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posted by Apprentices Dec 21,2009 @ 06:03AM

New Work: Palmetto Opera Part 1


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Opera, boring? Blasphemy!

Opera is a dramatic, heart-wrenching form of entertainment, full of complicated love triangles and murderous villains. The Palmetto Opera has spent molti years working to share its love of opera with the people of South Carolina.

Founded in 2001 by a group of motivated enthusiasts, the Palmetto Opera started small until its first big break: a sold-out, full-length performance of The Marriage of Figaro. The organization’s wish is to garner enough community support to fund the presentation of a full opera performance every year.

Enter CreateAThon.

We developed a strategy for the Palmetto Opera designed to introduce a new, younger, previously untargeted audience. We designed a modern, interessante new identity. (Huge thanks to guest designer Jason Smith!) We also created a beautiful new design for the website.

To introduce the new identity, we designed invitations for the Palmetto Opera’s annual fundraiser dinner, An Evening in Italy, and we developed a new program to introduce opera to the new target audience in a comfortable, approachable atmosphere. More details to come in Part 2. Ciao!

Thanks to the creative team: Katy Miller, Cathy Monetti, Jason Smith, Lauren Bowles, GP Worrell, Zach Lepine and Sammy Rutkowski.

- Sammy Rutkowski

posted by Apprentices Dec 10,2009 @ 11:15AM

New Work: Spartanburg Soup Kitchen Part 2




In Part 1 of the Spartanburg Soup Kitchen project, the CreateAThon team addressed the objective of reintroducing the Soup Kitchen and the relevancy of its work by developing a new identity and outdoor campaign. Next, the team integrated the new identity into a plan for launching the public phase of its capital campaign.

To drive donations from the general public, we developed two exciting incentives. First, we designed custom melamine dishware sets, called Soupware. It was great fun creating the design, which incorporates the “S” from the new logo. We suggested that a new design be created each year, so annual donors can collect different sets over time. The dinnerware sets will be sold on a tiered pricing model, ranging from a hundred dollars for two sets to a thousand dollars for eight sets.

Second, we designed a series of new t-shirts, called Soupwear. These items provide incentives for lower-level donations.

The CreateAThon team developed a brochure to present these fundraising incentives to the community. To further promote the campaign, we created a master design system for a new website,, so people can make donations online.

It has been a great pleasure helping the Soup Kitchen in their mission to feed the hungry. Keep serving up those plates full of goodness!

CreateAthon Spartanburg Soup Kitchen Team: Teresa Coles, Lee Price, Julie Turner, Tim Floyd, G.P. Worrell

- Sammy Rutkowski

posted by Kevin Smith Dec 08,2009 @ 10:10AM

The New Normal

My colleague, Katy Miller, and I attended the 29th Annual Economic Outlook Conference last week at the University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business. We attended last year as well, just as the economy began to diabolically unravel, and as Riggs Partners began to offer commentary through this New Economy Consumer blog.

Last year's predictions at the conference were dire, and they all came true. As a result, we were more than eager to hear discussion on 2009 and all prognostications concerning 2010.

Sure, most economists agree a modest recovery has begun. While many indicators remain negative, they are at least relenting a bit. Last Friday's unemployment figure of only 11,000 jobs lost was a welcomed surprise.

Still, worries remain. Much of our financial system remains unsteady. The U.S. cannot afford another stimulus package. Dubai, UAE offered another ripple in the fallout that persisted throughout this year. Fears remain about the solvency of much of the commercial real estate market, and of a possible bubble fueled by the Chinese economic stimulus efforts. The consensus is that the recovery will be long and hard-fought.

Simply put, most of us remain worried, intent on retiring outstanding debt and increasing our savings. Historically, Americans have had short memories, and old spending, or overspending, habits seem almost genetic. Yet from the onset of this crisis, we at Riggs Partners have hypothesized that this time was different, more acute, and most likely to result in fundamental attitudinal and behavioral shifts.

Now brings us to understanding a new normal.

To summarize comments from Coastal Carolina research economist Donald Schunk, the new normal means individuals spending money they actually have, banks making loans to those who have sound credit and companies investing in endeavors based on the likelihood of a favorable return on investment rather than the inexpensiveness of leverage.

Enter the era of common sense.

Common sense tells us we can't avoid overspending forever. It dictates that our choices be prudent. And it tells us that the companies with whom we do business demonstrate relevance and value.

The new normal is basic - stripped-down, and devoid of nuance, subtlety or gimmick.

The resulting ramifications for marketers are huge. If your product is a commodity, evolve or perish. Our current business environment is over-populated with parody products and services. It's time to be aggressive and rethink what you are selling, and retool your organization and marketing communications efforts accordingly.

The new normal is full of opportunity for businesses and individuals. Don't let it pass you by.




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