Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dining & Dancing With Daddy

For the past few years we've designed the invitation and collaterals for the annual Dining & Dancing With Daddy event, held by The Oklahoma Gladney Family Association of the Gladney Center for Adoption.  This is a really neat black tie dinner where dads and daughters (and some sons with cute little tuxes, too) have a fancy night out with other families like theirs, brought together by Gladney.

Birds of a Feather

The first year we designed the materials, Kathleen art directed, and not only did we find out how fun it was to design these neat little invitations, but we also won a gold Addy award and a silver District Addy award for a not-for-profit invitation.


The next year we did a more embellished invitation in royal purples and metallic golds.  Liz designed this place setting style theme.


I love all the little details that make it seem even more special.

Pretty In Pink

This years invitation, also designed by Liz, is printed on cross-hatched textured paper, layered with watercolor-inspired textures and powder-puff dandelion graphics.


Dining and Dancing with Daddy 2009 is this weekend, Saturday, January 31st.  And I know two people who will definitely be in attendance...

Steppin' Out... With My Baby

Mickie, Third Degree's executive vice president, with her son Jackson (remember the cute little tuxes reference?)  Mickie and her husband have been involved on the Gladney Family Association and are past presidents of the central oklahoma group.

I personally think Mickie should wear a feather boa to work every day.  She had Jackson up here yesterday because the schools were STILL closed because of the ice.  But we have plenty of crayons, computer games and weird desk toys to keep any 4-and-a-half-year-old entertained for at least... well... twelve minutes (I mean, he only ran into the meeting room once during a conference call.)  Have fun being the beau of the ball this weekend, Jackson!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This Ain't No Disco

Where can you go to see some of the most creative, fun, inspiring agency interiors from around the world? This Ain't No Disco (it's where we work), is a site that showcases agencies large and small from all over the place... Boston, Finland, Brazil...

...and now, Oklahoma City!  Third Degree is the latest featured agency on today's Disco home page.  We join the ranks of some really inspiring spaces.  Check out some of the other most popular past agency features on the home page, they are truly jaw-dropping.  We may not have our own fireplace complete with smore-building station or an astroturf walkway blazing a path through our creative department, but it's still really exciting to be included among the ranks.

Thanks to Studio Architecture for designing our space and Jentry and Kathleen for taking it to the next level with our recent diner addition.  

"Disco" featured agencies above: Think Brownstone, Inc,  Crowell Advertising, Trust Creative Society and AG407.
Third Degree photography by David McNeese.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Work Forward Video

Chorus Line

These are our Third Degree patches.  We used a bunch of them on Dickie's messenger bags we made up for all of our team members one year.  Those bags went like hot cakes.  We don't have a single one left.  But we do have a lot of patches left over.


And this guy here, he just made the cut.  He stars in the intro to the Third Degree video we created.  This intro, complete with brand-inspired diner background noise, is going to be the opening mainstay of any Third Degree "homemade" video we create for ourselves from now on. 


These were some of our little props that we used to take the place of real people.  Because when I say homemade, I mean designers (Brett) standing in as camera men and sound guys, art directors as voice-over talent (Daniel), and creative directors helping slide props in and out of scenes in time to the script (that would be me, Tara). 

My point being, when we do this for our clients, we usually employ some... oh, let's say actors, a crew, an animator.  But, we kind of like our quirky DYI on a shoe-string creation. 


This first video is about Third Degree's social media marketing process.  We have this cool chart that outlines the whole thing, but no matter how you lay it out, any comprehensive process can be a tad overwhelming at first glance.  We wanted to create a video to bring it to life a little. 

Rock Stars

So that's Work Forward.  What's our next Third Degree video going to be about?  Not salsa chugging.  Sorry. It's going to be another glimpse into our social media approach.  And, it's going to have Roy in it, too!  So be on the lookout for another appearance of the Third Degree patch with the sizzling sounds of "serving it up" in the background .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Draw Club


First rule of Draw Club is you don't talk about Draw Club.

Second rule of Draw Club? You don't talk about Draw Club.

Draw Club Spy

Okay, but I had to sneak up on Daniel and Brett yesterday as they communed over their favorite lunchtime activity (besides scrounging for free leftovers in the agency fridge, or schlepping to the China Chef buffet)... Draw Club.

I also love that it's unabashedly called Draw Club, so I like to say it a lot.

Draw Club Challenge

Draw Club, I have learned, is where you have a single theme, and each participant has about thirty minutes to sketch their own interpretation of that theme.  Draw Club creators, Daniel and Brett, have been doing this about two times a week for the past year. They've pretty much kept Draw Club on the down-low because it's lame.  

And when I say lame, I mean awesome (because I'm jealous and want to be in Draw Club, too).

Draw Club High

This is a side-by-side of the same theme.  Daniel's sketch on the left, Brett's on the right.  This theme was to do a page from a high school yearbook.  They got the idea from a similar concept they saw on Flickr.

Draw Club Boys

As I was taking these pictures, and asked them to show me another of their earlier themes, they showed me the Monkey King.  An Asian-inspired folklore figure who's interpretation has three requirements: he must be drawn with a staff, a crown, and be floating on clouds.

This was at the same moment Kathleen walked up and decided to pick on Draw Club (because she's jealous, too), and say that they draw like boys.

Draw Club Girls

So we girled it up for them.  Or, at least I did.  My girl-ified Monkey King is on the left. Kathleen's has a more garage band poster extraterrestrial vibe going on over on the right, and the demonstration drew a little bit of boisterous lunch crowd commentary from lookers-on.

Draw Club Jamie

On days when they're not being harrassed, Daniel and Brett are usually the only participants of Draw Club.  But there have been other Third Degree-ers who have happened by before, only to find themselves thirty minutes later with a sketch of their own.  And they're not always from the creative department.  Jamie our project manager has been known to sit in on Draw Club.   

It shouldn't be a surprise, because she's also been known to doodle peppy little illustrations on our project job jackets (above) before distributing them through the workflow.  

She doesn't talk about it though.  Jamie knows the rules of Draw Club.

Draw Club For Men

So when the colored pencil dust has settled and all the hype of Draw Club calms down, (like, after today) I think Brett and Daniel will be glad when we have all scrammed, going back to chatting over our Lean Cuisines and brown bag lunches, so they can go back to their manly endeavors without being bothered.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Meet Brian


Okay, so everyone knows Brian, a.k.a. Associate Creative Director, but I think it's neat to see what creative stuff our creatives do when they're not on the clock.

I myself like to get creative about how many ways I can trick my four year old into liking the same TV shows as me so I can make quality time equal veg-out time, but many people on our team actually do DO extracurricular creative stuff that's pretty cool (in addition to getting their young children to like the same things they like... yeah, I've seen your five-year-old's room Brian, and he isn't exactly the demographic for Futurama).

Brian's a Bastard

Talk about extracurricular.  This past year Brian teamed up to write an original comic with illustrator Dave Curd, and together they spawned a new take on post-apocalyptic mayhem: Bastard Road.  

Brian's Popular

Bastard Road was published in the latest issue of a nationally distributed comic book compilation, Pop Gun Vol. 2 .  Like any self respecting post-apocalyptic tale, Road's pretty gruesome and a little off-color to say the least, but if you can't help yourself, you can view every off-color page at the Pop Gun site.  If you want more Bastard Road, they're getting another installation published in late March in the upcoming Pop Gun Vol 3. that you can learn about on Brian and Dave's blog.

Brian Makes Time for The Food Pyramid

Brian has other screenplay and comic-inspired concepts up his sleeve and in the works, (some even blood and guts-free I hear... darn). So in between his break-of-dawn spinning class and his daily ritual of preparing an unchanging meticulous multi-tupperwared freakishly healthy lunch of carrot sticks, celery chunks, grapefruit wedges, pretzel sticks and a turkey sandwich on whole wheat (must be brain food), he's obviously got enough creative on the mind to spill over past the 9 to 5.  

Brian Earns a Paycheck

All that's well and good for Third Degree, too.  Who'd think you'd have the chance to do a comic for a legitimate agency project?  We did.  It's why Brian created Bucky and Knuckles, an ongoing web comic for our client Tinker Federal Credit Union's Gen Y targeted web site,

Brian is Live!

Brian's also really good about participating.  He's done guest-gigs at Oklahoma Christian teaching advertising class to college students, and he's involved in Ad Club.  In fact, he's the guest speaker at this Thursday's AdTwo OKC evening gathering.  He'll be talking about his experiences in the advertising industry, and I'm sure there will at least be a few off-color comments in there – ones worthy of Bastard Road? You'll have to attend to hear for yourself.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Addy Entry Time

Today is the deadline to submit our work from the previous year in the Addy competition.


That means lots of people around here scrambling to gather samples, print out artwork and burn CDs and DVDs. Plus a ton of entry forms to fill out, cut, sort, and affix properly (there are a lot of rules in this arena). The fun part comes later in February at the Addy Gala where they announce and show off the winning entries.


So this is the not-so-fun part of the Addy awards. We've got to beat the clock (deadline is at 6:00 pm) so we can load up a cardboard box full of our entries in the back of someone's car so they rush it to Addy entry headquarters by 6:00 p.m.

For good luck we often will either wave like the pope over the box, or kiss the box as it goes out the door, or sometimes we have Roy rub his booty on the box. We usually don't kiss it after that.

We're going gold medals come gala time. (But after a few bottles of complimentary wine at the tables, we'll shout ourselves hoarse just as loudly for the bronze). Speaking of shouting and general over-enthusiasm, last year was an eventful Addy awards evening. We had fun to say the least.

Here are a few of our winning entries from the 2008 awards.


Phillip art directed this exterior signage for Red Pin a bowling alley concept restaurant and bar that's one of our neighbors here in Bricktown. It won an Addy gold for site exterior. This year we don't have a site exterior entry, but we have a site interior entry for the Buck The Norm oversized mall banners that went up all over Penn Square Mall at Christmas shopping time, thanks to some awesome media planning and placement by Holly and Kriste.


This in-branch standee for a Liberty Loan campaign won a gold Addy in the point of purchase free standing category last year. It was art directed by Kathleen and was for a fun constitutional-inspired promotion for Delta Community Credit Union. This particular standee of Patrick Henry resides by my desk and serves to block the intense 4 o' clock sun that blinds me through my window at the end of the day. He's my boyfriend.


Patrick was also accompanied by a series of standees including Harriett Tubman, Abe Lincoln and that cherry-tree-chopper, George Washington. This year we're entering some HD TV football-themed standees we did for Pioneer in this same category.


We always do well in at least one of the self-promotion categories. Our Third Degree brand book won us a gold last year. We've started doing brand books for lots of our clients since then.

Some self-promotional stuff we're entering this year includes our Christmas Card (those always medal for us), some of our direct mailers sent out to credit unions and, of course, our agency on-hold messages.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Speaking of on hold messages. The on hold message we submitted last year for Funds For Learning, not only won us the gold, but won us the coveted Jef Fontana Humor Award. I think it was our third or fourth agency win of the shiny, blingy star-shaped trophy, and like our second or third win for Brian!! We like our funny.


And this is kind of meta. The campaign we actually created for the previous year Addy's won a special judges award at last years Addy's, which was cool.

Here's the video that was at the center of that campaign, which I created with the help of Simon Hurst's photography and Kathleen's photo direction assistance, Phillip's graphic assistance, Lucky Dog audio, and Digital DK's awesome animation.

Our hopes for a video win this year? Buck The Norm, baby!!! But we'll see. You just never know. The only certain thing about the Addy's are they're gonna be long, and there's gonna be some serious trading going on for unused extra drink tickets from our designated driver spouses.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hastings & The Ham

We've kind of really gotten into this style of video where you shoot lots of still photography in particular sequence (like dancing), that when animated together creates a really cool moving picture. This is an approach we first tried with our Think It Up Addy video, and then liked it so much we used it for TFCU's Buck The Norm video.

Freeze Frames photography by Simon Hurst

Most recently we've applied this approach to the new TV spot for Hastings, a nationwide entertainment retailer. They really wanted to have a TV spot shot inside their actual store to show off the newly redesigned look of their stores as well as all their stuff: books, movies, games and music. We didn't want to shoot a ho-hum video commercial, so we decided this photo-animated approach would have an edgier look and appeal.

Hastings :30 Sec "More" TV

Then we added lots of graphics and typography and effects, storyboarded out a sequence, and through music and animation brought it all to life.

Art Director-Slash-Stylist

Kathleen produced and art directed the Hastings TV spot. And, as always, she also brought along a lot of her clothes to help supplement the wardrobe, which we ended up using for both of our actresses pictured here.

Headphones Make The Look

Hmmm, does that super-fly head gear look familiar? Hey, if you're trying to achieve a particular look and feel with props and wardrobe, sometimes it's just quicker to bring your own stuff than to go shopping.

Honey Ham

So you know how I said that it's hard to keep Kathleen away from the camera? I actually think this Hastings shoot, surprisingly enough, was one of the first times she forgot to jump in front of the lens. But as you can see by this collection of thumbnails she's had plenty of practice getting Simon and David (our two favorite photographers) to let her ham it up on the set.

Making The Pass

This is the shot that started it all. That's Byron Scott, coach of the NBA Hornets, when his team temporarily called OKC home during post-Katrina, before returning to New Orleans. Third Degree did a Cox Digital Cable commercial in the locker room with Coach Scott, and as Kathleen handed him his prop (a TV remote control), she couldn't help but strike a pose. Simon, of course, played accomplice and was ready to snap her sneaky play.