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Lewis recently completed six new television spots for Alfa Insurance. The spots were shot by director Kevin Donovan and employ a wide range of comedic (and occasionally poignant) moments to illustrate Alfa’s superior value and responsive claims service. This is the fourth year of the ongoing Let’s Talk About Tomorrow campaign the agency crafted for Alfa.

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Lewis recently helped create a successful joint promotion for Whole Foods Market and the Black Warrior Riverkeeper. A portion of proceeds from a day’s sales went to the Riverkeeper, and sales for the gourmet market were up by 5% the day of the promotion. Lewis also created a new educational brochure for the Riverkeeper.

The oil spill: how you can  help
The oil spill: how you can  help

Our agency was founded in 1951 in Mobile, Alabama. Although Lewis also has offices in Birmingham and Nashville, the history and culture of our company owes a good bit to the people and institutions on the Gulf Coast. We live here. We work here. We play here.

Whether concerned about where our next fried shrimp po’ boy is coming from, or worried about the economic impact to the fishing, travel, and tourism industries or the local real estate market, we’re all watching the tragic situation playing out in the Gulf of Mexico and hoping for the best.

Just as we often feel powerless watching a hurricane bear down on our beloved coast, watching news reports, Facebook posts and more to monitor the oil spill situation can make any of us feel helpless in the face of this impending disaster.

But, countless groups have been preparing and mobilizing to deal with the oil spill and can use our support to accomplish their mission of saving wildlife, preserving fragile marsh and wetlands, and cleaning up our coastline, should the spill eventually reach land.

Before you donate your time, your money and your support, you owe it to yourself to get to know any group and make sure their mission is compatible with your beliefs and your donation.

Below is a list of just a few of the many groups working on the Gulf Coast that we think you should check out if you are looking for a way to help.


Mobile Bay National Estuary Program
Roberta Swan, Director For more information call 251-431-6409 or visit mobilebaynep.com

Mobile Baykeeper
Casi Callaway, Executive Director and Baykeeper
If interested in volunteering to reduce the impacts of the oil spill to our Bay, call 1-888-433-4460 or email info@mobilebaykeeper.org with your name, address, phone number, e-mail, and available resources (boat, etc.)

The National Wildlife Foundation
Visit NWF.org for more information and to sign up for cleanup efforts
Follow @NWF on Twitter for updates
Text “Wildlife” to 20222 to donate $10

Coalition To Restore Coastal Louisiana
6160 Perkins Road, Suite#225
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Telephone: 225.767.4181
Toll-Free: 888 LA COAST (888.522.6278)
Email: coalition@crcl.org
Register to volunteer or donate at www.crcl.org/coalitionprograms/oilspillrecovery.html

Social Media as Conversation
Social Media as Conversation

While people spend countless hours each day checking social media sites, their reasons for doing so aren’t always as “cutting edge” as those of us in the marketing world would like to believe. A recent study published by Pew Research Center found that 91% of people active on social media sites say that simply staying in touch with friends is their motivation to use.

Too many marketers refuse to acknowledge that the way those of us in the communication industry use social media isn’t typical, as compared to the average consumer. If companies and brands using social media are really looking to drive ROI through these channels, they need to start offering information as valuable as a post from a friend.

Early in October, I received a call asking me to handle the marketing for an event at The University of Alabama. Seven UA departments were collaborating to bring Soledad O’Brien to campus, and if you haven’t guessed already, the first issue brought up was how social media needed to be the main component in our marketing strategy.

The primary social media channels being used were UA Ferguson Center’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, which had significant followings of more than 3,000 students. My challenge was to figure out how to engage students with the Ferg to drive the desired result: a packed house for the night of Soledad’s speech. I did a little research and found that most students were looking to feel like they got some sort of one-on-one time with Soledad during her visit.

After this discovery, I made two very simple additions to the marketing strategy that drove positive results on both social media accounts—not to mention a standing room only crowd on the night of the event:

I. We asked students to submit questions for the Q&A session held after her speech via Facebook and wound up with hundreds of submissions.

II. We set up and promoted a Twitter hash tag so students who weren’t able to attend could still participate. We had over 50 students tweeting on our live chat the night of the event.

These simple tweaks were not only effective in engaging students for the Soledad event, but have served to revitalize the Ferg’s social media presence. Tweets per day are at their highest level ever, Facebook comments and unique page-views are higher than they have been in months and we even had students solicit our team via Twitter asking to write a post on the Ferg Blog, which rarely sees any activity outside of UA employees.

Why not take this example to heart and show your online community that your focus is on what they want rather than what you’d like to tell them? Try sharing information they see value in rather than the self-serving, one-way marketing updates we are all guilty of sending out far too often.


It’s no surprise to anyone who’s paid attention to the news in the past 12 months that it’s a buyer’s market. Whether real estate, cars, clothes or media, everything can be bought at record discounts. So at the risk of sounding like a cheesy car ad, there’s never been a better time to buy!

And we’ve all seen the studies about businesses that advertise during a downturn and come out stronger on the other side.

But this time, it’s more than a little dip. Media costs are down 30% or more from the same period last year.

And media such as newspaper and magazines that historically issued an annual rate card and then said “take it or leave it” are now making bundled offers that create opportunities to increase frequency or ad size, add color, or gain online exposure. They’ll even let you write a favorable article about your business if it saves them having to pay editorial staff!

The point is, with all the noise in the market, this economy offers businesses a great opportunity to dramatically increase their ad frequency without increasing their ad budget year-to-year.

So be fearless. If your business is sound, let people know about it. We all love a success story.

Design from a New Vantage Point
Design from a New Vantage Point

I am an aesthetics over analytics girl any day, and I always have been. I pursued my degree in interior design because I love to be surrounded by a purposeful beauty, but in my final year in the interior design program at the University of Alabama, I realized I yearned to experience something more.

I had become trapped in the idea that the only choice I had in my career was whether to go “commercial” or “residential,” and I was suffocating. I was on the UA Greek system’s governing board, as well as an active member of the Student Government Association, and I adored planning our big events and being a part of all the small details that take something from good to great.

And then entered Lewis Communications and the world of advertising.

It was a conversation that was had often during that final semester. The summary goes like this: “I have no idea what I am going to do. Help.” Then, during one of those conversations with a mentor and dear friend, I learned about summer internships at Lewis Communications. I had never thought about taking my love for aesthetics in the advertising direction, but I was quite intrigued by the idea.

Here I am today, fresh off a photo shoot for Tiffin Motorhomes. In my role assisting the stylist, I have served on both the creative side and the account side, and I’ve been able to combine my love for visual beauty with my organized, detail-oriented nature. Though it may seem like styling a photo shoot can’t be that different from designing an interior space, I have learned there are so many little things that go into photography that engages consumers. It’s about creating the right shot list with the right colors for each unit for the right medium. Scale and proportion that seem great in person may not translate well in photography, and I have loved taking on design from this new vantage point.

I’m now off the shoot and in the office, and I can’t wait to see what all the work we’ve done thus far will turn into. Already I’ve learned how captivating various images can be for different audiences, and I can’t wait to learn more.

Headed to Haiti
Headed to Haiti

A few months ago a professional colleague and a friend told me about a project he was working on in Haiti. When I first heard the idea, I knew I had to find a way to help. And now, I’m leaving within the next 24 hours to spend five days in Haiti with a video and still photo crew.

My friend Jim Bryson is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met working in the advertising business. His research company, 20/20 Research, has been our partner with countless clients as we work to uncover powerful consumer insights that will help build our clients’ brands and grow their business. Jim was also a state senator in Tennessee for several years and when he sees a problem, he is really good at finding a solution and doesn’t rest until things get better.

Which is why when Jim visited Haiti last year on a mission trip after the earthquake, he uncovered some pretty powerful insights of his own and developed an idea on how things can be improved for future generations. His insight after visiting Haitian orphanages was that the common practice of providing formal education to orphans only until the 5th grade and more or less turning them loose on Haiti’s unpaved streets was only perpetuating a cycle of joblessness, poverty and hopelessness. If, instead, proper schools could be built within or attached to orphanages that provided an education for kids from the 6th grade on, a new generation of educated, service-minded Haitian’s could become future leaders and begin to solve some of Haiti’s ongoing social problems.

Jim has already begun the fundraising process and is now headed to Port-au-Prince to purchase land where the first Joseph School can be built. Several of my Lewis colleagues (Sarah Cooper, Ben Fine, Jeff Williams and Steve Moe) and I are tagging along with Jim in order to shoot stills and video of teachers, parents, and children. By telling the stories of the Haitians we’ll meet, we hope to create a powerful way for people in the US and around the world to know about and support The Joseph School. For some people, they will be compelled to donate much-needed funds to build schools. But for many others, supporting Jim’s work and the work of so many others in Haiti can also be accomplished by spreading the message through Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other social media.

Please check out TheJosephSchool.org when you get a chance. Once back from Haiti, we’ll be updating the site with a new design with images and video from our trip.


The new Edelman Trust Barometer Study is out and causing quite a stir among marketing people. The buzz surrounding the report is primarily because it shows a significant one-year decline in the perceived value of “friends” as a trusted source re: brand trial and preference.

Many pundits are gleefully quoting this single datapoint as evidence that the social influence “fad” is starting to fade.

I think this is a big mistake.

For starters, words matter and the term “friends” has been severely cheapened and confused due to the social media lexicon. Real friends will forever remain a source of trust and confidence for Americans. We are greatly influenced by people we know and admire, and as media fragmentation continues, our reliance on these sources will increase.

Secondly, it is important to remember that brand “conversations,” as we define them here, have never been limited to or framed by the social influence movement. We don’t endorse a cannibalizing view of social media and we openly reject the “advertising is dead” mantra.

Instead, our position is that “we do work worth talking about,” no matter what the media. This is not a new position for our firm, nor is it an attempt to promote ourselves with a social media spin.

We are marketing communications experts who are passionate and gifted at stimulating, measuring and sustaining brand conversations — which is vital in an era of “always on, always accessible” media.

Therefore, while the term “conversations” may become a casualty of the social media debate, what should not be lost is a singular focus on helping customers better connect with and through a client’s brand.

This has always been the strength of great agencies and it will never lose its value.

See the good.