13 08, 2018

Plan, Produce, PLAY Part 1: Discovery

08/13/2018|Our Process, Our Work - Campaigns|

The PLAY Creative process is the framework that lets us build ideas and bring campaigns to life. It’s efficient and effective, but that’s not even the best part. What’s great about the PLAY process is that it can be used to craft creative solutions to just about any problem, regardless of your operations. To kick off a six-part series outlining each step of our creative solution-seeking roadmap, we’ll begin with the Discovery. We believe you can’t solve a problem until you’ve examined it from every angle. New Perspectives = New Ideas You’ll be amazed what you can learn about yourself and the needs of a particular project just by sitting down and talking about the problems you’re facing. Opening the problem up to questions helps you uncover things you hadn’t previously considered. Everyone approaches problems from a different perspective, and sometimes, all it takes is looking at a problem a different way to find a creative solution. New Ideas = New Solutions Examining a problem from a new perspective isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, the more time you spend immersed in that problem, the harder it becomes to force yourself to reframe your viewpoint. That’s why hearing [...]

4 08, 2018

Ad Dissection: Pushing a Brand When the Time’s Right

08/04/2018|Our Process, Our Work - Campaigns|

The detail and imagination that go into our creations aren’t always easy to recognize immediately. Ad Dissection gives you an intimate look at all the thought and intention going on below the surface of our designs.   Balance Boost is a money market account offered by our client Credit Union of America. It’s poised to be a game-changer in their market, so we proposed a launch campaign that would be a little more adventurous with the brand but still maintain consistency. This is how we crafted a campaign that stood out without breaking away from brand standards. Credit Union of America wanted to target young audiences, so we adapted CUA’s normal triangle pattern, but used bold colors from the brand palette. This gave the ads a bit of a 90s throwback feel (a trendy design aesthetic) without being too trendy or deviating too far from brand standards. In addition to making the ads more interesting overall, this slightly abstracted pattern also gave the design some texture. Copy treatment in the headline was larger than normal for another subtle way to set this campaign apart from CUA’s other marketing materials. The large type also helps convey excitement. We kept CUA's avenir [...]

20 06, 2018

Making a New Product a Game-Changer Through Marketing

06/20/2018|Our Work - Campaigns, Our Work - Financial|

When credit unions offer appealing new products to their members, there’s a good chance the competition won’t be far behind with an offering of their own. As the first to offer a great new product, there’s a huge opportunity to create ownership of it, especially when the competition is surely close behind with their version. In the case of our client Credit Union of America, that product was a “Balance Boost” account; a money market account with unheard of interest yields up to 3% annually. The Positioning Problem Our marketing puzzle was not only to position Balance Boost as a game-changer, but also to make it unique enough to give Credit Union of America ownership locally. To pull this off, we knew we had to differentiate Balance Boost among CUA’s current offerings as well as the industry as a whole. Pushing Brand Boundaries When a company really wants to differentiate a product or service as a game-changer, they must to be willing to push the limits of the brand. It’s a fine line to balance, but when done effectively, it makes for great advertising. Campaigns that push a brand need the recognition and trust that comes with established brand equity [...]

1 06, 2018

65 Years in Indiana Never Looked So Good

06/01/2018|Our Work - Campaigns, Our Work - Financial|

TLCU Financial came to PLAY Creative looking for ways to engage and grow its membership on the cusp of the 65th anniversary of opening their doors. This Indiana Credit Union has plenty of history and many interesting member stories to tell, but needed our help to communicate those stories to their community in a creative way. After some brainstorming, the PLAY team focused on 1953—the credit union’s founding year—thanks to the wealth of historical and cultural happenings from that same year. To create a campaign though, our creative challenge was aligning those historical events with TLCU. It’s one thing to say that a business is 65 years old, but it’s another to truly make members and prospective members aware of just how long 65 years in business truly is.  To give proper good context for how long TLCU has been serving its community, shared a few other significant things that happened in 1953. Swanson unveiled the first TV dinner Elvis recorded his first-ever record as a professional musician Minimum wage was a staggering $0.75 per hour(!) Paints a pretty good picture of how long ago 1953 was, doesn’t it? With a theme for the campaign, we got to work choosing [...]

7 05, 2018

Crafting a VISA Credit Card Direct Mail Drip Campaign

05/07/2018|Our Work - Campaigns, Our Work - Digital, Our Work - Dynamic Print, Our Work - Financial|

  With the rash of credit card offers that come through your mailbox and inbox every week, promoting VISA products for our clients is a unique challenge. Competing for attention in a flooded market like credit cards is a different breed of advertising, and your priorities need to change a bit when it comes to marketing. It isn’t as simple as creating clear messaging and appealing graphics, and a thoughtful campaign strategy becomes crucial. Years of experience in this space have helped us refine our framework for credit card advertising. The key aspects we aim to hit are: Consistent communication Multi-channel marketing Targeted messaging Simplified, focused messaging Segmentation of audiences In other words, credit card campaigns are tailor-made for a mixture of print and digital advertising. With the digital side of things handled, we then got to focus on making a great print drip campaign. On the print side, we devised a direct mail drip campaign that would target two different groups. Mailing lists were provided by our client to help with segmentation, which allowed us to target their current members in addition to prospective members. The campaign consisted of six total mailers; three for the current members and three [...]

29 08, 2017

Rock Your TASTE Buds!

08/29/2017|Our Work - Branding, Our Work - Campaigns|

Each year, thousands of people gather around various spots across the Midwest for food shows separately hosted by The Thompson Company, Braunger Foods, and Variety Foods. This year, parent company TOBA Inc., had something much bigger up their sleeve. TOBA approached PLAY with a sizable request, asking us to facilitate all the branding for the first event that would combine all the three companies food shows into one massive event. From beginning to end, this project was in our hands, quite literally. We began with a name concept, jumping around before finally landing on ‘TASTE!.” We selected this name as it embodied the event, yet also could last for years to come and various themes the event will showcase in the future. With 80’s arena rock favorite, Loverboy, headlining the show, a rock band concert theme was in the back of our minds, we just needed a clever way to integrate it across all medias. (Shown above: A few sketch examples of logo ideas that we later brainstormed and refined as a team.) (Shown above: The final logo we designed, developed font styles and color treatments.) (Shown above: The final icons we developed for each feature of the show.) The [...]

1 02, 2017

Connecting Colleges and Students Through Strategic Campaigns

02/01/2017|Our Work - Campaigns, Our Work - Dynamic Print|

(Campaign design examples shown above: Postcard top left and a dynamic fold mailer design bottom right) When it comes to higher education, students have options. And when it comes to finding the right students, institutions face a few different challenges. Recruitment isn’t necessarily easy, which is why finding a partner who can help identify the right messaging and tactics becomes so important. We recently teamed with Southeast Community College (SCC) to help fuel its recruitment strategy. After learning about the school’s process and existing strategies, we went to work to develop a campaign strategy (Sample shown here of the the campaign development plan strategy) that included a mix of tactics and a schedule that would help strengthen the effectiveness of SCC’s message. Using a combination of emails and physical mailings, we can measure the effectiveness of both tactics, as well as specific messaging. From there, the campaign can be adjusted to enhance response rates. The first three months of the campaign included sending a series of emails and physical mailers to a prospect list provided by the college. Frequency was carefully executed, leading to each prospect receiving three emails and three mailers. Each piece included a strong call to action, [...]

3 11, 2016

Strategy and Design to Help Credit Union Members Freshen Up Their Rides

11/03/2016|Our Work - Campaigns, Our Work - Dynamic Print, Our Work - Financial|

Earlier this year, Mainstreet Credit Union approached PLAY Creative to relieve some of the pressure its marketing team was feeling. Its marketing director recognized that the team had an abundance of work, with very little breathing room. But there was more work to be done — so PLAY was brought into the fold as an extension of the Mainstreet Credit Union team. Mainstreet Credit Union recognized a need to reach out to those customers nearing the end of an existing auto loan. This was the ideal time to begin communicating with these customers about opportunities for low-rate loans for a newer vehicle. The key to success for this campaign was reaching this audience at specific timeframes, before their loan was completed. Research says that 36 months is a typical lifespan of an auto loan, meaning that most people have their vehicle paid off within a 36-month timeframe. This knowledge helped PLAY develop a strategy that included a series of mailers, being sent automatically at 24, 30 and 36 months. The campaign included a series of three mailings: 24 months focus - postcard; 30 months focus - pop-up mailer (Shown below); 36 months focus - a second dynamic mailer. The campaign featured [...]

6 10, 2016

A Campaign Driven By Speed

10/06/2016|Our Work - Campaigns|

In March, Credit Union of America approached PLAY with a tall order: help the credit union improve teamwork across departments in each location… And help them collectively sell $60 million in auto loans by September 1. The PLAY team crafted a strategy that included communications for internal teams as well as a fully integrated external marketing plan. The strategy document involved materials to not only educate branch location staff about the challenge, it also provided tools for helping them make the sale. By engaging internal teams and creating friendly competition between branch locations, PLAY could shift gears to energizing the external audience, consisting of existing CUA members and non-members. To support the internal staff, PLAY created a full suite of creative communications to help encourage action by CUA’s audience, including: • Local educator handouts • Drive-up banners • Direct mail • Lobby posters • Electronic billboards • Online advertising • Print advertising • ATM advertising CUA exceeded its goal at the end of the campaign by topping $70 million in auto loans. Every branch location hit their individual goal, which demonstrates success in communication and support materials. This campaign is an example of how PLAY listens to the goals of [...]

19 04, 2016

A Celebration of People, Culture and What’s Yet to Come

04/19/2016|Our Work - Campaigns|

Assurity Life, a diversified and innovation-focused financial services company, combines the strengths of three Lincoln-based insurers: Assurity Life, Security Financial Life and Lincoln Direct Life. With a rich history of serving policyholders across the nation, the company approached its 125th anniversary without pause. To best serve its clients, Assurity has office locations across the United States and a corporate office located in Nebraska. It needed a campaign that could bring its staff together in celebration of the success they helped create. After learning more about this complex company, its culture and vision for its 125th anniversary, the PLAY team set out to brainstorm a creative theme and overall strategy for the campaign. Last year, 125 Years of Amazing was born. This fun, employee-focused campaign utilized a comic book style theme. At the center, monthly heroes, or real life members of the Assurity team. Throughout the next 12 months, people were transformed into heroes, with full superhero bios, cards and other materials. To conclude the campaign, a complete comic book was created that featured every hero and their bio. The commemorative comic book consisted of 52 pages of inspiring individuals and teams of people who have helped Assurity become the company [...]

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