Corrections or additions?
These articles were prepared for the June 20, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved. A date correction was made on June 21.
No Client Too Small
Here’s another networking story, about how doing a good
job with a very small account might land a very big and prestigious
account. Last year Barbara Harrington of Brandesign Inc. was working
with Maura White on how to brand www.GoBabies.com, an online resource
for traveling with very young children. Her client’s husband, Jim
White, was marketing the online division of the Wall Street Journal.
The wife raved about Harrington’s help and her husband took the hint
and asked Harrington for help with the retail introduction of Wall
Street Journal Interactive.
A 1974 graduate of the Moore College of Arts in Philadelphia,
Harrington had been director of package design for Campbell Soup
Company. Her eight-year-old firm specializes in brand identity,
package design, and product concepts, and has such clients as Bayer
Corporation, Unilever Best Foods, Reckitt Benckiser, and M&M Mars.
"The Wall Street Journal defines print business news," says
Harrington, "and the brand is an extremely strong and valuable thing."
WSJ.com, the largest paid news and information website, had an
opportunity to put merchandising units and freestanding point-of-sale
displays to establish the brand’s presence at a store level. "When you
want to do something new in a different category, you need to be open
to explore ways of communication that make good use of the benefits of
the parent brand."
"It was the first time they had ever done the retail approach," says
Harrington, "and we were trying to help people understand the online
paper is by subscription — at a time when everything else was for
free. We needed to make that clear and get that across in an
environment like Staples.
The new design needed to take the Wall Street Journal name and logo, a
very powerful brand, and make it more flexible, so it could carry
another message. "We explored different ways of saying
`online’ and communicate that it was a website, not a newspaper," says
Harrington. "There was some learning after the first year." In-store
response affected a redesign for the second year, and the program
expanded into Barnes & Noble’s 550 stores.
"Opening a retail channel through our agreement with Barnes & Noble is
a unique, strategic way to market an online product," says Randy
Kilgore, executive director of sales and marketing at Wall Street
Online in New York. "The idea in simple terms was that Staples was
successful, so let’s try to replicate it elsewhere."
"The referral was a nice thing that happened," says Harrington. "As a
service, you always do your best for whatever client you are working
Rather than take an existing company and logo, Harrington had the
chance to start from scratch when she developed the identity for
Momo’s Market and Bakery. Though the parent company, T2 Ventures, had
fistful of operating enterprises (a pizza store, a bakery, and several
restaurants in Princeton and one in New Brunswick), Brandesign started
work on the identity program when the
store was under construction.
She and the designer spent a day in New York City, in the role of
discerning shoppers, visiting markets and bakeries from Soho to the
Upper East Side. "We discovered that a `slightly audacious’ tomato
most quickly conveyed the market concept, and the red color provided
the level of boldness we were looking for," she says.
Elegant typography and a red, black, and white color scheme was used
for everything from exterior canopies to paper sacks and aprons. "Good
graphic design is finally being recognized as `smart art,’ she says,
"and a strong business advantage."
Plaza, Monroe 08831-5923. Barbara Harrington, president and creative
director. 609-490-9700; fax, 609-490-9777. E-mail: BRANDESN@erols.com
Harness racing fans are fiercely protective of their
sport. Ask if the Hambletonian is like the a Kentucky Derby, and they
might claim that the Derby is merely the "flat racing" version of the
Hambletonian. This year, when the Hambletonian is run on Saturday,
August 4 (always the first Saturday of August), racegoers will be
able to explore the history and lore of this sport.
Jeff Friedman has fashioned a kiosk for the 76-year-old Hambletonian,
and this project is the centerpiece for the first year of his new
business, Interactive Inventions Inc. This is the second business that
Friedman has opened on his own; his first was Graphica.
Friedman grew up on Long Island where his father had an electronics
repair business. He majored in psychology at the State University of
New York at Stony Brook, and for his Ph.D. in social psychology from
the University of Virginia he did his thesis on selective
attention to violence in films. He worked as a media research
supervisor at Young & Rubicam in Manhattan and made his first foray
into interactive communications at Gallup when he surveyed geographic
literacy for the National Geographic Society.
When he used his recently acquired computer knowledge to create an
interactive version of the map quiz, the Society used it in the
Explorer room at its museum. In 1989 — well before the Internet was
accessible to consumers — he quit the social research business and
started a firm, Graphica, from his Plainsboro home.
Friedman joined Robert Zyontz and Larry Trink as a partner and
technical director at Vaughn Drive in Princeton Direct, which later
became Princeton MarkeTech. Recently he left to open his own business
again. He does digital media design and development, specializing in
interactive communications for the web, kiosks, CD-ROM and DVD,
streaming and interactive video. He and his wife Julie, who works as a
laboratory coordinator at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey at Robert
Wood Johnson, have two daughters, one in middle school, one in high
The Hambletonian started out as a country fair in Goshen, New York,
but has also been in residence at the Illinois State Fair and is now
run at the Meadowlands. "Our kiosk is divided into those three
venues," says Friedman. You can pick a year and show the complete
field, but the best part is the video clips of most of the 75
runnings of the race, including vintage news reels of the early ones,
up to the current years. A Trivia Game teaches facts about the race.
"We programmed it and designed it. Kids can come up to it — it’s
something to have fun with," says Friedman. Coming soon, he hopes, is
interactive streaming video. "Before, you were able to put video clips
on the website but you weren’t able to make the video clip itself
interactive. Now we can take the videoclip interactive — to randomly
access different parts, to make links from the video to a website, and
to change the frame so that as the video progresses the surrounding
With this QuickTime technology, future kiosk users may be able to view
an historic race without sitting through the whole thing — they will
be able to rush ahead to the finish line.
So how did Friedman get this great project? He landed that
contract by practicing old-fashioned networking. In spite of modern
technology, success often boils down to who you know and how you have
treated them over the years. The head of the Hambletonian Society, Tom
Charters, used to live on the same Plainsboro street as did the
Friedmans, years ago.
— Barbara Fox
Lawrenceville 08648. Jeff Friedman, president. 609-219-9400; fax,
609-219-1988. Home page: www.interactiveinventions.com
When you think of a hidden danger, lying silent, just
waiting to absolutely decimate an unprepared enterprise, can thoughts
of the Titanic be far behind? Possibly the proud ship that got its
comeuppance at the hands of an unyielding iceberg might not have been
the first thing to come to mind, but certainly it is a connection
anyone would get in a flash.
That is why the creative team at the Vaughn Drive ad agency, Princeton
MarkeTech, called upon the memory of the Titanic — kept fresh every
decade or so by a new film, documentary, or attempt to loot its
treasure — as the centerpiece of an award-winning campaign. The
client was Summit Insurance Advisors. The creative challenge was that
the client, now functioning as a unit of Fleet Bank, was running into
complacency. Businesses to whom it hoped to sell its property and
casualty insurance and its employee benefits package felt no urgent
need to purchase them.
Renee Hobbs, senior vice president and creative director of the
eight-person agency, says she and her team brainstormed to come up
with something that would jolt the client’s napping prospective
customers into action. "You shouldn’t be too smug. There could be some
problem you’re not aware of," she says. While the Titanic was chosen
as an ideal vehicle (no pun intended) to carry that message, Hobbs
says, "We didn’t want to dwell on the disaster itself."
The agency came up with a three-part direct mail Titanic-themed
campaign. Materials were sent to 2,000 existing Summit customers, most
of them mid-sized businesses, that had not purchased the property and
casualty insurance or the employee benefits packages. The first
mailing was an advisory, telling recipients to expect a box. "In
marketing, it tends to be effective when there’s a build up," says
The second box contained a jigsaw puzzle of the Titanic showing an
orange warning buoy bobbing just off its helm. It was intended to let
clients know they had been warned. A disaster for which they were
unprepared might lurk just under the surface of a smooth-looking
The piece-de-resistance, the third box, contained a life jacket. A
bright orange, adult-sized, certified life jacket. The message there,
Hobbs says, was that employees might don life jackets and jump ship if
the business did not make sure its benefits package was competitive.
While the jigsaw puzzle was so perfect that the creative people at the
agency considered it a "slam dunk," the life jacket was chosen only
after some discussion. "We considered a life ring," says Hobbs, "but
they are so expensive." The rings, suitable for hanging on a wall, are
heavy too, and would have cost a tremendous amount to mail. A child’s
life vest was rejected for obvious reasons, and the team thought a
styrofoam vest would look too frivolous. "This was a serious life
vest," Hobbs says. Meant to convey a serious message.
The campaign, which cost $75,000, won Best of Show from the Business
Marketing Association of New Jersey. More important to the client, it
brought an unusually large response. While she is constrained from
giving specifics, Hobbs says the Titanic theme got a number of
prospective insurance customers to thinking of the worst. Many of them
followed up by meeting with Summit representatives.
Architect of the worst-case disaster scenario, Hobbs’ career has been
anything but. She graduated from Middlesex Community College with a
degree in marketing art and design in 1992. At that time, she had been
working for MarkeTech for two years. After working her way up at the
agency, she became a partner three years ago.
Hobbs says she and her team attend the Premium Show in New York every
year to get ideas for promotions like the Titanic campaign. This type
of work is "a lot of fun," she says. "It’s something we like to do. We
can play; think without ink and paper. And we get to go out shopping."
Metro Center, Princeton 08540. Robert Zyontz, president.
609-520-8575; fax, 609-520-0695. Home page:
In a tough telecommunications environment, forget
cents-off programs for entrepreneurs. Give them something that will
keep their spouses happy.
So says Patrick LaPointe of Frequency Marketing Inc., with an office
at Forrestal Village. "We developed a
loyalty marketing program for Bell Atlantic, now Verizon, that was
intended to build strong relationships with small to medium-sized
companies," he says. "Instead of relying on rebates, we introduced the
opportunity for members in Verizon’s BusinessLink program to redeem
bonus credits at local white tablecloth restaurants."
Thus rewarded, entrepreneurs were more willing to share their wants,
needs, and opportunities, which made the Verizon much more efficient
in delivering its services. "It was a tremendously successful addition
to an already strong program — it dramatically increased the dialogue
between the customer and Verizon," says LaPointe.
Loyalty marketing’s return on investment is notoriously measurable.
"It’s an incredibly analytical discipline," says LaPointe. "We know,
virtually down to the decimal point, what the return on investment is
for any given
program that we run. We can help marketers move money from
other activities into something that is more measurable."
As senior vice president of sales and marketing, LaPointe heads the
Forrestal Village office of the leading national provider of loyalty
marketing programs. Loyalty marketing programs, also known as customer
relationship management programs, recognize and reward
customers by tracking purchase behavior. Customers give up information
in exchange for the opportunity to win some sort of reward or
LaPointe grew up in North Jersey where his mother is a marketing
manager in telecommunications, and his father is what can be called a
"serial entrepreneur." He went to McGill University in Montreal,
graduating in 1984, and earned an MBA from the New York University’s
Stern School.He was a director of marketing development for Bell
Atlantic, is billed as "one of the youngest vice presidents" at
Ketchum Advertising, and also worked for a division of Y&R
advertising. In 1996 he joined FMI, a 20-year-old
firm based in Milford, Ohio.
For clients such as American Express, Banana Republic, Gap Stores,
Office Depot, Verizon, and W.W. Grainger, FMI focuses exclusively on
loyalty programs. FMI offers consulting, database development and
modeling, analysis of profit potential, and development and
fulfillment of creative communication. FMI has a software application,
the Loyalty Solutions Platform (LSP), that allows companies use their
legacy system records to create and quickly launch loyalty programs.
LSP and be fully linked in real time to any transactional environment.
"Demand for loyalty marketing programs," LaPointe says, "is at an
all-time high with no sign of a ceiling in sight. Marketers are
working hard to allocate precious marketing resources towards a
specific consumer potential instead of spreading them across a mass of
"Look out for the value proposition," he warns. "There needs to be a
win-win situation." In the Verizon case, everyone was happy — the
customer, the telephone company, and the restaurateur." The
restaurants got more foot traffic. "But figuring out the economics can
Princeton 08540. Patrick LaPointe, senior vice president.
609-951-2271; fax, 609-951-2229. Home page:
www.frequencymarketing.com and www.colloquy.com
Oxford Communications faced the challenge of positioning
a well-known business that had changed its name and focus. The
established accounting firm of Druker, Rahl & Fein on Quakerbridge
Road had evolved its offering to include business
and management consulting, asset management, IT consulting, and
outsourced services, says Chuck Whitmore, vice president and creative
director of Oxford. "It sought to introduce the Mercadien Group as a
new entity overarching these specialized businesses."
"With consideration for communication strategies to DRF’s existing
clients and prospective clients of the Mercadien Group, we worked to
define and develop a compelling message, create an appropriate look,
and launch the new brand in the marketplace with print advertising,
printed collateral, and an interactive CD-ROM," says Whitmore.
The circular graphic depicts a unified suite of business services and
works with the ad’s headline "Growing your whole business." A tagline,
"a powerful brain trust for your business," was developed to support
the position of the Mercadien Group as a vital resource for its
Street, the Laceworks, Suite 13, Lambertville 08530-1830. John
Martorana, president. 609-397-4242; fax, 609-397-8863.
One more way to survive in tough times is to do a formal
communications audit for your client. This suggestion comes from Laura
Mosiello of the Flemington-based Crestan Corp Communications. An
audit reports on
advertising, marketing, and PR messages, methods, and mediums: "It
provides the blueprint for developing, implementing, and reviewing the
effectiveness of communications campaigns and vehicles past, present,
and future," says Mosiello.
She gives the example of a national non-profit organization that
conducted a competitive review audit to see how three "more
successful" national organizations used imaging and marketing, and
what impact it had on their revenues. "The resulting report became the
strategic platform to drive its next marketing campaign, currently
In another instance, a large New Jersey technology corporation began
downsizing last year and realized it needed to improve internal
communications. "An audit was conducted to determine internal
messaging and methodology. This allowed remaining staff to not feel
like they were in a vacuum. In addition, it positively affected
production levels and morale."
Or consider the medium-sized, well-established consulting firm that
was looking to update its marketing message and image as well as
capture more of the market. Its image and marketing materials had
remained untouched for more than five years. The communications
vehicles resulting from the audit were more aligned with the firm’s
values and objectives, current market opportunities, and customer
needs. The improved image increased customer response and retention.
"These clients all recognized the need to market through a challenging
economic time. They also discovered that the strategic
foundation an audit provides would streamline costs and optimize the
effectiveness of the resulting communications vehicles," says
Fees for audits depend on the time commitment required and type and
depth of the review, says Mosiello, but can range from an initial investment of
$2,500 to over $15,000 (not much more than the printing costs of a
single communications piece).
PMB-152, Flemington 08822. Laura C. Mosiello MFA, president.
908-788-2886; fax, 908-788-1786. Home page: www.crestancorp.com
Public relations, says Phyllis Spiegel, is successful
only if it accomplishes the client’s goals — which may include
gaining more customers, maintaining present customers, increasing
revenue, and improving image or reputation in the marketplace.
"But a successful public relations campaign must be more than just
sending out press releases. Every newspaper gets hundreds of press
releases every week," she says. "The idea is to send interesting
feature material that the media will welcome and even anticipate."
Her success story involves an assisted living facility in Monroe
Township. With new owners and hands-on management, it wanted to
eliminate some of the negative impressions that resulted from previous
absentee management and to fill more of its apartments.
"Our firm was given a six-month assignment to tell the public that
things were changing. It’s now more than a year later, and we’re still
going strong," says Spiegel. "Positive stories appear regularly in New
Jersey dailies and weeklies, and these stories result in increased
enrollment as well as pride and satisfaction among residents and
"Every story published yields phone calls from families of prospective
residents," says Spiegel. "The successful PR firm is `inside,’
snooping around, talking to people, in regular touch with management,
looking for angles, finding local news."
Spiegel tries to find the human interest stories that a feature writer
might use. "For example, Mary, who does the laundry for more than 100
people, always with a smile, and never returns the wrong socks. This
always upbeat woman has come in on her day off to help a resident move
from one apartment to another."
Or the office worker who uses her own time to run a cooking club for
residents who miss getting their hands in the dough. Or the Rutgers
student who started a Jewish Culture Club that offers annual seders.
Spiegel even managed to get an article in the Star Ledger about
Freddie, not a resident of the facility, but a regular visitor. The
newspaper photographed Freddie when he posed for a portrait for his
owner’s room: Freddie is a Pomeranian.
"I find this an exciting business," says Spiegel, "which is why I’m
still in it after 30 years."
Plainsboro 08536-0243. Phyllis Spiegel, president. 609-799-9636;
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