Be an Interactive Neighbor

Pick Lifesaving Premiums

Woo Your Best Clients

Re-position Effectively

Save MoneyDo an Audit

Keep Nose for News

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, 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.", 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."

Brandesign, 981 Route 33, Monroe Professional

Plaza, Monroe 08831-5923. Barbara Harrington, president and creative

director. 609-490-9700; fax, 609-490-9777. E-mail:

Top Of Page
Be an Interactive Neighbor

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

webpage changes."

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

Interactive Inventions Inc., 5 Andrew Drive,

Lawrenceville 08648. Jeff Friedman, president. 609-219-9400; fax,

609-219-1988. Home page:

Top Of Page
Pick Lifesaving Premiums

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

business picture.

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."

Princeton MarkeTech, 5 Vaughn Drive, Princeton

Metro Center, Princeton 08540. Robert Zyontz, president.

609-520-8575; fax, 609-520-0695. Home page:

Top Of Page
Woo Your Best Clients

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

be tricky."

Frequency Marketing Inc., 116 Village Boulevard,

Princeton 08540. Patrick LaPointe, senior vice president.

609-951-2271; fax, 609-951-2229. Home page: and

Top Of Page
Re-position Effectively

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


Oxford Communications Inc., 287 South Main

Street, the Laceworks, Suite 13, Lambertville 08530-1830. John

Martorana, president. 609-397-4242; fax, 609-397-8863.

Top Of Page
Save MoneyDo an Audit

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

under development."

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).

Crestan Corp Communications, 203 Main Street,

PMB-152, Flemington 08822. Laura C. Mosiello MFA, president.

908-788-2886; fax, 908-788-1786. Home page:

Top Of Page
Keep Nose for News

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."

Phyllis Spiegel Associates, Box 243,

Plainsboro 08536-0243. Phyllis Spiegel, president. 609-799-9636;



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