The Super Bawl: Nationwide Insurance’s Disruptive Campaign

February 9, 2015 — Brian Burr

For a Super Bowl decided by what some have called the worst play call in NFL history, it’s no surprise that tears were shed. But in a world where hundreds of people actually bet on the potential length of Katy Perry’s pants, few would have been able to predict the real cause of many viewers’ emotional afflictions. In what felt like a flood of serious advertisements, no brand pushed the envelope more than Nationwide Insurance. The 45-second spot “Make Safe Happen” aired halfway through the second quarter and immediately became what I like to call the “Marley & Me” of Super Bowl commercials, based purely on its heartbreak potential. The ad, which was intended to raise awareness of accidental child deaths, features a young boy listing the many accomplishments he will never achieve. Inspired by childlike wonder and accompanied by impressive special effects, the ad then takes a serious turn when the child actor coolly admits, “I couldn’t grow up, because I died from an accident.” An overflowing bathtub, poisonous cleaning supplies and overturned television set fill the frame as a narrator urges viewers to help “make safe happen.”

The reaction went over just about as well as you would […]

Continue Reading

A Video is Worth a Thousand Pictures

January 29, 2015 — Ted Bachman

Picture this—you’re hunched over your friend’s computer, looking over his shoulder as you see the 25th picture of the Eiffel Tower from his trip to France. Your cheeks are hurting from holding a smile, but you’re somehow able to keep saying “oh nice!” over again. Meanwhile, you haven’t even made it to the Louvre in your pictorial tour yet—better get comfy! I love still photography, but everywhere you look, the world is moving to video. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all using video. And YouTube uploads over 100 hours of video every minute. That’s a lot of cats! Video is increasingly used online to showcase consumer products, even real estate. (At CBX, we’re beginning to transition to video to highlight case studies of our work.) In fact, three-quarters of web traffic is predicted to be video related by 2017. Not to mention, anyone with a smartphone has a video screen in his or her pocket and the ability to shoot video at any moment. While mobile video isn’t particularly new, what’s remarkable is the access to and use of smartphones around the globe. In the US alone, two-thirds of the population uses a smartphone, including over 80% of young adults. […]

Continue Reading

Wearable Coca-Cola?

December 18, 2014 — Kara Denniston

Wearable Coca-Cola you ask? Well, if you are a Gen Xer like me, you know that Coca-Cola was a big fashion trend back in the 1980s. You remember, the oversized rugby shirt with the large Coca-Cola logo on the front? The shirt came in many collectible colors (and yes, we collected them) that we mixed and matched with our Swatch watches and Converse sneakers. Having a bunch of energetic teenagers strut around as walking advertisements was the best promotion that this CPG company could hope for—and it actually lasted for a few years. Way to go Coca-Cola! You had us.

Fast forward 25 years: I’m at a shopping mall in São Paulo with my boyfriend’s 16-year-old Brazilian nephew when I found myself inside a Coca-Cola branded store. The store was full of youthful, urban, European-influenced clothes and shoes. A big consumer packaged goods brand has an entire clothing line? Not just a shirt with a logo but rather a popular fashion brand comparable to Aeropostale? I found the merchandise in the store to be a big disconnect from the consumer Coca-Cola beverage brand that I know here in the United States.

It made me wonder, would this Coca-Cola fashion line […]

Continue Reading

Team vs. Teammates: The importance of friendship in the workplace

November 25, 2014 — Lauren Kossar

I’m not sure if it was the crisp air slapping against my face or the rush of adrenaline, but during a recent game of flag football, I learned to appreciate something: I’ve been lucky to have a great group of friends who are also my co-workers.

The way that we rely on each other as teammates in a game – acting as a unit, trusting, supporting and looking out for each other – informs how we interact in life and at work. I hadn’t really put much thought into that connection before; I’ve simply enjoyed all of the activities, conversations and laughs we’ve had over the years. But as I analyze my post-college career, I can attribute much of my professional growth and success to these “teammates” I’ve met along the way. Every time they’ve talked me through a design rut, given me that much needed distraction, brightened my mood on a dreary Monday or compelled me to laugh until I had tears streaming down my face, they’ve kept me on track for success.

Would all of the great ideas I’ve had been possible without this sympathetic and supportive atmosphere? I’m not so sure. Hearing other’s thoughts, experiences and points […]

Continue Reading

Pixels of Fury: Team Double J

October 16, 2014 — Admin

Last week, senior designer Jonathon Jones was one of six NYC designers to participate in Shutterstock’s Pixels of Fury live design battle. The competition was fierce: Participants had just 20 minutes to create a brand from scratch for a local brewery.

Check out the recap here.

We had a blast supporting our CBX teammate. Go team Double J!

Continue Reading

Embarrassing Ourselves in the Name of Brand Loyalty

October 14, 2014 — Georgia Taft

As long-standing partners to Big Heart Pet Brands, we are often privy to their promotional events and activities. So on one sunny August day, a group of CBXers participated in Meow Mix’s “It’s Meow Time” event at Columbus Circle. We went to show our loyalty and support the cause. And boy did we show spirit… in the form of song.

The event was part of a broader “It’s Meow Time” campaign, which has been a strategic opportunity for Big Heart Pet Brands to reinforce and modernize the classic heritage of the Meow Mix brand. The campaign launched with a video featuring a hilarious EDM version of the jingle, sung by rave cats and backed by DJ Ashworth’s exclusive remix. The event at Columbus Circle encouraged fans and consumers to enter a large, branded, recording booth truck and reinvent the beloved Meow Mix jingle to the tune of their choice.

American Idol’s Kellie Pickler was on hand for the day to show us all how it was done, as well as to greet fans and sign autographs. Also there to join the fun was Cleo, Meow Mix’s iconic spokescat. Our group selected a hip-hop song, but we had the option […]

Continue Reading

Finding Inspiration When it’s Least Expected

October 6, 2014 — Aimee LoDuca

Last week I took my Mom (at her request, of course) to see one of her favorite artists, Jason Mraz. Since I wasn’t really familiar with his music, I found myself concentrating less on his melodies and more on his stories. There was one song in particular that really captured my attention––“Shine,” inspired by the short film Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames.

In the film, Charles and Ray Eames use the system of exponential powers at a rate of 10 (or the effect of adding or subtracting another zero) to visualize the importance of scale. The film begins with a close-up of a man sleeping on a blanket; the camera zooms out and away from Earth and into the atmosphere exploring the depths of the universe. Eventually, the camera descends back to Earth, proceeds to enter the human body and explores the very DNA that makes us who we are.

After viewing the film, I asked myself how often we look beyond what’s right in front of us. The film isn’t only about the relative size of things in the universe but about changing your perspective, taking a step back from your everyday landscape and finding inspiration through a different lens. We’re all professional multitaskers, often having […]

Continue Reading

Heating is the New Cooking

September 26, 2014 — Steve Swanson

It’s a typical Tuesday night and I am at work after hours trying to get that “one” project out the door, when the the phone rings. “Dad, what’s for dinner?” Ugh. Double ugh.

So, in my haste to rush home and get food on the table, I stop by my local Super Target. I grab a cart and push past the produce aisle. My sights are set on the frozen aisle, looking for a pizza or a bag of something, anything, my kids will find edible. As I pass by the deli, my eye is caught by something different, something new. A “Mix & Match Meals” section. The package designer in me is compelled to take a closer look.

My first reaction is, “Wow, this looks pretty good.” I see sauce pouches with hero end-dish food photography and packages showing off “fresh” cut vegetables, sliced meats and steamed pasta or rice. The messaging at point of sale is encouraging me to “chose, combine and create” to make dinner in 15 minutes. That sounds easy, sign me up!  

I make my selections and head home eager to see if the convenience and taste is worth the premium price […]

Continue Reading

Building Blocks of Creativity

September 18, 2014 — Jane Sayer

As the festivities wound down at my daughter’s first birthday party, I noticed a pattern. The guests, ranging in ages 1 to 60, all started to play with Legos. Though the main attraction was my daughter’s new pink DUPLO Tub (the larger bricks complete with girly flowers and pet rabbit), my son’s ginormous tub of miscellaneous bits and pieces did not go unnoticed. This simple brick was somehow capturing the attention and imagination of young and old alike.

And of course that’s precisely the appeal and genius of Lego, a company that is as relevant to this generation as it has been to previous ones. It’s an empire that has morphed into a thriving subculture reflected in movies, games, specialty stores, competitions, six themed amusement parks and an adult fan club.

Adult fans of Lego, or AFOLs as they’ve come to be known, understand that the very appeal of Lego isn’t just in initial creations but in the destruction and recreation process. As every parent who has a Lego kit in her house knows, the fun begins when the first piece gets lost or breaks off and the kids start over, use their imagination and make something new.

The Lego […]

Continue Reading

When faking it isn’t a bad thing

September 12, 2014 — Patrick Sullivan

This past weekend I threw a surprise 40th birthday party for my wife. She’s a HUGE Neil Diamond fan so I went with a “Denim & Diamond” theme. My years in the design business have taught me that every detail needed to be considered: invitations, table decorations, themed alcoholic beverages, homebrew (yes I brew my own beer, SullyBrew), the wine, her outfit, the karaoke song list, stage and lighting and more. I even hired Tom Sadge, a Neil Diamond Impersonator, whom we’ve seen a handful of times.

To say it was EPIC would be an understatement.

If I could’ve had Neil himself, I probably would’ve passed. Yep, we actually prefer “Fake Neil.” Offstage he’s a normal dude, but when he’s “ON” he’s captivating. I have never felt cheated by opting for the “Fake Neil” because I believe his show is equal if not superior to the real Neil. It’s a testament to the time and effort he’s put into perfecting his product.

The same holds true for everything I purchase. Store aisles and e-commerce sites provide many options: some expensive, some cheap, some branded, some not. Ultimately I make a decision partially on price, but more importantly on the return I think that […]

Continue Reading