Tennessee: My vacation hot spot

“You’re from California, and you came to Nashville for vacation???”

Why, yes. Yes, I did. The cashier at the coffee shop asked that with a note of disbelief. But it’s true. This year vacation took me to Tennessee, namely Nashville, Memphis and whatever towns happened to separate the two (I do remember seeing a sign to turn off for Oakland, and wondered momentarily whether it was all just a dream).

First stop was Music City. Nashville. Which more than lived up to its name, with live music everywhere, in bars and on streetcorners, and tons of music history, too. Mandatory stops were the Country Music Hall of Fame, RCA Studio B and the Ryman Auditorium (the original location of the Grand Ole Opry). I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of country, but the history would fascinate any music lover. The small, unassuming Studio B holds such history. So many people got their start and recorded so many well-known songs there. Elvis exclusively recorded there when in Nashville (more about him later). For me, the most remarkable thing about the studio was the way they recorded compared to modern studios: live musicians actually playing together, at the same time, in one room. So much more pure and simple. At the Ryman, we got treated to some unexpected live music as bands practiced for that evening’s International Bluegrass Awards. And all I can say to them is, I hope you all won; you did a great job, even at practice.

Hatch Show Print was a must-see. Being part of the print production section here at Duncan/Channon meant I couldn’t pass up the chance to see the oldest operating letterpress in the United States. These folks are keeping the ancient craft alive and continuing to make a name for themselves in the modern design world. And I must say, based on a browse through their poster portfolio, they deserve that name. We were lucky enough to get an impromptu tour from an employee, who showed us all around their printing presses, ink, blocks, stacks of in-progress posters and two resident cats. A stuffed poster tube then travelled home with me through three states and three modes of transportation, car, plane and BART.

While in Nashville, we also found out that hard-to-find places are often very worth the effort of finding, one seemingly leading to the next. These are places you feel cool just going to, like you’re on a VIP list. There seem to be lots of them in Nashville, a city being revitalized by people setting up shop in old buildings and producing unique and well-crafted, well, stuff. Just ask a local. Everyone seemed willing to point us towards something good. We had the best coffee, bbq, cupcakes, pizza, beer and cocktails that I could have ever wanted. (Thank you Crema, Dee’s Q, Cupcake Connection, City House, Yazoo and The Patterson House.)

Back to Elvis. Graceland. What else to say, except that I am a fan. So I had to see it at least once. The man and his music are the stuff of legend. And the amount of work he produced in his short life, between music and films, is really astounding. But so are his home, cars and airplanes — let’s just say Elvis had eclectic taste. In a nice coincidence, I also saw his trademark lightning logo everywhere at Graceland, which I had just finished retouching for our Hard Rock client.

Memphis also included trips to the Peabody Hotel and a tour at the Gibson Factory. Why the Peabody? They have marching ducks, of course. I’d heard of the place, and then, suddenly, there it was, directly in our path. Sure enough, there were ducks, there was a crowd, and they (the ducks) successfully found their way into the fountain, a Peabody ritual that’s been repeated daily for decades. The Gibson Factory tour was another eye-opener. I couldn’t believe the number of unassembled guitar pieces and the craftmanship that goes into every single instrument. It made me want to pick up my own set of strings again at home.

All in all, I’d go back again to see the things we missed and catch a favorite band playing at the Ryman. And who knows, maybe next time I’ll meet the King himself.

Work + News

This way to health insurance

Today marks the launch of our first campaign for Covered California as part of a five-year, $400-million effort to help all Californians get the health insurance they need.

female presenting person wearing teal shirt and white e.l.f. branded face mask, holding orange pumpkin while sitting inside pop-up vehicle with purple sparkly wall behind her with the words

e.l.f. 2020 Halloween activation

Duncan Channon’s LA team kept the halloween spirit alive by bringing a spooky holiday pop-up straight to beauty influencers’ homes.

Female identified person with short-cropped brown hair, holding a baby to her chest. DC and Covered California Logos overlay the image on left and right, respectively.

Covered CA on Adweek’s cover

DC is thrilled to announce that we were awarded the five-year, $400-million Covered CA account. We are resolute in helping at this crucial time when more Californians need coverage than ever.

“They can’t take your ballot”

At a time of unprecedented voter suppression, the mission of Vote From Home 2020 is more essential than ever. Our new “Suppress This” campaign helps them get ballots into the hands of disenfranchised voters of color. You can help, too.

CBS x Alfred Coffee · Emmy Awards

DCLA partnered CBS Studios with Alfred Coffee to reach Emmy voters and garner support for Star Trek: Picard. The timely work tapped into the diversity and inclusion central to Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.

Beautyscape influencers launch e.l.f. collection

It’s a beautiful day at DCLA with the launch of the e.l.f. Cosmetics Retro Paradise collection — the new collection from e.l.f.’s Beautyscape winners Alissa Holmes, Diana Curmei, Elicia Aragon, Jessa Green and Valeria Loren.

Two female presenting teens are at a table in a school library. One female with dark curly hair is sitting down with her back to the frame. The other is standing over the table with SweeTarts gummies in both hands and smiling.

SweeTARTS' Be Both is back

After the sweet success of last year’s 'Be Both' launch, SweeTARTS is doubling down on the campaign to Gen Z with brand new work in market now — and more to come in 2021.

Nicotine equals brain poison. Two images in a grid. Image to the left is the campaign example featuring two male presenting teens with their heads down smoking a vape pen with a copy overlay that reads Nicotine equals brain poison. The right image is the gold Clio award on a black background.

Nicotine = Brain Poison = Clio

Our work for CTCP has awakened parents to the teen vaping epidemic and won a slew of awards in the process (not nearly as important, but nice). The latest is that most venerable of ad accolades: the Clio.

Female presenting influencer posing for the camera in a sleek white blazer and leather black pants. She is confident and raises her hand to perfect her long brown hair that is styled in a middle part and she's wearing make-up that accentuates her strong features. She's in front of a mirror with a table with SGX NYC products.

SGX NYC · #hairgoals

SGX NYC wanted to increase awareness around winning two Allure Best of Beauty Awards and reinforce the brand’s positioning with cost-conscious consumers looking for premium products. We hit the bullseye with three well-known #hairgoals influencers.

Birds eye view over a male presenting young adult on the fire escape playing a guitar. Next to him is a notepad and pen and lush green plants creep into the frame. He appears relaxed as he plays his guitar.

Citi · Citigrammers

Citi wanted to increase awareness and favorability on social media, particularly within the music and dining categories. We assembled a team of influential visual artists to create the sort of shareable content the brand couldn't.

A grey-blue background with a circle of screenshots of various people speaking in a video conference call. In the center of the screenshot is text in white text letters that reads “Work Together.

Million-dollar talent from Upwork

To support COVID-19 projects, Upwork is donating a million dollars of time from their network of independent professionals. And who better to tell us about it than the pros themselves?

Diverse group of individuals and posing for the camera during the Coachella Music Festival. They are all self expressive through their make-up and fashion choices. Their individuality shines through as they each pose in their own unique way.

e.l.f. Cosmetics · Coachella

e.l.f. wanted to launch Beauty Shield, an all-new skincare line powered with antioxidants and SPF to help protect your skin against environmental aggressors. DCLA provided the perfect testing ground.