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posted by Michael Powelson Apr 08,2015 @ 11:20AM

"Intimate Exchanges": New work and the possibilities of Point of View

Our Cups Runneth Over 

Everyone loves secrets. And as a creative director, it’s always a treat to realize your client is holding on to one of the “best kept” variety.

In the case of Goodwill of the Upstate & Midlands, that little known fact was the extraordinary lengths the organization stretches to squeeze every last drop of value from a second-hand donation. We’re talking extreme thrift and re-imagining of materials — an “everything-can-be-used-for-something” mentality that would make the earliest inhabitants of this continent nod in solemn approval[1]. Bottom line: if you think that junk in your basement is worth just as much at the dump as anywhere else, you’re wrong. And a 20-minute tour of Goodwill’s distribution center in Greenville will prove it.

So raise your hand if you’ve ever considered taking a 20 minute tour of Goodwill’s distribution center in Greenville.

Siri? Siri is that you? Please say something so I know in which direction to speak…the multitude of hands…they blind me so.

Yeah, it’s just not something people do.

What people do is watch videos on the internet. Even some that don’t have kittens or naked people in them. So we decided this might be a decent way to tell the story of Goodwill’s obsessive point of difference.

But a virtual tour? Come on. We’re not hocking timeshares here[2]. Besides, a 50 mm lens just isn’t going to do justice to the massive operation and rigorous protocols that break donations down to fetch the most a market will bear. What we needed was a unique, amusing way to demonstrate how Goodwill gets more out of things than anyone else. What we needed was a different point of view.

Ever wonder if your old stuff has thoughts? Anxieties? Even, gasp, desires? Sure, it’s ridiculous. But so are human beings. Just ask John Lasseter, who turned the notion into a feature franchise and 2 billion dollars worth of ridiculousness for Pixar.

Point is, when we took our own tour of the Distribution Center, we couldn’t help but be distracted by the true menagerie of donated items. It was fun to realize that each one had recently left its home with a back story, a sense of character, and, given a little imagination, a point of view. We saw such unlikely pairings of items sitting side by side, waiting to be sorted out. What in the world would their conversations be like as they made their way through this Ellis Island of material goods? And could those conversations be an unexpected ticket to telling the larger brand story?

Given a few of the more colorful things we saw, we think they might have played out something like this:  

 

 

 

 

P.S.P.S (Pleasant Surprise Post Script): This work was recently featured on the international industry site "Best Ads On TV," an accomplishment made even more special given that the videos will never, in fact, be seen on TV.


[1] Not something there's been a lot of cause for in the last 500 years.
[2] That is unless you own some. Who doesn't love time? And the sharing! Call us.  

posted by Kevin Archie Apr 01,2015 @ 07:50AM

a reflection of brand values

Volvo has long been a company intent on making the world a safer place. Responsible for such innovations as the 3-point safety belt, rearward-facing child safety seats, the Lambda Sond (a device that reduces harmful exhaust emissions by 90%), side-impact airbags, and smart technology systems that can detect objects in blind spots or even pedestrians near cars—Volvo has stood by its philosophy to always put people first. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that Volvo's latest innovation has nothing to do with their cars—at least not directly.

BikeAnimation

Enter LifePaint, a unique reflective safety spray invisible by day but bright and reflective in the glare of headlights at night. This clear removable spray can be applied to a cyclists bike and gear to increase visibility on roads. In other words, a multi-billion dollar car company invented a can of spray paint to help protect cyclists from getting hit by the very thing that company creates: cars.

LifePaint is yet another demonstration of Volvo's relentless commitment to safety for all—even those who choose not to buy their cars. This commitment extends even further with the company's bold vision to see no person killed or seriously injured by or in a new Volvo by the year 2020.

How refreshing it is to see a company so in tune with its core values that everything it says and does perfectly reflects those values; to see the inner workings of a brand brought to light through the very way it interacts with the people around it, whether they buy its product or not. Our aim here at Riggs is to achieve that same brand clarity for every client.

posted by Cathy Monetti Jul 30,2014 @ 11:31AM

How One Brand Ignited A Spanish Revolution

I have just returned from a life list vacation. Four days in Barcelona, four days in Madrid, four days in Valencia. I was overwhelmed with the immersion in history a trip like that provides; it's simply impossible to wrap your head around tour-guide comments like during the Roman Empire and in the 8th century, after the Moor conquest. And yet history was there, in crumbling city walls and decaying columns and guarding gargoyles of every attitude and style. It was there—not a homework paragraph in a World History book, but carved in stones you could reach out and touch, rubbing your hands along the ancient surfaces.

 

intheoldcity one of a thousand streets in the ancient city of Barcelona

 

There is this aged history you see and feel and know in all three of the cities we visited. What I found surprising—and, quite frankly jarring—is the contrast between this history and a distinctly 20th century art form wildly prolific there.

 

IMG_2988.JPG

 

Graffiti. Graffiti is everywhere. Graffiti is so profuse in these cities and along the rails as you travel by train it overwhelms the senses and seems to somehow leave Spain's remarkable beauty in shadow.

~~~~~

When I first arrived in Barcelona, I made my way through the city thinking: Obviously the Spanish embrace graffiti as art. What a great example of the wonderful, easy-going European attitude! But it didn't take long until a growing irritation began to color my thoughts.

How on earth did they let it go this far?

 

KZ-door

 

Madrid-traintracks
door-1

Here's what I have learned.

  • In Spain, graffiti is illegal and considered vandalism.
  • The graffiti movement is a counter-cultural revolution that began in the first years of Spain's transition from a dictatorship to a democracy during the early 80s. According to Skate and Urban Street Culture Barcelona, "Young people began to write their names everywhere, on walls in the street, in the metro, wherever. The materials they used were from a view of nowadays rather rudimentary. Among them were 'Edding' felt-tips, shoe polishes and paint sprays. Also they made their own utensils, adapting for example pens with a wider tip using gasoline burners to create this effect or they prepared the nozzles of the sprays to achieve a wider marking style. During this time it was more common to steal the equipment from big warehouses, car shops or stationers. Today there are still some artists remaining that practice this kind of style."
  • "The art form changed" in 1994 when a new type of paint spray can was developed specifically for graffiti writers and introduced by a company called Montana Colors.

According to the Montana Colors website:

In the early '90s, graffiti was considered, by all of the American and European spray paint companies, to merely be an act of vandalism. It was of no interest to any of the companies, because it wasn't yet considered to be profitable. At that time, the discovery of this passionate cultural revolution was what propelled the founders of Montana Colors to lay the groundwork for the creation of the first spray paint made especially for graffiti and, in that way, fill that hole in the market.

Today, Montana Colors is a major brand. Again from the website:

All brands have a path and a record in history, as well as an appellation of origin which guarantees its authenticity. Ours began 18 years ago in Barcelona, at a time when, after the launch of our first spray product, the word spread across Europe, and writers and artists from France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy began to arrive to fill their car trunks with Montana and bring it back to their countries. From that moment up until now, the Montana Colors brand has expanded to a presence in more than 30 countries in the world and to 15 official points of sale: Montana Shop & Gallery, in cities such as Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Montpellier, Brussels, Amsterdam, Nottingham, Lisbon, Montreal, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and San Paulo.

The root of the proliferation of graffiti in these ancient Spanish cities comes down to two things: (1) personal statements of rebellion and independence following a dictatorship, and (2) the introduction of a product that "filled a hole in the market."

And if that's not a statement about the cultural power of branding, I don't know what is.

posted by Michael Powelson Jul 15,2014 @ 06:24AM

Spirit of the Lowcountry In New Spots

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.43.00 AM

 

Went in search of some Lowcountry soul and met great folks with unique perspectives on patient care at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

Hope to have done both justice with these new spots.

 

Suzanne Larson from Michael Powelson on Vimeo.

 

Mike McCarty from Michael Powelson on Vimeo.

 

Jo Anne Tudor from Michael Powelson on Vimeo.

 

Special thanks to director Joanne Hock and GreyHawk Films, our partners in crime on this rewarding project.

 

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posted by Keely Saye Jul 01,2014 @ 05:39AM

CASE STUDY: SC Farm Bureau Insurance Social Media Program

Client: Farm Bureau Insurance of South Carolina

Objective

In 2013, South Carolina Farm Bureau Insurance faced the daunting challenge of establishing a social media presence online. The program needed to increase social media reach, be sustainable and manageable by internal staff, and build engagement over time. Results had to measurable, so analytics needed to be tracked and processed regularly for executive review. We took the bull by the horns and increased Facebook reach by over 146,000% and overall social media reach by more than 84,000%.

Strategy

Buyer Personas - Before any execution of work could begin, a discovery session was scheduled to allow in-depth exploration of the psychographic profiles and consumer behaviors of the target audience. Typically, it is during this process that audience segmentation begins to uncover pain points and hints at how a product or service might alleviate them. Most often, areas of interest that intersect with those pains and potential solutions are also illuminated.

Content Categories – The results of buyer persona research provided insights into the four main topics that the social media content strategy should focus on.

  • Safe driving
  • Home improvement
  • Agricultural education
  • College sports

Keyword Research – To confirm our assumptions on the content strategy, basic keyword research was performed to identify specific topic areas around the content categories and monthly Google search volume associated with them.

Execution

  • Channel Development – The top six social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Youtube and Google+ were opened and optimized with custom branded graphics and keyword rich descriptions.
  • Content Resource Development – Trusted content resources and online influencers associated with the four content categories were followed in every network. At Riggs, we call this “getting down with OPC" (Other People’s Content).
  • Microblog Scheduling – Once the foundation of the content strategy was in place, the news feeds were full of interesting and relevant material. Facebook posts, tweets, Linkedin messages and Google+ posts were then scheduled days in advance and dripped into the news feeds through the social media management system, Hootsuite. Pinterest and Youtube were used primarily to find multi-media content to share in the other networks.
  • Live Engagement – It is important that news feeds not become over-automated with scheduled posts. Therefore, live engagement practices were adopted daily. The social media team used Facebook as a page daily to like, comment and share content from other content resources and online influencers. In Twitter, tweets were retweeted and favorited regularly.
  • Social Media Marketing Campaign – See CASE STUDY: Down and Dirty for details related to the Dueling Dirt campaign.

Results

Facebook

  • While starting at zero, the Facebook page converted 1,520 new followers.
  • 2,200 Facebook users liked, commented or shared content on the client’s page.
  • 216,000 Facebook accounts were reached.
  • 430,000 impressions were earned.
  • 6,800 clicks were recorded.

Twitter

  • 170 new Twitter followers were converted.
  • Up to 35,000 impressions were earned in one month at the peak of the campaign.
  • Limited social media metrics are available for ongoing measurement in Twitter.

Linkedin

  • 316 new company page followers were converted.
  • 15,000 impressions were earned.

All case study results were recorded from July through October 2013.

 

billion+_ebook

Flickr

By the numbers

youtube is 2nd largest search engine