Liz Paradise Joins Omnicom’s Bright Red As Chief Creative Officer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Aug. 20, 2018 – Liz Paradise joins Omnicom’s Bright Red, a Tallahassee-based hyper-integrated marketing communications firm, as the first Chief Creative Officer (CCO). Paradise comes to Bright Red ( after spending more than two decades at McKinney in Durham, N.C., and was most recently the Director, Creative at Disney’s Yellow Shoes in Orlando.

While Executive Creative Director at McKinney, Paradise led agency efforts for Nationwide Insurance, Royal Caribbean, Audi, NASDAQ, EAS Sports Nutrition and more. During her tenure, Paradise’s creative work was the recipient of major industry awards including Cannes, One Show, Communication Arts, D&AD, CLIO, New York Art Directors Club, to name a few. Paradise has also served on the jury at Cannes, One Show, New York Art Director Club and received industry-wide accolades for her performance on AMC’s advertising-themed show, “The Pitch.”

“Hiring Liz makes a bold statement that we want our creative to make a bold statement,” said Curtis Zimmerman, Bright Red president.

“Bright Red is so inspired. It’s smart, fun and refreshingly forward thinking,” adds Paradise. “From where they’ve invested, to whom they’ve invested in, they have laid the groundwork to create amazing work.”

Bright Red is part of Omnicom’s Agency Collective that includes Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, GSD&M, Martin Williams and Zimmerman Advertising, among others. Bright Red clients include Domino Sugar, Pilot Pen, Hunter Fan, Dollywood, Cooper Tires, TaxSlayer, Gold Toe Socks and more.

For additional information, contact Curtis Zimmerman at or 850-668-6824.

Long Term Partnerships, Bright Red and Pilot Pen

What is the longevity of the relationship between your agency and the brand and how did this relationship begin?

We have been the AOR for Pilot (including advertising, public relations, social media) since 2012. We pitched the business in a national review and won in late 2011.

Tell us about the first campaign your agency worked on for the brand.

Our first effort for Pilot was an integrated campaign for Back-to-School as their primary selling season is July – September. Targeting moms and teens, our effort was designed to drive awareness for the various Pilot products, focusing on the #1 selling pen in the U.S., the G2 (gel), as well as the FriXion (erasable) and Precise (fine point). Our creative strategy focused then (and now) on elevating the importance of handwriting (in the face of digital), and creating gravitas around the handwritten word. Studies show that handwriting means more, and makes people feel more, than typing words, and we wanted to use that as our creative lever to define the individual personalities of the different pens. And of course, creatively, we wanted to use actual handwriting in the creative itself. Our first print campaign, which was featured in women’s magazines, did just that.

What has been the most innovative/successful campaign created by your agency for the brand?

Our most innovative campaign was for the FriXion erasable pen, and our challenge was to drive awareness among creative/designer types. The pen is quite revolutionary (most erasable pens in the past have been bad products), but the FriXion is state-of-the-art thermal technology that writes smoothly and erases cleanly. We wanted to make a big splash and drive awareness among thought leaders in the creative world. So we hijacked New York Fashion Week! We engaged the designer Nicholas K, who opens every New York Fashion Week, to design a dress made entirely of FriXion pens while also using the pen to design it. The dress was then completed and actually walked the runway during the very first show. We got incredible PR coverage in national publications, both fashion as well as general consumer outlets, TV and news shows. It was a huge win and created quite the buzz.

What do you identify as being the biggest change to the industry as a whole?

Like everyone else, we’re figuring out the best way to keep emotional relevance in a data-driven universe.

What way do you work with the brand to keep up with the industry changes?

We want to make sure that our ‘analog’ product (the pen) is as present in the digital world as a digital device. Which means we must deploy all the tactics (programmatic, search, display, e-commerce) and make them work even harder for us. Combining these tactics with offline traditional media (TV, print) has allowed us to create a good balance for the brand, and allow us to be flexible in our approach.

What factors have enabled you both to stay in a partnership for so long? And how do you plan on keeping this relationship going forward?

The key to any great client relationship is honesty and transparency. We’ve established a very strong relationship with Pilot by listening. Our clients aren’t shy (trust me). And we can’t be, either. They’ve allowed us the luxury of risk — trying new things (sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t), and ultimately this has led to some pretty groundbreaking things. We love Pilot! 

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Experience Matters: 3 Ideas For Hotel Brands

Hospitality marketers have been seeing customer experience rising in importance over the years. It’s even expected to overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator in 2020. How does that affect travel brands whose entire business is already based on customer experience? And the ‘experiential’ economy is quickly morphing into an even deeper ‘transformational’ economy, as people seek to improve their lives – their selves, their very beings – with their brand interactions.,

Today’s young and adventurous travelers are looking for memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences inside the hotels themselves. After price and location, the two most important hotel traits considered are amenities and aesthetics. But how much is too much? And how can brands create these experiences that make consumers want to return? Here are three ideas.

Create a stay to suit their style.

Many guests are looking for a stay that feels just like home, but that doesn’t mean they’re not looking for a special twist to make the trip more special. The best way for hotels to provide that familiar experience is through extreme personalization. More hotels are using the power of technology to help guests customize their room exactly as they envision it. Hilton will soon allow guests to upload their own artwork and photos to display in the room. Finding ways to appeal to consumers’ passions and lifestyles is an especially smart tactic for mid-range hotels to provide exclusive (yet more affordable) experiences.

Create a stay that’s out of their comfort zone.

As isolationism continues to be a symbol of luxury, hotels are transforming inhospitable places into comfortable stays. Some resorts like Qasr al Sarab are willing to go above and beyond to make a stay in the desert inviting. A boring two-hour drive from the closest city, all staff lives on the property, which has a hydroponic farm, solar power, and on-site medical. Not every hotel needs to create a small city to provide an out-of this-world experience. The most successful brands are able to transform someone’s point of view by taking a guest into a place they’re unfamiliar or even apprehensive about and help them grow comfortable with it.

Create a hotel community.

In the quest for authentic discovery and immersion, many travelers are looking for genuine communities to connect with. Hotels can frame themselves not only as a connection to the local community, but also as the meeting hub for interaction to take place. Take for example the boutique chain W Hotels. In iconic music cities like LA and Barcelona, the chain has unveiled “W Hotel Sound Suites”, recording studios that exist inside the hotels themselves. W Hotels not only appeals to the music crowd with this addition, but they have now created a location for artists of all levels to come together and network.

More and more, we must be more than a comfortable bed, WiFi and maybe a restaurant. Today’s travelers expectations are much deeper, and much more personal.

Special thanks: Kaila Sekula, Planner Extraordinaire

Women Are Not Created Equal

Fem-powerment is at an all time high in the advertising world. As a planner, I’ve closely watched the female empowerment movement across a wide range of consumer products – from the new Brawny paper towel woman, L’Oreal’s inclusion of senior women as spokesmodels and many others. These are campaigns that I personally love. As responsible marketers, however, we need to be aware that not all women are hitched to this bandwagon. There’s a group of Moderate Misses out there who are feeling disappointed.

Recent research reveals that families with traditional values, especially women, aren’t seeing their lifestyles in the media anymore. These families focus on having strong moral values and politeness (as opposed to their progressive friends who value open-mindedness and acceptance). And this group of straight-liners makes up a decent chunk of the population, 33%. Lately they feel like it’s hard to see the values they have in the media: courtesy, duty, reality, relaxation and wisdom.

A study by A&E Networks points out that only 44% of conservative women say they feel represented by women in the media. These women especially are feeling like advertising and the media don’t have a good sense of who they really are. They want to see women who have traditional roles and morals but are also empowered, competent, cool, collected and conservative.

They want more realistic depictions of womanhood, not just some lady strutting around an office as the boss or a frazzled mom. Both progressive and traditional women agree that female strength is standing up for themselves and others. And most importantly a majority of women want to see a shift in gender roles in subtler ways. They don’t want to be told what they should believe or embrace. 

Campaigns that show women so comfortable in their skin they can go naked are missing the mark with this group. They will want to see examples of women who are confident in their skills and bodies, without needing to show them off to the world. Nike got it right in their recent commercial that featured both hijab-wearing and uncovered women.

The takeaway for all of us is that brands are wise to show female strength in all forms.

Fear is Better Than Respect

When I was a boy, I heard “fear is better than respect”. I took it as you needed to make sure people feared you so respect was always shown. This would lead to tasks always being completed correctly. The meaner you were … the louder you were … the more people would respect and cherish what you had to say. This was thought to be the best way to motivate people. When I started as a creative, I heard all of these stories of all these businessmen, tough-guy types, and how this was the only way to be successful as a leader. These guys would treat their employees like cogs and strike fear in the hearts of those who didn’t consistently hyper-overachieve, leaving staff always stressed by the fact that they might be fired and replaced at any given moment. These anecdotes arose from a time when snail mail and house phones were the most common way of communication. Use ‘em and lose ‘em.

Gone are those days. Gone are the days of broken promises and unrealistic expectations. Gone are the days of verbal abuse being acceptable at the office. Respect is a two way street. You have to give it to get it. Titles don’t demand respect anymore. Today, we jump shops, win awards, and before you know it a 25 year old is a manager, leading some people who might have started their careers before the young general was even a thought.

Young commanders, as a leader, recognize you can learn a lot from those with more life experience; that wisdom is invaluable. Listen.

Older skippers, please keep learning. Learn about the positions you are leading and even the ones you perhaps once held. Those positions, in the current digital and tech landscape, are changing and changing fast. To think they are still the same as they were 20, 15, or even 10 years ago is just being naive. Constantly trying to force juniors to do things in outdated and archaic ways, while not allowing room to learn from your team, will turn you into a dinosaur. Everything is faster now. Pick up the pace and go with the flow, or you will end up a fossil sooner than later.

Options. Options. Options.

Worker-bees have the internet, headhunters, recruiters, job boards, social apps, and options to freelance all over the world. Leaders have to show appreciation for their followers if they intend to keep their followers. Word travels faster now and once your reputation is tainted, it’s tough to get the stench of carelessness off. As we get even more tools to make our jobs easier, the ask from clients are becoming greater. Teams have to be on the same page. I make the effort everyday to work with my unit, as a team, and get to know the guys and gals that work with me. As time passes, we become closer and are willing to sacrifice more and more for one another. Once that trust is there, the culture evolves to something even stronger, and the team is able to overcome inconceivable adversities as one. It’s pretty awesome to watch happen.

Love your team.

Remember they are people. Real people with real families and real lives. Don’t be intrusive but communication is a major key. Build the relationships. Guide them and Teach them. Spend the time to explain their errors. Make them feel comfortable enough to come talk to you. It’s part of being a leader. Probably the most important part of being a leader. Don’t be afraid to apologize or take responsibility when things go wrong. One of the times I remember gaining respect for my leaders was when they felt they could trust me enough to explain what they did wrong on a pitch. It was refreshing to see that anyone can make a mistake, and the best ones acknowledge the mistake and use it as a lesson. Knowing that you trust your team enough to be vulnerable in front of them, they will feel safer and more willing to experiment and PLAY (That’s where you get the most creative solutions). They will cherish you even more.

Remember to protect them. When kids were thrown in the lake to sink or swim, and one sunk, there was always someone there to jump in and save them. Don’t let your teammates drown. And when you save them, pat them on the back and tell them good try, you’ll do better next time. I know I’ve had my fair share of drinks of water. I don’t know where I would be if the support systems, in those instances, were not there for me.

The good fear.

Leaders — Don’t lose the admiration of your team members. When they first start, they look up to leadership and have an abundance of respect for you. Over time, they can either gain more respect or lose it all. It depends on how they see you do your thing. They say people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. Then your turnover rate says a lot about how you connect or don’t connect with your team. Be strong enough to adjust. Fix the things that need tweaking and do more of the things that drew your fleet to you in the first place. Constantly check-in with your team and listen. If you get defensive they will lose respect and almost never tell you the truth ever again. They know your success is their success. They want you to win.


Ultimately, respect will lead to fear. But not the fear of being punished or embarrassed, but the fear of disappointment. Disappointment from letting down management by not meeting expectations. The fear of not trying their hardest and being the cause of something that matters so much to them being dismantled. The fear of causing a comrade to have to stay late at the office while everyone else is at happy hour. That good fear. Not the kind that is coated in stress but the kind that motivates the team to dig deeper together in the fourth quarter — stay calm, collected, and comfortable enough to trust management to lead them to victory.