Creative Crackdown, Part One

/ Comments (4)

A lot of agencies send us their entire website of work to review. While we greatly appreciate it, we’d like to start encouraging shops and freelancers to send individual pieces of their best work as completed. (Anyone want to show off what they sent to The Denver 50 last week?)

With this in mind, we’re introducing the Creative Crackdown – a chance for your work to be put up and critiqued by the insightful readers of this site. As a bonus, we’ve roped in a group of friends from Tequila, TBWA\Chiat\Day’s in-house interactive agency, to weigh in on the work as well. The long-term idea is to grow this network of commentators from outside of Denver to give us a true gauge of the work being done here.

The first brave agency to be tossed to the wolves is Reed Hill. Below, is an explanation of the strategy behind their piece. Click here for a sequence of images from their project. Then, come back and let them know what you think.

When architecture firms get too busy, they can hire The Archetype Alliance to help them quickly and accurately bust through CAD projects. This piece was direct mailed to architects to let them know The Archetype Alliance can be used to help expand their firm at any given moment to any given size – allowing them to conquer the workload and generate more income.


Seems like a bit of a missed opportunity. Let’s say I’m an architectural designer swamped with work and I get this package that on the outside, says absolutely nothing about what the company does. Not sure I’d open it. For arguments sake, let’s say I decide to take time out of my busy day and do open it to find a balloon I now have to blow up so I can read a lengthy message. Not sure about this one. I get the expand to fill your needs reference, I just think that the target would find this a bit hokey and too much work for too little a payoff. Seems like something inspired by the company’s homepage of cool CAD drawings would be more appropriate. Do something that shows/hints to me your expertise with a CAD system. Show me you love/appreciate architecture as much as I do. In this case, I don’t think the importance of the message fits the medium.

denver egotist:
i love the new feature and i hope to see a lot of people utilize this. i have already submitted a project. however, i have some issues with how this is set up. the additional images in the “parent directory” is beyond broke. all the images need to be visible in the main article. that’s just weak.

this is a very nice piece. the piece itself; the super thick chipboard, the blind emboss that is absolutely hammered into the chip, the little green perforated label that seals it shut, the silver rivet it pivots open on, the die cut balloon shape, the minimalism of it all – i love all of it, brilliant! and concept – it has one, brilliant! which is becoming rarer and rarer, even from all those “very conceptual” shops. nice work.

now here is the critique, or my creative crackdown if you will. the address panel is one area i don’t think is as thought out. i understand that there is this idea that something that is hand addressed is more personal, but i don’t always buy that. i think in some cases that is true, but a lot of times it comes across as unprofessional to me, too casual. and i don’t see architects as casual people, generally. in this case i would have like to have seen something done to at least indicate the mailing address area. if you are going to hand address it, a blind embossed frame or line rules to write the address in or on would have been a nice extra touch. the handwriting needs to be impeccable. this looks like my hand writing, which is not good. even nicer would have been a one color (green) mailing label that archetype alliance or their printer could have laser printed with the address. if you want to personalize it, put a personalized hand-written note behind the balloon.

the return address / seal / logo on the cover is awesome. great to see such a little component have such a large impact on the outside of the piece.

i like the logo. the type, the mark of the reversed out individual from the group, the fact that you included a woman, the color (although it is a very different green than the color on the website and i like the website green better). what is the connection between the mark and what the company does? obviously the archetype alliance is a group of people, but i have come to expect more than the obvious from you, of all people, paul. if there is something there it went over my head, show me the light.

i am a little deflated by the balloon (just for you paul). the color is off. deflated the color is better than inflated, but there is no impact or punch to it. i almost expect it to be green, not that i knew what was inside until i saw it. maybe green is too obvious. i can’t articulate it, but the color of the balloon just isn’t right. inflated it is even worse. but color is about as subjective as it gets. maybe it’s more of a contrast thing, too close to the chip. got it! pantone colored balloons, get on that pantone.

I think the copy is too long. eight sentences? you could have said it in four and still drove people to the website for the bigger picture, okay maybe five. but on a piece that is so simple, so minimal and so direct the copy feels long. (look at me talking about copy being too long, ha ha).

the interaction and discovery in this piece is to be applauded. this was not designed for the lowest common denominator, which is also fitting of the target audience (he’s not trying to sell socks at walmart). it’s not in your face and it doesn’t hit you over the head. step by step it reveals itself to you and you have to engage the piece to get the cookie. it is not a puzzle, but a carefully crafted and smartly delivered message. i truly believe this makes a longer lasting impression. that is why i think TCLA/LA is completely wrong.

the piece in and of itself is interesting. it does not need to say what the company does on the outside. as a matter of fact it would kill the piece if it did. i don’t care how busy i am, if this is dropped on my desk, it gets opened immediately, deadlines be damned. especially because it is vague on the outside. how many pieces of direct mail do you get that are like this?

“Seems like something inspired by the company’s homepage of cool CAD drawings would be more appropriate. Do something that shows/hints to me your expertise with a CAD system.” – TQLA/LA

i would argue that there is no such thing as a “cool cad drawing” and i love architecture. the point of the piece is to drive prospects to the website to learn more. it is the job of the website to do something that shows their expertise with a CAD system. your missing the point, to generate interest not tell the whole story. i don’t think your critique hold much air (yes, again!).

paul do you have any stats on how successful the piece was? did it work?

cheers | ian

Of course the point of the piece is to drive people to the website. But I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of people who will huff and puff a balloon to get a URL. At least have the website address somewhere else on the piece for those who are deflated by gimmicky direct mail pieces.

Nice, clean, smart and fast.

I like the hand written address.

I don’t like the idea of adding CAD bull crap.

I do like the idea of something else with it. Maybe a handwritten note, or something else with the website address that will hang around once the ballon is deflated and or burst.

Way way to much copy on the ballon. A short brilliant headline would have been nice. The long copy looks cool and modern, but screw reading all of that.

The image directory crap is low rent. Step it up egotist. You don’t want to suck do you?

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