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.



Case Study: Tool of North America

Last updated in 2006: Elite U.S. Commercial Production Company Elevates Position, Delivers Award-Winning Work for Top U.S. Agencies

“Strategic Two-Year Public Relations Campaign Designed and Executed by The Darnell Works Agency Helped Tool Maximize and Expand Its Success”

Since 1995, Santa Monica-based Tool of North America has established itself among the leading U.S. commercial production companies, representing top commercial directors including Erich Joiner, Tom Routson, Oscar-winning cinematographer Bob Richardson and several other creative all stars. During the time the DWA campaign was in effect (April 2004 through May 2006), Tool also operated satellite company Paranoid Projects: Tool, which provided U.S. representation for directors Poiraud and Francois Vogel.

Executive Summary
Among many high-profile accomplishments during DWA’s two-year tenure as the PR agency of record for Tool of North America and Paranoid Projects (2004-2006), Francois Vogel’s HP “Picture Book” campaign was named Adweek’s Campaign of the Year for 2004… and also landed him in Creativity Magazine’s feature that year on the world’s hottest emerging directors. The public and media relations campaign diligently promoted commercial projects of the highest order, from top agencies, major brands, and Tool’s all-star roster of directors. Read more



Director Sean Ehringer at his best in new Kraft Easy Mac ad campaign…

Over the years, Tool of North America director Sean Ehringer has had a starring role in creating successful ad campaigns for a Who’s Who of famous brands, including adidas, Budweiser, Polaroid, SEGA, Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees and the award-winning “Got Milk?” campaign, to name but a few. A UC Berkeley Psychology major who also studied at Pasadena’s prestigious Art Center College of Design, since wrapping-up his role as a leading ad industry creative executive to join Tool as a director, his fascinations with aesthetics and offbeat human moments have yielded scores of attention-grabbing commercial campaigns. The latest of these is a quirky campaign for Kraft Easy Mac that’s driving interest in Sean’s considerable talents to new levels.

Filling in for The New York Times’ Stuart Elliot on Apr. 10, Jane L. Levere wrote about the campaign in the In Advertising column, noting that Kraft had “veer[ed] off its traditional marketing path,” to sell its new Easy Mac Cups to young adults in “an edgy new campaign with a strong online presence.” She also notes where Sean’s four commercials — created for Kraft and ad agency FCB in Chicago — are airing on TV and on the campaign’s creatively integrated online destination at www.u-starvin.com. Mr. Ehringer himself shared these thoughts on the project: “It piqued my interest to see Kraft doing some edgy advertising work to reach out to the college market. I felt that the spots themselves -– and the innovative media strategy planned to roll them out — had a great chance of producing the desired results. Also, the creative allowed me to package some very memorable performances, which I think are going to be well received by college students.” For the ad industry, the insider site Adrants broke news of the campaign back on Apr. 6, and AdCritic.com and Boards Magazine recently posted all four campaign spots to their online offerings….



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….



Who’s the man? Sam Cadman…

Yesterday, Advertising Age editor in chief Rance Crain used some space in his renowned publication to delve into the deeper meaning of a Sprint-Nextel broadcast spot entitled “The Man” — in which an executive admits that he may be sticking it to himself. The ad was directed by Sam Cadman of my client company Tool of North America. What Mr. Crain learns and reports is quite interesting, as you can see here: STICKING IT TO THE MAN — OR JUST MAYBE?

Ad Age’s Alice Cuneo also contributed to the story on this spot, which has taken on a life of its own here in the blogosphere. And a lot of the credit for the increasingly famous “Maybe” line is gravitating toward Sam C., who encouraged the actors to improvise and incubated a non-scripted ending for the spot which Mr. Crain’s piece calls “the greatest switcheroo in commercial history.” Unless I’m mistaken, I believe that makes Sam the man….



Case study on TV’s most beloved ad campaign…

Last year, San Francisco ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners hatched an idea for its clients at Hewlett Packard’s Digital Photography division which has led to some truly phenomenal results. Collaborations with the talented French director Francois Vogel, which began in 2003 in the development of another award-winning television commercial entitled “You”, produced a new demonstration of how Vogel could use visual effects techniques and artistry to make it appear as though he was pulling pictures out of the air. With a green light from their clients at HP, the agency produced a new set of spots which have since earned an uncommon amount of acclaim from consumers and ad industry professionals alike, in the forms of raves, editorial coverage and industry awards. At the dawn of 2005, TV Guide proclaimed the “Picture Book” spots as “the most irresistable 60 seconds on TV,” and Adweek Magazine named it Campaign of the Year. When “Francois 2” debuted this June, consumers rated it the most liked commercial of the month, according to Advertising Age. This week, MSNBC posted a “Test Pattern” feature that rates it the top campaign of the past year — and MSNBC writer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper called it “The Perfect Commercial” in her July 6 posting.

My then-clients at Tool of North America and Paranoid Projects received multiple honors for their work on the campaign in the annual AICP Show, which celebrates the year’s best television commercials in a show that travels the globe and is added annually to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection in New York City. It’s not often that something comes together so well and accomplishes so much. By the way, here’s a link to the newest spot in the campaign, entitled “Colors.”

Now in its third decade of developing highly successful marketing, PR and media strategies, the Darnell Works Agency is the go-to PR firm for creative agencies, brands and entertainment ventures. Offering unmatched writing talent and inside media-expertise, agency principal Roger Darnell sets his clients apart atop their industries. Already central to billions of positive media impressions worldwide, the agency’s collaborations with leading business executives and media luminaries continue soaring to new heights.


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