Brands. They’re the expression of everything we believe in, why we do what we do, the ultimate demonstration of our culture. We’re here to help those who treasure brands. To help communicate them powerfully, effectively, and in ways that compel others to feel and think.
Work. We believe our successes are a reminder that while we should remain humble we should always try harder than anyone else. That together, through a shared passion for excellence, we should never accept the ordinary.
Team. We don’t believe in solving problems with titles, time-sheets, intemperate process, excessive seriousness, or a heavy hand. We're unafraid of failure. We champion boldness, defend gentleness, embrace the different, and cherish the exceptional.
Clients. Without those who demand distinctive, compelling messaging we lack purpose. To those ends we pursue and create outstanding advertising. We pledge to be honest, fair, and sincere, and to defend the high ground with our friends.
We like to think of ourselves as somewhat hip. Trendy without being fashionable and pretentious. Imagine our delight when we were approached by Crosley Radio, a global brand with all the qualities we imagine we have.
Crosley sells its audio equipment around the world, with a major US presence in Target and Urban Outfitters. Although it’s recognized as a premier brand for the way it looks (their stuff sounds really good, too, we might add), their graphic brand and website fell far short of the bar they represented emotionally to consumers (cool stylish brands need to look cool and stylish, right?). They also recognized how important it was to connect with their market through social media — and not in the usual topical way, but by integrating an appropriate presence into their brand.
It’s an overused word, for sure, but what does it mean to be cool? It means expressing who you are, who you really are, the thing that makes you just that little bit different from everyone else.
And one of the best ways to do that is to make sure the things in your life reflect and even amplify your personality.
Now, we don’t claim to be great at everything, but if there’s one thing we do really well it’s making cool stuff for people to carry around and have near them where they live and work.
Most of what we make is based on sharing music — because we got started in this business based on the realisation that sound is probably the easiest and most enjoyable way for people to share their personalities. So we design and build things that not only let people play their music wherever they are, but allow them to share a little bit extra about their senses of style as they do it.
There are cool clients, there are prestigious clients, and there are cool and prestigious clients. Louisville Ballet most definitely falls into the last classification — and if you’ve ever had the opportunity to work with the dancers up close, you’d also find out they’re awesome people, because everything they do leaves you amazed. Speechless. Inspired.
Because we love beautiful, powerful, inspirational things, this was an alliance that we believed was destined to happen sooner or later, so when we were fortunate enough to win the account in 2017 it was as if we’d already spent years preparing. Louisville Ballet has been a revered institution for well over half a century, and several other strong agencies have had the opportunity to work on it. This was our chance to take a treasured brand with a rich local legacy and elevate it in the ways we thought it deserved.
Within a few months we produced an incredible volume of work, from a brand-new graphic aesthetic to a gorgeous video to a beloved, iconic poster, to a full suite of mass-advertising and digital media. The results continue to be outstanding — we’ve helped them reach and maintain a 97-percent-butts-in-seats number, and through different strategies we’ve given them formidable support in achieving — indeed surpassing — a range of business goals. More important, we’ve taken the brand and reintroduced it in meaningful, contemporary ways to the people here who love it as much as we do.
We’re going to namedrop here and casually mention that we were selected by Seagate to develop a new brand on behalf of their burgeoning Data Recovery Services division. As a result, Pixel8 was born.
The shortest version possible: As you know, pretty much everything digital has memory of some sort (Seagate, in all likelihood, made the drive in the device you’re using right now). As you also know, shit happens and devices fail — quite often because they got dropped down toilets, run over by cars, or exposed to zealous Hibachi grill owners. Pixel 8 exists to bring those data back from the dead. We named the company and developed the identity along with all the attendant material and packaging. We currently create all the marketing material, including all the digital advertising, and build them amazing websites, including the one you’re not currently allowed to see because it’s still in development.
Being in Bourbon Country, as folk call it around here, we get a lot of requests to work on whiskies and liqueurs. But imagine our pleasure when we were asked to work on SoCo, one of the world’s most famous brands. But that was sort of the rub . . . as famous as the brand is, nobody really knew what Southern Comfort stood for, whom it was designed to appeal to, or even how to drink it.
Our job was to develop a global website as well as five sister-sites for other countries, each customizable by location. But above all, we were asked to create a clean, beautiful site experience that answered the fundamental questions “What is Southern Comfort?”, “Who drinks it?”, and “How should it be drunk?” — and all in a way that appealed to and was understandable by almost everyone in the world.
Hey, you, Mister Man. Strutting your stuff, walking tall, the 24-year-old cock of the walk. Yeah, we see you in your tailored pants and thrift-store shirt, head held high, catching some beats, cruising the mean streets of Albany. We know the way you roll. We embrace the things that make you cool. We salute your comfort.
You with the devil-may-care smile and goddess self-assurance. We know who you are and what you stand for, slipping and grooving your cool stuff in Detroit. We’re digging that 33-year-old sense of style, that vibe you take for granted. We know the way you roll. We embrace the things that make you cool. We salute your comfort.
Yeah, you’ve got it. You know who you are. You know what makes your 44-year-old-self so unique, so assured. You’re in the crease with that relaxed bring-it-on flair, that one-and-only laid-back-dialed-in-but-quintessentially Melbourne style. We know the way you roll. We embrace the things that make you cool. We salute your comfort.
When it comes to helping kids in crisis, there’s no place like Home.
Home of the Innocents: what a perfect name. They represent almost everything wonderful about Louisville — which is a good thing, because that’s exactly how we ended up communicating their core value. Like so many large and complicated nonprofits, they had too much to share — the depth and breadth of what they do is simply overwhelming. So every time they try to connect with people, the details invariably get in the way of the broader, more important message: That they’re a place of immense compassion and service to children in crisis.
Rather than “rebranding” them, we instead repositioned the Home of the Innocents brand. We realized that the best way to share their meaning was to connect it directly to Louisville’s reputation as a caring city. Using the foundational words “The Heart of Our City,” we combined a number of moving parts, including the pre-existing heart icon, their location, their significance as one of Louisville’s founding citizens, and their embodiment of community compassion.
Our City. We cherish fairness, we embrace equality, we believe that health and prosperity are things everyone should be able to enjoy. And so, when we see inequity or misfortune, when we witness injustice or adversity or tragedy, we come together as Louisvillians in a spirit of compassion and care to make things better. It’s what we do and who we are. It leads us. It informs us. Above all, it defines us.
Our History. When you live in a city that’s built on a dream of always doing better, that’s personified by a spirit of humanity, that’s committed to a mission of helping friends, neighbors, and even strangers by providing the means to a higher quality of life, you need partners who share your values and who embrace your vision.
We’ve been a meaningful part of Louisville’s presence since 1880. Before many of the great buildings, the parks and streets, before the famous names and celebrated events, we’ve been here, helping Louisville’s most at-risk and vulnerable citizens — poor families, destitute mothers, and of course their children. We’ve been here because we believe in this city. We’ve been here because we believe in the promise and power of working together to make life richer; to improve society; to help the weak, particularly children, become strong again; to defend those in need; and above all, to contribute to the health of our city’s future.
We are Home of the Innocents. And we are the heart of our city.
When the Waterfront Development Corporation came to us asking for help on a nonprofit’s budget, we dove right in (see what we did there?). But unlike everyone else in the business, we weren’t content just making a new site for an old boat. We looked at the WDC’s business model and saw that, actually, there are two boats, and that the Spirit was an important revenue source that wasn’t being leveraged through its marketing strategy. It was always the runner-up to the Belle, a “second choice,” and therefore an inferior selection when looking for entertainment.
We completely rebuilt their brand from the bottom up, making it about enjoying Louisville from the river. This involved a thoroughly new marketing platform and graphic position, along with a full exploration of advertising and communication assets. And we did it all for the same low budget.
The river is at once where the past and future come together.
In 1778, George Rogers Clark established the area’s first permanent settlement, Corn Island, and which then very shortly thereafter led to the settlement of Louisville. Now, Louisville is one of the largest cities in America, a hub of commerce, a popular tourist and event destination, and a place where people from across the globe decide to put down roots and start families.
Our waterfront can be considered the very reason for our existence, our prosperity, and our success — and can also be viewed as an illustration of our appeal. The experience our waterfront and river offer to visitors, along with their views, define who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going.
If you want to share Louisville’s story, if you want to show how beautiful our city is, if you want to communicate its vast potential, its depth of offerings, or its visual presence and size, we invite you to do it through the river.
From the Shawnee who hunted and fished it to early settlers who depended on it for commerce and supplies, the vast, powerful, and beautiful Ohio has sustained Louisville for generations. Today it feeds the heart of a city that’s the epicenter of the world’s Bourbon craze, that fosters entrepreneurship and new technology . . . and that proudly calls itself home to visitors, families, and businesses alike. Our river is millions of years old. And yet, every time you look at it, it’s somehow new.
United Way is a national brand. It’s also a brand that, like many brands in the large-nonprofit category, gets abused when taken to the local level — and we don’t just mean graphically, we mean in terms of what it stands for. As a firm that’s committed to defending the high ground, it’s important to take brands back to their source, which is what we did with MUW — a brand that represents community and unity.
In addition to better positioning the brand, we also had to deal with the local brand changing itself operationally; rather than being a “clearing house” for funding, which it had been viewed as traditionally, it was morphing into a comprehensive community resource, a partner to whom anyone could turn for help with early childhood, youth, health, or financial support. We needed to build a place where people could come and be heard, where they could learn, and most important, where they could contribute.