual effects design company a52 contributed to a forward-looking outdoor Lexus campaign from Team One that Brandweek covered — and other out-of-home media like in-theater, in-gym, etc. video networks are also getting smarter. Any lucrative ideas for personalizing your large-scale messages, or using technology to make them more interactive?

. Search Engine Marketing: The trend Drew points up is the rise of behavioral targeting over contextual targeting for marketing via search engines. Might such a tweak offer you an advantage?

. Online video: Evidently a result of most computer users having broadband connections, our YouTube nation is fully wired for video, and offerings like Hulu.com, iTunes, Joost and LiveStation are making the online experience more TV-like every day. Not long ago, the prospect of a 500-channel cable universe made us light-headed, while today, many netizens have a good sense of where and how to tune into their favorite short- and long-form video content from literally thousands of “channel” choices. Online video is being seen — so maybe you can make your own and get it out there… or leap into your chosen role behind the scenes?

. Widgets: With the proliferation of websites, online communities and social networks, and with each trying to out-do the other to make it more sticky, engaging or useful, some software developers are creating stand-alone programs that push or pull specific data in delightful ways (if you’re not among the hundreds of millions using them already, check out Yahoo Widgets). What could you do with a widget that bundles some or all of these trends above and forms a new two-way information channel between yourself and your customers?

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Create an ad to help save the world…

Following the Live Earth extravaganza, Al Gore made an announcement that resulted in this July 12 story in The New York Times under the headline of “Create-an-Ad Contest Aims to Push Climate Message.” Reporter John Broder’s story lets us know that, since governments around the world are moving much too quickly in Mr. Gore’s opinion, the former U.S. Presidential hopeful is putting his faith in advertising. More specifically, Mr. Gore’s environmental group, The Alliance for Climate Protection, has issued invitations to ad agencies to create ‘eco-spots’ in either :15, :30 or :60 versions, addressing global warming and providing local or national calls-to-action. Along with making a positive impact on the world, creators stand to win a Toyota Highlander if their entry is judged to be the best. Spots must be submitted by September 12; more info is available at www.current.tv/ecospot.


I’m providing this amazing 2002 spot for the Toyota Rav4 as an inspiration to help prime your pumps. It was directed by Patrick Murphy of Los Angeles visual effects design company A52 for Toyota and conceived by creatives at Saatchi & Saatchi LA. Break a leg!

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Great work: Honda Fit “Food Chain”

I’m very proud of my clients’ contributions to the broadcast elements of the high-profile, cross-media Honda Fit ad campaign from ad agency RPA. Enjoy the “Food Chain” spot which has been featured in the top international trade media outlets since first debuting back on Apr. 20.


Directed by MJZ’s Phil Joanou, editorial is courtesy of Spot Welders’ Brad Waskewich, the award-winning Los Angeles visual effects and design company A52 provided the spot’s design, animation and effects work, and the end-tags were created by bicoastal Stardust Studios. Bon appétit!

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Help Lance Armstrong help humanity today…

It’s been almost two years since my clients at visual effects company A52 and editorial company Rock Paper Scissors worked with director Jake Scott and ad agency Wieden+Kennedy to create the phenomenal Nike “Magnet” ad starring Lance Armstrong on a training ride, which captured the hearts of millions of people around the world. Since posting the story about A52’s work on the project, I have received email from people around the globe every week, telling me how inspired they were by the work, and acknowledging how phenomenal it was to see Lance riding on for so many cancer survivors, young and old.


Around the same period of time in ’04, I learned about The Fireflies, a cycling group which rides in Cannes, France, each year to raise money for leukemia. Today, Tool of North America’s managing director Phillip Detchmendy, who is a member of this group, forwarded me a message from Lance, via the Lance Armstrong Foundation. This message raises dire issues about the President’s proposed 2007 budget, which will slash funding for cancer research and survivorship programs, and other vital initiatives. If you’ve lost someone to cancer, if you know someone who continues to fight against it or perhaps you are inspired by Lance’s living legacy, please check out this message and follow its links to contact your representatives in Washington to help fight these cuts; all things considered, it may one of the most important actions you’ll ever take….

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