Brinkmann Constructors Safety Video – Part One – The Assignment

The Brinkmann Constructors' safety video tells the powerful story of taking action versus standing by when it comes to safety.

Brinkmann Constructors’ safety video tells the powerful story of taking action versus standing by when it comes to safety.

Brinkmann Constructors was in need of a new safety video.

Safety is a key component of everything that Brinkmann Constructors does. This employee-owned construction company, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with offices in Kansas City and Denver knows how important safety is every day, at every job site, with every worker – especially since many of those workers are contracted. So with every new project, there’s the potential to have a whole new crew of workers – and it’s vitally important to assure that these workers know all of the safety measures that need to be taken to assure each one of them goes home at night.

So they wanted a safety video that wasn’t your normal safety video – one that told a powerful story and that wouldn’t be ignored two minutes into the overview.

Like many projects that I work on, it was a true collaborative effort. In this case, I was called in by Jeff Fuelling, president of Pickett Productions (In the past year, Pickett was bought and is now known as CG Studios.) Jeff was the project lead and had also brought in Mike Martin and Michelle Anselmo of Mike Martin Media as part of the team.

I would be the copywriter/Creative Director on the project, Pickett Productions would supply the graphics and post production and Mike Martin Media would handle the shooting, casting, voiceover recording and the initial edit.

At our first meeting, we met with Tim Myatt, Safety Director at Brinkmann along with Miranda Hill, Preconstruction Coordinator and Ted Hoog, Brinkmann’s Vice President of Operations. They provided an overview of the Brinkmann safety process and emphasized the need to do something different with this video that would keep the viewer engaged from start to finish.

One of the items Tim mentioned were two related poems that he would read at the beginning of each safety orientation overview and at the end. The first was titled, “I could have saved a life that day”. The second was, “I know I saved a life that day”.

The poems deliver the exact same scenario at a construction site – the only difference being the actions taken by a construction worker. Rather than stand idly by when they see something going on that they believe is not quite right, they take action. And by taking action, they help prevent what could have been a life-altering accident.

Tim mentioned that everyone always seemed to pay attention during those parts of the presentation. The meeting wrapped, and we had our assignment. Create a video that would grab and hold the viewer’s attention from start to finish.

We were bidding against two or three other production companies. All had essentially been given the same download. Our task was to deliver a concept that would win us the job.

The creative process began. I researched other safety videos. I researched safety statistics regarding the construction industry. Initially, I had about five approaches that I then narrowed down to three. One followed a worker from the start of his day through the end, telling the safety story from a first-hand experience while still delivering all the key info that had to be covered. The second approach was very graphics driven, with key facts and statistics being emphasized as well as a range of different workers shot in off-site situations providing their particular reasons why they work safe each day – because there’s a lot of ball games still to see, graduations to attend, meals to enjoy, etc.

We were fairly confident going in that the third approach would be the winner. The idea was simple. Take the two poems, and deliver them throughout the video, interspersed with key safety facts and figures. The viewer wouldn’t just be read the poem, they would see the poem brought to life – seeing the fatal consequences of not acting and the positive consequences of taking action.

Our production team worked out some budget parameters and developed a rough timeline. We made our presentation.

A few days later we received the news. “I could have saved a life that day” was a go.

Then the real work began.

This is the first of three blogs regarding this project. BloodLines Creative works in partnership with a variety of creative resources. If you’re looking to tell a story via video, or have any other marketing communications needs, we can assemble the team ideally suited to get the job done – on time, on budget and with big idea thinking delivered in an impactful way.

I Could Have Saved A Life That Day was written by Don Merrell
I Know I Saved A Life That Day was written by Jim Morgan

 

 

A return to broadcast advertising

Early in my career, about 60% of the work I created was broadcast advertising.

At Kenrick Advertising, we were always working on some new TV commercial or radio spot. Budgets were solid and radio and TV were by far the best way to make an impact on an audience.

Oh, those were the days. The older I’ve gotten, the less broadcast I’ve had the chance to work on and when you have your own company and you’re dedicated principally to serving the communications needs of smaller clientele, broadcast advertising generally just isn’t in the picture.

That’s okay. I have always loved the creative process and whether I’m working on a new website, or blogging for a client or creating a small space digital ad, there’s still the challenge to creatively solve a problem, tell a story and hopefully, make an impression that ultimately leads to more business for your client.

But when the chance to work on some broadcast concepts comes along, I’m all in.

Such has been the case with a recent round of work where I’m partnering with an agency to develop a new TV, radio and ultimately an online campaign for a new product.

Unfortunately, at this time, that’s as much info as I can reveal. But it’s been a blast and a true partnership where everyone involved has added to the core concepts. And when we presented to the client, the client had their own significant contributions which will plus the work in the long run.

We’re still in the developmental stages but it has been a very welcome blast from my past. And I can’t wait to see these concepts turned into reality.

If your business, service or organization could benefit from some big idea thinking, we should talk. Because I guarantee, I can help.

Going wherever the work takes you

This summer, there will be a gorgeous pool here, overlooking this gorgeous view.

This summer, there will be a gorgeous pool here, overlooking this gorgeous view.

I’ve had the privilege the past two years of working on an account that’s in the business of building pools. They do awesome work and I am continually impressed at the end result of their efforts.

Similar to advertising and marketing, it’s a process. First and foremost, you have to be invited to pitch the business. Then you need to convince the buyer that what you offer is going to be the ideal solution for them. Once you’re awarded the job, you’re expected to deliver and it takes a lot of hard work along the way to get the job done right.

This past week, I went to visit one of their current clients where work is in progress. It was a cold, dank day. The wind was blowing and rain or sleet was expected later in the afternoon. Still, there was a story waiting to be told.

This pool was going to be built on the side of a hill, ultimately resulting in a gorgeous view overlooking the valley below. But in order to do that, about 600 tons of rock needed to be moved in order to flatten out the hill and build a base.

That’s truly laying the groundwork for a pool.

During my visit to the site, I took a few moments to ponder my surroundings. Here I was, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. All was quiet. No birds chirping and nobody in sight as far as the eye could see.

Just me, taking a few photos of a bunch of rocks that had been spray painted to outline the perimeter of the pool. There was a solitude to it all and for a brief moment, I took in the view and felt a sense of gratefulness.

A few days before, I didn’t even know this project existed. But there I was, documenting the work that had been done to date. It’s going to be a magnificent pool when it’s all said and done.

But there’s still a lot of work to do.

For them, and for me.

Want compelling copy and cut through creative with your advertising and marketing communications? Want it for a fraction of what you’d pay compared to if you hired a full-service agency? Call BloodLines Creative today. You’ll be glad you did.

#successfulresults #greatcreative #creativecopywriting #stlouiswriter #getresults #poolbuilder

 

#willyoureadthis #makeitrelevant #toomanyhashtags

If you're not using hashtags in your social media postings, you're not doing the job that you could be.

If you’re not using hashtags in your social media postings, you’re not doing the job that you could be.

I’ve never taken a course in social media marketing and I guess that’s extremely evident from the number of views I get with this blog.

Then again, when your number of postings dwindles from weekly to monthly to #onceinabluemoon (the name of one of my paintings) you basically deserve to lose a lot of your audience.

But 2019 marks a major crossroads for me. I need to ramp up new business efforts for BloodLines Creative and that’s going to require on-going communications, pushed out to a variety of different social media platforms. It’s also going to demand that I get a much stronger handle on social media marketing techniques.

Part of that begins with my use of hashtags.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have never embraced hashtags and really didn’t have much of a handle (pardon the play on words) on the value of using #hashtagsinsocialmedia – primarily on twitter and Instagram.

But I am learning and I’m seeking to learn more – which ultimately is going to benefit the clients I serve as well as my own self interests.

Here are some generic reasons for using hashtags:

  1. Hashtags simplify the process – Searching a hashtag pulls results for each post using that hashtag. Using a hashtag helps you reach your target audience, and likewise makes it easier for others to find your information.
  2. Hashtags compel an action – When a user sees a post that is of interest, they will likely spend time looking through content brought up by the hashtag.
  3. Hashtags evolve – Hashtags are being used by more and more platforms, impacting the amount of information put directly in front of social media users.
  4. Hashtags reward the distinctive – Hashtags make finding information easier for social media users. A unique hashtag makes your message stand out to the users who find the hashtag valuable.

I have recently experienced firsthand the value of using hashtags via my own instagram account promoting my art – #tomblood_art

A few weeks ago, I sat in on a webinar designed to help artists better market their work. Being a marketer myself, you would think I’d be a natural at promoting my artwork. Turns out, I could have been doing so much better – not just via hashtags but also via my use of key words to describe the paintings I’ve done on my two websites: http://tom-blood.pixels.com and https://bloodlinesart.com

What works for promoting art will also work for promoting my gifts as a talented #greatcopywriter as well as my skills as a #marketingcommunicationsspecialist

I learned that any time I make a post on Instagram, it should have a minimum of eight hashtags that are pertinent to the work I am featuring. How many is too many? I’m not sure but when your hashtags are twice as long as your message, it does seem a bit much.

Still, those hashtags are driving eyeballs to my Instagram account. In the past two weeks, my number of followers has increased dramatically and now continues to rise daily. And they’re beginning to draw even more eyeballs to the many clients I serve when I post information for them.

Yes, I’m a bit of an old dog. But I’m learning new tricks.

Developing great creative and compelling copy has always been a strong trait of mine. Now, it’s time to pound the # signal even more.

Want compelling copy and cut through creative with your advertising and marketing communications. Want it for a fraction of what you’d pay compared to if you hired a full-service agency? Call BloodLines Creative today. You’ll be glad you did.

#successfulresults #greatcreative #creativecopywriting #stlouiswriter #getresults

 

 

Looking forward to what’s next

Labor Day will be upon us in a few days and summer will soon be in our rear view mirror.

It’s been a great one in all regards – work, art and family, though not necessarily in that order since family is always first.

Though we didn’t have any extensive travels, we did celebrate a memorable weekend in Chicago attending a Cards-Cubs on my daughter’s 20th birthday and thoroughly enjoying ourselves as the Cards bashed the Cubs, 18-5. Once they reached their 14th run, we were really hoping they could post a 20-run tally but 18 was more than sufficient.

Our visit to Wrigley Field was extremely enjoyable.

Our visit to Wrigley Field was extremely enjoyable.

This was also our first summer in our new home and we finally christened it by hosting a  25th Anniversary celebration-Open House combo on perhaps the nicest day that July had to offer. Attending the PGA on three different days also was great fun.

Any time you can get this close to Tiger Woods, it's a good day!

Any time you can get this close to Tiger Woods, it’s a good day!

Work continues to roll along and it’s what’s on the horizon that has me excited. I continue to serve a few key accounts and there are some potential great new client relationships that hopefully will become reality over the course of the next few weeks. BloodLines Creative will be entering its 8th year in business and though I’m not creating an abundance of TV and radio commercials anymore, I still enjoy the creative challenge that each and every assignment brings.

One of a series of email reminders that go out to Ad Club members encouraging them to play in the upcoming Ad Club Fall Golf Classic.

One of a series of email reminders that go out to Ad Club members encouraging them to play in the upcoming Ad Club Fall Golf Classic.

It’s always the chance to do the best work you’ve ever done and a continual opportunity to learn something new every day. I love to create and I love to turn marketing challenges into opportunities. That will never grow old.

Painting has also been a joy this year. I continue to take on paintings that challenge my skill set and I feel as if I’m becoming better as a painter. I love to paint the impossible or at least the highly improbable. Though I continue to explore many of the same concepts as Magritte once did, I think I am developing my own, unique style.

A painting of a painting showing what you would see if the painting weren't there.

A painting of a painting showing what you would see if the painting weren’t there.

I am thrilled to have received more than 20,000 views on my Tom Blood fine artist website. I was honored to have recently sold four of my paintings to one of the largest collectors in the Midwest. And I am looking forward to some exciting coverage of my work and announcements about it that will be coming in a few short weeks.

I have been blessed in so many ways. Yet you never know what lurks around the corner. So I’ll end with this simple thought. Cherish your memories. Look forward to the future. But always live in the present. For what we do each day matters. Somehow, someway, each day, try and make a positive difference in someone’s life.

You’ll be glad you did.

A writer’s gotta write – part two

The other day, I picked up one of my three print portfolios, opened it up and took a look.

What a fun blast from the past, looking at print ads, outdoor boards, direct mail pieces and company image brochures that I’ve created through the years.

It got me thinking about how fortunate I’ve been to be able to continue to pursue my passion for creating advertising and marketing communications for such a wide and diverse array of clients.

I literally have hundreds of samples. So many, that I can no longer fit them into three different portfolios. So there are also boxes of print and collateral work, along with award programs, award certificates, DVDs of TV commercials and various videos, CDs of radio spots and other reminders that I sure have written a boatload of communications.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to create work for some major brand names that just about everyone in St. Louis and a lot of the world has heard of before. Mix in work for some much smaller clients that are in a variety of industries, along with some pro bono work for a charitable organization that I’ve been involved with for a few years as well as creating the invite and reminders for the annual Ad Club Fall Golf Classic and it’s been a very enjoyable juggling act the past few months.Screenshot 2018-05-16 07.17.13The only thing that doesn’t keep growing is this blog. I’ve put it on the back shelf, along with updating my website with some more current work.

These days, you rarely get print samples – if you get to do any print work at all. So many things transpire in the digital world and I simply don’t bother to update my client list or work samples. Nor do I blog too much about the daily trials and tribulations I go through trying to get work, create work, and then get more work.

Most times, that process simply doesn’t seem interesting enough to merit any mention. The work always does a strong job of delivering the client’s brand personality in a compelling and very focused way and I really should promote it more. But I’m often hesitant to reveal current clients, fearing that some bigger agency will come in and try and swoop it up. And when the day is done and evening rolls around, most times, I’m done with writing for the day and much prefer pursuing my other passion – painting.

That needs its own separate marketing effort, further putting my blogging into a secondary or even tertiary role.

That’s why there simply isn’t a regular flow of blog articles coming out of BloodLines Creative. A writer’s gotta write. Unfortunately, most times, it simply isn’t for this blog.

Thanks for reading anyway!

 

Reigniting my love affair with creating radio commercials

I have the privilege of being a guest speaker at Walt Jaschek‘s radio ad production course that he teaches through the Webster University School of Communications.

During my one-hour presentation, I’ll be sharing some of my all-time favorite radio commercials that I have produced through the years. Sad to say, there are no recent spots that I’ll be sharing. It’s not that I’ve lost my skill-set for creating radio commercials that stand out, get noticed and acted upon. I simply don’t have the client list that does broadcast advertising anymore.

And that’s a shame. Radio has always been one of my favorite modes of advertising. I’ve probably written and produced more than 200 radio commercials throughout my career. I’ve had the opportunity to create memorable spots for a wide variety of clients – here’s a short list …

The Missouri Division of Tourism; St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Baseball Cardinals, Six Flags, AAA Insurance, Charter Communications, The Pasta House Company, Missouri Division of Highways Safety – I could go on and on but I won’t.

No matter what the client, service or product, I always sought to deliver their key message in some attention-getting, memorable way.

I’ve done a jingle or two. I’ve done humor. I’ve done drama. I’ve been hollered at by Peter Graves and Jack Buck – all in the pursuit of creating radio commercials that cut through, are memorable and that get the cash register or the phone to ring.

Creating great radio commercials involves the ultimate theater of the mind. Through words, sound effects, music and the talent you choose you can paint a picture in someone’s head and if you do it right, plant a seed as well that gets that person to act.

Going through the radio reel that exists on my website as well as raiding my archives made me realize just how much I miss both writing and producing radio spots. It’s a talent I have that has gone untapped for too long.

I wish there were some car dealer out there or local retailer who wants to reach a very targeted audience and knows they could be doing better with their radio efforts. Maybe there’s a new product or service that needs launching. Maybe a local golf course is tired of seeing their number of players continue to go down. Whoever, whatever, I could virtually guarantee that I could do a better job than anything they’ve ever done before.

I just need someone to pick up the phone and call me.

This operator is standing by.

A writer’s gotta write

2018 is off to a great start, but in the coming weeks, I hope it gets even better with a variety of assignments that would spin most ordinary heads.

Blogging. Video scripting. Website content creation. Speech writing. Print ads. Email marketing. Pay-per-click ads. Direct marketing. All for different clients and all tied back to delivering the brand.

What’s missing? Well, I sure would welcome the opportunity to create some cut-through radio ads and develop some local TV commercials that would truly stand out amidst the sea of mediocrity that litters our airwaves.

But I’m not complaining. I love to write. And I love to write just about anything as I am insatiably curious and love to find creative solutions to whatever marketing or advertising challenge I may face.

All of this requires an inherent ability to ramp up quickly on a subject so that i can quickly grasp the key messaging that needs to be delivered and then deliver it – in an unexpected, surprising and memorable way.

I don’t always hit home runs. And I certainly don’t accomplish everything on my own as I continue to be blessed by working with a talented team of designers, developers, editors, account people and best of all – clients.

BloodLines Creative is now in its seventh year. We’ve been staying quite busy. But there’s plenty of room for more.

If your business would benefit from big idea thinking, BloodLines Creative can be the communications partner you thought you couldn’t afford. Put us to the test. You will not be disappointed.

Welcome to Missouri, the only state in the country on Fodor’s Do Not Travel list

I

Fodor's has the entire state of Missouri on its No List for 2018. I completely disagree.

Fodor’s has the entire state of Missouri on its No List for 2018. I completely disagree.

I never realized what a dangerous, backward, unfriendly state I live in. But there it was, on the inside pages of yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, stating that Fodor’s, the internationally-recognized travel advisory company had listed Missouri as the only state in the USA to make Fodor’s No LIst 2018.

That certainly makes the job for Hoffman Lewis, who I believe still handles the advertising for the great state of Missouri, more formidable.

The article struck me as hard to believe and somewhat akin to a bunch of blind men describing an elephant. Depending upon where you stand, your view can be radically altered.

I’ve been to about 40 of our 50 states. Yet I am certainly not qualified to blacklist an entire state based on some limited opinions and generalities. According to Fodor’s, here’s why they recommend that no visitor should set foot in the state of Missouri:

“Missouri is the place where SB 43 was passed making it more difficult to sue employers for discrimination, a state representative argued that homosexuals weren’t human beings, a tourist who got lost and ran out of gas was later found murdered in his jail cell without ever being put under arrest, and two men were hunted down and shot on suspicion of being Muslim on the outskirts of Kansas City. And that’s just in 2017.

Those are just a few of the startling headlines from the state that prompted the Missouri chapter of the NAACP to advise tourists to skip this state and the “looming danger” for visitors when they’re touring United States.

Missouri has “a separate standard of laws that are only applicable to some people,” Nimrod Chapel, Jr., head of the Missouri chapter of the NAACP, told Fodor’s. He includes people of color, women, the disabled, senior citizens, foreigners, and people of faith as among those who are discriminated against.

He further cautions against the manner in which these laws are policed in the state. “Not everyone dies after an encounter with law enforcement, and we wouldn’t suggest that. But there [are] so many negative outcomes that would indicate that there’s some bias in the way that their laws are enforced that we think that people have to be aware of the danger and, you know, decide for themselves.”

Thanks a lot Fodor’s.

Based on the opinion of some Nimrod, they’re now saying that anyone who happens to be a person of color (not specified what color), a female, someone who’s disabled, a senior citizen, foreigner or a person who believes in any type of religion, you best stay away from the Show Me state.

If you just so happen to be a 65+, disabled, African nun from the Republic of Ghana, well, you may never get out of here alive according to Fodor’s.

C’mon, Fodor’s. You owe the great state of Missouri and all the people who are working hard to overcome all of the negatives that have been hurled at this state in the past few years a major apology.

The metro St. Louis area has more than its share of problems. Yes, there still is a racial divide here, just as there is a serious economic divide. But there are so many good things happening as well and those items just don’t get the news time they deserve.

The murder they reference in Kansas City actually took place in Kansas. And from everything I’ve heard, Kansas City has made dramatic strides as a community that’s not only a great place to live, it’s a great place to visit.

Having an entire state on a travel company’s No List is a farce. They don’t know what it’s like to enjoy a weekend in the Ozarks and probably don’t even know where it is.

Personally, I’m contacting Fodor’s to let them know of my disgust. They have a Forum and I intend to register and post my opinion. And I will never be purchasing any travel-related guides that bear their name again.

And if, by chance, you were planning on a trip to the Taj Mahal or Everest this year, Fodor’s recommends against it – but with a little more actual reasons since the Taj Mahal is being completely re-furbished and most of it is under wraps while with Everest, their reason for not going is simply that too many people die on their quest. Especially if they’re a 65+, African nun from the Republic of Ghana.

That’s what I think, how about you?

In addition to providing advertising and marketing communications services by day via BloodLines Creative, Tom sometimes writes about what interests him, especially when it comes to all things St. Louis. He is also dedicated to becoming a better surrealist painter, trying to paint the impossible. He invites you to visit his work at his Pixels website, or via his BloodLines Art website. His work can also be viewed on Pinterest, Saatchi Art and on the mobile app, Art Loupe.

Is there a PuppyMonkeyBaby in my future?

Would I ever have thought of this?

Would I ever have thought of this?

I’ve been creating ads now for well over half of my life. During my time, I’ve come up with some rather unusual creative solutions. But I must admit, I have yet to ever be part of selling a client something as outrageous as Mountain Dew’s PuppyMonkeyBaby used to sell their Kickstart drink. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql7uY36-LwA

Yes, I know, this is old news. The commercial made its debut this past February on the Super Bowl. But I saw it again last week and for some reason, it really stuck with me this time.

BBDO out of New York was the agency that created it. I have no idea who the writer on it was. Amazingly, I think the ad is very strategic. The team knew they were creating an ad for the Super Bowl so it had to stand out. Kickstart is a combination of three things – Dew, juice and caffeine. On the Super Bowl, everyone loves commercials that have a baby in them – or a puppy – and yes, there have been quite a few memorable commercials featuring a monkey.

So someone had the very simple thought, “Hey, why not combine all three into some really weird creature with a dog’s head, a monkey’s upper body and a baby’s lower body walking around in a diaper?” It’ll be a Puppy Monkey Baby.

It makes no sense. It makes brilliant sense. It’s weird. It’s disturbing. It speaks – in a very strange voice. It dances. It carries its own little bucket full of Kickstart and it makes its grand entrance through a kind of little trap door in some guy’s apartment where three slackers are just sitting there chilling when the PuppyMonkeyBaby arrives.

Later commercials play up the tag line “It all starts with a kick”. They’re fun, they’re crazy. But they’re nothing like the PuppyMonkeyBaby.

So the question I ask myself is this – “Is there still a PuppyMonkeyBaby waiting inside me, just yearning to come out?”

Yes.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to create TV commercials all that often anymore. It’s my biggest lament of running my own business that caters to a client base that most times, simply do not have the budget nor the need to do broadcast advertising.

So that PuppyMonkeyBaby stays locked up in my brain, just waiting to be unleashed.

It’s in there.

And it wants out.