Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spring. Wednesday. Donuts.

Can't... make... complete.... sentences. Too. Beautiful. Outside.


Pretty tree flowers. But stinky.


People bringing donuts. Cheery day.


More people. More donuts. "Bester" donuts.


Culture of enablement. Candy. Everywhere. Not even Easter yet, people.


Escape. Sans donut. Sans skin pigment. Yikes winter legs! Yay spring!

Friday, March 26, 2010

TFCU Get Back To You

I still get excited when I'm watching one of my favorite shows (The Office) or one of my guilty pleasures (American Idol), and then during the break I unexpectedly see one of the commercials we created. It's sort of like when you are out shopping or at a restaurant and you don't realize there's a mirror on the wall beside you, and then you accidentally see yourself, and for just a moment you thought it was another person, but then when you realize it's your reflection you feel sort of like... "hi me."


That's how I feel when I see these new TFCU television spots.

You can scroll to the end of this post to watch the video.


The theme is "get back to you." And that's literally what we did. We just set up these little scenarios where people did stuff that you just "do." Either back when you were a kid or still today.


The house we found to shoot in surprisingly had this piano, so we just decided to add in a Chopsticks scene, and it is one of my favorites. Maybe because I took piano lessons from age six up to highschool. Sometimes when we're feeling goofy at Christmas or on a random weekend at my parents' house, I'll start playing "Fame" on the front-room piano, and me and my sister scream-sing it.


These were our actor sisters. They probably would have scream-sung any 70's TV themesong we asked them to. They were so much fun and one of them even sent us like a pie or something to Third Degree as a thank you a few days after the shoot. Yes, bribery with food will get you everywhere.


Bribery with a baby on a set... could go either way. Our director, David Stepp, just loooooves it when we put babies in our spots, you know, because they are so predictable and all. But I can't help it, I just got to have them babies. This cute one is the tot of one of our interns. We finally got him hooked up with some Teddy Grahams and he gave us the good stuff on camera. See, food bribery, it transcends all ages.


All in all, it was a wonderful shoot. Everything was super-duper planned out and art directed (I couldn't function any other way) down to a strict wardrobe color palette and a tight all-in-one-day shoot schedule, but we didn't really have any traditional scripts. We just set up these home movie style scenarios and crossed our fingers and started rolling. Some of them turned out so much better than we ever dreamed, and some, not so much. And some, like getting this little guy to keep that spoon on his nose... just took some double stick tape.

Tinker Federal Credit Union is great about letting us continue to evolve their branding, but still keep it feeling unmistakably "them." I know when we're creating something they and their members are really going to love, because it always feels like a lot of hard work, a lot of "eek, we've never done this before" (i.e., going completely off script, choreographing zombies, featuring talking thumbs, or constructing home made robots) but then, it also feels... a lot like play.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What Did You Buy? What Do You Love?

The deadline for the Buck The Norm video scholarship contest is near upon us. The theme this year: "What Did You Buy Today?"

This (PG-13) video we created for the contest explains the rules for creating your video. It's a pretty sweet prize if you win: a $2,000 scholarship and a MacBook from TFCU. And it's mostly promoted locally, so there's a good chance if you put in a good effort you might win.


So it made me start thinking. What do we buy around here?


Uh... well, mostly toys in the creative department. These Tokyo terrors are a new addition to Brett's desk. I guess the Hulk got bumped.


I have an obsession with totes. This one is doubling as my take-home copywriting briefcase right now. But I have many. Ridiculous many. Ranging in patterns from spoons, soupcans, and robots, to more traditional plaids, starbursts and glittery golds.


This guy's been sitting over by Roy's desk for a while now. I don't know where he bought it. I don't know what it is. But, it's cute.

So our purchasing habits of late may seem trifling. But they just help add a little flair to the place we love.

And speaking of love, love, love... our account executive Natalie has been a busy making a video of her own... all by herself. It's called "For The Love of The Game," and she debuted it at our Third Degree agency retreat (for internal purposes only, please no one sue us for using the song she downloaded). It was just a really neat reminder at the end of a long day (heck, a long year) why we all keep serving it up.

Thanks Natalie. You made me cry. I'm going to by you a tote.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Retreat Day. Addy Night.

This weekend was a busy one for the Third Degree team. Friday was our all-day, off-site, annual agency planning retreat.


Which means break out your Third Degree t-shirt.

Okay, granted only the new guy broke out the Third Degree t-shirt. (Ah... youthful enthusiasm is so cute.)


It also means break out the brainstorming toys and warm up exercises.

Everyone had to draw a picture on their name placeholder of something that was going on in their lives at the moment. So that not just the coffee, but the conversation could get flowing at 9:00 am.


And I broke out my cheat notes for a presentation I had to help give to kick off the day.

It's strangely harder in some ways to give a big speech for your peers instead of clients or prospects. Maybe because I can't pretend I'm a character from an advertising TV show or movie when I'm presenting to them.


The day was full of information. But skipping ahead, the afternoon was all about... you got it... crafts. If you remember our retreat from last year, we are not people who are afraid of pipe cleaners or pom poms, oh no.


And neither is our president Roy.

The task given this year was to illustrate the one thing you were most proud of (professionally that is) from 2009. We each got to decide if our accomplishment should be themed "fresh," "hot," "friendly" or "right." We got thirty minutes to "make it happen," and the tissue paper and magazine clippings started flying, while the fights over scissors and scotch tape got heated.


Then we each presented our square and it's deeper meaning. Some were "fresh."


Others were "hot." (No surprises with this one.)


Some embraced their "friendly" side.


And whoa boy, a bunch of us were damn "right."


But the most entertaining surprise of the day was Roy's performance art moment.

You know, most CEOs would deliver a state-of-the-union style address with bulleted slides, the onlookers perhaps trying tactfully to stifle a yawn. Not Roy. He promptly cranked up Van Halen's anthem "Right Now," and started furiously drawing his vision on a row of flip charts right before our eyes.


When his multi-colored markers stopped flurrying and Eddie's electric guitar let out its final peal from the iPod station, Steve Jobs did not come walking out from behind the curtain, and Michael Scott did not jump out from under a table. (But we were kind of waiting for it, a little bit.)


There was a lot of laughter and cheers. The new guy realized, wow, this place is kind of different, huh?! Roy caught his breath and then... shared his bulleted slides. But no stifled yawns from the crowd.


No, we saved the stifled yawns for Addy night which was the next Saturday.

I joke. The Addy theme this year, "We Are The Storyteller's," was really cool. We had lots of great wins including Cosmetic Surgery Affiliates and our Fight On campaign. It was just a very late program this year, wrapping up past 11:00 pm. And anyone who knows me, knows my bedtime clocks in right around 9:30. So my theme for the night was, "I need to go to bed 'Right Now.'" Play it Eddie.

If you want to see photos of Tara actually out on the town for a change (or photos of any of our fabulous and festive team, click here).