Bits and Pieces: Define Yourself Via Your Work
OK, we've all reached the eye-rolling stage whenever the term marketing solutions provider is uttered. It's officially garnered "me, too" status in printing circles, largely because there is no cut and dry definition, no accepted group of criteria to be met.
There's the problem. Anyone can make the claim. That which lacks definition also lacks credibility; it's the same issue in the world of art, which struggles to avoid the shackles of defining characteristics. The problem: If art can be anything, that also means art can be nothing. Am I missing something here?
Thus, the idea is to define generally accepted standards. Let's GRACoL the hell out of printing's marketing solutions provider abuse. Or just drop marketing out of the equation. Peabody Printing: From Creative to Destiny. See, you keep printing in the name, and let clients know you can get in at the concept level and follow it all the way through delivery.
Failing that, you can continue to do good work and let your clients be your promotional department. That was the case of Bennett Graphics, the Tucker, GA-based firm that huddled up with the marketing agency for Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts to deliver a board game that doubles as a company training aid. Or is it a training aid that doubles as a board game?
Regardless, the "game" is a great way for management to develop and test Crowne employees on company policy, and it features activity cards that simulate the hotel's fast-paced business environment. It appears to have elements of games such as Life and Chutes & Ladders. Nail all the policies and protocols on the question cards without encountering too many disgruntled customers, and victory is yours.
Bennett Graphics produced the game on its 29˝ HP Indigo 10000 digital press. It encompasses variable data, as the game cards and board can be updated quickly and economically when Crowne Plaza policies and procedures evolve.
From a client's perspective, projects like this one adds a fresh and fun twist to the traditionally staid employee manual.
Absolut(e) Coolness: While we're on the subject of fun and effective projects, one provider managed to put a neat spin on a longtime favorite. Smurfit Kappa, a supplier of packaging solutions in Ireland, was tapped by Irish Distillers to produce a stunning point-of-sale (POS) display for its 1L Absolut Vodka.
The project demanded that the design incorporate the company's new phone and tablet app for customers to access 500 drink recipes for the product. Smurfit Kappa sought to design and assemble a high-quality, illuminated construction with an integrated touchscreen that was compact enough to fit into any retail store, yet grab the shopper's attention. Using Smurfit Kappa's 3D design solution, its designers created a full prototype before going into production.
The units were constructed using 16mm re-board printed on an Inca Onset S40i flatbed UV inkjet printer. The completed units featured built-in, colored LED strip lighting to illuminate the product, with all the wires hidden in the back panels and a touchscreen tablet incorporated into the head board, fully loaded with the new product app.
As an aside, the project garnered an Inca IDEAs award in the Interactive Display category.
Sharing a Cookie: Three Dog Logistics took a break from delivering direct mail recently and instead delivered a treat that undoubtedly brought smiles to the faces of people who find themselves in harm's way on a daily basis.
The Baltimore-based firm continues to play a role in Operation Cookie Drop, which recently shipped out a record 70,000 packages of Girl Scout Cookies to soldiers stationed at Quantico Marine Corps Base and Andrews Air Force Base. Three Dog Logistics got together with Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson in New York to help make the project a reality. The company picked up crates filled with cookies and delivered them to service members (and their families) receiving care in military facilities around the Washington, DC, area.
The Girl Scouts included messages of support, hand-written on the sides of the containers. In addition to the Scouts, others assisting in the project include 20 sailors, cadets and an Iraq War veteran—aided by his service dog.
"I have enormous respect for the men and women who put their lives on the line every day for our country," notes John Kennedy, CEO of Three Dog Logistics. "…delivering a few cookies seems like such a small token of my appreciation." PI