- AAF Memphis recognizes Combustion at 2010 Addys
- Daisy Rock Girl Guitars profiled in USA Today
- Advertising firm cuts down on the barriers between customers, managers and artists (from Commercial Appeal)
- Combustion finds a Soul mate in Stax
- An encore performance for Elvis
- They like us, they really like us
- Introducing a new brand of fun
- The return of a old favorite
- National publication honors Combustion work
- Combustion helps Campbell Clinic redefine service
On Saturday night at Minglewood Hall, AAF Memphis handed out it’s 2010 Addy Awards recognizing the best in Memphis advertising. Of Combustion’s 30 entries this year, 14 received awards. Additionally we were honored with the Best of Show Outdoor award for a billboard created for Elvis Presley Enterprises (click here to see a previous blog entry about the EPE campaign).
Combustion’s complete list of winners includes:
- Fran Doggrell Photography stationery - GOLD Addy
- Elvis Presley Enterprises outdoor - Blingdom - GOLD Addy
- Elvis Presley Enterprises outdoor - Vegas - GOLD Addy
- Campbell Clinic print ad - 100 Year Ad - GOLD Addy
- Elvis Presley Enterprises print ad - Blingdom - GOLD Addy
- Elvis Presley Enterprises print ad - Vegas - GOLD Addy
- Neil Couvillion CD packaging - SILVER Addy
- Lifeblood sales video - Lifestories - SILVER Addy
- Elvis Presley Enterprises outdoor - Hound Dog - SILVER Addy
- Elvis Presley Enterprises print ad - Schooled on Rock - SILVER Addy
- Campbell Clinic print ad - After Hours - SILVER Addy
- Elvis Presley Enterprises print ad - Hound Dog - SILVER Addy
- Combustion self promotion - Holiday Party Invitation - SILVER Addy
- Elvis Presley Enterprises logo - Legacy - SILVER Addy
Best of Show Outdoor - Elvis Presley Enterprises - Vegas
Local Addy winners are forwarded to District competition to be judged once more. District judging will be in late April and will take place in Mobile, AL.
Check back soon for a post featuring all of Combustion’s 2010 award winners.
Long-time Combustion client Daisy Rock of Van Nuys, CA, was recently featured on the front page of USA Today’s business section. Combustion began working with Daisy Rock in 2002 and recently completed their all-new product catalog for 2010.
To read more about Daisy Rock and their unique market niche, click the link below.
Advertising firm cuts down on the barriers between customers, managers and artists (from Commercial Appeal)
Article by Jonathan Devin
October 19, 2009
Billy Riley believes that the fewer people he talks to, the better — that is, in terms of keeping ideas flowing directly to his clients.
Riley, 46, started Combustion, a design and advertising firm in Midtown, based on the premise that eliminating the layers of account managers between artists and clients keeps fresh ideas from getting lost in translation.
“We’re too small of a company to have a corporate culture,” said Eric Christopherson, 39, Combustion’s creative director. “It’s important that the people we’re working with like us and that we like them because we’re going to be in constant contact with them.”
Riley and Christopherson met while working entry level jobs at Sossaman Bateman McCuddy Advertising, now called Carpenter Sullivan Sossaman. Riley went out on his own 13 years ago, hiring design directors Ben Couvillion and Leah Jones before Christopherson rejoined him. Combustion now employs 10.
“Having been at bigger agencies and gone through the minutiae of having all these layers between him, the person coming up with the idea, and the client, the person with the need, Billy realized that’s it’s just not the most efficient way to do things,” said Christopherson.
The agency started out at the Kimbrough Center on Union Avenue before occupying two floors of 88 Union Ave. Three years ago, it relocated to a former T-shirt printing factory on Cooper Street in order to get back to Midtown and to have its own dedicated building.
“The process is a lot easier when it’s not translated by someone who doesn’t have the same creative vocabulary that we have,” said Riley. “It’s not that we don’t have account managers or account executives, we’re all account executives.”
While Combustion does traditional advertising through print and broadcast media, they focus more on other forms of design.
“We do identities, promotional materials, annual reports, packaging, Web sites — that’s the bulk of our work,” said Christopherson. “People come to us with crazy requests and we bring them back solutions that maybe they hadn’t envisioned.”
One client, International Paper, needed Combustion’s help to design a larger-than-life statue of a dog with a message of environmental sensitivity as part of a campaign for the Humane Society of Greater Memphis.
“We named him ‘Barky the Eco-Dog’ and he was covered with this handmade bark paper made by native Indians in Mexico just the way they made it for hundreds of years,” said Riley.
Another client, the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, needed a creative development campaign on a budget.
“In the midst of a bad economy, (the Conservancy) needed a way to attract corporate sponsors to support their very ambitious plans,” said Riley. “They needed to break through the clutter of tons of groups asking corporations for money. Leah came up with this really cool, limited-edition, handmade book.”
To keep costs down, Jones enlisted the help of interns from the Memphis College of Art to construct each of the books by hand.
Combustion has had an on-going relationship with the college, which is Riley’s alma mater and his first client since starting his own agency.
Susan Miller, the college’s vice president for enrollment and student services, hired Riley to create a new student catalogue the same week that Combustion opened.
“Billy went to a paper company and got us a discount and really went out of his way,” said Miller. “We were just so proud of our product. Pretty soon we started filtering all of our design work through Combustion.”
Miller also said that being on time seems to be a Combustion signature.
“Projects like these take so much time,” said Miller. “I have to say they’re so good about keeping us here on track. Instead of us keeping them on track for scheduling, they’re keeping us on track.”
Combustion has 30 clients, mostly on a project-to-project basis. Christopherson said that many are requesting help with figuring out social media as part of their overall Web presence.
The bad economy knocked out a few major clients in hard-hit industries, but some others became more active. So far, the agency’s revenue is up 22 percent over 2008.
“When there are downturns, some of the clients that we’ve worked with on an occasional basis will come to us more often because we’re not a 60- or 70-person agency that has to charge all the layers of fees that a big agency has to have,” said Christopherson.
During the 2008-2009 academic year, Stax Music Academy turned to Combustion for help designing programs, print ads and posters supporting a series of concerts featuring their students. With each concert possessing its own unique musical stylings and direction, each new set of materials needed to reflect that spirit. And these designs ran the gamut.
There is a ton of gold to be mined from the Elvis aura. Yet after years of treating the King of Rock & Roll with all due reverence, the vibe of the nation called out for something a little more fun.
Charged with the task of creating a campaign that would appeal to soccer moms planning shorter, less expensive vacations for their families, Combustion took things in a new direction. Playing off words and phrases that had found root in the common lexicon and employing images of Elvis that might seem more recognizable to a younger audience, we created a high-visibility outdoor campaign that would undoubtedly make people smile.
In addition, we created a similar print campaign targeting group travel to run in select publications.
Logo Lounge, creator of a new Master Series of books focused on organizational identities, has again selected Combustion-created work to be featured in their publication. The second book in the series, Animals and Myths, will include logos created for Verified Person and ARMS (Automated Records Management System).
Combustion also had work selected for the first book in the series, Initials and Crests.
2009 marks the introduction of a new event for Memphis - Memphest. It will feature music, rides, games and food and be held at the Fairgrounds September 25 through October 4. Combustion, working with ABO Marketing, developed the identity for the event as well as all promotional materials including TV, radio, website, outdoor ads, online ads and more.
Learn more about Memphest at www.Memphest.com.
After 10 years of hibernation, Shelby Farms Park is bringing back Starry Nights - the spectacular and highly popular holiday light display. The new exhibit will feature fantastic new displays as well as some old favorites.
The park turned to Combustion to help them reintroduce this Memphis legend with a fun, new identity, website, and other promotional materials.
To learn more about Starry Nights 2009, visit www.starrynightsmemphis.com.
Logo Lounge, creator of a new Master Series of books focused on logo design, has selected two Combustion-created identities to be included in its Initials & Crests publication. The marks, created for the packaging firm Wurzburg, are a primary and alternative logo for the company.
Initials & Crests is the first publication in the Master Library series.
If you suffer a sprained muscle or broken bone after 5 PM, your only option for treatment used to be the emergency room. Not anymore. Campbell Clinic has smartly introduce a new After Hours service where you can get orthopaedic care in the evening with no appointment necessary. So now everyone can get the unsurpassed patient care they need without all the coughing, wheezing, sneezing and bleeding of an emergency room.
As a long time client of Combustion, Campbell Clinic trusted us to help them create an identity for the new service and put together a media plan that utilized low cost, high frequency tactics. The resulting campaign has been so successful that the clinic has been forced to add personnel to handle all the patients. That’s a good problem to have.