New year, old school.

BOF online adBank Of Floyd is a small bank serving communities in Southwest Virginia. Working with the fine folks at Forge Communications, we created a small ad campaign to re-introduce the bank after a few years of marketing inactivity. We’re working on another batch of stuff for the first quarter of 2014.

In smaller towns, newspaper is still a strong media option, and it’s been a lot of fun to have print return to the top spot of the media mix. The approach to concept and copy is different, and it was a bit of a challenge after years of building everything around the web component. Luckily, it was a bit like riding a bicycle — you never forget how to do it, but your pants can get caught in the chain.

Hey stupid, you’re a genius.

Picture 22For some reason, the incredibly talented folks at Supabenja Digital selected me to be profiled as their June “Supagenius.”

Lucky for me, they don’t seem to know what a genius is.

Lucky for you, the monthly profile (posted below) doesn’t come with a centerfold.

Where is your perfect office and what does it look like?
It’s a cozy place, big enough for no more than three people. There’s a real stereo in there, not those feeble desk-y things. Lots of books, a few toys, some candy — and without fail, two photographs: one of my family, one of Roy Rogers.

Can you identify something from your childhood that led you to the profession you are in today?
All my earliest memories involve popular culture. I was completely surrounded by it — movies, music, TV, books, comics, hot rod magazines, bubble gum cards, and of course advertising. I soaked up all that junk like a sponge, and a little bit of it spills out onto everything I do.

Which work activity really gets you into a zone?
Writing headlines. Once you have an idea for an ad or a homepage or whatever, going through the exercise of writing 50 to 100 variations of the same basic thought is a real sweet spot for me. Maybe the first one’s the best, or maybe it’s #67. You won’t know till you write them all.

If it’s broadcast or video or a motion piece or something, the fun comes from working the idea out in my head. Once it works in there, actually writing it’s a piece of cake. Ooooh, cake!

What is the secret to working well with other people?
1. Listen
2. Share your candy

What is one of the most important qualities about yourself you find useful every day?
1. My faith.
2. What I learned from the talented people who mentored me over the years.
3. I can recite the film Jaws in its entirety.

You only asked for one. Sorry.

What was the first paying job you ever had?
Cleaning and repairing an entire library of 16mm surgical training films. Did you know that when the color in Eastman film fades (blue is the first to go), open-heart surgery looks exactly like a calzone?

What do you usually do for lunch every day?
Work on my book. Or snag a hot dog. Or maybe work on my book while I snag a hot dog.

If you could choose any other profession other than your own what would it be?
It would require a Time Machine. It would be the early 50s, and I’d be a hack screenwriter, cranking out scripts for cheap Westerns and monster movies.

Can you tell us one lesson you’ve learned about doing business that keeps coming up over and over again?
Easy. Pay attention to the voice in the back of your head. If you have a funny feeling about something, it’s probably for a reason.

Is it dumb enough?

Soundtrax pacemaker

Front (above), back (below).

Soundtrax pacemaker back

This postcard campaign — to promote using Soundtrax Recording Studios instead of going the DIY route — was maybe the most fun of any project I ever worked on (the sock puppet spaghetti western came close). Inspired by the ads you used to see in comic books (I ordered a lot of that crap as a kid), Jim Briggs and I were tasked with coming up with something more stupid than the previous one. And to expand the campaign in true multimedia style, we opted for a Christmas album.

Here’s a couple more (front only). Click ’em, they get bigger and dumber.

Soundtrax sub card

Soundtrax shock card

You’re gonna need a bigger book.

JD GSA Booth_DrawingsA trade show booth doesn’t seem like something a writer’d be showing off. But this one, for John Deere’s set-up at the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) Expo was such a dream to brainstorm, it’s got a special place in my heart — and my portfolio.

We approached the project like an ad campaign — everything served a central theme. We knew there’d be folks representing the parks there, so we went for a national park vibe, placing our Deere messaging on wooden way-finding signs, blazing a “trail” through the space and incorporating as much park-y-ness as we could. We had far more ideas than we could’ve ever shoved in that booth space. Unfortunately, Yogi and Boo-Boo were booked that week.

For the booth panels (a couple can be seen below), I wrote headlines to images from our national parks — Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful, buffalo, etc. And although safety rules and other realities impacted how the booth could be constructed in the end, it was a blast from start to finish.

JD GSA Banners Range

JD GSA Banners Call of wild

Feed The Pack poster/flier.


Feed The Pack is a student-run pantry on the NC State campus. It offers food to students and staff who are having a hard time.

This flier should start showing up around campus (and beyond) soon. Stan Elder, Joseph Gaitens and I cooked it up — the first piece of what we hope will be an ongoing campaign. We’re all stoked to be associated with such a great organization.