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posted by Apprentices Nov 23,2009 @ 12:11PM

New Work: Spartanburg Area Conservancy

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Spartanburg County is constantly developing. Although business growth is important, many of these new office buildings and communities are taking over what were once forests, watersheds and other green spaces.

The Spartanburg Area Conservancy (SPACE) exists to balance progress with preservation, protecting and maintaining Spartanburg’s undeveloped land as the county continues to grow. SPACE protects land by purchasing conservation easements, creating green spaces and maintaining lands already entrusted in its care.

SPACE is a non-profit organization that relies heavily on donations, so the CreateAthon team devised the Evergreen campaign to attract generous donors. Just as evergreen plants provide unending color and beauty, the Evergreen campaign will help to preserve Spartanburg’s natural beauty for generations to come.

To promote the capital campaign, the CreateAthon team designed a beautiful “pochure” (a brochure that unfolds into a poster) explaining and visualizing the importance of SPACE’s mission. They also refurbished the SPACE logo.

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This is a mock up of the team’s suggested ambient ad. The idea is that overnight, SPACE will transform a parallel parking space in downtown Spartanburg into a green space, complete with sod and a park bench.

Kevin, Julie, Tim, Jay and Melissa - great job!

- Sammy Rutkowski

posted by Apprentices Nov 20,2009 @ 12:46PM

Portion-sized holiday cheer

I would just like to say bravo to Vista Lights. The Congaree Vista’s annual event is the unofficial beginning of the holiday season, but I was thrilled to see just a tiny dash of festive cheer. Personally, I feel that anything involving Mr. Claus should wait until after Thanksgiving. Especially when we’re in South Carolina and it’s pushing 70 degrees during the day.

Vista Lights didn’t get carried away with the Christmas tree; it wasn’t even a pine tree, just something tall and leafy and strung in pretty lights. Apparently Santa made an appearance, but I never saw him. I mostly saw cute little ballerinas, food stands and a bunch of really cool art exhibits. I only heard one carol, and I can’t even remember what it was.

I’ve always been weirded out when stores start stocking holiday decorations way back in October. I believe Halloween candy needs to be on clearance before dreidels and reindeer start showing up. It’s a little morbid when Freddy masks are just one aisle down from Rudolph.

I hope I don’t sound rude. Trust me, I’m no Scrooge. I love the holiday season. I hang paper snowflakes in my doorways and start my holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving. But not a day sooner.

So again, I applaud you, Vista Lights. It was great to get out of the house and have fun without spending very much money. Last night I had a free crab cake, discovered a few new hangouts, and got a light, yet satisfying, appetizer of holiday cheer.

- Sammy Rutkowski

posted by Apprentices Nov 11,2009 @ 05:20AM

Riggs Partners is officially IN

InShow cheese awards

It was Riggs Partners' 15th year competing, but last Friday was my first time attending InShow. For those who don’t know, InShow is AIGA South Carolina’s juried competition showcasing exceptional talent from around the state.

Basically, a display of creative genius in all its glory.

I arrived with the Riggs Partners clique to the InShow gala locale. It was an old brick building on Whaley Street with a hidden majesty you couldn’t quite see, but you could feel.

Inside, guests were chatting with each other, some networking, others catching up with the friends they only see on this day each year. Most of the attention was on two long tables running down the center of the room. Displayed on the tables were the winning entries. Immediately, I joined everyone else in perusing the aisles of work.

I was amazed at the varied mediums of work entered in the InShow. I saw not just posters and websites, but also bat mitzvah invitations and a student short film. It was interesting to see how many different forms creativity could take.

This year the InShow event was dubbed the Grocer’s Gala, and the awards were handcrafted Styrofoam blocks of cheese. Riggs Partners stacked up nine. Our self-promotion piece won, as well as our work produced for:

We were also honored with two special judges awards: Most Delectable Self-Promo for our own newsletter, In The Country of Epigrams; and Freshest Interactive for the Girl Scouts of South Carolina-Mountains to Midlands website.

After the awards presentation, the members of Riggs Partners posed for pictures, juggling our huge stack of cheese. We congratulated and celebrated. It was a good night to be a part of Riggs Partners.

Then I took a moment to step back and just be there in that antique building, soaking in the creative atmosphere and letting myself be filled with inspiration.

This industry sure is fun.

- Sammy Rutkowski

posted by Apprentices Nov 10,2009 @ 12:03PM

Give thanks for shopaholics

Black Friday. It’s funny that such a dismal name has always been used to identify the action-packed kick-start to the holiday shopping season.

These days the name is more fitting. In 2008, after-Thanksgiving shopping was at its lowest in forty years. And it’s not looking up. But luckily for retailers, there are plenty of crazy people (myself included) who will not let some lousy economy ruin all the fun. We will get up at 4 a.m., we will whip up our fancy instant Starbucks, and we will stand in wraparound lines outside Best Buy. Because for us, it’s not really about the sales; it’s about the shared experience.

Shoppers can always count on 40 percent off coupons and doorbuster gifts, but honestly, who wants a free snow globe? The thing is, most people are shopping for their family and friends rather than themselves. Everyone is still in that I’m-thankful-for-my-family, home-for-the-holidays mood. There is sincere joy in the air.

Looking at this from a marketing standpoint, the obvious thing to do is keep these people in a good mood, because happy, giving people are going to buy more. The strategy? Create a feeling of togetherness.

Take Target, for example. The retail giant offered free wake-up calls, and added a clever twist - the calls were from celebrities. Darth Vader and Heidi Klum had shoppers up at 4 a.m. and heading to Target. And when you got that early morning ring, you knew thousands of other people were hearing the same call. Hence, a shared experience.

Once you get them to your store, keep shoppers interacting with each other.

Entertain the mobs of people standing in your long checkout lines. Hand the first person in line a basket of mini muffins to start passing back. Give out “I’ve been shopping since 5 a.m.” stickers. Make live (not recorded) announcements wishing happy shopping. Depending on the venue, start a medley of carols in the checkout line. Don’t go too far, but make it a memorable experience.

So, as we plunge into another recession-scarred holiday season, make the best of it. Form a relationship with your customers now, while they’re counting on you most. What you don’t make in profits, you’ll make up for in brand equity.

- Sammy Rutkowski


posted by Teresa Coles Nov 04,2009 @ 09:30AM

New Work: Spartanburg Soup Kitchen Part 1

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Imagine cooking 500 hot meals every day from a 300 sq. ft. kitchen. For 20 years or so, the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen had been operating out of a church kitchen and dining room, while the need to serve more meals just kept growing.

The board embarked on a capital campaign to raise money to build a new Soup Kitchen facility. While their case for support was sound, they lacked the packaging and community awareness to make the campaign a success.

So the CreateAthon team went to work on developing a new brand identity, outdoor campaign, and web site to re-introduce the Soup Kitchen as a vital part of the community. These outlets gave the Soup Kitchen the marketing foundation it needed, but the team didn’t stop there. Lee Price, Julie Smith, Tim Floyd and Teresa Coles developed a strategy for the Soup Kitchen that would help attract individual gifts to the Soup Kitchen well beyond the capital campaign. More to come in Part 2.

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