Young & Laramore

Young & Laramore: Agency Profile (excerpt)
By Tiffany Meyers, March/April 2005 Issue

An Indianapolis agency with a maverick sensibility and a growing roster of clients.

After the 2001 ADDY awards ceremony in Indianapolis, a group of Young & Laramore staffers walked to their parking lot. Carrying 81 awards, more than all participating agencies combined could claim, they arrived to find the tires of their cars–and only their cars–deflated. Since Y&L had dominated the local show for 16 years, coincidence seemed a deficient explanation.

But vandalism, like jealousy, can be an unexpected form of flattery. In this case, it was a dramatic confirmation of Y&L’s role as a creative powerhouse, one that neatly corresponded with a conclusion the agency had made independently about its goal for the future.

That year, Y&L focused all its energies on expanding an already growing presence in the national arena. Today, its national client base includes Delphi Electronics’ Monsoon, Stanley Steemer, Goodwill, Delta Faucets, and Steak ‘n Shake.

In a figurative sense, the awards-night delinquency befits the rebellious sensibilities of Y&L’s founders. But unlike the parking lot thugs, the effusive intellectual, David Jemerson Young, and the reserved gentleman, Jeff Laramore, rabble-rouse by refusing to perpetuate the status quo.

The complete article, published in Communication Arts’ March/April 2005 Issue, is a subscription-only feature. Please visit Communication Arts for more information.

Woman to Watch: Lisa Caputo

AdAge Special Report: Women to Watch
By Tiffany Meyers, May 30, 2008

Most marketing executives know a thing or two about office politics. Lisa Caputo knows politics for real. She served as press secretary to Hillary Clinton during Bill Clinton’s first term as president. “Hillary Clinton taught me about grit,” Ms. Caputo says. “She taught me about work ethic and grace under fire.”

Last year, Ms. Caputo tapped those virtues, among others, in leading the strategy to unify Citigroup’s numerous brands into one master brand: Citi. Citigroup previously used Citi as a prefix in many of the company’s businesses — such as Citibank, CitiFinancial, CitiMortgage and Citi Smith Barney — but Citi now refers to the company overall.

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Bailey Lauerman

Bailey Lauerman: Agency Profile (excerpt)
By Tiffany Meyers, January/February 2008

A Nebraska agency with national aspirations.

“People are amazing, aren’t they?” says Carter Weitz, who is standing before a Joseph Stella painting at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Lincoln, Nebraska. “They’re all so different.”

Few places could make that statement more palpably clear than the rooms of this modestly sized museum—whose walls bring together works by Georgia O’Keefe, Theodore Robinson and Max Weber, among other strange bedfellows. Weitz, President of Creative Services at Nebraska’s Bailey Lauerman, is talking about the eclectic collection, not his agency.

But his fascination with people’s infinite diversity has everything to do with his leadership style. He’s structured the firm’s creative approach around his belief that true innovation emerges only when different minds—each with its own set of experiences and references—coalesce around a problem.

The complete article, published in Communication Arts’ January/February 2008 Issue, is a subscription-only feature. Please visit Communication Arts for more information.

Which Is Greener: LED’s or CFL’s?

Author’s Note: For The Chicago Tribune, I answered a series of readers’ questions about living a greener, more sustainable life. This Trib reader wrote in to find out if LED lights were more efficient than CFL’s. Here’s what I dug up.

There’s no question that LED’s have a bright future, but Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFL’s) remain your most accessible, environmentally responsible lighting option for the home. Which is not to say the CFL is perfect. It is vastly more efficient than an incandescent bulb, but each CFL contains about 5 milligrams of environmentally harmful mercury-about equivalent to the size of a ballpoint pen’s tip, by ENERGY STAR’s calculations.

Not only are LED’s mercury-free, their long lifespan makes the Energizer Bunny seem like a quitter.Unlike traditional light sources-which throw off relatively consistent light and then, poof, burn out–LED’s get dimmer over time. Analysts recommend that the LED’s last rites be administered when they emit 70% of initial light output. Using that measurement, the Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (DOE, EERE) calculates that the highest-quality white LED’s have a useful life of around 35,000 hours.

Some context: You could turn on a high-quality, white LED and forget about it for four years, when it would finally need replacing. Compare that to your garden-variety, 75-watt incandescent bulb, which throws out 1,000 lumens for about a buck, according to the DOE. That dollar bulb-which converts only about 5% of the electricity it consumes into light-will expire in about 1,000 hours. Comparable CFL’s-which are five times more efficient than incandescent bulbs-cost less than $5 and last 10,000 hours.

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Which Is Greener: Styrofoam or Ceramic Mugs?

Author’s Note: A Chicago Tribune reader wanted to know: Are disposable coffee cups made of Styrofoam more or less harmful to the environment than reusable mugs? Here’s how I answered, with much help from sustainability engineer Pablo Päster. 

The debate over coffee cups-disposable or not-happens torunneth over with tough-to-measure variables. For instance, do you use a dishwasher? Is your model energy efficient? And: Just how clumsy are you? (Reusable mugs: Useless when broken.) Scientists analyze this issue in myriad ways, but overall, consensus is that brew imbibed from reusable, ceramic mugs is the most sustainable option.

But there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip. To reap environmental rewards of the mug, you’ll need to hand rinse it–putting it in your (energy-efficient) dishwasher only when absolutely necessary. That’s according to Pablo Päster, a San Francisco-based sustainability engineering consultant who also writes a column at on the science of sustainability, including a technical analysis of this very issue.

In his analysis, Päster found that a ceramic mug has a higher total “material intensity”- a measure of resources used to manufacture a product (like the extracted clay and gas to heat the kiln)-than a Styrofoam cup. But the mug’s reusability-which means it can provide multiple “service units”-justifies its higher material intensity after about 46 uses. “If you have one cup of coffee daily for a year, that’s 365 ‘service units,'” says Päster. “That can be accomplished with either 365 disposable cups or one reusable mug.”

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Rihanna Umbrellas From Totes

Advertising Age
Rihanna Umbrellas From Totes: Marketing 50 Case Study
By Tiffany Meyers, November 17, 2008

Once you hear Rihanna’s Grammy-winning “Umbrella,” good luck getting those lyrics out of your head. What Totes heard was opportunity knocking when Def Jam Recordings, preparing to release the single, suggested the company create a product line with the then up-and-coming songstress.

Kristen Stary, category director-rain products at Totes-Isotoner Corp., “thought it was a great opportunity to reach a younger demographic.” The umbrella line, available at Macy’s and, launched in summer 2007. A second line made its debut last February.

“We put one umbrella online as a soft test and couldn’t keep it in stock,” says Ms. Stary, 39, who adds that today “the Rihanna umbrella line makes up 15% of our online sales, which is tremendous given it’s such a niche product.”

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