2022 GEM Awards

2022 GEM Awards

Team MCS banded together with a game strategy in mind, and for this round at least — came out alive. We were able to navigate the challenges, and even fared well enough to be offered a full buffet of food for our efforts. [iykyk]

Squid Games aside, the annual Idaho Falls Ad Federation Gem Awards help set the barometer for great creative on the eastern side of Idaho. We were proud to have taken home a pile of awards (most awarded with 11 trophies!) and pick up some great ideas (logged away for next year’s comp.) Thank you to IFAF for hosting a great event, and to our fellow challengers for pushing to new heights — we’re honored to be included among the other game survivors.


MCS STAFF

Authors:

MCS Staff

MCS’ Big Night Out

Big night out

As a local business, we love to get out and support our fellow small businesses when we can. We had the best time at our latest MCS outing at a recent Idaho Falls Symphony Red Dress Concert: Rhapsody in Blue.

We dusted off our party pants and made a group outing to the Idaho Falls Symphony’s annual Red Dress Concert. It was their first time in front of a live audience since the beginning of the pandemic and it was a doozy.

Here’s a tip: if you ever get a chance to see a live performance of Rhapsody in Blue, jump on it. Guest pianist Roberto Plano fronted the IF Symphony, and together with Maestro Thomas Heuser they absolutely burned the house to ashes. It was office buzz at MCS for days after.

As a creative agency and a local business, we’re lucky to have such inspiration so close at hand. It has us all looking forward to our next big night out.


MCS STAFF

Authors:

MCS Staff

7 steps to swagcess in 22

7 steps to swagcess header image

7 Steps to Swagcess in ‘22

A how-to list

  1. Start Early
  2. Way early. This allows time to order samples and get a true feel for the product before placing an order. The development of creative design that includes a great item accompanied by a strong campaign can take much longer than it looks from the outside. In the land of swag, the early bird gets the best merch and isn’t forced into a corner because of availability and production time.

    1. Seek Items Trending in Pop Culture…
      or it’s okay to stick with a “Tried-and-True but better/i.e. current”
    2. This Year’s Forecast: Personalized Ice Cubes (any bar-ware for that matter), wireless chargers, custom blankets, a tilemate e-tracker, and even balaclavas are FASHION this year

      Tried and True Coming to Clients Near You: latest styles of hats/hoodies/jackets in slim designs & athletic fabrics, mugs, water bottles, and chapstick — but elevated to next level, expanding wearability and keep-ability.  

      Past Hits: Wrist-bands, pop-sockets, fleece vests, facemasks …

      1. Know Your Demo

      Listen carefully and your audience may even walk into your business and tell you exactly what they would love. If the swag isn’t something your audience will embrace and use, then you’ve missed the point. Use what you know about your clients and teams to choose the swag that they’re missing. Solve a problem for them or make something about their everyday lives’ easier.

      1. It’s an Investment, Not a Throw-Away

      Change your mindset on swag. A meatier budget will not only increase the recipient’s positive impression of your business, but it will also allow you to be more creative and original with your choices. 

      1. Swag, but With a Twist

      Be creative with the treatment of your logo within your brand guidelines. Don’t be afraid to utilize all of your brand elements, including textures and patterns. Your standard logo is great and is often an excellent choice, but consider alternatives as well.  Elevate your item by digging deeper into the possibilities available within your brand vision.

      1. Delight Employees & Clients with Kits

      Kits are a clever compilation of multiple gift items based around a theme; think of a theme and run with it. An example: maybe your night crew could use an extra nod of appreciation with a bespoke and fully-branded kit including a sleeping mask, herbal tea and mug, honey, woven blanket, heated pillow, lavender oils and a foot roller massager so they can catch up on good sleep during the day.

      When it comes to employee welcome and retention packages, go all out. Use the swag as a chance to genuinely say thank you to the crew that shows up for you day in and day out. This same principle applies to client gifts. Ask yourself, “what would make this really stand out?”

      1. Presentation is Part of the Process

      You might be surprised at what a difference a printed box or even brand colored tissue paper can make in the experience of receiving swag. Excellent swag not only speaks to the audience when opened, but when wrapped as well.


      Jessica Cale

      Author

      Jessica Cale

      Designer/Fontographer extraordinaire

Problem Solvers Pandemic Edition

 

MCS Blog header - Wearing our Victory Cape

Problem Solvers: Pandemic Edition

Businesses come to a full-service agency like ours for creative out-of-the-box ideas. Necessity is the mother of all invention, right!? Some of our best, and most creative work happens within constraints caused by the highly specific needs of our clients — let alone while reacting to recent challenges caused by the pandemic. This last year we’ve worked with our clients in innovating, exploring and tackling each new challenge as they manifested. Seeing the results of our efforts and success for our clients fuels our desire to wear our victory capes every day. A whole-hearted thanks to them for entrusting our MCS Advertising team. 


Rexburg Motorsports: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Rexburg Motorsports thumbnail image: Snow machine on sand

Problem: No Dirt Vehicles in Stock During Dirt Season

Solution: It’s Christmas in July! Nothing says fun and unexpected like mountain sleds on the sand dunes in a creative video showcasing available snowmobile stock. This video campaign allowed Rexburg Motorsports to offer what they did have available, despite snowmobiles not being “in season.”


Community Family Clinic Logo Community Family Clinic: Rebrand, signage, There’s a Doc for That

Problem: New Building, Needed More Patients 

Solution: We created a new look, media plan, website and awareness campaign offering a full-spectrum of medical services driving patients with little or no insurance coverage to the Community Council of Idaho’s newest 5C3 non-profit clinic. The next problem to solve: where to park now that people know There’s a Doc for That.


Modern Home: Look 4 Less campaign Modern Home

Problem: Supply Chain Challenge 

Solution: Pivoting from pushing potentially frustrating specific price and item specials that were in short supply, we opted to show how full of merchandise Modern Home is; taking the pressure off of individual furniture pieces by featuring storewide interior footage. While folks were stuck at home, re-integrating fresh video into the advertising strategy helped propel Modern Home to a happy ending for 2021.


Shepherd's Inn: Win the WHOLE Cow Shepherd’s Inn

Problem: Reach & Exceed Fundraising Goals

Solution: After our 2020 virtual campaign raised a little over $12,000, we were determined to reach the $15,000 goal for 2021. We freshened up the campaign look and used everything we had learned last year to reach our goal. We felt like we had won the whole cow and more when Shepherd’s Inn exceeded their goal this year.


MCS STAFF

Authors:

MCS Staff

Cultivating a gratitude attitude

 

Cultivating an attitude of gratitude

Overheard at MCS HQ on a gray and gloomy Monday afternoon as October slipped into November: 

“I just really think we should send them a thank you card. I know that technically they hired us and we work for them, but they’ve been so great to work with, and I just want to say thanks.”

I’m fairly new here, and hearing that brief exchange while my co-workers finished their lunches gave me yet another reason to be sure that these are my kind of people and working here is exactly where I want to be. 

Gratitude is scientifically proven to increase our satisfaction and happiness.

thank-you card illustration

While most of the conversations around gratitude that happen in November circle around our closest relationships, I can’t help but wonder what would happen if gratitude became a foundational piece of the relationships we form with our employees and customers. How would employees who get daily practice in expressing gratitude feel about showing up to work? What kind of impression would it make on our customers if we decided to intentionally thank them for their support? 

I have my hypotheses about the goodness that would follow- the loyalty that would be shored up, the relationships created. I know from experience the way that joy would increase and the perspectives that would shift on a tectonic level simply from practicing gratitude.  

We have all sorts of ideas of ways you could thank your people, from social media shout outs to the coolest swag this side of the Mississippi, we’ve got you covered. We’re also pretty big fans of taking a moment to just sincerely say, “thank you” no frills or bells necessary. 

So to you, our people, thank you. Thank you for being part of our MCS family. We love that we get to be part of this community and are so excited to cheer you on as you achieve your goals and watch your business grow. Thank you for being here with us, we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Jessica Cale

Author

Jessica Cale

Designer/Fontographer extraordinaire

Avoid Woke-washing

Avoid Cause-washing

Cause-Washing animationAs different causes take the center stage for their respective seasons, it can be tempting for brands to maintain relevance by applying a splash of color behind their logo for pride month or slapping a pink ribbon on their social media posts in October. The practice of “cause-washing” starts down a slippery slope into losing consumer trust, ending on the cancellation express. Performative allyship is out. Accountability and action are IN!

So how do you market and interact with the general public while steering clear of the inevitable muck that follows painting yourself a different color every time the opportunity arises? 

Know Your Brand Values

Consider your current business practices, then evaluate to see if your current choices are in alignment with your values. If you value conserving resources, what are you currently doing as a business that reflects that? Is there something that you could adjust to be in better alignment with your values? Choose your causes based on your values.

Only Highlight Causes that You Are Actively Doing Something About

You might actively contribute and support a cause by having a donation jar, donating portions of proceeds, or hosting some kind of fundraising event. The possibilities are endless. Just be clear about who and how you are contributing before popping that pink background onto your marketing materials. 

Be In Conversation with Your Target Audience

Make sure to take the time to educate your audience about the causes that you support. Seek to highlight the voices of people who are experts in those areas. Use social media, email lists, and other points of contact to help increase awareness and share resources during the month and throughout the year. 

As you authentically engage with your audience both in conversation and marketing, you will foster a community of loyal consumers and increase your ability to create a positive impact for those causes you care about.


Jessica Cale

Author

Jessica Cale

Designer/Fontographer extraordinaire

Hangin’ with Frida during Hispanic heritage month

Hispanic heritage month: Hangin’ with Frida

We’re midway through Hispanic heritage month, which runs Sept. 15 – Oct 15.

What better time (other than at the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month) to pay homage to one of our creative influences here at MCS, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. We won’t go into a whole history lesson, we’ll just say that her opportunities were few, her obstacles were many (including polio AND a bus accident which left her with lifelong injuries from a young age) yet still she persisted™, going so far as turning her casts and braces into works of art.

Her life and her art have been constant sources of inspiration to MCS Principal Lisa Fischbach. Along with creativity, she exuded generosity, self-confidence, and a bent for individualism that established her as a household name even today. 

Kahlo’s self portrait hangs in a place of prominence in Lisa’s office, so we’re all under her gaze at various points during each workday. So whether we’re looking at her or she’s looking at us, the image motivates us to raise the expectations we have of ourselves.


Steve Fischbach

Author

Steve Fischbach

Head whip-cracker

Summer 2021: MCS Memories

 

Summer 2021: MCS Memories

Lisa: It’ been a fabby summer — from river floats with fam & friends, to visiting Steve’s parents in the Black Hills.

But our trip to Napa Valley wine country takes the cake — definitely a bucket list item — with the highlight being an old-fashioned train tour making several vineyard stops, up and down the valley.


Steve: A 4-day mountain biking trip to Oregon over Memorial Day kicked off the summer on a high note for me. Insider intel on locals-only trails kept us in the sweet spots and out of the crowds.


Dave: Our summer highlight was a week-long trip to Connecticut for a college friends’ reunion. It was our first trip to the East coast, and the first time I’ve dipped my feet in the Atlantic Ocean. 11/10 would go again.


Stephanie: We had a lot of plans this summer. It was very go-go-go for us. I think my favorite was camping in Island Park. It was the most relaxing part of the summer.


Matt: My favorite memory from this summer was when my family went camping at Crescent Lake in Oregon. We went hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, paddle boarding, and even climbed a waterfall. The experience was amazing other than the sunburns and mosquito bites.



Jordynn: My favorite memory from this summer was visiting Dreamscapes Art Exhibit in Salt Lake City, which is Utah’s first environmentally sustainable exhibit featuring pieces created from reclaimed materials. Walking through the exhibit truly felt like a dream.


Kayla: One of the many favorite memories this summer was having my high school friends come to visit from Minnesota. We took the long weekend to travel to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park, their first time visiting. It was great seeing them and being able to catch up!


Nick: My favorite trip and part of this summer was visiting my friends in Portland. We went to the ocean, Multnomah Falls, hiked around Portland and went and found a lot of great restaurants and antique stores. It definitely was a trip that recharged my batteries for my final semester at Idaho State!


MCS STAFF

Authors:

MCS Staff

Alive After 5: Our Wednesday Pick-Me-Up

 

Alive After 5: Our Wednesday Pick-Me-Up

Summer + A Good Cause + Adult-Bevs = AA5.

It’s true. And these are a few of our favorite things. MCS is lucky to have a birds-eye view of Alive After Five from our office perched above the corner of Park Avenue & B Street. The live bands tuning their instruments literally alert us when it’s time to head down and join in the weekly celebration of summer.

Every AA5 Wednesday we enjoy the chance to hang out, network and recharge for the rest of the week. Where else can you get Mini Moose Donut Rings and the IPA of your choice?? See you there, and thanks to @civitans for hosting.

#agencylife is good!

 

LISA FISCHBACH

Author

Lisa Fischbach

Original cape girl

Summer Vibes ’21

Summer Vibes ’21

We threw together a sweet summer playlist with some of our favorite summertime jams and the memories behind them in honor of Summer Solstice. Kick back, enjoy the sunshine and tune into our Spotify playlist that’s sure to take you to summer, no matter the time of year.

Listen to the playlist here, or check out individual tracks below:

Lisa: The Middle by Jimmy Eat World – I’m a pitcher’s Mom. Whenever I hear The Middle by Jimmy Eat World, I’m swept back to the summers when Clark was developing his skills as a lanky-lefty. On our way to the park we would crank it up to help shake off the pregame jitters.

Steve: Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin – for me, this song summons a very specific summer vibe. I used to have an old jeepster commando convertible, and I must have played this song a lot in that rig, because hearing it immediately conjures up the sensation of cruising down a two-lane road with the top down on a calm sunny day.

Jordynn: Island in the Sun by Weezer – The first time I went to Cozumel, Mexico my brother and I played this song on repeat every morning to celebrate the fact that we were literally on an island in the sun, so it always reminds me of warm weather and sunshine.

Stephanie: Redneck Yacht Club by Craig Morgan & Pontoon by Little Big Town – Stephanie chose these songs, “cause I’m a redneck at heart” & they get her in her summer flow.

Kayla: When the Sun Goes Down by Kenny Chesney (feat. Uncle Kracker) – Reminds me of summer weekends in Trego, Wisconsin, being on the lake with all my friends and family.

Matt: Have Faith in Me by A Day to Remember – Kimber and I spent our first summer married (2010) in the scorching heat and dense humidity of San Antonio TX. We were still trying to learn and figure out each other’s musical tastes. We got a free Epitaph Records mix CD at Six Flags and quickly fell in love with this song. We played it literally every day that summer and still put it in every playlist we make today.

Dave: Oye Como Va by Santana – In the summer of ’91 – I road-tripped with a group of seven friends from Colorado to Alaska. After driving all night, my friend and I stopped in a remote corner of north-western Montana to watch the sun rise. This song still conjures a very strong memory of that morning: We opened all the car doors, blasted this song (waking everyone else up) and stood on top of the car while we watched the golden rays stream over rolling green hills. It was a good morning.

JORDYNN SHAW

Author

Jordynn Shaw

Social specialist