Beautyscape in the Bahamas

Created by DCLA for e.l.f., the fifth installment of the award-winning influencer program is now underway in the Bahamas. And garnering more heat than ever.

The Beautyscape program connects an aspiring community of beauty enthusiasts around e.l.f.’s brand values and provides mentorship and inspiration towards their own beauty path.

Each year the location for Beautyscape changes and, in 2019, the Bahamas became home to our four-day challenge. The program kicked off with a contest where over 1,400 e.l.f. Cosmetics fans and beauty enthusiasts submitted their best tropical-inspired makeup looks via a custom-built website and Instagram. Then 25 contest finalists and social media beauty influencers ventured to the colorful Bahamas to compete and connect with e.l.f. firsthand. 

Attendees collaborated with other up-and-coming beauty influencers and the e.l.f. product development team while receiving access to top talent in beauty and cosmetics. Teams developed their collection ideas and ultimately pitched them to a judges panel. 

We can’t yet reveal the winners. Once announced, their tropical-inspired collection will be sold around the world. 

A new leader in a new role

DC’s thrilled to announce that Gary Stein joins us today as our first chief integration officer. He’s here to accelerate collaboration between our strategy, media and expanded creative team, which now includes experiential and influencer experts thanks to our recent acquisition of A2G. We think Gary says it best:

“The team here has this earnest, heartfelt belief that brands can show up for consumers – and our society – in a meaningful and authentic way. They’re not chasing shiny objects to sell more programs. They’re making major moves to help clients make a bigger impact on people, culture and commerce. DC is an ascendant independent agency with the talent, capabilities and desire to take the next leap. I want to be part of that.”

Gary joins DC after nearly five years at Eleven, most recently as associate partner and head of activation overseeing media, planning and data insights. His career includes nearly twenty years in strategy and work on clients such as Nike, Jim Beam and Google Cloud, including the Cannes Lion-winning ‘Know What your Data Knows’ campaign which featured the first-ever live TV spot created from real-time data during NCAA March Madness.

“We promise clients a holistic view on how creativity can move people’s emotions and actions – online and in real life,” said CEO Andy Berkenfield. “With Gary as our first chief integration officer, we’re ensuring that everything we do across paid, earned, shared and owned channels advances a singular creative vision that helps our clients grow.”

Cheers to that.

Nicotine: the teen nightmare

New TV spots show teens in familiar adolescent scenes, yet homework sessions, prom and parental squabbles burst with enough tension to make the viewer wonder if there is more going on than garden-variety angst. To create the unsettlingly true-to-life campaign, DC and director Floyd Russ, who is best-known for his award-winning documentary short Zion, allowed teens to inform the action of the spots — which were entirely unscripted.

Complementing the TV and video are arresting outdoor boards running across the state and a website solely devoted to the dangers of nicotine on the teenage brain.

How sweet (and also tart) it is

It’s not just the sugar talking when we say that we’re so fired up about our new client: iconic candy brand and childhood favorite, SweeTARTS. Check out our Be Both launch work designed to speak to Gen Z’s embrace of duality and fluid identity.

The manifesto video above will live on the brand’s homepage and act as a kind of north star for all the Be Both work. New bite-size TV and digital spots begin playing this week on E!, Comedy Central, MTV and others. And the media spend will be fortified with a robust social presence as well as influencer activity.

Said DC ECD, John Kovacevich: “The Be Both idea is such a rich creative territory — the collision of colors and styles is a fresh new look for an old favorite. We’re excited by the first batch of work and the ways the campaign will come to life in the years ahead.”

We even got a little launch-day love from Ad Age.

Keepin’ it real in HR

HR is about helping real people. The H is for human, remember? So why does so much HR advertising feel so unreal? Those weird stock photos of happy, smiling employees all pointing at the same computer screen? That ain’t any office we’ve ever seen. We helped TriNet tell a more honest story, celebrating the everyday messiness of the humans who build your business. People are incredible, their benefits should be too.

Buy stuff, get Steph

Rakuten is back with the latest installment of the “Life to the Power of R” campaign, this time featuring a relatively well-known professional basketball player. Poised to continue the successful awareness-building achieved by the first round of work, these spots continue to bring to vivid life just how easy and rewarding using this no-brainer of a service is. Watch for the commercials all up and down your TV dial and across the digital universe.

And see the spots that started it all here.

New partner, new locations, new DC

Today we’re thrilled to announce the acquisition of A2G, a widely recognized experiential and social influencer agency. The acquisition extends our reach to two new major markets, adds a robust suite of complementary services to our offering and brings us a powerful new partner.

Amy Cotteleer (she’s the stylish one on the right) founded her agency in 2005 and was a pioneer in the experiential and influencer space. The LA- and New York-based agency created experiences and campaigns with social and digital engagement built into their fabric — from Gap’s award-winning Be Bright campaign, to Nintendo’s Wii video challenge that delivered 900 million earned impressions, to Flo’s Rockin’ Rally for Progressive that engaged a quarter million bikers.

So why’d she sell to the likes of us? We’ll let our new partner tell it: “The last thing we wanted was to be absorbed by a big agency who just wanted to staple us to a long list of capabilities. DC implicitly understood that A2G has an established brand and reputation for a reason. We’re incredibly excited by the possibilities to do great things creatively as we grow together.”

And here’s what our CEO Andy said on behalf of the rest of us: “This move is about a shared vision to help clients succeed in the evolving world of integrated marketing. The days of simply buying attention are dead — and winning brands need to build relationships with consumers online and, ya know, IRL.”

Big thanks to our friends at McCracken Advisory Partners who acted as exclusive M&A advisor on the deal.

The lazy tyranny of Facebook’s best practices

Our ECD John Kovacevich challenges whether Facebook’s “best practices” are really the best we can do. He is also aware that he uses lots of ironic quotation marks. Check them out below:

“Make the logo bigger.”

This piece of client feedback is such a cliché, it’s been an advertising meme for decades (even before we called them “memes.”) But in recent years, a new demand has taken its place: “Put the logo FIRST.”

The rise of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube as the premier digital channels to deliver ads has created an army of “experts” on how to get the most out of the dollars you spend on these channels. Facebook’s sales army has said it so many times, it’s become gospel: “You need to make a ‘brand impression’ in the first 2 seconds of your ad.”

As a result, creative briefs regularly include the line, “Digital versions must include the logo at the top of the spot.” Except…maybe it’s not true?

Continue reading “The lazy tyranny of Facebook’s best practices”

A couple locals go national

The two lovable locals that anchor Kona Brewing’s Dear Mainland campaign are about to hit the court and the big time in a series of new spots running for the first time nationally during this year’s March Madness.

After gently correcting us hapless Haoles in markets on both coasts, the brothers are ready to tackle all of the Mainland. Expect to see them throughout the tourney, including featured spots in all Elite 8 games, along with showings in the Final Four. We even dusted off an old chestnut for the National Championship because of its reference to Monday.

In a down beer market, Kona continues to outpace the category with significant growth over the last five years, thanks, in no small part, to two locals with a simple reminder: One life, right?

Playing the name game with InnovAsian

Today marks the release of DC’s first campaign for InnovAsian since being named agency of record. The four 15-second spots use rhymes that play with the catchphrase “InnovAsian occasion” to help consumers better remember the brand when navigating the crowded grocery freezer aisle.

The spots will run nationally on TV stations in 20 markets and on social media. As part of the media strategy, two 15-second spots will run during the same commercial break — separated by other marketers’ ads — to reinforce the rhyming message and drive recall.

Rakuten makes Grammy debut

The Japanese e-commerce giant dropped its first ever North American campaign during last night’s Grammy Awards. Directed by acclaimed Israeli duo Vania & Muggia (check out their vids for Coldplay and DJ Snake), the TV introduces Rakuten as a premium lifestyle brand for savvy online shoppers.

The work is just the first public piece of a months-long, ground-up brand overhaul that saw DC helping to determine how the brand expresses itself in every dimension, including strategy, style guidelines and even the product itself.

Upwork is happening today

Oh, it’s happening alright: the new campaign for freshly IPO’d Upwork launches this very morning and portrays an experience familiar to us all in the workaday world: the “oh shit, how am I going to get this done?” moment when an ambitious goal or daunting project lands on our desk. In a colorful, quirky world that’s hip to Upwork’s freelance platform, managers transform their nagging anxiety into the thrill of making things happen. The creative aims to raise awareness of the ability to hire freelancers online as Upwork seeks to disrupt traditional hiring models that can be too slow for the modern pace of business.

Ad exec/poll worker

For yesterday’s midterms, a big chunk of DCers added the title poll worker to their already sparkling resumes. Spearheaded by our own J. Moe who worked the polls in 2016, employees volunteered for training and were assigned to precincts across the Bay Area. The persuasive Ms. Moe even convinced the crotchety old partners to pay for the time off, striking a blow for democracy everywhere. And the fine folks at MediaPost were kind enough to cover the effort.

Kovacevich accepts the rose

After arm-twisting, haranguing and even shedding the occasional tear, DC finally convinced the multi-talented John Kovacevich to join us full-time as executive creative director. John comes to us us after three years as one of the city’s most sought after freelance talents. Before he broke up with the agency world, John worked at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and FCB West. So how did we get this confirmed bachelor to tie the knot again? Better if we let him tell it: “5 Reasons I Hung Up My Freelance Shingle to Go Full Time.”

Golden State Warriors: Game recognize game

As the world-champion Warriors entered their final season at Oracle, DC dropped a campaign that acknowledged the 47 years of Dubs teams running the floor in Oakland and the loud and loyal fans that were there all along.

In outdoor, digital and broadcast, the “Game Recognize Game” work celebrated the franchise’s legacy through novel pairings of Warriors — old-school and new — playing in perfect sync across a continuum of time.

“The fans know that before the Splash Brothers, there was Run TMC. And Manute, Sleepy, Baron and Barry,” said Parker Channon, co-founder of DC. “Seeing a Warriors super team built across generations felt like a genuine gift to long-time fans and a natural fit for a team that routinely acknowledges the work and history that precedes their accomplishments today.”

DC’s design director, Jennifer Kellogg, had this to add: “Bringing the Game Recognize Game idea to life visually using nearly 50 years of photography was a fun challenge. We were intentional about treating the photography to make players from different decades feel like they’re in the same world, on the same court. And the Game Recognize Game type reflects off itself to convey this sense of appreciation and interaction between generations of players and fans.”

Social smoking hurts more than you think

Out in the world is DC’s new embargoed campaign for the California Department of Public Health’s CA Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) that responds to the reality that casual smoking by young people is on the rise — even as daily smoking declines.

While children of the 1990s and 80s grew up seeing anti-tobacco efforts targeted at heavy ‘pack-a-day’ smokers, this campaign taps into the insight that social smokers age 21 to 35 typically don’t view themselves as ‘smokers’ — and thus, underestimate the harm of lighting up socially. CTCP’s “Never Just a Smoke” campaign also combats the reality that new forms of tobacco — including hookah, cigarillos, JUUL and e-cigarettes — make social smokers less likely to perceive the health risks of occasional use.

“Never Just a Smoke” OOH launched June 4 on the heels of digital video, digital audio and radio that targets “smokers in denial” age 21-34 across California — with special focus on reaching LGBTQ, Hispanic, Asian and African-American communities that are at higher risk for social smoking. Digital video will be targeted around key moments and “stressors” that typically drive people to light up, such as graduation and moving. CTCP has also partnered with Buzzfeed on custom “Regrets You Have After A Night Out” video and quiz content to further engage young social smokers. The campaign includes online resources at www.neverjustasmoke.org.

In addition to featuring same-sex couples in both digital video and OOH executions, the campaign includes animated projections and geo-targeted digital videos near LGBTQ Pride events, as well as posters and coasters at LGBTQ bars across Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento.

“After discovering that young people who smoke socially rarely see themselves as smokers, we wanted to play with this distorted perception about the pervasiveness of their habit — as well as its harm,” said Anne Elisco-Lemme, executive creative director, Duncan Channon. “The campaign places young people in true-to-life social situations that force a moment of self-realization about the truth of their smoking and its impact. We strip away the excuses used to defend social smoking — leaving the viewer with the stark reality of their smoking and its health consequences.”

“The campaign also combats the reality that new forms of tobacco — including hookah, cigarillos, and e-cigarettes such as JUUL — make young people less likely to perceive the health risks of occasional use,” said Elisco-Lemme. “It’s all too easy to dismiss something you don’t do everyday as harmless, especially if it doesn’t look or taste like a traditional cigarette.”

Universal appeal

Our assignment was to convince teens and tweens that Universal was the “what’s next” vacation for them and their families. Our solution was to send a dozen influencers with millions of followers (don’t even act like you don’t know who Baby Ariel is) to the Orlando resort to make original videos and posts. 13 million views and half a million YouTube engagements later, the program is a bona fide success. Check out the case study vid above for all the thrilling details.

Being Purposeful this Football Season

With pre-season underway, our Purpose Practice Director, MJ Deery, recommends some serious changes to the NFL’s playbook in Adweek.

“Today’s consumers, especially younger audiences that represent the sport’s future, expect brands to stand for more than product and profit. Yes, even sports teams need values beyond winning.”

MJ goes on to share her POV on four things we should learn from the NFL’s missteps.

1. Consumers have no tolerance for lip service — In January, the league announced its “Let’s Listen Together” program, an $89 million seven-year initiative to support social, education and criminal justice reform, only to undo it with its anthem actions. Such a seismic shift between words and actions can call question to the NFL’s authenticity.

2. Brands must make room for diverse voices — Business leaders need to tap diverse perspectives across race, culture and gender in their workforce or risk sounding tone deaf.

3. Purpose requires the long game — Forward-thinking business leaders aren’t bandaging short-term injuries like the ratings drop and the president’s disparaging tweets at the expense of long-term brand health.

4. Attempts to silence voices often amplify them — Players took to Twitter to re-up their commitment to the cause. And owners like the New York Jets’ Christopher Johnson said they’ll cover fines for players who continue to kneel.

“The NFL anthem saga shows the perils for brands navigating our purpose-driven economy without clear, inclusive values. That said, the NFL still has time to make good on its promise to “Listen Together” and to use the league’s influence to fight systemic racism in a way that builds their business. I hope the NFL finds its way back to its social purpose, by the dawn’s early light.”

See MJ’s full article here and get yourself educated.

The tobacco industry has a kids menu

Today marks the launch of DC’s latest campaign for the California Tobacco Control Program and our first since landing a new five-year contract. The work exposes the tobacco industry’s latest deception: using flavors and e-cigarette products that masquerade as snacks and flash drives to hook kids when their brains are most susceptible to addiction. Four out of five kids who’ve used tobacco started with a flavored product.

The country’s largest-ever campaign to take on flavored tobacco includes TV, digital video, radio, and OOH launching April 24 in all 14 markets across California, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento. The campaign will include creative in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog, produced with Acento and APartnership, as well as a San Francisco BART station takeover and two painted walls in Los Angeles. See more at FlavorsHookKids.org.

Continue reading “The tobacco industry has a kids menu”

DriveTime’s new direction

DriveTime was purpose-built to be the auto dealer for all those with bad credit. Because it not only offered credit-crunched customers much-needed cars, but also acted as the bank extending loans where other financial institutions wouldn’t. Its proprietary algorithm evaluated consumers in a more holistic way, put tens of thousands behind the wheel and grew the company to a billion-dollar market leader.

But it was that algorithm, along with a suite of other consumer-focused technological innovations, that propelled DriveTime to consider a new, wider audience. The innovative online services they provide, like knowing your down and monthly payments on a particular vehicle in just two minutes, are valuable to any consumer and really represent a smarter car-buying process.

That new direction is front and center in a new $50 million campaign launching today. Shot by the Perlorian Brothers with stunning visual effects by Freefolk, the spots ask the all-important question: if you’re not buying your car at DriveTime, how smart are you?

Hey World! Upwork’s here to help

Today marks the launch of DC’s first campaign for Upwork, a global network of freelance talent. But, as the campaign has it, this is more than some indiscriminate mob of freelancers from here, there and everywhere. Rather, this is a unified movement of motivated people — freelancers and managers alike — here to roll up collective sleeves and make stuff happen. And like any good movement, they aren’t afraid to speak truth to power with a hearty “Hey! How can we help?”

“Upwork is a vibrant, expressive brand that’s contagiously optimistic about the potential of freelancers to solve big problems and drive the evolution of business,” said Michael Lemme, chief creative officer, Duncan Channon. “The ‘Hey World’ campaign has some fun, but is serious about the idea that talented freelancers can get stuff done for people who need stuff done, including some brands, artists, institutions and pop culture figures you know.”

All videos below, after the jump.

Continue reading “Hey World! Upwork’s here to help”

New name and ID for Redhook reboot

Craft beer is like indie music. If you get too popular, you’re no longer cool. Just ask Redhook. In the early ’80s, they took off like a rocket, Anheuser Busch came calling and the brand was labeled a sellout. “Budhook!” the beer nerds snickered. Never mind that Redhook basically invented the craft beer category they were tossed out of.

So how do you get the next generation of craft lovers to take notice, to see you in a new light? The answer wasn’t an ad campaign. The answer was an experience. A brewpub that put Redhook’s pioneering, innovative techniques on display.

“We knew we had to bring Redhook’s values to life rather than merely talk about them,” said DC’s CCO Michael Lemme. “In developing the Brewlab concept and identity, our job was to make sure everything from the name to the smallest detail in the customer experience communicated how Redhook Brewlab is purpose-built to experiment, innovate and test the results on Seattle humans of legal drinking age.”

More images after the jump.

Continue reading “New name and ID for Redhook reboot”

How to help North Bay fire victims

We were all touched by the devastating fires and did what we could in the moment, but what about now? With the holidays approaching and media attention turning elsewhere, how can we still help and what are the best places to focus our resources and time?

A group of concerned DCers created the following resource for our people to refer to, but we thought we’d publish it for anyone out there looking to help, too.


Donate money

The easiest way to help is simply to donate money, and there are many legitimate ways to do that. We made our donations to Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund and did so through Google.org’s fundraising campaign that matches donations up to $1 million.


Donate things

Here’s a link to a community-generated document that outlines household items that are most needed.

The Redwood Empire Food Bank continues to help the community by accepting and distributing non-perishable food donations. You can drop non-perishable food (no glass) at their location at 3990 Brickway Blvd. in Santa Rosa. You can also donate gift cards to Hands on Bay Area.


Donate time

A lot of companies, ours included, offer employees a day (or days) of service option. If yours does, helping out in the North Bay would certainly be a great use of that time. Because while it’s going to take years to recover, a willing pair of hands, even for a day, will help the work go faster. It should be noted that they don’t want people, no matter how well-intentioned, just showing up. Here’s a current list of organizations looking for volunteers.

Together, we can make a real difference. Happy holidays to you all.

DC in the World Series

We’re going to the show, you guys! Look for our Stand Up To Cancer spot during game four of the series. As part of a long-term partnership with the MLB, the campaign for SU2C challenges the common perception that the only way to beat cancer involves one monolithic cure. DC’s spot points out that every innovation — no matter how seemingly small — is a step toward victory. Plus, Adweek thinks it’s a winner.

Not just a health system, a health squad

When you’re sick, injured or facing a frightening diagnosis, you want more than just clinical excellence. You want a support system. You want a squad. And John Muir Health has your back. Here’s what our ECD, Anne Elisco-Lemme, had to say about our approach to the new work: “Cancer is probably one of the most terrifying diagnoses anyone could ever hear. So our challenge was to create a :30 spot that speaks to the enormity of the situation while remaining hopeful. We took a page out of how sports brands create epic, emotional and highly visual marketing to tell the story of how your entire medical team at John Muir Health is with you, no matter what life throws your way.”

New TV and a billboard full of butts

In its latest effort for the California Tobacco Control Program, DC taps into Californians’ green sensibilities, shifting focus from the health dangers of cigarettes to the environmental dangers of cigarette butts. The “Come Clean” campaign features new TV work and outdoor, including a billboard filled with 12,000 toxic butts scooped up from the streets directly around it.

Ad Age Agency of the Year — again

DC sidestepped the sophomore slump to bring home a silver Small Agency of the Year in the west award for the second year running. Announced last night at Ad Age’s Small Agency Conference in Nashville, the award takes into consideration business results, agency culture as well as a range of creative work across accounts.

To bring home the award last year from among the hundreds of entries was a thrill. But to win in back-to-back years has us positively blushing. Thank you to Advertising Age and, of course, our clients who made it all possible. Kegger at our parents’ house!

CBS brings Kona to Cali

One of the cooler new parts of the already pretty cool media plan DC created for Kona Brewing’s 2017 push is a special integrated program with CBS. In addition to our regular spots running during their highly rated Thursday (aka “Little Friday”) primetime lineup, CBS and DC also created special California spots shot on location in LA, Orange County, San Diego, Sacramento and San Francisco. The Hawaiian and Californian spots will run in tandem and also live on local CBS websites. Watch as our brothers spread their island wisdom across the Golden State.

Continue reading “CBS brings Kona to Cali”

DC dishes up So Delicious

DC just launched a brand new campaign for brand new client, So Delicious. In response to growing demand for plant-based foods, the inaugural work, which spans products across the So Delicious portfolio, emphasizes taste to challenge the misperception that choosing non-dairy somehow equals non-delectable. Look for digital videos and print ads running throughout the summer (aka ice cream season).

Anne sounds off on The Drum

 
Our own ECD Anne Elisco-Lemme is featured in the latest edition of The Drum’s Beyond The Brief with words of wisdom for all you creatives out there looking to make your mark.

In addition to relaying her trenchant career advice, the article teasingly makes mention of her Led Zeppelin tribute band, Black Dog, while providing no photographic evidence. Let’s rectify that egregious oversight right now. (Anne’s the one holding it down in the middle.)
 

Kettle wins Campaign of the Year

For the second year in a row, DC brought home top honors at the sfBIG awards. Last year, it was our anti-vaping work for CTCP. This year, it was, in part, our pro-marijuana work for Kettle chips. Big thanks to sfBIG for their kind acknowledgement and congrats to the whole Kettle team (one of whom was also named Creative of the Year, but she — or he! — prefers to remain anonymous).

This just in: as this post was being created, we learned that the Kettle “Edibles” billboard just received an Obie for outstanding outdoor last night in New Orleans. Which begs the question: how did we not attend an award show in New Orleans!? We’re getting soft.

Kona uses social media to get us off social media

Our Hawaiian brethren are back to help us hapless haoles sort out our skewed work/life balance. This time around, they take on the Mainland’s social media absorption among other questionable uses of time. The new vids will run on Facebook in conjunction with TV spots in select markets. The work’s already receiving some nice coverage on Creativity, The Drum and Adweek’s Agency Spy. The Dear Mainland campaign continues to be a great success for Kona Brewing with sales increases in excess of 30% and a coveted spot in the top ten of all craft beer.

 
Kona Reviews

Continue reading “Kona uses social media to get us off social media”

New person, new practice

DC is thrilled to announce the arrival of not only a true talent, but an important new agency offering. Today, we welcome MJ Deery as the first director of our social purpose practice. “In an increasingly connected world and given our current political climate, a brand’s values, actions and social impact matter more than they arguably ever have,” said CCO and partner, Michael Lemme. “It’s no longer optional. It’s a vital component of a healthy brand.”

“We’ve always marveled at MJ’s gift for strategic insight, creative leadership and artful storytelling, but it became clear we needed to create a purpose-driven role for her when she revealed a deep personal passion and understanding of how consumer expectations, social media and politics are transforming the role of brands as citizens.”

Prior to joining DC, MJ served as a creative director at Mekanism where she worked on campaigns for Nordstrom, Jim Beam and Alaska Airlines. Her brand-side experience includes copywriting roles at Gap and Levi’s Strauss & Co. And to further prove she’s no slouch in the typing department, MJ holds an MFA in creative writing and literature from Emerson College, and has published short stories in literary journals around the country. Here’s what she had to say:

“DC’s campaigns to call out big tobacco for the California Tobacco Control Program and to herald doctors who actually listen for John Muir Health showed me they make work that matters. They were the first agency I pitched to create this role because of their work and our shared perspective on how human connections, transparency and values shape our experience.”

Welcome aboard, MJ.

Grubhub delivers dose of reality

While the competition focuses on transaction and technology, Grubhub really understands the near magical moment that occurs when the “food’s here.” To capture the genuine excitement and community a shared meal delivers, DC steered clear of LA and shot in Texas with real people who were really friends. No actors. No scripts. No sets. Because sometimes it takes a late night over tacos al pastor to discover that you’re long lost moisture bros. You can dig into our launch spot above or dive in to some positive press coverage here: Advertising Age, The Drum, Egotist, Crain’s, and Best Ads on TV.

DC’s new look and leadership

It’s a red-letter day around here as the agency proudly launches a new logo, look and website, along with some important new leadership. In addition to the four partners and longtime communications planning director, Leslie Diard, Jamie Katz will now lead the account management practice, Rachel Hermansader will be the agency’s first director of marketing and business development and Anne Elisco-Lemme will serve as the sole executive creative director. (Shout out to Timothy Archibald for the handsome photo.)

CCO Michael Lemme led the rebrand. “Our new mark is custom-made – hat tip to our co-conspirators in Helsinki / Amsterdam / Den Haag, Underware. In the context of increasingly algorithmic and measured marketing, we wanted our identity to be a symbol of the incalculable, unpredictable role of creativity and personal expression in every aspect of our work.”

And because the logo is so wonderfully peculiar, the agency doesn’t just expect, but welcomes, troll commentary. So much so, we’ve even created this helpful video to get the troll juices flowing. Let us have it. (Special thanks to The Cabinet and Feintly for letting us abuse their goodwill.)

Crunch time for Kettle Brand

At a time when wannabe competitors are trying to get on their natural chip tip, Kettle Brand is answering back with an irreverent new ad campaign. The “Stirring the Pot” work celebrates the brand’s counterculture legacy and all those that zig when others zag. In addition to wild postings, bus shelters, digital radio, Snapchat filters and social content, there’s an outdoor board with actual grab-able bags of chips that gets refilled each day at 4:20pm. “As far as the refill time of the Oregon’s second best edibles billboard, there’s no special significance to that. Just a random time between lunch and dinner,” said executive creative director, Anne Elisco-Lemme. “No story there.”

Real deals and mad flow with DriveTime

The women of the wildly successful DriveTime campaign are back to help out more wannabe car buyers. This time, we get a glimpse into their private lives as they hit the nail salon and rap along to the inimitable beats of Bay Area legend, E-40. But, as usual, they’ve still got their mind on saving you money and saving you money on their mind.

Retail therapy

When you use Ebates, you get cash back for the normal online shopping you were already going to do. No catch. Which seems a little hard to believe, so people are naturally skeptical. This new campaign from DC tackles that misperception head on by setting the spots in Skeptics Anonymous therapy sessions (a group some skeptical people doubt exists). “If even the pathologically skeptical among us can see the light, surely we can, too,” said executive creative director, Anne Elisco-Lemme, before getting 6% back on some strappy sandals.

Roller derby, feline affection and John Muir Health

The latest evolution of the Be Heard campaign for John Muir Health arrives on your TV set and computer screen today. Look for us back in the examination room delving into the close relationships between JMH physicians and patients. A couple unique new characters demonstrate how John Muir docs listen, explain and really collaborate to find the solution that works best for each patient.

Poop

What better word to sum up our feelings on this day that, at 44, our Amy has been taken.

Early in this 14-year association/friendship/love affair, Amy Petrolati revealed to the juvenile morons of Duncan/Channon that in school she’d been teased as Amy “Poopsalotti.” Her revelation was quite voluntary and, in typical Amy fashion, entirely generous, and signaled that she was eager to dive in, as silly as anyone. And, in those days, when we were a much smaller company, we were as silly as could be.

So, in D/C-land, Amy became the funniest word in the juvenile dictionary — Poop — joining the ranks of Toby, formerly Max; Sausage, formerly Ian; and the inexplicable Pops. Not to mention Slash, K-Hole, Big Dummy and Watermelon Gum. The list went on, as juvenile things joyously will.

And I mention it because Amy’s whole existence was dedicated to such fun and games — to creativity, comedy, design, music, theater, to the ultimate art of nature and ultimate theater of politics, to true beauty and fair play and the neverending war on blandness, pomposity, fakery, true ugliness and gloom.

Continue reading “Poop”

Really big small news

We are so thrilled to have been named silver Small Agency of the Year in the west that we’re not even going to try and play it cool. Thank you so much to Advertising Age. And thank you just as much to the clients that helped us win the big prize. This is an amazing bit of recognition as well as a huge in-your-face to those high school teachers who thought we were headed nowhere but the penitentiary.

“Wake Up” wins North American Effie

Already honored as Best in Show at the AdAge/Modern Healthcare awards, D/C’s “Wake Up” campaign kept its roll going in New York Thursday night, snaring silver at the 2016 Effies, the pre-eminent industry award for marketing that drives measurable success. “Wake Up” is DC’s campaign for the California Tobacco Control Program.

The latest honor comes on the heels of a big win last month in the BIG Star Awards, presented by the San Francisco Bay Area Innovation Group, which named “Wake Up” Campaign of the Year, as well as recognition for the StillBlowingSmoke.org website at the tenth annual Pixel Awards.

Introduced last summer, “Wake Up” was the first major campaign in the nation to target the surging use of e-cigarettes, especially among young adults, and has helped spur debate and legislative action across the country. The campaign’s next installment has just launched.

Redhook: the craft beer before craft beer

Their youthful target wasn’t even born when, working out of an old Seattle transmission shop, a couple of beer-lovers who thought they knew better brewed up their first batch of Redhook. Thus was born a craft beer movement that no one had yet thought to call a craft beer movement. Picking up on the brand’s rich origins story, D/C’s new campaign puts “The Grandaddy of Craft” (as the brand tagline has it), alongside a host of other “Seattle Originals” (as the campaign has it). There’s real-life Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones and Seattle’s own King of Rock ’n’ Roll, El Vez. And the Queen City’s Matthew Inman, creator of the wildly popular web comic, The Oatmeal. Redhook, the effort reminds those too young to remember, is not only part of Seattle history and beer history, it’s part of the proudly inventive local community. Launching today, the campaign is playing out across Seattle and an inventive mix of billboards, wild postings, stencils powerwashed onto sidewalks, radio and digital — from paid social to native content to geo-fenced mobile banners near the billboards.

Continue reading “Redhook: the craft beer before craft beer”

Kona bros offer miracle FOMO cure

The loveable Hawaiian brothers who’ve helped lift Kona Brewing into the top ten of US craft beer are back for the third year of D/C’s “Dear Mainland” campaign, which breaks today. Among other critical issues the guys are addressing is the social media disease of FOMO, aka Fear of Missing Out. And once again, the answer involves an island-style attitude adjustment chased with a cold bottle of “Liquid Aloha.” This year’s campaign sees the brand adding Seattle to select markets on the East and West coasts. The media mix includes spot-TV, MLB partnerships and video and banners across a variety of digital platforms, including Spotify, Hulu, Facebook and Instagram.

Water-powered relaunch for Tahoe South

“There Must Be Something in the Water” is the new tagline and name for D/C’s new campaign, launching today, for longtime client Tahoe South. With non-stop entertainment, comprehensive outdoor activities and a pristine natural setting — including its deep-blue centerpiece — the south side of Lake Tahoe has everything a visitor could need to get out of her comfort zone and into a personal transformation. Through a series of 15-second TV spots, digital video, digital radio, banners and social, this relaunch gives the brand a new look and feel, while maintaining the tongue-in-cheek Tahoe South voice.

Continue reading “Water-powered relaunch for Tahoe South”

Campaign of the Year for “Wake Up”

Last night at the sfBIG awards, DC’s campaign for the California Tobacco Control Program took home the top BIG Star prize over a stellar field. “Wake Up” is an integrated effort, across TV, out-of-home, digital and point-of-sale, focused on the issues of e-cigarettes, especially among young people. Thanks to the brilliant judges of the San Francisco Bay Area Innovation Group and to our thoughtful and supportive client. And congrats to the entire creative, account, strategic and comms planning teams, many of whom can be viewed looking good and acting bad in the following funky video.

Vaporware

With a new commercial, two new digital videos, an updated website (StillBlowingSmoke.org) and a new outdoor campaign, DC has just launched the second year of the State of California’s effort to educate citizens about the potential perils of vaping nicotine. In light of alarming new statistics that are highlighted in the TV spot, there’s a special focus on young people. And a perfectly ironic pop song.

DC site takes top Pixel Award

Thirty-two industry judges bestowed top prize on D/C in the non-profit category of the 10th annual Pixel Awards. The award is for design and technology, and the agency won for StillBlowingSmoke.org, the website part of our comprehensive, integrated campaign for the California Tobacco Control Program. Huzzah for health. And us.

Hi, Volta

Congrats to our friends and clients Staffan Terje and Umberto Gibin on last night’s official opening in San Francisco of their latest culinary masterpiece Volta, where classic Gallic fare cozies up to classic Nordic. With a pedigree of Perbacco and Barbacco, and a name and identity by the chefs de branding at Duncan/Channon, this is guaranteed to be the hottest reservation of 2016. (Got room for two on Friday night?)

Didn’t get into the CommArts Annual? Blame Anne!

No stranger to the pages of Communication Arts, our own ECD, Anne Elisco-Lemme, was chosen to be a member of this year’s esteemed panel of judges for the prestigious Advertising Annual. If your work was passed over for recognition, you can address her directly in the comment section below. (And congratulations, Anne. Well-deserved.)

Just what the doc ordered: gold, silver, Best in Show

Jackpot for DC at the 2015 Healthcare Marketing IMPACT Awards, sponsored by Modern Healthcare and Ad Age, Thursday night in Chicago. It started with a silver in the video category for John Muir Health, a pair of golds for California Tobacco Control (CTCP) in the video and integrated campaign categories and was topped off with Best in Show for CTCP.

The John Muir silver was for the long-running “Be Heard” TV. The CTCP golds and the Best in Show were for the “Wake Up” e-cigarettes TV — those spots with the asterisks and vintage soundtracks — as well as for Wake Up interactive bus shelters, banners and billboards and the stillblowingsmoke.org site.

Big ups to two stellar clients. A smoke-free celebration shall ensue.

Diamond of California is cooking

From TV to digital to print to a partnership with the Cooking Channel and Chef Kelsey Nixon, Diamond of California is serving up a complete creative feast in its first campaign, launching today, from D/C. With the tagline “Made for Homemade™,” the audience focus is the home cook and baker, while the product focus is Diamond’s premium cooking and baking nuts. Across all platforms, the work emphasizes the fun of a great holiday meal, the versatility of nuts as an ingredient and the creativity that brings them all together. Nom nom.

Continue reading “Diamond of California is cooking”

“Turn Down” helps DriveTime turn up

Tina, Tara and the green rescue van are at it again in three new spots for DriveTime — including (if you’re paying attention) one bumpin’ a lil “Turn Down for What.” The loopy ladies are once more putting wheels under peeps who’d previously been locked out of car-buying entirely. This is D/C’s third set of commercials for the Phoenix-based client, which operates 130 dealerships nationwide and has seen sales leads bumpin’ up more than 30% since the start of the campaign.

StubHub welcomes birth of inner fan

After many successful years, along with a well-deserved induction into Adweek’s Mascot Hall of Fame, StubHub’s Ticket Oak has been sent to live on a big farm in the countryside where he’s very happy and not dead at all so stop with the questions already.

Today a new campaign emerges from that puppet’s long, weird shadow. Called “Let Your Fan Out,” the work champions StubHub as more than a place to get a ticket you want, but rather a place that knows when there’s a ticket you want before you even know you want it. As such, even the busiest of people will find more opportunities to let their previously neglected inner fans out.

A robust TV buy, starting with a spot on tonight’s telecast of Monday Night Football, is matched with a deep digital presence, including all manner of rich media, scores of page takeovers on sites like ESPN and streaming video pretty much everywhere video streams.

Plus, all the work features StubHub’s sharp new brand ID, also created by D/C. More on that below.

Continue reading “StubHub welcomes birth of inner fan”

Stride Rite embraces the chaos

The world may change, but the joyful pandemonium of childhood remains a constant. Being no strangers to that joy ourselves, D/C was excited to be tapped to work on a brand refresh for Stride Rite. The new work includes brand repositioning, a refreshed brand identity system and integrated marketing campaign, and new brand photography produced in collaboration with Cynthia Perez. It encourages parents both to embrace the chaos and to come prepared.

“We’re thrilled to help reintroduce a brand that has been a category leader for nearly a century,” said our chief creative officer and partner, Michael Lemme. “Frankly, this is what we love and do best, and we look forward to building on the great heritage of Stride Rite to engage a whole new generation of moms and dads.”

Crafty

Over three decades ago, Redhook ESB reimagined what an American beer could be. It was craft before there was such a thing, and it was an unqualified success. So much so, that it started to become a victim of that success. The company’s growing operation and big-time distribution deal had some people starting to look for the next thing. And with time, some began to forget the history. Even in its hometown of Seattle.

Now Redhook is ready to reclaim its rightful role as the OG of craft beer — with a new campaign launching online, outdoor and on the radio this summer. Called the Granddaddy of Craft, the campaign will feature Redhook ESB in its striking throwback package, while reminding whippersnapper beer drinkers to have some respect for their elders.

“Today, there are over 250 craft breweries in Washington. In 1981, there was exactly one,” said D/C’s young-at-heart ECD Parker Channon. “And we’re just here to remind Seattle who started it all.”

Continue reading “Crafty”

X rated tops

Last night at the Clio Image Awards at New York’s Plaza Hotel, Duncan/Channon won top honors for a mass-market website for its design of the Formula X site for Sephora. It’s not the first award for the Formula X project, but it is the first in which D/C work shared the stage with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn.

Formula X is Sephora’s innovative new nail lacquer, and the colorful, dynamic site represents “the first social network for nail fans.” The Clio Image Awards, co-sponsored by WWD, are given for “the best of creativity behind the business of style.”

Hooked up

Redhook Brewery has picked Duncan/Channon as its agency of record, leading strategy, creative and media efforts. This marks D/C’s second brand from leading brewer, Craft Brew Alliance.

“Throughout the search process, Duncan/Channon demonstrated deep strategic thinking and creativity, along with a profound understanding of Redhook’s brand, values and vision — we’re pumped to have them on board as our creative partners and can’t wait to evolve the brand together,” said Karmen Olson, Redhook Brewery’s brand manager.

The first campaign is expected to launch in Redhook’s home market of Seattle this summer.

Making up with Kat Von D

Kat Von D Beauty is live and looking gorgeous. The new website was designed by D/C for world-renowned tattoo artist Kat Von D, and for Kendo Beauty Group, an LVMH company. Inspired by Kat’s tireless support of other makeup artists, the site is deeply collaborative, with products sitting side-by-side with user-generated photos and illustrations, as well as tweets and videos from the artist and her fans. Curated by Kat herself, KatVonDBeauty.com is a vibrant social newsfeed, as well as fresh product content, all cloaked in alluring, enigmatic glamour.

D/C also designed the Marc Jacobs Beauty site for Kendo and the Formula X site, which recently won an OMMA Award for Web Site Excellence.

Diamond scarfs D/C

Diamond Foods has picked Duncan/Channon to lead branding, ad strategy, creative and media efforts for Pop Secret, the fastest-growing major microwave popcorn brand, and Diamond of California, the branded leader in the culinary nuts category. Following a strategic exploration, D/C will develop new campaigns that include both traditional and non-traditional components, including social media. The first work is expected to launch in early 2015. Said D/C ceo Andy Berkenfield: “Nom nom nom.”

1st-person on the 3%

Last week, The 3% Conference kicked off its third year in San Francisco and Duncan/Channon was not only proud to host their VIP Party at the Tip (see above), but several of us were able to attend and be inspired. A recap of some of our favorite moments is below.

Anne Elisco-Lemme, Creative Director
The thing that sits with me the most can be summed up by something John Gerzema of the Athena Doctrine said in his keynote: “We are in a new world with many old minds.” WE ARE IN A NEW WORLD! So stop being satisfied with old-mind thinking. Be a force towards solving your problems — and the problems of others. Cindy Gallop speaks about the New Creativity. Kristen Cavallo of Mullen spoke about how we experiment with creative and technology, but not HR. Pay attention and see what needs to be changed. Then go about changing it. Jenn Maer of IDEO spoke about going from “Yay” to “Doh” — the process in which we move from the excitement of the conference to getting stuck back in the routine. Don’t go back to doh. Every minute of every day, keep the yay.

Jessea Hankins, Senior Copywriter
Here are a couple moments that stood out: (1) Dyllan McGee’s keynote talk was quite moving. I was pretty flabbergasted to learn that women weren’t allowed to run in the Boston Marathon until 1972. (2) Eliza Esquivel’s comment that as soon as she briefs her agency that the target is moms, “The creativity level drops 70%.” We need to remember that moms also happen to be human beings. There is no monolithic mom council. Also, would a brief ever say the target was dads, full stop? I doubt it. (3) The Superbowl audience is 40% female. I personally hate sportsball so I’ve never given it much thought. But the general buffoonery of dude-centered beer humor that runs rampant through the ads has got to be turning off a sizeable chunk of the women watching. (4) And as always, Cindy Gallop crushed it. She stomped all over it. She put a stiletto to its throat until it cried uncle.

(J) Moe, Creative Content Strategist
I loved Elena Rossini’s preview of her film The Illusionists. I thought it brought up some of the most compelling points about the pervasive beauty myths of the western world and how we’re spreading our damaging, privileged attitudes to the rest of the world. John Gerzema’s talk was very inspiring and offered a very fresh perspective on the ethos we currently worship of “learn by failure.” To paraphrase: “Learn by failure is the most male invention ever. Because it basically says you can fuck up however you want and then just go sweep it under the rug. But there would be a lot less failure if you just admitted that you didn’t know to begin with.” WORD.

Christina Chern, Art Director
I went to the 3% Conference this year excited to hear amazing women like Kat Gordon and Cindy Gallop share their wisdom with us. But I was thrilled to discover that some of the best speakers at the conference were the women sitting in the audience. Though they weren’t “the main event,” every person who stepped up to the mic afterwards to ask questions and share their own stories were incredibly articulate and awe-inspiring. And knowing that the state of our industry lays in the highly-capable hands of these women gives me a lot of hope for the future.

Adam Flynn, Brand Strategist
The Three Percent Conference is like Feminist Advertising Christmas. As important as the talks themselves is the sense of a safe space, where you can speak about things and be heard. (Being one of the few men in attendance, I tried to signal “totally an ally here who likes to kick gender nonsense in the teeth” by wearing a bright pink sweater.) But the talks were excellent. Cindy Gallop’s, as you might expect, blew the doors off. But my favorite piece of it was comparatively subtle: she highlighted the potential of “Have you noticed?” as a not-directly confrontational way to point out things. For instance, have you noticed that bosses who have daughters tend to be more open to these sorts of conversations? (Mark Arata’s talk on “Enlisting Men”) Have you noticed that putting more than one woman in the room makes it easier to voice an opinion because you don’t have to represent the entire gender? Less positively, have you noticed that most advice for women on social media ignores the realities of online harassment?

Have you noticed that when we act together, we have an opportunity to make the culture we want to live in?

Amy Petrolati, Designer
This was the first 3 Percent Conference I’ve attended and I really appreciated the opportunity to meet and listen to the female icons of the industry but also meet some very creative ladies at all levels. One discussion that really struck me encouraged changing the culture within the agency not to just foster women in their trajectory upward, but to make the agency a better balance for all people working there. The social science nerd in me was also very interested in the gender partnership discussion Ray Arata brought with him to his break out session, Enlisting Men. It was really fascinating and while it’s strange to say, next year needs more men in attendance, they need to be engaged in the discussion of gender equality.

Lindsey Butterwick, Senior Art Director
Fresh out of college and debating what the hell to do with my life, I began researching architecture and advertising. During my quest I stumbled upon ihaveanidea.org, a blog about the advertising community. On it was a column called Ask Jancy where two powerful women, Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, gave thoughtful advice on how to break into the industry and thrive as a creative. I was hooked. I applied to ad school and never looked back.

At the 3% Conference D/C VIP party I met Nancy Vonk (below is proof!). I almost cried. It was a surreal and defining moment that would have been nearly impossible without this conference. As a result of those few days, I’ve never felt more inspired or honored to be a female in the creative industry.

 

D/C launches site inspired by 3% Conference

Careers in advertising are long and hard. (That’s what she said.) To coincide with this year’s 3% Conference, we launched thatswhat3said.com, a place where women in advertising can give advice to female creatives who are just starting out. (We considered calling it “Women on Women,” but we’re far too mature for that.) Visit the site, share it widely, and add to it. Your wisdom, warnings, and legends could help a young, shiny creative hold on to her optimism as she runs the ad biz gauntlet.

Episode II: Return of the Rescue Squad

Late last year, DriveTime, the number-one used car chain for the credit-strapped, introduced a new TV campaign called “Rescued.” Forgoing downscale sales tactics and downbeat credit messaging, the spots were a radical departure from anything the client had done before. And the results were just as radical:

Double-digit sales growth across all markets during the Polar Vortex when almost every other player — used or new — was reporting losses.

Today, the campaign rolls on with three new spots playing across the country. Ride along with our intrepid rescuers as they put the fun back into car-buying for three more lucky abductees.

Gotcha! Not at StubHub

At StubHub, the only surprise is at the end of this new commercial — part of a Q4 campaign that includes TV, digital, print and the multitalented Ticket Oak’s radio debut. The effort highlights that scoring good tickets at StubHub couldn’t be easier — or less aggravating — because there are never extra fees. Unlike the other guys, what you see at the start is what you pay at checkout. It’s called All-In-Pricing. Throw in a Fan Rewards program with discounts and seat upgrades for frequent users, and see how, at StubHub, fairytales always come true.

Listen to the radio spot below.

Continue reading “Gotcha! Not at StubHub”

D/C wins California Tobacco Control Program advertising work

The California Tobacco Control Program, the state program who works to reduce the health impact and premature deaths due to tobacco use, has selected D/C as its full-service ad agency of record after a comprehensive review. The contract, which began this month, covers advertising strategy, creative and media, and runs for up to five years.

Over the past two decades, the CTCP has proven remarkably successful, helping reduce California adult smoking rates by half, to 12% — the second lowest in the US.

Said D/C CEO Andy Berkenfield: “As Californians, as parents and – some of the team — as cancer survivors, we couldn’t be more honored and excited to collaborate on this great cause with this enormously successful CTCP team.”

And if, befitting the seriousness of the task (and the seriousness with which we take it), this announcement seems uncharacteristically sedate, it’s only because you can’t see us all jumping up and down.

Is GoT the new txt?

by Adam Flynn, D/C brand strategist

A few weeks later, and we’re still reverberating from this season of Game of Thrones. Acclaimed as the capstone to our current “golden age of television,” Thrones soaks us in thousands of years of fantasy history, four religions, foreign languages with 14 words for “horse,” and yet we are still able to recognize, love, and mourn a vast assortment of characters. This is all the more ironic given that George R.R. Martin began writing Thrones after half a decade in Hollywood, determined to craft a story nigh-impossible to film.

He was right. By the standards of late 1980s television, GoT was completely untenable. It was too big, too complex, too expensive, and too explicit. Part of the reason for the golden era we’re in is that the experience of watching and following a series is fundamentally different from what it once was.

In 1990, if you were following Twin Peaks, you had to watch every episode exactly when it came out, or hope to pick up a bootleg VHS tape of past episodes for the then-princely-sum of $20.

Continue reading “Is GoT the new txt?”

Tahoe wants to know what team you’re on?

As we all know, the world is made up of two kinds of people: those who play for #teamsummer and those on the roster of #teamwinter. In a new spot and outdoor launching today, longtime D/C client Tahoe South introduces the audience to the fun peeps and fantastic creatures of Team Summer in action at the world’s most beautiful lake.

Continue reading “Tahoe wants to know what team you’re on?”

Dear Mainland

The integrated campaign is Kona Brewing’s largest advertising investment in its two-decade history and launches today, on the mainland, on TV, radio, billboards and online. The “Dear Mainland” spots feature two Hawaiian brothers commenting on “common mainlander customs,” such as multi-tasking and the brevity of happy hour, while inviting viewers to take a breath.

“Building on more than a decade of robust sales and distribution in 40 states, we’re incredibly excited to further increase awareness for Kona Brewing among the rapidly growing US audience for craft beers,” said Brand Manager Aaron Marion. “The ‘Dear Mainland’ campaign truly captures the unique Hawaiian spirit of Kona Brewing and, in a fun way, delivers our message that reconnecting with family, friends and community is what truly matters.”

The campaign promotes the Kona Brewing brand and two core beers, Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale. To ensure it captured Hawaii’s distinct cultural perspective, the spots were shot on location on the Big Island with a local cast.

“Hawaii has a different sense of time, a different set of priorities,” said executive creative Director Parker Channon, whose family has lived in the islands for 30 years. “Our campaign encourages overworked mainlanders to take a more Hawaiian approach when it comes to work/life balance. And sharing a good beer with those that matter most is a fine place to start.”

Added creative director Anne Elisco-Lemme, “It’s like the new tagline says, ‘One life, right? Don’t blow it.’”

Kona Brewing Company was started in the spring of 1994 by father and son team Cameron Healy and Spoon Khalsa. It is the islands’ first and largest craft brewery and is headquartered where it began, in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii.

Continue reading “Dear Mainland”

For those about to rock, call Ticket Oak

The coolest deciduous dude you’ll ever meet, Ticket Oak always has tickets to the hottest games and concerts, is a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame and, in his off-time, loves to ride a Chestnut mare. But for the whole strange story, you’ll have to see StubHub’s just-launched Spring-Summer campaign. Created by agency-of-record Duncan/Channon (that’s us), fresh from its 4A’s O’Toole win for last year’s StubHub media plan, the new spots are focused on concert tickets and running on, among others, Jimmy Kimmel, American Idol, SNL and Mad Men. In addition, StubHub is sponsoring the Billboard, CMT and iHeartRadio awards, summer festival coverage on Pitchfork, and NPR’s First Listen Live, among a variety of rockin’ programming. And print ads will appear alongside music coverage in US Weekly and Entertainment Weekly. StubHub and Ticket Oak, we salute you.

DC media is officially excellent

At the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ annual conference in LA yesterday, Duncan Channon took home the O’Toole Award for Media Excellence in the Small Agency category for StubHub. In addition to a handsome two-foot-high black statue that would not have been out of place in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, the agency receives $10,000 that it is invited to donate to charity (good thing, because otherwise media honcho Leslie Diard might head to Vegas and celebrate by putting it all on black).

In keeping with the mission of the 4A’s O’Toole Awards, the Media Excellence category awards the agency for a body of work. In the past, Duncan Channon was a finalist three years in a row for the O’Toole Award for Creative Excellence.

“We believe great ideas are as likely to come from media as from creative – that’s why we put so much emphasis on collaboration,” said agency president Robert Duncan. “And this campaign is proof. We couldn’t be more proud of Leslie Diard and her communications planning team. And for me, it was a special honor to accept the award – mostly because it’s the only time they’ll ever let me touch the thing.”

Tying into DC’s Ticket Oak TV, outdoor and digital campaign, the media campaign honored yesterday involved custom partnerships with FX’s “The League” and with Rolling Stone in a special Venues that Rock program, as well as StubHub-branded food trucks offering Ticket Oak karaoke, free hot dogs and sports- and music-related trivia contests outside football and concert venues. The campaign was designed to counter increasingly aggressive competitors and resulted in dramatic increases in traffic and in StubHub’s brand power index. And special thanks to all our team members at StubHub.

Creepy brands: how not to win the internet

by Adam Flynn, D/C brand strategist

In a paper for the Nesson Center for Internet Geophysics, Tim Hwang and Adi Kamdar argue that the declining effectiveness of standard online advertising (admittedly a debated topic) will push further market consolidation, encroachment on privacy, and blurring of lines between content and advertising. These trends, hotly-discussed last year, show little sign of abating in 2014. So, if we are where they say we are, how might organizations and brands best navigate this transition in a way that leads to positive results for all concerned?

The first step might be making sure you’re not being creepy.

What do we mean by that? Well, we don’t mean horror movies, Welcome to Night Vale, or our very own talking Ticket Oak. We mean the real world.

Continue reading “Creepy brands: how not to win the internet”

In all candor: new John Muir Health ads

The next evolution of the Be Heard campaign begins rolling out in print, out-of-home, digital and primetime TV today, including such shows as New Girl, Brooklyn 99, The Bachelor, American Idol (and in April the Mad Men premiere!). The three new spots (one’s out in June), created by D/C and directed by Aaron Ruell, showcase the delightfully close relationships John Muir Health patients develop with their doctors — relationships so close that an entertaining cavalcade of characters feels completely comfortable asking their most embarrassing health questions.

Continue reading “In all candor: new John Muir Health ads”

Nailed it: Formula X for Sephora

With over 200 colors and never-before-seen effects, Formula X for Sephora is a breakthrough nail brand designed to speak to the playful, nail-art-loving, color fanatic in every girl. So when Sephora approached Duncan/Channon to launch the brand, the team proposed equally breakthrough marketing: the first social network devoted to nail fans.

With millions of mani photos and polish pins across Instagram and Pinterest, and no other brand harnessing this active audience of online nail mavens, D/C saw the opportunity to create a branded, social environment where nail fanatics could express themselves, get inspired and shop relevant products.

At FormulaX.com, nail fans can upload their most color-drenched visual inspiration – from pics of electric sunsets to funky nail art – and, based on those images, the site’s color matching provides customized shade and polish matches. Users can create profiles to store their favorite art, inspiration and uploads, and follow their favorite Formula X fans as they explore looks. Social scraping and an in-site uploader keep user content fresh in realtime. FormulaX.com also allows fans to filter content by type or popularity, surfacing popular content through a hearting system. The site is searchable by products, colors, tags and users, weaving color, social engagement, inspiration and product stories together in one visually rich experience.

And not to neglect the physical world, as part of the Formula X launch, select nail artists get a cool train case, designed and produced by D/C, and filled with the cool new product.

View the full case study.

DriveTime saves the day

The financial downturn has been even harder on consumers with credit issues. Poor money decisions can strand them in a world of no: no approval, no loan, no hope. So when they go to a traditional car dealership, instead of a new ride, they get runaround and refusal.

Enter the DriveTime Credit Rescue Squad.

Two hyper-enthusiastic, hopelessly dorky young women in a homemade rescue vehicle, they’re the heroes of the new D/C-created campaign for America’s number-one used car dealer for people with credit issues. Now when a credit-crunched car shopper has a problem, the Rescue Squad screeches in to deliver them to automotive salvation. Because, in addition to selling cars, DriveTime is a bank that can provide riskier loans.

Shot by comedic directorial team, Adam & Dave, for production company Arts & Sciences, the commercials borrow liberally from old cop shows and buddy flicks to give what is too often a downbeat credit message a fresh, fun spin. The spots begin running today in major markets across the country.

Continue reading “DriveTime saves the day”

Kona Brewing taps D/C

After an extensive review, Kona Brewing Company has selected Duncan/Channon as agency of record. D/C will lead all strategic branding and creative efforts with the goal of accelerating the growth of this pioneering craft beer brand from Hawaii. The work will include an integrated national marketing campaign, including TV, digital, out-of-home and other traditional and non-traditional media, that launches in second quarter, 2014.

“We wanted a team that would not only bring the best creative and strategic approach, but also truly understand the Kona brand and where it comes from,” said Robert Rentsch, Senior Director of Brand Marketing, at Kona Brewing. “Duncan/Channon demonstrated a rich appreciation and understanding of Hawaii, along with a deep spirit of collaboration. We’re delighted to find such a strong partner as we put our largest media investment behind this fast-growing brand.”

Said ECD Parker Channon: “With parents in the restaurant business in Hawaii, I couldn’t be more excited about Kona Brewing, a brand I know well and enjoy often – albeit responsibly. Mahalo, from all of us.”

Sephora/Marc Jacobs Beauty: we have liftoff

The full, rich, and, if we say so ourselves, beautiful Marc Jacobs Beauty site, designed by Duncan/Channon, is now officially up and running, replacing our lovely teaser site. The site is responsive and very social-oriented and reflects Marc Jacobs’s inspirational spirit and intense involvement with this line. Also launching today, coinciding with New York Fashion Week and Marc’s prominence there, is the global, D/C-created Marc Jacobs Beauty digital ad campaign, with, among other units, banner roadblocks and takeovers on nymag.com and style.com, as well as ongoing email. So if you’re in the market for cool cosmetics, be sure to stop by our cool new site.

View the full case study.

Today’s StubHub news: T.O. gets naked & other abominations

If, like us, you can’t get enough of Ticket Oak, this Q3 roundup is for you: First, the deciduous celeb was invited to bare all in ESPN magazine’s annual “Body Issue” — an honor and a horror, simultaneously (NSFW!). Second, he’s offering couples dubious marriage counseling in a new TV spot. Third, and no less impressive, he’s appearing on the sides of StubHub food trucks, dispensing “Hot Seats Eats” in major cities across the country. What’s more, T.O. is branching out into pop-up stores, appearing virtually and fully-animated, so fans can snap a selfie with their “favorite” (his description) star. And, finally, the big barker is all over the NFL homepage and ESPN properties, including Grantland, and continues to tear up social media, cracking wise and sporting exceedingly oversized shades.

View the full case study.

A real beaut of a win: Sephora and Marc Jacobs and digital

Finally, it can be told: after an extensive review of agencies, Sephora, the world’s best-known specialty beauty retailer, selected Duncan/Channon to design the website for its new Marc Jacobs Beauty collection. The site goes live on August 9, 2013, while a teaser site, also designed by D/C, launched in May.

“The Duncan/Channon team came to us with the most inspiring site concepts and demonstrated a deep understanding of what we want to accomplish, “said Connie Young, senior marketing director for Sephora. “I truly feel that they are an extension of our team.”

Said Mike Lemme, D/C partner and chief creative officer, who, along with creative director Andrea Bozeman, is leading the Sephora team: “To be working on a major design project with two major brands world-famous for design, Sephora and its partner Marc Jacobs International, is a designer’s dream. Add in that this assignment is another validation of D/C’s digital chops and integrated strategy, and you’ll begin to understand how proud and excited we are.”

“Well, I think Forbes is weird!” says weirdly defensive tree

As good a story as a big deciduous talking tree, and its ad agency creators, could ask for, today’s Forbes article explains — with verifiable, off-the-charts consumer numbers — that StubHub’s Ticket Oak is an extremely hard worker. #thanksforbes #thanksticketoak

CA says Tahoe South’s just their type

Industry bible Communication Arts has honored Duncan/Channon in this year’s prestigious Typography Annual for design of the new Tahoe South identity for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. The fetchingly named Underware were the talented type designers.

From small acorns: Ticket Oak goes nuts

It’s the biggest campaign yet for StubHub and its lovable/creepy spokes-tree, conjured up last year by D/C. And it may be that the perils of fame are getting to the booming-voiced bark-wearer, as millions of his fans are sure to notice when a new spot drops on (appropriately enough) April 1.

Along with TV, directed once again by Mike Maguire of Biscuit Filmworks, the fully integrated campaign crosses all media and platforms, with print, out-of-home, homepage takeovers – on ESPN and Sports Illustrated – social media and more, all of it lovingly crafted by D/C.

The “more” involves train wraps and “city domination” media buys around key concert halls in New York, as well as “Venues that Rock,” a content partnership with Rolling Stone, featuring a branded hub page on rollingstone.com where users can read about iconic venues, compete to attend a private concert and find hot local tickets. The Rolling Stone program further includes a mix of editorial and advertorial and culminates with an invitation-only, StubHub-branded show by a notable up-and-coming artist.

The new campaign supports StubHub’s evolution from a site to buy great tickets to a site to discover great events – the platform for big nutty trees helping people have awesome weekends.

View the full case study. See more after the jump.

Continue reading “From small acorns: Ticket Oak goes nuts”

DriveTime rolls out

They’ve got the technology, inventory and financing to put you in your dream-mobile. That’s the message of Duncan/Channon’s three new DriveTime spots, the first of which launched nationally today. The campaign is the first by D/C for this new client, one of the largest used auto dealers in the world, and includes radio. The TV was shot at DriveTime’s Las Vegas dealership. @Radical was the production company and Rosey the director. Take ’em for a drive right here.

More after the jump.

Continue reading “DriveTime rolls out”

Howdy, pahdnuh

For the first time since Andy Berkenfield became the slash in Duncan/Channon 13 years ago, the agency has added a new partner. His name, Mike Lemme, may not be unfamiliar, after eight years at D/C, but a few of his accomplishments, both in and out of the agency, bear repeating. He is a three-time winner of the international REBRAND 100 award, given for both creative and strategy, and a former CD at the design/digital firms MetaDesign and Method, where he oversaw award-winning work for SFMOMA, Autodesk, Reuters and American Apparel. He is also a graduate of Pittsburgh’s mighty Carnegie Mellon.

At D/C, he has headed the rebranding of Hard Rock, Esurance, Blurb and Tahoe South, and been cited in Communications ArtsInteractive, Advertising and Typography Annuals, the ONE Show and the 4A’s O’Toole Awards, among other honors. And he conceived and designed the widely praised Hard Rock memorabilia website and its on-property kiosks.

His partnership at D/C comes along with a new title and expanded role. In addition to directing D/C’s design and digital practices, he will crack the whip on creative across the board as the agency’s Chief Creative Officer, while continuing, of course, to contribute all the strategic insight, visual brilliance, unstoppable work ethic and Teutonic charm that led Duncan, Channon and Berkenfield to invite him to become their fourth partner in the first place.

Prepare the shark-jumping ramp!

If you are a regular reader of this humble website then it’s entirely possible you’re mumbling to yourself: “Geez Louise, enough with the StubHub Ticket Oak already.” But, alas, the Ticket Oak’s rabid public cannot get enough. Ergo, this little holiday video. Please check it out, on the editor’s solemn pledge that this will be the final Oak-related silliness of annum 2012 (plus, it’s kinda funny).

Blurb finds its own books

A comprehensive rebrand and the “Find Your Book” campaign Duncan/Channon created for Blurb have garnered a second year of industry accolades, the latest honors being coveted slots in the Brand New Awards and Communication Arts Advertising Annual. Much appreciation is due the visionary client, not to mention the insightful (and handsome? beautiful?) judges, who saw fit to include D/C among such exalted company.

View the full case study.

DriveTime parks here

With over 94 dealerships across the country and half-a-million cars sold, DriveTime is the largest auto dealer helping consumers buy a great used car with or without great credit. After a comprehensive search driven by Pile & Company, the acceleration-minded company signed Duncan/Channon, the original pedal-to-the-metal agency, as its strategic and creative partner. And the agency, already developing a new DriveTime TV and radio campaign for early 2013, is pumped.

D/C gets happy

In the last three years, the happy egg co, a division of Noble Foods, has rocketed from startup brand to the UK’s dominant egg purveyor. And they’ve done so by offering eggs from hens that are not just liberated from cages and then confined to stifling barns, but that live in actual green pastures. Truly free-range, no spin about it. This fall, after galvanizing the British public, the happy egg co. is coming to the US. And, following a pitch, they hired a truly free-range agency – the uncageable Duncan/Channon – to develop a digital brand in the US.

The mission was two-fold: create a voice that speaks authentic American and develop a digital presence that lives where US shoppers live. With 25% of US consumers using smartphones to look up product info while shopping in stores, that means a website that is fully responsive – designed to know what device the shopper is on, its screen size and to adjust, seamlessly. The site tells consumers all about “the girls,” their humane habitat and the difference between “cage-free” and “free range” in quirky copy and a half-dozen videos shot on the farm by the D/C team.

In addition, there are “egg-centric” recipes, games and chicken jokes for kids and, shortly after launch, celebrity chefs joining in, also on video. Social sharing features allow the connected-mom target to do what she likes to do: easily share with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and via email. But, most importantly, the site finally and unequivocally answers the age-old question: which came first, the chicken or the egg?

See more after the jump.

Continue reading “D/C gets happy”

On the plus side: D/C delivers new ID, site for shopping innovator

Marqeta, the company that’s reinventing shopping for both consumers and businesses, today launched its new brand identity and website, created by the Duncan/Channon design and UX team.

The friendly, but efficient, new ID illustrates the power of “You+Marqeta,” as the company and its card add to a consumer’s purchasing capacity across a range of categories. The new site, among other functions, has to quickly educate consumers about the company’s novel approach, while communicating a series of offers and quantifying each user’s point total. And that’s just on the consumer side. The website also has to address the educating and enrolling of businesses. The biggest UX challenge was taking this large amount of complex information and making it appealingly simple, as easy as a trip down the supermarket aisle.

View the full case study.

Back by popular demand/outrage

Yep, he’s back. After a triumphant premiere this spring (prompting a herculean leap in StubHub sales and a feature story in the Wall Street Journal), the oddly loveable, endearingly terrifying Ticket Oak returns and, this time, he’s doling out primo football tickets. Watch for him all over ESPN as well as Saturday Night Live, Monday Night Football, The Tonight Show and more. And while the spot’s pretty weird, it’s about to get a whole lot weirder. Stay tuned.

Adweek likes it.

Jackpot: D/C wins Palms

Duncan/Channon has been picked to lead branding and advertising efforts for The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Said Palms Director of Advertising Alana Litavis: “While we were initially drawn to Duncan/Channon for their category experience with brands like Ritz-Carlton and Tahoe South, the creative product the team delivered solidified our thinking and, in the end, made our decision.”

In conjunction with a thorough remodeling of the property, the agency will help the brand reposition itself to a more affluent target and develop a new campaign touting the image overhaul.

“To get an opportunity to tackle a brand as powerful and provocative as the Palms is why we do what we do,” said Parker Channon, Executive Creative Director. “We can’t wait to help usher in a second era of success for this iconic destination.”

The new campaign is expected to launch this fall with TV, print and out-of-home, but the creative will ultimately filter across all media and even onto the property itself.

Maker some noise

Three weeks into the first Duncan/Channon Makers Program, and the team – a university menagerie of Longhorn, Golden Bear and two Tigers – is making great strides. Or should that be strums? Non-digital device talking to Twitter, developing a personality – it’s positively robopocalyptic. Surveillance video provided for cautionary purposes.

Dare to check out new Tahoe spot, Facebook app

Ah, summer. A time of road trips and bonfires and warm nights playing Truth or Dare. Tahoe South’s new campaign conjures up the wild-child spirit of everyone’s favorite vacation season, kicking off with a Facebook version of Truth or Dare. After all, sharing revealing truths and embarrassing photos is what Facebook was made for, right? That and, increasingly, travel inspiration. So if wistfully clicking through friends’ vacation photos is a favorite pastime, you’re not alone. Duncan/Channon’s Facebook app, created with development partner Noble Studios, enables summer shenanigans galore and reminds users Tahoe South is the decidedly wild side of the lake – the perfect place to relive summer as it ought to be.

D/C’s media plan is digital to the max, though the gauntlet-throwing dare to have a wild summer will be seen on TV and OOH as well. Building on the winter campaign, the work features another series of trippy (get it?) illustrations from Kustaa Saski, brought to life by ace animators Stardust. Look closely and you might see Bigfoot himself cavorting through the spot with water skiers and mountain bikers, tapping into summer nostalgia and daring viewers to find their wild side again in Tahoe South.

View the full case study.

Be Heard: The Sequel

DC is back for round two of its groundbreaking campaign for respected healthcare brand, John Muir Health. Smashing the mold of standard medical marketing, the “Be Heard” campaign lightheartedly taps into the female target’s need to really be listened to — especially when it comes to their family’s health and well-being. The work begins with two new commercials from motion picture director, Clay Weiner (look for his new Valley Girl remake), but extends into print, outdoor, digital and mobile.

View the full case study.

D/C tapped for “digital spring” top 10

While the agency has been busy creating cool social apps, mobile ads that don’t suck, new-fangled websites and a digital makers program populated by the best and brightest of Princeton, U. of Texas and Berkeley, the folks at The Next Web came along and designated Duncan/Channon one of the agencies “leading the charge in the digital revolution.” Thanks. And, um, onward.

This is not an ad: Whiting wows SXSW

It was a full house for Robbie Whiting’s solo panel at South-by-Southwest Interactive, “We made this, and it’s not an ad.” An actively engaged live audience was echoed in the blogosphere, where more than one attendee called it the “best panel” of “the year,” “the last four years,” “ever.” The premise of the talk was that many of those organizations-formerly-known-as-ad-agencies are now venturing far afield from recognizable “advertising,” even crossing into product development. But it turns out that many of these non-ad projects not only serve quite effectively as marketing in a social media age, but also as a mighty spur to the agency’s creativity, cohesion and contemporary chops. Tip Records, D/C’s music label and home to the legendary Gary Wilson, was just one example. If you’re interested, slides are posted below, audience commentary here.

StubHub goes out on a limb

Great tickets don’t grow on trees. Or do they? Enter The Ticket Oak, the 30-foot centerpiece and star of the latest integrated campaign from StubHub. You want sweet seats to sold-out shows or a Price Alert deal for Saturday’s game? The gregarious Ticket Oak provides. And if you don’t happen to have a Ticket Oak? Then StubHub’s the next best thing (like you couldn’t see that coming).

Brought to life entirely practically — no CGI here — by the puppeteers at Anatomorphex and shot lovingly by acclaimed director, Mike Maguire, the Ticket Oak makes his television debut during this year’s March Madness. But expect to see him very soon in print, digital, mobile and social media everywhere. Watch this space for more details.

View the full case study.

D/C exposed in Communication Arts!

Finally, Communication Arts, the bible of the design, advertising and interactive design world, has ripped the veil from Duncan/Channon. In a 10-page investigation within CA’s Interactive Annual, reporter Sam McMillan reveals the shady background and shocking practices of the agency that was “born to rock” — from its “temple of guanxi” bar, wherein take place lurid lectures on “teledildonics” and concerts known as “Roofies,” to its music label Tip Records, home to the inexplicable Gary Wilson, to its “real account people, media people and planning infrastructure.” Shudder.

All apologies to those innocent Duncan/Channon clients who may have been inadvertently besmirched by the probe: (click to see the featured work of each) StubHub, Hard Rock, Blurb, Tahoe South, Birkenstock, VICE Russia, Jackson Family Wines, Rex Goliath Wines, Sanita and D/C’s venerable, never-harm-a-soul pro bono clients WhyHunger and the Western Railway Museum.

Good vibrations from Meyer Sound

Everyone in the music biz knows that when you want the best in sound reinforcement, starting with the industry’s most innovative speaker systems, Meyer Sound is your move. For more than 30 years, Berkeley-based Meyer Sound has set the standard for sound in recording studios, big arenas, small halls, churches, theaters and cinema, around the world, creating breakthrough systems for Francis Ford Coppola, the Grateful Dead and Metallica, among many others. Everyone in the music biz also knows that there’s only one agency with its own record label (i.e., Tip Records) and a history in music going back to the dawn of time.

So when Meyer Sound went looking for help in reinforcing its own business and making further inroads into new markets, turns out there was a match made in heaven just across the bay. Now proud agency of record, D/C will be working on digital and print creative, collateral and media planning and buying for Meyer Sound. And that sounds perfect.

Tahoe South goes wild

Is there any advertising more rote and shopworn than winter ski advertising? There’s the requisite photo of some dude who skies better than you ever will leaping from a cornice that’s probably not even in bounds to a slope with more fresh powder than you’ll ever see. Attach bad-ass headline. Ship.

In its new winter out-of-home campaign, Tahoe South says enough already and foregoes photography altogether in favor of a psychedelic illustration from Finland’s acclaimed Kustaa Saksi. Said illustration makes abundantly clear that when it comes to choosing sides at Lake Tahoe, the south side, with its 24-hour gambling and cocktail-fueled nightlife, is definitely the wild side.

In case you missed it: D/C makes a splash with Tahoe rebrand.

D/C makes a splash with Tahoe rebrand

There are actually two Lake Tahoes, north and south. With a half-dozen isolated resorts and few winter activities beyond skiing, it has been easy for consumers to grok an image of the north as the lake’s quiet side. On the other hand, with tons to do at every hour and for every budget, including great skiing at every skill level and conveniently located bars, restaurants, shopping and 24/7 gaming, it has been tough for consumers to envision a singular image of the south — or for marketers to project one cohesive brand.

No longer. The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, which is tasked with promoting the south side, hired D/C for a complete rebrand. Eight months later, client and agency unveiled the new brand and an entirely new name for the destination — Tahoe South. The strategy embraces the truth of the destination, that it’s the place for the up-all-day-and-night visitor, and the brand identity celebrates this spirit. The website is curated by local experts and serves as a digital concierge to the region, connecting visitors and would-be visitors to the best web content about Tahoe South, as well as relevant real-time feeds from YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.

View the full case study.

The royal treatment continues for Mario & Sonic

After selling a majestic 2.4 million copies (and counting) on the Wii, Sonic and Mario at the London 2012 Olympic Games is set to drop on the Nintendo 3DS. And D/C is dropping a new TV spot to commemorate the auspicious return of gaming royalty. Running throughout North America, Brazil and online in the EU, the spots, filled with inside jokes and sight gags, are sure to bring home more gold for two of the industry’s all-time winners.

Different kind of rock star, different kind of Super Bowl ad

The creative brief was to highlight the fresh, local, made-from-scratch food that has transformed the Hard Rock menu over the last few years — and to do so without surrendering any of the brand’s rock edge. The result: “Meet Our Other Rock Stars,” new 60 and 30-second spots, written and created by Duncan/Channon, directed by Henry Hobson and produced by Alive and Well. The media brief was to reach 33 million people in 53 countries — and to do so without surrendering much of the brand’s marketing budget. The result: Hard Rock crafted a partnership with Facebook to hit users while they’re trash-talking with friends before, during and after the first streaming Super Bowl. Betting line: Hard Rock overwhelmingly favored to win.

D/C keeps it real with new campaign for Ancestry.com

As anyone who has stayed up ’til 3 AM exploring it can attest (I’m looking at you, Bob Duncan), Ancestry.com is a fascinating and, yes, somewhat addictive experience. But while folks who’d gotten a taste were hooked, it seemed that the uninitiated didn’t know quite what was in store for them at the world’s largest online family history resource.

Enter a simple and compelling idea. Find people who are interested in their family history, but have never tried Ancestry.com, put them on camera and see what they discover. To bring their experiences to life, D/C enlisted the help of award-winning documentary filmmaker Sean Dunne. The result is sometimes poignant, sometimes funny and always totally real.

Look for D/C’s latest spots to roll out over the holiday break, complementing Ancestry’s existing work.

View the second spot after the jump.

Continue reading “D/C keeps it real with new campaign for Ancestry.com”

D/C preps US launch for GREE, Japan’s top mobile social gaming co.

Founded in 2004, GREE is the fastest growing tech company in Japan, according to Deloitte, as well as Japan’s leading mobile social gaming platform, with 26 million unique users, over a billion daily page-views and $168 million in revenues in the second quarter of this year alone. It’s listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and was founded by Asia’s youngest self-made billionaire, Yoshikazu Tanaka. Now this digital leader is expanding globally, acquiring OpenFeint, the largest mobile social gaming network, in April and now launching in the US with D/C as its marketing agency. Based in San Francisco, the mission of GREE International is to bring mobile social gaming to the next level, literally and figuratively. And D/C is literally, figuratively and totally psyched to help.

Ancestry.com picks D/C (this guy would be so proud)

D/C’s pretty proud, too, now that the world’s largest online resource for family histories, Ancestry.com, has tapped the agency to lead its creative efforts. The D/C team is developing a fully integrated campaign, including TV, digital, print and other media, set to launch in Q4.

With more than 2.4 billion individual profiles, six billion records and 24 million family trees, Ancestry.com is the leader in helping ancestral explorers in the US and overseas discover, preserve and share the histories of their families. Among its happy subscribers is San Francisco’s R. Duncan family, who were proud to discover this daguerreotype of great-great-great grandpa Benjamin “B.J.” Duncan (1834-1891), the caption to which reads (cross our hearts and hope to die): “So manly and handsome.”

Continue reading “Ancestry.com picks D/C (this guy would be so proud)”

Moscow comes to life

The iconoclastic global brand has a new division in Russia that’s an ongoing D/C client (it’s a long story). On the heels of its “punk rock opera,” David Comes to Life, the band Fucked Up came to Moscow for the first time for a VICE-promoted, Adidas-sponsored concert. The poster boy is singer Damian Abraham. The color palette is echt Russian. The show sold out.

moscow comes to life

Eyes on the prize: D/C wins 1-800 CONTACTS

Duncan/Channon has been selected as agency of record for 1-800 CONTACTS, the largest contact lens retailer in the world, and for Glasses.com, the subsidiary the company launched this summer.

The D/C team will be leading an evolution of 1-800 CONTACTS’ positioning and developing a comprehensive integrated campaign for the brand, including TV, digital, mobile, social media and more. At the same time, the team will be working on a launch strategy and creative for Glasses.com.

Based in Draper, Utah, 1-800 CONTACTS completely upended the contact lens marketplace when it was founded in 1995. Today it stocks more than 15 million contact lenses and delivers over 500,000 every day directly to customers. The company is committed to bringing the same visionary approach to the marketing of prescription eyeglasses. D/C is committed to helping. And totally psyched.

VICE invades Russia, aided and abetted by Duncan Channon

This past May the Brooklyn-based, world-dominating hipster brand VICE finally expanded into Russia. It turned out the Russian franchisee was an American expat with, let’s just say, Duncan Channon connections. Here are a couple of the teaser videos DC developed, one for the arrival of the brand, one for the brand’s big Moscow launch party (below), sponsored by Puma, styled as a Puma Social Club event (for “after-hours athletes”) and featuring bar sports. Like darts.

10 (with a bullet?)

The San Francisco Business Times has published its annual list of the biggest SF ad agencies (by staff, if not by moral standing) and, lo and behold, a familiar name has now arrived in the company of such Bay Area industry stalwarts as Goodby, Silverstein and DraftFCB and Publicis. And this seemed kind of cool and woo-hoo worthy.

Sweden: a (ABBA) to t (trains)

a) One of the first things you see after customs. DON’T FUCK WITH BJORN BJORG
b) Swedes take care of things. I rode ferries and subway cars my parents’ age that are in prime condition.
c) Old Town is full of old, quiet buildings.
d) The military band plays ABBA. Not kidding.
e) Actual Swedish fish.
f) Gift shop > gallery @ Moderna Museet.
g) A coffee break on steriods. They call it “fika.”
h) Skansen, a park of Swedish history. Peacocks roam free.
i) Sweden does pickled herring and boiled potatoes, not burritos.
j) The archipelago is full of tiny, perfect islands.
k) Candy bins like this are everywhere.
l) With eighteen hours of daylight you can hang out in parks all day*
m) *and go to playgrounds after dinner**
n) **did I mention playgrounds after dinner?
o) This makes me happy.
p) The sky looks like this at 1 am.
q) Music all over Stockholm on National Day. Old Swedish men play jazz and sing in English.
r) Summer in Stockholm is drop-dead gorgeous.
s) This boat might still be for sale.
t) Even the bittersweet train ride to the airport was smooth, fast and quiet.

All due respect from new John Muir Health campaign

What do people want from their doctors? It starts with a little r-e-s-p-e-c-t. That’s what consumers told John Muir Health and, not coincidentally, what John Muir Health has delivered patients for decades. That insight is the basis for a comprehensive new campaign created by Duncan/Channon, JMH’s agency of record since July, 2010. The work is designed to reassure consumers, especially the moms who drive family healthcare decisions, that at John Muir Health patients are viewed as partners. Launching today, the effort ranges from TV, cinema and out-of-home to print, banners, mobile, Facebook and Pandora ads, and more. John Muir Health is one of California’s — and the nation’s — most highly-rated healthcare systems.

View the full case study.

All the new Techie/Feely spots now playing

All seven new Esurance commercials are now in rotation on network TV, premium cable outlets and/or the web. Once again, “techies,” the company’s programmers, vie with “feelies,” the Esurance phone reps, over who can serve customers better. These latest :30s mostly feature the characters that were introduced last spring, including Frank the Saver. The spots were created and developed by Duncan/Channon – in partnership with the Esurance marketing team – and produced by Company Films of LA. The director was Fred Goss.

View the full case study.

New Citrix spot shows some meetings change the world

A new 60-second spot for Citrix GoToMeeting, launching today and created by D/C, points out that connection and collaboration can truly make a difference in the world. And, frankly, you might want to grab a tissue before watching. The commercial is part of a comprehensive national campaign across traditional and digital channels designed to both elevate the brand and drive trial.

“The work — much of it created while collaborating using GoToMeeting — champions the idea that a product can be both incredibly simple and powerful at the same time,” said ECD Parker Channon. D/C began collaborating with Citrix in early 2011 and has been working on strategy and brand story, in addition to TV, radio, print and interactive.

Farrier rolls on: One Show Pencil added to Creative Review, Addy honors

First: Creative Review, the prestigious British journal of “Advertising, design and visual culture,” selected D/C’s identity and packaging for Farrier for the magazine’s 2011 annual. Farrier is a division of Jackson Family Wines, the ultra-premium division of Kendall-Jackson.

Next: Farrier took Best of Show at the 2011 SF Addys.

Now: Last night, in the 2011 One Show, D/C (alone among SF agencies, if we may be so crass) grabbed a Bronze Pencil for Design for the mighty Farrier. Ups (again) to Patrick Nistler and the whole D/C wine team.

Blurb blast-off

Though the work just launched, the SF Egotist has already said they’re some of the prettiest print ads since Gutenberg. And the banners pick up the same rich, allusive design and gorgeous photography. And every element of this multi-million-dollar campaign incorporates a refreshed brand identity and rests on a completely renovated brand platform — all authored by Duncan/Channon, in collaboration with agency-of-record client Blurb.

For those not among the 1.5 million who have already created a volume of their own photography, memoirs, wedding pictures or the like, Blurb is the leader in helping people make beautiful printed books via the web. Their service includes pro-level, yet easy-to-use, design tools and a fail-safe production process delivering budget-defying quality.

In September, Blurb came to D/C, the leader in helping beautiful printed book companies become more famous, to explore positioning, target, competitive and other strategic issues — to create the company’s brand story. The print and online campaign, which reminds the audience they’ve probably accumulated several books’ worth of material already, draws directly on those efforts.

The media plan, courtesy of D/C’s Communications Planning department, includes Dwell, National Geographic Traveler, American Photo and Elle Decor, among others, for the print, and Popular Photography, NatGeo and creative professional sites like Behance and Coroflot, for the banners, which also tie in to the company’s social media efforts.

Kudos to Blurb and their D/C team, as they look forward to [choose your publishing-related cliche: the next chapter; the next bestseller; turning the page; closing the book; returning overdue books to the library of loquaciousness].

View the full case study.

Lasers, fire & a sea of nacho cheese

The first national campaign from the world’s largest ticket marketplace, StubHub, premieres this evening with a primetime spot on ESPN’s telecast of Opening Day. The integrated campaign from D/C features TV, print, outdoor and wild postings and touts StubHub as the place to get dream tickets for sports, concerts and more. And what do dream tickets afford the holder? Why nothing less than a dream experience, of course.

A concert TV spot, complete with flying, pyrotechnic-laden drum platform, was created in addition to the baseball spot and both will run on the major networks as well as Bravo, E!, ESPN and Comedy Central. Accompanying print ads can be found in Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, People and Esquire. And digital out-of-home and wild postings will be present in most major markets with a large presence in Times Square.

View the full case study.

REBRAND 100 redux: this time for Esurance

Duncan/Channon revisits the winners’ circle at the 2011 REBRAND 100 Global Awards, picking up a Merit for the rebranding of Esurance. The prize is given for concept, design and strategy. As explained in the entry package, the revamped identity system and type-only Esurance logo was designed to deliver a singular message: that the company that pretty much invented online car insurance continues to innovate on behalf of busy consumers, always working to make the process of buying or using its products more intuitive, more convenient, more transparent and more friendly. It’s about smartness in the service of simplicity. The Merit award means D/C’s work ranks among the world’s most successful rebrands in 2010, alongside rebrands of Audi, Sprint Nextel and Subaru Australia. D/C won for the Hard Rock rebrand in 2007.

View the full case study.

Uptown downtown

The agency needed to paint a vivid picture for Ritz’s well-heeled customer of what it would be like to live in an area that only a few years ago they wouldn’t even visit. So rather than show the residences, which people are rightly inclined to believe are luxurious, the campaign — which includes banners, collateral and a new website, in addition to newspaper and magazine ads — puts the focus on the amazing sports, entertainment and dining options just outside their stylish front door.

View more work for Ritz-Carlton.

Best of show (woo-hoo): packaging

DC’s smart, charming and evocative packaging for Farrier wine, part of the high-end Jackson Family Wines (part of Kendall Jackson) took one of three Best of Shows Saturday night at the San Francisco Addys. Not only did the agency create the labels for both the red and the white wines, D/C’s wine team, including designer Patrick Nistler, developed the entire brand from scratch, drawing on the history and lore of the local area. The wine deserves the great packaging, but the packaging certainly deserves the prize. Salud.

100 Best in Advertising

Graphis magazine has honored D/C’s campaign for Sanita, the original Danish clog, with a gold award in its 2011 “100 Best in Advertising” annual. Founded in Zurich in 1944, Graphis is one of the world’s most influential graphic arts publications. The competition was judged by a prestigious international jury whose US contingent included Rich Silverstein. All of which ain’t exactly chopped liver, a D/C spokesperson was heard to remark.

See more after the jump.

Continue reading “100 Best in Advertising”

Faster than a speeding you-know-what

Every new Sonic game offers players a new power or new characters, but what always brings the fans back is the pure, unadulterated speed of Sonic himself. Hence, the motivation behind D/C’s fourth live action spot for the venerable franchise. Using a Phantom HD high-speed camera shooting at 6,000 frames a second, the agency was able to capture an actual moving bullet, parodying the famous Edgerton strobe photos of the 1960s. Then it was composited with normal frame-rate action to complete the effect and — voila —the high-speed hedgehog is back.

Let it Blurb

Following an exhaustive pitch, leading online publisher Blurb has booked Duncan/Channon to be its brand-building agency of record. First assignment will be a comprehensive strategic and design effort, along with a digital campaign to launch in fourth quarter.

Blurb is a web-based platform that makes it easy to design, publish, market and sell professional-quality, printed books. Its community features also make it simple to share digital books online. Based in San Francisco, with offices in London, the company was founded in 2005 and last year shipped over 1.2 million books to more than 60 countries and generated over $45 million in revenue.

And that’s just chapter one.

D/C goes old with new wine brand

Created for Jackson Family Wines (of Kendall-Jackson fame), Farrier is a brand that D/C helped build from the ground up. The client came with a plot of land in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley and a challenge — create a wine brand that embodies the heritage of that singular place.

The overall concept taps into the sense of community that has historically played such an important role in rural life. Jackson Family Wines has always been guided by a strong appreciation for the land. And, as a family business, it is deeply rooted in the community. It seemed natural for Farrier to pay tribute to these things.

The design tells the story of a blacksmith shop that had been on the property in the 1800s. It was a place where the local farrier (or horseshoe fitter, for those of you not familiar with equine parlance) plied his trade and the townsfolk gathered to socialize. Reinforcing the handcrafted quality of the wine, the packaging mirrors the look of an old newspaper and the language adopts an endearingly olde-school colloquial tone. The red wine uses a more traditional wrap label, while the whites are adorned with a die-cut “F.”

“Biggest ad award” finalist third year in a row

“This is the toughest award in advertising, because it recognizes an agency’s overall creative excellence,” said Chuck Porter, chairman of Crispin Porter + Bogusky. “To win an O’Toole, one hot idea won’t cut it, an agency has got to be the best over and over and over again.”

Duncan/Channon was this year one of only five finalists for the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ O’Toole Award in the Small Agency category, the third consecutive year the agency has been so honored. (See 2009, 2008.) And because, as Chuck said, this so-called “biggest award in advertising” is not just for one client or one piece of work, congratulations are due once more to the entire D/C staff, the best creative, account, media, planning and production team in the business. Or at least top five. And congratulations as well to Mono, who took top honor.

D/C’s 2010 submission included Esurance “Dedicated,” Hard Rock’s Booth Interactive and this spot for WhyHunger.

D/C just the ticket for StubHub

The world’s largest ticket marketplace, StubHub, a division of eBay, has scored a new general agency in Duncan/Channon.

On the eve of its tenth anniversary, StubHub is looking to reinforce its leadership in the category and expand awareness beyond its core sports-fan audience (balletomanes, take note). D/C has developed a comprehensive new campaign for the fall. The first TV spot broke today on ESPN, but you can enjoy it here. (For you production-enthusiasts, no CGI was used. Just good, old-fashioned forced perspective. Thanks, Steven Diller.)

New Birkenstock campaign sells out Arizona

(UPDATE 7/27: Turns out that industry bible, Communications Arts, is also talking about D/C’s new Birkenstock campaign today. Just sayin’.)

Nothing to do with illegal immigration or majestic cacti. This Arizona happens to be Birkenstock‘s famous two-strap sandal, and, last month, due to bold new print work from those fab fetishists at D/C, it completely (if temporarily) sold out. For perhaps the first time in its 236-year history, the venerable German footwear maker had to scramble to replenish inventory on its signature product. First indications that the campaign would be a winner came last Spring when it also helped to drive one of the biggest ever sell-ins for the brand’s women’s fashion shoes.

For women, this new campaign celebrates the fashion side of Birkenstock. For men, it’s about the outdoor lifestyle. But all the new ads use striking photo/illustration collages to encapsulate each sandal’s unique personality (sure, shoes have personalities — ask Burke Andrews) and then to tell a deeper Birkenstock story — about respect for nature and the healthy life. The illustrator was Amy Guip. The women’s ads are running in Marie Claire, ReadyMade, Budget Travel and other fashion and active-living magazines. The men’s ads can be found in, among other pubs, Men’s Journal.

See all six below and visit Flickr for full-size images.

South of the Border: a different kind of trip

Hey, I recently took an interesting trip. It wasn’t to anywhere cool like India, Jack Daniel’s home state or San Miguel de Allende — no, it was to the California Pacific Medical Center on California Street, here in San Francisco.

It all started at 3:30 am when I woke up with a slight ache in my stomach. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but by 6:30 it had gotten worse and ejecting my dinner did not help. At 9, I found myself in the waiting room of an urgent care doctor. Unable to pinpoint the problem, she sent me to the biggest crooks in the medical industry, [name of testing place redacted for lawsuit reasons], for the usual rigamarole. From there I was instructed to go to a radiology center for a CT scan. After two hours of increasingly painful waiting for an insurance authorization, I opted to foot the bill myself and had the scan of my abdomen performed. Needless to say, something is wrong with the insurance system if it requires a person in pain to sit and wait while some office drone passes around an authorization form. But I digress.

Continue reading “South of the Border: a different kind of trip”

A healthy piece of new business

After a successful year as John Muir Health’s media agency of record, Duncan/Channon was invited to pitch — and very pleased to win — creative duties as well. Kudos to D/C communications planning director, Leslie Diard, and her crack team for the stellar work that got the agency into the pitch in the first place. Initial creative for this venerable health care brand is expected to launch in early October. Watch this space for details.

D/C goes south for the summer

In a new campaign for the Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Authority, D/C helps Lake Tahoe South Shore step out of the shadow of its North Shore neighbor. The $1.5 million campaign playing on local TV and computer screens this summer celebrates the absolute riot of 24/7 entertainment options available to Bay Area travelers willing to take Highway 50 instead of 80. (It also celebrates the undeniable majesty of upside-down, beat-boxing chins dressed in tiny hip-hop attire.)

Check out the second spot, “Pantyhose,” below.

PS: The LTVA team hard at work:

Esurance rebrand launches with TV, cinema, interactive, OOH

Seven months in the making, Duncan/Channon’s new work for Esurance, one of the country’s leading car insurers, debuted today all over the damn place.

TV spots, part of a new live-action campaign called “Techie Feely,” began airing nationally on the NBA Finals and 40 cable networks, including FX, ESPN, Bravo, Discovery, TNT and A&E, accompanied by a comprehensive interactive and social media initiative. A nationwide out-of-home effort, starring the TV characters, kicks off in late June, along with national cinema advertising. In addition, as part of the launch, Esurance is introducing a new corporate identity, created by D/C.

Annual marketing spend is $100 million-plus.

In a departure from the animated heroics of past advertising, which starred the pinkhaired “special agent” Erin Esurance, this TV campaign introduces the people behind the company, a quirky cast of staffers who seem to have divided their office into a “Techie” camp – comprised of programmers – and a “Feely” camp – made up of sales and claims reps who help customers over the phone. The jockeying for recognition among the groups drives the comedy, while offering a perfect framework for a message about the company’s innovative products and commitment to service – no matter how customers receive it. The tagline, which flips from commercial to commercial, depending whether Techies or Feelies are featured, is: “Technology when you want it, people when you don’t.”

Five commercials have been finished, and production on additional executions is scheduled for early fall. The spots were directed by Fred Goss, who has a stellar resume as director, writer and producer on commercials and ensemble comedies, including his own TV series last year on ABC, “Sons and Daughters.” The production group was Company Films of L.A.

The revamped identity system and new type-only Esurance logo is designed to deliver a singular message: that the company that pretty much invented online car insurance continues to innovate on behalf of busy consumers, relentlessly striving to make the process of buying or using its products more intuitive, more convenient, more transparent and – yes, Feelies – more friendly. It’s about smartness in the service of simplicity.

Duncan/Channon was awarded agency-of-record for Esurance this past September.

View the full case study.

Puttin’ on the Ritz

Sorry, the headline is irresistible when you’ve just been picked by the sports, entertainment and real estate giant, AEG, to market its new Ritz-Carlton residence tower.

Priced from $800k to $10 million each, the new Ritz-Carlton condominiums are the residential centerpiece to AEG’s L.A. LIVE complex in downtown Los Angeles. L.A. LIVE is home to the Staples Center, Nokia Theater and Grammy Museum, among a dozen other venues, restaurants and bars, and the Ritz apartments represent the ultimate pied-a-terre for the well-heeled sports or music fanatic – where you can just go “downstairs” to see the NBA All-Star Game, for instance, or Paul McCartney.

The campaign is spending $2 million-plus for local, regional and national print, as well as online, and launches in late June.

Gnu Gnarly

Previously positioned as the wine for those who lived life on the edge, Gnarly Head wanted to elevate what was purely a lifestyle brand. However, they still wanted to connect with their core consumers who lived life boldly and, well, had the scars to prove it.

D/C created a print and radio campaign highlighting the new tagline: Old vines make bold wines. In the print executions, we subtly hinted at the adventurous lifestyle that our consumers enjoy, as articulated in the headline: Bold. Sophisticated. With a hint of Gnarly. By doing this, we deftly connected the lifestyle story to the wines’ unique style — in this case, a bold Zinfandel made from the grapes of old vines.

Continue reading “Gnu Gnarly”

New wine, old bottle

No marketing-driven “critter” wine, the challenge for Farrier, the new luxe libation from Kendall-Jackson, was to bring in a sense of history, terroir and romance without dragging out the cliched oak barrels or little ole winemaker. This widely honored ID and packaging instead taps into the property’s authentic 19th century background, when building and land were home to a well-regarded blacksmith and functioned as a community meeting-place for the popular local horseshoer.

Adults only

Once the stomping ground of staggering starlets, the Palms was undergoing a complete remodel and looking to relaunch as a new kind of Las Vegas luxury and sophistication. Still naughty, but in a more adult, less showy way, befitting a resort discreetly located off the Strip.

CA taps D/C

In a well-deserved tribute to the agency’s interactive team, Duncan/Channon is being honored in this year’s Communications Arts Interactive Annual for the Hard Rock Booth Interactive.

Judge Rachel Pasqua pretty much hit the nail on the head when she described the interface, created for the new generation of Hard Rock Cafes, as “an innovative combination of social and touchscreen technology with a tactile twist on the old restaurant booth jukebox that lets users thumb through the memorabilia and cast their vote for the next video.”

Also honored in the CA Annual is the Rock Wall™, a sister project designed and developed by Obscura Digital which, like the booth interface, builds on the D/C-created Hard Rock memorabilia website. Big ups to them, to D/C’s development partners at Vertigo, and especially to Joe Tenczar and the Hard Rock team.

More Hard Rock interactive here.
The complete Hard Rock rebrand story here.

communication-arts-hard-rock

Who spiked my appletini?

Hard Rock runs a massive video system to coordinate the displays throughout its cafes, hotels, casinos and live venues worldwide. Duncan/Channon collaborated with artist Erik Natzke to create a series of trippy, dynamically-generated animations to display when music other than music videos is playing (live bands, a DJ, etc.). Animations are paired randomly with whatever music happens to be playing at the time and each resolves into a specific visual revelation. Here’s a six-minute sample (you’ll have to supply your own mushrooms).

Music: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Mysteries” / Cut Chemist, “(My 1st) Big Break” / Manchester Orchestra, “The Only One”

vds-anim-stills

From A to Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Rarely do agencies get the opportunity to, literally, build a brand from the ground up – but for Sereno, The Center for Snoring Solutions, that’s exactly what Duncan/Channon did.

Over the last eight months, D/C implemented a comprehensive treatment plan for Sereno that included: naming, identity, outdoor, direct mail, television advertising (see the spot above), print, design, interactive, media planning and buying, strategy, and even interior design.

Needless to say, brand building like this is hard work, and it’s safe to assume the agency is in need of a good night’s sleep — almost as much as the patients that Sereno was designed to help.

If you’re in San Francisco and want to see Duncan/Channon’s prescription for a great brand, stop by Sereno in the Crocker Galleria — their doors opened on January 1st.

Ship-shape

Fifty-year-old Interasia was purchased by one of the world’s largest shipping firms, which wanted to reignite the enthusiasm of prospects, customers and its young employees. And show, no less than its customer companies, that the new Interasia was contemporary and future-facing. In addition to a full ID system, the project included designs for ships and containers and required DC creatives to undergo a crash course in the antiquated methods of the container-painting industry and consult with a South San Francisco body shop. The new logo not only resembles a container, but shows motion and dimension, in striking colors.

D/C wins Esurance

In case you didn’t read about it on NYTimes.com, we couldn’t be more proud to share the news that Esurance has selected D/C as their creative agency of record. The win came after a selection process involving many agencies across the US. The assignment includes comprehensive strategic and creative work, from brand positioning to advertising.

Said Esurance CMO John Swigart (if we may immodestly quote): “We were deeply impressed with Duncan/Channon. Their presentation was on-brief, insightful and inventive. And the chemistry was right, too. We think D/C is the perfect partner to help take Esurance and Answer Financial, our affiliated insurance agency, to the next level in our second decade.”

Said D/C GM Andy Berkenfield: “Whooo-hooo.”

Founded in 1999 and now owned by White Mountains Insurance Group, Esurance has become one of the nation’s top names in direct auto insurance. Currently, Esurance is the third most recognized auto insurance brand among online consumers.

4As deems D/C top 3

For the second year in a row, Duncan/Channon was honored as one of three finalists in the small agency category for the O’Toole Award, “the biggest award in advertising,” given out by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, advertising’s biggest trade group.

And that ain’t chopped liver.

In fact, according to insiders: “The O’Toole Awards program is known as one of the toughest industry competitions because entry requires that an agency submits a body of work representing different brands.” D/C’s submissions included the Hard Rock memorabilia website and work for Rex Goliath, Sanita and a pro bono campaign for the Western Railway Museum.

In spite of this year’s rare repeat honor, D/C has vowed to rob, steal and murder to get the Number One designation and the prize itself next year. So, congrats to this year’s winner and our fellow honorees. And look out.

Sin City gets first “out-of-box” memorabilia interfaces

It all started with a groundbreaking little Deep Zoom website, conceived and designed by Duncan/Channon, that enabled rock fans to get extremely up-close-and-personal with Hard Rock’s memorabilia collection without having to travel. The site, now featuring 1,100 priceless pieces of rock history (en route to thousands more), was an immediate popular success – and a critical one, too, winning D/C two Webby honors.

But even as development continues on still more amazing editions of the site, Hard Rock management threw down the gauntlet: get the technology “out of the box” and into the properties, starting with the new flagship cafe opening today on the Las Vegas Strip.

Working with Hard Rock’s crack technology, property-development and memorabilia teams, D/C designed three new interfaces for the cafe. These include two apps for Microsoft Surface – the multi-touch, multi-user, interactive tabletop – as well as a touch-based interface for the restaurant’s 38 booths, where guests can manipulate memorabilia, peruse merchandise and vote on what video plays next in the cafe. The agency also consulted with Obscura Digital on the Rock Wall™ – a massive (18 x 4 ft.), interactive display that enables six simultaneous guests to explore Hard Rock memorabilia with their fingertips.

There’s more. And more to come. But, honestly, isn’t that enough?

Continue reading “Sin City gets first “out-of-box” memorabilia interfaces”

WhyHunger spot ships

For us, this one hits the bullseye: great creative serving a great client and a great cause.

Dystopian fantasy that, in a country with 16 million hungry children, is not actually so fantastic. WhyHunger is a longtime pro bono client that the agency helped rebrand from World Hunger Year. This was the 30-year-old philanthropy’s first spot.

Previewed as a rough cut on this site, Duncan/Channon’s WhyHunger PSA is now wrapped and shipping. It has been distributed to 92 stations in the top 10 US markets, and client and agency have high hopes that station managers will be enthusiastic about this eerily beautiful spot about the shameful problem of hunger in the world’s wealthiest country.

In the meantime, it is past time to extend deep appreciation to the generous legion outside D/C who contributed to making this complicated pro bono production possible. First, of course, thanks to Boxer Films and director David Roth, who knew full well what they were getting in to, and did so anyway, and then gracefully delivered vision, hard work, can-do tenacity and a skillfull 75-person crew to a multi-location shoot with a large cast — and then artfully edited the film into: 15, :30 and :60 versions. Thanks to emoto music for a custom, uniquely haunting score. And, of course, to Vendetta Post and The Syndicate for bringing their post-production expertise. Big ups to San Francisco’s own M Squared for loaning their time, expertise and facility for final mix. Finally, a loud shout-out to producer, Marc Hochman, who herded the cats so effectively and, from start to finish, just made the thing happen — all for the satisfaction of doing great creative for a great cause. The great client is thrilled. (Find out more about this innovative group at whyhunger.org.)

This aggression will not stand

We’re a little embarrassed to call attention to it. I guess we just got busy and took our eye off the ball… But our page-rank on Google has slipped a few notches recently. For some reason we’re now only showing up as the fifth result when searching for the phrase “howard hughes bottled own urine.”

It’s okay. We’re keeping our heads up. Please help us climb back to the #1 slot by clicking the link below and then – this is critical – clicking on the Duncan/Channon link in the results to come back to our site. We’d really appreciate it.

Google search: howard hughes bottled own urine

God’s gifts to political comedy – and cell phones

Whether it’s our favorite Dick speaking out against Obama and for torture. Or Senator Jim “MC Jimmy” DeMint vowing to break Obama over healthcare. Or Rush Limbaugh calling Sotomayor a “racist.” The right-wingnuts seem hell-bent on providing political satirists with rich material and our progressive, cause-marketing phone company client, CREDO Mobile, with perfect foils.

Southern Cone: In 19,000 palabras

See all the photos on Flickr.

Patagonia, Uruguay, Argentina: they’re all part of the area known as the Southern Cone. And each in its own way is beyond words. Or, at least, my words. Anyway, I hate that question, “So what was the best part of your trip?” Well, there’s the stunning natural beauty of Patagonia, with the relentless winds of the high mountain steppe of El Chalten, or the grandeur of the glaciers just outside of Calafate. Or unassuming Uruguay, with its extreme lack of tourist information, despite being one of the most charming countries I’ve ever visited. Or urban Buenos Aires, whose vibrant soul resonates throughout its distinctive music, art and history. The best part? No, instead of going on for pages without answering the question, I’d like to let these diecinueve photos speak their thousands of more eloquent words.

D/C scores National ADDYs for two sites

This just in: Duncan/Channon has been awarded two prestigious National ADDY Awards, for the much-honored, Deep Zoom-based Hard Rock memorabilia website (plus embeddable widget) and our own new, blogalicious site. Competing against, well, just about every ad agency in the entire ad universe, digital and analog, all of whom had received either silver or gold in regional ADDYs in order to qualify, D/C took home hard-earned silvers in the categories of Consumer Website and Interactive Self-Promotion. Hooray for brilliant ADDY judges.

Birkenstocks evoke impulse control issues in fashion animals, others

We all know Birkenstocks are good for you. But sometimes we need to be reminded that they also look good on you — and sometimes a little bird can do just that.

For Spring, ’09, the venerable German sandal macher, pulled out all the fashion stops, with new colors and looks meant to once and for all put to rest the notion that anti-fashion has to be funky. Then they invited D/C to communicate this shift to a marketplace that has some deeply ingrained ideas about the brand.

Whereupon D/C tossed the ball to, among others, a monkey, who seems to have nailed it. Go, monkey.

Alumni news, part 2: Sausage?!?

The same day that news arrives about Toby getting hired by some TV show called the Colbert Report comes news that Ian “Sausage” Dailey (above left; second from right at right), longtime Duncan/Channon media planner, dismissed two years ago on unspecified “moral” grounds (well, yeah, after he left for B-school), is president of the team that has won the $200,000 MIT Clean Energy Prize, a prestigious national student competition sponsored by MIT, Boston utility NSTAR and the US government. Again, an unholy mix of pride and envy swells our hearts, if not other parts. Hey, Sausage and Toby, don’t forget the little people.

Alumni news: Colbert Report takes D/C castoff

Is it a measure of how high we’ve risen or how low Colbert has fallen? News arrives today that former Duncan/Channon copywriter, Toby Wexner ( Max Werner, pictured above left), has been hired as a writer for the Colbert Report. (Yeah, we’d never heard of it either.)

Toby/Max was green as a tree frog with swine flu when he arrived at our august institution, straight from four years at some Slacker U. on Harvard Square. D/C-style tough love helped transform the callow amphibian into a prince of an advertising scribe, yet a mere five years later he was told, in no uncertain terms, to get out and stay out. Well, after he announced he was going to Hollywood to be a screenwriter (good luck with that!).

So today’s Alumni News is offered as a cautionary tale. After all, you wouldn’t want to wind up like Toby: national TV, fancy NY crib, big salary, famous friends, and all the nose candy you can hoover. Sucks.

Update 17 June: Two days into the job and he’s already on camera.

Hygge. Go ahead, you can say it.

The manufacturers of the original Danish clog, Sanita, have been making shoes for the US market for years. But now they’ve decided to sell them under their own brand. As part of a complete re-branding, we created print ads, POS, banners, social media outreach and a new website. And as part of that process, D/C discovered that the brand’s essence was the wonderfully difficult-to-pronounce, echt-Danish concept of “hygge.” It’s kind of like comfort, but so much more. You really need a Dane to explain. (Click the image above to cue web video.)

Hard Rock collection collects Webby honors

The groundbreaking, Deep-Zoom-able Hard Rock Memorabilia website and widget – conceived and designed by D/C and built by Vertigo – have been designated an Official 2009 Webby Honoree in two categories: Music and Best Use of Photography.

As the Webby folks explain, Honorees are the “top 15% of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement… with nearly 10,000 entries received from all 50 states and over 60 countries.”

See: Previous, related self-congratulations

The little engine that could advertise

The Western Railway Museum, located near Fairfield, CA, is dedicated to preserving the heritage of, specifically, electric trains — the big ones, not the mini-replicas from Lionel — which, as some lucky local kids know, you can actually ride at the museum’s scenic property.

To spread the news about this Bay Area jewel, the folks at AC Transit, responsible for East Bay bus service, offered the museum 300 free bus ads. That’s when Executive Director Phil Kohlmetz turned to D/C for creative. And when AC Transit saw the work, they upped the donation to 900 ads, in order to run all three versions on every bus. And now, Kohlmetz reports, other local media vendors are clamoring to get in on the giving. All aboard.

Run-DMC, Kiss, Anthrax, Little Steven in home-run Yankees spot

Hard Rock has a cafe at the brand new Yankee Stadium, and, along with the prime real estate, gets thirty seconds every game in front of 50,000 fans on the hi-def Jumbotron. Not surprisingly, they tossed the opportunity to agency of record, D/C, which cooked up a modern mashup of the old chestnut “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as sung by New York-area rock stars.

The spot was mostly shot at the stadium the day before it opened. And the musical cast included Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, en route to a plane to Cleveland for his induction into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame; Bronx native and Yankees fanatic Ace Frehley of Kiss; Scott Ian of Anthrax; Little Steven Van Zant; the Bacon Brothers (Kevin and Michael); the Dictators’ Handsome Dick Manitoba, another Bronx-bred Bombers fan; and Bernie Williams, the retired Yankees star — and hot-shot guitarist — now making his own promising play for rock stardom.

In addition to the scoreboard, the spot will be aired on the TV systems at both the Yankee Stadium and Times Square cafes.

Goode work

The critically acclaimed Sonoma County winery, Murphy-Goode, now a division of Jackson Family Wines (the Kendall Jackson folks), has begun rolling out its brand new brand image, developed with assistance from — you guessed it — Duncan/Channon.

Like all the best brand overhauls, this one is less a re-make than a reveal, finding the essence of what was already a lively, well-regarded brand and bringing its key elements to the fore. In the case of Murphy-Goode, that meant turning a spotlight on the winery’s culture of collegiality, sociability and great, goode humor, as suggested by, among other things, the names of some of its wines — including its famous Zinfandel, Liar’s Dice — and the jocular personality of winemaker (and ex-rocker) Dave Ready, Jr.

D/C worked with Marketing Director Ciara Meaney from the initial brand research all the way through implementation of murphygoode.com. The wine- and fun-loving (indeed) D/C team developed the brand’s strategic platform (basically, that MG peeps take their wine seriously, but not themselves) and then codified its look and feel through a comprehensive set of brand guidelines. The assignment also included the development of an extensive library of photography, an innovative (and totally entertaining) POS campaign (featuring an interactive menu generator), a series of tasting videos starring the winemaker, as well as murals and graphics for their new tasting room.

While it may be too early to measure the sure-to-be-salutary effect on sales, the mood around MG HQ in the wake of the re-vamp has been exceedingly positive, especially toward the agency. One senior marketing person called D/C — in what we take to be a compliment — her “magic fairy dust.” (Although a male creative, it must be told, initially remembered the compliment as being a tad more macho, proudly reporting that the client had called us her “silver bullet.”)

3 bests, 7 golds, 5 silvers at SF ADDYs

The precious metal piled up for D/C at the San Francisco ADDY awards last night. One of the show’s biggest winners, the agency took Division Bests for Murphy-Goode and Infinity and Golds for Birkenstock, Stonestreet and others. Impressively, the work covered a wide spectrum of media, from print to interactive to identity to POS. Big ups to all whose imagination and hard work made it possible. Now it’s on to the nationals.

Call up Jim Morrison’s pants with your iPhone

Microsoft has officially launched a Seadragon app for the iPhone. Which means you can now browse high-resolution photo collections on your iPhone — including the Hard Rock memorabilia collection (as seen on the Hard Rock memorabilia website, conceived and designed by D/C and built by Vertigo).

So if you’re out and about and overcome by a sudden and insatiable need to see Morrison’s ripped leather pants, you totally can. Here’s how:

1) Install the Seadragon app on your iPhone.
2) Open the app.
3) Hit the plus button in the bottom right.
4) Select RSS Feed.
5) Enter this URL: http://memo.hardrock.com/seadragon.xml
6) Hit Done.

Badabing.

Alas, with this initial release, there is no way to view the memorabilia stories, videos or metadata on your iPhone, just the stuff itself. But, of course, you can still see all that and more at memorabilia.hardrock.com.

A few words on trying times

Every so often, when heads hang low and the direction forward seems uncertain, our Executive Creative Director emerges from his sanctum sanctorum with an important message on the state of advertising. Whether it’s the entropic role of cognitive dissonance in the brand relationship or the blurring modalities of modern media, his sage words act as a shining beacon lighting the way toward a new dawn of understanding. Please enjoy this latest dispatch. Here’s hoping its wisdom will help us all weather the stormy seas of 2009.

D/C helps big chicken crow

It’s a larger-than-life California wine named after a real-life, larger-than-life rooster that toured with the Texas Circus at the turn of the 20th century. The bird behemoth, officially known as “HRM Rex Goliath,” once weighed in at a sideshow-worthy 47 pounds, and he’s now set to become a 21st century celebrity as star of the Rex Goliath winery’s first-ever brand campaign. Hatched (sorry) by Duncan/Channon and just launched nationally in newspapers, point-of-sale and outdoor, the campaign uses hand-painted, vintage circus art to communicate the nature of both the big, bold wines and the big, bold brand itself. D/C commissioned Seattle painter Dennis Clouse to create the artwork. Rex Goliath is a division of Constellation Wines, the 47-pound rooster among world wine producers.

A really, really high number you can live in

Infinity is the name of the new top-tier condo complex in San Francisco’s SOMA district from mega-developer and D/C client Tishman Speyer. And “Nothing Less Than Infinity” is the name of the complex’s new campaign. In a single, hard working photograph, each of the handsome D/C-created ads manages to simultaneously celebrate both the luxe interiors of the curved, green-glass towers and the deluxe exteriors of its neighborhood, home to some of the city’s great restaurants, shopping and bay views. The campaign, for which D/C is also handling media, has just launched in Bay Area newspapers, magazines and out-of-home.

Booty

Greatest gift ever from the comedy gods.

 
Listen to the audio before you read this attempt at explanation:
Near as we can figure, a guy gave her a fake number some time over the course of a steamy romantic evening. But the number was either a random creation or a number he had on a card in his pocket — which would mean he somehow knew us. Anyway, when she woke up to discover loverboy was gone, she called the number and got the voicemail, which announced itself as the offices of Duncan Channon, which she took to be the real first and last names of lover (who no doubt gave her a phony), who she proceeds to excoriate — to delightful effect.

Hotels check in to D/C

Duncan/Channon has officially landed the global media planning and buying business for Hard Rock Hotels. While the Hard Rock brand has been a longtime, worldwide client of the agency, for both creative and media, this is the first time the relationship has been specifically extended to the burgeoning, and strategically key, hotels group. With existing urban and resort properties in Chicago, San Diego, Orlando, Vegas and other gateway US cities, as well as in Pattaya, Thailand, and Bali, the brand’s hotel portfolio is currently undergoing a massive expansion. Major properties are now under construction or in plannning in Macau, Dubai, Panama, Boston, Palm Springs, Penang and Atlanta, among other locations. Hotel creative is done in-house.

Rochester: Of custard, Camaros and Ronnie James Dio

I recently had the opportunity to return to my hometown of Rochester, NY, and it was, without a doubt, the travel equivalent of comfort food. Most everything I remembered from my youth was still there, frozen in time. Sort of like Ted Williams. Except that he was a dude and this is a town. Pompeii, maybe? Yeah, that’ll work. Any-hoo, I invite you now on a journey to the land of Chuck Mangione, Susan B. Anthony and Foreigner’s Lou Gramm (he is, in fact, hot blooded – I checked it and saw).

Continue reading “Rochester: Of custard, Camaros and Ronnie James Dio”

Birkenstock for president

The major party candidates blab about bringing America together, but now there is a footwear company that literally walks it like those guys talk it.

What began as a fun mini-campaign touting Birkenstock’s presence at the WSA trade show was so well-received it has been expanded into a national consumer print and online campaign. Judging by the flood of email feedback, the campaign is instantly gaining traction, especially as presidential marketing slips into negative mode.

While a political theme — even if it’s non-partisan and tongue-in-cheek — may seem unexpected, Birkenstock has long been assigned political connotations (e.g., the reporter’s shorthand for committed progressives, “Birkenstock-wearing liberals”). At the same time, research shows the brand is overwhelmingly associated with good feelings, which tend to start in a consumer’s previously aching feet but rapidly travel to his or her overall mood.

So perhaps it was not so far-fetched for Birkenstock’s campaign managers at Duncan/Channon to bring politics and positivity back together on behalf of this perennial candidate for your comfortable, casual choice of sandals. But, of course, we invite all Americans to vote with their feet.

D/C pops cork on winery site

There’s no other winery like it. And now there’s no other winery site like it.

Murphy-Goode was started 23 years ago almost on a lark by three wine-drinking, poker-playing, practical-joking buddies, and, even as it’s now ensconced among the Jackson Family Wines, it continues to operate on the principle that winemaking should be at least as fun as wine.

That’s the same principle behind Duncan/Channon’s development, as part of a complete brand overhaul, of murphygoodewinery.com. (And maybe the same principle behind Duncan/Channon — no doubt, agency and client are a good pairing.)

So along with recipes, there are instructions for Texas Hold ’Em. Along with shots of bottles, there are shots of winemaker Dave Ready, Jr. in his favorite viking helmet, not to mention in his pre-winemaking rock band. Of course, there are official tasting notes for critics and real serious types to download. But there are also minute-long streaming-video snippets where Dave makes those notes come to amusing life.

With its funky family snapshots and self-consciously low-tech interactivity, the bigger story this website tells is of a highly collegial, highly genial — and highly un-corporate — winery that doesn’t just make a fine lineup of wines, but makes fun.

Graphis taps toes

Graphis magazine, it was announced today, will be honoring D/C’s healthy feet campaign, created for agency-of-record client Birkenstock, with a gold award in its highly competitive 2009 advertising annual. Founded in Zurich in 1944, Graphis is one of the world’s most respected, influential and long-running publications devoted to graphic arts. Founded in Germany in 1774, Birkenstock is one of the world’s most respected, influential and long-running makers of footwear. Founded in San Francisco in 1990, Duncan/Channon is long-running.

See more of our work for Birkenstock and larger versions of the award-winning campaign.

LOL Dick joke

Cheney, that is. Our esteemed VP was the subject of a recent ad, postcard, DM package and email for CREDO Mobile, created by D/C. CREDO’s mission for the last 22 years has been to support progressive causes, in part through donating a percentage of revenues to progressive nonprofits (ACLU, Doctors without Borders, Greenpeace, etc.). And what they wanted to point out to progressive folks still using other mobile phone companies is that this may not actually be the neutral choice consumers think it is, that some of those other providers are in fact sending political donations to crazy right-wingers — including the aforementioned Dick. Of course, there was no other way to approach this topic but with humor, and today CREDO received the following missive from one of their long distance customers:

To whom it may concern:

As a long term Working Assets (now CREDO) customer, I just have to send you a note to tell you how much I love, love, LOVE your new ad campaign. I received the “Did your phone help elect Bush/Cheney” postcard mailer and not only laughed for 10 minutes, but took the thing to a party this afternoon and shared it with a large group of friends. I’ve worked in marketing for 15 years and never worked for a company that had the you-know-what to send such an honest, irreverently funny, and effective marketing piece. Your marketing department should be commended as should the people that supported using this campaign. BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO!!!

Signed a happy, loyal customer!!

P.S. Keep up the great work!

Bye, Bo

Ellas McDaniel is one of the handful of guys who invented the thing we now call rock ’n’ roll. If there’s a band in creation that hasn’t played his enduring beat, we’ve never heard of them. And with his cowboy hat, custom box guitar and sexually insinuating lyrics, he also helped invent the persona of the rock ’n’ roll badass. So it was only appropriate that, when Bo Diddley headed off to rock ’n’ roll heaven two weeks ago, Hard Rock, which owns so much of his stuff (including his first, homemade guitar, pictured above), put out a tribute ad. This is it, conceived and created by D/C.

USA Today, Wired, Hyde Park: Memo site zooms along

The once top-secret Hard Rock memorabilia site, the first on the planet to use Microsoft’s Deep Zoom technology and the star of the keynote address at Microsoft’s MIX conference in March, is still making waves, with scores of prominent and positive citations throughout the blogosphere, a complimentary story in USA Today, a laudatory item on Wired.com, and, of course, much mo’. In addition, the site, conceived and designed by Duncan/Channon, is being presented at Microsoft’s Tech·Ed Conference this coming week in Orlando. Further, it was announced on Friday that the memorabilia site will be featured on public kiosks in London’s Hyde Park in honor of Hard Rock’s Ambassadors of Rock tour, which kicks off there with the Police, Eric Clapton, and many others on June 28–29. Accordingly, the site is being updated specifically to encompass a full complement of memorabilia from various of the Ambassadors of Rock artists — one of whom, Clapton, was actually Hard Rock’s original memorabilia donor.

Update, Nov 25: A little love from Blender, Rolling Stone and Spin.

Sign of the Business Times

The San Francisco Business Times pretty much got it right with its second-section cover story last week on the fast-rising San Francisco agency known as Duncan/Channon. Even the photo, snapped in the fabulous Tip, was flattering, making co-founder and ECD Duncan — whose beauty is notoriously hard to capture — look almost OK.

Egypt: Um, check?

See more photos on Flickr.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a list of things I wanted to do before I die — and just to be clear, this was way before that retarded Bucket List movie. Anyway, last week, my list got one entry shorter — I went to Egypt and, in an ironic twist, almost died doing it.

My friend Ashley and I were in the Valley of the Kings (previous resting place of Tutankhamun and a bunch of Ramses), checking out the tombs, marveling at hieroglyphs and generally sweating our asses off (turns out, early May is the meteorological equivalent of our mid-August — in Death Valley). From the Valley of the Kings, our plan was to hike over the mountain to Hatshepsut Temple, a mortuary dedicated to the sun god Amon-Ra and site of the infamous 1997 massacre of 60 tourists by an Islamic terrorist group. Though it was clearly delineated on our map, we could not find the trail that would lead us to the other side. Instead, there were various criss-crossing paths peopled with groups of Egyptian boys waiting for hapless tourists to try their luck at navigating them.

Continue reading “Egypt: Um, check?”

D/C gets an A

“It’s huge,” one senior member of the 4A’s told ECD Parker Channon at the organization’s recent annual conference. “You guys are one of the three best small agencies in the whole country.”

Well, when you put it like that, aw shucks.

And while we’ve talked here about Duncan/Channon being a finalist for the prestigious O’Toole Awards for Creative Excellence, presented by the American Association of Advertising Agencies for a body of work over a year, we just received the statue. And it’s cool. And so is the honor.

Thanks again to the good clients who are essential to any good work — in this case, they were Hard Rock, Birkenstock, ZoneAlarm and Vertigo. And congrats to our fellow finalists, Taxi (who took top prize) and the Arnold Worldwide office in Washington, DC.

Larry-of-the-month

The stellar Bay Area rock band, Pine & Battery, featuring D/C’s Larissa “Larry” Waters on backup vocals, has been selected as Local Artist of the Month by one of San Francisco’s biggest, most venerable rock radio stations, KFOG (104.5 on your dial or listen online). Big ups to Larry and co. Now let’s all help them extend their reign by putting in a request for the Pine & Battery song “Southern” at 1-800-300-KFOG or on the KFOG site.

Resident rock critic totally schools Russkies

D/C’s own rock ’n’ roll expert, Robert Duncan, has just returned from St. Petersburg, Russia, where he delivered a two-hour multimedia presentation on the history of rock to a full house of students and professors. The former managing editor of Creem and author of The Noise: Notes from a Rock ’n’ Roll Era was invited to speak by St. Petersburg State University’s Smolny College, where pop is part of the curriculum. His lecture, titled “The Noise: Notes from a Rock ’n’ Life,” was a 25-year update of his book, covering his experiences with music and musicians from the ’50s to today.

It is probably no happenstance that Duncan’s son, a Russian language major, attends the school, the first liberal arts college in Russia. But when the faculty heard that dear ol’ dad, a widely published critic and scrivener of three books on rock, was coming for a visit, they asked the son to sign him up.

According to the utterly unbiased Duncan, the lecture was a smashing success, with much furious note-taking by the mostly Russian crowd (who are required by the college to learn English) and rousing applause to cap it off. During a Q&A session at the end, one professor politely protested Duncan’s dismissal of prog rock and the band Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Otherwise, controversy was kept to a minimum.

Though Duncan had been counseled that the young audience might be naive about both historical and contemporary rock, there was surprisingly broad recognition when the discussion turned to punk pioneer Patti Smith. And one young Russian, an aspiring rock critic, his blond locks combed over one eye, collared the errant D/C ECD after the lecture to talk about Sufjan Stevens. Another student sporting a jam-band beard danced vigorously in his seat through every song of the presentation, from Elvis’s “Hound Dog” to the Hold Steady’s “Chips Ahoy.” Duncan was later informed that said student usually just talks to himself.

The complete playlist and text of the lecture is posted in the Noise column on this site.

Two for tea: D/C + Tetley USA

Tetley USA, the American division of the second largest tea company in the world, has picked Duncan/Channon for web design and online communications projects for their Tetley and Good Earth Tea brands. The assignment will also include other communications projects, strategic consulting, and media planning and buying. Overall, it rates a big pip-pip from D/C.

New Condemned spot spells end of civilization

It’s already being talked about as the latest “What is this world coming to???” pop cultural event. And, no, we’re not just talking about the videogame itself. We’re talking about the videogame’s commercial.

The game is “Condemned 2: Bloodshot”, the next-gen follow-up to Sega’s 2005 horror hit. And, most assuredly, it raises the bar for psychological terror and realistic hand-to-hand combat. But as the game’s launch approached, the Duncan/Channon creative team was faced with an even more terrifying challenge — how do you capture in a TV spot the demonic spirit of the scariest (arguably) game ever?

The ad’s concept is simple. Playing “Condemned 2” is so frightening it will continue to haunt your thoughts long after you’ve stopped playing. To do the game justice, the TV spot had to capture the raw, visceral brutality and gut-wrenching horror that are the game’s hallmarks. So, after an exhaustive search, D/C put its script into the capably bloodied hands of feature film director — and horror specialist — Jim Sonzero, fresh from directing Pulse.

Now, out of the perverse dedication of the production team and director, sick support from the clients at Sega and, of course, D/C’s own twisted creative prowess (hey, it’s our site, we gotta toot our horns a little) has emerged an ad that’s making gamers’ jaws’ drop — and stomachs turn — even as we speak.

A: Crispin, Arnold, Bartle – and D/C

Q: Who is among the finalists for this year’s O’Toole Awards?

Presented annually by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the O’Toole’s are among the most prestigious U.S. ad awards. Or, as the 4A’s explains: “Because they honor creative excellence for an agency’s body of work over a period of a single calendar year, the AAAA O’Toole Award competition is one of the most challenging awards programs in our industry.”

So there we are, one of just three finalists in the under-100-employees category and, with our direct competitors (Arnold and TAXI) being local offices of way bigger companies, the only one that’s truly under 100.

D/C’s four submissions represent a wildly diverse set of work for a wildly diverse set of clients: Birkenstock, ZoneAlarm, Hard Rock and Vertigo. And while the winners won’t be announced until April 29 at the 4A’s annual conference, it’s already an “extraordinary honor,” according to one industry insider, to even make the finals. Indeed, the finalists in the larger agency categories include two of the most frequently honored creative shops, Crispin, Porter, Bogusky and Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty.

So, hooray for us. And, btw, hooray for the great clients that let us do that great work.

Wanna see the work? Birkenstock, ZoneAlarm, Hard Rock, Vertigo.

20 for 20 at 2008 ADDYs

Duncan/Channon submitted 20 entries to this year’s San Francisco ADDY Awards and wound up taking home 20 — count ’em — 20 awards, including eight golds. The golds crossed multiple disciplines, including advertising, design and collateral, with prizes going to work for Hard Rock International, Vertigo, Birkenstock and Ruffino, among others.

D/C would like to simultaneously thank the Greater San Francisco Ad Club for the recognition and apologize for the rowdy celebration. Evidently, apologies are also due to the Fairmont Hotel’s Tonga Room, where the “celebration” — which apparently involved copious tropical cocktails, vociferous female arm-wrestling and high-stakes wagering on same — traveled next.

Secret Hard Rock site unveiled at MIX

It’s fun to be sworn to secrecy. And for the last two months, until 9:30 this morning, Duncan/Channon has been just that.

Two months ago Microsoft gave the greenlight for D/C and our development partner, Vertigo, to create the first website to use Deep Zoom technology. Part of the new Silverlight plug-in, Deep Zoom effectively adds another dimension to the navigation of web pages, beyond scrolling horizontally and vertically, allowing users to seamlesssly zoom in — way in — on an object or group of objects.

Needless to say, this unreleased technology was a perfect match for the new memorabilia site we had begun designing for Hard Rock, which is to ultimately encompass 70,000 items from an unparalleled collection of historic rock treasures.

At a meeting in Redmond, Microsoft liked our proposed design so much they not only shared their new technology, they invited us to share the stage at their prestigious MIX Conference in Las Vegas, which kicked off this morning.


D/C was introduced to Microsoft by Vertigo, a longtime Microsoft developer and former client of D/C (we did their upside-down-and/or-backwards logo) and the obvious choice when we began seeking a powerhouse partner to develop this complicated site.

Continue reading “Secret Hard Rock site unveiled at MIX”

Brought to you by the Hard Rock channel

Hard Rock runs a massive video system that is displayed on flat-screens and wall projections throughout its 140 cafes, hotels, casinos and live venues worldwide. But, until now, this highly visible channel has not had a single piece of video to identify what it is. In addition, the system needed a looping piece to fill the monitors when music other than music videos was playing (e.g., a band or DJ).

So, first, D/C developed a musical signature for the channel, a flexible, 3-7-second piece that, in order to transcend tastes, trends, languages and genres — not to mention, cut through lots of ambient noise — is almost entirely made up of percussion.

Then the agency produced, directed and shot a series of guerilla-style bumpers, lo-fi animations and loops that, in both their style and substance, conveyed much more about the brand than that it has a A/V system. (The fine music accompanying the loop is merely for demo purposes. In reality, the loop is, of course, silent.)

View all on Vimeo.

New site, branding for high-level Microsoft group

There are only 150 of them, and they’re among the most influential technologists in the world. That’s because they have been selected by Microsoft to serve as outside advisors on new and prospective products. Called Microsoft Regional Directors (though their roles have nothing to do with geographical regions), they’re given regu