Lewis acquires digital agency Caddis.
Strategic branding firm with more than 100 employees across three offices in the Southeast, purchases full-service digital agency — effectively doubling the size of the company’s digital footprint.
Lewis Communications — an award-winning strategic branding firm with offices in Birmingham, Mobile, and Nashville — has acquired Caddis, a full-service digital agency based in Franklin, Tennessee. The acquisition of Caddis, with its 20 employees, doubles the Lewis digital team, which Caddis founder Jake Fagan will now lead.
The acquisition expands the agency’s capabilities in search engine optimization, content marketing, and app development. It also grows the teams dedicated to digital strategy, user experience and user interface design, web development, paid search, digital media, social media, and analytics.
“Digital platforms have become increasingly integral to our clients’ brand development and advertising success,” says Lewis Communications president and CEO Larry Norris. “Bringing in Jake Fagan’s leadership and adding the Caddis team to Lewis strengthens our ability to implement strategy seamlessly across both traditional and digital platforms for our clients.”
Ken Wilson, Lewis vice president and managing director of the Nashville office, says the expansion of Lewis’ digital staff and capabilities comes as businesses across industries are looking for ways to affect more with their marketing budget and are emphasizing digital campaign measurement as a metric for success.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — two likeminded companies coming together. I’m excited for what we’ll be able to accomplish.” — Jake Fagan
“For the past decade, businesses often preferred to partner with separate web development companies and advertising firms,” Wilson says. “But now because the two must work together seamlessly to affect conversions in a digital- and mobile-heavy world, businesses are looking for one partner that can oversee and report on every step of the user journey — from developing brand awareness and preference to generating conversions.”
Over the past 65 years, Lewis has become one of the Southeast’s leading agencies, consistently producing award-winning integrated campaigns by using research-driven strategy to inform strong creative. The agency has clients across the country and in varied industries, including transportation, healthcare, energy, resort, and food and beverage.
Lewis will add Caddis’ client list to its roster, expanding its work into several new categories, including the outdoor space.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — two likeminded companies coming together,” says Fagan. “We compliment each other’s skill sets. I am truly excited for what we’ll be able to accomplish.”
Lewis honored by CA, Graphis, Print, TDC.
Lewis Communications continue winning streak as work for a diverse roster of clients merits acclaim from leading national and international industry pubs and organizations.
It’s only April, but 2016 is shaping up to be Lewis Communications’ most awarded year ever with recent Lewis advertising, design, and branding work receiving national recognition from three of the industry’s leading publications and one of its most-esteemed organizations.
“It’s always an immense honor,” says design director Roy Burns III. “But what makes [this recent series of accolades] especially rewarding is that they touch on projects from nearly every creative team member across all of Lewis’ three offices.”
Communication Arts — arguably the most esteemed publication for the creative communications industry — selected Lewis work for client Auto and Truck Services for inclusion in their Typography Annual 6. Hand-painted typography, awarded in the environmental category, was designed by a team led by executive creative director Spencer Till, design director Roy Burns III, and senior designer David Blumberg, and painstakingly implemented by Till over the course of many late nights.
Graphis — the International Journal of Visual Communication — recently recognized Lewis work in both its Advertising Annual 2016 and Photography Annual 2016. In Advertising, for the second year in a row, Lewis received the annual’s highest honor — a coveted Platinum award — and, also for the second year in a row, the Platinum-designated work was for longstanding client Tiffin Motorhomes. The consumer print campaign in the Automotive category was the work of associate creative directors Ryan Gernenz and Kathy Oldham and senior art director Drew Hughes. Only nine other agencies in the country received Platinum. Other work for Tiffin, as well as work for clients Austal USA, University of Iowa Health Care, and University of Virginia Health System, merited Gold; while a poster campaign for Pretty Perfect Cheese was awarded Silver. In Photography, Jeffrey Williams’ “Motor Lisa” image for Auto & Truck Services was awarded Silver.
“What makes these especially rewarding is that they’re for projects from nearly every creative team member across all of our offices.” — Roy Burns III
Speaking of consecutive years, The Type Directors Club — an international organization devoted to excellence in typography — has selected Lewis work once again to appear in its forthcoming TDC37 Annual. The afore awarded interior environmental signage for Auto & Truck Services will feature alongside work for Design Week Birmingham. (A consumer print campaign for Tiffin is currently featured in the TDC36 Annual.)
And last, but certainly not least, Print has seen fit to recognize multiple design-driven projects from Lewis in its Regional Design Annual 2015. Work for clients such as American Integrated Media, Design Week Birmingham, and non-profit The Joseph School, feature alongside packaging work for Good People Brewing Company.
Many thanks to our clients for their trust and partnership, and to Communication Arts, Graphis, Print, and The Type Directors Club. We’re extremely honored to be counted, once again, among the best of the best.
Lewis offices take home top honors, 96 ADDY awards.
Lewis Communications’ offices in Birmingham, Nashville, and Mobile break agency ADDY® records while meriting multiple Best of Show awards in the first tier of the American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards competition.
It’s American Advertising Awards season again. When esteemed creative professionals from around the nation are called upon to assess and award the creative efforts of agencies big and small. To salute the best of the best locally, who’ll then move on to compete regionally, and ultimately, nationally. For the three offices of Lewis Communications, it’s an exciting and inspiring time. A chance to see the incredible work being done by our friends and colleagues, gauge how much our respective creative communities have grown and flourished, and to hopefully, carry home armloads of ADDY trophies.
With that in mind, we’re proud to announce that work from our Birmingham, Nashville, and Mobile teams (and some of the prime creatives behind it) received a combined total of 96 ADDY awards, including multiple Best of Show accolades — a new agency best! Lewis work was also honored in nearly every eligible category — broadcast, print, packaging, digital, social, and more.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized,” says President Larry Norris. “We’re very proud the work being done in all of our offices is resonating with judges. But great work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We’re thankful for the opportunity to work alongside some of the smartest, savviest people we know: our clients. Their trust and shared vision make what we do possible.”
In Birmingham, Lewis received the most awards of any Magic City agency with 19 Gold and 26 Silver. And then, there were the other big wins: ECD Spencer Till took home Creative Director of the Year and Copywriter of the Year trophies, Jeff Williams was awarded Photographer of the Year — his third consecutive win — and a series of dealership posters for Tiffin Motorhomes was awarded Best of Show – Print.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized. But great work doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We’re thankful to work alongside some of the smartest, savviest people we know: our clients.” — Larry Norris
The Nashville office racked up more Gold than any other agency in town; and, with 18 Silver awards, our Music City compadres tied for total number of awards (with an agency nearly eight times larger!) Creative Director Robert Froedge took Art Director of the Year honors, while Laura Powers won her second consecutive Copywriter of the Year award. Robert and Laura’s Boo At The Zoo Campaign for Nashville Zoo took home a Judge’s Choice Award. The Nashville office also enjoys the distinction of earning ADDY recognition for each and every one of their clients.
Not to be outdone, Mobile celebrated with three Golds, four Silvers, and a coveted Best of Show – Out-of-Home ADDY for their Pretty Perfect Cheese Poster Campaign.
The American Advertising Awards are the American Advertising Federation’s annual creative competition. In this three-tiered competition, winners receive Gold and/or Silver ADDY awards at the local level and advance to a second, district-level tier. Gold winners at the district level automatically move on to the National competition, which will be held Saturday, June 7, in Anaheim, California.
Below, the full list of honors:
“Cigarettes or soda?,” new campaign asks.
Lewis’ provocative new multimedia campaign for The Public Good Projects asks consumers to think about the risks and consequences of even moderate consumption of sugary beverages.
A man holds a pack of cigarettes in one hand, and a bottle of soda in the other. Looking into camera, he asks,“Which one of these is OK to give my kids?”
A recently-launched multimedia ad campaign is asking residents of Tennessee’s northeastern Tri-Cities just that. Created by Lewis Communications, the #LiveSugarfreed campaign for client The Public Good Projects aims to address an epidemic of obesity and diabetes by encouraging consumers to drink water instead of sugar-filled beverages such as as soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, and energy drinks.
“The work is deliberately provocative,” said Lewis creative director Stephen Curry, who also directed the campaign-launching broadcast spot and web videos. “We want to start new conversations. Out of tradition and habit, consumers tend to give soda and other sugary drinks a pass. That’s why we’ve also created shareable content for social media, and posters that partnering corporations can hang in their break rooms.”
“The work is deliberately provocative. We want to start new conversations.” — Stephen Curry
And provoked it has. Within a month of launching, the YouTube video has garnered more than 100,000 views; and, as evident in the dialogue between #LiveSugarfreed’s channel moderators and some of those viewers, sparked passionate debate.
#LiveSugarfreed was created in partnership with health and business leaders, including Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, local health system CEOs, and leaders of businesses that are adopting workplace policies for healthier beverages. Representatives of the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society are also supporting the campaign.
The Tri-Cities area in Tennessee was selected for the start of The Public Good Projects’ first A Healthy America campaign because of its high rates of diabetes and soft drink consumption. For the #LiveSugarfreed campaign, the nonprofit assembled a team of public relations and advertising professionals, including Lewis Communications, to reach Tennessee’s Northeast residents.
In the Tri-Cities area, adults ages 18 to 45 drink an average of 1.7 sugary drinks per day, with 14% drinking four or more sugary drinks daily, according to surveys of adults conducted by A Healthy America campaign in August.
“Even before the #LiveSugarfreed campaign launched, it was affecting change: some of us at Lewis have sworn off soft drinks,” says Katie Peninger, account supervisor for the campaign. “We know that adjusting daily habits takes time. By bringing shareable tools along with our message, we’re making it easier for change to happen from within a community.”
To learn more about #LiveSugarfreed and the risks of consuming sugary drinks, visit LiveSugarfreed.org.
The Public Good Projects — #LiveSugarfreed: Which One?
The Public Good Projects — #LiveSugarfreed: Behind the Counter
Step Pepper: five years of musical artifacts.
Born out of the desire to “do stuff that went a little further down the field,” Birmingham-based Step Pepper Records recently celebrated 5 years of existence with a day-long, multi-media extravaganza that looked firmly to the future.
When Lewis interactive designer Andy Stewart was studying at the Atlanta College of Art, he was presented with an unusual assignment: Cut four pieces of matte board into perfect two-inch by two-inch squares. “It was notoriously the worst project, says Stewart. “Nobody wanted to do it… I won’t deny that it was annoying and tedious.” Still, Stewart dutifully completed the assignment — embracing its lesson in craftsmanship while confirming an already deep-seated attitude about his creative life: “Early on I felt like I had a predisposition to doing stuff that went a little bit further down the field than the average person was willing to go.”
This same boundary-pushing drive fuels Step Pepper Records, the label that Stewart (a.k.a. Urbandy) runs with his partner (and Lewis videographer and editor) Charlie Brown Sanders III. Recently, Step Pepper celebrated its 5th anniversary by throwing a birthday party at Saturn — a gleaming, new 500-person capacity venue located in Birmingham, Alabama, where the label is based (though its roster features acts from across the world).
Stewart and Sanders love multiplicities — especially in art. So it’s fitting that the night’s entertainment features sets from 14 acts across a variety of genres: Omari Jazz’s ecstatic beatscapes, the Freaky Deakys’ miscreant garage rock, the entropic aural poetry of Ant’lrd, Balcony View’s sheets of precariously balanced sound, the Morricone-meets-math rock heaviness of In Snow, Cosmonaut on Vacation’s groovy yet art-damaged space rock, Onehundreds’ psychedelia-infused pop rock, and so on.
“I’m not even sure that the record label moniker is going to be applicable to us in five years. It’s growing into so much more.” — Andy Stewart
If that wasn’t enough, many of the artists obliquely (and, in some cases, quite deliberately) provided the soundtrack to colorful, frenetic, and deeply-layered films — each a uniquely mind-bending gestalt that left audiences in an exhilarated, almost hypnagogic, state. It was no coincidence that the Step Pepper’s party had an “art show” vibe. “What we really wanted to do, initially, was a new media exhibition,” says Sanders. “Where it wasn’t so much a concert or a festival but a big room where you would experience Step Pepper in kiosks. Make it truly interactive.”
Such ideas are commensurate with Step Pepper’s non-traditional approach to the music business. In fact, they don’t really see themselves as a record label at all. “I’m not even sure that the record label moniker is going to be applicable to us in five years,” says Stewart. “It’s growing into so much more.”
Be that as it may, Step Pepper excels at creating compelling treats for media connoisseurs of all stripes. Experimental, beat-driven electronic music initially fed the label’s roster. It’s often music that’s made to live on the internet, so physical product is an afterthought. Yet by approaching the internet as Step Pepper’s canvas, Stewart and Sanders utilized their own multiplicity of talents — video production, coding, design, and, yes, music — to give each release a vibrant, digital presence all its own. It’s a style Sanders refers to as “Joy Pop — bright colors and shiny objects.” Inspiration came via iconoclastic labels like Warp and Stones Throw, as well as Cartoon Network’s long-running surrealist wonderland, Adult Swim. “I was the original demographic for Adult Swim,” says Stewart. “Urban youth with earbuds.”
Though vinyl is fast becoming the hard format du jour (again!), cassette culture continues to thrive thanks to underground artists who place a premium on both scarcity and obscurity (e.g. In Snow’s “deal” revolved around getting 50 cassettes made). So, when it was time for Step Pepper to get in the game, Stewart took great pains in ensuring that their releases — including CDs and vinyl — would maintain the standard of excellence set by the music.
“Most people who come to us might have a cover design. But there’s so much more to be done to get something to become a physical product.” It’s here that Stewart flexes the muscles he’s built over the course of his eight years at Lewis — looking for patterns, breaking them down, and creating a new series of work.
He was able to take these ideas to a new level when the label began working with Nowhere Squares, a stalwart Birmingham spazz punk band whose unique style is cultivated in large part by the band’s lead singer, celebrated visual artist and filmmaker, Paul Cordes Wilm. “When we see something like Nowhere Squares, our mouths start to water,” enthuses Stewart. “It’s the perfect creative sandbox to do branded content. To take an existing aesthetic approach and fully play it out.” Together, the label and band created a series of cassette releases, digital downloads, videos, and a limited-edition, retrospective CD compiled from two decades worth of material.
As with all of Step Pepper’s physical goods, the entire run makes for a fetching merch table. And while creating tangible musical artifacts is gratifying for Stewart and Sanders, they’re not content with merely doing things the same old way. “There’s no definitive medium anymore,” Says Sanders. “If we’re still doing this in ten years, the merch table will likely have more unconventional and non-traditional formats.”
Stewart likens Step Pepper’s resourceful, DIY work ethic to calligraphy. “You’re trying to use as few strokes as possible to make the biggest impact.” He continues, “There’s a pressure, having a limited creative team, to never repeat and try to jerk the wheel for the next project. We want to create this sort of thing where, right out of the gate, you know that Step Pepper is a creative shop rather than a specific record label/genre.”
Stewart and Sanders have already entered into 2016 with clear sights on Step Pepper’s future: Widening its roster, creating partnerships with like-minded labels, and delving into the publishing and licensing worlds. Yet as some things change, for Stewart, other things will invariably stay the same: “Here’s to another five years of sitting in front of a computer with minimal exposure to sunlight.”
Design Week Birmingham: impactful design.
Lewis designers, fellow Magic City creatives celebrate design with Design Week Birmingham — a multifaceted annual event that includes installations, lectures, exhibits, workshops, and social gatherings inspired by the belief that “Design Matters.”
It’s late October. Downtown Birmingham. A steady stream of people moving in and out of 19 creative firms, open late on a Monday evening. An advertising firm art director checking out an architect’s workspace, a product designer talking to a furniture craftsman in an interactive design studio. The event, a design agency open house, perfectly captures the essence of the third annual Design Week Birmingham — the Magic City’s weeklong celebration of design and design thinking.
“Design Week Birmingham is one of only a handful of design weeks in the Southeast,” says Lewis designer Andrew Thomson. “What sets us apart is that we’re the only one that encompasses the full, diverse range of design disciplines — architecture, industrial design, graphic design, interactive design, fashion design, environmental design. It’s a chance for designers of all stripes to come together, share ideas, and be advocates for good design throughout the city and region.”
As part of the initial exploratory group that founded Design Week Birmingham, Thomson, along with Lewis senior designer David Blumberg, and Jared Fulton, graduate architect at Williams Blackstock Architecture (and lead architect on Lewis’s soon-to-be-unveiled new downtown Birmingham office), helped to gather leaders —practitioners and educators — from Birmingham’s burgeoning design community: Lewis creative director Roy Burns III and designer Cana Grooms; Bruce Lanier, Standard Creative principal architect and owner; James Williams, chief curator of Birmingham Museum of Art; Shannon Harris, BIG Communications senior art director; and Rhea Williams, executive director of the American Institute of Architects — Birmingham, among others. “From the very beginning, we knew we wanted it to be a coordinated and collaborative effort,” says Thomson.
“It’s a chance for designers to come together and share ideas, to be advocates for good design throughout the city and region, and to raise awareness of the importance of design in all aspects of life.” — Andrew Thomson
“Naturally, with so many people, everyone had a slightly different idea of what Design Week could be,” says David Blumberg. “But what we all agreed on was that it should be something that would foster continued growth and interaction in an already decently engaged design community. Something that would encourage designers to come together, work together, and learn from each other.”
Since it began two years ago, the week has centered around one or two keynote events. Graphic design luminary Charles Spencer Anderson and John Peterson of Public Architecture were the first year’s keynote speakers; while larger-than-life graphic designer (and raconteur/showman) Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co. in Portland headlined last year. The gregarious Draplin drew tremendous crowds, who, after enjoying Draplin’s thoroughly entertaining, no-nonsense talk, compulsively purchased Field Notes, posters, hats, and various other Draplin Design Co. branded paraphernalia. This year, internationally-renowned fashion designer Natalie Chanin, owner and designer of Alabama Chanin, lectured on mid-century modern design at the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Of course, part of the success of Design Week is measured in attendance, audience engagement, and even press (in it’s second year of existence, HOW named it as one of Seven Design Weeks to Add to Your Calendar and highly-respected design blogs such as Design Milk and Dezeen have also taken notice); but for an organization founded on the idea that “Design Matters,” success also means being able to demonstrate that belief in a tangible and impactful way. BhamFEAST was founded by DWB organizers to do just that. BhamFEAST culminates the weeklong celebration with a farm-to-table dinner, during which attendees listen to presentations from five finalists of a citywide challenge that aims to best utilize design as a tool to affect positive change. This year’s challenge focused on expanding education opportunities for school-age children in the Birmingham-area. After presentations were made, diners then voted to select the winning project. This year’s winner and recipient of a $5,000 grant was Kuumba Community Art’s Teen Design Academy — an intensive six-month training program partnering 15 students ages 14 – 17 with working design professionals.
“Birmingham’s had a thriving design community for quite some time now. But it’s always been a bit of a best kept secret,” says Roy Burns. “I’m proud to say, because of what we’re doing with Design Week Birmingham, people outside of Birmingham and Alabama are beginning to take notice. Design students are beginning to see Birmingham as a place to stay and grow. There are tremendous opportunities to do great work here. And, with things like BhamFEAST, there are opportunities for designers to actively help shape the city for the better by doing what they do best.”
Boo at the Zoo scares up record attendance.
A mouse becomes an elephant. A giraffe becomes a tiger. Lewis’ vibrant, playful Boo at the Zoo campaign for Nashville Zoo seeks to bring out the kid in animals of all stripes.
Operating on the assumption that all creatures — great and small — love dressing up for Halloween, Lewis Communications recently developed a campaign to promote Nashville Zoo’s annual Boo at the Zoo event featuring animals donning vivid, colorful masks.
That speculation paid off. Wildly. The campaign raised admission for Boo at the Zoo more than 46% above projections in the first weekend alone, and maintained record attendance for the rest of the month. The creative team — led by creative director Robert Froedge and associate creative director Laura Powers — developed print, outdoor and digital executions to introduce this yearly tradition to visitors and recent transplants to Nashville.
“Boo at the Zoo is for kids, so we couldn’t be too scary. By using retro mask designs, we were able be playful without being frightening.” — Robert Froedge
“Boo at the Zoo really is for kids,” says Robert Froedge,“So we couldn’t be too scary. By using retro, Ben Cooper-esque mask designs, we were able to be playful without being frightening.”
Lewis has previously worked with Nashville Zoo on projects ranging from donor campaigns to a birth announcement for a baby kangaroo.
“Nashville Zoo isn’t something you do just once. You can go over and over and discover something completely new each time,” says associate creative director Laura Powers. “We like to remind people of that in ways that catch them off-guard and capture their imagination.”
Lewis receives design accolades from CA, Graphis.
Lewis’ Bearded Lady continues to turn heads, while work for Good People Brewing Co., Design Week Birmingham, Bottletree, and The Joseph School is lauded among the best of the best in national and international design for 2015/2016.
Lewis Communications continues to receive national recognition for its design and branding work.
The immensely popular packaging design for Good People Brewing Company fan-favorite Bearded Lady American Wheat Ale is featured in the Communication Arts Design Annual 56, while the full suite of rebranded packaging for “The South’s Local Brewery” merited Silver in the Graphis Design Annual 2016.
“We have a wonderfully talented design team with a wealth of experience in the category. But we’ve only really had the opportunity to take on packaging design projects in the last few years or so,” says design director Roy Burns III. “So to be recognized alongside some of the world’s premier packaging design firms is something we’re both humbled by and incredibly proud of. We hope it leads to even more packaging design opportunities.”
In addition to the Good People work, Lewis’ branding and collateral for Design Week Birmingham (DWB) also merited Silver from Graphis, the International Journal of Visual Communication. The work for DWB marked the second consecutive year Lewis was tasked with the event’s branding; and that bold, vivid work helped play a key role in increasing the national visibility of both DWB and the Birmingham design community.
“When we’re recognized for work we’ve done for clients so woven into the fabric of our city, it’s an opportunity to challenge national notions of what Birmingham is and what it can be.” — David Blumberg
“We don’t just view these as wins for Lewis. We view them as wins for Birmingham,” says senior designer David Blumberg. “We’ve always aspired to do the highest level work for all of our clients. But when we’re recognized for work we’ve done for clients that are so woven into the fabric of our city, it’s an opportunity to challenge national notions of what Birmingham is and what it can be. This is a pretty special place.”
Communication Arts Design Annual 56, the September/October Issue 2015, is available for purchase at newsstands everywhere and as an in-app purchase at the iTunes store. Graphis Design Annual 2016 is available for pre-order online at graphis.com.
For more information on Lewis’ work for Good People Brewing Company, contact beerthirty@
Lewis in Communication Arts Photography Annual 56.
By aiming to capture the art and craft of auto repair, Jeff Williams’s ambitious image for Lewis’ Auto & Truck Services campaign is deemed one of the year’s best by industry bible Communication Arts.
Lewis’ “Motor Lisa” image for our Auto & Truck Services campaign is featured in the Communication Arts Photography Annual 56.
Auto & Truck Services are a specialty independent automotive service center located in Birmingham, Alabama. “They’re a dedicated group of highly personalized, well-trained car specialists,” says Spencer Till, executive creative director of the “Art of Repair” campaign.
The winning image — part of an overall campaign entitled “The Art of Repair” — depicts two of Auto & Truck’s service technicians hard at work on a ’67 Candy Apple Red Ford Mustang, parts and tools strewn about them. As these elements approach the edge of the frame, they begin to serendipitously take on the shape of Leonardo da Vinci’s master work.
“They proudly look at what they do as an art form,” continues Till, “We wanted to capture the essence of that — their attention to detail and craft — with images that not only defied the expectations of the category, but were wholly arresting in and of themselves. ”
That big idea and its ambitious, elegant realization — captured primarily in-camera by Lewis photographer Jeff Williams and hand-assembled by Williams with Lewis’ Andy Cargile and George Griswold — has managed to strike chord with award show judges. Both campaign and photography have garnered multiple accolades, including recent National Gold and Silver ADDY awards at the American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards held two weeks ago in Las Vegas.
Communication Arts Photography Annual 56, the July/August Issue, is available for purchase at newsstands everywhere and as an in-app purchase at the iTunes store.
Auto & Truck Services — Building Motor Lisa
HOW profiles design director Roy Burns III.
Lewis Communications’ veteran designer Burns, one of four designers in the country selected for HOW magazine’s interview series focusing on creatives who’ve received attention and acclaim later in their careers.
Recently, Lewis Communications’ design director Roy Burns III was selected as one of four designers in the country to be profiled in HOW magazine’s online series “The Late Bloomer.”
So, what’s a late bloomer? Series author John Foster explains. “Like most creative industries, the design field is obsessed with youth. [Late bloomers] are not those who are celebrated as their first printed piece rolls off the presses, but rather those who grind along for a decade or longer — a potent mix of raw talent and determination — with the accolades that follow all the more deserved for the hard work and sacrifices it took in earning them.”
“Roy continues to amaze across a wide range of design solutions, [bringing] a fresh outlook, delightful sophistication, and care and craftsmanship at the highest level.” — John Foster
The interview with Foster teases out Burns’ passion for packaging and poster design, his 20-plus year career path — including his early and current tours at Lewis — and what he’s learned about his working style along the way.
“Roy continues to amaze across a wide range of design solutions,” says Foster. “Whether it’s beer packaging, a lecture poster, a campaign for a small stationery shop, or a massive health care initiative; he brings a fresh outlook, delightful sophistication, and care and craftsmanship at the highest level.”
This is Burns’ second notable appearance in HOW in the last 10 months. His poster series for AIGA Design for Good/American Red Cross was awarded the Poster Design Awards Reader’s Choice Best of Show Award in December as part of HOW’s Sixth Annual Poster Design Awards. As the winner, it will feature in the Fall 2015 issue of HOW magazine.
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Lewis wins Gold, Silvers at National ADDYs.
Lewis Communications’ 2015 ADDY winning streak culminates with four national ADDY awards at the American Advertising Federation National American Advertising Awards ceremony.
Lewis Communications took home four National ADDY awards Saturday — including a coveted Gold — at this year’s American Advertising Federation (AAF) American Advertising Awards.
Lewis Photographer Jeff Williams, whose image-making prowess helped bring home the top awards, traveled to Las Vegas to receive the ADDYs on behalf of the agency. All four awards came from the “The Art of Repair” campaign for Birmingham vehicle repair shop Auto & Truck Services.
“Despite their no-frills name, Auto & Truck Services are a dedicated group of highly personalized, well-trained car specialists,” said Spencer Till, executive creative director of the campaign. “They look at what they do as an art form. By expanding on that idea in the creative, we’ve helped them stand out in an overcrowded, generically, and unimaginatively advertised category.”
“Auto & Truck Services look at what they do as an art form. By expanding on that idea, we’ve helped them stand out in an overcrowded, generically, and unimaginatively advertised category.” — Spencer Till
The American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards are statistically the toughest national advertising competition. With more than 40,000 local-level entries competing for less than 80 National Gold Awards and just over 150 National Silver Awards this year, these four Lewis entries were among the top one percent of entries from around the country.
Below, the full list of Lewis’ National ADDY winners:
• Photography (Digitally Enhanced): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair (Motor Lisa)
• Poster (Single): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair (Motor Lisa)
• Poster (Single): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair (Symphony)
• Poster Campaign: Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair (Motor Lisa/Symphony)
In February and March, Lewis was awarded 8 ADDYs at the Mobile American Advertising Awards gala, 34 ADDYs at the Birmingham AAA gala, as well as Photographer of the Year individual award for Williams, and 33 ADDYs at the Nashville AAA gala, where Lewis also won a Judges’ Choice award, Best of Show Broadcast and a Copywriter of the Year individual award for Laura Powers.
In April, Lewis took home two Best of Show ADDY awards — one of which, for the Auto & Truck Services campaign — along with 19 additional ADDYs at the District 7 gala, held in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Olugbode selected for 4A’s multicultural fellowship.
Lewis Communications research intern among 200 undergraduate and graduate students from around the country chosen for the American Association of Advertising Agencies 2015 Multicultural Advertising Internship Program.
Most Wednesdays and Fridays during her first year in the University of Alabama’s APR master’s program, Monsurat “Momo” Olugbode has driven to Birmingham to comb through data as our research intern. But she’ll take a break from research this summer to participate in the American Association of Advertising Agencies 2015 Multicultural Advertising Internship Program.
Momo was the only student from the state of Alabama to be selected for the 2015 program. As a six-year-old she moved to the United States with her family from Lagos, Nigeria, prompting an interest in diversity studies while studying at the University of Alabama. The internship this summer combines that passion with her profession. As part of the 10-week program to develop the next generation of multiethnic advertising professionals, Momo will intern at Studio Squared, the Martin Agency’s digital division in Richmond, Virginia.
“I’m going to be on the Walmart account, and I’m excited to learn about their digital advertising methods,” Momo said. “My masters degree is heavily focused on strategy and communications theory, and my internship at Lewis focuses on research, so I am looking forward to learning about the tactical, digital aspect of marketing in Richmond this summer.”
“I love agency life and I dream of running a firm later in my career. — Momo Olugbode
The program will end with a week of professional development seminars in New York City. And as a MAIP fellow, Momo will have access to a 2015 fellowship of less than 200 undergraduate and graduate students from around the country, and an alumni association of more than 2,600 multiethnic advertising professionals.
“I love agency life and I sometimes dream of running a firm later in my career,” Momo says. “This summer will be another chance to get a glimpse into an important aspect of the advertising world.”
And once the summer is over, we look forward to welcoming Momo back to the Lewis team.
Good People release Bearded Lady in cans.
Good People Brewing Company’s Bearded Lady American Wheat Ale evokes the taste of Summer with long-anticipated can designs by Lewis that aim to bring a smile to the face.
In late April, Good People Brewing Company’s Bearded Lady American Wheat Ale became the Birmingham, Alabama-based brewery’s latest, year-round canned offering. Previously available as a Summer seasonal, Good People’s take on a traditional Weissbier is one of their most popular brews, appealing to both craft beer enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
The can design by Lewis Communications in Birmingham aims to strike the right balance of delicate and bold, while incorporating a playful, reverent sense of humor. “The color palette is directly inspired by the taste and appearance,” says Roy Burns III, Lewis’ design director. “Bearded Lady is light-bodied, but flavorful — with bright, citrus notes — and radiantly golden in color.”
When Good People approached Lewis with the project, they had been promoting Bearded Lady in their tap room with an Alphonse Mucha-inspired poster. Lewis designers Andrew Thomson and Drew Hughes explored several directions, which ranged from Mucha to sideshow playbills and circus typography, before arriving at the final, beautiful beard-clad character. “We wanted our lady to be elegant and intriguing,” says Thomson. “Even slightly seductive,” Hughes adds.
“We wanted these cans to be irresistible. To beg to be picked up.” — Roy Burns III
With the namesake beautiful beardy broad as its focal point, the can design is cleanly simple, bold, and straightforward. One subtle embellishment, delicate hair-thin breaks in the background, helps activate the surface, allowing the aluminum to shine through. “It’s a lovely detail meant to call to mind flowing locks of hair, rolling fields of wheat, and the swirl of the pour,” Burns says.
Within 24 hours of coming off the line at Ball Corporation in Tampa, Florida, the cans were being filled at Good People in downtown Birmingham — the Lewis team was there to capture the process — and into area stores not long after.
“With thousands of beers in the marketplace, being merely visible is no longer enough,” says Burns. “We wanted these cans to be irresistible. To beg to be picked up.” If you’re in Alabama or Nashville, Bearded Lady’s available now on a store shelf near you. Seek her out and see if you’re able to resist.
Good People Brewing Co. — Bearded Lady :30
Plenty Design Co-Op: excellent and useful.
A Lewis designer and the lead architect for Lewis’ new downtown Birmingham office space make beautiful furniture together… and Dwell — one of the country’s leading journals of modern architecture and design — takes notice.
In 2013, Lewis designer Andrew Thomson and Williams Blackstock architect Jared Fulton started Plenty Design Co-Op as a way to put their degrees and creativity to work. And, as Thomson says, “just to make some furniture.” But the hobby has garnered them some national attention.
Dwell magazine’s May 2015 story, Made in the USA features Plenty as Alabama’s representative of diverse and dynamic work. The Tall and Small Stools aren’t what one might expect to see coming out of Alabama where down-home, rustic woodworking and traditional craftsmanship prevail.
Combining modern design and functionality, the angle of the stools’ legs are very intentionally 10-degrees to provide a sturdy base without wasting materials. And the red-tipped feet “were inspired by imagery of a flood line that stains everything below the high watermark.” Thomson and Fulton carry this distinctly modern-yet-warm style throughout their work, driven by sustainability, affordability, and good looks. To quote the pair, “We design and build because we’re driven by the dream of the excellent and the useful.”
Thomson’s background in Industrial Design plays out in the clean-lined Honey Dip Chair — two chairs made from one piece of plywood. As Fulton explains, “we weren’t really into the trend of using pallet wood or reclaimed wood. We wanted to make clean, modern furniture.”
“We build because we’re driven by the dream of the excellent and the useful.” — Andrew Thomson
As an architect at Birmingham-based Williams Blackstock Architecture, Fulton is lead designer of Lewis Communications’ new office project — renovating and repurposing a historic building in downtown Birmingham. Fulton has worked closely with Lewis President and CEO Larry Norris to ensure an environment that will “hold onto that period without replicating it,” moving history into the future.
A graduate of Auburn’s Rural Studio Program, Fulton is prepared for the task: His Rural Studio team built the new Antioch Baptist Church in Perry County, Alabama, using 75 percent of their materials from the original church.
Despite orders rolling in for Plenty Design products, they don’t plan to quit their day-jobs. For Thomson, it’s a noble calling: “I like modern furniture. That’s my motivation. What I enjoy is promoting contemporary and modern approaches to making it affordably.”
For more information on Plenty — and to purchase some of their outstanding work — visit plentydesigncoop.com.
Lewis wins Best of Show at District 7 ADDYs.
Lewis continues winning streak with two major awards and 19 individual awards — more than any other agency in the Southeast — at the American Advertising Federation District 7 awards ceremony.
Lewis Communications took home two Best of Show ADDY awards last Friday night at this year’s American Advertising Awards District 7 gala, held in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The‘Best of’ awards for Stony Brook Children’s in Long Island, New York, and Auto & Truck Services in Birmingham, Alabama, were for projects in the Broadcast and Print categories.
“In the case of the InquisiKids TV spots for Stony Brook, we didn’t set out to create a great ‘hospital commercial;’ we wanted to create a great commercial,” said creative director Stephen Curry. “And like everything we do, the strategy came straight out of our research and started with a human truth — that kids are inquisitive.”
Lewis also brought home the most awards of the night, with 11 Golds and eight Silvers between the Birmingham and Nashville Lewis teams. The AAA District 7 gala brings together agencies from AAF chapters across the Southeast, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville and New Orleans.
“I think the rest of the country is only now starting to realize what an incredible, diverse creative community we have in Birmingham,” Curry said. “We’re proud to represent this community as this work goes forward to national competition.”
The American Advertising Awards are the American Advertising Federation’s annual creative competition. In this three-tiered competition, winners receive Gold and/or Silver ADDY awards at the local level and advance to a second, district-level tier. Gold winners at the district level automatically move on to the National competition which will be held Saturday, June 13 in Las Vegas.
Below, the full list of Lewis’ District 7 winners:
Best of Show
• Print (Campaign): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair Posters (Motor Lisa/Symphony)
• Broadcast (:30): Stony Brook Children’s – InquisiKids (ER/OR)
• Print (Single): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair (Motor Lisa)
• Print (Single): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair (Symphony)
• Print (Campaign): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair
• Broadcast (:30): Stony Brook Children’s – InquisiKids (OR)
• Elements of Advertising (Copywriting): Stony Brook Children’s – InquisiKids (ER)
• Illustration (Single): Auto & Truck Services – Gear Head
• Campaign: Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair Posters (Motor Lisa / Symphony)
• Campaign: Stony Brook Children’s – InquisiKids (ER/OR)
• Photography (Campaign): Tiffin Motohomes – Made To Move You
• Photography (Digitally Enhanced): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair (Motor Lisa)
• Photography (Digitally Enhanced): Auto & Truck Services – The Art of Repair (Symphony)
• Broadcast (:30): Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital – After Hours (It Never Fails)
• Internet Commercial/Video: Tiffin Motorhomes – Stealthy Selfie (Aubie vs. Big Al)
• Internet Commercial/Video: Nashville Zoo – Joey to the World
• Photography (Digitally Enhanced): Tiffin Motorhomes – Storm
• Print (Campaign): Tiffin Motorhomes – Made to Move You
• Integrated Campaign (Consumer Local): Premier Health – Maternity
• Interior Still or Static (Campaign) : Goo Goo Cluster – Graffiti
• Out-of-Home (Campaign): Goo Goo Cluster – Graffiti
In February and March, Lewis was awarded 8 ADDYs at the Mobile American Advertising Awards gala, 34 ADDYs at the Birmingham AAA gala, as well as Photographer of the Year individual award for Jeff Williams, and 33 ADDYs at the Nashville AAA gala, where Lewis also won a Judges’ Choice award, Best of Show Broadcast and a Copywriter of the Year individual award for Laura Powers.
Stony Brook Children’s — InquisiKids ER :30
Stony Brook Children’s — InquisiKids OR :30
Something & Else: put a & on it.
Lewis designers Cana Grooms and Andrew Thomson saw something and said something. With their “internet famous” site Something & Else, they document the best (and rest) of rampant amperbranding.
In April of 2014, Lewis designers Cana Grooms and Andrew Thomson noticed something. Or, more precisely, they noticed something & else — the current trend of companies and businesses with names that fit a & formula. Wood & Faulk. Wedge & Lever. Step & Grind. Flowers & Vintage. Et & Cetera. You get the picture. And just in case you don’t, there’s Something & Else, a Tumblr started by Grooms & Thomson that aims to document & showcase this curious phenomenon.
The use of the ampersands in naming is hardly new (see Arm & Hammer, Johnson & Johnson, et al.). Andrew thinks, maybe, it’s exactly that old time convention that people are drawn to. “It creates a tone that suggests authenticity. I mean, names like that have been around forever. But in the last three or four years, everyone’s naming everything that way.”
Cana suggested doing the Tumblr site. “Just for fun,” she explains. Says Andrew, “It’s a little bit like collecting baseball cards. It becomes an obsession.”
“Where there’s artisanal this and bespoke that, there will be ampersands.” — Cana Grooms
They began scouring Kinfolk magazine and other “hipster” publications and, as they soon discovered, ampersands travel in groups. “Where there’s artisanal this and bespoke that, there will be ampersands,” says Cana. You’ll see them alongside flannel shirts, expensive coffee, birds on things, scarves, vinyl records, fixies, huge glasses, craft beer, irony, and beards, all of which are easy to make fun of. Something & Else aims to be good-natured though.“We’re just documenting the trend,” says Cana. “And a lot of people on Twitter have said it’s a good design study. Rightly or wrongly, they look at it for inspiration.”
After a plug from Aaron Draplin, design guru and creator of Field Notes, (he thinks it highlights an “#ampersandepidemic”), a retweet from Friends of Type, and a feature on the design blog Brand New, Something & Else garnered a bit of internet fame. Armin Vit, Brand New’s editor, even included Something & Else in his year-end review at the 2014 Brand New Conference (which you can watch below starting at the 08:51 mark.) “It was a complete surprise, getting that shout-out at Brand New,” says Andrew. But Cana insists that attention’s not the intention. “Even if no one sees it,” she says,“It’s still fun for us.”
As the trend marches on with no end in sight, Thomson & Grooms’ Something & Else will likely remain something of a touchstone for the laughably hip & charmingly old-timey.
Follow along and submit your own “&” finds at Something & Else on Tumblr.
2014 Brand New Conference — Brand New Summary
Lewis profiled in Communication Arts.
Lewis Communications is featured in the March/April 2015 issue of Communication Arts, the industry “Bible” for visual communications. The issue, Interactive Annual 21, hits newsstands on March 9.
Alabama-based branding firm Lewis Communications features in an in-depth profile in the March/April 2015 issue of Communication Arts, the world’s largest, most esteemed publication for the creative communications industry.
“Being in Communication Arts is quite an accomplishment,” said Spencer Till, executive creative director at Lewis, who said he has read every issue since 1975. “To be considered in the company of the agencies they profile is reward enough. More than that, we’re thrilled to help shine the spotlight on what’s happening in Alabama and Tennessee. There are a lot of really talented people doing a high level of work that people may not know about beyond the South.”
For decades, “CA” — as it’s more commonly referred to in the industry — has been a source of inspiration for its readership, an international audience comprised of graphic designers, interactive designers, creative and art directors, multimedia professionals, photographers and illustrators. It is considered the industry “Bible” for visual communications.
Lewis is one of only four agencies internationally to be profiled this year, and only the second Alabama creative firm to be featured in CA over the magazine’s 56-year history. The agency, which began in Mobile in 1951, now has more than 100 staff at offices in Birmingham, Mobile and Nashville, and a client base that spans the U.S. The article follows the growth of Lewis and highlights the firm’s approach to advertising and design.
“Over the 20-plus years I’ve been at Lewis, we’ve adjusted to changing technologies,” said Robert Froedge, creative director at the Nashville office. “But what hasn’t changed is an insistence on keeping our creative approach closely tied to clients’ needs, identified through listening and research.”
“To be considered in the company of the agencies CA profiles is reward enough. More than that, we’re thrilled to help shine the spotlight on what’s happening in Alabama and Tennessee.” — Spencer Till
The Communication Arts profile follows weeks after Lewis received Platinum, Gold, and Silver awards from Graphis, an international journal of visual communications, which previously named Lewis as one of the top 15 creative firms nationally. The award-winning work for Tiffin Motorhomes based in Red Bay, Alabama, EnergyLogic in Antioch, Tennessee, and Auto & Truck Services in Birmingham, Alabama, were featured in the Graphis 2015 Advertising Annual.
At February’s American Advertising Awards in Nashville, Lewis’ Laura Powers was named Copywriter of the Year, and the agency also received Best of Show—Broadcast for Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital’s TV spots and the Judges’ Choice Award for a Goo Goo Cluster poster campaign, in addition to 10 Gold and 33 Silver ADDY awards.
At the Birmingham American Advertising Awards, Lewis photographer Jeff Williams was named Photographer of the Year for the third time since 2012, and the agency brought home 8 Gold and 26 Silver ADDY awards — more than any other Birmingham agency. Work from the Mobile office of Lewis also earned several Gold and Silver ADDY awards at the Mobile Bay awards event in February.
The Birmingham office of Lewis will soon move from their suburban Inverness location to downtown Birmingham, into a renovated building at the corner of Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North and First Avenue North. The staff team of more than 55 is on schedule to move into the building this fall after renovations are complete.
Communication Arts Interactive Annual 21, the magazine’s March/April 2015 edition, hits newsstands the beginning of March. Subscribers to the magazine can access the article and view selected broadcast work at commarts.com or through an exclusive iPad app.
Laura Powers named Copywriter of the Year.
Work for Lewis Communications clients Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville Zoo, Goo Goo Cluster and others helped Powers garner her fourth Copywriter of the Year ADDY award.
At this year’s Nashville American Advertising Awards ADDY Gala, Lewis associate creative director Laura Powers became the first person in the 50-year history of the Nashville American Advertising Federation to be named Copywriter of the Year four times. Powers received the title in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2015.
“Laura has an incredible ability to say in a sentence what takes other writers a whole paragraph,” said Lewis creative director Robert Froedge, who has worked with Powers at the branding firm’s Nashville office since she joined the firm more than a decade ago. “She’s able to write anything. She doesn’t have a style. She’s able to write to the client voice in a way that you don’t see her in the copy at all.”
A graduate of the University of Georgia and The Creative Circus, Powers has been a part of branding and marketing campaigns for clients in a variety of industries at Lewis. Nashville-based clients Powers currently works with include Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville Zoo, Goo Goo Cluster and EnergyLogic.
“Laura has an incredible ability to say in a sentence what takes other writers a whole paragraph.” — Robert Froedge
Over the years Powers’ work has received local, regional and national recognition. Most recently, her writing for St. Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, with medical-themed pieces playing off of the saying that passionate University of Kentucky basketball fans “bleed blue” was featured in Communication Arts Interactive Annual 21, the international magazine’s March/April 2015 issue.
“This agency wouldn’t be where it is right now if Laura didn’t work here,” Froedge said. “She has turned down opportunities to go to the biggest and most awarded agencies in the country. She is extremely humble and a team player, which is unique in this industry.”
While Powers’ work receives accolades in the industry, Lewis Nashville team members are also quick to commend her wittiness, genuineness and wealth of music knowledge — notable even by Music City standards (her husband is a former guitar player for the band Superdrag).
“Most people know Laura by all the great work she does but what we get to see is all the other sides to her,” Froedge said. “We can honestly say that Laura is not only a great writer but an amazing person.”
Lewis wins Graphis awards.
Work for Tiffin Motorhomes, Energy Logic, Auto & Truck Services, and more receives top awards from Graphis, The International Journal of Visual Communication.
Lewis Communications was recently awarded one Platinum award, two Gold awards, and one Silver award from Graphis, a publication which has also named Lewis as one of the top 15 creative firms nationally.
Lewis’ dealer poster series for Tiffin Motorhomes received Platinum and a print campaign for EnergyLogic received Gold in Advertising 2015. Photography for the EnergyLogic print campaign by Philip Rostron received Gold, while Spencer Till’s photography for the Auto & Truck Services print campaign received Silver in Photography 2015. Other Lewis work for UVA Health System and Goo Goo Cluster received merit awards in both annuals.
Graphis, was first published in 1944 by Dr. Walter Amstutz and Walter Herdeg in Zurich, Switzerland. Graphis presented the work of fine artists and illustrators, as well as highlighting the formative years of graphic design as we know it today. Graphis now serves as a platform for outstanding work in Design, Advertising and Photography.
Graphis Advertising 2015 and Photography 2015 are out now and can be purchased online at graphis.com.
Jeff Williams named Photographer of the Year.
Work for Lewis Communications clients Tiffin Motorhomes, Iron City, The Joseph School, and others helped Williams garner his third Photographer of the Year ADDY award in four years.
Lewis Communications photographer Jeffrey Williams was named Photographer of the Year at the Birmingham American Advertising Awards 2015 ADDY Gala, his third time since 2012 to receive the title.
Williams’ photography has also been awarded Platinum and Gold awards by Graphis, The International Journal of Visual Communications, and his photography will be featured in Communication Arts in March.
Williams, who grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Graphic Design, began as an intern at Lewis, assisting on photo shoots. For the past seven years, he has worked for Constellation ImageWorks, Lewis’ in-house photography studio. Constellation ImageWorks provides photography for many of the branding agency’s clients across the country.
“Much of Jeff’s work that has received local and international awards are these stunning images of Alabama businesses,” said Spencer Till, executive creative director at Lewis. “Photography for advertisements sometimes requires taking three or four photos that can be merged into one seamless image. When Jeff’s shooting, he’s able to keep the main vision in mind while still giving extreme attention to detail. He’s also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever work with.”
“Jeff’s able to keep the main vision in mind while still giving extreme attention to detail. He’s also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever work with.” — Spencer Till
Recent print advertisements for Tiffin Motorhomes, a Lewis client based in Red Bay, Alabama, feature images of the vehicles set against beautiful American landscapes. The advertisements are a compilation of several photographs Jeff captured.
“As an intern, Jeff started out helping on photo shoots for Tiffin Motorhomes,” said Leigh Ann Motley, production director at Lewis. “He’s now arguably the best photographer in the country for that industry.”
Healthcare print ads for hospitals across the nation, food photography for Iron City Birmingham’s new website, and a day-in-the-life series for Birmingham’s Auto & Truck Services are among some of his most recent projects.
“We can count on Jeff to approach each new project with a fresh eye,” Motley said. “Over the past several years, Jeff has played a vital role in growing our agency’s photography capabilities.”
Nationwide plays it unsafe.
WPP PLC’s Ogilvy & Mather’s “Make Safe Happen” spot for Nationwide (also known as “Dead Kid”) is undeniably one of the most polarizing Super Bowl ads in recent memory. But was it effective? Our own Spencer Till and Carlton Wood weigh in.
Nationwide’s uncomfortable conversation starter.
POINT | SPENCER TILL, EXECUTIVE CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Anyone who has created a TV spot to run during the Super Bowl will tell you the same thing: it is a 50/50 proposition at best as to whether you will garner positive or negative damage to your brand.
The appeal of such a large audience, a historical precedent of big brands spending millions on debut spots, and the explosion of instantly sharable opinions and comments has driven a feeding frenzy during the breaks of this almost 50-year-old sporting event. Social media has turned what used to be a simple impressions argument into a larger, strategic should-we-or-shouldn’t-we question. Many brands seem to go all in, but do they really?
For instance, what does Budweiser’s strategy tell us? That safer, familiar and emotional territory is the way to go? It’s hard to argue otherwise since they seemed to have won the night in viewer opinion polls. But what did we learn about Budweiser other than the fact that they love puppies and horses?
180 degrees and a Monday-morning berated communications director away is Nationwide Insurance. The fury and shock leveled toward this brand over the spot they ran isn’t going away quickly. So what did we learn about Nationwide? Okay, discount for a moment that they scared the bejeezus out of every parent watching the game. We learned Nationwide wants to start a conversation about child safety around the home. And everybody is talking about it today, recalling the images of the fallen TV, the open doors under the sink and the overflowing tub. Not good thoughts. Honestly, I didn’t particularly like the spot, but I did rank it in my top spots of the night.
Because everybody is talking about that child safety spot today. Nobody likes it. Nobody wants to. And everybody wants to beat up Nationwide for running it. But ask yourself one question. What was the last Nationwide spot you remember seeing? If you can even recall one, what was the message? I’m guessing something warm and safe.
“I was just starting to enjoy the game, but now my beer and chili seem pointless compared to the dead child seared into my brain.” — Carlton Wood
Nationwide’s “Dead Kid” shock value backfires.
COUNTER POINT | CARLTON WOOD, ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR
Watching Super Bowl ads has become more important than watching the game for most Americans. At Super Bowl parties, it’s common for someone to shush the entire room when the game cuts to commercial breaks. Networks carrying the game begin promoting spot costs in October, and by mid-January, many brands running spots in the big game crank up PR and social campaigns to hype new creative.
It is life on the high wire when you run a spot in the Super Bowl: high risk and high reward. So when a spot fails, it fails spectacularly.
According to Nationwide, their “Make Safe Happen” spot was an attempt to start a conversation to help parents prevent household accidents, which are the leading cause of death for children.
Their spot definitely started a conversation and drew attention, but it did so in a horribly upsetting way that generated an immediate and overwhelmingly negative reaction.
Three images in particular crossed the line between making a point and morbidly scaring viewers. While the crashed flat panel TV and the dishwasher pods strewn on the floor were not immediately clear when I first saw the spot, the image of the overflowing bath tub definitely got my attention as I imagined a lifeless child under the water.
Thanks, Nationwide. I was just starting to enjoy the game, but now my beer and chili seem pointless compared to the dead child seared into my brain.
Yes, Nationwide’s goal of helping prevent childhood injuries and death is laudable. Tapping into our protective nature toward children can be a smart strategy for brands investing in consumer preference.
However, their scare tactics were unnecessary, and in some instances, outright harmful as many consumers misread the intention as a way to drive sales based on consumer fear. So, while their strategy may get an ‘A,’ I’ll give the shock value execution a ‘D.’
For Nationwide to have to issue a statement late Sunday night explaining their spot indicates just how badly it was received. It may also indicate the Chief Marketing Officer is wondering why he or she just spent over $10 million dollars to buzzkill the Super Bowl.
Iron City unveils new branding and website.
Lewis’ new brand identity for Iron City and Iron City Grill draws inspiration from Birmingham’s industrial past and the venue’s history and character, while keeping a firm foot in the now.
Iron City has unveiled a new brand identity with the launch of its new website, ironcitybham.com. The new and improved site, designed and developed by Lewis, provides consumers with a more visually driven interactive experience focused on event information.
Designed to easily allow visitors to purchase tickets, locate event information, browse image galleries and access the restaurant, The Grill at Iron City, in one click, the website offers dynamic user-friendly navigation. The mobile version of the site makes the accessibility of ticketing information available to those browsing with smart phones and other mobile devices.
“We really wanted our website and branding to match our first-class services,” says Steve DeMedicis, owner of Iron City. “Great things are continuing to happen here at Iron City, and we look forward to continuing to serve the people of Birmingham.”
“We really wanted our website and branding to match our first-class services.” — Steve DeMedicis
The full-service entertainment venue, bar and restaurant opened its doors in 2013 and has quickly become a favorite for music fans. Iron City has proudly welcomed a diverse roster of big-name artists to their main stage. In 2014, they hosted acts such as BB King, The Zombies, Broken Bells, Fitz and the Tantrums, Citizen Cope, Sara Evans and Gregg Allman, to name a few.
The venue is well known among patrons for unbeatable sight lines and a high quality sound system. With private event space that can accommodate up to 800 guests, Iron City is also one of Birmingham’s most desired wedding destinations. For two consecutive years, Iron City has been awarded “Best Live Music Venue in Birmingham” by The Birmingham News and Birmingham Magazine.
Iron City Birmingham encompasses a full-service restaurant, bar and entertainment venue located at 513 22nd Street South, in the heart of downtown Birmingham. The venue has a 1300 person standing capacity and hosts private events, large or small. In addition to the main stage, there are two smaller stages for intimate gatherings and local acts. The Grill at Iron City seats 90 guests and serves rustic, bold food for lunch and dinner. For more information on the Grill and upcoming events at the venue, visit ironcitybham.com.
Good People announces new can designs.
Lewis’ new can designs for Good People Brewing Company’s signature line utilize a cleaner approach and feature a rich, vibrant color palette, sharp angles and bold typography in order to maximize shelf presence.
Good People Brewing Company has announced new packaging for its staple offerings — IPA, Pale Ale and Brown Ale — completing a rebrand of the craft brewery’s year-round “Ales from the Heart of Dixie” line that began last year with the release of their popular Coffee Oatmeal Stout. Designed by Lewis Communications, the new cans utilize a cleaner approach and feature a rich, vibrant color palette, sharp angles and bold typography in order to maximize shelf presence. The raw aluminum of the can surface also serves as a design element — accenting letterforms and line work and shining through solid fields of color — and interact with light in an eye-catching way.
“Delivering consistent beer continues to be our top priority, but we know that continued success requires solid branding,” said Michael Sellers, Good People co-founder. “Our packaging has to be unique and stand out for its quality.”
As with all Good People beers, IPA, Pale Ale and Brown Ale are brewed and canned onsite at Alabama’s largest craft brewery, located across from Regions Field in Birmingham.
Good People recently opened a laboratory at the nearby Innovation Depot to monitor the brewing process, ensuring efficient production of the most consistent, fresh beer.
“Delivering quality beer continues to be our top priority, but we know that continued success requires solid branding.” — Michael Sellers
The oldest craft brewer in Alabama and the first in Birmingham to can their beers, Good People has remained at the forefront of the surge of the craft brewing industry across the state. With its beer already at select locations in Tennessee and in large grocery store chains in Alabama, the brewery is also making plans to expand their footprint.
“More than being the dominant craft brewery in Alabama, we are positioning ourselves to become a brewery that serves the region,” Sellers said. “Demand for our beers continues to grow, and we’re answering the call by finding more opportunities to make our beers available across the South.”
Good People Brewing Company was founded July 4, 2008, in Birmingham by two friends with a love of drinking and brewing great beer. In addition to brewing five year-round “Ales from the Heart of Dixie” beers, Good People also brews four seasonal beers and their highly anticipated Bearded Reserve. Good People beers can be found in bars, restaurants, grocery and package stores across Alabama and Tennessee. Fans can sign up at GoodPeopleBrewing.com to receive an email alert when the cans hit store shelves.
Lewis wins HOW Poster Design Awards.
The winning poster was one of two produced for AIGA Birmingham’s first Design For Good Poster Exhibition and competition. AIGA’s Design For Good is a national initiative that calls on designers and design thinkers to use design to affect positive social change by drawing attention to issues that impact communities locally, nationally, and globally.
Lewis Communications’ poster for AIGA Design for Good/American Red Cross was recently awarded the Poster Design Awards Reader’s Choice Best of Show Award as part of HOW’s Sixth Annual Poster Design Awards.
From nearly 500 international entries, ten finalists were selected by judge (and acclaimed poster designer) John Foster, principal of Bad People Good Things in Washington D.C. The readers of HOWdesign.com were then invited to cast a vote for their favorite poster. (Voters also had the option of posting a comment regarding their vote.) When polling closed, Lewis’ poster had garnered 50.73% of the vote and was declared the Reader’s Choice Award Winner.
“Lewis had a number of really strong entries this year,” said judge John Foster. “But this was the one that just cut through everything with an amazingly simple and strong concept. The execution is just right, and the message is conveyed loud and clear, while still remaining a sophisticated piece overall. Brilliant.”
One voter, Stuart, offered “I voted for AIGA Design for Good because of its effectiveness in communicating information instantly. I knew without reading the words that it meant the Red Cross was low on donations. That’s a pretty important capability, since I doubt many people read each poster they see.”
“This one cut through everything with an amazingly simple, strong concept. The execution is just right, and the message loud and clear, while still remaining a sophisticated piece.” — John Foster
The winning poster, designed by Lewis creative director Roy Burns III, was one of two produced for AIGA Birmingham’s first Design For Good Poster Exhibition and competition. AIGA’s Design For Good is a national initiative that calls on designers and design thinkers to use design to affect positive social change by drawing attention to issues that impact communities locally, nationally, and globally. Since its inception, AIGA chapters throughout the country have used poster competitions and exhibitions as a way to create broader awareness of Design For Good. “For me, it was incredibly important that the final design not merely highlight a problem, but also offer a tangible, viable solution,” said Burns.
The poster series has been previously honored. In 2013, it appeared in Communication Arts Design Annual 54, and garnered a National Gold ADDY. It also won a Silver award from Graphis — appearing in their Poster Annual 2013 — and will feature in an forthcoming book of activist poster design currently being compiled by their editors.
As the winner of HOW’s Reader’s Choice Best of Show Award, it will feature in an upcoming issue of HOW magazine.
Good People unleashes El Gordo.
Sporting a Lewis-designed, letterpress-printed label, a small batch of Good People’s high-gravity, Bearded Reserve fan-favorite will be released in a limited number of 22 oz. bomber bottles, the brewer’s first bottled release.
It’s the moment Good People fans have long been waiting for as the South’s Local Brewery recently announced a bottled release of their El Gordo Russian Imperial Stout. Sporting a letterpress-printed label featuring the stout’s fierce Luchador namesake, a 2012 batch of El Gordo — one of the brewer’s most popular offerings — will be released in a limited number of 22 oz. bomber bottles (322 to be exact) just in time for the holidays.
El Gordo Imperial Stout is not for the timid. With a punishing 13.9% alcohol by volume, it’s Good People’s strongest brew yet. But there’s more to El Gordo than high gravity. This big guy deftly delivers his smack-down without sacrificing flavor. Available exclusively on tap since as part of the brewer’s rare Bearded Reserve series of beers, Good People thought the time was right to unleash a limited run for their most loyal fans.
“We first released El Gordo in July 2010 as a result of Free the Hops and their efforts in passing the Gourmet Beer Bill,” says Jason Malone, co-founder of Good People. “The beer was designed for fans of big, robust, flavorful stouts and as a thank you to everybody who stuck it out while Alabama’s laws changed.”
The label design, by Lewis designers Roy Burns III and Drew Hughes, has also received some positive attention from the craft brew and packaging design press. It was recently featured on Oh Beautiful Beer and The Dieline, packaging design’s premier blog.
In addition to the bottled release of El Gordo, a new batch will be available on draft in select locations in Alabama and Tennessee. Information about the beer’s availability (bottled and draft) will be posted at GoodPeopleBrewing.com.
Lewis in Communication Arts Design Annual 55.
The poster for band with Birmingham ties is one of 15 winners in the poster category and one of 152 winning projects overall from 3,632 global entries — also marks firm’s fifth appearance in Communication Arts in 2 years.
Lewis’ Waxahatchee gigposter is featured in the Communication Arts Design Annual 55.
The 13″ x 19″ poster — designed by creative director Roy Burns III — was created to promote a homecoming show of sorts for Birmingham native, singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield’s project/band named for an Alabama creek.
“I’m an incredible fan of Waxahatchee,” says Burns. “Crutchfield’s music is dark, dreamy and hyper-intimate. I really wanted imagery that evoked that. I also wanted to play with the uniqueness of that name.”
The poster is one of 15 winners in the poster category and one of 152 winning projects overall from 3,632 global entries. It also marks Lewis’ fifth appearance in Communication Arts in 2 years.
The Bottletree show is part of a tour in support of Waxahatchee’s breakthrough record, 2013’s Cerulean Salt. The record appeared on numerous year-end best of lists and garnered a coveted Best New Music rating from Pitchfork.
Communication Arts Design Annual 55, the September/October Issue, is available for purchase at newsstands everywhere and as an in-app purchase at the iTunes store (where, incidentally, you can also purchase Cerulean Salt.)
Lewis in Communication Arts Photography Annual 55.
By pushing the boundaries of good taste, John Fulton’s racy images for Lewis’ EnergyLogic campaign has been applauded by the industry’s most esteemed arbiters of exceptional taste — Communication Arts.
EnergyLogic LLC makes waste oil heating systems for industrial use. The photography depicts Speedo-clad mechanics in their element to illustrate how good it can feel to use an EnergyLogic heater. The campaign, created by creative director Robert Froedge and writer Gary Brandon, was part of a promotion targeting automotive service centers. Says Brandon, “We were able to feature Energy Logic’s superior performance and ease of maintenance while injecting a little humor and humanity into a product-shot-happy category.” The result? Increased sales for Energy Logic… and increased Speedos at garages around the globe!
Communication Arts Photography Annual 55, the July/August Issue, is available for purchase at newsstands everywhere and as an in-app purchase at the iTunes store.