Seth kicked off his career with a job anyone with a creative eye would love. He was a photographer and art director at International Expeditions, a nature travel company in Helena, Alabama. He admits it was an amazing job, but not as amazing as the opportunity to follow his future wife to her hometown of Chicago. He spent seven years in Chicago working for Starcom MediaVest Group and in spite of the winters wouldn’t trade his time there for anything. But after having two children, he felt it was time to get back home to Birmingham. He spent the last two years at Luckie and Company before finding his way to Telegraph Branding where he joins us as creative director.
Why did you decide to do what you do?
I can’t take monotony and with advertising, not only is there something new every day, there is something new every minute. I love that there are no black and white answers and that you can find multiple solutions to every problem.
Favorite spot in Birmingham?
I can’t get enough of Hot and Hot Fish Club. It’s my go-to spot to take visitors.
Go-to social media?
Instagram. It’s a quick look into my friends lives without all the opinions.
What was your 15 minutes of fame?
Because I was living in Chicago in 2008 I was able to go to Grant Park for Obama’s election night speech and I can be seen in the initial 2-page spread crowd shot in TIME magazine. Forget 15 minutes, I’m etched into history.
Any special, unusual skills?
I can make my eyes rapidly shake side to side. It literally never comes in handy.
Favorite source of inspiration?
Life has too many sources of inspiration to narrow it down to one. Inspiration is everywhere if you just go through every day being observant.
Favorite movie line?
When the convenience store cashier in Raising Arizona is asked if the balloons blow up into funny shapes and he replies “Well no. Unless round is funny.”
which valued this nickel at a rate of anywhere from 35¢ if it is in poor condition to $1.15 if it is in mint condition. The assumption is that those in better condition are worth more because they are rarer, right?
But what if I told you that this nickel was in the pocket of John F. Kennedy the day he was assassinated? What is this nickel worth now? Do you see how a simple mythology changes the value of the object?
The entire sports memorabilia industry is based on the immeasurable quality of the mythology surrounding the object.
At times the mythology works in the opposite direction. For example, in the classic sweater experiment people were asked if they would wear Hitler’s sweater. Many physically recoiled at the thought and would still refuse even after it had been dry cleaned. Such is a power of an effective story.
This is known as contagion bias. Remember cooties? It’s also the key driver of the bottled water industry. Countless studies have proven that water from the tap is just as pure – and in some cases purer – than bottled water, yet we just can’t over that bias.
Those of you who saw The Wolf of Wall Street might recall the line “Sell me this pen.” Most of us naturally try to fall into a supply and demand tactic. We try to contrive a reason a buyer would need a pen. That can work in some cases, but what if your pen is a commodity? What if there are thousands of pens to choose from? That’s where the story shifts from needing this pen to wanting this pen. That’s where brand storytelling comes in – and the best story wins. What value would the pen have if I told you that Nick Saban used it to sign his contract? What if I told you that I’m selling these pens as part of a fundraiser for my daughter’s softball team? What if I told you this brand of pen was preferred by Ernest Hemingway? That’s how storytelling creates a mythology – and helps you sell.
Okay, let’s be honest. People keep treating social media with the typical “If you build it they will come” strategy. Social media and all the platforms along with them (Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Vimeo, YouTube, etc) are always in a state of change, constantly trying to please users with new bells and whistles. Their goal is to provide marketers with the best way to connect with their users. Who can continuously take the time to keep up? Well, we can. It’s what we do.
Social’s Latest Developments
Here’s some hard research on the most interesting developments for 2015. We took at look at the top performing platforms so you can see the most influential information right now.
Facebook Still Leads
In February 2015 there was a staggering announcement that over 2 million advertisers are actively using their platform. This was shortly followed by Facebook launching Blueprint to specifically “get in bed” with advertisers. It is a training program to help agencies and marketers create better Facebook campaigns. Naturally, better campaigns means more money for Facebook…duh.
Data shows that social shoppers are seen to spend 9% more money when they visit an e-commerce site via a social media channel than those that do not. (Emotional connection…get it?)
Twitter Turns 9
For Twitter’s 9th birthday, the company introduced a one-click, online video and a live-streaming app called Periscope. In addition to the app, Twitter added descriptions to trending topics to make it easier to follow a conversation on mobile – can someone say “hashtag trending”?
The future of display is none other than Social AND Mobile. It is projected that by 2017, Facebook and Twitter will account for 33% of the US’s total digital display ad revenue. To put that into $$ for you, roughly $12 billion (yes, with a “B”) dollars. Mobile ad revenue will drive the majority of this growth.
Instagram’s Still Jammin’
Instagram overtook Twitter as the second largest social network in the US. Here is the shocker – only 23% of US brands actually have Instagram accounts. Talk about a large $$$ opportunity. Come on, people!
The Millennial Mind
From the standpoint of Millennials, Snapchat is the place to be. 46% of users aged 18-24 are using this platform compared to the 27% using Tumblr and 27% using Vine.
Facebook’s Top Industries by Interaction
Summarizing with regard to the top performing industries by interaction on Facebook we have: Retail, Travel, Technology, Media/Entertainment and Financial Services, respectively.
A Shameless Pitch for Business
If you are thinking about getting into the social game it’s never too late. If you are already present in the social game, and by that I mean you have made a social page and you have asked all your family and friends to like your page, you are desperately in need of help. If you are a business who is actively building campaigns, spending money on social and you still are not seeing the needle move, you need a game changer. Let us take you through some of our case studies and show you where we have made the needle move with pinpointed messaging that works with a media campaign that will help you get more for your money and effort. Give us a shout, email, buzz, or even a telegram. We know how to help you. Until then…Good Luck!
So your site is not mobile-friendly? Don’t worry. We have some tips to help you through it.
Google announced that as of April 21 they will officially count the mobile-friendliness of websites as a true ranking factor. For every business that has a website, it’s a big deal.
It was already alluded to from Google for a while now that mobile sites may see a bump in the search results, and this move simply confirms it. There was a hint to this upcoming change last year when Google rolled out their labels for mobile searchers. It let them know which sites would look best on specific devices.
Given that more and more people access the web via mobile devices than desktops it is truly a mobile world now, and every business needs to prepare.
If you do, excellent. Pat yourself on the back! If you don’t, we will handle you in a minute. In addition to being mobile friendly, make sure you analyze your mobile traffic within your Google Analytics. Make sure your mobile site is actually providing value. If not…we can talk more about that.
Tips for Going Mobile-Friendly
First, optimize your mobile site: Are you seeing high bounce rates, low engagement metrics?
Make sure it is easy for visitors to complete their objective. Keep your site simple. Streamline their experience and give important messages the priority on the page over images, or too much copy.
Adjust your font size. It needs to be readable without “pinch, pull, scroll” action.
Make sure your content is supported on mobile devices. For example: if your site is in Adobe Flash for your animations, you need to switch this out – like 8 years ago – for HTML5 which is fully supported on all devices.
Make sure every mobile page loads quickly! User experience is important and if your site takes too much time, you have lost them. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to test your speed.
It’s Go Time!
If your site is not mobile-friendly you either need to create a mobile version (this is the cheap way, and not the best way) of your site, or build a responsive website (more expensive but in the end the best user experience) – and what you do to one is done to all).
A responsive site is designed to automatically adjust to the user’s screen no matter what device they are using. This is preferred since you only have to maintain one site and you will not split your traffic between a mobile site and your main site, thus diluting your SEO value. The downside is that it usually requires a greater investment up front.
But……When you create the kind of experience that we create through websites, not only will search engines love your site, users will be engaged, making more return visits and becoming advocates for your brand. You will ultimately earn back that investment before Google rolls out their next update.
If you have a bunch of question marks across your forehead right now, no need to worry. Just contact us. Let the experts make you look like the expert!
In 2014 Telegraph focused a massive amount of resources into upgrading our video division. Continuing education for Seth and Cory, a facilities upgrade, and of course an equipment upgrade were all a part of the across-the-board effort to keep improving our services offering from the division. The team shot in some exotic locales this year with equally exotic setups. Think “helicopter over a Panamanian jungle” exotic.
Behind the Lens: Seth and Cory’s Insight
SETH: The most memorable shoot for me was filming Daybreaker. Witnessing the energy of the people dancing their faces off at 7am in NYC was crazy, so naturally it made for some great video. We were filming for our client Ocho, and the founders showed us the real New York in all its glory- none of the tourist trap stuff.
CORY: Getting to travel and create were the best part of 2014 at Telegraph Branding. Zooming around in a chopper in Panama was a dream come true. I wanted to do that ever since I saw Arnold in Predator in ’87. New York was a wild time. We spent twelve hours filming for three days in a row, because there was so much we wanted to capture. We got lucky enough to be rolling when The U.S. scored the go-ahead goal in the first World Cup game (Ghana). The crowd reaction in the pub we were filming in was SICK.
We won’t bore you with any more text, because this is a video blog. We’ll let the reel tell the story. Feast your eyes on our year!
Candace, the newest Telegraph intern, comes straight from Savannah College of Art and Design, where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development with a focus on Interactive Design. Pretty intense, huh? Probably explains why she’s so into her beloved Xbox One. Speaking of beloved, we can’t forget to mention her adorable Old English Bulldog puppy, Hollie! Welcome to the team Candace!
Where are you from?
What do you love about this industry?
I love the way that it’s constantly changing. Constantly having to learn new types of technology and new software keeps life exciting.
Favorite source of inspiration?
Whenever I’m looking for inspiration I always go through the design section on Pinterest, it’s full of variety and it’s always different.
Go-to social media?
Instagram usually, Facebook is a close second.
How do you take your coffee?
A splash of almond milk, no sugar.
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest? Kevin Spacey, hands down. Aside from being a huge fan of his acting, his intelligence combined with his sarcastic sense of humor would make for an unforgettable conversation.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
I would love to have the ability to read at a supersonic pace, like read a 500 page book in 5 minutes.
Last book you read?
“Bossypants” by Tina Fey. Absolutely hilarious.
If you were on Jeopardy, which category you would dominate?
I’m actually horrible at trivia in general, but I would probably do best in some sort of entertainment category.
Your spot in Birmingham? O’Henry’s is where I always seem to end up.
I love to play games meant for children, anything from board games like Candyland to video games like Animal Crossing. I also really love pigs; photos of pigs, pig-shaped items, you name it. I’d love to own one (or ten) someday.
Never fear, the Telegraphers are here to share their opinions, insights and reactions to the commercials of this year’s Super Bowl.
In a disappointing year I guess I’ll go with Carnival Cruise Lines. Much in the same vein as Paul Harvey waxing poetic about God making farmers, Carnival pulled America’s collective nostalgia chains and called on JFK to remind us all that we are tied to the sea.
Mark: Brand Strategist
I have a top three. Snickers nailed it with Danny Trejo in the Brady Bunch. They manage to stay in a formula, yet keep it fresh.
You gotta love Loctite for taking a chance. So unexpected. So what the heck? So not taking themselves too seriously. So pure, ridiculous fun. Now this brand is my friend.
Now Microsoft is staking a claim for “empowerment,” a position, funny enough, once firmly held by the brand that started all this Super Bowl commercial madness with their “1984″ spot. Which begs the question: Where the heck was Apple?
Sam: Director of Technology
Nationwide. No other ad affected me like this one did. It definitely didn’t follow the usual mold of being funny or heartwarming. In fact, it was quite the opposite.
This hit me hard because I’m a dad. I wasn’t expecting that ending to the commercial, and it was the only one that stuck out to me as being important (for a number of reasons, the least of which is to be mindful of simple things like a bathtub).
It started down the path of heartwarming with a dog and a kid, but then took a sharp turn into real life and morbidity. (Also note the lack of the catchy, upbeat nationwide jingle.)
It goes against the mold of normal sports insurance fare a la Nationwide’s normal ads (goofy guy telling someone they could save money), Geico (funny talking gecko), and Allstate (the mayhem dude) with a humble, but cute to start out ad that twists into a serious lesson about the implications of safety. It’s less about saving you money and more about helping save children’s lives.
This ad could really be applied to many different types of insurance based scenarios. To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if they came out with more about car accidents, motorcycle accidents, or other types of normal, avoidable insurance-related accidents.
The other thing this ad does is opens the door for other advertisers to generate a really strong, serious message in their ads instead of trying to be catchy or cute. I can’t recall a single ad that was impactful as this one was to me personally.
Safety is top of mind for many parents and I’m sure this one hit them as hard as it hit me.
Alex: Project Manager
I’m Lovin It.
My favorite ad from the super bowl was McDonalds “Lovin’ Pays”. It was a really simple and pretty cool idea to pay it forward. To give the community and everyday consumer something to smile about. Recently McDonalds has changed their reach by simply going back to the basics. All of their graphics are simple/flat design, their restaurants are tremendously clean, and their customer service seems to be getting better. The one thing that will never change is the fact it is McDonalds. Their food is unhealthy and ultimately bad for your body.
Back to the ad: I think this ad delivered its purpose and that was to everyone feel happy and start a dialogue with their consumers. It even made McDonalds look like the relatable, generous and great neighborhood pal. McDonalds will never shy away from their unhealthy lineup of cheap hamburgers and sandwiches, but they can get away with it for even longer by making their audience feel good about their message.
Marianna: Account Executive
There seemed to be a lot of serious commercials that touched on very sensitive issues: domestic violence, bullying, a child’s death (that was weird/sad); I feel like Always did a good job with the girl power message it was trying to send out. It was light hearted enough but made an impact. I was never a ‘girls rule boys drool’ type of person, but I really enjoyed this message.
However this wasn’t really new to me either, I saw it on Facebook a few months ago (if not longer). I still liked it. On that note, the domestic violence commercial from the NFL was also something I had seen before too. I was surprised that both these companies would go with a commercial that thousands of people had already seen or heard about.
As far as more funny commercials, I loved how Kim Kardashian made fun of herself in the T-Mobile commercial (#basic).
Lauren: Graphic Designer
The Skittles Super Bowl ad stood out to me because it was one of the few that incorporated humor. I liked how it exaggerated the demand for Skittles by a town based around arm wrestling for a Skittle. Even the baby and muscles!
It was good!
Cory: Motion Graphics
I thought that the Dreaming With Jeff Bridges commercial for Squarespace was strong because of its minimalism and mystery. There were no words spoken. There was no loud music, just a slow zoom out on a strange scene of Jeff Bridges, Buddhist Monk-throat singing/ serenading a woman to sleep, followed by a url. Everyone in the room immediately wanted to know what dreamingwithjeff.com was.
Another year, another mediocre line up of Super Bowl commercials. The one ad the stood out for me was Newcastle’s “Band of Brands” campaign. It didn’t make me laugh out loud, but it was sharply satirical and highly meta. It simultaneously pokes fun at the absurdity of advertising while also showing how creative it can be. The aspect that sets Newcastle’s ad apart is that, while all of the other brands got to be in the Super Bowl ad, it clearly remained a Newcastle ad. So not only did they come up with a clever idea for their Super Bowl spot, they also paid a fraction of the price for it.
So bravo, Newcastle! (I still don’t care for your beer.)
My vote for favorite Super Bowl ad is the Doritos commercial about the middle seat. I can relate to this commercial very easily as I just had flown earlier in the week. No one every wants to sit in the middle seat on a flight. In the commercial the guy is trying everything he can to not have anyone sit next to him. However, until he sees an attractive woman coming down the aisle that he wants to sit next to. He holds out a bag of Doritos for her only to see that she is carrying a baby with her. The best commercials are the ones that are the most relatable. People relate to the middle seat situation is why this commercial is one of the best Super Bowl commercials of the year.
Ahhh September in Alabama… Can’t beat the increasing number of Roll Tide‘s and War Eagle‘s, leaf Instagrams and persistent heat and humidity that transition immediately into winter leaving us wondering what the heck happened to fall.
So while you’re sweltering under piles of flannel and scarves trying to make fall happen, listen to this playlist to get your mind off of how hard you’re sweating while sipping that steamy Pumpkin Spice Latte.
What do you do when you realize that 33% of American children aren’t getting the daily nutrition they need to grow into strong, healthy adults? If you’re Radha Agrawal, you fix it.
After hearing this disheartening statistic in 2011, Radha Agrawal launched a health-conscious kid’s lifestyle brand she named Super Sprowtz. Driven by a mission to help every child in America learn about nutrition and wellness, the “Sprowtz” brand created a compelling model that is both educational and engaging for the whole family.
Teaching children across the nation to eat their peas and carrots is no easy task. To help kids fall in love with good food, Radha and her team of health aficionados knew they needed to create a powerful narrative that children would embrace and love, similar to how Sesame Street won the hearts of families in the 90’s.
Several years of research and product development later, Radha created a band of adorable vegetable puppet characters called Sprowtz to lead her healthy crusade across the nation. These super-powered veggie characters quickly took on a larger-than-life persona, helping launch Super Sprowtz into the nation’s fastest-growing nutrition brand in under two years. A recent flurry of media attention spiked their reach to over a million families last year, aided in part by an official endorsement from First Lady Michelle Obama and a show at the White House, a national bus tour, prominent features at dozens of festivals and schools across the country, and a handful of celebrity endorsements including basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, hip hop magnate Russell Simmons, celeb-chef Todd English and star comedic actors like Ethan Suplee and Aasif Mandvi, to name a few. Best of all, Super Sprowtz is championing a cause that parents everywhere are deeply passionate about, and it’s helping change the way we communicate healthy food conversations with our kids.
While laying the groundwork for the brand’s proof-of-concept, Super Sprowtz approached Telegraph about helping them scale their message, take their image to the next level and launch a powerful online platform to facilitate and serve their growing community. Both being recent parents themselves, this was a cause our own CEO Kevin McLendon and CCO Isaiah Same were personally passionate about seeing grow and thrive. To accomplish a vision of this magnitude, the Telegraph team launched into an intensive eight-month exploratory journey with Super Sprowtz, from consulting on the education model and message to helping to influence the design of every facet of the brand; from the look and feel of the iconic veggie character packaging to print and online marketing, collateral materials, a new interactive website and even backdrops for the White House show with Michelle Obama and life-size props for the Life is Beautiful Las Vegas festival exhibit. The Telegraph team became full-fledged brand ambassadors and advocates, a role we naturally fill with our clients going well beyond being a trusted design and technology partner.
Working closely with Super Sprowtz CEO Radha Agrawal, our team of uber-talented designers, illustrators and developers, steered by Isaiah, ensured that the company’s healthy vision was baked into every single one of their massive suite of brand assets.
Tasked as the lead designer on the project, Jin Chung shares her thoughts on crafting the adorable, inviting and memorable Sprowtz visuals that you see plastered across the nation on tour buses, puppet packaging, kid’s kitchenware and everything you can imagine in between.
Jin’s insight: Graphic Designer
I’m most proud of just being able to work with a client as big as Super Sprowtz. They have such potential and I’m happy to say that I was a big part of their movement to fight childhood obesity.
The biggest challenge was creating graphics for such a wide variety of brand applications. I’m still pretty new to designing real-world physical pieces, so I was a little out of my comfort zone when designing for bus wraps, product tags, and so many other different items. It was difficult to make sure things such as the bus wrap were correctly prepared to send to the client. However, in the end it was worth all the trouble to see my design on a bus!
While designing for Super Sprowtz, I kept in mind some keywords: bright, loud, friendly, happy, and fun. This is a kids’ product, so I wanted to make sure kids would find the design appealing to them, but stay accessible to parents as well. Another thing I kept in mind while designing was to highlight the puppets. Before our rebrand, most of the Super Sprowtz puppets were not even used in any of their graphics. I wanted to put them front and center in everything we did because they really are the face and selling point of the brand.
It really helps that the client truly believes in changing children’s diets. Most of what inspired me throughout working with Super Sprowtz is the honesty and nobility of the cause. - Jin
Sam’s insight: Web Developer
My favorite part about the new website we built is the custom, kid-centric approach. Many websites take the short, easy route. While the ambitiousness of the site design was at times challenging to execute, the attention to detail is incredible, and it makes the website experience all the more enjoyable for children and parents alike.
We did a lot of research into how most parents of young children access media and games for their children. This led us to some deep-rooted understanding of the times of day and online habits of most parents, which revealed that they access the website mostly on-the-go via their smartphones and tablets. Thus, we engineered the website itself to be fully accessible on all screen sizes using the same code as the desktop site experience. We spent almost as much time on this responsiveness for smaller screen sizes as we did for desktop resolutions. Utilizing clever style tricks and helpful css libraries enabled us to made sure tiny screens enjoy the same content and experience as their larger counterpart.
What I like most from a developer standpoint is that through clever code, I can make something that some kids view as boring or gross (vegetables!) fun and entertaining. With a simple hex-color tag and a little script that makes navigation elements wiggle, I can help influence a child into making healthier food choices and make veggies interesting and fun. Win win in my book. -Sam
Working with a company with as big of a vision and cause like Super Sprowtz is no simple task, but it’s the perfect kind of partnership for us here at Telegraph. We admire the work Radha and her team is doing because it takes a commitment to be brave when other brands are taking the easy road, and the willingness to start sometimes uncomfortable conversations with parents about healthy eating. Along the way, the Sprowtz have helped us pick up some healthier eating habits, which in turn has enabled us to come up with some killer designs and creative strategies that are supercharging Super Sprowtz’ growth! We’re honored to use our design, marketing and brand-building experience to help take an amazing brand like Super Sprowtz to the national level. Now, don’t forget to #eatyoursuperpowers!
The Telegraph team, being composed primarily of what some would refer to as hipster millennials, boasts an impressive and diverse collection of tunes capable of adding that extra dose of panache to your summer days. Whether your hours are spent poolside or deskside, these smooth beats are sure to get you in that summer time mood.
Imagine a phone that turns off your lights at bedtime, checks your vitals and removes you from those insanely annoying mass group text messages. Inconceivable! you’re probably shouting internally (especially to that last point). Well the impossible is about to become possible my friend with the launch of iOS 8 this fall.
Apple held a two-hour keynote on Monday to kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. The details of the new iOS 8 and Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite were revealed, and there was much rejoicing.
iOS 8: three reasons why we love it
The newest update contains a myriad of helpful, new features for iMessage. Messages will offer audio, video and location sharing (reminiscent of WhatsApp). The keyboard will finally provide predictive typing and will adapt suggestions based off who you’re talking to. And as alluded to above, you can now remove yourself from group messages, or simply silence their notifications. Group messages can now be labeled. Also, you can respond to a message, either with a call or an audio message, by simply raising the phone to your ear.
A new home automation system called HomeKit turns an iPhone into a remote for your smart home. Control smart devices, such as lights, garage door openers and security cameras. They’ll all be controllable through Siri too, so by saying, “Get ready for bed,” a smart home could automatically dim lights and lock doors.
Also introduced was HealthKit, an app for iPhone which will pull together data such as blood pressure and weight now collected by a growing number of healthcare apps on the iPhone or iPad. The company also announced Health, an app supported by HealthKit, that will be an integral part of iOS 8.
Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite – it finally looks like your iPhone
The new version of Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite boasts a redesigned user interface with a cleaner look, similar to the appearance of iOS 7. It launches in the fall, but you can test the beta version now.
The new iCloudDrive is a Dropbox and Google Drive hybrid file system for storing your documents in the cloud. Each app gets its own folder inside the interface, and files are synced across OS X, iOS and Windows.
Also unveiled was Swift, a new programming language for coding Mac OS X and iOS applications in Cocoa and Cocoa Touch. The tool is for developers and will make it a lot easier for them to make apps.
Life is like a bowl of interns. You never know what you’re gonna get.
Luckily for us, we got a pretty damn good one. Meet Lauren, our spunky, witty and talented design intern who thankfully abandoned her dreams of owning a beachside coconut stand to settle for a summer at Telegraph. Lauren has been passionate about art for as long as she can remember, and is pursuing those passions as a Graphic Design major and Public Relations minor at the University of Montevallo. (Go Falcons!) The world of advertising caught her attention by marrying two things she loves; the psychological and the creative. Welcome to the team Lauren!
If you could pursue a degree in anything, what would you be studying?
Cooking, I love to cook. I just wish I were good at it.
Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever been lost?
I am always lost, my sense of direction is awful. However, the most interesting place I have ever been lost would probably be Sri Lanka. Once you get outside the city there are barely any street signs so I had no idea where I was going.