Umpqua Bank

Brand Spirit: Optimism

The Challenge:  People think that all banks are the same stodgy institution and that it doesn’t really matter where they keep their money.

Insight:  85% of people who walk into an Umpqua store open accounts.

Big Idea:  Drive people to the stores by making banking personal again.

The Work:  Our work avoided the clichés of interest rates and FDIC insurance that plague most bank advertising. Instead, we sent out a fleet of Umpqua branded ice cream trucks to hand out free, no-strings-attached, ice cream and dropped Umpqua-branded pennies that promised $1 to anyone who returned the penny to an Umpqua store. Our more traditional media took an untraditional stance by celebrating joint checking accounts instead of CD rates.

Results:  From 2003 to 2006, Umpqua’s earnings increased 148% and assets grew from $2.9 billion to $7.3 billion. Umpqua expanded from 64 to 134 stores via a combination of new stores in existing markets and acquisitions of two California banks.

Benchmade Knife Company

Brand Spirit:  Striking in their grace

The Challenge:  Benchmade, a maker of premium knives, wanted to grow but was concerned that moving their production overseas would damage their reputation and sales. How do you launch a foreign-made, value-priced line of products for a premium brand without damaging the equity and prestige of the parent brand and company?

Insight:  Being handmade in the U.S. is integral to Benchmade’s perception as a premium brand. Any move downmarket by manufacturing overseas would have to be countered by a move up market.

Big Idea:  Create a portfolio of products that would allow for increased production overseas but wouldn’t hurt Benchmade’s reputation by maintaining an “equilibrium of premium.”

The Work:  We created a new product line structure that color-coded line extensions at price points both below and above Benchmade’s original range. Red represented the entry-level products produced overseas. Blue, the color that was already synonymous with Benchmade’s premium knives, and gold was for a new line of ultra-premium, limited-edition knives that counterbalanced the red line. We also created a black class for military and law enforcement products. Beyond our portfolio work, we rebranded Benchmade with a greater emphasis on the premium nature of their knives, then introduced the new products to consumers.


Tillamook Cheese

Campaign: Equate tasty goodness with love

The Challenge: Tillamook is the #1 natural cheese brand in the West. Our challenge was to justify Tillamook’s price premium when compared to its largest competitors – Kraft and private labels.

Insight: There is already a strong correlation in people’s minds between higher prices and better taste; we just had to make taste emotionally resonant.

Big Idea: Invoke a brand spirit that is playful and optimistic to correlate with the giddy love audiences have for Tillamook Cheese.

The Work: Oregonians already know that Tillamook cheese is special, worthy of nostalgia, something you miss when you are away. So we decided to tell that to the rest of the country. We cast the uniquely shaped Tillamook Baby Loaf as the catalyst of love between brothers, neighbors and teenagers. Each execution tells the story of love enabled by Tillamook and creates an emotional value around taste.

In addition to traditional print advertising, the campaign spurred a handshake marketing effort that included mini VW buses painted to look like the iconic baby loaf.

Results: Our initial efforts led to a 16% sales increase and subsequent interactive work has resulted in click-through rates over four times higher than industry standards. Tillamook continues to grow into new markets and is accepted due to the playful, optimistic personality we developed.


Friedrich Air Conditioning

The Challenge:  Friedrich Air Conditioning is well known in New York. In the finer buildings you’ll see their window and thru-the-wall air conditioners studding high-rise apartment buildings in Manhattan. The trouble is, cheap-labor manufacturers were gaining market share based on price. Friedrich’s response was to innovate by offering a well-made, price-competitive unit with an important new feature: the ability to change color to match your interior decor. The question to Leopold Ketel was: How do you market that?

Insight:  Friedrich’s dealer-customers and consumers believe in the heritage and reliability of the brand. Our job was to update the company to communicate reliability well into the future.

Big Idea:  Reinvigorate the entire brand to match their cool new line of air conditioners, signaling a change in the company from the inside out.

The Work:  We began with an updated brand look and feel, making the Friedrich badge on their new units contemporary and upscale. Our work on the brand extended to create an anthemic video to reintroduce dealers and employees to the heritage of Friedrich and express their vision for the future. We named the new units “Kühl” (the German equivalent of “cool”) and launched the brand with targeted lifestyle magazines and behavioral digital ads, flipped on during the hottest days of the year.


Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Challenge:   Reverse the trend of declining attendance that started when Keiko the whale (of Free Willy fame), left in 1998. The Aquarium wasn’t able to replace the big draw of Keiko and was also challenged by being three hours away from Portland, the nearest major metropolitan area.

Insight:  Kids drive family activities and parents want those activities to be a mixture of education and fun.

Big Idea:  Turn the Oregon Coast Aquarium into an entertainment destination that kids and parents would want to visit.

The Work:  Our work has brought the exciting and unique elements of different aquarium exhibitions to life in a way that excites kids. We used catchy, easy-to-sing songs on radio and playful outdoor to target busy mothers who spend a lot of time in the car driving from errand to errand.

Oregon Humane Society

The Challenge: Shelters are perceived as a sad place where animals are imprisoned, waiting for a home. Further, shelters often use guilt to attempt to bring in potential adopters to “save the animals.” The Oregon Humane Society is a happy place where animals are treated with respect and love. How can we project that vision?

Insight:  People will respond to positive, life-affirming messages that appeal to their inherent self-interest. Instead of saving animals, let’s turn it around and save ourselves from a life of “petlessness.”

Big idea:  Objective: Increase adoptions of dogs, cats and small animals; increase awareness of Oregon Humane Society; increase donations to OHS.

The Work: The optimistic campaign message, “End Petlessness,” features fun illustrations celebrating humans and their furry soul mates. LK uses outdoor, broadcast TV, cinema advertising and digital media, and we work with the in-house OHS team to coordinate social media.

Results:  Adoption rates that are among the highest in the country with dogs at 99% and cats at a remarkable 96%. For perspective, the national averages are, respectively, 25% and 20%. There is a wait list to volunteer at OHS. Donations have never been higher. Our media added-value is worth an additional 100% of the buy.


Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Challenge: After years of brand stagnancy, OPB was ready to refresh their brand.

Insight: Oregonians like to be engaged in civic life and thoughtful discussion. The relationship between OPB and Oregonians is fostered by “active participation.”

Big Idea: The NPR affiliate wanted to connect with a younger audience and better reflect the unique curiosity, intelligence and thoughtfulness that defines Oregonians.

The Work: OPB declared that they are the media source for people who like to think. The redesigned logos are bright and cheery and thematically tied to the colors of Oregon itself. We used television, print and outdoor advertising that made people think — “Ever get a song stuck in your head? Try an idea. OPB.”

Results:  OPB enjoyed a record membership drive, a focused internal audience who warmly embraced the brand and the successful launch of “Think Out Loud,” a show we conceived and named. “Think Out Loud” has since become OPB’s signature show.


Pendleton Whisky

The Challenge:  Innovation is a potential revenue stream that can easily be overlooked.  Fortunately, our client Hood River Distillers realized that new product innovation was an important growth strategy when they asked us to create a new Canadian whisky brand for them.

Insight:   As we examined the category, we saw a huge opportunity — Crown Royal sat uncontested as the only premium Canadian whisky.  What’s more, Crown Royal was an exceptionally diffuse brand, appealing to communities ranging from cowboys, to NASCAR to hip-hop. Of these communities, we found Crown’s association with cowboys to be the most curious. Crown’s imagery of purple velvet and ostentatious gold crowns seemed categorically opposed to the stark and humble lifestyle embraced by cowboys.

Big Idea:  This insight refined our opportunity.  We knew that there was space to attack Crown at the top, and then we saw where Crown was most vulnerable. We had to create a premium whisky for cowboys.

The Work:  To keep our brand as authentic as possible, the famous Pendleton Round-Up in Pendleton, Oregon, became our inspiration. This choice gave our brand a sense of place, and eventually became its name. Everything about Pendleton Canadian Whisky, from packaging to its taste profile, was born from the tried and true Cowboy lifestyle found in Pendleton.

We were also responsible for the marketing around Pendleton Whisky’s launch and growth. For this, we used a community marketing approach that has more in common with Harley Davidson’s marketing than traditional spirits marketing. Rather than trying to appeal to everyone, our work was polarizing. It was only meant to resonate with a specific group. Just like with Harley, outsiders need not apply.

Our goal was to immerse ourselves in the cowboy community. We used real cowboys and cowgirls from Pendleton as models and shot ads and POS in the rodeo arena to achieve just that. And we were very successful. Cowboys from all over the West became our disciples, putting Pendleton Whisky patches on their hats and stickers on their trucks. As they traveled the circuit from Cheyenne to Oklahoma City, these cowboys worked as our brand ambassadors, proudly sharing Pendleton Whisky with their peers.

Results:  Since its launch, Pendleton Whisky has been one of the fastest-growing whiskies in the US, enjoying a compound annual growth rate of 82% during its first five years. Last year, Pendleton Whisky was asked to sponsor the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas, which helped elevate its status to that of other iconic cowboy brands like Wrangler and Montana Silversmiths.

But more than just being a successful one-off brand, Pendleton Whisky allowed Hood River Distillers to develop an entirely new revenue stream with a portfolio of premium spirits. We developed two new brands for them, Yazi Ginger Vodka and Ullr Schnapps, both of which are growing quickly. And with the distribution leverage created by Pendleton, Hood River Distillers has also been able to become the US distributor of award-winning brands like Broker’s Gin and Cockspur Rum.


Planned Parenthood

The Challenge:  One of Planned Parenthood’s goals is to reach out to young adult women as a reproductive health resource. Yet the organization is perceived as a last-resort clinic.

Insight:  This audience responds best to open, honest communication about sexuality. Even though the topic is critically important, it’s OK to talk about it in a way that acknowledges that it feels uncomfortable to discuss seriously. Awkward, silly humor that informs is much more likely to stick and spread than another fear-mongering brochure.

Big idea:  Establish Planned Parenthood as the organizational equivalent of your smart, understanding and helpful aunt. Make it a place teenagers feel comfortable with and welcome to turn to when they need help but may feel reluctant to seek.

The Work: The resulting campaign, “Take Care Down There,” used cheeky ads in alternative publications, bus stops, bus sides and restroom media to direct young adults to the clinics and to the website, At the site, one sees humorous videos on reproductive health that don’t talk down to our audience.

Results:  The website received 60,000 hits in one day, over 100,000 visits in a single weekend and more than 1,500 linking sites. The website and videos were featured on, Fox TV, Gawker blogs and was even hailed by VH1’s Best Week Ever as “totally rad.”