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August 2010 - Posts

  • How to Get the Most Out of Meetings

    Aug 31 2010

    Many years ago my first project at Leo Burnett-Chile was to rewrite a small paragraph for a Procter & Gamble radio script. At just three short lines, the account executive assured me it was an easy fix.  I rewrote it and was later told that I had to go and present it to the local head of marketing at Procter & Gamble.

    Upon arriving at P&G, I was surprised to learn that even though we were in the middle of Santiago and we were all Chileans, all meetings were conducted in English. Back then, trying to communicate in English, a language that was more foreign to me at the time than it is today, presented a real challenge.  I did my best to let the head of marketing know that I did exactly what I was supposed to do for the three-line-rewrite.

    “Fine,” he said, “I see what you aimed for.” And then, to my utter surprise, he added, “I do, however, have one question, three suggestions and two comments.” I thought, “C’mon, man…For a three-line rewrite?” Needless to say, I was sent back to the drawing board a bit confused.

    On my way out, I asked the brand manager, “What was that all about? Are you guys always like this?”

    “Well,” he replied, “What did you expect? After all, you failed to tell him what you wanted from him in the first place!”

    When I asked what he meant by that, he told me something that I’ve never forgotten: “Whenever you go to a meeting, you should always have an agenda, a clear understanding of what you want to achieve at that meeting. So, you should have started the meeting by saying ‘I’m here to present and get your approval on this three-line rewrite.’”

    Aha! It totally made sense then and I have been applying it ever since in one form or the other whenever I attend a presentation or meeting. It saves time and ensures you are on track to achieve the creative goals.

    Francisco Letelier | VP Creative

  • Four Simple Tips for Writing Online

    Aug 26 2010

    1.  Don’t overshare — People post too much information. Twitter and Facebook make it easy to dash off a tweet or status update and you may not think about possible ramifications. Tweeting about confidential or personal information can backfire.

    2.  It’s about business — Social media allows you to have a more personal connection with colleagues and business associates, so your posts can be friendly, but not as casual or edgy as you’d send to a friend. Tweets don’t allow much room for nuance, normally expressed with a look or voice inflection.
    3.  Double check — Once upon a time, no business communication ever went out without being scrutinized for errors. This is still crucial today, as sloppiness can have severe consequences. Check for typos, misspellings or other grammatical mistakes. Make sure you’re sending to the intended target. The auto-fill isn’t always your friend, and be sure you’re not replying to all unintentionally.

    4.  Write correctly – Don’t use texting language for business emails. It makes sense on Twitter, given its truncated format, but try to avoid this. In an email, use proper capitalization and spelling, and no emoticons or cute abbreviations. c what i mean? lol J  

    Keep it professional, people. Write on.

    Read more.

    Harvey Kaner | Team Manager

  • AdJam 2010 - Countdown to Sept. 30

    Aug 23 2010

    Each fall, The Phelps Group rocks out at the AdJam Battle of the Bands.  Associates from our agency unite for the occassion to listen in awe to the epic tour de force of rock awesomeness of our house band, DePhelps Mode.  Although we were victorious years ago, the glory of a first place finish remained elusive in both 2008 and 2009, where we finished in second.  This year, however, veteran DePhelps Mode plans to unleash a rock-induced revelry of majestic proportions in order to reclaim the throne of "Champion" once more.

    For 2010, the organizers set a new standard for entry: an audition video, highlighting our talents.  We rose to the elevated standard and have been selected to compete for the title! See the video that got us in:

    This year, the AdJam 2010 Battle of the Bands will take place on September 30 at The House of Blues.  In anticipation of the event, we will count down the weeks by profiling the members of the DePhelps Mode band. Stay tuned!

  • Facts from the "Old Spice Guy" Campaign

    Aug 16 2010

    Following the massive sensation the “Old Spice Guy” campaign recently caused on the Internet, Wieden+Kennedy have posted a case study about its success since “the guy on a horse” first appeared during the Super Bowl in 2009.  Not only is the campaign being touted as a major coup over its competitors, it is impressive to learn the sales of a brand that has been struggling with “an image problem” and sales growth for many years have skyrocketed.  All advertisers can benefit by learning from the campaign's creative use of social media that led to an instant viral hit.

    Here are some quick facts from the case study:

    ·    Old Spice accounted for 75 percent of conversations in the category in the first three months of 2010
    ·    Half the conversations came from women
    ·    The YouTube/Twitter social media response campaign was “the fastest-growing and most popular interactive campaign in history”
    ·    More people watched the videos in 24 hours than those who watched Obama’s presidential victory speech
    ·    Total video views reached 40 million in a week
    ·    Campaign impressions: 1.4 billion
    ·    Since the campaign launched, Old Spice Body Wash sales are up 27 percent; in the last three months up 55 percent; and in the last month, up 107 percent

    Read more.

    Jonathan Tilley | Team Manager

  • How to Make Your Creative Feedback Work Harder

    Aug 10 2010

    Giving and receiving creative feedback is an important component of how we do things here at The Phelps Group. Before I talk a bit about how you can make your creative feedback work harder and be more effective, I’ll begin with a little story:

    Early one morning, many, many years ago, a group of Hollywood executives were sitting around a conference table. The air was a bit tense to say the least. The meeting had been called by the Executive Producer of a movie that had recently started production. Apparently, the Executive Producer had some important notes and feedback he wanted to share with everyone regarding the dailies from the first shooting day.

    “There’s nothing going on between the main actors…There’s no chemistry…The guy has no sex-appeal and she has zero talent… They’re bad! But, if we move fast enough, we can recast. We can easily replace the Swedish girl with that girl with the long legs… what’s her name?…Yes, Ann Sheridan… And we could cast Ronald Reagan in the lead. And while we are at it, let’s change the movie title too.”

    Well, if it wasn’t for a brave soul in that meeting that stood up to the executive producer, the famous movie “Casablanca” could have probably been called “The Things That Happen at Rick’s Café,” or something like that; that actress with zero talent named Ingrid Bergman wouldn’t have played Elsa; Ronald Reagan would have played Rick instead of Humphrey Bogart; and most likely, we wouldn’t have had such a Hollywood classic as “Casablanca.”

    Besides its anecdotical values, this story illustrates some key points to consider when giving feedback:

    ·    Think twice about what you are going to say before saying it out loud since your words could change the course of history
    ·    Understand that a comment may be right but it may also be wrong
    ·    Be able to discern when it is better to make no comment at all
    ·    Know what you are talking about

    Ideally, our feedback, the notes we share about the work, should come from our own fields of expertise. If we do so, we’ll be creating ADDED VALUE for our end product.

    It’s simple and obvious enough, right? But, it’s not that easy to apply on a day-to-day basis.  In order to create ADDED VALUE when giving feedback, keep these points in mind:

    ·    Always start from your area of expertise or knowledge
    ·    Remember, you are a part of the creative team
    ·    If you need to, ask more questions
    ·    When giving feedback, try to be as to the point as possible
    ·    If you don’t have anything to add, that’s fine

    And, since I don’t have anything to add to this subject, I’m outta here!

    Francisco Letelier | VP Creative

  • Supercharge Your Brand with Online Video

    Aug 10 2010

    According to Nielsen, more than 9 billion video streams were viewed in the U.S. in March, and demand is growing.  Here are some tools to get those eyes on your video:

    Aggregators: Sites like YouTube, Vimeo and funnyordie stream your video and make it searchable.
    Tip: Follow all upload instructions and add tags for maximum quality and searchability.

    Mobile Programming: Smartphones give your video on-the-go viewership.
    Tip: For the most mobile-friendly content, swap flash formats for .3GP and use compatible aggregators.

    Viral Seeding: Promote your video using aggregators, social bookmarks, blog/video comments and social networks.
    Tip: Keep it relevant. Viewers can smell an empty sales pitch a mile away.

    Branded Entertainment: Create original programs that focus on a softer-sell approach via sponsorship and product placement.
    Tip: Don’t micro-manage — too strict of a message can make it feel contrived.

    This is an example of a video that we created for our client, Monrovia, that incorporates the aforementioned tips.

    Maria Brenner | Video Production Specialist

  • The Phelps Group Ranked 15th "Best Place to Work" in LA

    Aug 05 2010

    The Phelps Group has been recognized for the fourth year in a row by The Los Angeles Business Journal as one of LA’s “Best Places to Work” for 2010.  The agency ranked number 15 of all mid-sized companies – 25 to 249 local workers – in Los Angeles.

    The poll, conducted by ModernThink, an independent research company, surveyed nearly 10,000 employees from hundreds of companies with headquarters or satellite offices in Los Angeles.  Key criteria in determining the top winners were culture of the organization, communication between employees, and growth opportunities available to workers.  An anonymous employee satisfaction survey accounted for 75 percent of the ranking, and an employer survey of salary, benefits and other information accounted for the rest.

    Learn more about the award by reading the press release.

  • INTERNal Feedback: The Office Is My Playground

    Aug 02 2010

    When I first walked into The Phelps Group, I didn’t know what to expect.  Taking on an internship three years after college was a little nerve-racking.  I thought I’d be a gofer for the associates. Little did I know that in reality I would be considered a valuable asset and important contributor to the work.  I am not an intern after all, but I am part of a community playground of creative minds!

    It’s very organized here; they knew me way before I arrived.  My name, contact info, college degree, and school were distributed to associates—my photo included. I felt at home and in charge.

    Upon arrival, I immediately noticed their “Best Places to Work in Los Angeles” plaques on the wall.  After experiencing the laid back, dog-friendly, team-oriented, creative collaboration of these craniums, I can easily see how this place tops traditional agencies. Every time I walk past a desk and see a dog, I see an integrated marketing company; a place where man and dog work together. The fact that there are disciplines, not departments, and everyone works in client-based, self-directed teams, really benefits the clients. It’s an eco-system, where each person fulfills a role to keep everything moving forward. The structure and progressive mentality of the company make it a healthy work environment for associates and clients.
    Some of the events I look forward to every week are The Wall and the Brain Bangers' Ball. They encourage creative feedback from all associates on client projects and reinforce camaraderie. I also give props for the free catered lunches and snacks that fuel our ingenious ideas every week!

    Earning my internship wasn’t easy. I went through a very competitive and extensive application and interview process.  After applying online, completing a voicemail interview and an in-person interview, I had to pinch myself when I learned I had actually achieved my goal of an internship at The Phelps Group.  Out of hundreds of internship candidates, only ten are chosen for a voicemail interview, and just four for an in-person interview.  If you are thinking about applying, make sure your cover letter and resume are flawless. For more information on interning at The Phelps Group and to apply, go to:

    Lindsay Caldwell | Intern

  • Mochi Minute: Need a QR Code Generator?

    Aug 02 2010

    Creating QR Codes have never been easier. Here are two sites that will get you on the two-dimensional-barcode-scanning-bandwagon in no time.

    1) Kaywa: a mobile-service company based in Germany. Kaywa’s site features a generator that lets you create a basic QR Code. Straight forward and super easy to use, you’ll be able to customize, download and print your own QR Code with just a few mouse clicks.

    2) ZXing: (pronounced “zebra crossing”) an open-source project that focuses on the usability of built-in cameras on mobile phones. ZXing’s site features a generator that is very similar to Kaywa’s, but offers several more customizable content options (e.g. contact information, calendar event and geolocation) – this is the site for you if you’re looking for variety.

    If you have a QR reader installed on your mobile device, scan the QR above; I used Kaywa’s site to generate it and it works great!

    Related articles:

    Facebook Kicks Off Implementation of QR Codes (

    What Business Card? Just Scan My QR Code (

    John "Mochi" Park | VP Technology