Super User

Super User

Tuesday, 21 August 2012 11:15

Gavin Peters

Executive Producer

For Gavin Peters, it wasn't a decision.  The camera chose him

So much so that today, Gavin has become one of the food industry’s most sought-after food photographers.

On any given day you may find Gavin shooting private jets for Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft, food items for Dean & DeLuca, or steakburgers and onion rings for Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, a national restaurant chain.  

Then watch him transition to photographing models for Lycra or skid steers for Case New Holland.  

Point is, Gavin's career spans many high-end categories, as he specializes in fashion photography, food photography, and photography of people-movers from motorcycles to private aircraft.

Gavin is expert at capturing the emotion of a live moment, so that viewers may easily see themselves within an image.   

Allowing client objectives to flow through his lens, he charges each image with a quality challenging the viewer to tap into the power of their own emotions.

Be it dodging the hooves of running buffalo, laying in a flooded street or lighting the perfect piece of saffron — there you will find Gavin — capturing the perfect image.

Names Have An Overlooked Direct Effect On Company Performance And Perception

Adandon the superfluous.

And become unforgettable.

Though it might seem counterintuitive to judge a company, a product, or person by their name, a recent study confirms our brains work to do so anyway.

The more pronounceable a person’s name is, the more likely people are to favor them:

“When we can process a piece of information more easily, when it’s easier to comprehend, we come to like it more,” said psychologist Adam Alter of New York University and co-author of a Journal of Experimental Social Psychology study published in December, as reported in Wired Science

Alter and colleagues Simon Laham of the University of Melbourne, and Peter Koval of Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, carried out the studies.

Fluency, the idea that the brain favors information that’s easy to use, dates back to the 1960s, when researchers found that people most liked images of Chinese characters if they’d seen them many times before.

Researchers since have explored other roles that names play, how they affect our judgment and to what degree.

For example, in 2005 Alter and his colleagues explored how pronounceability of company names affects their performance in the stock market.

They found companies with simpler names and ticker symbols traded better than the stocks of more difficult-to-pronounce companies:

“The studies demonstrated that the fluency of a share’s label, in both…company name and ticker code, influences early performance on the stock exchange.

…[P]eople expected fluently named stocks to outperform stocks with more complex names

.…[S]hares with fluent names actually experienced an early boost in performance across two large U.S. stock markets, using the pronounceability of company name and stock ticker codes as predictors of success.”

This simple demonstration is particularly powerful in light of analyst attempts to predict short-term share movement using often complex and unwieldy mathematical models:

“[O]ur findings suggest that attempts to understand complex real-world phenomena with equally complex models may not always be the best approach.

Keeping in mind that humans are forced to seek a simple thread of understanding when bombarded with excessive information, a…simple theory is a successful predictor of human behavior.

The result:

“[C]ompanies with names like Barnings Incorporated will initially outperform companies with names like Aegeadux Incorporated.”

While advertising and PR professionals often believe the answers of how best to frame the story of a company or product are found within the complex, what is true instead is how people react to the beauty and intelligence of marketing reducing complexity to simply communicated.

Simple is better.

Simple enables you to own the conversation, so that you become difficult to ignore among competing market choices.

Rather than the complexity of the shout employed in far too many advertising and new media campaigns, understanding that simple is better is why we refer to our campaigns…

As a Whisper.


Founded in 1770 in New York, St. George's Society honors it's namesake, Saint George, the patron saint of England. The organization needed to reassess its relevance among expatriate young professionals based in greater New York, and rethink how best to attract this growing audience in support of events, and its philanthropic purpose.


We faced an exciting challenge: To broaden the appeal of St. George's Society required creating a new brand property offering a new entry-point story, snapping the stereotype British formality associated with the organization while mapping into self-deprecating British humour: RATHER THAN SAINTS, WE ARE JUST GEORGE®. This simplified approach turns the organization's existing positioning humorously on its head, while broadening their scope to become a cultural hub among Commonwealth expats in New York. GEORGE is visually expressed with a twist on a British icon, the classic and fashion-forward bowler hat, a symbol of appeal to the client's desired and existing audiences, and was introduced through online, print and social.

Own The Conversation® Results

Since its introduction, GEORGE® has grown from brand property to primary brand asset of the organization attracting a 400% surge in vistors to its events and a 200% boom in new members. The audience GEORGE engages now attracts underwriting sponsorship from iconic British companies such as Jaguar, Boots, Land Rover, HSBC, Virgin Atlantic, Barbour and many more. Among those counted as fans include Her Majesty the Queen of England. As for us, we love the bowler symbol so much let's just say we keep more than a few of the hats around.

We consulted with NBC's retained team to determine how best to propel NBC Local Media and its owned and operated television stations toward next-level growth.

The client needed a clear advertiser-compelling basis for attraction and disruptive, unavailable elsewhere benefits, positioning NBC Local Media content platforms as highly valued assets for advertising and media decision makers.

A strategy was created to reposition Local Media from a local spot inventory provider among often-indistinguishable competitors, by moving to a focus upon the intersection of individual viewers and the culture/commerce of their local metro, and more precise neighborhood.

Our collaboration pointed to a focus upon creation of hyper-local content repurposed beyond a point-in-time local market television newscast to 24-hour digital platforms, with a competitive emphasis on mobile.

A content creation strategy was developed acknowledging the benefits of audience-submitted content, and how best to attract quality inventories of such content with real-time relevancy.

A review of the agency's primary product - labeled education programs - led to an assessment of the market reputation and narrative of JMH Education Marketing, a 30-year education content provider.

Our task was to attract a large untapped audience of corporate prospects, by building off the firm's decades of success with a select group of Fortune 500 and public interest clients.

Our work uncovered a commonality of individual and corporate interests in encouraging reward outcomes for people, by aligning organization and individual human values as the inspiration for healthier lifestyle choices on issues of health & wellness, financial literacy, career options, and environmental awareness.

Working with a forward-thinking CEO, we created a new entry point for understanding the value and benefits JMH provides its clients through its quality-of-life content products, by repositioning, renaming and remessaging the agency on a basis of reward and inspiration:

inspire ME

Creating for the individual beneficiaries of JMH products, a New Me.

Our work assisted in reframing the culture of the agency so that values are commonly understood and expressed. We created communications assets to re-introduce the agency through traditional and new media by print, platform and social.

We consulted with a New York agency for their presentation to the American Dental Association, in elevating the ADA's outreach efforts through their annual National Children's Dental Health Month, stressing the importance of good dental health among pre-adults.

To engage the multicultural pre-adult audience, we created new marketing properties speaking aspirationally with the pre-adult audience rather than down to them as children - a particularly sensitive consideration when communicating with teens and tweens - to be expressed through an American Dental Association-linked site, print and new platform assets:
My Mouth Is My Speaker and The World Needs To Hear Me

A secondary property - labeled My Sparkle Smile and tagline Gleaming - was also created for use with the pre-tween age audience.

Sunday, 29 April 2012 13:27

generation On

A Lifetime of Helping Others Begins Here


After acquiring Children for Children, a community service organization founded by a former First Lady of New York, the Points of Light Foundation needed to integrate the organization with their pre-adult “products” – Kids Care Clubs, HandsOn Schools and HandsOn Action Center-driven kids programs – to grow awareness and successfully engage teens, tweens and younger children, secondary audiences of teachers, school administrators and parents, as well as prospective funders.  


We jumped at the opportunity to solve the thread-the-needle task of creating a stereotype-snapping entry-point to successfully engage each of these client audiences. 

Knowing pre-adults prefer not to be lumped together with labels such as children or youth or kids – while also recognizing their almost-adultness– we navigated this delicate balance by drawing upon a whitespace opportunity, the power of the innate human need to help others. 

We created new brand assets as communications tools, including a new enterprise name, generationOn, placing power directly in the hands of the primary pre-adult audience, framed to to "make your mark on the world" through new online, social and digital tools.


generationOn has quickly grown beyond its New York City origins to become a global service movement igniting the power of all pre-adults to Make Your Mark on the Worldsymbolized by new visual identity, now a leading brand asset of Points of Light.

generationOn attracted Hasbro as its strategic philanthropic partner, cable’s Discovery Family Network as broadcast content partner, reaching over 60 million U.S. households, and The Walt Disney Company as leadership sponsor.

generationOn was honored with a White House event co-hosted by President Barack Obama and former President George H. W. Bush.

In the Middle East, the multiple daily application of fragrance has a long tradition among both men and women.

By partnering with the leadership team of Swiss Arabian Perfumes Group, we uncovered a new way of consumer engagement by rethinking the backstory of fragrance products.

Rather than product as fragrance in a bottle, the strategy reframes fragrance as communications tool extending personal influence.

As part of this engagement we created a new fragrance product, developing the product position, key messaging, container and packaging design, visual identity, and new product name, Darbuka.

After positioning the new fragrance as a communications device for women of more utility than a smartphone, a musical instrument indigenous to the region, a drum - Darbuka – was selected as the name of the new fragrance, pointing to the key message, Hear My Beat.

With verbal design complete, visual design inspiration tapped into the tradition of henna as body art within the region.

As shared by Creative Director Tracy Holdeman:

The henna direction also created a complimentary effect – the identity further achieves intimacy as Darbuka leaves a visual indicator on those "touched" by the fragrance.

Darbuka creative was developed for use across multiple channels, including go-to-market planning, container and packaging design, consumer affinity tools, online platform, retail staff uniforms, staff training for use of the new product, outdoor, print, television and a range of other applications.

Looking At the Minutiae of Destination, Place & Country Branding Misses A Big Opportunity

"Bangladesh can add value to its branding in the global market embarking on some distinctive competencies paving the way for creating five strong revenue streams [manpower, RMG, jute, micro-credit and peace-keeping armed forces] for the country," or so says a report appearing in Financial Express.

However, we suggest that rather than revenue streams, Bangladesh offers a story of unique human success in a land often otherwise known for floods and other natural disasters.

Bangladesh is a nation where women lead, and where women are active in every field.

As reported earlier this year in the New York Times:

When it comes to the position of women, however, this country has made progress that would be unthinkable in many other Muslim societies.

Bangladeshi women have served in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

There are women ambassadors, doctors, engineers and pilots.

Two powerful women — the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and her rival, Khaleda Zia — have taken turns at the country's helm for years.

In one of nature's most difficult environments, what emerges may be a reputation-building strategy for a Bangladesh framed on how the nation looks to create opportunities for women, relies on their wisdom to lead, and the national benefits such a strategy creates.

In a world too often full of stories of the discounting of women among nations and institutions, such a counterintuitive strategy could serve as an authentic magnet for further opportunity.

Examine these ideas more closely here and here.

Online Learning A Hot Topic In Higher Education

BOSTON (Reuters) - Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both academic heavyweights and often neighborly rivals, are joining hands in a new partnership to offer courses online and for free.

The two schools, located near each other in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are teaming up on an initiative called edX only five months after MIT rolled out MITx, its online learning system which allows students to earn certificates for completing course work from a distance.

Harvard and MIT each committed $30 million to the project, which will be overseen by a not-for-profit group based in Cambridge. Anant Agarwal, who led the development of MITx and directed MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, will be edX's first president.

The group plans to offer its first courses in the fall and eventually expects other universities may join.

With a wink to the schools' long-running rivalries in racing to academic breakthroughs and wooing professors and students, MIT President Susan Hockfield said they also work together. "One of the best-kept secrets is the profound richness of collaboration between Harvard and MIT," she said at a news conference, standing next to Harvard President Drew Faust.

Online learning has become a hot topic in education with many schools, including MIT, offering hundreds of courses online where students work through the material at their own pace but are not tested. Now the trend is to offer classes online where students can earn certificates if they show they can master the subject.

MIT said 120,000 people signed up for the first such course - Introduction to Circuits and Electronics - that MITx rolled out earlier this year. Halfway through the course, some 20,000 were still actively keeping up with it.

The new program is expected to make Harvard and MIT's course work available around the world to students who cannot sit in classrooms on campus, and officials also expect it to aid researchers in figuring out new ways for people to learn.

"EdX gives Harvard and MIT an unprecedented opportunity to dramatically extend our collective reach by conducting groundbreaking research into effective education and by extending online access to quality higher education," Harvard's Faust said.

The students who sign up, free of charge, will be able to watch video lesson segments, take embedded quizzes and participate in online laboratories.

And they will be able to earn certificates for completing the work. But university officials have long underscored that these online learning platforms are not a less strenuous path to a top-tier diploma. Indeed diplomas can still be earned only by being admitted by the schools and attending classes in person.

Harvard and MIT are extremely selective with Harvard accepting only 5.9 percent of the applicants for an undergraduate degree this year. MIT accepted 8.9 percent.
(Reporting By Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Jackie Frank)

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