Thursday Feb 22 2018

The first ever ad campaign for Portillo’s, the legendary Chicago-born restaurant chain that has been long adored for its crazy good Chicago-style menu items, has been launched. Together with SCC, the brand has put forth a 360 ad campaign that captures the Portillo's experience, inspiring new customers to 'Get Obsessed' across America.

Seeing an opportunity in data, Portillo’s and SCC wanted to turn social conversation into actionable insights true to the cult-like cravings of its customers. The campaign features actual Portillo’s employees reading social media posts from real customers. From wanting to baptize a first-born child with Portillo’s melted cheese to admitting that their healthiest relationships are with an Italian beef sandwich, customers get to know and lovePortillo’s in this campaign.

The campaign coincides with the 55th anniversary of Portillo’s this year. From its humble beginnings in a small restaurant trailer dubbed 'The Dog House,' Portillo’s has grown to 53 restaurants in seven states.



Schafer Condon Carter Wins Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Review

Thursday Feb 15 2018

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, an Illinois-based specialty retailer once described as “a Whole Foods-Trader Joe’s hybrid,” picked nearby indie Schafer Condon Carter after a review. The agency will handle creative, PR, influencer marketing, social media and planning/buying.

The chain focuses on natural, organic and fresh food at less-than-premium prices, and it has grown since launching in 2014 to include 66 locations across 10 states.

“We knew we were ready to bring on a partner who could help us achieve the brand’s great potential, and SCC demonstrated not only a deep understanding of our brand and the consumer we serve, but also the creativity, broad integrated capabilities and passion that we were looking for,” said Fresh Thyme CMO Mark Doiron.

The chain has been in expansion mode in recent months thanks, in large part, to an investment from supermarket brand Meijer, though its plans seem to have slowed a bit since January.

In recent months, it has also named several food and retail industry veterans to its C-suite including chief financial officer Carol Okamoto, chief merchandising officer Mark Doiron and chief operations officer Dean Little.

So far, Fresh Thyme does not appear to have launched any major campaigns, growing via word of mouth and a presence in new markets. It’s not clear how much the company plans to spend on forthcoming marketing efforts.


SCC Announces Restructuring for Accelerating Growth

Tuesday Feb 6 2018

Internal Memo: Schafer Condon Carter Promotes David Selby to CEO, Names New Leadership




Making the Most of Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Friday Jan 19 2018

Committing to success increases your chances of a big win



SCC and Cubs present at Talks at Google

Thursday Jan 18 2018

SCC President David Selby and Chicago Cubs' President Crane Kenney present the evolution of the Cubs brand narrative as part of the influential Talks at Google series on December 13, 2017.


Indie Influence: Emerging artists play gigs at SCC through agency’s Madstreet Music series

Tuesday Nov 14 2017

The Drum: By Minda Smiley, November 13, 2017


When David Selby walked into Chicago agency SCC for a job interview nine years ago, he immediately felt at home. Why? Upon entering the lobby of the shop, the first thing he spotted was a vintage drum kit that reminded him of his days working as a drummer in college.

“I just melted and went, ‘oh my God, I’m home,’” says Selby, who in addition to his day job as president and managing partner of SCC, is also the drummer and singer of a band called Too Much Dave. “This musical fabric at SCC was a huge draw for me when I first came to the agency.”

Founded in 1989 by Mark Schafer and Tim Condon, the independent agency has always had music at its roots. Back in the ‘90s when the shop was just starting out, Condon said the office always had a drum kit and equipment set up at the ready in case anyone wanted to end the day with a jam session.

“Music has always been one of the principal anchors of our culture,” says Condon, an avid guitar player and chief executive of SCC.

While the agency keeps its musical spirit alive through open mic nights and karaoke sessions for staffers, it also draws inspiration from up-and-coming musicians and bands through its Madstreet Music series, which gives artists the opportunity to play concerts at SCC next to its 24-foot bar. Artists play the venue for free, and in return receive a promotional video put together by SCC’s in-house production team MAKE247 that features footage from the night’s performance and interviews with the band’s members.

The idea for Madstreet Music was born at a Chicago Cubs game a few years ago when Selby and Condon saw a band called Leagues perform. According to Condon, they enjoyed the show so much that they decided afterwards to see if Leagues would be interested in performing at their office for an informal show of sorts.

After the experience proved to be a success, the two decided to continue the in-house performances via the creation of Madstreet Music, which has since hosted artists including country singer Logan Brill, pop singer-songwriter John Splithoff, folk-rock band The Accidentals and singer John Mark Nelson.

"These shows are fantastic, and the artists love it cause they get to come and play in a very funky space. It's acoustically very strong," says Selby.

He added that these emerging artists, which hail from all over the country, often view their performance at SCC as a “respite” from the more professional venues and clubs they typically play at in the city since it’s a more laid-back atmosphere.

“They love playing here because it’s a very low-key deal,” he says. “It’s a chance for them to focus purely on their music, which is great. They’re listening concerts. This isn’t a band playing while we all drink and party on. These are pretty serious concerts where you’re really appreciating the power and potency of the music.”

The agency works with Val Haller, a music curator who runs a boutique music website called ValsList, to find up-and-coming artists who might be interested in performing at SCC. Since Madstreet Music features performers from all over the country, Haller helps SCC identify new musicians that she thinks would fit the agency’s vibe.

“Val does a great job of finding these acts, then we select the ones that we think will be most appealing to our crew,” says Selby.

The free shows - which agency staffers can invite their friends to - are surely a fun perk of working at SCC, but Condon thinks they help boost office morale too.

"It’s good for everyone’s heads in the agency to just sit back with a cocktail, listen to an artist and be able to appreciate that talent," he says. Selby agreed, noting that the inspirational nature of the series makes it a good fit for an agency that has creativity at its core.

“Always being on the lookout for things that are going to inspire our crew and ourselves is a constant pursuit, and these shows are really inspirational,” Selby says. “We’re in a creative business, and giving folks the opportunity to get outside of their day-to-day and really immerse themselves in someone else’s inspiration is kind of cool.”


Recommendation Engine: Schafer Condon Carter's Hannah Hines

Friday Nov 10 2017

By I-Hsien Sherwood

The Recommendation Engine is Campaign US' weekly feature in which we learn about the media that young people in the ad industry are currently consuming. This week, we get to know Hannah Hines, a senior copywriter at Schafer Condon Carter.


What I’m watching:

On my phone, lots of weird YouTube videos—shout out to Old Gregg. If I’m home, I’m streaming something on Netflix or HBO. The other day I watched "The Woman with Seven Personalities" on Netflix, which was creepy but fascinating. Also on Netflix: "Easy." It’s a series of 8 vignettes that follows the lives of a group of young (20-30s) city dwellers as they grapple with the nuances of love, relationships and identity. It’s funny, it’s intimate, it’s raw—and best of all, it takes place in Chicago. 

I also think "The Young Pope" is highly underrated. It took me several tries to finish the first episode, so I get it. But once I did, I was hooked. The concept is interesting, the writing is great and the art direction and music are fantastic. Speaking of music, I do watch a lot of music videos. Baths’ "Lovely Bloodflow" is gorgeous and totally weird. I’ve also recently fallen down the Massive Attack rabbit hole. Their videos are awesome. Very sci-fi/Matrix-y.


What I’m listening to:

Everything. The bulk of my news and entertainment is delivered to my brain through earbuds. I’m kind of antsy, so I like that I can consume while doing other things. If I’m not listening to WBEZ (NPR) or a podcast, I’m streaming music on Spotify. 

I’m a little ashamed to admit this, but my latest guilty pleasure is Oprah’s "Super Soul Conversations." It’s exactly what it sounds like: a series of soulful conversations between Oprah and various thought leaders, authors and celebs. Feel-good stuff.

Too many to name, but a few of my go-to podcasts are: "Strangers," "Hidden Brain," "Death, Sex & Money," "Invisibilia," "This American Life," "TED Radio Hour" and "The Art of Charm."

I’m all over the place when it comes to music. Everything from Ella Fitzgerald to Jamie xx. I look forward to my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist every Monday morning. Night Drive by Ari Lennox is my jam right now, and I tell everyone who hasn’t yet to listen to Kishi Bashi—Manchester from his album 151a is a nice place to start.


What I’m reading:

The internet. I also love books. Real books with pages and words printed on them in ink. Right now I’m reading "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman. It’s wonderful and you should read it (and no I haven’t seen the show yet).


Who I’m following:

I stay abreast of what’s trending, but I’m really not too keen on the social meedz. I’m probably on Instagram most—where I follow your standard meme accounts. FuckJerry, mytherapistsays, betches, beigecardigan, etc. Other notables include The Onion, NASA, Snoop Dogg and juniperfoxx. Oh, and TSA. You’d be surprised at the things people try to sneak onto planes. Or maybe you wouldn’t. Either way, it’s bizarre.


What I’m ignoring:

The Kardashians.


Chicago Cubs President Crane Kenney and SCC President David Selby present Cubs brand story at ANA's Masters of Marketing conference, October 5, 2017.

Thursday Oct 19 2017



Chicago's Creative Business Community Unites to Help Hurricanes Harvey and Irma Victims

Wednesday Sep 20 2017

Multi-trade coalition launches Creative Relief to help fund aid and recovery in stricken areas

CHICAGO (September 19, 2017) – Industry trade organizations representing Chicago’s creative community, including advertising, media, digital, PR, communications, design, content, production and on-camera/VO talent are rallying in a united effort to raise funds for relief in affected areas in the US and Caribbean. The coalition includes the Chicago Advertising Federation (CAF), American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s Chicago), American Marketing Association (AMA Chicago), Association of Independent Commercial Producers/Midwest (AICP/Midwest), Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA), Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists Chicago Local (SAG-AFTRA) and Public Relations Society of America’s Chicago Chapter (PRSA Chicago).

Combined, these trade groups bring connectivity to thousands of companies and tens of thousands of employees and supporting businesses in the greater Chicagoland area and beyond. “We are excited to join our trade partners to support this important humanitarian effort and glad to see so many marketing and advertising organizations coming together to help,” said Chicago Advertising Federation President Lisa Jillson.  4A’s Agency Relations and Membership Senior Vice President Laurie Stearn added, “The need is great, and I know all of our members are very concerned with the plight of Harvey and Irma victims. We’re thrilled to support this group effort.”

Chicago indy creative agency Schafer Condon Carter is spearheading the launch via digital, social, and traditional media channels. “We were exploring ways to get involved in helping the recovery and the idea of organizing a broader effort came up,” said Tim Condon, CEO of SCC. “We started reaching out to creative community trade groups and found everyone was ready to jump on board.” SCC has kicked off the effort with a $10,000 contribution and hopes the program will be able to raise $500,000. has been created to provide a single, secure online portal to enable companies and individuals to easily and rapidly respond to the humanitarian crisis with cash donations. The designated charity for the effort is All Hands Volunteers, which has already made a pledge for a two-year commitment to aid recovery in the Houston area. All Hands Volunteers ( has an A+ rating from Charity Watch and a 4/4 rating from Charity Navigator.

“Efforts like this show what America is all about,” said All Hands Volunteers Executive Director/CEO Erik Dyson. “We are thrilled to have the creative community in Chicago come together to help those in need.”





About All Hands

All Hands Volunteers is a US-based, 501(c)3 non-profit organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters by engaging and leveraging volunteers, partner organizations and local communities. All Hands is a volunteer-powered disaster relief organization dedicated to Rebuilding Hope for people impacted by natural disasters all over the world. Over the last 12 years, we have enabled over 39,000 volunteers to donate 200,000 days impacting 500,000 people worldwide. Our vision is to demonstrate the power and value of volunteer service through the tangible work done, the hope it brings to suffering communities and the transformative experiences it provides for volunteers.


SCC and Southern Comfort Launch New Campaign

Wednesday Aug 16 2017

Created by founder M.W. Heron in 1874, Southern Comfort Whiskey returns to it's roots with a new integrated campaign titled "The Spirit of New Orleans". The campaign celebrates the melting pot of culture and people that defines the brand's unique hometown. 

SCC and Southern Comfort worked together on branding strategy through creative, media planning and execution. Media will run nationally on platforms such as Hulu, Spotify, ESPN and more. Additional campaign elements include OOH, print, point-of-sale collateral, social media and a proprietary music program, Southern Sounds. 

View the campaign creative here.