Waking up to Missouri

It’s been many years since I worked on the Missouri Division of Tourism account, going back to my days at Kenrick Advertising.

Back then, the overall theme we developed for the state’s advertising and marketing efforts was “Wake up to Missouri.”

Our goal was simple. Get people (primarily families) both in-state and out-of-state to wake up to the wide variety of things to do here in the Show Me State. And there really is a lot to do. It’s just that after living here for a while, many of us have a tendency to take it all for granted. Wake up, people – that’s what we wanted them to do.

Over the past few days, we did a little of our own waking up to Missouri at the Lake of the Ozarks as various family members experienced the following …

There was a helicopter ride, gliding over the Lake and Bagnell Dam. A visit to Bridal Cave which both surprised and delighted. An early morning wave runner ride at the base of the dam. Golf at Porto Cima, one of the finest courses I’ve ever played. We had two sunset dinners overlooking the lake, bought a few silly souvenirs and spent a fair amount of time just chilling poolside.

All in all, it was time well spent and enjoyed by all of us.

So that got me to thinking about Missouri’s current advertising and marketing efforts.

I remember how disappointed I was when our state adopted the theme line of, “Where the rivers run.”

Oh, I get it. There’s all kinds of river activity here in the great state of Missouri. But it seemed to totally neglect the three biggest tourism factors the state had going for it – St. Louis, Kansas City and the Lake of the Ozarks. Toss in Branson down in Ozark Mountain Country and you’ve got four major tourism draws that though there may be a river nearby, really aren’t focused around river activity.

The theme for Missouri these days is, “Enjoy the show.” My first impression was, “Huh?” But then, after a little more investigation, I see that Hoffman Lewis is back to following the same strategy we employed – only instead of waking people up to the wonders of the state, they’re playing off of the Show Me State nickname – and it’s true, Missouri does put on a variety of enjoyable shows. And not necessarily the theatrical kind.

After viewing some of the ‘enjoy the show’ TV commercials and print ads (http://www.visitmo.com/backstage) I think the overall effort is strong. The writing is a series of play-on-words (something that I’ve always enjoyed – both creating and viewing). The art direction of the print ads is simple and clean. The photography is very well done. The outdoor boards don’t do much for me but I won’t hold that against them. And the end logo treatment is contemporary, fresh and somehow fitting (good job by Rukus – the post production facility).

Overall, I think the folks at Hoffman Lewis have a good thing going.

There’s still plenty of summer left to get out and enjoy all that Missouri has to offer. And I’m sure that future advertising efforts will assure us that even though summer’s about to come to a close, the show will go on.

And whether you Wake Up to Missouri or Enjoy the Show, the urge to action is pretty much the same.

Wake up and enjoy it.

Ads of the World to the rescue

There are times when I get stuck in the creative process. There are times when I wonder, “Why am I in this silly business?” And there are times when I just want to see the power of creativity at work.

That’s why I try and get a daily dose of Ads of the World. http://enpundit.com/ads-of-the-world/

Every day, there’s a new batch of ads and yes, they’re from around the world. Print ads, outdoor, TV, posters – you name it, there’s something new there every day.

I know I’ve complained numerous times about how lackluster ads seem to be these days in the daily paper. Magazines – who reads them now, anyway? And local television advertising is a serious wasteland of drek and obnoxiousness. Add to the fact that my viewing habits don’t stray too far from Cardinals telecasts and the evening news and I keep seeing the same commercials over and over again.

The repetition is not leading to sales.

So in the morning, as I’m starting my day, I click on the Ads of the world website to see what’s new. It’s a rare occasion when you see a long-copy print ad. Nobody reads copy anymore. We live in a visual society with short attention spans. Grab the readers or viewers attention and make your point. Say one thing and say it well.

Some do it better than others.

The link I have posted here is for the 10 most creative ads of the world. I sincerely doubt that and would like to meet the jury that came to this conclusion.

Still, I always enjoy the creativity and simplicity of the visuals. My favorite (pictured above) is the vacuum cleaner print ad, titled ‘Duck’.

If you’re at all into creating ads or marketing materials or if you simply want to be slightly entertained each morning, bookmark adsoftheworld.com

Someday, may the work you see there be your own.

Cards can’t catch a break

When Yadier Molina slid into third with his thumb bent in a way that thumbs aren’t supposed to go, the Cardinals season may have just officially tanked.

I’ve been accused of being a pessimist when it comes to teams I follow. This year, I think I’m simply being a realist with the future of the Cardinals.

Joe Kelly came back to pitch tonight. We’ve missed him. Too bad he couldn’t get one more start down at AAA because he got knocked around with no real out pitch and his breaking ball was breaking right over the heart of the plate.

That comes on the heels of another Shelby Miller disappointment. We went to the game last night and knew before the first pitch was thrown that the Cardinals were in trouble. Shelby has been downright miserable recently. Maybe it’s those back spasms or an inconsistent delivery. Whatever it was, he was on the mound and that was strike one. The Redbirds were going for a four-game sweep – that happens maybe once a season. Strike two.  Then there was no Yadi. Strike three before a pitch was even thrown.

I didn’t hear the news about Yadi’s thumb until I got to the ballpark. Like Bernie Miklasz said in this morning’s Post-Dispatch, “there’s no way to find any positives with this one.”

When McCutcheon stole second and followed it up by stealing third, it was a signal that the stop sign has been removed when there are runners on base against the Cardinals. It happened again tonight with a double steal in the first inning.

This could get real ugly after the All-Star break is over.

It looked to me like Oscar Taveras was running hurt after his last at bat last night. I think he injured himself going after a ball that he could have caught but didn’t.

I think Allen Craig has been playing hurt – his swing simply isn’t the same as last year. Holliday may get hot and his home run swing might return but that seems doubtful.

This is a team that seems to have no spark plug. At the beginning of the year it seemed like we had the best lineup in the majors pitching and hitting wise. But now that the season is more than half in the books, it’s a different story.

Maybe Mozeliak will find that spark plug when he’s searching for a catcher or a right fielder or another starting pitcher.

Maybe the ship will right itself – after all, we’re only two games back.

I hope I’m all wrong and that I’m completely off-base.

Problem is, Yadi’s not there to pick me off.

I fought the lawn and the lawn won

We live in a great neighborhood. Tree-lined streets, elegantly manicured lawns, quite a few that have their own built-in sprinkler systems and cute little berms with just the right mix of flowers and bushes make it all a pleasant drive up our main hill.

At first glance, we’re living up to the standard in terms of lawn care. We’ve got two cute little berms and trees line our front sidewalk along with a few more strategically placed in the front and along the side of our house help to create that all important curb appeal.

Look a little closer though and you’ll see a lawn begging for help.

For more years than I can remember, the far side of our house has been under siege by moles. They love our neighbor’s yard but they know no boundaries and have left many a mole trail that venture into our back yard, and have made several unsightly appearances on our front lawn, too. I’ve tried a variety of tactics for mole elimination. All have failed. Buried on the side of our house is one of those sonic vibration machines that supposedly let out a signal that frightens the moles away. I’m sure the moles had a good laugh at that one.

One of my favorite mole moments was early one morning when the sun still hadn’t quite risen. I think I had an early tee time or something and had gone out to get the paper but decided to also check on that day’s ruination by the moles. It was early spring and we’d had a fair amount of rain. The ground was pretty soaked and I literally saw it being burrowed from underneath. I got a shovel and went for the kill and much to my surprise – and then disgust – I succeeded. There was one less mole to wreak havoc on our lawn.

But that was year’s ago and the moles still make their presence known as your feet go sinking into the ground in places where they shouldn’t.

The real enemy of our lawn though appears to be shade.

We simply can’t get grass to grow with all the shade our lawn gets. Last year, I went the grass seed route – buying the kind of grass that supposedly thrives in shady conditions. It worked for a while and I was thrilled to see grass in place of hard-packed dirt. We watered the new grass regularly, faithfully … until about mid-August when the rest of our lawn would literally scrunch under your feet when you walk. We gave up. The grass under the trees died and when this spring rolled around, it didn’t look much different than the previous year.

This spring, Chris went out and bought a bunch of fresh turf, putting it down primarily in the bare spots by our front porch. It looked great. Lush and lovely.

But I think we neglected the watering aspect a bit and when I mowed the lawn yesterday (only portions of the lawn actually needed it, the rest of the time you’re trying to find the row you just went down because you can’t really tell where the lawn mower has been) I noticed we were approaching brown out mode on a good chunk of our new turf.

So I just got back from turning off the sprinkler in the hopes of some resuscitation. This is only the first week in July.

Summer hasn’t really kicked in to overdrive yet and the browning is still a few weeks away.

Is it really worth it to keep up the daily moving of the sprinkler?

Probably not.

If the lawn wants to be brown, it’s nature’s way of letting us know.

Some battles aren’t worth fighting.