Feb. 1 Last Day For Free Communitas Entry

Get Recognized for Your Community Involvement

Communitas AwardsFeb. 1 is the last day to get a free nomination for the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals’ 2014 Communitas Awards. Additional nominations can be made for the usual fees.

Communitas Awards recognizes exceptional businesses, organizations and individuals that are unselfishly giving of themselves and their resources, and those that are changing how they do business to benefit their communities.

Communitas winners are selected based on the spirit of Communitas, a Latin word meaning “people coming together for the good of a community.” Any company, organization or individual that donates time, effort and/or money to improve the communities in which they live or work is eligible to be nominated for a Communitas Award. Nominees are evaluated based on the extent and effectiveness of their programs in relation to their size and potential scope. Companies that exhibit ethical and sustainable business practices are also considered.
Communitas Award nominations can be submitted online at www.communitasawards.com. The free nomination will automatically be reflected at checkout. Nominating individuals can also call AMCP at (817) 459-0448 if they have any questions.

The five-year-old Communitas is an outgrowth of the AMCP pro bono recognition program. Over the past few years, AMCP has waived entry fees for over 2,000 pro bono projects created for nonprofits by marketing and communication professionals. As part of its effort to give back, AMCP has donated over $100,000 to charities and educational organizations on behalf of marketing and communication professionals.

Communitas Awards



2014 AVA Digital Awards Entry Spotlight: University of Connecticut

While the winners for the 2014 AVA Digital Awards won’t be announced until Feb. 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

AVA Digital Awards Company: University of Connecticut
Title of Entry: “UConn Magazine’s Free App for Tablet Devices
Location: Storrs, Connecticut
Category: 67. Mobile App

UConnLast November University of Connecticut made it easier for people to stay connected to the school through the launch of its app, UConn Magazine, available on Apple, Google and Amazon tablets.

Just as users would expect, the app features the publication’s print content plus bonus digital features that assist UConn in elevating its storytelling. You can find panoramic pictures, interactive maps, infographics, audio clips, videos and more.

The app is visually appealing, and its creators are cognizant that the web is a touch away, as pertinent links and social media handles are strategically placed throughout the magazine. For instance, after learning about a Sandy Hook teacher who began a charity aimed to teaching kids to be compassionate, readers can tap on the link to her charity to find out more.

With the rise in tablet use, UConn’s supporters should count this as a digital victory.

UConn App


Giving Back Through Marketing and Communications: Mad Dog Graphx

Throughout the years, AMCP entrants have submitted more than 2,000 pro bono entries. While that is a lot of work donated to nonprofits, we’re sure it is only a small percentage of the time, money, effort and skill that our entrants give back to their communities. Throughout the next couple of months, we’re profiling some of these people and sharing their stories with you in our series, Giving Back Through Marketing and Communications.

“It is a simple yet disturbing fact: you know someone who is hungry. One of your neighbors, friends, work colleagues, or someone at your church is struggling to put food on the table.”

That’s the opening sentence of Food Bank Alaska’s 2012 annual report created by Mad Dog Graphx. Not coincidentally, the theme of the report is “These Are The Facts!”

Last year, Mad Dog Graphx won a Platinum Hermes Creative Award for the excellent piece. We caught up with Kris Ryan-Clarke, the report’s designer, to learn more about the project and how Mad Dog uses its creativity and design skills to combat hunger in the nation’s largest state.

These Are The Facts

What is Food Bank of Alaska and how does it help people?

Food Bank of Alaska (FBA) is the umbrella organization that supplies food and support to agencies, food pantries, schools and soup kitchens around the state. In turn, these organizations supply food to those in need.

Due to the size and geographic characteristics of the state, FBA is faced with many challenges from transportation to maintaining a healthy food supply. The organization relies on federal and state grants in addition to corporate and individual donations to keep their operation open.

Their annual report is used as their primary marketing piece throughout the year.

How did you arrive with “These Are The Facts!” for the theme of the report?

The theme came about due to the fact that so much of the information I receive from FBA includes startling statistics about hunger. “These Are The Facts!” felt like a good tie-in and a way to get the hardcore numbers out in front of people in a straightforward manner. By using blocks of copy and an infographic format, I was able to illustrate what Food Bank of Alaska is faced with everyday as they strive to meet their mission that “No one deserves to be hungry.”

What were some of the facts you found most startling?

Two facts that continue to surprise me are: (1) For one in six people, hunger is a reality; and (2) About one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted every year. These are both highlighted in my design by incorporating them into the cover graphics.

How did you get involved with FBA? Are you working on anything else for the organization?

I became involved with Food Bank of Alaska 16 years ago when the then-CEO asked if I’d be interested in donating my time by putting together their annual report. I’ve been producing their annual reports ever since. Part of the appeal in taking on this project year after year is that I am given total creative license to create a compelling piece to illustrate the “faces of hunger” in our community.

Because Mad Dog has been so involved with creating FBA’s central marketing piece each year, we have also been asked to produce ongoing marketing, branding, advertising and collateral work for them, including a new logo and their biannual newsletter.

Why do you continue to work with FBA?

Over the years I have been struck by the number of hungry people that live among us and have grown to realize it’s not only the homeless person that is scrambling to get food but also everyday hard-working people who, for whatever reason, don’t have enough money and are struggling to get food on the table for their families.

Hunger and food insecurity is such a prominent problem that donating my time and creativity feels like a good way to give back to my community in a meaningful way. It has been rewarding and satisfying to be a small part of the solution to ending hunger.


Mad Dog GraphxMad Dog Graphx is a two-person design studio based in Anchorage, Alaska. Founded in 1996, Mad Dog offers a range of creative services, specializing in corporate and retail communications and brand identity development. Its work with campaign planning, advertising and marketing development, packaging, environmental graphics, annual reports, and logo design has attracted clients from restaurants and transportation firms to universities and Native corporations.

The company has been honored with awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, Print magazine, Graphis, the American Advertising Federation, and many others. Its work has appeared in dozens of books and magazines on graphic design.


2014 AVA Digital Awards Entry Spotlight: Finalsite

While the winners for the 2014 AVA Digital Awards won’t be announced until Feb. 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

AVA Digital Awards Company: Finalsite
Client: Lake Forest Schools
Title of Entry: “Lake Forest Schools”
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Category: 12. Educational Institution

finalsiteIt’s not uncommon for primary & secondary school websites to lack contemporary design and the latest functionality that we experience every day thanks to technological advances. Then again, Lake Forest Schools is not ordinary either. 

After working with the experts at Finalsite, a company dedicated to delivering superior web software experiences for the education community, Lake Forest Schools now has a cutting-edge website on par with its reputation for academic excellence.

Finalsite rolled out a beautifully crafted and carefully organized website for Lake Forest Schools using responsive design so parents, teachers, staff and students can have a frustration-free experience visiting the site on any mobile device or desktop.

But that’s not all. While each school’s page features its unique colors and content, the site maintains its cohesiveness through the consistency of design elements and placement. Well done.

Lake Forest Schools


2014 AVA Digital Awards Entry Spotlight: Maycreate

While the winners for the 2014 AVA Digital Awards won’t be announced until Feb. 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

AVA Digital Awards Company: Maycreate
Client: Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Title of Entry: “Rock Bottom Restaurants Web Site”
Location: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Category: 22. Business to Consumer

maycreateTennessee’s Maycreate developed an elegant site for Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery that effectively balances copy and visuals. Providing information about 38 locations across the U.S. could be overwhelming to organize on one website, but Maycreate completes the task effortlessly, neatly packaging all relevant information that restaurant-goers need.

Menu? Check. Nutrition facts? Check. Locations with hours, contact information and directions? Check. Mouthwatering visuals of delicious dishes and drinks? Check.

Subtle flourishes take this site up a step. For instance, instead of displaying a photo next to each menu item – which would quickly clutter the site – visitors can hover their mouse over a plate’s title for a visual preview. To see more information, users simply click.

But this website has more than looks. Beyond the professional skin, Maycreate created a mobile-friendly site that is easy to navigate – essential for brick and mortar shops.



2014 AVA Digital Awards Entry Spotlight: Independence Visitor Center Corporation & Bluecadet Interactive

While the winners for the 2014 AVA Digital Awards won’t be announced until Feb. 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

AVA Digital Awards Companies: Independence Visitor Center Corporation & Bluecadet Interactive
Title of Entry: “Independence Visitor Center in Philadelphia Website Redesign”
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Category: 18. Nonprofit

independence-visitor-center-philadelphiaPhiladelphia should consider itself lucky to have such an innovative group promoting it. The nonprofit Independence Visitor Center Corporation (IVCC) in partnership with design studio Bluecadet Interactive transformed phlvisitorcenter.com into a state-of-the-art, interactive website that offers nearly everything for tech savvy tourists.

This site is user-focused and takes information listing to new levels by allowing guests to filter activities based on their preferences in the following four areas: part of town, highlights, price and interest.

Beyond that, the IVCC’s hospitality is evident in the various ways it seeks to provide information to guests in a way that’s most convenient and comfortable.

Like communicating via phone or in person? The phone number and address are in multiple places on the website. Prefer Twitter? There’s a prompt encouraging sightseers to pose questions via a tweet without leaving the site. If you have several questions and can’t get on the phone, perhaps the Live Chat feature is the way to go. There’s also a FAQ page for common inquiries.

IVCC has also made phlvisitorcenter.com a one-stop shop, allowing guests to purchase attraction tickets online – you don’t have to leave the website.

To top it off, all of these features are packaged in a beautiful, easy-to-navigate site. Did I mention it’s mobile friendly, too?




2014 AVA Digital Awards Entry Spotlight: Eric Raum

While the winners for the 2014 AVA Digital Awards won’t be announced until Feb. 1, we’re showcasing select entries that stand out. Keep checking back to see if your work will be highlighted.

AVA Digital Awards Creator: Eric Raum
Title of Entry: “Shoulder To Shoulder”
Location: Dubai
Category: 149. PSA

Eric RaumPSAs are very serious messages, often conveyed in a tone-deaf manner. You’ve seen them before – a spokesman staring into a camera droning on about a disease, cause, or charity. Instead of this approach, Eric Raum takes a very weighty subject and wraps it in drama and emotion.

Eric lived on a military base in Iraq and witnessed first hand the escalating suicide rate among service members. With the help of a graphic artist, Eric traveled to Kuwait to shoot a PSA with real soldiers facing a military-wide problem.

Within the span of a minute, Eric manages to blend film styles from Alfred Hitchcock to John Frankenheimer to create a riveting film capturing the problem while presenting a solution.

To learn more about Eric’s Army suicide awareness PSA, read his story on his website, ericraum.com.


This Week’s Latest Tech Gadgets – Jan. 14, 2014

By Gregg Ellman

Over the years while covering the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas I’ve had massages, shaves and just about every other industry gimmick you can think of – all right on the show floor.

This year I sat in a Lamborghini to list to an incredible sound system designed by Monster and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to destroy a brand new smartphone.

The company ProtectCELL sells annual insurance for your phone, covering just about everything. This includes getting lost, stolen, dropped in a toilet (very common insurance claim) and even if you get your phone gets caught in a blender.

A week before the show they sent me a brand new smartphone and invited me to come by the booth and destroy it.

After talking with some company representatives, who explained how the insurance policy works, they invited me to toss my new phone in a blender and whip it up.

Without hesitating I accepted and if you want to see a series of the photos just email me.

The blender destroyed the phone, creating millions of pieces from my brand new hardware.

If that was your phone, you would then call ProtectCELL, explain what happened and they would send you a new one immediately, no questions asked.

The company started in 2006 with 91 participants and now has more than 700,000 with a 25 percent renewal rate.

Your phone can be a personal one or company-issued with plans ranging from $199 for two years of coverage for an iPhone 5s to $59 for simpler phones.

ProtectCELL will even back up your contacts and other data to help restore them in the event a new phone in needed.



The Cellfy SticOver the past year or so we have all become familiar with the smartphone photography term of “selfie.”

A company called Cellfy has designed a hardware kit to help users take quality self-photos and videos using smartphones or tablets.

For the smartphone model, the patent-pending Cellfy Stic is a universal mount with suction cups on both sides to work in portrait or landscape modes.

First download a timer for your device, they suggest. TimerCam for iOS or CameraZoomFX for Android.

Then attach your phone to the front side and attach the backside to any clean, smooth surface such as mirrors, windows, clean car panels or glass.

Set the timer, choose your pose and photos will now be better composed with the hands-free hardware.

They also have a tablet model ($24.99), which doubles as a accessory to mount on the back of a headrest for back seat viewing. It also has a built-in kick-stand for use on a flat surface in addition to the front and rear suction cups.

www.Cellfy.co Cellfy Stic $9.99, available in orange, pink, gray and white