This is a very small and somewhat random sample of my work as a copywriter. It ranges from as long ago as the mid-80s to about December 2001. Some was produced, some was spec. Some campaigns were developed for school or as part of the National Student Advertising Competition.
Mostly fun stuff and some good radio. It's on here because I still think its pretty good and it would be completely forgotten otherwise ~
This is just one of hundreds of retail print ads I wrote and produced or directed during the two years that I was advertising director and business manager of The Campus Press at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Running a retail advertising department gets you very, very close to the action, and you quickly learn what sells.
This ad went from problem identification ("Hey, John! Our photographer just quit. Can you run an ad to find us a new one?") to final art in about 10 minutes. We were on deadline and I had to get the art to the printer. I did it in Pagemaker 4.0 on a Mac SE 30 with a whopping 4MB RAM. Output was on an Apple IINT at 300 dpi. That was state of the art at the time. We were one of the first digital pre-press college papers in the county. Those were the days!
I entered this ad in the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts annual awards show on a whim. I just happened to be home from school on break at deadline time. I liked this ad but figured it would be lost on a CSCA audience. No one was more surprised than I when it won a Judge's Consensus Choice. There were hundreds of entries in this show, about a hundred winners and maybe a half dozen consensus choices (curatorial judging). There was a lot of really good work and I appreciate that the judges liked my idea despite the lack of any technique. The judge's comments are to the left under the credits (this page is from the 1992 CSCA Awards Annual).
"I really enjoy a semi-anarchist attitude in capturing someone's attention. I think there's so little of it these days. It may shock people on the first read."
"Seldom does one see a small newspaper ad work so hard to capture attention through a simple headline."
"It's interesting that we all chose this because we're designers and you wouldn't think of this as being design: it's non-design. It's vernacular design, but it is compelling because of the words, because of the boldness. It works. It stops you and that's what it should do."
Everyone loves working on paper company promotions because they allow wide latitude for creative concepts and extravagant production values. I'm no exception, I know a good excuse to show off when I see one.
The time was 1992 and the occasion was the 500th anniversary of the Discovery of America. The concept was a highly subjective "500 Great Discoveries." The objective was to demonstrate and display the beauty and production capabilities of Beckett Papers.
I worked on this project remotely with Pribble Creative Marketing and Visionworks (Bill & Kim Robinson, Wendy Anderson) while in grad school in Colorado.
As is the Campus Press ad, this page is from the 1992 CSCA Awards Annual. The judge's comments are to the right of the photograph.
"I was attracted to the copywriter's excellent research, copy, and the use of half pages, foldouts and die cuts to create a lively kinetic movement from page to page and from fact to fact."
The 'Big O'
Cup O Joe was preparing to to take their locally-roasted premium product into local supermarkets. I was brought in by Tim Smith, Principal/Creative Director of Tim Smith Design, Ltd, to help with the strategy for the packaging/merchandising. As a frequent customer of Cup O' Joe, naturally I was excited by the assignment. This ad was developed as a spec 'leave behind.' Tim was working with the 'O' as a design element for the promotion and it gave me an idea for a 'Big O' campaign. Tim art-directed it and produced it literally overnight. Tim would want you to know that this is NOT what he would suggest for a final packaging solution, merely something 'thrown together' for the benefit of the comp. Ditto that for the small type copy. However, I'm sticking with the idea.
Tim's great. He's now a Fellow of the AIGA. 'Nuff said.
Principal / Creative Director
Tim Smith Design, Ltd.
This small campaign was a requirement for my Advertising Strategy class at the University of Colorado in 1991. What you see here was the creative to accompany our plan as we 'pitched' for the business (and an A in the course) against other student agencies.
It was very similar to an agency pitch because of the type of information we were given (and not given, as well) by an experienced client-side guy, Professor, Dodds Buchanan. Obviously we had few resources so I sketched the storyboards.
I like the work we did here. My favorite is the Grey Skies commercial (immediately below), but I think the concept holds together across media as a campaign. BTW, we won the account and got the As. I have to tip my hat to my awesome teammates -- Widjaja Mashud (now an investment banker and avid mountain biker in Jakarta) and Dale Maxey Rottschafer, an adorable pointy-headed investment analyst/CIO w an outstanding sense of humor, who now is a partner in Metamorphosis Money Management (M3), mother of three and tri-athlete in suburban Denver.
Grey Skies TV:30
How much fun? TV:30
Out of Home
This ad was developed for a friend of mine who owned a small flower store on Ohio State's campus. I teamed with Brad Webb and Halli Roth (now Halli Webb, both now principal's and creative directors at Honest Advertising) to create this for Victoria. Full props to both of them. It was a Valentine's Day ad that was timely in 1994 as the once infamous Bobbitts' had just hit the scene (and a somewhat universal nerve). The headline was a straight recreation from a newspaper clipping.
Everything was fine until at the last minute, OSUs student newspaper, The Lantern, refused to run the ad. They were afraid there would be negative backlash from women's and anti-domestic violence groups. While I worked to convince them to run the ad, I also got in contact with a Columbus alternative weekly, The Other Paper, and was pitching them on a story for 'The Ad The Lantern Wouldn't Run.' Finally, The Lantern agreed to run the ad. The bonus was that on Valentine's Day The Lantern ran almost a full page story on page 2 about Victoria, her shop, and the ad. Victoria was featured in a 4 column x 8 inch photo. Even better, despite placing a record order for roses, she ordered an additional 900 long-stems the morning of Valentine's Day. I dropped by at about 6:30 that evening, just to see how things went. They were still going. There was literally a line out the door, around the corner, and down the block.
This ad received an ADDY Award from the Columbus Advertising Federation. The page from the 1995 awards book is at the left. We also won a Citation of Excellence for another ad we did for Victoria.
I love radio advertising when done right, although I feel the medium has lost some punch.
GTE Directories Corporation
This campaign included radio, newspaper and direct mail. I wrote and produced everything and bought all the media. Also managed the client relationship. GTE was recognized by their client, ALLTEL for a campaign that outperformed the one conducted by their Madison Avenue agency.
The other interesting thing I did for GTE was to research/write/project manage a 40-pg full-color visitor-guide-like Community Information section for several mid-sized cities in the Great Lakes area, most notably for York, Pennsylvania.
Poultry in Motion
Chico's Express Chicken
I wrote the spot and cajoled a very talented young local actor, Michael Loftus, into doing it for nothing (he now makes his living in Hollywood), and I had enough budget to buy one (yes, one as in between zero and two) afternoon drive time traffic sponsorship per week for one month -- a total frequency of 4X on the top-rated AOR station in town.
The radio announcers bantered about the spot and had fun with it for minutes after the spot would run. Columbus Monthly magazine wrote us up in their annual Best & Worst of Columbus for 'Best Chicken Humor.' Notably, Wendy's Restaurant's short-lived and ill-fated Sister's Chicken & Biscuits received recognition from the same publication for their ad campaign, although it fell under the 'Worst Chicken Humor' category. Sales increased more than 400% over the month of the campaign.
Nestle's Candy Bars
"I want candy"
This effort was a result of my participation in the National Student Advertising Competition (now called the World Series of Advertising), promoted by the American Advertising Federation. The sponsor for the 1987-88 campaign was Nestle's candy bars.
The campaign theme we developed was based on a piece of popular music titled 'I Want Candy,' covered in the early 80s by Bow Wow Wow. I wrote the spot and produced it with Allen DiCenzo, owner of Circa Productions who produced the music on a Macintosh computer (which was like something from The Sorcerer's Apprentice at the time ...).
Kellogg's By Request cereal
This was the centerpiece of the 1988-89 National Student Advertising Competition campaign sponsored that year by Kellogg's. We also had some very strong print, TV, packaging and promotions to go with this spot.
The judges were amused and I got some high-quality face time and endorsements from some good creative shops in NYC. This spot was produced and engineered by Allen DiCenzo, owner of Circa Productions.