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Karate lessons and humorous marketing

PalbergWERX Creative Direction is a new Vancouver design agency and we just completed our website now it was time that the word out there - but how to cut through the clutter? Ideation to the rescue! This initial email campaign via Mailchimp was going to be sent to my personal email list. Friends, family and close business associates - many opportunities come from existing connections and I was going to leverage that. In general I wanted to be self-deprecating and humorous to get my friends attention and at the same time, not lower my perceived value. The concept came about after researching small business start-ups online and reading how many entrepreneurs had moments of doubt as they were building their business.

I thought this idea was authentic and it struck me that the message many of these entrepreneurs were saying, was that no matter how frightening it is to begin a business, stay the course and everything would work out in the end. I thought, well, what if it doesn't work out, what if all the work and investment did not pay off? Not the funniest thought, but I imagined there must be a way to turn this upside down to find the humor.

I took this idea and began a series of written tag lines that I believe would send a clear and humor message. After various starts, I settled on my tagline and presentation. I thought that I would take a photograph of myself pretending to be homeless and hold a sign with my marketing message. I did some more online research of real street people. I was also paying close attention to signage and how homeless persons were communicating. In some cases, they used humorous signs as well to cut through the clutter and noise of their environment and catch the attention of their benefactors.

Concept: Shoot myself sitting on a street setting, begging for design work. Ok, the idea is easy enough and I proceeded to set up for the photo shoot.

So, the set up is below - just a shot of me on my kitchen floor in front of my refrigerator. Nothing special, but the camera is set very high so that my audience is looking down at me, making my position very humble.

PalbergWERX Design + Photography Vancouver marketing logo branding concept

Now don't get me wrong, I already had some ideas for the text that I felt confident would be appropriate and this photoshoot was not going to be a waste of time - but, more on that later.

Of course, I was not going to go out in the wet and cold to take this photo, so I need some additional images of a sidewalk and wall to set me in.

Yup, sidewalks were tough to find without a ton of distracting items or the wrong angle. This one was nice, but it clearly would take some work to make it fit the scene.

The wall was much easier to find, however in retrospect, I think that this one is too far away and because of that I think some clarity was lost in the final composition. It was beginning to come together.

I won't get into details of the post process, there are a large number of tutorials online that can help with that. It is just important to note that making sure I was embedded into the environment was important.

Here I've moved and distorted the sidewalk and wall to give it the same perspective that I shot my self portrait. Next we add some shadows to place me in the scene.

Sure the shadows look strange, but of course they were painted with my masked figure in the forground. I spent a lot of time blended the shadows to create a fall off that I would expect to see in the real world.

PalbergWERX Design + Photography Vancouver marketing logo branding concept hipsters ninja

And there I am. Now, I was going to adjust the image to a color palette that was nostaligic and did so in this final image.

PalbergWERX Design + Photography Vancouver marketing logo branding concept hipsters ninja

Now you can see the power of color manipulation in post. The image previous to this one was fine, but it didn't have any pop or interest, now with my nostagic color palette, I've made myself much more interesting. Here is a nice link with an interactive slider to compare the before and after versions: LINK

The final image was composited to further highlight the good-old-days gone by, by posting my image above into a Polaroid snapshot and brand it with my logo. As mentioned, the campaign was aimed at friends, family and other business colleagues that I have in my contact list. The response was great with over a 38% click through rate.

PalbergWERX Design + Photography Vancouver marketing logo branding concept hipsters ninja

Look for my upcoming blog about what I consider the 'Right Time, Right Channel and Right Customer' when identifying your next marketing strategy.


If you would like to take your photos to the next level,

call PalbergWERX Creative Direction

at 604-356-1144 or email me at

I can help you craft an inbound lead generation campaign via 'Lead Magents'

or develop a social media campaign with A/B Split testing to verify your ROI.

PalbergWERX Design + Photography Vancouver marketing logo branding concept hipsters ninja

#marketing #humor #photography

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