Monday, August 31, 2009

Good Things Come In Pairs

I usually don't post on Mondays, because everyone's sort of just trying to clear the residual weekend fog from their heads. But Friday afternoon Brian brought a happening to my attention that I just cannot wait to share.


A little set up: we're doing a friend referral promotion for Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates. It's for breast augmentation, and it's themed Good Things Come In Pairs. Fun, right?


So last week Brian is recording the radio spot for this campaign with Lucky Dog audio in Little Rock. It's about two best friends bantering back and forth about getting "their pairs" done. Turns out one of the lead voice talents (aka Woman #1), has another extracurricular activity that is just too much of a coincidence not to share.

"Cherries" ©

She paints with her breasts.

"BooBees" ©


"Breast Stroke" ©

Angel Tolentino of has been featured on The Today Show, E!, and Ripleys Believe It Or Not for this artistic endeavor. Actually, 100% of her profits from art sales go to breast cancer charities. So, then you think, ah... okay that's actually very clever, and it goes towards a good cause. Plus she obviously has a great sense of humor:

Q) What size are your paint brushes?
A) I was using 34As until our sons were born. Now I work with 34Bs!

Q) Your paintings are cute now, but what will you paint when you turn 65?
A) I'll probably do a whole theme on eggplants.

"Headlights" ©

So I'm guessing that your Monday haze has now lifted, thanks to a pair of too funny to resist fog lights.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

80s Murder Mystery Party

So last Friday we had our internal Third Degree mid year planning meeting. We looked at where we've come, what the next six months might hold, and then we broke for lunch...


... and broke out the hairspray.


Because the afternoon team-building activity? A 1980's High School Reunion Murder Mystery party.


Meet the prom king and queen.


Note the matching corsage and boutineer. It's the little details which made Holly our media director the winner of the "Best Dressed" award, as Mallory Majesty the former prom queen.


Birds of a feather. The nosy school journalist and gossip columnist.


The class president and vice president. Now U.S. presidential and first lady hopefuls.


The band camp couple.


The math team captain and math team cheerleader. Check out his homemade paper calculator watch here.


The "real" cheer captain and her high school jock sweetheart.


And what 80's party would be complete without at least one punk rocker?


It was a cast John Hughes would be proud of.


With, of course, a custom Third Degree compilation soundtrack to match.


Want to see more party pics, visit our Flickr page.
Want to hold your own murder mystery party? Go to

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't Fake It. Make It.

Usually I am a supporter of the typical turn of this phrase "fake it 'til you make it," but since the handcrafted design movement has found a following here at Third Degree, we've been making a real effort to include more handmade elements into our work.


Like the cut paper components of our Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates campaign.


Or the handwritten note style for this teen targeted sub-brand for Pioneer Communications that we've just started to develop.

We made the intern do the hand lettering for this one. We figured since he was technically still in school, it made him the perfect candidate.


These wooden hands had been residing on my living room shelf as treasured objects, until we posed and shot them inhouse with our little digital camera to create an big conceptual theme for a new higher education initiative. (Still pending launch, so I can't give away the actual client or show the finished creative).


We even edited a new variation of the TFCU "we get it" branding campaign, using the transparencies from the original shoot, for a behind the scenes cut-out, paste-up feel. With hands included, of course.


What's funny, is when you get used to making the "unfinished" into a purposeful finished product, it starts to become second nature.


Case in point. Last week I buy a fancy oversized wedding card for our designer Brett from the entire agency. It had one of those envelopes that plays music when you open it. I tested the flap like the little sticker on it told me too, heard the wedding march play in it's little electric fuzzy way, and said "that'll work." I didn't actually bother to look inside the envelope. So when I got back to the office to find out there was no actual card inside... no sweat.


We just recruited the intern, gave him a Sharpie...


... and created a handmade card that will probably have a lot more meaning in the long run.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grocery Fun for MECU and You

I think there is something so appealing about fake food. I like it when it's plastic, or miniature, or pretending to be something else like a hamburger phone, or like when you get your lemon juice in that fake plastic lemon squeeze bottle.


I realize that most people probably don't have this same obsession. But I think most people agree they love food... you know, the real kind. So it's for more than self-indulgent reasons that I can say I love the food themed promotion we recently launched for MECU (Motorola Employees Credit Union) who are based outside of Chicago, IL.


MECU exists to be the go-to financial institution for employees or family members of employees of Motorola. So they rely less on mass media and more on member-focused marketing. When they asked us to come up with a new take on a member referral program, we came up with a yummy solution: a chance for a lucky member to win $400 in groceries for themselves and the person they get to sign up to be a MECU-er just like them.


Since their service centers are one of the primary places we'd be reaching members, we wanted to make an instant impression. We created an oversized standee that could be further elaborated upon by service center managers who are encouraged to fill the three dimensional "sacks" with real groceries and arrange real paper bags also filled with groceries around the base of the standees.


We wanted to get really dynamic with all the components of the campaign, so the die cuts and three dimensional details just helped give everything that extra pop...


... like floor clings (actually heavy traffic removable carpet clings) made to look like toppled bags of groceries on branch floors...


... and a die cut direct mailer that carries out the paper sack theme.

But, our theme was more than just a food fixation. It was really based on the idea of MECU providing for their members like they've always had. Putting groceries on the table is something that is fundamentally family and financially oriented. With messaging positioning MECU as a not-for-profit alternative to big banks, we're helping them put their difference out there "on the table" for their members to remember and share.

And there's nothing fake about that.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ten Things You Don't Know

It's been a very rainy morning in August and there's a subdued vibe around the agency today. So I've taken a cue from our resident lifestyle blogger, Kathleen, and gotten introspective. Prompted by a chain blog topic, she recently posted "ten things you don't know about me."

So here's Ten Things You Don't Know About Third Degree:


1. This is the hole in my window. It lets the outside in. I put Playdoh in it, but it fell out.


2. These are the scary back exit murder stairs we all leave the building from everyday.


3. We also spray mount all our mock ups in the stairwell. Notice the silver box? (We didn't figure out what that was until a few months ago. It's like a rat trap from the forties or something. So we quit trying to use it as a door stop, but curiously did not throw it out either.)


4. We grow umbrellas on rainy days.

Okay, this photo is gratutiously cheery with no real purpose. But it does help counteract the murder stairwell and rat trap photos.


5. These are also our cute new pillows that mimic the design software icons on our Macs.




6. There is a battle for ownership happening every day inside our agency fridge.


(Daniel is the number one enemy in that battle.)


7. Last month Kande turned on the space heater under Hallie's desk on one of the hottest days of the summer. And didn't tell her until three hours later.


8. So Hallie took everything off Kande's desk and hid it the next morning. That's a lot of chotchkies to hide.


9. Roy is always with us. Even when he is away.


10. And we still dress sharp. Even when it rains.