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These articles by Phyllis Maguire and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on June 24, 1998, all rights reserved.
Meet the Image Makers part II
In 1988, when Kim Waters began her Pennington-based graphics design business, Zoe Graphics (firstname.lastname@example.org), she began without a computer. Though she now is very comfortable working with one, "my tendency is to not be so trendy," she says. "Not all my work is computerized."
Waters majored in graphics and fine arts at the University of Delaware, Class of 1981, and worked for Dana Communications in Hopewell before starting her own firm. Waters' client list includes St. Francis Medical Center (for whom she just designed materials for a capital campaign), Princeton Medical Center, Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School, and the Institute for Advanced Study.
Waters sees the emergence of graphic arts software as a great tool, but one that can hinder creativity, particularly for young people starting out. "I don't know if young designers are getting the training they need," she says. "They have better computer skills, but they need to spend more time generating ideas."
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Mardi Considine of Considine Communications (email@example.com) in Hopewell sees large ad agencies gobbling up many smaller ones, like her own. "But there are those of us who decline to be gobbled up," she says. "I'm not a dynasty builder; I enjoy being lean and mean. I can offer quick turnaround, reasonable prices, and great service."
Considine designs monthly newsletters for MetLife and brochures and print ads for Nassau Interiors (which won her an ASTRA Award). Other clients include Princeton Center Stage and SICAM Corp., based in Somerville. "Each media has its own set of skills, but communications abilities apply to each and transcend them all," she maintains. "Each type of media allows a company to send a different message to a different audience, with various levels of detail and persuasion."
Considine spent 10 years in New York in the Wells, Rich, Greene advertising dynasty, and fondly remembers working under Mary Wells Lawrence. She moved to Princeton in 1984 to start an in-house agency within Princeton University Press, and then spent several years with Gillespie before launching Considine Communications in 1988.
"The core of any communications campaign is the writing and concept," she says. "My tagline for the last 10 years has been `Writing Worth Reading,' and some old advertising tenets still apply. One of those is 'the more you tell, the more you sell.' Media now flashes messages a la MTV, but for an intelligent audience which is what business-to-business is, or for well informed consumers, you have to provide them the information they need."
Alan Paley, the 38-year old president of the audiovisual and multimedia production firm APB Communications at 88 Lakedale Drive, Lawrenceville (609-396-1975), is one of only three fulltime staffers. But he works with a large corps of freelance videographers and directors -- most of whom have been trained in film. "People whose background is only in video have often come up taping parties and weddings," Paley says. "Film people know how to light a subject and tell a story."
The element of storytelling is vital to APB, which makes promotional, instructional, and business-to-business advertising presentations, from creative development through distribution. "We position ourselves as artists doing production work for corporations, while other companies view themselves as production facilities," he says. APB also emphasizes creativity in its burgeoning website design business. "We are graphic artists, not computer experts who have a sense of art."
Its approach has earned it an eclectic client list: the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Mercer County freeholders, Summit Bancorp and the New Jersey Hospital Association, and the biotech Pharmacopeia. Notable pro bono clients include the Ronald McDonald House and The Anchor Project for troubled adolescents through the Jersey Shore Hospital. A video produced for the Mercer County Sunshine Foundation attracted the attention of Jermaine Jackson, and APB is now designing the website for Jackson's upcoming Earthvision Musical Awards Show, as well as video montages to be featured during the live Earthvision broadcast from Greece in September, 1999. Client variety is one of APB's assets, Paley says: "It keeps us fresh creatively, and what we learn from one industry, we can take to the next."
Paley founded APB in 1989, after attending the University of Maryland and the New School. Several early projects were for political campaigns, and political clients are still an APB mainstay. "Doing a film campaign for a political client, we serve much more as technicians, taking our direction from media consultants," Paley says. "The life of a corporate product or service is much longer than that of a political campaign. We have much more creative input in corporate work and strive to be much more subtle delivering a message."
As all forms of communications become more pervasive, the trade show arena becomes more crucial. "Trade shows are still the only place a business is guaranteed to meet prospective clients," says Brooke Thomson, marketing manager of Denby Associates (http://www.denbyassociates.com), which has such clients as Turner Broadcasting, Lotus Development, Intel, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Merrill Lynch, Prince Sports, Exxon, and Sunoco. "Someone attending a trade show is not driving past a billboard on a road; he has paid money to be there, and he's a serious buyer. Trade shows attract the most interested customers, and companies use shows to launch new products."
Denby's intent, says Thomson, is to find a way for the client's message to sing. The 85-person company, with annual revenues of $15 million and 125,000 square feet of storage space on Fairgrounds Road, has stocked an exhibit with actors portraying Benjamin Franklin and Amelia Earhart for the History Channel, run a live Larry King broadcast from an exhibit for Turner Broadcasting, and set up a halfpipe full of champion online skaters at ESPN2's trade show launch. Denby scripted and produced Intel's International Science and Engineering Fair at the Churchill Downs racetrack and created a giant walkthrough computer, complete with "surround" theater, for Intel's exhibit in the Smithsonian's two-year traveling American tour.
And how does Denby land such plum accounts, like Intel? "We made a cold call back in 1991," Thomson says. "Intel's response was, `Why should a California firm use an exhibit company from New Jersey?' We set out to convince them that trade shows are global, not regional, events -- and we succeeded."
The ad agency that Richard J. Gillespie founded 25 years ago is the biggest game in town, but on occasion it relies on just plain soap to gain a competitive edge. Headquartered in a prestigious building on Princeton Pike, it is ranked by Adweek as the 32nd largest agency in the east, the 82nd largest in the country, based on billings of more than $140 million.
With more than 120 employees, Gillespie has more than tripled in size in five years, in part by adding departments that contribute to an integrated marketing approach (http://www.gillespie.com). Under one roof are advertising, direct marketing, public relations, database marketing, corporate design, and interactive marketing. Recent acquisitions are R&R Associates, a healthcare marketing agency formerly based in Short Hills, and Zoot Suit, a Trenton-based children's and family marketing firm now known as Gillespie's Kids and Family Division.
Among its prestige clients are American Re, STS Tire & Auto Centers, and the Managers Funds, a mutual fund group based in Connecticut. Another client is Columbia House, for which the firm has a TV campaign for the new website.
Recent "wins" include Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salons and the New York-based real estate firm, Cushman & Wakefield. Frank Sampogna, Gillespie's executive vice president, says the real estate account is worth $3 million and will break this fall with general print and trade advertising. Gillespie beat out more than 40 agencies in a wearying six-month review for the salon account.
Marcy Samet, director of direct marketing, sent a "spa-inspired teaser" to introduce Gillespie's services. Packaged in a white ceramic jar and labeled "The Exhilarating Solution -- Exclusively at Gillespie," it had such soothing contents as a scented candle "for illuminating new markets," an audio tape providing "soothing music for stressed marketers," and -- here's where the soap comes in -- a bar of special soap to help "wash away the competition."
Traditional training sessions are ho-hum affairs with high-tech elements limited to fancy slide projectors. Fusion Advertising & Communications (http://www.fusion-adv.com) jazzed up a training concept for one company and then took it one step further, making it into a CD-ROM, for a second company.
First it created and produced a half-day simulation game for A&P supermarket managers, complete with 12 videotapes and a slew of printed literature. A professional facilitator conducted the first few sessions for two teams of 12 each. Then the supermarket's trainers kept the program going.
When Pathmark heard about this, it asked for a similar "training game" on multimedia CD-ROM. "It involved all our talents from shooting video to creating the program," says Victor A. Scire, president. "Our accident investigation game walks the managers through the process of investigating an accident and teaches them about store policies in the process."
Fusion's clients range from MarketFair (for whom it just launched a website, (http://www.marketfair1.com), to office products. It has just finished a major catalog and a business to business marketing plan for National Envelope Corporation, which has 10 plants around country but had never had a catalog for all their products. "We created a print catalog, and we also created a website for them," says Scire. Just begun is an online ordering system 22,000 products in the catalog of Allied Office Products.
Tom Sullivan, president of the 35-employee Princeton Partners at the Forrestal Center (http://www.princetonpartners.com.), thinks this year's "most fun" campaign was the David & Goliath battle his firm waged in Connecticut to position St. Vincent's healthcare system to compete with Yale New Haven's. "We felt that with Yale being the Goliath we would be able to knock them off, so we inspired the client with some research and a new branding position," says Sullivan.
To give the message that a software firm, Telelogic, can empower the user, Princeton Partners created a "No More Guru Voodoo campaign," that breaks the unspoken rule that software ads are high tech. One ad shows a guru meditating and a second shows a guru on a mountain top. The third shows an empty guru suit with paper-doll tabs and the slogan "Be Your Own Guru." "It got tremendous visibility in the marketplace," says Sullivan.
The firm just finished the Western Pest Control's "We'll Take Care of It" campaign. Because Western positions itself as a caring, careful company in the community, and Princeton Partners suggested the client needed to "put their money where their mouth is." It created grants, sent direct mail to charities in the market area, got hundreds of applications, gave five grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, and just recently issued a slew of press releases showing the grantees (ranging from schools to social service organizations) in good photo-ops. For instance, the mayor of Princeton Township is posed with schoolchildren who had used the grant to buy a wheelchair suitable for wheeling a handicapped person along a nature trail.
Marketing doesn't get any more fun than working with hot air balloons and taking trips to the Grand Canyon. QLM Marketing (http://www.qlm.com.) took its client's problem -- two recently acquired brands of maple syrup -- and turned it into a couple of fun opportunities.
Aurora Foods hired the Research Park-based marketing firm to figure out what to do with Log Cabin and Mrs. Butterworth, which they had bought from Kraft and Unilever. "Each had a very different personality," says Karen Spring, senior vice president of marketing. "Log Cabin is the more serious brand, more family oriented, versus Mrs. Butterworth, which is more kids oriented. We wanted to use promotion marketing to build equity and consumer loyalty with both brands."
Think of Log Cabin and you think of outdoors, heritage, and the environment. Spring and senior account manager Kim McGough helped the client form an alliance with the National Park Foundation in a four-year campaign to restore log cabins. A $250,000 donation to renovate a cabin in the Grand Canyon was the platform for the first year's promotional activities: consumers could get a "cabin" ornament for the holidays, win a sweepstakes trip to the Grand Canyon, or donate to the restoration by using a package coupon.
For Mrs. Butterworth's, Spring commissioned a $100,000 hot air balloon that looks like the bottle's grandmotherly shape. "She has this equity of being wise and nurturing and caring about kids," says Spring, "and the client wanted to capitalize on that character." To stay within the character but add dimension she created the "Mrs. Butterworth Breakfast Over America Tour" that serves breakfast in 30 cities and gives balloon rides to lucky sweepstakes winners. "We got more responses on the rides than in any other program I've ever been involved in," says Spring.
The 50-person agency has such clients as Nabisco, Kraft, Novartis, Hefty, Johnson & Johnson, and British Airways.
Trent-Jones also literally put "the show on the road," not with a balloon but with a $500,000 expandable van to promote a high tech image for an agricultural client. Based on Nassau Street, Trent-Jones is a full service ad agency (609-430-9020), but virtually all its clients are in the agricultural area: crop protection division of Novartis Corporation, vitamins and animal health department of Hoffmann LaRoche, and FMC Corporation. Homefront is among its pro bono clients.
After six years touting produce to food brokers in trade magazines for the state's Jersey Fresh account, Wenzel & Company is producing a brand-new commercial to promote seafood. "It's a happy account," says Shirlee Wenzel, CEO of the Pennington-based agency (609-737-9200). "We make all this food that we then all eat." The campaign went into Canada last year and is expanding to Europe.
Wenzel has had success with getting other "tight budget, tight time frame" state contracts,including those for an anti tobacco program, an AIDS awareness campaign, and the 32-page small employer health care contract brochure, which won a national award.
For its Steelite account, the account managers get to travel to Stokes on Trent, England, where ceramic tableware for cruise lines is manufactured. "It's a nice account because the tableware is just gorgeous and the advertising is sophisticated," says Wenzel, who founded the Pennington-based firm in 1976. Her son Don is now the president, and there are 18 employees.
Big is not necessarily better, says Wenzel who, as the youngest of 11 children, spent lots of time trying to be heard. "My oldest brother said to me, `Shirlee, if you have something important enough to say, we'll listen'." She founded the firm in 1975 and her son Don is now the president of the 18-employee firm.
As for the Internet, Wenzel puts recipes on the websites for its food clients and jobs on the 'Net for its expanding clients. "Those employers willing to pay relocation costs can get some pretty good people," says Wenzel. "It can be important to change the work ethic in the company by bringing someone from the outside. People from the midwest and southeast who are not happy with the climate or went to school up here -- they make very damn good employees."
Reporters learn to answer the question "Why should we care?" about every assignment. That's why Infocus -- founded by a member of the start-up team for USA Today -- puts great emphasis on the "So what? and Who cares?" angles. "We train our clients to think that way," says Lois Kaufman, president of Infocus Inc. (609-683-9055). An alumna of Brooklyn College, she has a PhD from New York University and launched the communications department at Rutgers.
Founder Tony Casale heads the Research Park-based parent company, Integrated Marketing Services, which does inhouse market research. Infocus is a full service marketing communications firm -- public relations, advertising, crisis communications, marketing, graphic design. Also in the 55-employee office are American Opinion Research, and Environmental Research Associates. Newspapers such as the Sacramento Bee and Houston Chronicle are a major client sector, and the Internet is a major issue.
Infocus will soon at least triple the number of people it employs in market research. Such market research helped Infocus strategically reposition Iselin-based Siemens Medical Systems, a 15-year client, so that the company "shows one face" with one 800 number rather than a different number for each type of equipment. The company-wide remake included developing speeches for the sales conference, media relations, and an internal communications program that is staffed with an onsite management office.
But the year's most exciting account was Doylestown-based Cold Eze zinc lozenges, which gave Kaufman a chance to demonstrate her crisis management skills. After creating the category and branding the product, Infocus had to deal with short supply (the stock ran out), ugly rumors (that zinc causes pregnant women to have stillborn babies), dozens of copycats (by educating pharmacists that not all zinc is alike), and phony press releases that wire services printed. These releases, on fake letterhead, gave erroneous information so the stock price would drop.
We always seem to learn a little about our business by writing about someone else's. This week it's "presentation and persuasion," aimed at the advertising, marketing, and communications sectors of our audience. Sure enough, we learned a few things.
In the first place we discovered that this industry suffers from the same "shoemaker's children" syndrome that we do in the media. The media, we should point out, loves to tell everyone else's story, but it usually does a poor job telling its own -- hence the advent of a new publication like Brill's Content. And many of the businesses polled in our fax survey for this issue failed to produce so much as a single page detailing their accomplishments and capabilities. The software industry, in contrast, overwhelmed us with material for the Business Computing issue on March 4.
But enough people did respond that we took away some wisdom. We liked hearing Shirlee Wenzel's explanation on page 55 of how she came up with her drive -- as the youngest of 11 children she had to fight to be heard and her oldest brother advised her that if she had something important to say the siblings would listen. And Mardi Considine, we discovered on page 53, has a tagline we should follow: "Writing Worth Reading."
In an advertising feature on page 47 we nodded in agreement with the observation of Richard Van Fleet of Slide Design that, as desktop publishing and presentation software proliferates, business people are becoming lost in the details, often at great expense. In our business we have seen some restaurateurs, retailers, and mental health therapists so obsessed with their advertising creations that we wonder how they have time to run their businesses. Van Fleet has a good analogy to point up the absurdity of this -- we will quote him in the near future, we suspect.
U.S. 1's annual calendar proclaims that Friday, July 3, is a postal holiday. That's incorrect, but it's easy to see how the mistake could have been made back in the dark days of December when that calendar was being prepared.
Yes, July 4 falls on a Saturday. Most businesses that are closed on Saturdays will offer Friday off, as well, and that includes organizations ranging from Sarnoff and American Re-Insurance to Mercer College, ETS, and even U.S. 1.
Friday, July 3, is also a holiday for state and federal governments and Wall Street. Organizations that generally open on Saturdays (the Postal Service and most banks) are giving July 4 as the vacation day. So, though your office may be closed July 3, the post office will try to deliver your mail.
On behalf of Animage I want to express the company's appreciation of Nicole Plett's Preview article (U.S. 1, June 10). Both nights of "Earth Bound Spirit Creatures" were performed to full houses -- a feat I credit to the wonderful advance publicity. I enjoyed talking with you about subjects that not many other people are knowledgeable about or interested in.
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com -- the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.