Twice is Extra Nice

Twice is Extra Nice

 
CT Art Directors Club Silver Awards: Super psyched and humbled to receive (2) CADC silver awards for my personal project Amerciana: Know Thy Neighbor featuring Big Picture Farm. The awards are for Photography and Self Promotion. This was the first year I’ve entered and very grateful for the recognition.

  

Big Picture Farm Photo shoot: In a nutshell this was my vision for the project:

So often we really don’t know who lives in our midst. In my new personal passion project; I set out to introduce fascinating folks who live inspiring lives promoting community in unique ways. I’m very grateful to have spent time to capture the daily doings of Louisa Conrad and Lucas Farrell. They own Big Picture Farm in southern Vermont, an amazing award winning goat farm producing artisanal caramels and farmstead cheeses.
 
My last blog post Down and Dirty offers the backstory to my creative process and what unfolded on the photo shoot.
  
 
Creative Collaboration: This Blog post is about the collaboration that unfolded after the shoot to introduce myself to the CT creative community through a promotional gift package that evolved from the photos.
 

Connecting and Community Building: I returned from Big Picture Farm with a treasure trove of imagery that I needed to distill way down to tell their story. You can find the web gallery here. My collaboration with Louisa and Lucas yielded imagery for both of us to promote our growing businesses. One of my priorities has been to introduce myself to Connecticut’s creative community of ad agencies, designers and the like. My wife Kim and I had moved out of NYC to CT years ago to start our family and as prepared as we thought we were… well, we kinda got consumed with life. Ya know, moving a few times, young family, aging parents, health stuff, household renovations, yada yada, and on and on. My work life happily hummed along with great longtime clients.

Now, years later, with life a wee bit more settled, the time arrived to get out and finally introduce myself to the vibrant CT creative community tribe. As a start, I’ve been a board member for the photo trade group ASMP in NYC and CT. Yet, with a graphic designer dad, former art director, wife, along with starting my own career at the ad agency DDB Needham in Chicago, it’s downright silly of me not to have connected with AIGA CT and CADC sooner. Yes, CT lies between two major advertising/design epicenters of NYC and Boston, and CT is filled with extraordinary talent and vision just like our neighboring major markets. I’m amazed at the work conceived and created here.

I was casually reviewing a rough edit of my imagery with immensely talented Noemi Kearns, the creative force and rennaissance woman behind Ink & Pixel Agency. In a blink of an eye a hurricane of dynamic brainstorming and strategic thought came forth I was kinda floored. She totally got it, and me, and then some, and then some more. On the spot, I asked if she would collaborate to conceive and design a promotional piece. A wonderful, energizing process and friendship unfolded.

Noemi also won an award for her own self promotion.

My personal mission involves living life three dimensionally by creating, trusting and engaging, really be alive in all pursuits. Louisa, Lucas and Noemi exude living three dimensionally and our collaborations made this so rewarding! When I first started out in my career, I had avoided enrolling many collaborators, falsely believing that I had to prove myself and do it all. Fortunately, I’ve benefited from the joy and wonders of terrific collaborators along the way. It takes chemistry, trust and some ego checking at the door, and when it works, the results are inspiring. I’ve grown tremendously, both personally and professionally.

When I’m in the client role collaborating with a talent like Noemi, I know to discuss my needs and wants, then shut up, get out the way, let the experts do what they do best and chime in as needed. I wanted to empower Noemi to go where she was inspired, choose the images that worked, and bring this still photo story to life in a way I couldn’t using just my photography. My objectives for this promotion are ambitious: intrigue, engagement, to create an interactive showcase of my photographic storytelling and versatility, be memorable, make introductions, foster relationships and further collaborations.

To achieve these goals, we focused hard on a core question: what really catches a busy art director’s attention? We know that photographers send lots and lots of printed promos and emails showcasing our work. Obviously compelling photography is essential, yet art directors and designers get deluged. We agreed on an intriguing package that engaged the recipient with beautiful, well thought out design, showcasing the imagery and the story it tells, including a surprise treat of the delicious caramel.

 


Printing on an Indigo press by Cannelli printers of West Haven was precise and beautiful.

  
  
  
Each packaging element was designed and selected to further the promo style and concept; and was carefully tested for function. The Big Picture Farms caramel packaging is wonderfully and whimsically illustrated by Louisa. It elevated the entire promo. Finally, assembling all the pieces benefited from 4 little Handelman hands (thanks to daughters Lexi and Cassie) which also involved ample caramel taste testing.
 

The chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link: Crafting, tweaking, and finessing the imagery and promo was all well and good, although the intended recipients needed to actually get them and open them. Kim knew from years in the ad agency world of LA, SF and NYC that many incredible photographer promos never got out of the mail room often due to direct mail overwhelm and generic packaging. We agreed that hand delivering this enticing package would have the highest likelihood of getting from receptionist to recipient. Unannounced, Kim’s charm, smarts, ease in the ad world AND persuasiveness helped open many doors. She received warm welcomes and to our excitement was able to speak with some of the recipients directly.

Here’s how the package arrives, and subsequent photos show the unfolding process.

We used Moo cards with 30 additional images to personalize and vary each and every package.

The outer wrap revealed the inner folded promo….

….which upon opening revealed…

A Goat and Caramels? Oh … there’s more to unfold …

… to reveal descriptions of both the project and the farm and more storytelling photos.


…and, yup, this leads to a “Big Picture” poster. As Louisa and Lucas state:
Our mission is also to integrate agriculture and narrative in a fresh way that properly evokes the place, animals, and work in order to bring to life the exciting and unpredictable evolution of our products, farm, and lives. Our goal is spelled out in our name: to provide our customers with the rich context surrounding our products.
e.g. The Big Picture
 

We did two versions of the promo, showcasing different “Big Picture” portraits revealed on the inside. We hoped that colleagues at the agencies might be curious and compare/share.

The back of the folded promo, along with the back of a moo card, which was personalized with each recipients name.

The final payoff being the box of the delicious artisanal goatmilk caramels wrapped within the promo packaging.

I had to keep my crack staff happy while assembling the promos. To no-ones surprise, all caramels were consumed.

We’ve had a great response to the photography and the promo and look forward to more collaborations. I’m researching other fascinating folks on my passion project. Should you know of any in CT, please let me know.
 

This project and process was all about collaborations.  BIG BIG shout outs with gratitude:

@bigpicturefarm leading an inspired life and promoting community in unique ways.
@ink&pixelagency concept and design
The Art of Retouching John Ross for exceptional retouching
@theCADC CT Art Directors Club for promoting community and sponsoring the awards show and
    celebratory evening
@AIGACT American Institute of Graphic Arts for their promoting of the CT creative community
@ASMPCT for peer group programming, camarederie and friendships

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