Friday, August 24, 2012

Creative, Schmeative. Impact Rules!

That may seem an odd sentiment for a creative agency. Especially since there is nothing we enjoy more than taking words and pictures and bringing them to life in new and exciting ways. But we do expect our creations to turn people’s heads. And we love it when what we created sticks with our audience, and changes they way they think.

We just found out that this year we turned more heads than even anyone had anticipated for The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA). They asked us to use Rideshare Week to kick off a first-ever, year-long, cohesive, sustainable alternative transportation message that would excite commuters about using OCTA’S alternative transportation initiatives. We made it our goal to get solo commuters out of their cars and into busses, trains, vanpools, carpools, biking walking. Specifically OCTA asked us to increase participation in their annual Rideshare Week program by 15% – a 5% increase over their previous year’s increase of 10%.
 “No problem,” we lied, and we immediately set out to solve the problem. We scoured OCTA’s Awareness and Attitudes Studies, boarding reports, ridership trends, boardings, StationLink routes, and National Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) studies. Bit by bit we laid the foundation for the core message that would unite all the promotions, marketing events, materials and interactive resources for this year-long campaign. Taking our cue from TCRP studies, we designed this campaign to appeal to commuters directly, (rather than corporate transportation coordinators) for maximum impact.
To attract commuters from all walks of life, we created a heroic silhouette that was ageless and raceless: an illustrated everyman who set the style and branding image for all the promotions to come for the rest of the year. All the graphic elements promoting the Rideshare program were designed to be visually stimulating, compelling and memorable. Simple yet elegant icons of transportation gave equal weight to all the alternative transportation options.
OCTA named the hero image the “Ridesharer.” This campaign image appeared in all media, in print, on busses, on workplace posters, postcards and handouts, as well as on the web, on Powerpoint presentations and in email blasts, to reinforce the central message of empowerment no matter where the audience was or where they were looking.
Additionally, in accordance with the TCRP findings, OCTA’s VanPool effort was made easier for commuters with our interactive Seatfinder application which made joining existing vanpools and establishing new VanPools vastly easier.
When all of the figures were compiled and analyzed, the overall effectiveness of the 2011 Rideshare Promotion Campaign was remarkable. There was a 134% increase in pledges over the previous year, and it turned out to be the most effective Rideshare promotion ever. As an added bonus, vanpool participation nearly doubled even before the beginning of the vanpool week promotion.
Speaking from a “creative” point of view, impact is what it's all about.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One and a Half Months in 4 Minutes and 27 Seconds

Every move is fraught with delays. Trucks are late. Things get broken, lost, misplaced or (the politically correct word for:) stolen. Everyone expects this. Everyone deals with it. You just double the estimated amount of time predicted and learn to live with it.  It takes a lot to make a move truly "memorable."
Welcome to a memorable move. Between rebuilding two offices, resetting a contractor's broken finger and two broken toes, a bout with the flu for most of the crew, plus old plumbing, ducting, electrical and a monster ethernet network nightmare, our move of just under 7 blocks took almost exactly 2 1/2 months to complete. You have to laugh. 

Moving out of The Palace Livery and into the Original Chamber Building leaves us Unstabled.

Our new home, the original Chamber of Commerce Building is in one of the most beautiful buildings in the City. Constructed in 1906, it is a prime example of Beaux Arts architecture and the first "modern" steel frame building in all of Pasadena, and one of the first west of the Mississippi. It was also revolutionary in its design. The office towers were designed to maximize the effect of natural breezes for cooling. The U-shaped design surrounded a central atrium that assured there was always a shaded section at all times of the day. The central atrium was used mainly for deliveries, but was also a light and airy place to relax during hot and hectic days. The flow-through design utilized windows on the outside with transoms over the internal doors to make the most of the slightest breeze.
In 1988 this building was the first home to Pasadena Advertising (then The Pasadena Agency), We were one of the first tenants of the Chamber Building after a complete restoration by our good friends Gene and Marilyn Buchannan, and it marked the beginning of a long association with hundreds of other visionaries and developers dedicated to the restoration of Old Pasadena. A success story we are immensely proud to have been a part of.
As for the move itself, it was exciting, frustrating, educational, occasionally painful (and, of course, smokey), and ultimately extremely rewarding.  Or, in short.
We've decided never to move again. =)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Our New Old Home Sweet Home

We’ve moved. We went through miles of tape and enough boxes to build a cardboard super highway to the moon. After 17 years – even in a renovated livery stable – it's amazing what you can amass.
Now from our humble stable, we’ve moved into one of the grander examples of Beaux Arts architecture in Southern California. Our new offices, at 117 E. Colorado Boulevard in the heart of Old Pasadena, are a part of history. In 1906, ironically the year of the great San Francisco earthquake, this was was the first steel framed building in Pasadena, and one of the first west of the Mississippi.

The original Chamber of Commerce Building in the early 1900's with the Red Cars on Colorado Blvd.

This innovative building fell into disrepair along with all of what is now Old Pasadena in the 60's and 70's. For decades, the only traffic on Colorado Boulevard was drug traffic. However, in 1986, Gene and Marylyn Buchanan completely renovated the building, enclosing the central atrium, making the most of the building’s natural “green” cooling structures with the addition of air conditioning and thermal venting. It was an auspicious beginning to what is today Old Pasadena. It was a part of an effort embraced by hundreds of concerned citizens who joined together to rehabilitate the old downtown to it’s former glory.

The Chamber of Commerce Building Today with the same charm, but with a helipad on the roof.

It was also a new beginning for Pasadena Advertising (then The Pasadena Agency), as it was our first professional building after we moved out of the office over our garage. We were one of the first tenants of the old Chamber of Commerce Building, and it marked the beginning of a long association with the rebuilding and maintenance of Old Pasadena.

Suite 165, the (almost) finished lobby of Pasadena Advertising Marketing Design
You can read the whole story on our website, Where we Work page. Of course you are welcome to visit at any time. Just give us a call at 626-584-0011, and we will take you on a tour.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bike-To-Work Week, er, Month, um, Year

The Orange County Transportation Authority Bike to Work promotion officially starts Sunday, April 29, 2012 with a bike festival in Huntington Beach. However, National  Bike Month has to wait its turn for another 2 days, because it, officially, only happens in the month of May. 

Our National Bike Month Poster for OCTA
For years, this celebration was widely known as Bike To Work Week (which is still going on). This month, Bike To Work Week is May 14 - 18. However this is the year that OCTA asked us to use the month of May to kick off a year-long effort to get people out of their cars and onto their bikes to go to work, to shop, to school and to play. And while I'm sure a substantial number of you reading this are shaking your heads saying, "No that's impossible," I have to remind you that I have been doing it for over 17 years. And I know that some of you must be thinking, "Well, that all well and good for you young folks, but I'm too old for that." Fine. Then, using my age as a guideline, if you're over 67, you can use that excuse… at least for another year.
Everyone at Pasadena Advertising is proud that we were chosen to be a part of this effort, and OCTA is doing their best to make this year's program truly excel. Their theme this year is "anyone can bike" (as I believe I have proven myself). And among the benefits they are pointing out, the cost savings alone should provide more than a little motivation. The savings amount to thousands of dollars a year. In this economy, that is huge. But another benefit of course is health. For those of us who work so hard we can't find time to get to the gym, how about getting in a one-hour workout in 20 minutes?
My 6-mile round trip to the office by car is about 40 minutes. The round trip by bike, is around an hour. So in just an extra 20 minutes a day, I get in a full hour's workout. And I don't stand in line. And I don't have to put up with people using my soap, shampoo, towel, and whatever else they accidentally get their hands on. And did I mention that I can vary my route and enjoy a different ride every day? And that it's free?
So dust off your bike, and give your car a rest. Have fun.  Get healthy.  Click here for more information about OCTA's National Bike Month celebration. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why I bike

Pasadena Advertising is currently designing the "Bike to Work" promotion for Orange County Transit Authority, and it is not only an exciting project, it inspired me to explain what over a decade of biking to work and beyond has meant to me:

Why I bike

I bike to work
to shop
to play
to get away.
to get from here to there,
to feel the road
the rush of air
racing through my helmet
whistling in my ears.

I bike to hear the music
of the pavements
parks and river paths
back roads and byways
unique to every landscape
on my way.
I bike for all the sights to see
on quiet morning city streets
and barely used back roads.
I nod to runners, walkers
dogs and fellow bikers.
as I lean into headwinds
and focus on the safest path
down a long and winding stretch.

On weekends I ride far and wide
to feel my body bend
and muscles strain
to overcome the uphill climbs
to push myself through flats and turns,
and kaleidoscopes of neighborhoods
as landscapes pass me by.
From sun-swept early morning glories
through the white washed blues of afternoons.
into reddened evening orange hues
in a fading dance of shade and shadow.

And almost every weekday,
I bike to work
for fun
for health
for that natural burst of energy
that helps me through the day
from my arrival at my desk
until the sun's departure.
Then on my uphill homeward ride
with every pump and push and pant,
the cares of office
work and worries melt away.

The icing on the cake is when I bike,
         I clean the air
         and clear the streets,
         free up spots in parking lots
         have a laugh at the price of gas
         tone my heart and legs and lungs
         And in some small way
         share my choice of health with
         everyone who breathes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Pasadena On The Brink

Chris Leinberger addresses Pasadena stakeholders about General Plan slow growth dangers.

The City of Pasadena is at a tipping point. On one hand, it has the potential to set a standard for urban excellence for the nation as it did during the rehabilitation of Old Pasadena in the 70’s and 80’s. We worked together to turn a slum into one of the premiere destinations in Southern California. On the other, if we allow Pasadena to be smothered under any of the ill-thought out, growth-stifling General Plans being proposed, Pasadena could suffer a strangling stagnation for the next 20 years.

On the upside, our potential to excel is stunning. According to Christopher Leinberger, a Brookings Institute fellow, recognized as one of the top urban thinkers of all time, we can reverse the last decade of decline and decay in our City, if we just take the necessary steps to extend the walkable urban community of Old Pasadena throughout our central district. If we chose to move in that direction, we can reduce traffic, reduce pollution, increase revenues for our schools and city services, and accelerate our recovery from the recession.
What’s more, he adds, Pasadena has already done the hard part. A thriving walking urban community already exists. We can see the success of Transit oriented development centered around the Del Mar and Memorial Park stations.  These developments are already reducing pollution and green house gasses by 50 to 80 % compared to the Drivable Suburban Communities that surround the city. And if we only continue this kind of development, we will achieve additional benefits: increased revenues to support our schools and city services and the creation of thousands of jobs.
This "teaser" video is based on a 1 hour and 45 minute video of Chris Leiberger's seminar to residents and business people of Pasadena. This edit was created by Michael Marks, a film student studying urban design at Cal State Monterey Bay, at Pasadena Advertising Marketing Design. Special thanks to Robert Montano for archival footage of Old Pasadena and Steve Mulheim for additional graphics and maps of Pasadena's Gold Line transit oriented development.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The San Gabriel Valley Sees the Future is On Track

Lookie, lookie. Our interactive maps for the Foothill Extension Authority just went live.
The Azusa interactive map highlights Gold Line station locations and designs, connecting bus routes, bike routes and the walking radius from each station.
On November 29, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority posted six new interactive maps we created here at Pasadena Advertising Marketing Design. They all show how easy it is to use bus routes that serve local neighborhoods to connect to the Gold Line, and also display bike routes, local landmarks and attractions, and walking distances from each station.
Now residents of the next five cities on the Gold Line route can get a preview of the full potential that the Foothill Extension can have on their lives. They can visualize how they get to and from Gold Line stations or to their final destination, and how much more productive they can be using light rail over riding solo in their cars.
With a click or rollover, each city’s residents can see not only how the Gold Line connects to their neighborhood bus routes, but also how it connects their neighborhoods to the rest of the San Gabriel Valley – all the way to downtown Los Angeles.
The interactive maps that the Foothill Extension Construction Authority released today cover all six stations in the five corridor cities along the Foothill Extension from Arcadia to Azusa. The maps – located on the city pages of the Authority's website - highlight many of the important points of interest along the 11.5-mile segment currently under construction.
 “The excitement in the Foothill Cities is growing, and we wanted to create maps that graphically displayed the promise of what is to come,” explains PAMD owner and President Suzanne Marks.
The maps are easily accessible by clicking on the interactive map links on the city pages of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa stations, at the site.
Construction has already begun, and now the future is in sight.
A little background information:
PASADENA Advertising, Marketing & Design is an award-winning, woman-owned, creative advertising agency located at 51 W. Dayton St. in Old Pasadena.  Owners Suzanne Marks (member WBE) and Tony Nino have a long history of public service including support of Public Education and the American Cancer Society. Tony currently serves on the Old Pasadena Management District board and Suzanne is the marketing chair of the Boy Scouts of LA board.