News

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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.

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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.

It is dark and it is cold in January in Detroit. Darker and colder than you’re imagining now. And you are broke. You’ve been amicably tossed, but tossed nonetheless, from your railroad flat in NYC because your childhood buddy, Mark the Shark (he of later Studio 54 celebrity), who more or less owns the place, wants his girlfriend to move in. Actually, she’s in already — they just want a little privacy. Besides, you are a few months behind on the rent, as dirt cheap as it might be, because you are really broke.

And here you are. Detroit in the dead of January.

You know John Morthland from Sausalito, where you lived for ten months, on a lark, after abandoning New York the first time and whom you had met through Ed Ward, the ex-Rolling Stone writer (now “rock historian” on Fresh Air), who gave you your start with an assignment to review Thomas McGuane’s 92 in the Shade. John Morthland’s a really good writer and editor and an amazingly prescient musicologist who was first to discover a lot of things pop-cultural that eluded most rock critics, or at least white ones. Things like rap music (before it was hip hop), Sacred Steel and Moe Bandy. He’s in Detroit to be interim editor — interim, because John is strictly freelance or die. And you know him, it should be clarified, only pretty well, though that may be as well as most anyone knows silent, staring, inscrutably smirking John.

You don’t know Lester.

You know of him, but barely, and as much on the strength of that seemingly concocted name — Lester Bangs — as his writing.

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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.)

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.”)

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To signify dorkishness, the 2001 movie Ghost World, set among contemporary twenty-somethings, clothed a character in a Hard Rock t-shirt. One measure (you surely have your own) of how far this 30-year-old brand had fallen. So D/C’s work, in close collaboration with Hard Rock’s new management team, started by clarifying and then communicating a new brand strategy to a confused rank-and-file. It continued on through revising the menus (graphically and otherwise), reviving merchandise sales and, through advertising, promotions and events, re-connecting the brand to contemporary culture and contemporary customers. Along the way, the agency completed a comprehensive, top-to-bottom design overhaul, which has now been awarded top honors from the prestigious REBRAND 100 competition, a worldwide contest that recognizes excellence involving both design and strategy.

View the full case study.

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