Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mad About The Mall

We've been getting excited about mall advertising lately at Third Degree. We've recently done floor clings and banners for the Square of Clean Air campaign and Buck The Norm. We've also got some new mall concepts for a few other clients brewing for the fall that will target shoppers when holiday traffic starts to gear up.


So earlier this week I was looking for some unusual advertising real-estate opportunities to shoot and mock up for a client proposal (if I happened to get some new shoes, too, so be it.)

As I was passing Banana Republic I did a serious double take.

Because Don Draper was looking right at me.


That's his lovely wife Betty giving me a frosty stare, as well. And if you don't watch Mad Men on AMC, a drama documenting the Madison Avenue advertising agency world of the sixties, these names might not mean a lot to you. But at Third Degree, they mean double-standards and scotch... secrets and stereotypes... and, mad, mad style.


After I caught my breath and started discreetly snapping away (mall security be damned), I saw how extensive this brilliant cross-promotion went. With signage throughout the stores, and early sixties office-inspired dresses and suits featured alongside profiles of favorite characters from the show. And this clever little collateral, which I quickly grabbed up...


a little mini Banana Republic Mad Men catalog.


It includes a free iTunes download of a Mad Men episode, a Banana Republic coupon, and a "casting call" contest, where you can enter to win a walk-on role in the actual show and a $1,000 Banana Republic gift card.

Third Degree might just have some entries among our employees. Not only do we have the season one DVD box set of Mad Men in our agency diner, we've also got a quiz at the bottom of our new web site home page where you can choose Donald Draper as your favorite ad guy among other fictional competitors, and we've had an employee win a costume contest dressed as Joan, the show's sexy office manager.


The little brochure also pairs characters from the show with a Banana Republic break-down of their style with corresponding outfits.

We also have another employee blogging about her own custom
Mad Men character on AMC's web site where you can "Mad Men Yourself." AMC is hitting on all cylinders with environmental and online ways of getting fans excited, and hopefully getting non-fans interested enough to jump on board, for the fall season kickoff on August 16.


Obviously I am a target because I am already a fan. But this is just a great example of non-traditional advertising hitting the right person at the right time.


Oh... and it worked on my husband. Brilliant.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Un-Shy Alumni

It's no secret, we've got a bucket-full (or should I say a seed-sower's-sack full) of OU Alumni here at Third Degree. Recently OU sent a crew to come interview some of us here at the agency for a series of alumni videos they are featuring on their newly-designed website.


(A website which, ahem-ahem, we may have had a role in designing).


You can watch all the videos on YouTube if you go here.

Jentry particularly charmed the crew (she has some sort of girl-next-door hoodoo that no one is immune from), and she also had some friendly advice for students who might not want to limit themselves to one field of study too quickly, as Jentry herself got a degree in interior design, but has developed her career a kick-ass media buyer.


Mostly everyone doled out words of wisdom of one form or another...

but enough alma mater mumbo jumbo. Because seriously, there's a much more important topic at hand:

Which person's desk do you think looks the most hideously messy in their video?


Mine? (That's me, Tara.)


Amanda's? (Okay, her's doesn't look too bad, but I think she cleaned it at the last second.)


Or Brian's?

Obviously none of us majored in interior design.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Third Degree: The Photo Shoot

Today we launch the new Third Degree website. Yay! Which means Third Degree can share our most recent work, case studies, thoughts, hopes, dreams, etc...


It also means since we took some new staff photos for the site at David McNeese studio, I can now finally show you all the embarrassing behind the scenes photos. Like this one. Classic.


Has anyone seen a creative (and a copywriter to boot) ever smile so big?


That's more like it.


I tend to get carried away.


This was my favorite shot of the day. Holly our media director looks just like a shampoo commercial. So ethereal, angelic. I call it Holly-Campaign-For-Beauty-Dot-Com.


I call this one, Holly WTF?


Our executive vice president Mickie, had to bring her little boy to the shoot. It was only a matter of time before that situation spiraled.


Speaking of spiraling situations, Roy, our CEO made an impromptu appearance at the studio. So, while Amanda doesn't have a child in her shot... well, you finish that sentence.


Of course, having Roy show up equaled instant hilarity. Or maybe that was just because of the wine he brought with him.


All in all, a memorable day.


As for selective memory, this is when I promised everyone I wouldn't share their embarrassing photos.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Powerwash Equals Mural Makeover

Our client Pioneer, is headquartered in the smalltown hub of Kingfisher, Oklahoma. The town's main street strip still holds the charm of days-gone-by combined with all the signs of a thriving rural community. So when a recent powerwashing of Pioneer's mural resulted in a little more paint removal than dirt removal, on the one hand it could have just passed as well, retro... really retro...


...or the slight mishap could present itself as an opportunity for a fresh coat of paint and a refresh of the Pioneer brand look.


We had just put out a new annual report for Pioneer, a telecommunications company that's been serving western Okahoma for over 50 years.


So we decided to draw some inspiration from the annual report cover as we designed the new mural.


And presto chango! Our muralist did it in like two days. We didn't want it to look too new, so we designed it to look pre-distressed. You know, like when you buy jeans with the holes already in them.


We convinced the Pioneer marketing ladies to trek out to the mural with us for a photo op. It was 104 degrees outside and the bleached out concrete parking lot really reflected a lot of sun during this afternoon shot. I photo-adjusted this one, but it still looks like we're posing for a party pic on the surface of Mars.


I wasn't even allowed in the group picture because my beyond white skin was creating too much glare. Maybe I should take a cue from the brick wall behind me and get a new coat of paint... spray-on-tan style.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

When Art Directors Get To Go Outside

They go to the HOW Design Conference! This year Third Degree sent Kathleen and Liz to see what's-what in the world of design at the national conference held in Austin, Texas this year.


Every professional creative person from inhouse designer to big bad agency art director drools to go to HOW. At Third Degree we try to budget for two creatives to get to attend every other year or so.


One thing that helps make it affordable is sharing a hotel room. What the budget does not cover is a hotel bill for trashing the room.


Kathleen and Liz kept me posted on their experience in real time with frequent texts. The first outing upon arrival was an agency tour of a quaint bungalow-style house that was home to Creative Suitcase a local Austin agency. The girls felt right at home.


A particularly inspirational session was one by Kate Bingaman-Burt of, a blogger/illustrator/design influencer in her own right, and a big believer in handcrafted design, which is something both Liz and Kathleen feel passionate about, as well.

Craft + Activism = Craftivism by Kate Bingaman-Burt of


A more serious session was all about staying organized and the importance of actionable steps in an "idea" world. It's not all troubled genius and late night brainstorms. It's actually a lot of being organized, consistent and just responsible with your energy and focused on the right things. Kathleen was a front-rower at this one – the kind that nods at everything the speaker is saying. This was presentation was given by Behance, and was so on the Third Degree train, Kathleen almost jumped up and yelled "testify!"


Kathleen's notes from Living a Curiously Creative Life breakout session by Von Glitschka.

In fact, having been to HOW myself, I would compare the experience to something probably not unlike a revival. So we just started ending all our texts to and from the conference with "revival! testify! hallelujah!" This doodle-note is one of Kathleen's... hmmm, looks like she is already being inspired by that handcrafted session she attended earlier in the conference.


Now that they are back to the daily grind, we hope that a little of that inspiration lingers.

Liz at the agency tour of fd2s in Austin.


Not that it's ever too dull around here. Case in point: just a week after their return from HOW, and we see what really happens when art directors get to go outside – especially when they get their hands on a client's used outdoor vinyl, coat it with baby oil, stake it to a hill, and.. yes...


... turn it into a slip and slide.

TFCU's Get Going promotion may be over. But that didn't stop some of our more inventive minds from inventing another way to get going (and get grass burns).