This compilation video offers a nice snapshot into the connectivity we discovered between the creative pursuits of these artists and the work they do 9-5, in short, creativity in the workplace. If you have not seen the show at the Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs you should stop in to the gallery. The show will be up a few more weeks, catch it if you can. The video linked here is a compilation of videos about the show, you might enjoy watching it. It’s too short for popcorn but important enough to leave you with something stuck in your head, if not your teeth.

For the first time in recent history the CLIO Awards integrated Healthcare into the overall show. As an Executive Jury participant, it feels like an epic moment, not just because we had some really strong work to debate again this year, but because in the context of the entire show, health, if not healthcare specifically, was well-represented globally. The CLIO Awards are getting healthier.

It is long overdue that the creative industries take on healthcare and apply its vast wealth of talent to help solve the world’s health problems. Kudos to CLIO for leading the charge in contextualizing the work within the industry. With the integration of healthcare into the show this year we achieve not only the recognition of great work but more importantly, how this work stacks up to other health and wellness work not submitted into the healthcare category. Work such as the simple, powerful project for 28 Too Many is brilliant for its insight and simplicity and absolutely riveting execution. It achieves in a series of deceptively simple images what a 50-page website could never do. I say this not in disregard to the power of digital but in homage to the incredible power of an idea that succeeds because of its intelligence and its sparseness.

End FMG everywhere. Donate Now.

Ogilvy & Mather, London

In an age when it often feels that one surefire path to an award is to orchestrate an event, film that event and then share it across social media, the work for 28toomany.org defies present convention. The work is executed with great empathy and delivers a tearful blow to the pride of nations who dare look away… and it does it without relying on the gaming of social media to prove its point. I will suggest this is a very analogue idea — a bit of old school brilliance. I tip my hat.

As an industry, I think we have an obligation to keep health and wellness on the top of the agenda because it benefits all of us and with more of us doing it, the more we’ll get accomplished. The work for 28 Too Many delivers on all fronts, regardless of the category it was entered into.

In my former gig as a founder and chief global creative officer Palio, I traveled the world for both research and creative development. Health and wellness is one of those topics that unites all peoples around the globe and it is one area in which we have many more commonalities than we do differences. Keeping it in a silo only makes it harder. Let’s mix it up, think and behave differently about health and wellness — this is one of the motivations behind my new company Brandforming — to tap the broader talent pool and leap boundaries.

As technology continues to topple old barriers almost as fast as we can name them, it is time to apply the learnings of all the fun and fascinating applications to do some truly heavy lifting and solve real problems, not just for the entertainment value . And with that, let’s consider Lucky Iron Fish, the 2015 Grand CLIO in Healthcare Innovation winner. This work astonishes with its simplicity because Lucky Iron Fish excels not through some fantastic application of technology, but through the power of its cultural insight and a few pennies worth of scrap iron. Another powerful analogue idea. Visit their website and learn their story http://www.luckyironfish.com/

Insight into action

Lucky Iron Fish – Ontario

Lucky Iron Fish was developed with great cultural sensitivity that unlocked an insight that placed the Lucky Iron Fish into the heart of every home and improved the quality of health. For this very reason this same work also achieved legendary status at the Cannes Lions Festival earlier this year.

World health data offers the promise of incredible perspective, if not insight, into some really pressing global health challenges. Many of these very same challenges find their way right into our daily lives; yet we persist in acting as if these problems belong to someone else. The recognition this year to Dr. Mickey Chopra, CLIO Healthcare Honorary Award for his service at Unicef as Chief of Health and Associate Director of Programs at UNICEF’s NY headquarters, acknowledges the profound impact he has had in shaping policy into action for maternal, newborn, and child health, immunization, pediatric, HIV/AIDS, and health systems. To Dr. Chopra, we all matter, the world over.

Healthcare advertising and communications have come along way in the U.S. but still has much further to go to achieve the kind of impact these campaigns deliver. The very regulations we rail on about are a trap we set for ourselves when we insist on following the same old well-worn paths. Just because we are allowed to do branded promotion for healthcare brands in the U.S. doesn’t mean it is the only tool in the box. At this point it is abundantly clear that all the advertising and promotion for products here in the U.S. has not done much to improve our health or drive down the cost of healthcare. Americans are not among the healthiest people and as we know all too well, the cost of and access to healthcare has become one of the biggest burdens we face.

I’ll leave us today with another CLIO winner that Heads For The Heart with humor and takes on the Affordable Care Act

Not so funny but no joke

The Affordable Care Act from Funny or Die

Ar+Work, September 26, 4-7 PM Spring Street Gallery

It would be great to see more people expressing themselves through the arts, to put away fear and self-doubt and to create for the simple act of creating itself. It is powerfully liberating. The journey of any passionate artist is one of both refinement of skill and changing conceptions. This is another point that needs to be made and remain top-of-mind when seeing the show, skill and creativity do not necessarily travel hand-in-hand. Some of the artists are much more advanced in their skill level than others but this by no means diminishes the power of their self-expression.

I’d like to personally thank the following people and organizations for their help and support in bringing this show together; Charles Wait, Chairman and CEO of Adirondack Trust Company, Mayor Joanne Yepsen of The City of Saratoga Springs and Angelo Calbone, President and CEO of Saratoga Hospital, their employees and in particular their internal communications, HR and marketing people who’ve been instrumental in getting the word out. Lori Goodale was not only one of the catalysts in the creation of the show, she has also been integral to the successful of implementation, execution and coordination all communications with the participating organizations as well as external media relations. Thank you Lori, for wearing so many hats, including the time coding of the video edits.

I also have to give thanks to Augie’s Restaurant for agreeing to supply their great food so we can all sup while we enjoy the show.  Thank you to Gabby Delattibodier Wright for her art promotion and event planning support in bringing needed resources to the show. To Benj Gleeksman for picking up the ball and running with the design of the promotional materials to bring further awareness to the show — go Benj! Thanks also to Belinda Colon, for her excellent sense of story and translating that to the mounting and exhibition of the show. This is no easy task with a mix media show such as this. I hope you take the time to appreciate not just the work but the presentation as well.

Thanks as well to Ed Murphy, Executive Director of Workforce Development Institute for the enthusiastic support of his team as well as their financial assistance to offset some of cost of the show.

Thanks to these members of the extended Brandforming team,  Erica O’Rourke and her team at Social Radiant for taking on the task of sharing the idea and promotion of the show through social media channels. Thank you to John Wager and his team at Galileo Media Arts for lending their talents to film the leadership interviews and other certain aspects of the show. Thanks in this regard must also go to Hudson Payer a very talented senior at Saratoga Springs High School, who jumped in last minute and agreed to film some of the individual artist interviews.

In many ways this is a show about community, about the people and organizations that make Saratoga Springs the wonderful place that it is. Spring Street Gallery is a unique space in that it is entirely not-for-profit. This makes it at once very liberating but also challenging for Maureen Sager to achieve the kinds of results that she does, which is to say, the shows that she has brought to this community are wonderful examples of art, artists and the relationship of art to our lives. Shows that wake you up to the power of the arts, that challenge thinking and that inspire you to walk out a bit differently then when you walked in. This is one of the great purposes of art curation, if not of art itself. I, for one, walked into Spring Street Gallery a different person than I am today and for this I can not thank Maureen enough for her trust and her steady hand as she continues to guide, challenge and inspire me in all aspects of this show.

Last and most certainly not least — but in fact most of all  — thank you to the brave and creative artists who put their heart and soul into everything they do — they truly Head For The Heart.

We all know the story about how creative we are as kids and by the time we’re adults most of us lose it all. The arts in our schools are often the first thing to go when budgets are tight and the emphasis has always been in favor of the other core disciplines. But now it seems we’ve taken it all a bit too seriously and downgraded the arts in school, maybe a blind spot on the national agenda. Time will tell.

The effort in our schools is to really ground our children in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM for short. This is a great curriculum with a noble goal, to make sure our future leaders are at the top of their game to help keep our country and our economy a vital global resource. There is only one thing missing from this concept and that is the arts. STEM to STEAM is the mantra many have adopted to overcome this direction. But are the arts and creativity really missing altogether, or just under appreciated?

To put the Arts back on the table as a priority for our children we need to recognize the arts as essential in driving creativity across all disciplines. I hope when you see the show and read about these artists that you will see for yourself the important connection between the arts and these other forms of knowledge that are represented by STEM. By leaving out the Arts we are in fact doing a great disservice to our children and our future. It is for this reason that the show will benefit our local schools through a matching donation to the Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning.

The program is the spearheaded by Michael Piccirillo, Superintendent of Saratoga Springs City School District, and it was borne out of the need he and his team identified to push the envelop and constantly look for ways to innovate in the education of our children.  I had the chance to spend some time speaking with Mr. Piccirillo and I can say we are very fortunate to have him at the helm of our schools. Mr. Picirrillo is full STEAM ahead. You can see the discussion here. I hope you’ll come to the show and drop a few dollars in the bin so the foundation can keep doing great things for our kids.

In addition to seeing Mr. P’s video, check into our social media and keep an eye out for a series videotaped discussions with a few of the artists in the show. These video discussions will become available during the lead-up up to the show, follow the story here.

We solicited participation of artists from three large employers here in Saratoga, The Adirondack Trust Company, The City of Saratoga and Saratoga Hospital and we started with the leaders of the organizations. Through a series of one-on-one conversations with the executive leadership it was immediately apparent that not only did they enthusiastically support the idea and the participation of their employees in the show, but that they were highly attuned to the benefits of the arts and creativity in the lives of their teams and their organizations as a whole. You can see the conversation here.

To date we have work from more 50 artists enrolled in the show with a healthy mix of creativity from original music to painting, photography, poetry, quilting — a tour-de-force of artistic and personal expression.

To be continued…

In late June Brandforming was in engaged by Maserati of Albany to help launch their dealership. There are currently only 18 dealerships across the US that represent Maserati of North America. Compare this to Chrysler which by one account has 2,390 Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships in the United States or BMW with 350 and right away you see the exclusivity of the offering. Maserati is one of the great marquees of the auto world, well established for their combination of high performance and luxury.

The challenge for  Maserati of Albany is that the dealership officially opened with the arrival of their first cars in June, however, the dealership retail store will not be completed until some time next year.

So how do you launch a dealership without a destination worthy of the cars themselves?

The Brandforming team sat down with the owners of the dealership, the DePaula family, to discuss some ideas and gain some insight into their approach to running one of the most successful Chevrolet dealerships in the entire country. During our conversation we were interrupted a number of calls from customers. Every call was answered and every need attended to by one of the DePaula family. This was a great example of why the DePaula’s were awarded one of the few Maserati Dealerships in the US, impeccable service.

As members of the community, the DePaula family supports a number of charitable organizations and in particular they have a love of all things horses. From these insights was born the idea for the introduction of the Maserati brand to the Albany Capital Region.

La Dolce Maserati and the #DePaulaDriveForCharity were conceived as a way to link up the charitable works of the DePaula Family with their love of automobiles.

The program consists of an auction prize, La Dolce Maserati, presented at a series of Gala events in Saratoga as part of an on-going charitable program call the DePaula Drive for Charity.

La Dolce Maserati features 2 packages for 4 people, a total of 8 from each event, to experience the sweet life. On Oct. 4 participants will board the scenic Saratoga-North Creek Railway in Saratoga. They will ride in a vintage art deco dining car with a glass viewing roof as they travel north into the mountains and the beauty of the fall season. The train ride was donated by the Saratoga and Northcreek Railway. On board the train, participants will be served fine Italian delicacies compliments of Mazzone Hospitality. Upon arrival guests will be greeted by members of the Maserati team and checked out on their cars before setting off for a spirited drive through the mountains. On the return trip guests will receive more food and beverages and a gift bag to continue their sweet life experience while at home.

We developed the package and set work work creating the content to drive the engagement. Activation consisted of placement of content about the promotion in Gala event brochures, placement of cars at key venues around Saratoga, an exciting public relations package that included test rides for the media at opening day of the the horse track in Saratoga, and a compelling social media strategy built on Facebook, that pulled all the assets together.

The Brandforming team executed this with near flawless precision. The DePaula Drive For Charity continues to receive enormous support from the community with nearly $20,000 raised for various charities, including Saratoga Hospital.  The Oct 4 train ride is sold out with nearly 50 participants, (we had to allow for a few extra seats) Maserati of Albany went from near zero awareness to being top of mind and the talk of the season. And perhaps best of all for this business, they have already sold a number of these very fine automobiles and at the same time have elevated support for the charities involved.

In general people love knowing they can have fun and do good at the same time, we couldn’t agree more.

A great deal of what the team achieved can be found here on the event Facebook page

The page and various posts reached well over 3 thousand people, achieved 450 likes and it’s been followed by local media. In addition we achieved media pickup during a national horse racing broadcast, primetime news coverage and front page press coverage —  you can find it all on the Facebook page.

This case proves once again that when you #HeadForTheHeart, great things happen. Look for another blog post about this project as we move into the fall.