BLOG

Judging the 2018 Effies

As I reflect on the past year, I can’t help but focus on a trip I took to Chicago in December to be a judge for the 2018 Effie Awards – one of the most prestigious awards you can win within the Shopper Marketing industry. PHX has submitted programs to the Effie Awards in the past, but I’ve never been a judge so this was something completely new for our agency as well as myself.

When I originally submitted my application to become a judge, I didn’t know what to expect. There were several questions spinning in my mind; How would I fit in? Were there going to be 50 judges from top agencies? Or the most daunting question for me; How would Phoenix Creative compare to the larger, global Shopper Marketing agencies in the room—those agencies that submitted for the same top awards that Phoenix was competing for?

After going through the experience of being a judge, I knew in my heart that Phoenix was right where we needed to be and that we deserved a seat at the judge’s table.

So, how did I know? It’s simple: as the day progressed, it became clear through judging entries and talking with fellow judges that the brand experiences I’ve had at Phoenix provided me with valid first-hand experience and insights that contribute to the larger conversation about Shopper Marketing. Another belief was reinforced while I judged; opportunity matters—and I’m thankful to the many brands that have given me the experiences necessary to put new thinking in retail to use for them.

In reviewing the entries I was given to judge, I witnessed how important it is that PHX has begun to fully know and understand how retailers think and market just as much as the brands we support. At the end of the day, our job is to help sell more products for our customers, but we can’t do it without a superior relationship and understanding of the retailers.

As we drove back through downtown Chicago to O’Hare, I began to process the very quick, but highly beneficial day—I couldn’t help but be so thankful to the clients that asked me to consider becoming a judge and the opportunities that experience has provided—and of course held hope that our agency had some finalists in the mix for Effie Awards!

Schaeffer’s Product Line Branding

A new brand goes well beyond a logo. We knew after Schaeffer’s came to us with the challenge of helping to name, brand, and position their new PC-11 compliant oils that we’d start our thinking from the aisle out. All of PHX’s retail branding efforts consider the consumer, however, we also consider the unique retail environments and channels that carry the product as well—and we start our thinking there.

Schaeffer’s new oils will help truckers, farmers, and large equipment operators of all types become compliant with new 2017 federal standards that affect their diesel equipment. In order to communicate the benefits of this new line of oils, each end-user category was considered as a separate consumer base with a product line developed specifically for them. The four product lines were each assigned a unique color code system, naming convention, market message, ancillary texture, and application imagery in order to quickly communicate to diesel operators which variation was engineered specially for them.

From mom-and-pop truck stops to rural county co-ops to national fuel centers, this brand needed to stand out and work quickly to accurately communicate the intended usage types and engine formats each oil type was developed for. Ultimately, personality, tone, and technical data were as important as color, image, and design—collectively, the brand became another symbol of Schaeffer’s 175+ year history of innovation geared toward keeping machines and people performing at their best.

Budweiser® Made In America Program

We work with diverse teams of Brand Activation Managers, Brand Managers, and Marketing Directors for Anheuser-Busch-InBev — all of whom juggle different aspects of the brand’s promotional efforts. For this project we initially partnered with the A-B team to work with the 2017 Budweiser® Made In America Festival sweepstakes to showcase this year’s festival, but the how and where the sweeps would live was still in discussion.

Together, we made the call to place the sweeps on Instagram. We took the 2017 Budweiser® Made In America Festival brand guidelines, and customized the design to layout the Instagram contest information in an easily understood and attractive manner.

Our efforts on the sweeps portion earned us an opportunity — A-B approached us with a new project for the festival to develop sign making templates for on- and off-premise use. Like the sweeps, we worked in the 2017 Budweiser® Made In America brand guidelines and prepared a suite of sign making graphics to be used to encourage attendance, raise awareness, and showcase the impressive lineup.

As the promotional activity grew for the festival, a brand activation manager, who wanted something a little different, called up PHX. They had gotten space in the Time Out Philadelphia Magazine and wanted to use some of the on-set graphics of the festival that had a vintage feel. We introduced illustrative music elements and vintage iconic imagery — a patriotic eagle, distressed guitar fret board, and illustrated cassette tapes.

Our involvement evolved as the program progressed; from one project with one manager to two more projects with two different brand activation managers. Our ability to be agile in our thought process; from organization and extrapolation to outside-of-the-box, above-the-line design work helped our client promote this iconic festival.

Phoenix Creative Co.