Milpaws Tells Customers, “Don’t Ever Get Hosed By Your Hose”

The home page for is direct and to the point.

The home page for is direct and to the point.

I don’t often get excited by websites for hose, fittings and fluid conveyance systems.

But the new website for Milpaws ( is a definite exception to the rule.

BloodLines Creative joined forces with E-Merge Interactive to design a whole new look for Milpaws – a supplier of hose, fittings and fluid conveyance systems here in St. Louis, Missouri. The photography is crisp and clean along with the design.

Navigation of the site is easy – and there’s going to be an e-commerce portion coming in the very near future which will make it easier than ever for customers to order the parts they need.

But that’s only part of the story. Milpaws is a company that is totally devoted to customer service and it’s their custom-made pipes, fittings and fluid conveyance systems that they’ve designed for a wide range of applications that enable them to stand out from the crowd.

They’re a no-nonsense company that tells it like it is. A faulty connection that breaks down can cost a manufacturer thousands of dollars – sometimes reaching into six figures – and bring an entire production line to a halt.

It’s imperative to work with a company that helps assure that every fitting and every custom-designed solution works on a day-in, day-out basis. And if something ever does go wrong, the supplier needs to be able to jump in and solve the problem immediately.

That’s Milpaws. And that’s why we came up with the simple theme of “Don’t Ever Get Hosed By Your Hose.” No, we’re not using it as a tag line. It’s more of a description of the way they do business.

The company’s DNA was forged as a commercial hose and fitting distributor in the St. Louis market over 40 years ago. Though Milpaws designs and fabricates fully-integrated Fuel and Potable Water fluid conveyance and dispensing systems for the US Military, their key focus has always been servicing contractors and contractor supply companies with both industrial and hydraulic hose and fittings to meet their needs on a moment’s notice. They know with Milpaws, they’re getting the best products, backed by the best service – no matter what the application – from industrial to environmental, manufacturing to utilities.

There are some very simple things about that makes navigating the site just a little more interesting. The Products page features an accordion-style drop down menu – click on a specific category and it opens right up, only to get folded back into the menu when you’re done. The Applications page features a parallax means of navigation where one category naturally flows into the other.

We intend to make a site worth visiting time and again for both customers and potential customers. The e-commerce portion of the site is currently being developed and that’s going to be a game-changer. We’ll also be regularly updating the “In The Flow” section with pertinent news a customer can use to help them with their business.

Overall, it’s a very cool site in what was once a very boring category. Not anymore.

BloodLines Creative provides advertising and marketing communications support to a variety of consumer, B2B, non-profit and government-related clients. No project is too big, no budget is too small. If you’re looking for big idea thinking, you’ve come to the right place.

Working partnerships – Part III – E-Merge Interactive

I’ve been working with the fine folks at E-Merge Interactive ( long before they were known as E-Merge Interactive.

Barry Lee, David Smith and Kerry Brown are pretty much the brain trust behind E-Merge Interactive and I have worked with all three of these individuals for more than 25 years. I used to do quite a bit of video and audio production at Smith-Lee for a variety of clients. Dave’s wife, Sandy, is an amazing composer and gifted musician who I worked with to create award-winning commercials and videos back in the day.

But times changed and though Smith-Lee still does an impressive array of audio work, they shifted their focus more to the interactive world and formed a separate company,
E-merge Interactive, providing a full range of interactive services, primarily for B2B clients.

One of those clients is Byrne & Jones Construction. (

A partial look at the home page of Byrne & Jones Construction.

A partial look at the home page of Byrne & Jones Construction.

When we first began working with Byrne & Jones, their website was, to put it politely, a work in progress. Many of the sub-pages were incomplete. The home page featured rotating imagery but it didn’t really focus on key benefits of what the company provided.

And Byrne & Jones provides a lot. They’re the largest asphalt provider in the St. Louis metro area. Their sports division is one of the largest builders of tracks and athletic fields in the Midwest. They have a booming micro surfacing division, as well as perform concrete and soil stabilization work. In the past year, they also bought a company called Midwest Foundation that does marine work on rivers and lakes throughout the Midwest. (

We recently launched a newly updated website for Midwest Foundation, a Byrne & Jones Company.

We recently launched a newly updated website for Midwest Foundation, a Byrne & Jones Company.

Over a period of time, we completely overhauled the website and began doing SEO work as well, partnering with Romondo Davis of Davis Interactive for his expertise in all aspects of social media. The Byrne & Jones blog, that hadn’t had any new posts for quite some time began getting regular entries which we pushed out via social media to help drive more traffic to the site.

Thought leadership articles and profiles of projects are now regularly posted via the Byrne & Jones blog.

Thought leadership articles and profiles of projects are now regularly posted via the Byrne & Jones blog.

Numbers have been trending upward and the growth of Byrne & Jones continues to be on the rise as well. They are a well-managed, well-run company that needed their website and social media to catch up in order to better tell their story.

Byrne & Jones is just one of the clients that I have partnered with E-Merge Interactive to help provide marketing communications. We’re in the process of launching a new website for another B2B client and there are more projects in the works. It’s been a good blend of their interactive capabilities and my branding and writing expertise.

There’s always room for more.

The business model for BloodLines Creative is fairly flexible. I work directly for clients. I also work with agencies to help with their client needs in times of overflow or for select projects. I work with in-house agencies, helping to write or produce videos. And I partner with other designers, social media providers or production companies to assist their client needs. It all results in an ever-changing, always interesting flow of assignments. I am honored to be a part of each and every one. Now, what can I do for you?

Being responsive

Visit BloodLines Creative on whatever device you have and hopefully you'll enjoy the experience.

Visit BloodLines Creative on whatever device you have and hopefully you’ll enjoy the experience.

Yes, it took a while.

But is finally a responsive website.

So whether you visit on an iPad, your phone, a tablet or on a mac or pc, the site now adapts to the confines of the device.

Yes, it should have been done some time ago. And yes, the site could use a refresh of new work that’s been done over the past year or so. That will come. In fact, the site still isn’t 100% fully functional – my broadcast reel still doesn’t play on mobile devices – but that should be addressed in the next week or so.

I have fallen victim to what so many other advertising and marketing communications companies deal with all the time – it’s tough to manage your own marketing when you’re busy helping with the needs of the clients you serve.

It’s been a busy start to the year. But in order to keep that momentum going, I need to ratchet up my own marketing efforts – and before I began that endeavor, I needed to get the website fully functional no matter how it was viewed.

So I guess I need to wait a few more days until we get the broadcast section remedied for mobile viewing.

In the meantime, feel free to visit the rest of the website –

I welcome any feedback!

BloodLines Creative provides advertising and marketing communications support to a variety of consumer, B2B, non-profit and government-related clients. No project is too big, no budget is too small. If you’re looking for big idea thinking, you’ve come to the right place.


2016 and beyond for BloodLines Creative and BloodLines Art

So on this last day of 2016, I take a few moments to look back on the year and try to project what lies ahead for 2017.

Business wise, it was a good year. Not a great year. But a good year. I worked with a variety of new clients, lost an established one and still maintain ties with a long-time relationship which is very rewarding.

Though not a paying ciient, the invite that I created for our SLUH 40th Year Reunion was great fun and so was the Reunion weekend.

Though not a paying ciient, the invite that I created for our SLUH 40th Year Reunion was great fun and so was the Reunion weekend.

I created a number of videos, helped re-vamp one client’s website and we’ll soon be launching a new branding effort for another one. I began blogging for one client, worked on some PPC ads and I’m in the midst of working on a new TV and radio campaign as well. (Sorry for not naming client names – I only do that when I have permission and for this particular piece, I’m not even bothering to ask.)

On the art side of things, I was happy with the progress I’ve made as a painter. I created 11 paintings in 2016 – I don’t exactly churn them out, but I do stay at it and I continue to try and improve my brushwork, executing a variety of ideas that come from all places but always seem to circle back to Magritte in one way or another.

This painting was probably my favorite one that I created in 2016. It will be one of more than 30 on display at a solo show coming up in March.

This painting was probably my favorite one that I created in 2016. It will be one of more than 30 on display at a solo show coming up in March.

I began to more actively market my art this year as well. I now have two websites devoted to my art: and

The first site looks nice but has basically been useless due to a lack of promotion on my part. The second site enables you to take your art and have it show up in the form of pillows, tote bags, iPhone covers, coffee mugs, greeting cards and a variety of ways to order prints. That site continues to draw about 25-50 visitors a day and I’m approaching more than 8000 views since I started it back in July. The sales effort though has been somewhat disappointing – I’ve made enough to pay for the site but that’s about it.

Nuts and Bolts - one of my 'stick' paintings looks really cool in the form of a pillow and I've sold a few of them in 2016.

Nuts and Bolts – one of my ‘stick’ paintings looks really cool in the form of a pillow and I’ve sold a few of them in 2016.

There are more than a million works of art on the website. So I’m not overly surprised that my work isn’t selling like gangbusters. I don’t do art for a living. I do it for fun. I do it because I can. And I will continue to try and get better with each painting.

Prospects for 2017 look solid for both BloodLines Creative and BloodLines Art. Currently, I have a number of projects already in the books, some that will be on-going thru the Spring. I’m hoping to have my website fully optimized by the end of January and then I’ll begin more aggressive new business pursuits.

I hope to ramp up my blogging efforts in 2017 and have them be more focused on advertising and art. I dropped off the blogosphere and I’ve lost a lot of regular readers. Hopefully, I can earn them back.

I’m going to be ramping up for my first solo art show since 1994 over the next two months. It’s going to be at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery. It’s both an art gallery and a music venue which will be awesome as I’ll have more than 30 works on display throughout the month of March. Opening night is going to be on Friday, March 3 and feature the music of Tom Blood, Jr.

More on that will be coming.

1900 Park will be the site of my first solo art show since 1994. Opening night will be on Friday, March 3rd.

1900 Park will be the site of my first solo art show since 1994. Opening night will be on Friday, March 3rd.

I have learned in this business that you never know what’s around the corner. You do your best, try your hardest, be honest with the people you work with and have fun in the process and generally, good things will happen. I have been blessed to work with so many gifted individuals through the years. I continue to learn and explore new ways to market – but bottom line, whether you’re doing a website or online ads or developing a trade show booth, you still need big ideas to stand out, get noticed and acted upon.

I’ve still got a lot of those.

Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side of 2017.


All in a day’s work – augmented reality, vehicle signage and video script writing

I don’t often post about the work I’ve been doing for BloodLines Creative – which is probably bad for business. Yet I’ve been so busy doing things, including continuing to paint in the evening hours, that I just haven’t found the time – or the energy to tout some of the recent projects I’ve been involved in.

That’s okay because business continues to roll along – never at the volume that I would prefer which would be 40+ billable hours a week – but at the end of each workday, I often wonder where did the time go.

These past few weeks I’ve been working on a new business pitch and part of our proposal involved using augmented reality. In case you’re wondering, Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

In case you’d like to see it in action, here’s a little demo you can view –

I won’t go into the actual applications that we were proposing but suffice it to say, it has the potential to be pretty cool – if we actually get the business.

I’ve also been involved in creating new vehicle graphics for an electrical contractor we’ve been working with via The Epstein Group. Recently, we got the opportunity to see some of the new graphics put into place on a variety of vehicles in their fleet – vans, bucket trucks, pickups and even a trailer where we wrapped the entire vehicle in graphics.

What’s really exciting is this is part of a comprehensive re-branding effort that will include a new website, print and collateral materials along with new videos.

Speaking of new videos, I’ve written a number of them recently. One for a construction company, another for a new product launch along with a series of internal award videos recognizing the collective efforts of groups or individuals.

No, I’m not naming names or showing the work as some of the projects are confidential in nature or haven’t been approved for public release.

But the work has been both fun and rewarding. And I continue to learn new things and new tactics to utilize in the ever-changing world of advertising and marketing communications.

Regardless of the tactic, they still take smart, strategic thinking in order to stand out, get noticed and acted upon.

Big Ideas Start Here.

BloodLines Creative provides Big Idea Thinking to a wide variety of consumer, B2B and government-related and not-for-profit accounts. The work we do ranges from individual projects to full-scale advertising and marketing communications across all media. If you’re looking for something out-of-the-ordinary, then resist the ordinary. Give us a call at 314.973.9197 today.

The Strength from Within of Ikigai

This is the second of at least four posts about the total teamwork that went into the launching of the new line of Ikigai professional photographer camera bags.

Developing theme lines for companies that can stand the test of time has always been one of my favorite parts of branding. Through the years, I have had the opportunity to help position companies or products with just a few select words. Though I can’t claim anything as resoundingly successful as “Just do it” or, “Good to the last drop”, I’m proud to have helped all sorts of companies position themselves or their products to their respective target audiences with lines that were memorable, focused and that ultimately, helped sell a lot of product or generated a lot of interest.

So I was thrilled to be given this opportunity when I became part of an international team that was helping launch a new line of professional photographer camera bags called Ikigai.

I had heard a lot about Ikigai from Jeff Pickett, president of St. Louis-based Pickett Productions, a graphics animation company. Jeff was going to be creating some new videos on Ikigai’s behalf and said he might need a little copywriting help. I was definitely interested but wanted to learn more.

At first, we  had a conference call with one of the founding members who filled us in about where they were with product development and told us a little about the Ikigai name. Ikigai is a Japanese concept that essentially means your reason for being – what wakes you up in the morning. It seemed like a cool name but I wasn’t quite getting the correlation between Ikigai and a line of camera bags.

So we asked to have a meeting where we could actually see the product. We met at Jeff’s office. Brian Schultz, owner of Brian Schultz Design also attended as Brian and his team had developed the logo and an initial themeline that they were moving forward with. Upon seeing one of the new backpack prototype models featuring a removable, configurable camera cell, I was intrigued.

It was kind of a bag within a bag. The camera cell fit snugly inside the backpack and it was inside the camera cell where precious items like cameras and lens packages would go. Since the interior of the camera cell featured removable velcro linings, you could adapt the insides to include other key gear like flashes, battery packs or miscellaneous essential items for any shoot away from the studio.

“Does the competition have anything like this?” I asked. No was the answer.

“Does the bag within a bag give an extra layer of protection for the cameras and gear?” I asked. Yes was the answer.

The backpacks were very cool looking. They were made of this honeycomb ripcord nylon material that is tough, weather-resistant and gives the bag a distinctive look. There were all sorts of other features and benefits to the bag as well – from ergonomic zippers to a detachable waist belt and tripod carrying system. But the unique selling point?

That was on the inside of the bag.

I took all of this info and put together an overall creative strategy document that we all mutually agreed upon.

Then I went to work, trying to create a theme line that played off of the Ikigai name but also dealt with the key selling feature as well.

I discarded the obvious and tossed out the obtuse. When I hit on three simple words, something clicked with me.

Strength from Within.

The whole concept behind Ikigai is that there’s a strength within all of us that is a unique guiding force. Check.

The unique selling point of the Ikigai line just so happens to be the removable, configurable camera cells that can be switched out from one backpack to another – though there is only one model on the market right now, more are on the way and the larger versions will all feature these camera cells that make packing for shoots easier, add an added layer of protection and you don’t have to lug the entire backpack around when you’re out on a shoot. That’s truly strength from within.

Finally, there’s the whole inner resolve that any photographer who’s committed to getting that awesome shot has to have – photographers need their own strength from within to endure harsh environments or put themselves in precarious positions or wait for just the right moment to come along to turn ordinary into extraordinary.

It was a trifecta – a theme line that worked for the product name, the product itself and the target audience.

The old theme line was retired, replaced by ‘Strength from Within’.

With that as our base, it was time to begin to build the brand messaging.

And we had just the team to do it.


Why BloodLines Creative is moving onward and upward


Over the past two years, I was the Creative Director of McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. We created some phenomenal work that won local, national, international as well as industry-specific awards. We raised the bar in the department, delivering a higher level of advertising and marketing communications. Many of the materials we developed for McCarthy’s annual Shareholders’ meeting received the highest marks in company history and it was both an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the McCarthy team that made it all happen.

But sometimes in large companies, the status quo gets rocked. So in a move that took me by complete surprise, I was told that the Corporate Communications department was being taken in a different direction and I, as well as my immediate boss, were let go.

So now I’m heading in a new direction as well.

Onward and upward.

Back when I began BloodLines Creative, the intent was to provide Big Idea Thinking to those that couldn’t afford to pay the full freight often associated with traditional agency models. By aligning and then working with a variety of individuals with a range of different skill sets – from designers, web developers, and social media experts to marketing strategists, media buyers, planners and other writers – I was able to provide marketing and communications expertise on an a la carte basis.

That’s still the model and already, it’s working.

In the coming months, you’ll begin to see a flurry of new activity with BloodLines Creative. New projects are in the works. New relationships are being developed. And new avenues are being explored in an effort to go beyond traditional marketing and advertising channels.

Our message is still the same: Big Ideas Start Here.

BloodLines Creative

And they do.

If you’re facing an advertising or marketing challenge, we can help you create success. Whatever the project, from something as simple as an invitation to a full-scale mass media launch, we’ll create messaging that is on target, on brand, gets noticed and acted upon and ultimately, delivers the results you seek.

If you’re one of the individuals with any of the skill sets listed above and are looking to leverage your own talents and partner with someone who is always open to new ideas, we should talk.

Either way, it’s time to get to work and do great things.

To learn more about the work we can do, visit




Innovation is alive and well and living at Cortex

I went to an Open House Friday night that completely opened my eyes to the tremendous possibilities that could await the St. Louis metropolitan region if we could ever get our collective act together.

Initially, I thought I was merely attending an Open House for Manifest Digital, located in the @4240 Cortex building. I had been told the whole building was having an Open House and entered the evening expecting to have a beer or two, chow down on whatever appetizers might be available, check out the new Manifest digs and then be on my way.

Three-and-a-half hours later, I left, still wondering exactly what it was that I had just experienced.

The entire building was packed – a total mix of young and old, all races, all types, all mingling together in what seemed to me to be a carnival-type atmosphere of technology on display.

I had heard bits and pieces of the Cortex concept but was far from dialed in as to what it’s all about.

The overall correct name is Cortex Innovation Community (, which calls itself mid-America’s premiere hub for bioscience and technology research, development and commercialization.

All were on display Friday night. When you checked in, they gave you a wrist band – which, if you got it scanned at any of the stations around the building, would automatically enter you to win some hi-tech door prizes.

I walked up to a bar, asked what they were serving and was given some type of vodka drink that contained a Swedish fish and dry ice that made the whole thing bubble and steam. It’s one of the few times I was ever intimidated by a drink.

I began to make my way around. Boeing has an office there – it’s their internal idea incubator. On display was a flight simulator which I decided to try and it quickly reminded me why I never chose being an airline pilot as my career path.

The space at Manifest is very cool and very non-traditional. Everyone is out in the open, working side-by-side. There’s a huge video wall in the center that can be broken down into quadrants showcasing news and updates from the social media world, all tracking their existing client base, giving real-time capsules of what’s going on throughout the day. Collaboration is key and the open-space environment encourages that.

I quickly discovered that’s pretty much how the entire building works and is one of the key concepts behind the whole innovation district.

There are a lot of shared spaces throughout the building. At lunchtime, they use a lot of these to host idea exchanges – where people from different companies can talk about what they’re working on or the challenges they’re facing and get ideas or input on potential solutions. Everybody’s doing their own thing, but everybody is also totally in to helping out if they can.

There were students everywhere. I spoke to a recent graduate from Rolla who was engaging engineering students to build robots that perform a variety of tasks. I spoke to students from SLU, Wash U and UMSL – all who were working in one way or another at a lot of the startups located throughout the building.

And there were plenty of startups on display. That’s part of the concept – get established technology companies to locate there. But also make it easy and affordable for start-ups and entrepreneurs to utilize space and encourage knowledge-sharing so that ideas can flourish.

The location of the Cortex campus is a huge asset as well. Mass transit is key and soon there will be a new exit off of Highway 40 that feeds right into the area. Metrolink will also soon have a station and mixed-use housing is being developed while neighborhoods in the surrounding areas are all getting an influx of new occupants who want to be close to where they work.

Overall, the area represents a potential $2.1 billion in development, $100 million in public infrastructure and could lead to 13,000 new jobs – all on the premise that we sure can accomplish a lot more when we work together.

What a concept!

If only we could get such cooperation between the city and county. If only we could forget about all the little fiefdoms that exist throughout this region and recognize the fact that when we work as one, we grow as one.

St. Louis needs forward thinkers to step up.

It’s totally happening in some areas. It’s severely lacking in others.

Let’s GrOw, St. Louis.


Hole in one >/= Communication Arts finalist

I’ve always wanted to get a hole-in-one. And I’ve always wanted to get into the Communication Arts Advertising Annual.

This weekend, I achieved one of those objectives by puring a 5-iron into the wind on the 178-yard par 3 2nd hole at Crystal Springs Quarry. The ball landed on the green about 6 feet in front of the pin, took one bounce and disappeared.

I was playing with Paul Adams and Craig Workman, two long-time friends and golf buddies. We don’t get out that often but when we do it’s always been an adventure.

When I hit the shot, I kind of thought it went in the hole. But my distance vision isn’t what it used to be so I wasn’t sure. Paul and Craig also thought it went in. But they still had their shots to hit.

Paul’s went wayward to the left, into some tall grass. Craig’s went near the green but was short. Paul went in search of his ball, managed to find it and sent his next shot short of the green.

We were just getting out of the golf cart as Craig made his way onto the green. First thing he said was, “Well, you’re gonna’ need your divot fixer.” Then he approached the hole and said, “But you won’t need your putter.”

It was official. After playing golf since the age of 8, I had my first hole in one. We screamed loud enough that the group behind us knew what happened, took a few photos and then it was time to move on to the next hole.

We had 16 more holes to play.

It was all kind of surreal. My tee shot after the hole in one was perfect. My next shot, not so much. But I bogeyed the hole and the round continued. I still couldn’t quite believe it.

I always wondered what I would feel like if I got a hole in one. The answer – not that much different than before I got one. I kept on playing and maybe the daze I was in was good for my game. I shot a 74 on the day, easily the best round of golf I’ve had since my late 20s.

Normally, I shoot somewhere in the 80s. But not on June 7, 2014.

So now I’ve had the hole in one. But I’ve never had the CA finalist.

Through the years, I’ve only been involved with a handful of entries that we thought had a legitimate shot at CA’s Ad Annual competition and only twice have agencies where I’ve worked actually entered.

There’s a simple saying, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” But you’ve also got to be doing extremely strong work to get into the annual. It takes a brilliant idea, flawlessly executed.

It’s definitely something to shoot for and we keep on giving it our best shot, every day.

You never know when magic might happen.

That’s the fun of the game.


It’s ADDY Week in St. Louis

Yesterday morning, while walking around the track at the Des Peres Lodge, I learned that ADDY week begins tomorrow.

If it weren’t for Walt Jaschek, I would have been completely oblivious that ADDY week is even taking place, culminating with the ADDY awards this Thursday evening. Thankfully, Walt was seeking a little exercise as well and he asked if I was going to the big event on Thursday.

“Uh, what?”

So I went to the Ad Club’s website which has gotten a nice makeover since the last time I visited and looked into the upcoming events for ADDY week.

Unfortunately, with most of the activities taking place during the day, I’m probably going to have to pass on the speaker forums – though I’d love to sit in on the developing social media strategies panel and still might try to make that happen.

But I do plan on being at the ADDYs on Thursday evening. I want to see the best work that’s being done in St. Louis.

I’m hoping this year print makes a rebound and that there will actually be some finalists on display. I hope the TV reel makes me jealous. I hope the radio reel does the same. I want to see fully integrated campaigns that work across the board.

I want to see the celebration of St. Louis’ creative community on display. There are a lot of good firms doing all kinds of great work and it’s fun to see that work recognized. It’s also fun to visit with people who I don’t see often enough anymore.

It amazes me how much advertising has changed since I first got into the business – back when writers worked on manual typewriters, art directors did their layouts on drawing boards, audio engineers used razor blades to cut commercials and some editors were still using movieolas, cutting and splicing scenes (that was my favorite room in the basement of Technisonic).

But the celebration is still for the same thing – the big idea. And big ideas should be celebrated.

So thanks, Walt.

I’ll see you on Thursday.