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.”
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:
Thursday Oct 19 2017
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.
ChicagoCreativeRelief.org 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 (hands.org) 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.
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.
Tuesday Jul 11 2017
Spring brought warmer weather, and some shiny new hardware, to the SCC offices. Thanks to its work with Seven Daughters Wines and the Chicago Cubs, the agency is now home to one WOMMY award, one Trumpet award, one Chicago Ad Federation award and two Clio Awards.
Seven Daughters Wines: Add A Splash of Color
SCC was awarded the Gold WOMMY Award for its integrated, multi-platform Add A Splash of Color campaign for Seven Daughters Wine. Presented at the annual Word of Mouth Marketing Association awards show in NYC in April, SCC bested the global field in the Integration category. Ogilvy Amsterdam took home the Silver and Dentsu took home Bronze in the category.
The campaign also earned SCC a Silver Trumpet for best Influencer Marketing in May. Held by the Publicity Club of Chicago, the Trumpets are the most prestigious public relations awards in the region.
"We couldn't be more excited about these awards," said SCC CEO Tim Condon. "It's further proof of SCC's unique ability to create a compelling brand idea and then leverage it fully across the new media landscape. Kudos to our PR, Influencer, Social Media, Creative, Media and Planning teams."
SCC created a smart, sexy, witty social personality for the Seven Daughters brand that was leveraged across multiple platforms. The campaign included engaging Facebook and Instagram influencers who added their own interpretation of the brand in the form of content that was then shared with their followers. The campaign delivered over 9.5 million social media impressions with 415,000 engagements and 5.3 million impressions from influencer blog posts. Traditional media pick-ups, both online and offline, delivered 38.1 million readers/viewers. The Seven Daughters brand has now grown case sales by 25%.
Chicago Cubs: Today Is Our Day and #FlytheW
“Today is Our Day” – the video spot featuring footage from the Cubs’ World Series win – earned SCC two major accolades. The Chicago Advertising Federation awarded the agency a Silver for the spot in March. Two months later, it took home a Bronze Clio Award in the :31-:60 Commercials – Sport Teams category.
“Today is Our Day” captures the emotional impact of one of the greatest journeys in sports, culminating with the epic Game 7 drama and fan reactions. SCC caught the moment at its epicenter – Wrigley Field – and produced a poignant piece that aired within hours after the World Series victory. The spot features rock icon Eddie Vedder's live recording of his now-famous Cubs anthem "Someday We'll Go All The Way".
On the impressive efforts to create the spot, Condon says: “I was getting texts at 3 and 4 a.m. in Cleveland about the [SCC] team's progress… It was released at 5 a.m. on the [Cubs’] Facebook page, got covered on the Today Show, and eventually scored 11 million-plus views.”
SCC’s creative work with the Cubs resulted in another Clio Award win for SCC – this time for the #FlytheW campaign. The campaign earned the agency a Silver for Best Integrated Campaign for a sports team.
While it’s easy to get Cubs fans excited about postseason baseball, getting them to rally around one message -- and one defining call to action that would translate worldwide -- is far more challenging. With #FlytheW, SCC created a campaign that was as emotional as it was simple, turning a small, decades-old tradition of raising the “W” flag into the official postseason symbol of loyalty, faith and victory.
The campaign became ingrained in the Chicago community – and beyond. Local Dunkin’ Donuts began offering “W” themed pastries, and American Airlines outfitted some outbound Chicago flights with “W” rally towels on the back of each seat. Even Former First Lady Michelle Obama got in on the action, tweeting #FlytheW during the World Series.
As SCC Creative Director Ron Sone put it: "It's an amazing thing to see walking the streets of Chicago: [the flag] is on every storefront, high rise, balcony and highway."
Read more about the SCC and Cubs relationship here.
Wednesday Jun 21 2017
CHICAGO – June 20, 2017- Independent Chicago creative and technology agency Schafer Condon Carter (SCC) today unveiled SCC|prism, the branding of its newly-merged Public Relations, Influencer marketing and Social Media practices. SCC|prism leverages the value of earned-media across traditional analog and digital media outlets, high-reach influencers and social media platforms, which are continuing to converge.
“As the media landscape continues to shift, traditional approaches towards earned media and third-party endorsement for brands are becoming obsolete,” said SCC Founder and CEO Tim Condon. “Media platforms influence the social space, social content is picked up by media—and influencers are active across platforms. The SCC|prism model leverages the power of inter-platform brand engagement, driving KPI’s across the earned media continuum. The 1+1+1 = 5 approach of SCC|prism is delivering incredible results.”
SCC managing partner Mike Grossman is heading up the unit with Lauren Sanborn, Director of Social Media; Laura Colar and Paige Robinson, Associate Directors, PR and Influencer Strategy, rounding out the management team. “Today, media lines have become blurred to nonexistent. A stand-alone PR, influencer or social media strategy has the potential to leave a lot of brand value on the table. Each of these practice areas work together–and feed off one another. You need to develop a combined strategy that creates scale and takes advantage of that,” said Grossman.
From left: Robinson, Colar, Grossman, and Sanborn
SCC|prism has already received best-in-class recognition in PR and social media. In 2015, it took a PRSA Silver Anvil in corporate reputation for iconic men’s fashion brand, Allen Edmonds. This year, it took home WOMMY Gold for its integrated PR/Influencer/Social efforts for Seven Daughters Wines. SCC|prism’s work for the Allen Edmonds brand is credited with repositioning it for six consecutive years of record sales growth.
The WOMMY-winning effort for Seven Daughters Wines, Making a Splash with Millennial Wine Drinkers, successfully integrated online and offline word of mouth to drive a 25% increase in sales. The group has also twice earned Silver Trumpet awards from the Publicity Club of Chicago (one for the Chicago Cubs, one for Seven Daughters wine).
Read MediaPost's article on the announcement here.
Monday Apr 3 2017
Fast Company takes a look at how the Chicago Cubs brand strategy has evolved, as the team moves from the "lovable losers" to the reigning World Series champs.
Tuesday Mar 28 2017
Eastman Chemical names Schafer Condon Carter (SCC) as its agency of record for the LLumar brand of window tints. Read the article here.
Tuesday Jan 17 2017
Up next in our Series, "What I learned in 2016" is an insightful look at the Cubs victory through a marketing lens and the building of Brand Trump - from Tim Condon, CEO/CCO of Schafer Condon Carter: We're in The Most Powerful Business in the World - via The Chicago Egotist