Creativity is just connecting things.
— Steve Jobs

Category Archives: Past Work

Boy, You’re Awesome

While serving as a Creative Director at Hallmark I had several conversations with the in-house recording studio team about music. I also happened to mention my background in playing guitar with bands over the years. Little did I know that experience would come in handy. While sitting at my desk, the phone rang. On the other line was a recording engineer from the studio.

“Hey can you come upstairs for a minute?”
“Sure, what’s going on?”
“We want you to record something.”

When I arrived, he told me he was working a project for the books team. It was a sound book for boys and he wanted to record me playing the guitar.

I said, “Sure I’ll give it a shot. But I don’t have my gear here.”
“No worries. Just use this.”
He handed me a stock Fender Stratocaster.
I said, “do you have a pick?”
“Uh, no. Sorry.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. He then handed me a quarter. I’ve played using coins before. Dimes and nickels…but never while recording.

He plugged me directly into the Mac and said, “Just play like you’re finishing a big rock song.”
“Ok. How long?”
“Don’t go over three seconds because that’s how long the chip can play a sound file.”
“Three seconds? Are you serious?”
“Yeah, I’ll add the drums and crowd noise.”

I did three takes. On the third take, both the recording engineer and his supervisor, who was busy working on something else across the room, yelled, “STOP! That’s IT! That’s perfect!”

The whole session only lasted about 10 minutes. I walked out never knowing when or even if the book would see the light of day. Several months later I was in the mall and wandered into the Hallmark Gold Crown store. I veered over to the book area and there it was. I couldn’t believe it. I picked it up, and as I flipped through to find a rock music oriented page I wondered, “Did they really use it?”

Check it out (I made it loop because it’s my ringtone. ;-)):

Click here for MP3 Version

[wpaudio url=”http://mattbinkowski.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/awesome_boy.mp3″ text=”Boy, You’re Awesome” dl=”0″]

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Introducing the Hallmark Kids Collection Website

Hallmark research finds a discrepancy between how much moms think they encourage their kids…and how much kids say they receive.

To bridge that gap, Hallmark launched Kids Collection, products designed for parents to show their love, encouragement, understanding and acceptance of their children. The cards and gifts are designed for school-aged children in kindergarten through high school.

My goal was to help families to visualize the product line in their homes and enhancing their relationships. To do this, the site embraced a hand-made visual treatment.

Ultimately, the website has been warmly received by consumers and retailers.

Read the official press release.

See more in my portfolio.

Jack Morton Virtual Events

As lead digital strategist, I helped define their industry-leading virtual event solution. The Virtual Experience Platform delivers on the immediate need for virtual alternatives as well as a long-term paradigm shift where live, event-based networking will always be linked to some form of digital interaction or social networking online. Attendees can download event documents, network via real-time chat, and visit the highly interactive auditorium to participate in real-time activities and presentations with other virtual attendees.

Read the official Jack Morton whitepaper here (PDF).

A little industry love for the Virtual Event platform.

See more in my portfolio.

UPDATE: Buick just utilized this platform for the brand’s first ever virtual press event!