fortytwo-studio-aberdeen2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: FortyTwo Studio

2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: FortyTwo Studio

While the winners for the 2016 MarCom Awards won’t be announced for a little bit, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

MarCom Awards Organization: FortyTwo Studio
Location: Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Client: Duncan and Todd
Title of Entry: “Duncan and Todd – Website redesign”
Category: 272. Website Redesign

Many times when a website is redesigned it is more of a lateral move. Change for change sake is not necessarily good. Every once in a while, though, a redesigned website exceeds client expectations and garners attention from clients or customers.

FortyTwo Studio in Aberdeen, Scotland, was tasked with taking a one-page website with a booking form and current offers, and transforming it into a sleek platform showcasing the latest designs in eyewear for Duncan and Todd. The results are crisp and clean, easily navigable and stylish.


UC Davis2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: University of California, Davis

2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: University of California, Davis

While the winners for the 2016 MarCom Awards won’t be announced for a little bit, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

MarCom Awards Organization: University of California, Davis
Location: Davis, California
Title of Entry: “Sexual Violence Awareness and Education Campaign”
Category: 320c. Other — Integrated Marketing Campaign

Sexual violence is one of the most pressing issues on colleges campuses. University of California, Davis, decided to meet the problem head on with an expansive integrated marketing program. The program targeted almost every aspect of student life with a mixed medium of banners, coffee sleeves, napkin holder signage, videos, T-shirts, web resources, and a speaker. The university wanted to get the word out and to make sure everyone heard it.

Here’s some behind-the-scenes info from Andrew McDaniel, a campaign specialist for Student Affairs Marketing and Communications (SAMC) at UC Davis:

“A recent Association of American Universities Campus Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct shows that 1 in 6 undergraduate students and 1 in 14 graduate and professional school students have experienced some type of non-consensual sexual contact since entering college. That’s why UC Davis launched the Sexual Violence Awareness and Education campaign in November 2015.

“Ongoing student, faculty and staff input as well as campuswide collaboration have contributed to the campaign’s success on our campus. While Student Affairs Marketing and Communications (SAMC) leads the day-to-day efforts, we work with colleagues throughout campus to maximize messaging, reach and resources. Most importantly, we collaborate directly with students through focus groups and internships to ensure that the campaign is current and reaching students in a meaningful way.

“Using feedback from student focus groups, we launched a series of Snapchat-inspired videos through campus social media, which received nearly 40,000 views.”
uc-davis-sexual-violence-awareness-2 uc-davis-sexual-violence-awareness-4 uc-davis-sexual-violence-awareness-16 uc-davis-sexual-violence-awareness-21 uc-davis-sexual-violence-awareness-39

mc-squared2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: MC²

2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: MC²

While the winners for the 2016 MarCom Awards won’t be announced for a little bit, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

MarCom Awards Organization: MC²
Location: Chestnut Ridge, NY
Client: Ferag AG
Title of Entry: “Ferag @ Drupa”
Category: 13. Trade show exhibit

Trade shows can be an assault on the senses – bright lights, music, digital displays, geometric walls, rainbows of color– the list goes on and one. To stand out in a giant exhibit hall takes creativity and sharp design.

New York’s MC² more than met the challenge at a world renowned print and paper exhibit held in Dusseldorf, Germany, for client Ferag AG headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. Ferag specializes in the development and manufacture of conveying and processing systems for the graphic industry and direct mailing.

At the Drupa Exhibition, MC² created a 15,000-square-foot LED canopy, which is the size of a soccer pitch, that provided a visual background for the presentation of the Ferag equipment, a live printing system that wrapped around the exhibit. Farag CEO Jürg Möckli called the display a “masterpiece.” See for yourself.

John Hancock2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: John Hancock Personal Financial Services

2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: John Hancock Personal Financial Services

While the winners for the 2016 MarCom Awards won’t be announced for a little bit, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

MarCom Awards Organization: John Hancock Personal Financial Services
Location: Boston, MA
Title of Entry: “John Hancock PFS 2016 “Roland” Calendar”
Category: 78. Calendar

Everyone has seen the company calendar. The corporate logo. The pretty pictures. The months. At John Hancock, the calendar marks the passage of time with humor, a bit of satire, and subtle hints about retirement. The whimsical look at the upcoming year comes with important messages delivered with wit and artistry.

john-hancock-personal-financial-services-calendar-4 john-hancock-personal-financial-services-calendar-7

Johnson Insurance Canada2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: Johnson Insurance

2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: Johnson Insurance

While the winners for the 2016 MarCom Awards won’t be announced for a little bit, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

MarCom Awards Organization: Johnson Insurance
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Title of Entry: “Johnson Insurance 3D Virtual Fire Projection”
Category: 320c. Other — Public Relations Event

Every family should have a fire evacuation plan. But how many actually do? Johnson Insurance of Halifax, Novia Scotia, a leading Canadian home insurer, wanted to drive home the point.

Stressing an evacuation plan in brochures or discussions was not enough. So, the company decided to raise awareness in a dramatic and high-tech manner. Utilizing a house built to 75% scale and 3D imaging, Johnson Insurance created a fire and invited people and the media to watch. The results resonated across Canada garnering the company publicity and accolades.

marshall-haber-creative-group2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: Marshall Haber Creative Group Inc.

2016 MarCom Awards Spotlight: Marshall Haber Creative Group Inc.

While the winners for the 2016 MarCom Awards won’t be announced for a little bit, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

MarCom Awards Organization: MHCG Inc.
Location: New York, NY
Client: Chai Lifeline
Title of Entry: “Chai Lifeline/Camp Simcha”
Category: 103. Logo

A good picture is worth a thousand words, but a logo does more with less. A logo is your identity to clients, patrons, and customers. Think Coca Cola or Apple. But a logo can be an elusive symbol with the wrong creative agency.

Marshall Haber Creative Group, a boutique agency in New York specializing in branding, advertising, and websites, was recently approached by Chai Lifeline who needed a logo to identify its organization. The nonprofit provides emotional, financial, and other services to families with pediatric illnesses. MHCG captured the essence of the mission with a design of hearts, hands, and people.


David-Avrin-Visibility-Marketing-BookVisibility Marketing Book Helps Fix Messaging that “Probably Sucks”

Visibility Marketing Book Helps Fix Messaging that “Probably Sucks”

The following is a blog article from MarCom Awards winner John P. David.

Here’s a news flash from well-known speaker and author David Avrin: Your marketing probably sucks. Ouch, right? In his latest book, Visibility Marketing, Avrin pulls no punches after years of consulting with companies about messaging and marketing. He concludes that most companies are using the same, competency-based messages – which may have worked in the past but don’t work now.

What led him to this? I sat down with Avrin to find out, and in between grins and laughter, I learned a ton. According to Avrin, whose book launches this week, the marketplace is populated with great companies that are smart, strong, lean and good at what they do. It’s no longer effective to suggest that your company is simply better than your competitors because 1) it’s probably not true and 2) the marketplace is fed-up with hearing the same trite messages over and over again.

Says Avrin, if you continue to use tired, competency-based messages such as “we have the best customer service” or “we only use the freshest ingredients,” then you are just one of many voices in the crowd saying the same dull thing. Are your competitors using stale ingredients? No. Are your competitors providing mediocre customer service? Probably not.

According to Avrin, the new normal is that everyone is good, and offering a quality product or service is table stakes. And the marketplace is rejecting competency-based messages.

So what do you do?

Avrin offers a number of ideas and even includes exercises at the end of each chapter in his book to help you figure it out. A few highlights:

Everybody’s good. Why are you better?

Because quality now abounds, you have to offer potential customers a compelling reason why they should switch to your company. Most of your prospects are already getting their needs met somewhere, so you need to explain why you are better and convert them.

In his book, Avrin discusses a company called Hydro Flask, which makes a compelling case why it’s insulated water bottles are better than its competitors. The company shipped filled bottles via postal mail to reporters and asked them not to open them until they were called three days later. Upon opening the bottles, reporters found (drum roll, please): ice. Hydro Flask showed why their insulated bottles are better than their competitors. After three days and a trip through the mail, still visibly ice cold.

Be visible

According to Avrin, when you think of visibility and traditional marketing, visions emerge of bright buildings, colorful outdoor advertising and perhaps guys waving signs by the roadside. Today, we must be visible where our customers congregate, in the publications they read and the websites they visit. Those who win in business are very successful at broadcasting their messages into the lives of their prospects.

Avrin also points out that you can continue with the “biggest and the brightest” messages but realize that you better be larger than life. He mentions how the Burj Khalifa in Dubai isn’t just the tallest building in the world, but the tallest by 700 feet. It’s impossible to ignore in its category.

To what question are you the answer?

So perhaps you don’t have the best water bottle or the tallest building, how do you market your product or service? According to Avrin, you don’t have to be the absolute biggest or the best, but you have to be the best choice for your target market.

In the book, he offers exercises on how to develop differentiators for your business. Today, we have to step back and ask hard questions, he advises. Why are we different? Where are we vulnerable? If we could recreate our company or product, how would we do it differently? And one of Avrin’s favorites: To what question are you the answer? 

If you are simply looking for another book with tired platitudes and over-told case studies, then this is not the book for you. However, if you value a straightforward, actionable and an often irreverent take on how to improve your business and get more customers, then I highly recommend Visibility Marketing.

Are you using competency based messages? And to what question are you the answer?


This article was originally published on and has been republished with permission. 


Author-and-PR-Pro-John-P-DavidJohn P. David is founder and president of Miami-based media relations firm David PR Group, and represents law firms, financial institutions, insurance companies and technology start-ups. He has more than 20 years of experience in the public relations industry serving South Florida-based and national clients. David frequently blogs about public relations and marketing at and his posts are regularly published by the Huffington Post. He also serves as a partner with online reputation management firm, a website that enables businesses to effectively respond to negative Internet posts. His first book, “How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online” will be published by Career Press in October 2016 and available online and bookstores everywhere.

modal-BG2016 MarCom Awards Now Open!

2016 MarCom Awards Now Open!

marcom awards logoNo one has to tell you how crowded your industry is. In the U.S. alone, there are over 100,000 companies listed in local phone books that would love to help with advertising, marketing, graphic arts, public relations, web and digital.

That number swells exponentially when you add all the individuals who work for those firms, plus freelancers and the tens of thousands who work for companies that employ their own creative staffs.

In a growing swarm of creative firms and individuals, it is increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. Over the past 22 years, thousands of the world’s top creative firms and communication departments have turned to the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) in search of third-party, earned recognition that would separate them from their peers.

StatuettesAMCP’s MarCom Awards, is one of the industry’s oldest, largest and most prestigious creative competitions. It is designed the way communication professionals want a creative competition to be run. Online entry is quick and easy, entries can be uploaded in seconds; fees are reasonable, so multiple entries can be submitted for various clients; work is judged on its own merits, not on time-consuming, imaginative explanations; results are unbiased and reported quickly, not months later when everyone has moved on to other projects and other clients.

As part of its mission, AMCP fosters and supports the efforts of creative professionals who contribute their unique talents to public service and charitable organizations.

MarCom entrants can enter their pro bono work without charge. Over the past decade, AMCP has donated about $200,000 to charitable and needy causes.


Annalisa-Russell-Smith-Spirit-of-CaringBehind the Camera: The Filming of Annalisa Russell-Smith’s <i>Spirit of Caring</i>

Behind the Camera: The Filming of Annalisa Russell-Smith’s Spirit of Caring

Communicators often get the opportunity – some would say responsibility – to tell a story that can affect the lives of a number of people. Professionals either do the work pro bono or offer nonprofits a substantial discount. AMCP judges see numerous wonderful projects where it’s clear the entrants are entirely invested in the cause.

One such example was independent storyteller Annalisa Russell-Smith‘s videos for Community Mental Health Affiliates. We recently caught up with the owner of Local Planet Productions to discuss the project, which just received a Platinum Award in the Hermes Creative Awards.

CMHA – The Spirit of Caring from Annalisa Russell-Smith on Vimeo.

Where did these videos appear for CMHA?

The main feature piece, “The Spirit of Caring,” was first shown at CMHA’s annual meeting, a gathering of supporters, legislators, fundraisers and community members in October 2015. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as each of the clients who appeared in the film took a bow. All the films are available on the CMHA website and are used for educational purposes in the community, for training and recruiting new staff, and for fundraising and lobbying. The shorter profiles are used on social media, especially during the various rounds of state budget cuts.

How did you get involved with CMHA, and what was their objective for this project?

Mental health is a subject too scary for many to discuss and yet one in four people has a diagnosable mental health condition, so raising awareness is a big priority for CMHA to break down some of the barriers preventing people from seeking help.

I got involved because I saw the amazing work they are doing in the community, but I could see how difficult it is to even begin explaining the complexity of their programs and the many kinds of problems they help people deal with in order to live productive lives. So I pitched the idea of doing a series of short, shareable films with the personal stories of people whose lives have been affected in very positive ways by CMHA to their executive team.

Mental illness and addiction are complex and often misunderstood. Why did you choose the approach you did for your videos?

Tackling complex subjects is what I do best, because at the end of the day it’s all about breaking them down into parts that are more easily understood, and there’s no better way to do that than by talking to people with first-hand experience of the problem. It’s a very personal approach and relies upon building trust and the kind of rapport which allows the person being interviewed to simply be themselves.

Addiction from Annalisa Russell-Smith on Vimeo.

These topics are sobering. Did you need to prepare yourself mentally to work on this?

I agree, the topics are very sobering, but I’m not afraid to sit down and hear what someone has to say. Being able to simply listen to someone is often the most important part of the work I do.

The kind of preparation I do is much more about research to gain a better understanding of the subject so I can find ways to tell the story that needs to be told. For example, I learned all I could about paranoid schizophrenia by reading and talking with experts in the field in order to ask the kind of questions that would enable me to explain things through the eyes of someone living with paranoid schizophrenia. I researched addiction in the same way.

What was the most challenging aspect of this project?

As with anything filmed in documentary style, nothing is guaranteed because you’re filming real life as it happens rather than actors with a script! So the most challenging aspect of this project was ensuring I had enough material to truly give the viewer an understanding of not just of the company but of the people who shared their stories with me.

What do you hope viewers of your videos walk away with?

I hope viewers walk away with a little more understanding of why our mental health is just as important as our physical health. Once that starts to happen, perhaps the whole subject will be a little less scary to people.

View all of Annalisa’s videos on Vimeo.

denison-university2016 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: Denison University

2016 Hermes Creative Awards Spotlight: Denison University

Before we release a list of all the winners for the 2016 Hermes Creative Awards on May 2, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted. Haven’t entered yet? There’s still time (until April 12!).

Hermes Creative Awards Organization: Denison University
Location: Granville, Ohio
Title of Entry: “Student Life at Denison”
Category: 158. Educational video

This incredible video shows a walk through Denison University campus telling the schools’ story, in one continuous shot. This is a great example of precision planning and execution. The reel is very well shot, edited and choreographed. You sense that everyone had a lot of fun doing this, and it leaves the viewer asking, how did they do that?