Bringing Humanity to a Technology Brand.

April 1, 2011

EC1 set out to uncover the humanity behind the #2 browser in the world, Mozilla Firefox. On our search for the heart and soul of the brand, we interviewed the staff, the founders and the hardcore techies who made Firefox what it is today. We listened—sometimes very hard as the technology was slightly over our heads—but we felt a lot. We felt their passion for their product. And even more so, we felt their dedication to the cause of keeping the web free, open and accessible to everyone.

You see, Firefox is the only non-profit browser in the market. It creates and innovates by putting the public’s benefit over the bottom line. Every product and service is created for the end user—not for the gain of anyone else.

The thing is, most people don’t know about Firefox’s non-profit status, which we found is a very compelling point of difference to consumers. It makes new users want to seek the browser out. It makes current users more loyal. It makes lapsed users open-minded for a second chance. It gives people a reason to love Firefox beyond it being a great product.

The work you see below (and hopefully around town) is the first messaging of its kind in market. It’s a toe in the water, so to speak, of a larger brand initiative to come. We’re proud of it. As proud as we are to be working with a technology company that actually gets what it means to be human.

A few of the outdoor boards in the campaign:


CreativeMedia3—An Unholy Alliance.

January 12, 2010

Media and Creative, Creative and Media. An alliance born out of a mutual frustration. Born out of an overlooked theory of the 60’s, but pushed aside as creative became king and media consisted of spreadsheets and cost per points. An after-thought. The theory is none other than Marshall McLuhan’s famous mantra, “The Medium is the Message.”

Download to desktop: EC1_CreativeMedia.pdf


November 18, 2009

IAAPA Winner - Best Television Spot 2009

The first-place award for best television commercial was announced at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions expo in Las Vegas.

Created by Engine Company 1, “Puddles” uses live action and digital imaging together with evocative music to connect a young girl with starfish and penguins that appear in the rainy-day puddles in her front yard. The theme is summed up in the tagline: “Some experiences follow you home.”

In 2009, the Monterey Bay Aquarium celebrates 25 years of inspiring conservation of the oceans.

Top 10 Media and Marketing Books of All Time

March 10, 2009

The Book of GossageAppearing at number 8 in AdAge’s reader survey “Top 10 Media and Marketing Books of All Time” is none other than former Firehouse owner (and rumored ghost in residence) Howard Gossage.

If you haven’t read it, please do; it’s brilliant.  Let us mention that we don’t pretend to have any claim to Howard Gossage’s wonderful legacy; nor do we mean to exploit his good name.  We moved in becasue we liked the building, and thought it somehow wrong that a creative landmark was being occupied by an insurance company.

Reading list

October 29, 2008

2 transcontinental flights afforded me time to do some reading, and I couldn’t resist this cover in the airport bookstore. Turned out to be a very interesting read. I’ll have it at my desk if you’d like to borrow it.

It chronicles some pioneering brand research that looks at peoples’ brains via MRI (and something called SST) as they react to imagery/concepts. The technology and techniques are at a nascent stage, but one thing is certain, and it’s something that those of us who have sat through a thousand focus groups know for sure: people aren’t telling the truth.

We all react on a subconscious, emotional level and then rationalize later, often completely contradicting (or inaccurately predicting) our actual behavior. Any research that relies on self-reporting is thus suspect. The author and his team were able to “see” how people’s brains reacted in real time and then compare that with what those same people said. Often completely opposite results.

The Emperor’s Clothes are off focus groups as far as I’m concerned. They may be all we have right now, but they aren’t good enough. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly “neuro-research” gets figured out.

Top 10 Food Trends for 2008

October 28, 2008

I recently read an article about the top 10 food trends this year.  This is relative to our food clients’ changing practices AND what messages about the food rises to the surface and resonates with their / our consumers’ tastes and changing diets.  

Top 10 Food Trends for 2008
By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic-Feature

‘Locavores,’ bold flavors, and healthier choices will be hot, experts predict.
What new food trends are in store (the grocery store, that is) for 2008? According to the experts, 2008 might be called the year of ethical eating. Consumers are looking for more locally grown foods that support a healthier environment and a healthier lifestyle.

“Locavore” — a person who seeks out locally grown and produced foods — was designated the 2007 word of the year by the New Oxford American Dictionary, and eating locally is also is anticipated to be the biggest food trend of 2008. Experts say we can also expect consumers to think more holistically about their food — questioning where it came from, its packaging, and its ecological footprint.

Americans are also expected to experiment this year with exotic foods with bold flavors — like goji berries, yumberries, pomegranates, blood oranges, colored and flavored salts, and grains such as red rice, amaranth, and black quinoa.

And, experts predict we can look forward to more healthy choices on grocery store shelves. People want foods that are convenient, fill them up, taste good, and will help them lose weight, says American Dietetic Association President Connie Diekman, MEd, RD.

Soups, salads, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein are examples of these healthy foods that multitask. Manufacturers are also expected to continue to create more portion-controlled packages of foods (like the popular 100-calorie snack packs).

Here’s more of what diet and nutrition experts have named as the top food trends for 2008:

Food Trend No. 1: Eco-Friendly Foods

Increasingly, consumers want to know more about their food — where it was grown, what ingredients it contains, how it was packaged, and the footprint its production left on the earth.

“It is the evolution of organics that consumers want to know and understand more about the foods they eat,” says “Supermarket Guru” Phil Lempert, food trends editor and correspondent for NBC’s Today Show.  “You may choose a locally grown product over one that is organic because the food is fresher and its footprint is smaller.”

Food Trend No. 2: Local, Natural, and Fresh Foods

On a similar note, we’re likely to see more farmers markets and community co-ops, as well as more locally grown foods in mainstream grocery stores. Consumers are also said to be scrutinizing imported foods more carefully these days, and looking for those from countries that have very high safety standards.

Food Trend No. 3: Concern About Food Safety

No one wants to repeat the scares we had in 2007, when tainted pet food, peanut butter, ground beef, and other products made headlines. “Consumers are demanding safe food for us and our pets, and want the government to update the food safety system so we can have confidence that our food supply is safe,” says American Dietetic Association spokeswoman Jeannie Moloo, PhD, RD. 

Food Trend No. 4: Higher Prices


Food prices are expected to continue rising, which experts say will cause consumers to rethink their purchasing patterns. “Higher food prices will push consumers out of the fresh produce section into the freezer or canned food aisles to re-evaluate other options that can be just as nutritious,” says Lempert.

Food Trend No. 5: Prebiotics and Probiotics

Consumers are learning that adding “friendly” bacteria to foods can help with digestion. And they’re not just for yogurt any more. We’ll be seeing the beneficial bacteria added to a wide variety of foods — including chocolate, predicts Moloo.

Food Trend No. 6: Whole Grains

Shoppers will continue to opt for more healthy whole grains, including exotic types aimed at tempting the jaded palates of baby boomers, experts say. “There are numerous health benefits of whole grains, and food manufacturers are making it easier to enjoy them with new products,” says Diekman. “Exotic grains such as amaranth, quinoa, teff, millet, and Kamut are going mainstream.”

Food Trend No. 7: Simple Ingredients and Clearer Labels

Increasingly, consumers don’t want ingredients they can’t pronounce, nor do they want artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, experts say. Look for more informative and clearer labels, and foods with just a handful of simple ingredients.

Food Trend No. 8: Emphasis on Lowering Salt

The American Medical Association has urged food manufacturers to lower the sodium in processed foods. “With an aging population and recommendations to lower sodium in our diets, companies are working to keep the same flavor profile and lower the sodium,” says Moloo.

Food Trend No. 9: Alternative Sweeteners

Alternative natural sweeteners like ultrasweet stevia (which is 300 times sweeter than table sugar) and zero-calorie erythritol will replace high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners in more beverages and foods, experts predict.

Food Trend No. 10: Bottled Water Backlash

Bottled water remains popular among consumers looking to cut down on calories and artificial sweeteners. But growing awareness of the impact all those empty plastic bottles have on the environment (and the fact that many brands of bottled water are nothing more than purified tap water) is expected to make this option less appealing, experts say.


Toot Blues

October 14, 2008

One day before it’s official Premier at the New Orleans Film Festival, here’s the title sequence for Toot Blues.

Stay tuned for video from New Orleans!