New Marketing Campaign: Water Is Good

Water: the most abundant compound on earth.

You stand in a shower of it every morning, or, if you’re a dude, every month without fail, except maybe February because it’s shorter.

In the Charleston metro area, you drive in it as if it were Crisco oil. I know this, because that was me behind you on a rainy morning, driving one-seventh of a mile an hour. Downhill.

But water has many benefits. This was revealed to me by the good people of Charleston Water System, who have been advertising its benefits. It’s on their building. They wrote an op-ed piece in the Post and Courier. They extort 60 bucks out of you every time you change a billing account. They love them some water.

According to Charleston Water System, the key benefits of water are four:water

  • Fire protection – Really? That’s amazing. Does the fire department know this?
  • Quality of life – Who knew? People should start buying boats!
  • Public health – Can’t swallow your Quaaludes without water.
  • Economic development – How would we fight about the cruise industry without water?

You may be thinking that you’re somewhat less fond of water these days, given the recent inundation.  Mae West’s assertion, that too much of a good thing is…wonderful, doesn’t hold water — for water, which has narrowed Kiawah, choked some Colonial Lake plants, and drowned parts of Edisto.

Still, this exercise is fun; it’s just that I wasn’t aware that water was in need of a PR campaign. I engaged in some scientific market research on the subject (I asked my wife) and determined that she was pretty well acquainted with the myriad advantages of water, like keeping her juice cold (in its solid form) and comprising most of her brain. It’s the first ingredient in her Dr. Pepper.

And in her shampoo.

Let’s say it together: Yay, water!

It got me thinking: how about a PR campaign for other natural resources. How about dirt! Here are its benefits:

  • Child care
  • Recreation
  • Food production
  • Shovel sales

Let’s sing an homage to air!

  • Public health
  • Communication
  • Transportation
  • Economic development

I think I’m onto a new niche. Think of the case we could build for electricity, which makes quick executions possible; and of time, five minutes of which are necessary for sex; and sex itself! Think of the campaign we could create in favor of sex! It made you possible!*

*This is not always a selling point, as the presidential nomination process has made clear.

Thank you so much, Charleston Water System, for vividly demonstrating to the passing public the wonderful benefits of water. And of reading! And knowledge! And thinking! And…

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Why WordPress is Like a Lawnmower — and That’s Not a Compliment

If you’ve ever tried to use WordPress to create a simple, easy-to-use, turnkey website, you probably know what it feels like to stick your wet finger in a socket while whacking your head against a rusty nail. So when designer Andrew Barton posted this blog on his website, I thought I had to share it. (The illustrations are his too.)

Chances are – if you have little to no experience with web development – you don’t need a WordPress website.

mower-for-webTo many people, that statement is blasphemy. After all, a quarter of the entire internet runs on WordPress. Surely that many people can’t be wrong, right?

Nope. They are wrong.

But first, just to clarify, I have no problem with WordPress as a platform. These very words are written in a WordPress blog. I’m suggesting that if you are a small business looking to manage your own website, you would be better served with an alternative solution. Why?

WordPress is Like a Lawnmower
I recently got a new 4-cycle lawnmower. It’s a beautiful and efficient grass-slaying machine. It mulches, it bags and the self-propulsion is strong enough to pull a dog sled. With this machine, I’ve harnessed all the benefits of modern engineering. BUT, I’ve also got an engine to maintain. It requires cleaning, fuel, regular oil changes and periodic repair. In short, it’s a total pain. WordPress is the same: tons of power, a total pain.

Here are 5 things you should know about WordPress before you DIY:

icon-1It’s Not New-user-friendly
If you’ve spent any amount of time on the back-end, you’ll know there are a zillion buttons, tabs and menus that are not intuitive. Unless you are using it on a regular basis, you will probably find it challenging.

 

 

icon-2Turns into Franken-press
While WordPress itself is a free and easy to install, the “ease” ends there. After you install it, you have a basic blog. However, to make the platform “yours”, you have to add Plug-ins, pick a Theme, customize widgets, etc. Most of these elements are made by different people with different levels of skill. Your site can turn into Frankenstein quickly.

 

icon-3Plug-in Perils
The plug-ins are great for adding additional functionality and power to your website. BUT, if you haven’t done your research, you may end up with plug-ins that don’t work well, aren’t kept up to date or worse – compromise the security of your site.

 

 

icon-4You Might Get HACKED
This is probably the most alarming issue. Not every WP site gets hacked, but if you aren’t regularly updating and monitoring your site, security issues may arise over time. Back to the lawnmower analogy, if you’re that diligent person who stays on top of your maintenance schedule, you’ll probably be fine. If not, you’ll be calling the mechanic.

 

Licon-5ack of Support
What happens when something goes wrong? If you don’t have a support person in place, you’ll spend hours searching web forums for answers. And what happens if you break something big? No problem, just revert to one of your backups. Wait – you did remember to install the automatic back-upper-thingee, right? Don’t know how to do that? Head back to Google to find an answer…

In Conclusion
WordPress, like my lawnmower, is an incredible tool. If you’re willing to put in the time to learn it or have an ongoing arrangement with someone who does, you’ll love it. But it’s definitely not for everyone. And if you’re tight on time or otherwise swamped with the many daily tasks it takes to run a small business, I recommend a better tool for your needs. Squarespace or Pagecloud come to mind.

Just to prove Andrew’s point, it took me eight revisions to make this sort-of-work with the illustrations — and my signature was showing up so wonky I had to remove it.

barry waldman
Big Fly Communications

 

Ten Things You’re Doing Wrong in Your Public Relations

In the grips of unbridled delusions of adequacy, I have decided to address an actual PR/marketing issue with real ideas of interest to actual members of the Charleston AMA. The feeling will go away soon, so read fast.

  1. bad-publicityThinking a news release is public relations. Local media receive enough news releases to choke a rhino herd every day. They (the news releases, not the rhino herd) get funneled to the junior assistant deputy sub-intern to weed out, so don’t assume that yours was read personally by George Stephanopoulos or that anything was done with it that didn’t involve the delete button.
  1. Not understanding your media partners. The Moultrie News doesn’t care about your event in West Ashley. The President could get assassinated in West Ashley and it wouldn’t make the Moultrie News. But if your Mount Pleasant-based nephew digs out ear wax in the shape of Donald Trump, the Moultrie News wants the photo and your nephew’s bio. Just don’t send that to the Summerville Journal. That’s just one example of how you have to understand the differences in various media outlets. Newspapers can’t write stories based on a single fact. TV and radio need video and audio, and don’t do well with complex issues. Bloggers don’t have staffs to cover events. And so on.
  1. Forgetting to employ every platform available. If it’s important, post it on your website news section, write about it on your blog, include it in your e-newsletter and link to it on social media. People will find your information in one way or another, but not in every way.
  1. Failing to prioritize the people who really need to know. I talk to a lot of organizations fixated on “public awareness” about information of interest to a pretty small slice of the population. If registration is opening up for your Mensa Summer Camp, it’s definitely not necessary that I know. But it’s essential that parents of really smart kids do.
  1. Talking about your organization instead of about the customer. You got a new employee! She’s licensed and certified! She came from Atlanta! No one gives a pitootie!

publicity

  1. Forgetting the call to action. (Buy! Give!) If you give people permission to blow you off, they will.
  1. Telling a story once and thinking everyone has seen it. Have you got a testimonial or success story worth sharing? Shout it from the mountaintop and don’t stop shouting. By the time you’re sick of it, people will just begin noticing. There’s a reason “Think Different” has been Apple’s motto since before you were born.
  1. Failing to keep the website fresh. An atrophying website tells the visitor you don’t care and aren’t very dynamic. When I see news sections of websites whose last post came during the Bush Administration, I leave. They don’t have their act together.
  1. Using social media without making the commitment to do it right. It’s like giving out your phone number but never turning on your phone: it’s worse than not doing it at all. If you’re going to have a Facebook page that people might visit, make sure it’s updated regularly with interesting, useful, entertaining information. Many AMA members, such as my own personal self, make a living helping people like you with this.
  1. Not recognizing your company’s own expertise. You have knowledge that would be of value to a blogger, reporter or editor. You’re an expert in reverse-gravity solid waste management systems, or charitable remainder trusts, or 15th century Hungarian folk music. Or whatever. Find a time/place/news outlet that could use that information and offer it. (This explains why I rarely converse with the news media.)

Bonus thing you’re doing wrong! (besides still reading)

  1. Dumping your PR onto an intern, volunteer or over-worked staffer because “anyone” can do PR. This is true: anyone can do PR. Anyone can fly a plane. But if you’re headed to Los Angeles and want to see your next birthday, it’d be advisable to hire a professional pilot. Again, many of your fellow AMA members and hangers-on are not just devilishly good-looking but also adept at this and available for hire.

You’ll be amazed how much good PR can accrue to your bottom line. So do it right.

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15 Reasons I Hate Your Website

 

I am pretty sure I adore you. You are smart or clever or beautiful or handsome or warm-hearted or funny or charming or most likely a delightful combination that makes me smile every time I think of you, which is often.

 

georgehollykatieted
maggie grace
monica
don
leigh ann
alyssa
courtney
kelly

 

 

 

 

And because you are a cutting-edge, early-adapting, high-functioning technophile, you know how to make your website contort in myriad ways that capture information and convert to sales every time I so much as stumble upon your website.

Yay, you!

And so you employ all manner of web-savvy tricks when I visit. There’s just one small problem.

You’re pissing me off.

And a poor user experience means less of everything good – engagement, loyalty, returns, sales – down the line. So for both our sakes, stop it! Stop doing the following right now:

1. Pop Ups.

Really? I have to tell you this? Get out of my face.

2. Multimedia Content Plays Automatically. With the Sound Up.

This is even worse than a pop-up because I don’t know where the sound is coming from which means I can’t turn it off and it’s playing over the music video or ballgame or Ted talk I’m simultaneously listening to and it’s driving me crazy and GOD I HATE YOUR DAMN SITE!

3. No Way to Contact You on My Terms.

I don’t want to fill out your stupid form; I want to talk to a specific person, the kind who has their own name, email address and phone number. Give them to me. If my only contact with you is a form you just lost business.

4. No Way to Contact You, Period.

Okay, now you’re not any of those things I mentioned at the top. You need to take the Remedial Website course. Both semesters.

5. Your Page Refreshes, Like, Every 10 Seconds While I’m Trying to Navigate.

It’s like you’re trying to make my life miserable. I scroll halfway down and then you refresh and suddenly I’m back up top. So I scroll halfway down faster and click on the link I want just as it refreshes again and now instead of searching men’s shoes I’m in ladies lingerie and I don’t look good in any of this. Have you seen my legs?

6. You’re Not Optimized for Mobile.

News flash: they have the Internet on phones now and your website blew up on mine. It’s slow and discombobulated; it bleeds off the edge and looks like someone had an embarrassing accident. Cleanup on aisle website!

7. It Takes F-o-r-e-v-e-r-r-r-r-r to Load.

Because you had the intern create it and he used high resolution photos sized 8×11 that run 1×2 on your site. Just shoot me now!

8. Your Home Page Doesn’t Make It Clear Why You Exist.

If your raison d’etre isn’t the first thing I see then your site is merde. And I’m au revoir. Bounce!

9. It’s Full of Amateur Writing.

For God sakes hire Erin Danly so your site doesn’t sound like it was written by a grammar school dropout or a schoolgirl. One local charity website uses an exclamation point at the end of every third sentence. Bob is our executive director! He went to college! You’re going to throw up now!!!!!!!

10. It’s An Ink-Stained Wretch.

The most common mistake marketers make is writing too much. Don’t transfer this problem to your website. On average we read half as fast and for half as long on the web, so cut the blather.

11. It’s Form Over Function.

Whiz-bang! Man, that’s some impressive flash. Problem is, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do or where I’m supposed to find anything. So I’ll find something else on Google.

12. You’re Full of It.

If your titles promise things you can’t deliver, I’m not only going to figure it out right fast, I’m never going to trust you. How’s that working for your brand?

13. The Whole Site Is A Giant Loop.

So I’m searching for something and no matter what I click on I end up back where I started. Aaaaargh! If I’d wanted to go around in circles for hours without getting any smarter I’d have become a NASCAR driver.

14. You Use Your Own Jargon in the Navigation. Instead of, you know, real words. Don’t expect me to know that in your little world “standard cable” means “the ancient technology that preceded high definition and looks like crap on an HD television.” I mean, hypothetically, of course.

15. There’s No Search Function.

So if I can’t find something, I have no recourse. Which means — I’m sorry, this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you — I’m headed to your competition. And if you don’t have competition, I’m headed to The Onion.

Bonus Complaint!

You Require Registration Just To Look Around

Friend, you are just not that important. There’s like a thousand other sites on the worldwide net. Like mine!

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News Flash: You’re Obsolete

I don’t mean to alarm you, but your world is evaporating.

Horse And Buggy | Covered Wagons, Stagecoaches, Buggys | Pinterest

It doesn’t really matter what world is your world, it’s going the way of the gas station attendant. Whether your world is rotary wall phones and dumbwaiters or smart watches and Hulu, you’re toast.

Consider this:

  • The largest taxi cab company in San Francisco has filed for bankruptcy, totaled by Uber and Lyft. The company was paying the city millions of dollars for medallions – the right to roam the streets looking for passengers – while the ride-hailing apps operate for free. Expect the wheels to come off cab companies across the nation – unless they embrace their own ride-hailing app pronto.
  • Are you a cutting-edge music-streamer? Ha, you are such a dinosaur! If the music industry was an apple in the 1990s, it’s a platypus today. Streaming is king this week, but records, cassettes, eight-tracks, CDs and mp3s have all enjoyed a heyday during Holly Fisher’s lifetime (about 30 years).
  • Every time you see a “don’t text and drive” ad, you are peering into the past. Driverless cars are being rolled out not just by GM and Ford but by Google, Cisco and a host of unknown companies, one of which will soon be as ubiquitous as Microsoft. The regulatory infrastructure to allow auto-autos is being cobbled together as you read this.
  • Facebook owns the world, but my college students left it for their moms to play on. They’re on Instagram, Snapchat and Vine, which didn’t exist last Tuesday. If you can’t keep up with that, don’t worry; today’s middle schoolers are almost certain to communicate via some other social medium or some other medium altogether.
  • ESPN is confronting its own extinction. Yes, the hegemonic lord of all sports, which has tunneled into your life via cable bundles, is quaking in its Nikes because consumers are leaving cable and streaming their content through Hulu, Amazon and Netflix. But don’t worry, the days of their business models are numbered too. Think virtual reality.
  • You finally comfortable with a computer? Way to go, Horace Greeley, you’re ahead of the curve – for 1998. Mark Zuckerberg wrote his IPO letter on a phone. Say goodbye to your PC.
  • Say sayonara to the word digital. The world is digital so the word is irrelevant. Talking about digital media, digital music, digital television and the like will be as redundant as these phrases: sports bar, cell phone, cable-ready TV and motor vehicle.

And that’s just a starter kit for all that’s changing. During the time you spent reading this, something dear to you became obsolete. Goodbye phone book! Tata, business card! Toodaloo, high school yearbook. Ciao, credit card!

Sadly for all, this blog lives on…

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Why A Purple Goldfish Is More Useful Than Moving Your Cheese

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There are enough books on marketing and management to nearly fill Donald Trump’s ego. with barely enough room for Ted Cruz’s heart, Hillary Clinton’s integrity and Bernie Sanders’ knowledge of market economics.

Some folks gobble up these books and adopt their mantras. Others, like me, read them now and then and smile at their interesting insights and apt metaphors, but recognize how feeble is their ultimate contribution to the general business knowledge base.

That’s because many of the most popular books on marketing and management predict or describe the past, expound on one nifty insight, or reveal a series of abstractions camouflaged as a blueprint for success.

Mostly what they leave behind, in my opinion, are snappy descriptions and acronyms — big hairy audacious goals, moving our cheese and directing the elephant.

Consider this: in his seminal book In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters revealed the secrets of 43 of America’s most successful companies. In the 10 years following publication, those 43 companies underperformed the market. Peters was documenting the past.

The Heath Brothers lay out a prescription for the future in Switch. It’s an intriguing formula if you can convert the abstractions to practice and execute it. Good luck with that.

That’s not to say that management and marketing books can’t impart valuable lessons. Indeed, most of them do or they wouldn’t get published. And many of them inspire readers to improve their performance, mostly be reminding them of what they already knew intuitively.

It’s just that “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” In fact, one recent best-selling marketing book’s big insight is the uselessness of all the previous insights. It’s called “Ignore Everyone.”

stanphelpsheadshotWhich is why much of the audience was captivated by the last AMA presenter, Stan Phelps of 9″ Marketing. Phelps laid out a specific blueprint for marketing success and found examples of companies that are delivering. Not Fortune 500 companies whose achievements are already codified but firms of all sizes (1001 of them!) whose success we can re-examine in 10 years and determine if Stan was on to something.

So what is that something? Okay it’s not exactly the epiphany of relativity. It’s about customer experience being the new marketing. It’s about how focusing on delighting your current customers is far more profitable than recruiting new ones. It’s about giving that little something extra.

And it came with specifics — a hotel chain that leaves pet goldfish in guest rooms and an online shoe company that delivers overnight.

It’s not revolutionary, I know. But it’s also not really debatable. Each of us can examine our own work — even our work within an organization — and critique our performance against this standard. It made me recommit, at least for the afternoon, to going the extra mile for my clients.

And if you like apt metaphors and catchy acronyms, he had those too. So rah for that. And he’s written books. So rah for them. You can buy them if you want. Or you can come to the next AMA event. I have a feeling Stan Phelps will be back.

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2016 Spark! Awards Honor Best in Local Marketing, PR, Creative

Peter Wertimer

Peter Wertimer (photo by Foxworthy Studios)

Long-time Charleston area marketer Peter Wertimer of Chernoff Newman received the Charleston American Marketing Association’s highest honor. He was named the 2016 Marketer of the Year at the Charleston AMA’s Spark! Awards on March 10.

The individual who nominated Wertimer noted, “Peter Wertimer is an icon in the Charleston marketing community. He has founded and run several marketing communications agencies over his 30 years in Charleston. Peter has mentored dozens of successful marketing professionals and has contributed his firm’s talents and labor to an arm’s-length list of charities. A list of Chernoff’s successes for clients would stretch for miles.”

Charleston AMA’s director of programming Kelly Jones of the South Carolina Aquarium received the 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award. Ted deLoach of Ted deLoach Marketing Services and a long-time Charleston AMA volunteer and past chapter president was honored with the inaugural Lifetime Volunteer Award.

This year’s Spark! Awards received a record number of entries from Charleston area marketing, creative and public relations professionals and firms. Judging for the 2016 Spark! Awards was done by the Reno Tahoe AMA Chapter in Nevada.

Finalists were honored and winners announced at a ceremony at Harborside East in Mount Pleasant. Event emcee was Jennifer Buddin, founder and president of Every Busy Woman LLC.

The 2016 Spark! Awards winners are:

Best Book Cover:

  • Forever Home – Advantage Media Group

Best Collateral:

  • La Belle Époque – Gibbes Museum of Art

Best Commercial Photography:

  • Sabal Homes – Trio Solutions

Best Copywriting:

  • Magento – Blue Acorn

Best Corporate Blog:

  • Blue Acorn

Best Corporate Identity Package:

  • Scratch Kitchen – Fork & Knife

Best Direct Mail Marketing:

  • RiverLights Invite – The Brandon Agency

Best Event Marketing:

  • Largest Sweet Tea – Touchpoint Communications

Best Illustration:

  • Paste Magazine “Failure” Issue – Timothy Banks

Best Inbound Marketing:

  • Wando Farms – Luxury Simplified

Best Logo Design:

  • Visiture – eHouse Studio

Best Mobile App:

  • Experience Mount Pleasant – Town of Mount Pleasant

Best Non-Traditional Marketing:

  • Golden Ticket Contest – Lowcountry Local First

Best Outdoor Signage:

  • Miles & Bob – South Carolina Aquarium in conjunction with Moondog Animation Studio

Best PR Campaign:

  • Yawkey the Turtle – South Carolina Aquarium

Best Print Ad:

  • SEWE – Obviouslee Marketing

Best Promotional Video:

  • Lowcountry Local First – Jordan Amaker & Hed Hi Media, Lowcountry Local First

Best Re-Branding/Branding:

  • Higher Purpose and Values – Blackbaud

Best Social Media Campaign:

  • Yawkey the Turtle – South Carolina Aquarium

Best Website:

  • Le Creuset – Blue Acorn

Check out all the great photos from the event courtesy of Charleston AMA photographer Stan Foxworthy of Foxworthy Studios.

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Spark! Awards Jump the Shark

In olden days – say, 10 years ago – the Advertising Federation held dominion over the landscape for creatives and marketing types in the Lowcountry. Their annual awards, the Addies, were highly-coveted and fiercely contested, and the grand event celebrating the winners and finalists was thick with brilliance. Winning an Addie meant that your organization shone like 100 creative suns, also known as Gil Shuler Design.

The Ad Fed faded over time and even the Addies have disappeared Spark Perdue Fishers Hagedon Oswalt Buddinlike reasonable presidential options. For the past decade, the Charleston American Marketing Association has reigned supreme among folks in the communications arts, but frankly, our awards have always lagged. Past awards ceremonies have suffered from being over-priced and thinly-attended, with a paucity of entries and confusing awards announcements. (Spoiler alert: Good guys win in the end.)

Yeah, It Was That Bad
As a long-time member, I contributed nothing to its improvement. Indeed, for several years it was the one AMA event I regularly skipped, despite being twice named a finalist for an award. One year the multi-million-dollar SEO juggernaut Levelwing won several awards, including Marketer of the Year for founder Steve Parker. No one from the company was present to witness their victories, much less accept the awards.

The Spark! Awards turned the corner last year under the leadership of Holly Fisher. With a handful of lessons tucked into their belts, organizers began hitting the mark. The competition improved and attendance spiked. Then this year, on the evening of March 10, 2016, the Charleston AMA’s Spark! Awards jumped the shark.

“A Competition I Can’t Win”
In part because nominations were free to members and in part because the entry machine is so well-oiled, the number of submissions this year doubled. With finalists announced in advance, attendees — lubricated by an open bar — filled the balloon-bedecked room at Harborside East on Patriot’s Point. They enjoyed an hour of food and networking, followed by the comedic stylings of the Little Black Book’s Jennifer Dyer Buddin. (Note to event planners: if you want light-touch humor that keeps things moving, book this woman for your next event.)

As AMA president Andrew Barton noted, “I wanted to create an awards competition that I could no longer win.” Mission accomplished.

Marketer of the Year: A Study in Grace
The Marketer of the Year in 2016 was one of the lions of the Charleston marketing communications world, Peter Wertimer of Chernoff Newman. The waning of the large, local ad agency has left us without much species knowledge of the icons of the industry, names like Rawle and Bosworth and Davis and Murdy. And Wertimer.

Spark PeterRecounting the many accomplishments and contributions of this wonderful man could take hours, so let me instead summarize his acceptance speech, utterly extemporaneous and dripping with graciousness.

First, he credited his team for the award, and named even those absent from the ceremonies. Then he asked everyone in the room to contribute at least some small portion of their time and talents to the public good, saying “we need you.” He injected some self-effacing humor, wryly noting that he wasn’t humbled by the recognition at all, but in fact feeling a little proud. And he closed by congratulating the AMA for a lovely and well-organized event. Before three minutes had elapsed, he heeded the advice of Franklin Roosevelt: “Be sincere, be brief, be seated.”

Wait ‘Til Next Year!
The success of the event got a lot of people thinking about a day (to be determined) next March when we reconvene for a Spark! Awards firmly established as the imprimatur of achievement in local communications arts. The committee that organized this year’s event is already strategizing over improvements they can make – no longer major advances but merely tweaks.

I’m not one of those thinkin’ people, but I can’t wait. Let’s see what ol’ Gil Shuler has to offer then.

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Photos by Foxworthy Studios

Finalists Announced in 2016 Spark! Awards

The Charleston American Marketing Association chapter received a record number of entries for its 2016 Spark! Awards, honoring the best in creative, public relations and marketing work in the Charleston region.

Spark AwardsThe following are the 2016 finalists and winners will announced at the Spark! Awards ceremony on Thursday, March 10 at Harborside East in Mount Pleasant. Tickets are available for purchase at www.charlestonama.org/spark/.

Best Book Cover:

  • ADitude – Advantage Media Group
  • Forever Home – Advantage Media Group
  • Second Chance Grill – Chris Berge, Berge Design

Best Collateral:

  • Belmond Group Sales Kit – Catherine Gryniewski & Laura Bousman, Belmond Charleston Place
  • La Belle Époque – Erin Banks, Gibbes Museum of Art
  • Summers Corner Journal Root – Cassie Cataline, Amy Levi, Charmagne Koble, Liz Feldman, WestRock

Best Commercial Photography:

  • Sabal Homes – Jessica Munday, Alison Best, Caitlin Ramsey & Susan Lloyd, Trio Solutions
  • Stephen Carroll – Andy Hagedon
  • Tecklenburg – Stan Foxworthy, Foxworthy Studios

Best Copywriting:

  • Magento – Matt Rickerby, Blue Acorn
  • Day in the Life – Ashley Richardson, Town of Mount Pleasant
  • Raiser’s Edge NXT – Amy Spencer, Heather Friedrichs Lyman, Veronica Volborth, Kristin Loye, Brooke Akers & Genna Shelnutt, Blackbaud

Best Corporate Blog:

  • Blue Acorn – Matt Rickerby, Blue Acorn
  • Gadsden House – Chris-Leigh Jones, Luxury Simplified
  • The Wire of Nexton – Cassie Cataline & Nicole Slaydon, WestRock

Best Corporate Identity Package:

  • Blue Acorn – Laura Henderson & Matt Rickerby, Blue Acorn
  • South Carolina – Kevin Kampwerth, Beth Nathan & Tracey Waters, South Carolina Aquarium
  • Scratch Kitchen – Kyle Dicke, Xavier Meier & Lauren Beltramo, Fork & Knife

Best Direct Mail Marketing:

  • Belmond Group Meeting Planners – Catherine Gryniewski & Laura Bousman, Belmond Charleston Place
  • Belmond Leisure Postcards – Catherine Gryniewski & Laura Bousman, Belmond Charleston Place
  • RiverLights Invite – Colin Mulqueen, The Brandon Agency

Best Event Marketing:

  • bbcon – Amy Spencer, Heather Friedrichs Lyman, Veronica Volborth, Kristen Belanger, Kristin Foldvik, Genna Shelnutt, Rachel Croyle, Meredith Jones, Carlton Swift, Carlo Blackmore, Jenn Romano, Kailie Holt, Nicole Gear, Kristin Loye, Taylor Hayes & Steven Thomas, Blackbaud
  • Good Catch Oyster Fest – Kate Dittloff, Bryan Kowert, Katelynn Mullins, Claire Petroskey, Tracey Waters & Hannah Zickmund, South Carolina Aquarium
  • Largest Sweet Tea – Touchpoint Communications

Best Illustration:

  • Paste Magazine “Failure” Issue – Timothy Banks
  • Restaurant Week – Kyle Dicke, Xavier Meier & Lauren Beltramo, Fork & Knife
  • Triangle Blue Grass – Advantage Media Group

Best Inbound Marketing:

  • Best Self – Amy Spencer, Heather Friedrichs Lyman, Veronica Volborth, Kristin Loye, Brooke Akers, Genna Shelnutt & Sam Stone, Blackbaud
  • Wando Farms – Sebrina Leigh-Jones, Luxury Simplified

Best Logo Design:

  • Craig Trow Media – Bob Durand, Bob Durand Design
  • Ken Bowman Photography – Jessica Munday & Alison Best, Trio Solutions
  • Visiture – eHouse Studio

Best Mobile App:

  • Experience Mount Pleasant – Ashley Richardson, Town of Mount Pleasant

Best Non-Traditional Marketing:

  • Gadsden House Building Wrap – Mary Moore, Luxury Simplified
  • Golden Ticket Contest – Jordan Amaker & Jamee Haley, Lowcountry Local First
  • “State of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Charleston” for Lowcountry AIDS Services – Holly Fisher, H.A.F. Creative

Best Outdoor Signage:

  • Flower Reveal Billboard – Stephanie Windon, WestRock
  • Miles & Bob – Kevin Kampwerth, JM Khayat & Beth Nathan, South Carolina Aquarium in conjunction with Moondog Animation Studio
  • Spreading Positivity – Christine Bozigar, Michael Nixon, James Meadors &Heather Jones

Best PR Campaign:

  • Nexton – Colleen Troy, Touchpoint Communications
  • Roper St. Francis – Andy Lyons, Diette Casey, Meredith Huggins & Shane Ellis, Roper St. Francis
  • Yawkey the Turtle – Kate Dittloff, South Carolina Aquarium

Best Print Ad:

  • Hendersonville, N.C. – Colin Mulqueen, The Brandon Agency
  • SEWE – Will Bullock, Jenn Romano, Ashley Jolly, Arielle Alpino, Paul Mulkey, John Fulton & Mary Roberts, Obviouslee Marketing
  • Water You Waiting For? – Brent Duncan, Kevin Kampwerth, Beth Nathan & Tracey Waters, South Carolina Aquarium

Best Promotional Video:

  • Lowcountry Local First – Jordan Amaker & Hed Hi Media, Lowcountry Local First
  • Shark Shallows – Ben Davis, Rachel Kalisperis, Kevin Kampwerth, JM Khayat, Beth Nathan & Bryan Ransom, South Carolina Aquarium in conjunction with Moondog Animation Studio
  • The Best Things – Stephanie Windon, WestRock

Best Re-Branding/Branding:

  • Charleston Wagen Worx – Chris Edington
  • Charleston’s Own – Kyle Dicke, Xavier Meier & Lauren Beltramo, Fork & Knife
  • Higher Purpose and Values – Amy Spencer, Amy Lucia, Heather Friedrichs Lyman, Veronica Volborth, Genna Shelnutt, Sam Stone, Kailie Holt, Lucy Meyer & Steven Thomas, Blackbaud

Best Social Media Campaign:

  • Brew HaHa – Grace Lancaster, North Charleston Coliseum PAC
  • Nexton – Cassie Cataline & Nicole Slaydon, WestRock
  • Yawkey the Turtle – Katelynn Mullins & Claire Petroskey, South Carolina Aquarium

Best Website:

  • Le Creuset – Victor Bejar and Brad Redding, Blue Acorn
  • Revelry Brewing Co. – John Tripolsky, JTE Marketing
  • South Carolina Aquarium – Katelynn Mullins, South Carolina Aquarium

2016 Marketer of the Year:

  • Amy Carter of Charleston Parks Conservancy
  • Cassie Cataline of WestRock
  • Holly Fisher of H.A.F. Creative
  • Peter Wertimer of Chernoff Newman

Judging for the 2016 Spark! Awards is done by the Reno Tahoe AMA Chapter in Nevada.

 

We can’t wait to honor these talented individuals and companies at the ceremony on March 10. Not sure if you should attend? Just check out this video starring our MC Jennifer Buddin, produced by Gavin Shelton. We guarantee you’ll be laughing out loud at your desk!