"Brilliance Built Here."
iD Tech set a gold standard for summer STEM camps for kids, but with their success came copycats offering a lesser product at a cheaper price. With summer enrollment around the corner, they needed to remind parents why investing in tech education was a wise choice while also asserting their place as the category leader.
After viewing the world of summer technology camps through the eyes of the ultimate end-buyer (the parent), it became clear that most parents were going to have a hard time telling technology camps apart. Not only did the course offerings between camps sound roughly the same, many new competitors were beginning to challenge the traditional summer camp model with year-round tech gyms (and making a compelling case).
While my research showed that iD Tech was the best camp in the category (and arguably the best bang for the buck too), I felt that leading with pedigree or talking about value wasn't likely to win parents over. While some parents might be moved by reputation and some by price point, I knew one thing for sure -- every parent wants what's best for their kid.
agency: Supply NY
So I leaned into this insight and wrote a script that focused on the relationship between parent and child and all the little ways that moms and dads nudge their kids to cultivate their gifts. Since I knew some parents might feel conflicted about the growing role of technology in their children's lives, I sought to acknowledge this complicated relationship while suggesting that camps like iD Tech, by teaching kids how to harness the power of technology, were empowering them to define their own destiny in an increasingly digital world.
In the process of writing this script, I also developed a new North Star message for the company —Brilliance Built Here. These words not only spoke to iD Tech's role in developing talented young minds, but also reinforced the importance of immersive, in-person learning environments.
While traveling overseas in Southeast Asia, a real estate developer fell in love with the capsule hotels popular in the region. Beyond the novelty of the sleep chambers, he was fascinated by the communal environment that these hotels naturally created. To him, it felt more social and more human.
When he came to my design partners at ASTVDIO, he was interested in bringing the concept stateside, and I was tasked with developing a brand name and company narrative for the investor presentation.
As I spoke with the developer and learned what he loved about the capsule concept, it became clear that he was actually interested in building something bigger than a capsule hotel. He wanted to create a place where serendipity, connection, and community would thrive and where anyone (not just travelers) would feel welcome to meet up with friends and make new ones.
Realizing his vision went well beyond travel, I stopped thinking of it as a hotel and started seeing it as a new abode for the curious and creative. This naturally led to a word that felt fresh and different, while also warm and inviting.
In a word, Neobode.
Just Salad has made a name for itself in the fast casual restaurant space for its healthy and climate-conscious cuisine. And in the last few years, the chain has made waves by committing to become zero waste by the end of 2022. At the center of this ambitious plan is their reusable bowl program which is the world's largest and longest-running of its kind.
When I crossed paths with the team at Just Salad, they were looking to encourage more customers to join the program and wanted to make an in-store film that would tout the benefits of the bowl.
I was tasked with writing the script.
In conversations with the CMO and Chief Sustainability Officer, I learned that there was a rather simple reason why customers were hesitant to participate in the program: they thought it would be a hassle to carry the bowl to and from work.
So with this script, I decided to address the portability concerns head on with a simple solution: opening and ending the film with the bowl going in and out of a work bag. Not rocket science by any measure, but a clear cue! As for the rest of the film, the goal was to hero the bowl by keeping it as close to the center of the action as possible.
My partners at Just Salad were so pleased with this film they decided to not only use it in-store (its original purpose) but also in their broader marketing efforts.
agency: Supply NY
While working on a capsule hotel concept for a real estate developer (see Neobode), I began to think that the sleep pods themselves deserved their own standalone name and brand. Especially after seeing the designs from my partners at ASTVDIO, it seemed clear that simply calling the rooms pods would be a missed opportunity (and not do the designs justice).
So I began working on a name.
In a typical capsule pod, sleepers must climb up and crawl in like a bunkbed, but in the designs which ASTVDIO proposed no climbing or crouching was necessary. Guests could walk in, stand tall, and move around with ease. And unlike a usual pod which would have no storage and only a small pull-down screen for privacy, this concept would include storage for a few pieces of luggage and a proper latching door.
While superior to a standard pod, the big difference between this concept and a standard hotel room came down to square footage — it's roughly a 1/4 of the size — and it doesn't include a bathroom (most capsule hotels utilize shared bathrooms). While not having all the amenities of a traditional hotel room, these units would feature something the usual hotel room didn't: the ability to control every element of the sleep experience —including sound, lighting, and air flow — directly from your smartphone.
Thinking about the unique attributes of the proposed design, it struck me that this space, while cozier than a usual hotel room, was exactly what cost-conscious travelers wanted: a great night of sleep at a hyper-affordable price. The challenge was to communicate that this sleep chamber offered something different than your usual capsule pod or hotel room.
Eventually, this led me to the word HIBERNOOK — which signaled a deep sleep in a cozy space. While this name set the unit apart from a traditional pod or hotel room, it didn't speak to the Hibernook's smartphone integration. So I decided to marry it with the tagline, "The Smartest Square Feet in Sleep." This helped bolster the Hibernook's tech-forward footing while also signaling space-efficiency.
"...the smartest square feet in sleep"
For its 75th anniversary, the United Nations invited the people of the world to share their hopes and dreams for the future. A listening campaign of global proportions, the initiative called on humanity to define its destiny at a crucial juncture in our civilization's history.
To raise awareness for their efforts, the UN enlisted the help of Squeak E. Clean Studios to produce a film to be shown before the General Assembly, and I was asked to help them incubate an early draft of the script.
While the material was in great shape when I received it, I helped the writer and director weave in two important themes into the script: the interconnected nature of our world's current challenges and the need for deeper forms of human collaboration to address this complexity.
Whether it's the climate crisis, the recent pandemic, or the ongoing specter of nuclear war, these challenges are too big to tackle alone. To put our world on a healthier trajectory, we must learn how to collaborate at a higher level that allows us to see beyond adversarial dynamics and toward a co-elevating future.
It was an honor to contribute to this urgent message to humanity, and I thank Squeak E. Clean for the opportunity.
agency: Squeak E. Clean