FIFTEEN is always on the lookout for fresh new talent. With an expanding client roster came the need for a new designer. After an exhaustive search, we are proud to welcome Sam Lonczak to the agency. A Buffalo native and graduate of Villa Maria College, Lonczak is a self-described typeface fanatic, exploration enthusiast and optimist—as well as a lifelong artist.
“I was constantly creating as a kid. I would find random things around my house I could cut up and make into a painting or sculpture,” Lonczak recalls. She continues to mix mediums. Beyond graphic design, she works with nature photography, watercolor, and recently completed a sculptural series using cement and paper.
Sam Lonczak’s talent has been recognized beyond FIFTEEN; she had a strong showing at the 2018 ADDY Awards for her student work. Prelude is a handmade logo of layers and layers of paper, torn to show the process behind the work. Hullabaloo is a monthly box club sent to children to remind them there’s always a reason to smile. Each received a silver recognition.
Beyond art, Lonczak is an avid hiker as well as a volunteer mentor through Compeer. Her dog, Atticus, is a fixture in FIFTEEN headquarters. “I’m excited to be part of something great here,” she says. “I just want to help create beautiful things.”
With its classic big-city architecture, unique natural landscapes, a robust local crew base and some of the nation’s best incentives, the Buffalo-Niagara region has become a desirable, in-demand location for film productions. The annual Buffalo International Film Festival (BIFF) celebrates this creative energy, bringing together local and global cinephiles to glorify in the “ultimate art form.” FIFTEEN had been investing in their own in-house production capabilities with additions to our staff, gear list and a new studio space. When BIFF went looking for an updated look and attitude to harness the region’s cinematic ascension, FIFTEEN was ready.
FIFTEEN’s undertakings for BIFF included designing a permanent logo, creating the theme for the 2017 festival and the production of an original short film shown in area theaters as festival dates drew near.
The new logo was to become the bedrock of the brand, remaining steady as the theme changes year to year. Influenced by festivals BIFF emulates, including TIFF in Toronto, FIFTEEN’s Digital Media Director Rich Lunghino hid a uniquely Buffalo easter egg in his design: The ‘screen’ is the exact aspect ratio (2.05:1) of the screen in Edisonia Vitascope Hall, which was opened in Buffalo in 1896 as the first purpose-built movie theater in the world.
The main thrust of the agency’s efforts was the FIFTEEN-produced short film, THE PROVOCAUTEUR, which tells the tale of a mysterious propagandist and his magic projector that paints the city in cinematic light. Directed by FIFTEEN Creative Director Ken Trabert, co-produced by Account Director Kait Niland and cinematographer Don Burns of db Media, written by in-house screenwriter, Rich Herbeck, the highly stylized vision provided FIFTEEN Digital Director, MacLaine Russell, ample opportunity to flex VFX and animation skills that rival any Hollywood shop.
The mysterious anti-hero of the short inspired the festival’s theme, as explored in a series of intriguing posters designed by Trabert. All the creations worked together to make the final scene of the short film a reality, with audiences purchasing tickets and flocking to the festival in droves.
A lot of thought goes into conceiving a new campaign. Who are you talking to? What are the best channels to reach them? What is the competitive landscape, the current trends? What type of message will get through the noise and achieve measurable results?
For Upstate Farms Milk, competitors had been coming for their market share from every angle. Milk alternatives falsely touting themselves as healthier choices (falsely touting themselves as “milk” for that matter) were positioning themselves as the trendy way to do dairy, without the dairy. It was clear that real milk needed to punch back.
FIFTEEN set out to create a 2017 Q4 campaign with objectives of maintaining Upstate’s position as the preferred, farmer-owned local milk brand while simultaneously responding to the rise in popularity of plant-based drinks. The target was the group of people who, as our research indicated, are overwhelmingly the driver for grocery purchases in the home: Women 18-64.
FIFTEEN’s Media Director Jen Fortune developed an ambitious and directed media strategy to reach these women—and consumers with a greater affinity for plant-based drinks—via the outlets where the majority of their time is spent: TV, digital media and Facebook. With strategic placement, 3.4 million impressions were predicted over a four-week span throughout the Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan areas.
Creatively, we set out to disrupt and counteract the “facts” that milk alternatives preach with some nutrition facts of our own. Superfoods, such as avocados, almonds, salmon and others are all the rage, thanks to the individual health benefits they provide. But there’s something that provides all these benefits and more—all in a single glass: Real, fresh, delicious, irreplaceable milk. The super local superfood.
A lush, eye-opening 30-second spot was fully produced in-house by FIFTEEN, conceived and directed by Creative Director Ken Trabert, written by Associate Creative Director Dan Stout, produced by Account director Kait Niland and shot by local cinematographer Shannon Madden. Digital Director MacLaine Russell edited and created the slick VFX for the spot. The commercial ran during major TV shows, including the season premiere of The Walking Dead, holding its own alongside the likes of national Google spots. The campaign was supported by a strong social and digital media push on channels including Facebook, Instagram and Pandora.
In the face of its adversaries, FIFTEEN’s Upstate Farms Superfood campaign successfully reasserted dairy as the wholesome, delicious, authentic product we all grew up on and will continue to raise our families with.
Your phone is disgusting. No, not because of whatever you do in incognito mode, but because the average phone has six times as many germs as a toilet seat. That poses a tremendous contamination risk, particularly when the stakes are high, like in a hospital or in a food production facility. Thankfully, the good scientists and engineers at Limestone Labs invented the CleanSlate UV, a remarkable device that kills 99.99% of superbugs in just 30 seconds. At the cutting edge of innovation and safety, the CleanSlate needed a website to succinctly and beautifully distill their value props to consumers and drive them to arrange a demo. And luckily for them, that’s right in FIFTEEN’s wheelhouse.
FIFTEEN’s designers started with the logo, colors and look and feel of the brand. After much research and discovery, including a few weeks with our very own CleanSlate in the office, the new logo emerged. The CleanSlate uses ultraviolet light to destroy germ DNA. The logo is a stylized DNA helix, becoming intangible as a curved beam of light coils around it. The clean, bright blues, whites and greys of the brand’s color palette then drove the look of the website.
The content of the site posed several challenges. We had to speak to several segmented audiences at the same time—the healthcare industry, food service industry, plus the consumers that ideally would come to expect these institutions were using such a device. While there is some overlap, CleanSlate’s value to each of these verticals is varied. In addition, the science behind the device’s effectiveness is packed with jargon. FIFTEEN had to find a balance between satisfying the science-minded inquirer while still making things click with the layman. And everything had to be presented in a way that helps visitors understand that their mobile devices are indeed little pocket outbreaks waiting to happen, without grossing them out to the extent that they associate CleanSlate with such filth.
The resulting site is a slick and approachable blend of photography, design, 3D animation, copy and seamless programming. Each audience segment is catered to without being overborne, leaving the deeper conversations to be had one-on-one with the experts at CleanSlate. The site, in a friendly manner, makes it plainly obvious that you should be using a CleanSlate in your hospital, plant or office, and follows it up with a strong CTA to contact the CleanSlate team to get started.
Since joining our client roster in 2014, FIFTEEN has proudly watched the success of Buffalo-based jewelry artist Alexis Russell grow. Hard work matched with undeniable talent and artistry, Alexis’ unique handcrafted designs have found devotees all throughout the globe. A favorite of celebrities and tastemakers, the demand for Alexis Russell pieces was quickly outgrowing her website, and she looked to FIFTEEN for a refresh.
Alexis Russell jewelry marries modern design with raw, organic elements of nature and is designed for women to feel comfortable and beautiful. It was crucial for the website to reflect these pillars of her look and philosophy. To bring visitors into Alexis’ world—the epicenter of which is her workshop, studio and consultation space in downtown Buffalo—without them having to actually be there. FIFTEEN’s team of photographers, writers and designers spent time taking in the space, soaking up the creative passion and the time-honored craftsmanship happening behind the scenes. Inspired by Alexis and her team, our own team worked to infuse that same refined elegance into the details of the site.
The result is a clean, whimsical little world that feels like one of Alexis’s pieces were plugged into a USB port. The gorgeous photography invites each piece to tell its story, the way only Alexis Russell jewelry can. And behind the whimsy and storytelling is a site strengthened by improved SEO, more robust online commerce and a comfortably flowing UI. With a strong CTA toward engagement rings, Alexis’ conversion rate has improved since the refresh has gone live.
FIFTEEN was recently honored at the 2017 Excalibur Awards, an event recognizing outstanding achievement in the practice and support of public relations. Our stellar PR team was humbled to take home three golds and two silvers from the 28th annual award show.
Among the campaigns crowned in gold was the grand re-opening of The Dome, reimagined as a indoor driving range, restaurant and pro shop tucked within a luxury apartment complex. Owners The Somerset Companies looked to FIFTEEN to create and execute a PR campaign that positioned the brand as an upscale but approachable entertainment destination, touting their “eat, play, shop, live” mantra.
FIFTEEN planned two events, utilizing social messaging and media contacts to attract The Dome’s target audiences to the grand opening ceremony, as well as the VIP party. Instead of cutting a ribbon, the drive of a golden golf ball officially opened the venue. The events introduced the amenities to the local media and benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters.
The excitement garnered coverage by two television stations, The Buffalo News and local golf and community publications. The Dome’s Facebook page also received an increase of 33,000+ unique weekly users in the days leading up to the event. It all added up to an earned media ad equivalent of $36,000, making the grand re-opening campaign an extremely profitable enterprise for Somerset.
The Dome continues to succeed, thanks in part to brand new design, signage, and a website created by FIFTEEN.
In 2016, FIFTEEN Art Director Jeremy Banas, self-described as “someone who used to be a big fat guy,” successfully completed the Empire State Ride, a charitable bicycle tour benefitting Roswell Park Cancer Institute that takes riders on a grueling trek across the entire state of New York.
In 2017, Jer is taking up the challenge again, as well as redesigning the jerseys and leading a company-wide effort in Buffalo’s Ride For Roswell.
You always want to impress a new client. Doubly so when that client is a pillar of your hometown and its economic past, present and future. So when Rich Products® came to FIFTEEN for a series of new sell sheets and product videos, we devoted ourselves to blowing them away.
The job was a tricky one; Rich’s® was focussing on marketing their Toppings, Creams and Culinary Solutions product lines to new verticals, and their salespeople needed guidance on how to best articulate the values of their versatile, stable products for new audiences. At the same time, FIFTEEN recognized the need for the materials to fulfill a second function as something that could be given to potential Rich’s® customers. We found ourselves creating work that would be simultaneously internal- and external-facing.
Rich’s® has more than 2,000 products marketed to a vast number of verticals, making for a steep learning curve. In order to help Rich’s® team talk benefits, FIFTEEN first needed to entrench ourselves in product research. Delicious, indulgent, satisfying research. When it was over, we’d gained the collective understanding necessary to create the work, as well as the collective understanding that we needed to loosen our belts a few notches.
The results of our first partnership with Rich’s® include ten brand new sell sheets, each aimed at a different vertical. The sheets offer coaching on how to best sell the products as well as serve as a sharp, eye-catching leave-behinds that potential clients can bring to their operators. FIFTEEN also produced, shot and edited five videos that show in real-time the cost, labor and time saving benefits of using Rich’s® products. We hope this is the beginning of a long, delicious friendship with one of Buffalo’s proudest companies.
What do we want to do? Who do we want to be? How do we set ourselves apart? These are the questions we asked ourselves at the outset of trying to rebrand 15 Fingers to FIFTEEN. The goal was to represent ourselves in a way that would give a nod to our past, but also embrace where we wanted to go as an agency. We quickly found out that it’s much easier to build or help define our clients' brands than it was to define our own.
It took nearly two years of drilling wells and clearing every corner before we found something that satisfied us creatively, illuminated our industry in an original way, and made sense to someone who had no previous knowledge of 15 Fingers.
We focussed our efforts on creating new original content. Content that resonates with our intended target as well as redefines what FIFTEEN aspires to create for our clients. The thing that rings true with every one of us, and ultimately what advertising revolves around, is the human experience. So what makes the human experience so familiar to everyone? What’s in common? Emotion. And that answer unlocked a treasure trove of ideas that would inevitably define our philosophy as as an agency.
Everyone can relate to the six most basic human emotions—joy, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust and fear. But the sweet spot is not those most basic of human emotions, but rather the more nuanced emotions that reveal themselves when you combine those emotions—the grey areas that can be difficult to discern. Indifference, solitude, insecurity, mischievous, ecstasy, confidence. These are traits we all share but also what makes each of us unique. When combined with the environment in which you were raised, your socio-economic status, your life experiences, this array of emotions or character traits shapes our perception of the world and the way in which you process information and communication.
It’s one thing to create a logo or come up with a catchy tagline. We know we can do that. It’s another thing entirely to try and define what it is you want to become, what that looks like, and how you make it a reality. We recognize that not everyone will see our work the same. We must ask the deeper questions. Open our own minds and allow the experience of others to inspire, drive and influence our decisions and strategies. Only then can we make better creative with every effort we undertake.
We want to be more enlightened versions of ourselves. We are poets and artists, entrepreneurs and critical thinkers, builders and consumers, seekers and believers. These are differences that we embrace and nurture to their full potential. Once we know ourselves better, we can understand our audiences better. We can relate to them on several levels. We want to be a team that sets a loftier goal for ourselves and a team with the resolve to get there. We set ourselves apart by not settling on the idea that we are just an advertising and marketing agency. We reach deeper inward to realize our full potential as ideators, thinkers and producers. It requires not settling on the easy answer. Discovering new avenues or ideas that go beyond the television spot, print piece or website. Taking full advantage of the talent within our walls and nurturing it to become something we haven’t thought of yet. Something more. Something complete by design.
FIFTEEN is growing, and we needed to up our media planning and buying game. Enter new Media Director, Jennifer K. Fortune.
Fortune is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in media departments. She comes to FIFTEEN from Eric Mower + Associates, where she held the same title. A Buffalo native who attended Nardin, Allegheny College, and Buff State, Fortune has the longstanding relationships with regional players crucial for success in the media space.
“Having that network is key,” says Fortune. “You get to know the people, get to know their families. They’ll bring me opportunities, sometimes before anyone else. There’s no B.S. with pricing. We can get real with negotiations straight away. This helps the clients in the long run.”
As Media Director, Fortune must find the best channel for getting a product or service to the end user. This challenge has mutated in recent years as the landscape is continually fragmented by new media outlets. “The number of options has skyrocketed, but client budgets haven’t. That’s where research and qualitative analysis come in, to ensure you’re hitting your target. But there are also things you can’t measure, and that’s where client feedback and experience plays a major role.”
FIFTEEN put a high value on that experience, and is already working with Fortune to invest in new consumer insight data, which has national and international media implications. “It’s a serious investment that will pay big dividends for clients,” Fortune believes. Despite devoting much of her time to dividends, Fortune feels her position is a creative one, as well. “Media people have to be right-brained and left-brained. You do spend a lot of time negotiating prices, but there’s also a ton of planning and strategy, where you need to be creative to succeed.”
Fortune has quickly found her groove at FIFTEEN. “I love the energy, the drive. I admire the entrepreneurial approach of (FIFTEEN partners) Greg and Zack.” Fortune leapt at the chance to build an entire media department from the ground up, alongside the clients, in a way that will be most streamlined and beneficial for everyone. As the company continues to grow, Fortune looks forward to working on the operations side of the business, installing processes across departments which she knows works for larger agencies.
“Media has a language all its own, unique to this industry,” Fortune philosophizes. “I do planning as well as buying, and it’s important to be able to do both. You need to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of outlets before you can understand media holistically.” Fortune feels her department is central to FIFTEEN’s continuing evolution and ability to attract new clients. “These days, media works hand-in-hand with creative to sell the company,” she says. “I’m excited to show clients what we can do with media.”
FIFTEEN’s content production facilities are quickly ramping up. Animated shorts, VFX work, title sequences and original and for-hire live action narrative productions are all in the pipeline—facilitated in part by our brand new in-house studio.
Here is a preview of some of the creative fun we’re having. Stay tuned...
Intense Milk was looking to do a promotional contest that attracted a youthful audience and put their brand in an exciting, active new light. It would be built around the upcoming Winter EDGE games. FIFTEEN created a dynamic, one-of-a-kind campaign by putting the Intense mark on perhaps the most thrilling canvas possible: custom snowboards.
FIFTEEN partnered with Gilson, maker of American craftsmen boards, to create a series of three custom decks. Our Creative Director Ken Trabert drew original panoramic designs for each flavor of Intense Milk, wildly imaginative scenes depicting vintage toys in the midst of extreme apocalyptic events. The designs were printed on the bottom of the Gilson decks, ensuring that anyone on the slopes or watching the promotional videos would see the Intense logo anytime a rider hit a jump or pulled off a trick.
In 2014, FIFTEEN Designer Tim Martin hiked the entirety of the Appalachian Trail.
Georgia to Maine. 2185.3 miles. 119 days.
The 360 family-owned dairy farms that make up the Upstate Niagara Cooperative have been a New York State institution for more than six generations. As capabilities evolved and new product lines were added, UNC was in need of a rejuvenation for a family of brands that hadn’t been updated in a decade, as well as a revived digital platform that brought the Cooperative's story to life.
The challenge for FIFTEEN was to create a fresher, modernized vibe to stay competitive in a business-to-business world while maintaining the tradition and integrity of proud farmer owners. The task before us entailed a refresh of every brand element under the sun, refurbishing logos and packaging, creating collateral for trade show events, and a new website that reflected this type of breadth. It was a monumental undertaking that involved every single member of the FIFTEEN team.
In the end, FIFTEEN and UNC accomplished all of our goals together and then some. We brought a family of companies built on proud tradition into the modern age, deftly weaving contemporary style with time-honored custom. Through it all, we displayed the transparent collaboration with our partners that is the bedrock of our unique agency and brought it all home at a value. And, perhaps most importantly, we preserved customer loyalty while simultaneously cultivating new consumers, resulting in one of the most successful year of sales in the long history of the Upstate Niagara Cooperative.
Catholic Health, Western New York’s largest healthcare provider, was looking for a new agency, and sent the call out for pitches. While shop after shop marched in with presentation decks and descriptions of what their campaign would look like, FIFTEEN took a bolder approach: We went out and produced an entire television ad on our own.
Upon hearing of the opportunity with Catholic Health, the team at FIFTEEN bunkered down and dedicated themselves to winning the client. What could we do that would stand out? All hospitals tout similar messaging; award-winning care, quality patient experience and so on. We challenged ourselves to focus on the most compelling factor for patients when it comes to choosing where to receive care: Assurance that the life they want to live, with those they love, can continue after their treatment. Armed with our own in-house production team and gear, including a drone, along with an idea we knew would best shine in execution as opposed to explanation, we took the risk of creating the spot ourselves.
What resulted was the Catholic Health Little Victories campaign, a series of four clean, simple, beautifully executed spots with relatable messaging and a subtly clever, heart-swelling twist at the end. The spots drove traffic to a new, responsive website that detailed the care received by four main characters, each representing one of the four main service lines Catholic Health prides itself on. Complete with custom photography and original content, the site told more intimate stories about how Catholic Health’s quality care is delivered.
Not only did FIFTEEN win over the client, Catholic Health loved the spec ad so much that they kept it as-is. It launched the campaign and set the tone for the system that endures in our partnership today.
A mainstay of Western New York snack tables since the 1930s, Bison Dip was looking for a way to ignite its loyal following and widen their audience. It required messaging that reflected the rollicking excitement experienced by tastebuds when enjoying their product. Bison Dip also wanted to establish a social media presence, attracting eyeballs digitally and converting those into product sales at the grocery store. At the same time, FIFTEEN was looking for a client challenge that would highlight our expanded 3D animation expertise. The two objectives went together like chips and dip.
The production of three 30-second, fully animated holiday spots was the largest such undertaking both for agency and client. Confident in our expert services and armed with a well-thought media placement strategy, FIFTEEN self-produced the Halloween spot in an effort to steer Bison in this direction. We revealed the finished ad to the client to their surprise and supreme pleasure. The humor of the breakdancing skeleton, the catchy house beats and the visual kaleidoscope of the dip-tastic visuals were the ideal content for a spot that attracted eyeballs everywhere from TV screens to Facebook feeds, inviting consumers to seek out Bison Dip in grocery stores and ‘Bring It’ to their holiday parties.
With Bison fully onboard, we went on to produce another dance-themed ad in the fridge funk fest ‘Happy Thanks-Dipping.’ For Christmas, the campaign evolved into clever, Toy Story-inspired storytelling with ‘Mission: Dip Possible,’ in which a brave ornament goes on an adventure to bring Santa what he really wants for Christmas: Bison Dip.
The animated spots were an instant success. Views and impressions skyrocketed, with each ad averaging nearly 4 million impressions and getting shared all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The Christmas ad aired during holiday television powerhouses including SNL Christmas, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life. This naturally coincided with a significant uptick in product sales and laid the groundwork for a whole new generation of consumers who will have Bison Dip dancing in their heads whenever they go to the grocery store for years to come.
“We put our lives in the hands of complete strangers every single day and we don’t even think about it,” says Rich Herbeck, FIFTEEN copywriter and the screenwriter/producer of the feature film, Emelie. “The chef making your food, the dude driving your Uber, your kid’s teacher. You get the wrong kind of person in that position and they can wreak a lot of havoc.”
Emelie is the story of an evil babysitter versus the three adorable children she’s left alone with. “Sort of a very dark Home Alone,” as Herbeck describes it. A Buffalo native, Herbeck worked closely with the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission to bring the production home. Emelie was shot entirely here in Western New York, employed dozens of locals and helped put Buffalo on the map as a production destination. “That’s what I take the most pride in.”
The disturbing thriller premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and was selected for a number of prestigious fests all around the world. It gained international theatrical distribution in 2016 and is digitally available everywhere. Herbeck has twelve years of experience as a screenwriter in Los Angeles and has been in the creative inner circle for projects including Lost, Cloverfield and The Cabin in the Woods. Outside the walls of FIFTEEN, Herbeck is actively working on new film, television and podcasting projects and hopes to produce them here in his hometown.
When clinical study network Empirican PRN was granted $1 million by UB’s Start-Up NY, CMO Irfan Khan knew that business was about to be booming. And when you’re talking about an industry that regularly booms in billions with a ‘b,’ it was clear that Empirican needed a rebrand that could keep up with his company’s impending growth. The stakes were high; the company’s mission is to improve the clinical study experience for patients, ultimately resulting in better health options for everyone. Khan turned to the experts at FIFTEEN for a wholesale rebrand.
It started with a name. The company had numerous service lines and capabilities, as well as numerous potential customers. The market will dictate which one of these services will catch on and move to the forefront in the future. The new name had to be encompassing and malleable enough to fit any outcome under its umbrella. After extensive research, brainstorming and a dash of soothsaying, Circuit Clinical™ was born.
Once the company had a name, it was time to give it a mind, body and voice. FIFTEEN worked tirelessly to fully grasp the entirety of the convoluted marketplace Circuit Clinical™ was positioned to disrupt. It was crucial to be able to speak multiple languages depending on who was listening. The design of the new website, built from scratch, as well as collateral such as business cards, sell sheets, onboarding materials and presentation decks had to reflect and balance the company’s revolutionary solution to a historically inefficient workflow while not crossing into the slick, glossy territory of the Pharma companies they were looking to bring on as clients. Circuit Clinical™ also features software offerings, and it was up to FIFTEEN to create a brand tree that could organically add new branches as the marketplace continues to evolve.
So far, the results speak for themselves. Circuit Clinical™ has increased its patient network from the hundreds to the hundreds of thousands, with the two million mark expected to be crossed in 2017. They have become the local clinical study facilitator of choice for Sponsors, ACOs and physicians. A hundred new jobs are being created in the region. The rebrand was highlighted in Forbes Magazine. And in November 2016, Khan announced a deal with the Buffalo Institute for Genomics and Data Analytics to run clinical studies at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
The partnership between Circuit Clinical™ and FIFTEEN is only beginning. Stay tuned as we continue to evolve together in the near future.
Buffalo may be the birthplace of the chicken wing, but the city also boasts a plethora of palatable provisions, and competition is fierce among local restaurants. So when Ru’s Pierogi wanted to make a splash with its grand opening, it sought FIFTEEN’s PR team for media relations, social media strategy and special event planning to ensure the restaurant’s name didn’t get lost in the crowd.
Having developed the Ru's brand, FIFTEEN created a media database of targeted representatives covering all aspects of the Ru’s Pierogi angle. FIFTEEN also recognized the power of the local media and blogging communities. Embarking on a series of traditional and new media campaigns to tell the Ru’s story, the pre-opening publicity helped to build momentum so brand recognition for the new restaurant was already high when the time came for the grand opening events.
FIFTEEN threw a Pints, Press & Pierogi night to introduce the restaurant and production facility to its local media influencers, and soon after held a more formal grand opening event for local representatives and stakeholders, complete with a Mayoral Proclamation declaring the day to be Ru’s Pierogi Day in the city of Buffalo, and a giant “pierogi cutting.”
The pre-grand opening media strategy coupled with the special events execution garnered mentions and engagement with Ru’s Pierogi across all mediums, and helped to solidify relationships with reporters and bloggers. Thanks to the huge amount of PR coverage Ru’s received, sales are above expectations and the restaurant continues to enjoy success in pitching story ideas to its cultivated media network.
At FIFTEEN, we are thankful for our clients. In fact, we don’t see them as clients but as partners. So for our 2015 holiday campaign, we wanted to create something that went beyond a holiday greeting card, infographic or disconnected gift—something that showed our partners how much they mean to us in an interactive way.
FIFTEEN designed a direct mail piece that included a nostalgic present—an original Polaroid camera. The box was sent out to clients with printed photos of the entire FIFTEEN team members and a greeting card that directed recipients to a custom-built, responsive website.
The website, which was also sent out to a list of thousands of company contacts, prompted the visitor to enter the decade in which they were born. They could then see—year by year—what was popular such as the Person of the Year, Single of the Year and Best Picture-winner. The design and copy captured the political climate, pop culture temperature and significant historical highlights of each decade through colorful text and a timeline collage seen across the bottom of the site.
The self-promoting campaign highlights our collaborative environment to potential clients, and provided a fun, interactive element as we entered the Leap Year of 2016.
Necessity is the true mother of invention. When faced with the unfortunate circumstance of not having the expendable income to afford a slew of extended family Christmas gifts as a college student, Kait Niland decided to craft clean-burning, 100% domestically sourced soy wax candles. The inspiration was reignited a few years later when a client requested soy candles. From then on, the burn to create grew.
You never realize how much better life is with a candle lit. Account Director Kait’s passion for providing people with what they want extends beyond the walls of FIFTEEN as she now offers a variety of candles, with unbleached wicks and essential oil-based fragrances, in recyclable containers, for people to relax, unwind and set moods with.
Niland Candle Co. can be purchased online and in stores locally at the Washington Market and Fred Handmade Wares + Gifts in Buffalo, and Dispenza’s Meat Market in Lockport. Plus, be on the lookout for the occasional Niland pop-up shop and special event. Follow Niland Candle Co. on Instagram to stay in the know.
The in-house FIFTEEN production team needed to refresh the Upstate Farms asset library. These videos and photographs were the result of several days out on various family-owned and operated, Upstate Niagara Cooperative farms.
We captured the true essence of traditional, American values through imagery depicting several generations of family farmers, a commitment to cow care and comfort, and an unwavering drive to produce the highest quality milk. With each photograph telling multiple stories, these photographs have been used in print pieces, annual reports and updated websites for both the Cooperative and Upstate Farms.
Somerset Companies manages over a dozen residential, commercial and entertainment properties throughout New York and Pennsylvania. They were in need of a top-down rebrand that would unify their locations and reflect the quiet, clean luxury they offer. Somerset turned to FIFTEEN to create this new identity.
Challenged with creating a primary logo as well as a brand family tree for 16 existing properties with future developments in mind, we needed to create marks that were instantly recognizable as Somerset and had individual staying power as well as versatility and room to grow. The logos would be everywhere, from the websites we were building, to wayfinding signs, branded collateral and interior art.
FIFTEEN’s design evolved to a brushstroke look inspired by the enso. In Zen Buddhism, the circular enso is a symbol of enlightenment. The symbol is drawn with one fluid stroke and marks the freeing of the mind. As Somerset’s primary logo, the enso embodies their ability to create spaces that encourage thought and productive conversation in a peaceful, healthy, communal living environment. The subsidiary brands have their own unique mark inspired by a feature of the property itself, all united by the same minimalist brushstroke. This same technique can be employed to new Somerset developments in the future.
Resurgence Brewing Company, a Buffalo brewery and beer garden, came to FIFTEEN before the buildout of their space even began and asked us to help develop their brand, particularly the logo. They had a few brewery logos and challenged us to create a strong, memorable identity that would reflect the pride in Buffalo’s rebirth, which was the inspiration behind the beer's name.
FIFTEEN dove deep into market research, cracking open many competitor brands to ensure we had the full picture of the marketplace. We presented several rounds of logo iterations and placed them all in context. We explored every angle, including what the logo would look like on a bottle, tap handle, outdoor sign, you name it. Our team wanted to make sure that the logo could be easily integrated on a variety of media without getting lost in the shuffle.
Resurgence Brewing now has a logo that not only reflects Buffalo’s rich history, but also a refreshed outlook for its future. FIFTEEN was able to encapsulate everything the brewing company symbolizes, and created a brand that the local community can recognize and be proud of.
What is a Bonspiel? No, it’s not a german sausage dance. Nor a secret agent falling down. It’s a curling tournament, and Catholic Health was looking to launch a new tradition on Canalside's new-and-improved skating rink in downtown Buffalo. It was a major event that required a wide array of services to pull off. The team at FIFTEEN accepted the challenge.
FIFTEEN started with the rocks and the brooms. You can’t curl without rocks and brooms! So we designed Catholic Health-branded gear that all the teams would use. This look carried into rink wraps, wayfinding signs, sign-up materials and even colorful blue-and-white poof-balled toques that every player received. FIFTEEN’s event planning and activation partner, Piston, worked to recruit teams of four from local schools, staff the event itself, and build a tournament bracket. We worked out a schedule so the serious competitors could get down to business on one side, while new curlers young and old could slide in on the other side of the sheet.
The day arrived and the weather was perfect. One of those clear, crisp Buffalo winter days that makes you love life on the Great Lakes. A hotly contested tournament and plenty of smiling faces created memories that will last a lifetime. We’d accomplished our goal and a new tradition was born—the second annual Canalside Bonspiel Tournament sponsored by Catholic Health hit the ice in January of 2017.
4670 and counting. That’s how many beverage reviews the thirsty dudes of thirstydudes.com have written since their founding in 2011. Describing themselves as “a duo of bearded, awesome, thirsty, straightedge dudes who love strange drinks,” the unique site has gotten press coverage from Fox News, Thrillist and The Buffalo News. Beyond being a valuable resource for anyone seeking non-alcoholic liquid refreshment, the hilariously irreverent writing style makes for an entertaining read even if you aren’t thirsty.
One of the those thirsty bearded irreverent dudes is FIFTEEN’s very own Lead Software Engineer Mike Literman, a programmer who joined the agency soon after its inception. A true renaissance man, Mike also founded Root Ink., where he crafts custom woodwork pens, and plays bass in Invisible Touch, an 80s pop cover band with a rock n’ roll edge.
We thought we knew who we were talking to. We had mapped out an entire brand and strategy for Health Home Partners of WNY—a network of service providers that coordinates care from housing assistance to substance abuse rehabilitation, for patients on Medicaid. We started with the concept of wayfinding—the inspiration for the compass logo. But after that, the rest didn’t feel right. So as FIFTEEN, we took a deeper dive.
Come to find out, after talking with long- and short-term enrollees, we needed creative and a comprehensive strategy that was more relevant to people who find themselves trapped in their own homes, struggle to get from doctor to doctor every week, or, in some cases, have no home to go to at all. Thus, our full-service campaign revolved around the sentiment that no one is ever alone. There’s always someone in your corner even when you feel down and out.
Collateral posters, bus and shelter wraps, and billboards echoed the words that a person in need needed to hear. Positive enforcement. Companionship. And above all else, care. Our creative vividly illustrates the inner-workings of a potential Health Home enrollee by depicting a sense of despair while immediately serving a guiding light. We understand that it seems like there’s no where you can turn. But the way home through care coordination is just a phone call away.
When it comes to printing skills, the craftspeople at Hodgins Engraving are magicians. Experts in fine printing techniques such as letterpress, die-cut, engraving and embossing, their website did no justice to that expertise and inspired no confidence in their considerable design aptitude. Their messages were getting lost and weren’t reaching the right audience. Hodgins turned to FIFTEEN to bring their industry back from the dead and target an audience we knew all too well: creative agencies.
What would we like to receive in the mail? In the midst of constant postcard-sized flyers, what would resonate with a creative director or print production manager? FIFTEEN quickly realized that the best way to display Hodgins strengths was not digital first, but with tangible objects you can hold in your hands. We decided to think inside the box—a coffin-shaped box, to be exact. We designed a ‘Print Is Dead’ casket containing a custom printed pint glass and coasters, each coaster beautifully printed using a different Hodgins capability. We then sent these fantastically unique items to the target audience that most directly requires such high-touch printing services.
The casket directed creative directors to the ‘Print Is Dead’ microsite, fully constructed by FIFTEEN. The sleek, boldly designed site extended the ironic theme playing on the perception of print as a dying medium and offered in-depth descriptions of Hodgins expertise. It proved Hodgins wasn’t some nostalgic carryover but a shop that wanted to push the boundaries of design forward, positioning Hodgins as prodigious in fusing old techniques with new technologies.
Today, Hodgins has been revived as a go-to vendor for high-end unique printing needs, regularly fielding calls from the very agencies where our coffin landed on their desk.
The Schneider Development family of services is as expert as they are diverse. So diverse in fact, that they each required a unique identity. The goal for FIFTEEN was to evolve a family of brands that were similar, yet different, complete with an updated look for the umbrella brand.
When evolving the family of Schneider brands, we wanted to design a logo set that felt familiar but set Architecture, Development and Construction up for future growth and success. This meant updating the look and feel to come off as modern, yet timeless.
The logo for the Schneider Development symbolizes upward growth and the highest level of quality. The Architectural logo abstractly resembles a floor plan. The Construction logo carries the same look and feel while symbolizing a more industrial angle. Each symbol is also incorporated into the text of each company. And again, they’re all similar, yet individually unique.
The Consumer Marketing Services Group (CMS) specializes in event activation, staffing and merchandising. They needed an active name that reflected their services. They looked to FIFTEEN for a complete rebrand.
It was important to understand all CMS has to offer. They focus on close relationships with their clients, understanding their needs and developing custom strategies. That understanding is then communicated to their customers, whether it be through point-of-sale merchandising, strategic event planning or developing brand ambassadors. CMS handles both the behind-the-scenes logistical work critical for pulling off big events and product launches, as well as functioning as the face of their clients when staffing activation events or developing vendor partnerships.
CMS is at their best when you don’t see them and yet everything is running smoothly. CMS is also at their best as the bright and bold representation of their clients. After we wrapped our heads around that dichotomy, discovering their new name was easy: CMS would become Piston—hard-working and keeping the engine running while their bold logo grabs your attention from across the room.
Catholic Health was searching for a new tagline and campaign built around the reasons why they deliver the region’s best care. To shift the narrative from how to why. Something that spoke to the idea that the importance of quality healthcare doesn’t stop once you leave the hospital.
The team at FIFTEEN put our heads together and thought about what matters most to us. Spending time with our loved ones. Doing the things we enjoy. Taking advantage of the true four season city we all share. If we get sick, injured or need some sort of tune-up, what would matter most to us is getting back to those people and those pastimes as soon and as seamlessly as possible. From that line of thought, Care For What Matters Most was born.
This tagline, this anthem, broke new ground for Catholic Health and FIFTEEN. It carried us through countless television spots, radio ads, print, outdoor and digital outreach endeavors. Instead of focussing on clinical visuals, we focused on the lives touched by Catholic Health’s superior care after their care is complete. Catholic Health is a member of the Western New York Community like the rest of us and they take great pride in keeping us healthy and getting us back on our feet. The Care For What Matters Most campaign gets to the heart of why their work is so significant.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s involvement with Buffalo stems from the Larkin Soap Company. Now utilized as a center of commerce, the old factory and office space had a story to tell. FIFTEEN was entrusted to tell that story with a new website, which we built from the ground up, while blending existing brand elements with refreshed content.
Offering a variety of commercial spaces ranging from class-A offices to creative studios, the Larkin Center of Commerce necessitated a deep discovery. Who were their ideal tenants? To answer this question, and others like them, we interviewed key members of the property management team, some of their longest-tenured tenants and tenants who had recently had spaces built out custom to their business’ needs. The result was a well of content to draw from.
The website features engaging video content and photography as well as thorough, yet succinct copy that details everything from the Larkin philosophy, the history of the building, and the buildout process from start to finish. It’s all presented in a way that users can easily move from section to section and quickly drill down to exactly what they’re interested in.
Motions has been making salon-inspired products for women with textured hair since 1993. They struggled through several packaging redesigns and a lack of brand awareness among their newly targeted, younger demographic. In terms of communicating to college-aged, African-American women, The BET Awards were the perfect event to launch a campaign touting the ability of Motions to deliver uncompromised moisture, manageability and shine. But it’s one thing to explain the value of their hair care. It’s another thing to show it. And for that, they turned to FIFTEEN.
FIFTEEN and Motions partnered on the most ambitious ad in their history. FIFTEEN wanted to highlight the full range of beautiful, sexy and attention-grabbing places a young woman's hair could go with Motions., complete with a new tagline: It's Your Move. We decided to produce a spot that did just that, with a cast of models rocking their Motions-facilitated ‘dos and putting them in motion, blending day and night looks. In an end-to-end, in-house effort, FIFTEEN conceptualized, storyboarded, cast, shot, edited, sourced the soundtrack, animated the logos and placed the ad exactly where it would reach the desired audience.
The final spot holds up to anything produced by bigger agencies and came in at a fraction of the cost for the client. It’s the type of ad you’re going to watch again and again.