Do you need help articulating your organization’s awesomeness? Do you know what you want to say, but your print or web copy needs more punch? Do you need to name a new event? Does your campaign or rebrand need a killer tagline? Can a Creative Director be equally strong a wordsmith as a designer? Well, yes.
Brandstorming / group facilitation
Below are a few naming and tagline projects I’m quite proud of. Expand to read a few words about each.
CAMPAIGN MESSAGING & TAGLINES
SEE THE END OF HOMELESSNESS / VOYEZ LA FIN DE L’ITINÉRANCE
During it’s 125th anniversary year, Old Brewery Mission, Montreal’s largest homeless shelter, was launching a 6-year $55 million capital campaign. They asked me to come up with a campaign concept that would resonate, in English and French. The fact that I am fluently bilingual was a big plus, as was my emphasis on gaining a thorough understanding of the organization and its environment. First, I researched historic and current OBM messaging and the state of homeless shelter communications. After determining that OBM is radically changing what it means to be chronically homeless in Montreal thanks to their phenomenal (over 80%) success rate, I suggested a bold concept: “See the End of Homelessness”.
TODAY I AM... HUNGRY. AFRAID. ALONE.
Jewish Family and Child asked me to design their annual fundraising campaign. After an in-depth discussion I understood that their previous creative had become somewhat stale. I also felt that previous campaign envelopes were sorely lacking in “Open-Me” urgency. With so many demands on potential donors, the envelope represents vital “real estate” that simply cannot be wasted. One of several concepts I presented features a close-up photo of a solemn-looking boy identified as Ben, 13, with the headline “Today, I am…” (evocative of bar mitzvah boys since time immemorial stating “Today I am a man”) Once opened, an accordion-fold brochure features the same boy next to the words “hungry”. A frightened-looking pregnant woman declares she is “afraid”. An elderly woman laments being “alone”. Things are not always as they appear. For a community lacking awareness of those in need hidden in plain sight, this campaign served as a wake-up call. Donations rose by approximately 30% year over year.
BREATHE – AN EVENING OF INSPIRATION
The Ontario Lung Association was planning a new gala event featuring a best-selling health and lifestyle author, entertainers the Blue Man group, and celebrity chefs. I was asked to find a name for the event and design the invitation and evening program. One of my suggestions capitalized on a word prevalent in O.L.A.’s communications materials: “Breathe!” Another concept played on the double meaning (literal and metaphorical) of the of the word ‘inspiration’ : “An Evening of Inspiration”. The Lung Association loved both, named their event: “Breath! An Evening of Inspiration” The inaugural gala raised over $160000 for lung health research.
WISH HEROES / CHAMPIONS DE RÊVE
Children’s Wish Foundation decided to launch a special fundraing campaign that would seek to recruit 100 high-level donors per region that would commit to a monthly contribution of $100 each, for a full year, in order to grant “emergency” wishes to children who couldn’t wait. As Art Director at Stephen Thomas I was given the task of naming the bilingual national program, designing the visual identity and all print materials. Among several names I suggested was “Wish Heroes”,placing the donor at the heroic centre alongside the brave kids who are CWF’s clients. I then added the tagline “The Light of a Hundred Stars”, in reference to the hundred donors neeeded to launch the program. The next challenge was to translate the sub-brand into French. I found that a direct, literal translation of the English wording to be awkward. My suggestion,“Champions de rêve – La Force de 100 Etoiles” successfully translated the spirit of the English name, while avoiding the awkwardness of a literal translation. The program then evolved into CWF’s national monthly giving program.
WE ARE HERE
When Regent Park Film Festival asked for a rebrand, they did not ask for a new tagline, as they already were using “Reel images, Reel communities”. During the course of my research and consultation, however, I found that the “Reel/real” word choice was prevalent, including locally – unfortunate for a small and unique event seeking to stand out in a city replete with film festivals. As the brandstorming session I facilitated with a group of key RPFF stakeholders revealed an intense attachment to the Regent Park neighbourhood as well as a strong openness to multi-cultural inner-city voices not usually heard, I suggested a new tag that would stand out, loud and proud, with bold simplicity: “We Are Here”.