Our duvet cover had reached the end of its useful life. It was brown and we were tired of it. Our bedroom was in for a makeover but our budget was tight. So instead of buying an expensive new duvet or comforter set, we decided to try dyeing. We’d dye it a grayish black to match the new black, white and gray color palette we had in mind for the room. But we never dyed before and we were skittish, so we hit the rit.com site to learn as much as we could about dyeing from the leading manufacturer of powdered and liquid dyes. Rit dyes are available at supermarkets and discount stores. Buying them proved to be the easiest part of the process. Using them is another story. In fact, we were so scared of dyeing we decided not to and returned the bottles to the store. Rit offers lots of tips throughout its site but we were never comfortable that we would have success. We feared we’d add the wrong amount of dye for the weight of bedding we had. We feared we wouldn’t add the right amount of water to our washing machine, causing the color to end up either too black or too weak. We feared that the washing machine itself would be irrevocably dyed a black color that would continue to seep into future washes of our clothing. We were scared we’d forget to add the salt or the vinegar or some other additive they suggested on that other web page that wasn’t mentioned on the web page with most of the critical instructions. Every step of the learning curve was fraught with issues that ultimately led us to decide not to dye. As a brand strategist and creative director at Alianda, I’m certain I’m not the only one with this fear of dyeing. My guess is that the Rit Corporation could reap huge increases in revenue by addressing these fears. I’d love to work on this brand. What fun it would be. I think most people get the benefits of dyeing. It’s just that many of us have an irrational fear of it.
iLearnAlong.com features The Brush-Along Song plus “Frugies” characters created by legendary Mad Magazine artist
Atlanta, GA The battle to get kids to brush their teeth and eat their fruits and veggies just got a bit easier. LearnAlong (http://www.ilearnalong.com) has launched a website featuring digital downloads for healthy children. The company markets an oral hygiene teaching aid called The Brush-Along Song, and Meet The Frugies, an e-book featuring 20 fruit and vegetable characters designed by a legendary Mad Magazine artist.
“Our products teach while they entertain and tackle real life concerns.” said LearnAlong founder Mitchell Erick.
The Brush-Along Song was written in consultation with a registered dental hygienist and features a toe-tapping mix of rock, rap and wacky sound effects. The song teaches proper brushing technique, and at 2-1/2 minutes, encourages kids to brush longer and better than ever.
The song has been featured in the catalog of the American Dental Hygienists Association and has been distributed in CD form to thousands of elementary schools in eleven states. “The Brush-Along Song is probably the only oral hygiene teaching aid that actually makes brushing fun,” say Erick. “Now kids will want to brush their teeth!”
LearnAlong’s e-book Meet The Frugies features fruit and vegetable characters designed by Mort Drucker, famous for illustrating Mad Magazine’s movie satires. The book introduces kids to a dancing strawberry, a crybaby onion, a patriotic apple, a singing peach, a carrot that sees into the future, and many more characters designed to spark a healthy interest in fruits and vegetables.
Both The Brush-Along Song and Meet The Frugies are available as digital downloads from the ilearnalong.com website which features a video sample of the song and sample pages from the e-book. The Brush-Along Song is priced at $3.99. Meet The Frugies is $1.99.
LearnAlong is an Atlanta-based digital products company specializing in the development and distribution of unique solutions for healthier, more enlightened children and parents. For more information, visit www.ilearnalong.com.
Atlanta, GA - Long-time Alianda creative director and ex-Disney writer Mitchell Erick has relocated to Atlanta where he is providing professional freelance copywriting services to the Atlanta business community. Erick continues to run the creative boutique Alianda with co-creative director Daniel Moye. Alianda provides full service creative solutions in print, broadcast and online. “Clients in Atlanta and around the world need freelance copywriters more than ever. These clients are connecting with web designers first and then need to hire a freelance copywriter for content,” said Erick. Erick has launched www.freelanceadcopy.com to promote his services as a copywriter in the Atlanta market, where he is already providing website copy for a securities firm and a global provider of IT services. www.freelanceadcopy.com is a portfolio of past work along with a list of clients Erick has worked with in travel and hospitality, telecom, health care, financial and other business sectors. For more information and a resume, visit www.freelanceadcopy.com or call 407-694-5210.
Recent college grads frequently contact me looking for creative positions in our agency that they are completely unqualified for. Most have gone through a four year school majoring in advertising, marketing or public communications. They gravitate towards copywriting or graphic design classes but do not gain the intensive instruction they need to truly learn the craft and put a sample portfolio together. Thirty years ago, I experienced the same dilemma. I realized I wanted to be a copywriter but couldn’t get into the one or two copywriting classes being offered at my school. I put a portfolio together and learned what I needed to know by going on interviews in New York City. Each creative director I interviewed with taught me, enlightened me and, occasionally, humiliated me. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know, and they made sure I knew it! But after each interview, I returned to college and re-worked my portfolio. And upon graduation, I had a book good enough to get a job at BBDO. Portfolio schools existed back then but I wasn’t aware of them. In any event, I couldn’t afford them. Today, some of the brightest copywriters and art directors are graduates of portfolio schools like the Miami Ad School, The Portfolio Center, Creative Circus, the Chicago Portfolio School and others. Some enter portfolio schools out of high school, some pony up the cash after having already graduated from college. Portfolio schools offer an extraordinary advertising education and prepare students for successful careers in copywriting and art direction. All of them, however, cost a fortune. You’ll spend $15,000 a year and most are two year programs. Creative-oriented students graduating from four year schools without the portfolio they need are in for a shock when faced with the daunting task of putting one together. Spend another $30,000 at a portfolio school? For most, it’s out of the question. But what about the way I learned? Without realizing it at the time, I created my own shortcut to portfolio preparation by seeking out mentors at agencies and traveling into Manhattan frequently to show them my work and listen to their sometimes brutal critiques! Through perseverance and determination to break into the industry, I listened, I learned, I found an art student to work with and I kept revising my portfolio. And every time I thought it was good enough, the next mentor/interviewer showed me how I could improve it. After a few years at New York agencies, a few years at DDB-Needham in Honolulu, nine at Disney and ten running my own boutique ad agency, by any standard I’ve had a good run in the business. In between jobs, I briefly taught at a portfolio school in San Diego and I’ve guest lectured at UCF and the University of Florida. I’ve won over 45 industry awards and over the course of my career have loved nothing more than the creative process of working with an art director to generate creative solutions that are compelling and on strategy. Now I’d like to offer a way for students to speed their way towards their own creative career in advertising. If you are committed to becoming an advertising copywriter or art director but cannot afford portfolio school, consider Portfolio Speedway, a fast track to a creative portfolio. Portfolio Speedway offers you two months of intensive personal mentoring and instruction via video phone chats and email. You will learn how to write copy, generate big ideas, work together as a writer/art director team and prepare integrated campaigns for your PDF or online portfolio. If you are interested in being an art director, Portfolio Speedway assumes that you are already comfortable with design software. We are not here to offer technical instruction. We are here to teach concept development, critique your work, and help you shape a portfolio you can be proud of with an array of executions in digital and traditional advertising. Portfolio school: Two years, over $30,000.00. Portfolio Speedway: Two months, $950.00. If you are truly motivated and ready to start firing on all creative cylinders, contact Mitchell Erick at Portfolio Speedway for more information, a program outline and other details. Email your interest in Portfolio Speedway to firstname.lastname@example.org or through our agency website at www.alianda.com.
Day 6 living in a hotel due to my choice of a Morrison, now Taylor Morrison, home. If you asked the builder, they’d tell you that they adhered to Florida code when they built the roof of my two-story home. They’d be right. They did the absolute minimum required to comply with Florida’s builder-friendly building codes. The roof leak over our air handler closet has created Condition Three mold (visible, active spores) in my home. The drywall in the closet is being removed, the air conditioning unit is being removed and the homeowners have been removed to a local hotel as the 2-week mold remediation process unfolds. Can we win a lawsuit against Taylor Morrison? No, because they built the roof to the pitiful specifications allowed by Florida law. But here’s where Taylor Morrison, in my opinion at least, was negligent. Certain areas on a two-story roof will have multiple streams of water running over them. Any roofer knows where these potential problem areas are. In my home, that area was right over the air handler closet. The roofer I brought in immediately noticed a depression of tiles over the area–a clue to the degraded condition of the wood under the tile– and what looked like mold inside the closet. The mold was confirmed through environmental testing and when roof repairs got underway Taylor Morrison’s roofing expertise became apparent. Taylor Morrison, like other builders, uses cheap particle board under its roof tiles and the thinnest, cheapest paper over the particle board. They hope the tile will keep the water out. Taylor Morrison must be a religious corporation, always praying for mild weather, lest the rain waters cause trouble for homes still under warranty. My roofing repair contractor said that if Taylor Morrison used the higher quality underlayment now being placed over my rotted out roof that he would be out of business–no roofs to repair because the better quality material would keep all the water out. But Taylor Morrison paid no extra attention to a known problem area on a two-story roof. They could have used a higher quality underlayment, but didn’t. They could have enhanced the roof flashing which provides a barrier to water seepage, but didn’t. Taylor Morrison spit my house out during the height of the Orlando building boom in 2004. Employment was high, undocumented roof workers were everywhere and homes were sprouting like mold spores. Judging by the rotted condition of the particle board under our roof tile and of the drywall inside our air conditioning closet, we’ve been living with Morrison’s Mold for years. Our awareness of the mold explains a few things. For years, my son complained of allergies, but only when inside of our house. Morrison Mold. For years, my wife has suffered with fibromyalgia, exacerbated by Morrison Mold. For years I’ve been unable to bring itchy psoriasis under control. Morrison Mold. We have loved our home for six years and always thought highly of Morrison. Our beautiful home is now a HazMat site. The area near the A/C closet is a plastic-wrapped containment area. Air scrubbers are in place in every room. And soon, the remediation crew will be hand wiping and Hepa-vacuuming every item in the home. The contamination will be dealt with and the house will be “micro-cleaned” until the air testing company certifies the house as safe. We have another 8-10 days in the hotel. It’s not fun. It’s not glamorous. It’s an imposition and a complete disruption of our normal lives. One question I’d like to ask the president of Taylor Morrison Homes: Would you build a house you were going to live in yourself to the same minimum standards that you adhered to when you built mine?
News of Merlin’s purchase of Cypress Gardens hit the Orlando Sentinel this week. Merlin needs more than magic to make this project a success. Most of the great attractions marketing talent is already working for Disney and Universal in Orlando. Merlin’s best bet is hooking up with a team of former Florida attractions marketing executives. Ad agency Alianda was started in 1999 by former Walt Disney World marketing executives with a track record of creative and strategic excellence in the marketing of major attractions. The team at Alianda has years of travel, resort and themed entertainment experience and would form the base of a solid Legoland marketing support team. For attractions marketing and themed entertainment marketing experience in Florida, the best you can find are either already working in Florida’s premier attractions, or they’re working at Alianda. Contact Mitchell Erick at 407-694-5210 and see us at www.alianda.com.
This is a heads up to any of you who are dog owners. If you have to get your dog a rabies vaccine, I recommend that you stay away from Banfield, the vet hospital at Pet Smart. Your dog may react fine, but my dog went into a severe health crisis following his vaccine, which is manufactured by Fort Dodge. My dog never had a bad reaction to rabies vaccines until I took him to Banfield. His previous rabies shots were from a different vet who uses a different rabies vaccine manufacturer. I have spent hundreds of dollars on meds and special foods to deal with my dog’s reaction and Banfield at the local and corporate level has refused reimbursement of any kind. They also will not release me from my monthly payments for their health care plan, a plan I only joined after my dog had his bad reaction. The irony is that you take your dog in for a preventive vaccine and end up dealing with a health crisis. Fort Dodge has also refused reimbursement. An Internet search of Fort Dodge shows previous issues with a bad batch of vaccines a few years ago. The vet himself at Banfield said that 1 in 20 dogs he vaccinates now with Fort Dodge vaccines have a bad reaction, usually vasculitis, which results in inflammation and severe hair loss around the shot area. One in twenty will have a bad reaction at Banfield. And they admit it. Thought you might like to know what the odds were. Mitchell
This is a heads up to any of you who are dog owners. If you have to get your dog a rabies vaccine, I recommend that you stay away from Banfield, the vet hospital at Pet Smart. Your dog may react fine, but my dog went into a severe health crisis following his vaccine, which is manufactured by Fort Dodge. My dog never had a bad reaction to rabies vaccines until I took him to Banfield. His previous rabies shots were from a different vet who uses a different rabies vaccine manufacturer. I have spent hundreds of dollars on meds and special foods to deal with my dog’s reaction and Banfield at the local and corporate level has refused reimbursement of any kind. They also will not release me from my monthly payments for their health care plan, a plan I only joined after my dog had his bad reaction. The irony is that you take your dog in for a preventive vaccine and end up dealing with a health crisis. Fort Dodge has also refused reimbursement. An Internet search of Fort Dodge shows previous issues with a bad batch of vaccines a few years ago. The vet himself at Banfield said that 1 in 20 dogs he vaccinates now with Fort Dodge vaccines have a bad reaction, usually vasculitis, which results in inflammation and severe hair loss around the shot area. One in twenty will have a bad reaction at Banfield. And they admit it. Thought you might like to know what the odds were.
Looking for a freelance copywriter in Orlando? Alianda is the award-winning Orlando ad agency founded by former Disney creatives Mitchell Erick and Daniel Moye. We work with many small businesses in Orlando, and while many just need a good freelance writer or a good freelance art director, inevitably they benefit from the fact that Daniel and I primarily work as a team, bouncing ideas off one another to develop stellar creative executions. We are available individually for your freelance Orlando copywriting projects and freelance Orlando graphic design assignments. But as your project and marketing needs grow over time, your connection to us will grow as well, as you benefit from the full-service branding and advertising solutions that we excel in. If you need a great freelance copywriter in Orlando or a great freelance graphic designer in Orlando, see us at www.alianda.com and www.freelanceadcopy.com.
It’s the tooth! Alianda is the Orlando, Florida ad agency and creative boutique that developed a way to make oral hygiene events and presentations fun and exciting. Alianda created a CD called The Brush-Along Song. This children’s dental health CD is a lively mix of rock, rap and wacky sound effects. It takes kids through all the tooth brushing areas and makes brushing teeth something kids might actually look forward to. The 2-1/2 minute song was written in consultation with a registered dental hygienist and is currently being used in thousands of elementary schools as part of a special oral hygiene and dental health program sponsored by a leading dental insurance company. Kids brush their teeth better than ever with The Brush-Along Song. Teachers and hygienists alike use the song to get kids interested in their teeth, and how to care for them. The song’s length matches (more or less) the recommended time that should be alloted for tooth brushing. Oral health professionals and dental hygiene experts looking for ways to enhance their programs and presentations can contact Alianda for information about The Brush-Along Song. CDs are $9.75 each. Discounted pricing is available to school and/or government programs and other oral health initiatives designed for children. Volume discounts also apply. If you’re involved in dental health education for kids and are looking for a way to make oral hygiene programs come alive, contact Alianda at 407-694.5210. To download an audio clip of The Brush-Along Song and see cover art of The Brush-Along characters, visit www.alianda.com/brushalong.
Alianda is the Orlando, Florida advertising agency that created a group of fruit and vegetable characters ideal for industry promotions. Twenty exquisitely drawn fruit and vegetable characters are available for use by fruit and vegetable associations and promotional boards. The characters, called The Frugies, are a whimsical band of merrimakers designed to represent the entire universe of fresh produce. Designed by the legendary Mad Magazine artist Mort Drucker, The Frugies include characters representing the following fruits and vegetables: tomatoes, broccoli, pears, peaches, apples, oranges, pineapples, potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, lettuce, corn, onions, grapes, green peppers, watermelon, strawberries and bananas. The Frugies are available for licensing by promotional boards and fresh produce associations. As an advertising agency, Alianda is available to create marketing materials, print ads, web banners, radio and TV commercials and any other required pieces featuring the characters. The Frugies fruit and vegetable characters are also available to promote state fairs built around regionally grown fruits and vegetables. Alianda will provide the characters and the creative materials, giving the state fair marketing team a one-stop promotional solution for an exciting event. Many of The Frugie characters have traits that are related to the characteristics of real fruits and vegetables. For example, Madam Carla the Carrot has a crystal ball because her eyesight is so good she can see into the future. Tina Tomato is in therapy with an identity crisis– she just isn’t sure if she’s a fruit or a vegetable. Onion Joy is, naturally, a crybaby. Peach Velour is smooth and sexy and Adam Apple is all-American to the core! To see this wacky band of fruits and vegetables visit www.alianda.com/greetingcards. Frugies greeting cards are also available to fruit and vegetable boards and may be customized with text that references your group. The cards are a great way to promote your region’s fresh produce. For information about using The Frugies fruit and vegetable characters to promote your regional produce or produce-related event, agricultural fair, or agri-tourism attraction, contact Mitchell Erick at 407-694-5210.