Making of a Bobblehead

The advertising agency had already started developing a “mascot” character for AppsFlyer. And then, one day when they were showing their concept art, Ziv (an actual human who works for AppsFlyer) walked by, and some perceptive individual pointed out that the concept art looked a lot like Ziv.

Ziv, as a character and mascot, is used extensively in AppsFlyer marketing and communication. We suggested making a bobblehead, and everyone was enthusiastic about that right away.

The Ziv bobbleheads will be used as an on-boarding gift for new clients, with their account manager’s info displayed on the business card.

The photo of the two Ziv’s together might be the best thing ever.

Last Comic Standing

This project started with an email from our client at NBC Affiliate Marketing. She asked if it might be possible to make a desktop version of the microphone in the “Last Comic Standing” logo. Maybe 6″ high? Due date was under two months away.

Step One: Validate the viability and budget

First, have a long conversation with a trusted supplier that specializes in cast metal products. Describe the product, required packaging. Do-able? In the amount of time available? How fast do we need to close? That fast?? OK. We sketched out enough of the the basic specs on the first phone call to generate a request for quote.

Step Two: Present the concept and close asap

While waiting for the quote, we gathered up the assets needed to create a quick mock up, and ultimately, final production. This included multiple images (front, back, if possible) of a vintage Shure microphone head to provide guidance for the mini 3-d mike. The stand could be simple. Client provided a hi-res file of the show logo. When the pricing came back, it looked very promising. By this time, we had also developed a concept for the packaging. We created a quick mock-up, presented that with pricing to the client, and quickly received the go-ahead to proceed.

Step Three: Final art and production management

Our production manager expanded the “vision” into final production art for the factory. Paperwork was exchanged all around and we were off to production. We would not have time for a physical proof, which is always preferred for custom, but sometimes you just don’t have that luxury. In this case, everything would need to be approved from factory photos only.

Step Four: Fingers Crossed

At some point, everything that can be done to insure the success of a project HAS been done, and all you can do it wait for delivery. If everything lines up just right, you end up with a really memorable and unique product.

Step Five: Success!

Amy’s Rogue Valley tee


Amy’s Kitchen was the Grand Marshal at the recent Pear Blossom Festival parade in Medford, Oregon, so they designed some very nice t-shirts for their team to wear. The design was so pretty, it was going to require 12 ink colors (those gradations and drop shadows really add up). While that was totally do-able, Amy’s was open to re-working their art to a simpler version for the tees. Still great, less ink, less money, more good.

For this project, we used one of the “Original Bottle Tees” from Earthspun Apparel. In addition to being super-soft and a lovely color, this Water Bottle Blue shirt has a pretty nice pedigree:

“Each Original Bottle Tee™ saves the equivalent of 6.5 20oz plastic bottles from the landfill and 18 quarts of water by eliminating textile dyeing. The Earthspun® colors we offer are derived from recycled bottles and other recycled plastics we use to create our fiber. Green is made from green soda bottles, brown is made from brown beer and root beer bottles. Yes, the plastic beer bottles you get at the ball game or race!, Blue is made from blue water bottles, Grey is made from X-ray films, and black is made from black food trays. The recycled cotton we use is postindustrial waste and the recycled polyester we use is a combination of post consumer and postindustrial waste.”

To keep the tees soft – even after printing – and maintain an eco-friendly footprint, we used water-based inks and discharge for this project. Discharge is when you remove the color from the t-shirt fiber, rather than putting down a white ink under-base. Because discharge only works with cotton fiber, we knew that some of the blue tee color would still be in the shirt because the tee is only 35% cotton, the remainder being recycled plastic water bottles.

Amy’s was advised that there would be some color-shifting on their design and everyone was fine with that.

We were able to get a photo of the finished tee next to a white tee with the same imprint. Everyone likes the blue one better, even though the colors on the white are more true to the design. It’s a nice, unifying, effect when the t-color bleeds a bit into the decoration. In this instance, it also mellowed out the color a bit. Totally groovy.

Final design, on the "water bottle blue" tee and an organic white.

Final design, on the “water bottle blue” tee and an organic white.

Recent entertainment promo

Heathens Zippo.
A wrap gift for cast and crew of ‘Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll’, Denis Leary’s new series on FX. The detailed laser engraving reveals brass metal underneath the matte black powder coat. Very rock and roll. If you received this, you’d keep it.

Blacklist Keytags.
“The Blacklist” on NBC was moving to a new day and time, so we created a custom key tag featuring the iconic fedora. Laser engraving the new airtime allowed us to run different variations without additional mold fees or minimums for each timezone.

The Slap Rubik’s Cube.
Each episode of this miniseries on NBC is told from the perspective of a different character. Over 8 weeks, secrets are revealed and the puzzle comes together…. Or, does it just get confused?

¿Quién mató a Patricia Soler? Diamond Mints.
These were given out as favors at a murder mystery dinner party with a “jewel heist” theme, promoting this Mundo Fox Spanish-language telenovela.

Two tech packages

The Flash tech kit

The Flash tech kit

The “Flash” tech kit was quick through development. The target was a limited edition giveaway to be used in connection with nationwide radio contests promoting the new CW show, “The Flash”. With our client’s input, we knew right away it should be a custom tech kit with a flash drive, flash light and mobile power charger. This is offshore custom work, so took about two months in production. 300+ units, $44.80 each.

CITRIX was moving their offices to a historic brick warehouse in Raleigh, NC and were planning a ribbon cutting event. The eco-friendly renovation uses recycled shipping containers for conference rooms. We worked within domestic product availability to customize a box with a shipping container design. Inside is a “thank you” card and a mobile power charger. Production was about three weeks, and the final project delivered early. 300 units, $17.99 each.

CITRIX Raleigh ribbon cutting giveaway

CITRIX Raleigh ribbon cutting giveaway

Arnette Eyewear

Custom projects requiring offshore manufacturing can take some time, 2-3 months minimum from concept to completion. Here are a two very nice pieces for Arnette which took some time to complete.

Arnette’s flagship product is A.C.E.S. (Arnette Creative Exchange System), “…the collection allows you to swap out the arms and mix and match to change up your style.” Swapping the arms requires a tool, which you get with the glasses. While quite lovely and red, it’s a small item without any kind of attachment, so pretty much lost when you need it. So, we designed a key-ring, bottle-opening, BETTER tool which we think is pretty cool.

The flask was a re-order with an art change, so not nearly so difficult but still many weeks in production. There was quite a bit of discussion about changing the size of the built-in cigarette holder to accommodate business cards. Ultimately, budget won and the holder remained the same size.

the tool

the tool

custom keytag

the better tool

the flask

the flask

NBC Summer Kit


We just finished the NBC “Summer Show Kit” which will be going out to all the affiliates.

There were a LOT of shows, so we built the kit around a beach towel which has sufficient real estate for the show logos and premiere dates. Also included were items for featured shows: A beach ball for “Last Comic Standing”, sunscreen stick for “Night Shift”, the coconut cup for “Crossbones”, sunglasses for “America’s Got Talent”, and a nifty mister for “American Ninja Warrior”.

The entire kit is packed in a mesh-back cinch bag with a full color decal decoration. Pre-production samples were run for the critical products, and as a result we changed the color the towel and moved the mister to a different factory just to gain a quarter inch of imprint area. Everything delivered on or before the due date, and the package came in on budget at $35/unit.


SxSW 2014

Yeee-haaw! We sent quite a few products to Austin this season, but our super-funtime award goes to CITRIX and their fully-immersive GoToMeeting marketing.

There was the HackShack: Download the app, get a free lunch featuring branded grill cheese, drawable napkins, and market umbrellas. And the Hackathon with t-shirts and the coveted “Hack Plaque” for the lucky winners. The press suite lounge featured a “hangover bar” and bright orange journals.

And there were also lovely unicorns.









Rainy Dreamforce


Rain, rain

The weather was threatening just before the 2013 Dreamforce event in San Francisco. A text came in on Sunday from our client at CITRIX, “Can we order 1000 umbrellas or 2500 ponchos by Tuesday in hands?” Well, sure. Why not?

First thing the next morning, we found one of our preferred vendor partners who could product and ship the ponchos in one day. Tuesday, the rain began and the ponchos were deployed. Later, we received a nice follow up from the client:

“I don’t know any other person in the industry who could get a call at 6pm on Sunday for a request for 2500 branded ponchos – AND HAVE THEM DELIVERED BY 10AM on Tuesday!!
It was an insane 48 hours, but we did it. Thank you!!”

Amy’s Notebooks made from box over-runs

Amy's Notebook

Amy’s Kitchen contacted us with a challenge: as a very green company, they wanted to find a way to use 5,000 box over-runs. After a brainstorming session we all agreed on re-purposing the excess boxes as notebooks filled with recycled paper.

The box covers cut down into beautiful covers for notebooks that Amy’s Kitchen gives away at trade shows and meetings. There was no need to add any printing – as their logo is prominent on the packaging. Creating something unique and useful out of a box overrun is just the kind of challenge we enjoy. If you find something in your production line that is being thrown away – contact us – we may create an interesting re-purposed product for you.