Feb
19
ReelBlog

Reel Talk: The 2014 Telegraph Branding Reel

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!

 

Feb
09
Candace

Welcome to the team Candace Hinz!

Candace Hinz: Design + Interactive Intern

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?
Savannah, Georgia

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.

Any quirks?
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.

Feb
03
SB_2015_Blog_Photo

Tele Talk: The Big Game 2015

Never fear, the Telegraphers are here to share their opinions, insights and reactions to the commercials of this year’s Super Bowl.

Kevin: CEO

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.

Seth: Developer

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.)

Seth: Videographer

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.

Sep
23
Telegraph Branding

Telegraph Fall Playlist

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.

Sep
08
CVS

Where does your brand stand: CVS quits smoking

You don’t really have a brand until you stand for something. So allow me to congratulate CVS for making a stand – and defining their brand in the process.

At Telegraph we preach that branding begins from the inside. A brand is so much more than a logo and color chips. It’s what you believe and what you do that counts. When your brand stands for something, it’s easier for your customers and your employees to live the brand’s values.

Earlier this year, CVS announced they would stop selling tobacco products by October of 2014. (The Wall Street Journal)

This week, they made good on their promise and pulled tobacco from their shelves. Customers at my neighborhood CVS were greeted with empty shelves and the following messaging:

 

CVS explains that the change had to do with aligning their actions to their core values. As part of the rebranding, they took it one step further and renamed themselves from CVS/Caremark to CVS/Health, repositioning themselves as a health company in the process. (Huffington Post)

Bill Bernbach, one of the original Mad Men and founder of the agency responsible for the famous “Think Small” campaign for Volkswagen said “you don’t have a principle until it costs you money.”

It is estimated that CVS’s decision to stop selling tobacco products will cost them $2 billion a year. A steep number by any account. The gas station next door to my local CVS was only all too eager to pick scoop up those cig sales:

Prior to this rebranding, I couldn’t tell the difference between Rite Aid, Walgreens and CVS. It remains to be seen whether this was a prudent financial move, but at least I know where CVS stands. Isn’t that what you want from every brand?

Aug
21
icechallenge

Telegraph Teams Accepts #IceBucketChallenge

“Let’s pour a bucket of freezing cold ice water over our heads” said no one ever. (Except for Nelly’s backup dancers because it is getting hot in herre.) Until now.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has evolved into a social phenomenon heard ‘round the World Wide Web, prompting new interest toward the ALS disease. Participants challenge their friends to donate to the ALS Association or dump a bucket of ice water over their heads. Many opt to do both.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to paralysis, vital organ failure and death. (ALS Association)

Since the Ice Bucket Challenge has gone viral, the ALS Association has received over $14 million in donations — a huge boost from the $1.7 million in donations during the same time period last year.

Telegraph hasn’t been immune to this trend. A few of our team members and clients have risen to the challenge. Rumor has it that our own Seth Baird has also been challenged… is he up for it?

Telegraph Project Manager, Laura Powell:

Telegraph Project Manager #IceBucketChallenge from Telegraph Branding on Vimeo.

Telegraph Director of Technology, Sam Brasseale:

Telegraph Project Manager, Alex Kistler:

Telegraph Project Manager #IceBucketChallenge 2 from Telegraph Branding on Vimeo.

And last, but not least, our client Gordie Stewart of Hoover Toyota:

I personally wish this would have been a thing in the winter. The added risk of hypothermia would have added entertainment value in my opinion… but alas, you can’t have it all.

Jul
16
supersprowtz

All Eyes On: Super Sprowtz

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.

 

Michelle Obama

 

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.

 

super sprowtz

 

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.

JinChung

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!

 

Super Sprowtz

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

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!

Super Sprowtz

 

Jun
11
Telegraph Summer Playlist

Telegraph Summer Playlist

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.

Give it a listen.

Jun
05
AppleBlog

What We Love About iOS 8 And OS X 10.10

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.

iMessage

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.

HomeKit

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.

Apple Health

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 iCloud Drive 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.

iCloud Drive

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.

May
30
Lauren

Welcome to the team Lauren Gates!

Lauren Gates: Design Intern

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!

Where’s home?

I am a cultural mutt, but I spent most of my life growing up in the United Arab Emirates.

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.

 How many times did you hit snooze this morning?

Not once, I am one of those crazy early morning people everyone can’t stand.

Any impressive skills?

I can do a handstand push-up.

Favorite thing you’ve done for Telegraph so far?

I am working on a website design for a client! I am excited to take on a challenging project such as website design.

Hobbies and quirks?

I love working out, I guess you could call it a hobby… or maybe an addiction.

What’s on your summer playlist?

Currently… “99 Problems” by Hugo.

May
20
Laura Powell

Welcome to the team Laura Powell!

Laura Powell: Project Manager

Meet Laura. This Louisville native is bringing her skills to the Telegraph table as our newest Project Manager while simultaneously helping balance out the boy/girl ratio around the office. (Can I get an amen ladies?) Apart from being one of the most amiable personalities you’ll ever encounter, Laura is a force to be reckoned with. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Samford University with a degree in Journalism and dual minors in Psychology and Art, Laura landed the opportunity to use her rich background in public relations to manage marketing strategy and media/vendor relations for Urban Cookhouse. One thing led to another, and now she’s part of our family! Welcome to the team Laura!

What do you love about this industry?

This industry allows me to see a variety of business models through an innovative, creative lens. I get to use both the left and right side of my brain. It’s a win/win.

If one song played every time you entered a room, which would it be?

The Friends theme song because I’m always watching it. Greatest show there is.

Last book you read?

Every Good Endeavor” by Timothy Keller.

Favorite form of social media?

Instagram, hands down.

Go-to spots in Birmingham?

Octane // Carrigan’s // Urban Cookhouse

Most interesting place you’ve ever been lost?

Madrid, Spain… in a taxi… by myself… where I couldn’t speak the language.

Quirks and hobbies?

Quirks? I am absolutely not affected by caffeine in the slightest. I can drink a cup of coffee right before bed and go straight to sleep. Also, I’m notorious for asking ridiculous questions. Hobbies? Running. I ran a half marathon this past April!

Laura Powell

 

May
15
TaglineBlog

The Tagline Evolution

Have I told you how great I am? Have you noticed that only I have the whitest teeth and freshest breath? Did you know that I’m 99 44/100% pure? Have I told you that I’m the best buy?

Once upon a time, three channels (ABC, NBC, and CBS) ruled the airwaves and consumers had little choice but to listen to the messages. Sure, you could tell your friends that I wasn’t the best buy, but your chat at the water cooler paled in comparison to the power of television broadcasting. So in the early days, ad slogans or taglines, were all about the product and its superiority. Even before television, 75% of your audience could be reached with one ad in the Saturday Evening Post and LIFE. No wonder brands talked about themselves. In 1882, Ivory bragged their their soap was “99 44/100% pure.” In 1927, Wheaties claimed to be “Breakfast of Champions,” and in 1956 Allstate assured us that we were in good hands. Around the same time, we were told the Timex watch “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking.”

As advertising channels widened, consumers were exposed to more messages and became more sophisticated. So did the taglines. In the 60s and 70s, the emphasis was less on how great the product was and more about how great the consumer was. Near the end of the 60s, Virginia Slims led the edge on the women’s lib movement, complimenting their users with the phrase “You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby.”

Virginia Slims 1967

In ‘73, Burger King broke some molds when they invited you to “Have It your Way.” While BK and Virginia Slims were a little ahead of their time in putting the customer first, Gatorade took a more traditional role in 1998 with their “Be Like Mike” campaign. It’s a catchy tune and Mike is the ultimate role model, but we all know the chances are slim that we will ever be like Mike, no matter how much Gatorade we consume. In the long run, consumers see the fallacy in that argument.

Gatorade 1991

As the internet emerged, so did the empowerment of the consumer. Oddly enough, Nike’s early campaigns looked a lot like Gatorade’s. They featured the well-known athletic stars we all aspired to be: Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Wayne Gretzky, Deion Sanders, the list goes on. Somewhere along the line, Nike searched its soul and realized the real users of their products – the weekend warrior – would never be like Mike. It’s only just recently that the fashion industry has discovered this truth and come to realize that supermodel (photoshopped) beauty is a lousy image for our mothers, daughters and sisters to try to live up to.

Nike hailed the consumer’s coming of age in 1988 with “Just Do It.” For once, the consumer was the star of the tagline. They built on that message in 2013 with “Find Your Greatness.” Now the message is not about the greatness of the product. It’s about the greatness of the consumer.

Nike 2013

It’s been well documented that ad messaging has changed from a monologue to a dialogue. What’s interesting to note is how the conversation has changed. It has evolved from being a boast about the product to being about the consumer, and today it’s about neither the product nor the consumer but about a philosophy for living. Travelocity advises us to “Go and Smell the Roses.” Taco Bell tells us to “Live Mas!” Dos Equis urges us to “Stay Thirsty, My Friends.” IBM says, “Let’s Build a Smarter Planet.”

It seems brands have finally surrendered. They know the consumer owns the conversation and they’re tired of hearing brands brag about themselves. Taglines seem to be collectively saying, “live a full life” (and please use our product along the way).

This ad sets the poetry of Charles Bukowski to images and sums it up with the mantra “Live True.” It’s an odd statement for a whiskey, but it’s good advice to us and to your brand.

Dewar 2013

Today, consumers seek a promise that’s bigger than a mere feature of your brand. They want to know how you fit in with the belief structures that comprise their lives. In short, know your truth, show it, and share it.