Saturday, February 19, 2011

Branding with teeth

The best assignments are almost always the ones where we can be brought in on the ground floor. This is what happened with Unleashed, a syndicated radio program that was looking for broader nationwide syndication.

The best assignments are almost always the ones where the clients are awesome. That's what happened with this one: dJ/radio mogul Dave Leonard is thoughtful and insightful and helps us to do our job even better.

Here's how it all went down:

• Product name. The client's other, related business is called JTD, which stands for "Jeffrey the dog." He wanted something dog-centric for this venture too and was using "Unleashed" as the name for his radio program, which is a great name but: a) is already out in the world a bunch, b) is not as descriptive as it could be and, c) was not available as a URL. "", however, was available as a URL. Nicely descriptive, right on, dogwise, and ownable. We bought it. Our client thought it over for a few days and bounced it offa his staff and clients and finally bit: radioUnleashed it would be.

• Parity product. radioUnleashed sorts through all the music that's out there and brings its listeners only the very best of it. Heard that before? We had. Our client even noted that there were a few stations out there on XM and whatnot that promise the exact same thing. We asked him what he did differently than those stations and he told us that he does it better. Now, we, of course, believe him, but still, "we think we do it better" is not much of a hook to hang your hat on. So... not having a serious and ownable point of differentiation to talk about, we decided we could own how we talked about it. Let the other guys bring you the very best of it, we'd "sort through all the kibble and bring you the good bits." Dog talk all the way to the bank.

• Logo. Keeping with the dog theme, we did a bunch of drawings, some were versions of the JTD logo, some were brand new ideas depicting slightly more feral pooches. Eventually we saw a dog hanging its head out a window and the light bulb went off. Lotsa fun, a little indulgence and just a bit of danger, it was a perfect image. A few hours on the drawing board and we came up with the drawing, a little bit rough, a little bit fun, a little bit toothy. We liked it, the client liked it and after a little fine tuning, we had radioUnleashed's new logo.

• Tag line. "Music with teeth." No brainer. It's how we always described the common thread of the diverse range of music we like and now we could give it to our client. Music with teeth. Perfect.

Once the logo and the line were nailed, executing the rest of this stuff was an exercise in fun. Designing the website was a blast and a swell exercise in doggie free association. You can see it here:

Business cards would have a bite die-cut out of them...

...collateral materials would have the fun logo....

...or even better, they would more organically express the dog theme....
...and what the heck, maybe we should even make some actual dog bones to give out.
All well and good, the radioUnleashed brand is really starting to take shape. Fun logo, great line, and lots of fun executions. What about print ads? Well, just as we were starting to think about that, our client Dave sent us a scan of his playlist from the week before. Handwritten and perfectly descriptive of the kinda music you could hear on rU, it was a thing of beauty. Engaging and lovely and nearly the perfect print ad just as it was. So we threw the logo and line on there and called it done. One of the best, easiest, no-brainer print ads we've ever done. Here it is: (click on it or any of these images to see them bigger.)

We added a laundry list of associated promotional ideas ranging from art show sponsorships, guerilla concert "sponsorships", recording studio sponsorships, and our patented "9 ways to saturate the local bar scene with your image and URL" plan. In the next few weeks, we'll sit down with our fab client and sort all of this stuff into a sensible chronology following our "seed. launch. sustain." scheme. It'll be fun.

So that's the radioUnleashed story. Smart and fun and comprehensive. We're so proud of our thinking and our work and we're so happy to have a client as awesome as Dave. Now all that all of you have to do is to go give it a listen. Go to and click on "fetch" to hear last week's show. It's a great listen. Bow wow wow.

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