Which Category Do I choose?

With the deadline now only a few days away, entries have all of a sudden started flooding in. If ever there was an industry that needs a deadline, it is marketing and communications. Perhaps, it is because we are creative types and we need a swift kick, or maybe it’s because everyone is overworked and understaffed.

Telephone calls and questions have also picked up. Many people are concerned about picking the right category. Judges recognize that every entry does not fit exactly into a well-defined category. Your work is designed specifically for your client and is unique to them and their needs. Don’t worry about choosing between similar categories… for instance, whether it is better to enter a brochure in Capabilities versus Company Overview. In most cases, it doesn’t stand a better chance in one category versus another. An exception would be a general category versus a specific one such as Brochure/Informational versus Brochure/Design. Judges are told to evaluate each piece based on their perceptions of what it is and how it can be used. We recognize that many pieces have multiple purposes. Judges are not looking to knock out entries on a technicality related to category, that is why we don’t publish a definition and list of prerequisites for each category.  Occasionally, they move the entry from a category that is obviously wrong. If you don’t like our categories, choose an Other category and write in a new one.

We are also asked about accompanying paperwork. We have all filled out competition forms that call for a masters thesis. We are trying to make it easy on you and the judges. A creative explanation is not necessary for most MarCom categories. We stipulate that every project was completed under budget, with a limited staff, in a short timeframe and was well-received by the client. Since you are not under oath when filling out award documentation, our judges use their own experience and perceptions in evaluating what you had to work with in the way of budgets, challenges, creativity, etc. Ultimately, a brochure, magazine, website, video etc. has to stand on its own. For categories where there is a plan or strategy, we are looking for whatever you gave your client (internal or external). Was there a recap? synopsis etc.?  What materials were generated? If there isn’t something that will suffice, then write something based on Objectives, Challenges, Solutions and send us any materials.

Through the years, we have fielded a number of requests to view winning submissions. We understand the difficulty in getting permission from your company or client to post work, even if it is already in the public domain. We respect that and won’t post anything without permission. In fact, we have occasionally been asked to not include the client’s name on our winner’s list.

As judges go through the entries (they started several weeks ago), they will occasionally get excited about something and one of them will make a comment on our blog along with a post of the entry. This is only done if we have been granted permission with an online entry. More than half of the entries do not come with permission. We even have some companies that make us sign nondisclosure forms.  So, we take privacy issues very seriously.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call or email.  A couple of the people in our office (Terry and Tricia) will even be nice to you.


MarCom Winner, Truman Medical Center

Winner: Truman Medical Center
Location: Kansas City, MO
Category: Publicity Campaign
Web Address: www.trumed.org/truweb/
Truman Medical Center services a primarily poor urban area in Kansas City plagued by chronic illnesses.  The hospital knows that one of the paths to wellness is good nutrition, but often urban areas do not have adequate grocery stores that stock healthy foods.  These areas are known as “food deserts”.  This past year the hospital decided to expand upon an idea;  bring nutrition to the people utlitizng a mobile grocery store in a bus.
Truman Medical Center’s challenge was to not only get the word out, but to prod people to visit the “Healthy Harvest Mobile Market”.  The advertising campaign utilized all mediums and even partnered with the Kansas City Chiefs to promote the effort during football games.  The results were media placements in almost all local media outlets.  The story even went national.  At every weekly stop, more than a 100 urban residents turned out to buy the produce so sorely missing from their neighborhood stores.

MarCom Winner, Institute of Food Technologists

Winner: Institute of Food Technologists
Title: “World Without Food Science”
Category: Informational, web video
Web Address: www.ift.org
Campaign Address: www.worldwithoutfoodscience.org

Riveting is not a word you would ordinarily associate with Food Science. But the makers of this informational web video created a story hard not to watch. Using black and white cinematography, sparse script, and stark sets, the Institute of Food Technologists delivers an important message that few of us think about: where would consumers be without Food Science?

The video is not exactly a horror film, but is scary nonetheless.




Winner: Shazaaam! Public Relations
Location: Detroit , MI
Business Type: Public Relations + Marketing
Category: Pro Bono

What is always noticeable in the MarCom Awards is the considerable pro bono work done by advertising agencies, public relations and marketing firms.

Recently, Shazaaam! Public Relations in Detroit, Michigan volunteered to handle publicity surrounding a very charitable act to a needy family with an out-of-work father.  The family’s 4-year-old daughter has brain cancer and requires treatment five days a week.  To add to the family’s trauma, the facility is an hour away from their Flint, Michigan home.  Angels of Hope, a charity that helps young cancer victims, arranged housing near the clinic.  The publicity generated by Shazaaam! brought the family’s story to local newspapers, websites, radio and television stations.  Besides shining a light on Angels of Hope and the bank that supplied the house, Shazaaam’s efforts also helped the father.  After six months out of work, the welder was given a job by someone who heard the story.

In a Michigan economy, that’s saying a lot.


This Week’s Tech Gadgets – Sept. 10, 2012

By Gregg Ellman

Your morning shower will never be the same once you start sharing the water with the new iShower created by iDevices.

The water-resistant bluetooth speaker is powered by three rear-mounted AA batteries (included) for about 15 hours of shower time.

Once you pair it to your iPhone, iPad, Android or any bluetooth-enabled device, you can keep it water free, up to 200 feet away from the speaker.

You can pair up to five devices to the iShower so multiple users can listen to their own music.

It comes with a Grab-n-Go adhesive mounting system for easy installation or just hang it over the shower head.

Inside is a single speaker that does a great job of filling your shower with sound, but don’t except high-end stereo sound.

www.ishowerinc.com $99.99


The Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit allows you to charge just about any portable electronic gadget from just about anywhere without running out of power.

What makes it a kit is a Nomad 7 solar panel, a Guide 10 battery pack, an ultra charge solar cord, a 12V auto DC adapter and a battery charger with a 4-pack of AA NiMH rechargeable batteries.

It’s compact enough to be folded and zippered shut to the size of an iPad and weighs just a pound. The most important aspect is that the solar panel enables you to charge electronic devices from anywhere.

The 7 watt solar panel charges the battery pack in about 4 hours in good sunlight and takes a little longer in less sunny conditions. Once it’s charged the choices are endless to what can be charged.

Goal Zero lists phones, MP3 players, tablets, GPS units and lights as gadgets the kit will charge, basically if you can charge it USB there is a good chance it will work.

Among the several options for charging is a USB port on the battery and on the AA charger for connecting devices.

The AA batteries can be used to power the USB port or they can be removed for use in any device needing AA’s.

My iPhone charged from 5 percent to 100 percent in an hour and a half, after the solar panel charged the battery on a sunny day.

A LED indicator lets you know when the battery is charging or full.

www.goalzero.com $159.99


The TabletTail from Octa keeps an iPad in a hands-free position or just works as a carrying handing if you choose to use it that way.

One piece attaches to your iPad (or most other e-readers with non-porous surfaces) with 5 pumps for vacuum suction technology to the back of your iPad directly over the Apple logo and the other, which is the fin then attaches to balance your tablet.

What makes the Octa stand out from most other tablet stands is that once it’s attached, the tail can be bent and positioned for most any viewing angle or surface.

It only weighs .365 lbs and it won’t leave any markings behind once it’s removed.

www.Octa.com $49.99

Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman@mac.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2012, Gregg Ellman.


This Week’s Tech Gadgets – Sept. 4, 2012

By Gregg Ellman
Ease of set up and ease of use are the first things I look for in any shared network devices and you get that with the Iomega EZ Media and Backup Center.

Plug a network connection in the back of the unit and after a simple online setup anyone on the wireless network  can simultaneously share just about any digital content on multiple computers, tablets, smartphones or network-connected TV’s .

When you combine the network device with the free Iomega Link app, you can create an Iomega personal cloud to view the content from just about anywhere when connected to the Internet.

The personal cloud also lets you invite others (up to 250 members) to have access to the content in your cloud. This includes movies, music, photos or even documents all available from anywhere 365/24/7.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a device that isn’t user friendly to the media center and its cloud storage. This includes Mac and Windows systems along with all Apple and Android smartphones and tablets

The EZ Media and Backup Center is available in 1, 2 or 3TB options for $189.99, $229.99 and $319.99 respectively.

For a reference, each terabyte can hold as many as 250,000 songs, 400,000 photos, 385 hours of video or 120 hours of  HD video. The exact number can vary by the individual size of each file, but you get the idea: they hold a lot.

Iomega also put an iTunes server in the media center allowing you to but a song or video once from iTunes and then share the content with multiple devices.



Logitech’s latest and greatest addition to their web cam lineup is the Logitech TV Cam HD.

The high-definition camera works with your TV’s HDMI input but is packed with features to produce an incredibly clear image with great sound for those you are connecting with.

The lens is built with optics from German optics specialist Carl Zeiss, the same optics built into many high-end products in the professional photography world.

Along with the optics, Logitech’s Fluid Crystal Technology  and four noise-canceling microphones let you send the best possible picture and sound across the web.

The lens can pan, tilt or zoom on your subject and is built with an ultra wide-angle view enabling users to get more then one person in view.

Skype (Internet voice/video calling program) and Wi-Fi are built into the camera so you can connect to the web computer free.

All you need is a Skype account, Internet connection and a minimal setup to talk to anyone around the world and have them see you on the screen in ultra wide-angle 720p .

The camera also has a ringer, to alert you for calls coming in.

www.logitech.com $199


It might be hard to envision charging stations that are “cool” but after you see the IDAPT universal chargers you can see why they fall in that category.

With the i4 Universal Charger, the compatibility has it working with over 4,500 of today’s portable electronic gadgets including gaming, GPS, digital cameras and cellular devices.

The main parts of the product consist of a single power cord and a base station. Then you plug in the interchangeable charging tips for your device, with up to three tips being able to charge devices at once.

An additional device can be charged with the USB port on the side of the base.

The i4 default pack ($64.99) I had for testing came with mirco and miniUSB, Sony Ericsson 2, Samsung 4, Nokia 2 and the coveted Apple 30-pin connection.

If these aren’t the charing connections you need, additional tips can be purchased including charging for AA and AAA batteries or a custom 4-pack kit with a charging base in a choice of multiple colors.

Each pin snaps in and out as needed, making it versatile for the gadgets of today’s families or even a small business.

The IDAPT i1Eco charging system ($32.99) allows you to charge two devices at once, one with a  charging tip and the other through the USB port.

This one is way more travel-friendly since the base can be powered from an AC or DC connection (both choices included).

The default pack has the pair of USB connections and an Apple 30-pin connection but a custom pack can also be created with a pair of tips.

Most single tips cost about $9.99 except the AA/AAA battery tip for $19.99


Contact Gregg Ellman at greggellman@mac.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @greggellman.
2012, Gregg Ellman.


This Week’s Tech Gadgets – Aug. 29, 2012

By Gregg Ellman
During a little summer cleaning I found a lot of plain and ordinary but very useful products including the Quirky Crate modular storage system.

It doesn’t have a USB connection or need any power, RAM or memory but after I saw how great they stored piles of my electronic gadgets I knew it was a good thing to write about.

It’s designed to emulate a stack of milk crates like I had in my dorm room long ago. The crates are  stackable, attachable or can combine with drawers or even seat cushions.

Quirky has 10 add-on-accessories (as of now), which attach to any of the 25 holes on the sides and back of the crate to attach cord management for headphones, legs, cork boards or just hooks.

It’s simple but innovative and if you have just one percent of what I have, you’ll find it handy.

www.quirky.com/crate $19.99 for the crate, accessories range from $5.99 to $29.99


The Urbanears Zinken over-the-ear-styled headphones feature great sound and are fashionable by today’s standards.

They are collapsible when not in use and feature 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers, which sounds really good and the comfortable ear cushion helps keep out ambient noise.

Since they are DJ-styled, they include a TurnCable, which has a standard 3.5mm plug on one end and a 6.3mm plug for use with a mixer on the other.

The fashion part of the headphones are made with a matte finish and with the color choice including grape, indigo, pumpkin and tomato you can see the fashion angle incorporated.

www.urbanears.com/headphones/zinken $140


The iLuv compact Bluetooth Keyboard is marketed as a partner for the iPad but it will work just fine with any Bluetooth device needing a keyboard, although it does have dedicated keys for some iPad functions.

It’s powered by two AAA batteries (not included) and measures just 9.8 x 4.8 x 6 inches, making it an ideal accessory for travel or just the day-to-day portability of a backpack.

Aside from the letters and numbers, it has shift keys on both sides and it works great.

www.iLuv.com $56.99