Every year the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) hosts an event to honor and induct some of its biggest friends and supporters to the Conservation Hall of Fame. The event is one of the most prestigious conservation award dinners, attracting partners, ambassadors and donors from across the state to benefit the TPWF and amplify its mission.
The 2019 inductees strongly believe in the responsibility every Texan has to maintain our land and the life on it. The primary theme for the event focused on connection, more specifically on the flora and fauna that grow wildly across the Lone Star state, each native species playing a vital role in our ecosystem. To raise awareness and excite attendees, we set out to design an invitation suite befitting Texas’ most precious resource—all the wild things and wild places that make our state great.
The state of Texas is not only vast. It’s diverse. From the panhandle to the pines, every inch is famed for its beauty and defined by the iconic landscapes. And there’s no better way to appreciate those views than from the open road.
Seeking to capture that feeling of nostalgia for long drives and wide-open spaces, we built a conceptual theme centered around the classic American road-trip—Texas-style. A limited-edition postcard series served as the invitation, each featuring a hand-drawn illustration of true Texas moments from five distinct regions.
The event helped raise private dollars for public funding. And the invite provided guests with a tangible piece of Texas they could collect or share with others to inspire conservation. A tribute to the landscape and a call to experience the wild, Texas Road Trip won awards at the local and regional American Advertising Awards in 2019.
In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Fort Worth Zoo needed a way to sell holiday adoptions and memberships. More than that, they needed a campaign that cut through the clutter of holiday advertisements to connect with consumers and convince them that a Zoo membership is the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys a unique and rewarding experience.
- Promote Zoo memberships and holiday adoption packages
- Communicate the new delayed activation component of Zoo membership
- Boost membership sales by defining the target audience and tailoring messaging to that base
- Recapture some of the membership sales lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic
- Help the Zoo sell 200 adoptions and boost membership revenue
Identifying the Right Audience
Before launching the campaign, we needed to identify and target the right audiences that were likely to purchase a holiday membership or a holiday adoption package. Before determining audience demographics we isolated Tarrant County as the primary market in which membership conversions would be most attainable
It was a challenge to promote both adoptions and memberships in one campaign, since the target markets aren’t the same. So, we had to carefully design our target audience to maximize exposure and conversion.
To define our audience sets, we identified parents with young children as a primary marketing target, and general audiences as a secondary target likely to buy holiday adoptions. We also incorporated strategic site retargeting to market to users that have visited the Fort Worth Zoo’s website, and targeted additional users searching for terms related to the Zoo and holiday gift ideas. We excluded current Zoo members from all marketing.
Refining a Compelling Message
For the first time ever, the Zoo offered memberships that allow delayed activation for up to nine months, which allows consumers to select when they begin their membership. This was done to help quell fears about the coronavirus pandemic and give Zoo members a chance to begin their membership when they feel safer. We created campaign messaging that reflected the new membership activation and featured it prominently across digital banners and paid social ads. The central campaign line of “Give now, enjoy later” communicates the spirit of giving a gift for the holidays, and indicates that it can be enjoyed at the recipients’ leisure. We featured the additional line of “choose when your membership begins” prominently across mediums to further communicate that a Zoo membership can begin whenever the member is comfortable.
of Holiday packages Sold
Total Revenue Increase (December 2019 vs 2020)
Thriving Under Challenging Circumstances
The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the need for brands to think outside the box and find new ways to make their products, services or experiences accessible and safe for consumers. For the Fort Worth Zoo, that meant creating a new delayed activation membership and connecting with people that are ready to experience the Zoo under different circumstances.
The Gary Patterson Foundation raises thousands of dollars every year to benefit various education and children related entities. After experiencing Mack, Jack & McConaughey in Austin, the Gary Patterson Foundation was inspired by MCM’s efforts to empower kids through 2-days of fundraising and fun. After careful consideration, they decided to shift their traditional Joe T’s annual event into a weekend filled with fundraising activities from golf to galas. With a shift as big as this, they needed to create an impactful brand.
- Develop brand name, narrative and messaging for the non-profit event series
- Create a dynamic brand identity system that communicates the values of the non-profit
Finding the Way
We worked closely with the Gary Patterson and his team to better understand the audience and impact of the new events, and create a strategy that would speak to their target audience. The events needed to attract all generations of donors in North Texas, and be accessible to those that would like to donate for the first time. The new initiative also needed to be the core fundraising event for the Gary Patterson Foundation. So, we had to position it as an accessible, diverse non-profit open to those that aren’t passionate about sports, but also welcome those that are – it had to be inclusive and suitable for a diversity of mediums. From black ties to tailgates, the mark needed to be flexible enough to feel at home at any type of fundraising event.
Plenty of Good to Go Around
To communicate the breadth and impact of the fundraising efforts, we knew the brand and mark had to be big. With an emphasis on the good.
The organization landed on the name, “The Big Good,” which is direct, yet powerful. Its strength is in its simplicity. A quick read with enough flexibility to cover more than one specific event or fundraiser. The Big Good indicates the diversity of events and their monumental impact on North Texas families and beyond.
The typographic logo is purposefully simple to communicate the variety of events at the heart of the Big Good. Each of the letterforms is customized and unique which further emphasizes the diverse structure of the Big Good. The crossbars on the “H/E/B/G” are all different and intentionally illustrate the fun and engaging nature of the events that offer something substantial for everybody, and specific need in Dallas Fort Worth.
A subtly simple mark, paired with a direct brand name can make an impactful and memorable impression. The Big Good branding illustrates the power of using simplicity to communicate and represent a brand.
- Created a dynamic, flexible brand logo
- Established an impactful brand and tone
Places are defined by people, and the Near Southside is among the most vibrant and diverse communities in Fort Worth. So, when they approached Schaefer to help them rebrand their identity, we focused on the neighborhood they create and the people and ideas the Near Southside attracts.
We wanted to present that the Near Southside is first and foremost a community where people and business can thrive in an inclusive and supportive environment. The result is a design balanced in minimalism and boldness that allows the artistic soul of the Near Southside to come through, but also be functional enough to carry the brand across everything from way-finding signage to social. The new color pallet represents the diverse voices that stand up for and continue to create opportunities that cultivate community. The updated identity is malleable enough to work across mediums but enduring enough to be used over decades to come.
It is a pleasure to partner with local organizations that build up our community and help them identify their message and purpose, and carry that through to representing their brand. By creating a flexible mark that more accurately represents the community and culture of the Near Southside, we’re hopeful that their message will resonate more deeply with future community members and contributors. The Near Southside is an excellent ambassador and cultivator of the arts and culture that permeate our neighborhood and creating something that elicits that same level of passion is why we come to work every single day.
River & Blues Fest is a new kind of music festival, featuring a uniquely American lineup of longtime favorites and soulful up-and-comers in country and blues. Launching its inaugural year right here in the heart of Fort Worth, the River & Blues Festival needed a dynamic identity system to engage and attract music lovers and artists alike across a primarily digital landscape.
Launching a New Identity System
Drawing inspiration from the rhythm and the river, we turned up the volume on the ethos and the experience to allow the vision of the festival to come through. The result was a scalable brand identity that represented the heart and soul of the music itself—a perfect balance of grit and a good time. With so many moving pieces, it was important to create a system that easily blended photography, motion and print elements, but most importantly position this instantly legendary weekend as one that can’t be missed.
Connecting with Our Target Audience
Launching any new brand can be a challenge and making noise about a music festival can be especially challenging in Texas. But, a clearly defined vision and a true one-of-a-kind blend of country and blues music is a fantastic experience to position. To connect with a wide audience, we needed to communicate that the River & Blues Festival is not just a blues festival, but also a country music festival, which appeals to a wide range of local music fans spanning demographics. Furthermore, we wanted to bring the river through in our messaging and identity to illustrate that the festival takes place on the Trinity River at Panther Island Pavilion in the heart of Fort Worth.
Concert Going amid Covid-19
“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that anything can happen. But, what no one accounted for, or could have foreseen, was the covid-19 pandemic. River & Blues Fest was meant to make its first-ever debut during the summer festival season. As it turns out, that fell right during the height of the coronavirus lockdowns. Like other big-name events, we had to shift from a traditionally communal live music experience to a socially-distant, socially-conscious festival. Which meant more than a new date to ensure the people attending, playing and working not only felt safe but participated responsibly. In addition to new precautions we needed to communicate that, while the experience might look different, the music still sounds the same. And after all this time apart, maybe sweeter.
- Total digital campaign resulted in more than 3.2 million impressions and an above-average CTR
- New website generated 82.5K pageviews, 50.2K sessions and 42.4K new users
- Brought a new brand to market and established their brand foundation
- Created a flexible brand identity system
- Partnered with artists to cross-promote on social and traditional radio
- Built an email database from no subscribers to just over 1,500
Make Life Better
Artists and the people who support them rely on gigs and performances to make a living. River & Blues Fest is, without a doubt, going to be a good time. But it’s also going to prop up an art form, a nearly forgotten genre that survives with every chord. More so, it supports the artists, especially the grassroots, independent and often local musicians still waiting to be discovered. We are so proud to work with a client that uplifts the local creative community and is flexible enough to adjust their brand-new music festival to be safe and socially distant. Bringing people together safely is important now more than ever.
How do you get an entire community to see things differently? Our challenge was to celebrate the Near Southside’s milestone moments at an annual event that invites business leaders, artists, entrepreneurs and friends to gather and give to the organization and district at the single biggest fundraising event of the year.
Inspired by the very optimism that shaped the Near Southside and continues to move it forward, the event focused on the possibility of perspective. A key part of this community’s identity and a driving force behind its transition from forgotten frontier to one of the city’s most vibrant places to live, work and be.
Perspective is more than a way of seeing things; it’s a pursuit. And one we wanted to challenge everyone to actively engage in from the moment they opened the invitation. So we applied a visual trick using red and blue ink and an overlay that allowed us to reveal each message by shifting each guest’s perspective, literally.
Boo at the Zoo has long been the unmissable Halloween experience for many families in Fort Worth. Since 2011, Schaefer has been tasked with keeping Boo at the Zoo top-of-mind for old fans and the next generation of families looking to establish a Halloween tradition.
Working on Boo at the Zoo is a rewarding creative problem for our team to solve each year, and it illustrates the variety and volume of strategy and thought that goes into marketing an event year after year – and staying relevant and top-of-mind in the local market.
Boo at the Zoo is a big deal in Fort Worth. It gives children a chance to celebrate Halloween alongside some of their favorite wildlife animals. This well-loved local tradition has cemented itself as one of the best family-friendly events in North Texas, and it’s our job to not just create awareness but inspire action and encourage the decision-makers in the family to purchase tickets before they sell out.
We’ve had the opportunity to work on this campaign since 2010. Each year we face the unique challenge of reinventing and refreshing the event to excite the attention and interest of children and parents in North Texas. The creative hurdle remains the same each year, but this year, the global pandemic created an entirely new set of logistic and messaging challenges.
This challenge requires us to the table each year with a set of new ideas that each communicates the value and excitement that this event provides for families across North Texas.
For 2020, the Zoo decided to alter the usual format from on-foot trick-or-treating to a drive-through event that ensured safer social distancing measures were addressed. Covid-19 health protocols presented another ripple in planning the creative assets and messaging that we pitched to the client. During the pandemic, normal protocols are out the window, and we had to illustrate that this year’s Boo at the Zoo was going to take place in the family car rather than on foot. It was imperative that we clearly communicated that this event still packed the same fun-filled adventure of years past, while offering a safe way to enjoy Halloween during the pandemic.
Boo at the Zoo is a rite of passage for many young Fort Worth families, and we’re so proud to work with the Zoo and play a part in this enchanting local tradition.
The Near Southside is made up of a diverse kaleidoscope of local professionals working in the culinary, arts, entertainment, retail, and service industries. These people and the establishments where they worked were hit particularly hard when the pandemic hit. So, the Near Southside created the Southside C.A.R.E.S Fund, which directly benefits these Near Southside community members.
- Awareness campaign to raise $10,000, which will be matched dollar for dollar by a benefactor
- Concert stream to raise $50,000 during contribution push
We were tasked with generating awareness and excitement for the Fund to encourage more donations to the artist and service industry members that make up the fabric of the Near Southside community. We created the tagline “We Get By Together,” which illustrates the central message of the campaign and nods to the primary goal of the Fund – caring for our neighbors living and working in the Near Southside.
The Southside C.A.R.E.S Fund serves two important purposes: to generate awareness of the fund, and encourage donations from a wider audience of people who live, work or play in the area. We began raising awareness for the C.A.R.E.S Fund with a social media campaign. It had to be colorful, easy to read, and hyper-share-worthy to encourage community participation, which was central to the campaign’s overall success.
We built a landing page that acted as an informational hub and a place where people could contribute to the fund and find out more about how to apply for aid. The landing page lives at wegetbytogether.com – another nod to the reality that everyone is facing the pandemic, and we’re each in this fight together.
The Concert – Leon Bridges Live from the Southside
As the campaign unfolded the focus shifted from the website, to a free, live-streaming concert put on at Kent & Co. Wines by Near Southside residents Leon Bridges and Abraham Alexander. Both artists graciously donated their time and work to continue to raise money for the Southside C.A.R.E.S Fund. The concert directed people back to the website and encouraged more community support.
- More than 7,000 unique viewers on the live stream from all over the world, including Russia, the Netherlands, and Egypt
- Exceeded concert fundraising goal of $50,000
A Success for Our Community
The Southside C.A.R.E.S Fund was a rousing success and smashed the initial contribution goals. Thanks to the generous support of Marilyn and Marty Englander, every contribution to the Southside C.A.R.E.S. Fund was matched dollar-for-dollar up to 10K. This means donations doubled in impact. But the Fund would not have been as successful without tremendous community support.
Campaign Results to Date
- More than $143,588 raised
- 1,980 individual donors
- 569 grants awarded
As we continue to cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Southside C.A.R.E.S. is committed to supporting the district and the people who make it up. As a member of the community, it is our honor to help the Near Southside raise awareness and support for people in our community.
To contribute to the Southside C.A.R.E.S Fund, visit https://wegetbytogether.com/
Made Possible by Neighbors & Friends
This campaign and community concert would not have been possible without the incredible support and contributions from some of our local partners. Their generous donations and dedication of time and energy brought this fund to life and has helped improve the lives of people living in the Near Southside.
Kent & Co.
Near Southside Inc.
Marilyn and Marty Englander
Covid-19 has changed everything and college football has not been immune to the impact of the pandemic. We partnered with TCU Athletics to expand on the tradition of the Riff Ram Video and create a hype video during the first-ever, socially-distant TCU football season. During normal circumstances, this hype video would run in the stadium to invigorate the audience, but under quarantine protocols, fans cannot attend the games and cheer their Frogs to victory. So, how can you inspire fans at home to leave their seats and chant along to “Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo?” By connecting them.
The video begins by nodding to the new reality of the fan experience. Football is part of the fabric of American life, Zoom is too now. Showing fans in the Zoom space and having them breaking the grid is a fun way to show that no matter where you Riff Ram, you’re cheering with s fans across ages, places and even a pandemic. Despite the virtual barriers (and real ones presented by pandemic quarantine protocols), we’re always connected as a part of the TCU fandom family.
The video illustrates to fans that we aren’t really that far from each other. From the athletes and students, to the family watching at home, we’re all living under a new normal. And while we can’t gather in person, we can find solidarity and spirit in the fact that we’re all in this together.
Creating this video during the Covid-19 pandemic was a challenge that required our team to solve problems that we’d never confronted before. The big question was, “how can we keep everyone safe while producing an effective video that serves campaign goals?”
The entire spot was shot on a green screen with all but two shots featuring one person at a time. Every background was added in post and every action and camera move had to be planned out prior to filming. Each crew member wore masks while we were working, and the only unmasked people in the studio were the on-screen talent. We booked each of the actors with their own timeslot to minimize their exposure to others. However, this made each studio session incredibly valuable as we could not invite the actors back for re-shoots later.
The game plan for this shoot was nearly as planned, practiced and choreographed as Gary Patterson’s defense (almost).
The shoot was difficult, but the team at Red Productions made collaborating on such a meticulous production much easier, more enjoyable and pretty impactful!
Concept by: Schaefer Advertising Co.
Produced by: Schaefer Advertising Co. and Red Productions.
A season of ballet programming is made up of a series of performances, each standing alone as a unique story being told on the stage. How, then, do you create a campaign that communicates these different stories under one cohesive message? That was the obstacle we faced when ideating creative assets for the Texas Ballet Theater’s 2019-2020 season campaign, and here’s how we solved it.
- Tell the individual story of each performance, while also fitting the unique designs into one cohesive, identifiable campaign.
- Conceptualize ideas that work in photography to incorporate the dancers as crucial campaign assets.
- Illustrate the ballet’s marriage of art and athleticism.
- Attract a wider audience and convince them to become season subscribers.
Branding an entire season of ballet was a huge puzzle for us because each performance has its own story to tell, full of imagery and icons that are significant within the individual narrative but may not translate into one clear campaign. Plus, it was crucial for the dancers to be featured in each advertisement, so finding a way to marry all of those elements into a unified campaign was crucial.
We needed to create a full season campaign that is cohesive, blends together as a collective vision and message, but that also has enough individuality for each performance that a creative asset could confidently stand on its own. For that to occur, there needed to be enough interest and variety on a performance level as there was on the campaign level, so that the creative assets could be used in advertising on multiple platforms and mixed media.
The Creative Solution
We developed “Alive with Wonder,” a concept featuring the tagline Let Beauty Envelop You. This central message was accomplished by creating illustrations unique to each performance and then having those designs envelop the dancer on the page. Each pattern visually represented individual performances with elements that are important to the story on the stage.
This interaction between dancer and design alluded to the immersive experience of witnessing performances on stage and hammered home the overall campaign tagline – Let Beauty Envelop You.
Once finalized, the campaign imagery was extended into a full graphic system that allowed for both consistency and customization in the promotion of each performance. To accommodate the variety of mediums in our cross-platform media strategy, the flexibility of the system was imperative.
Making Life Better
The common misconception about ballet is that the performances are only suited for fans of high art or those that understand the nuances of performative arts. General audiences sometimes mistakenly assume that a barrier exists between them and enjoying and understanding ballet performances. The reality is this: over the course of a season of ballet programming, a performance will occur that is enjoyable for all types of audiences with different levels of ballet experience. Creating a campaign that cohesively communicated the different themes and tones of each performance and enticed a wider audience to attend was a hugely rewarding endeavor.
National Addy Award Winner
An Award-Winning Campaign
The Texas Ballet Theater’s 2019-2020 season campaign took home some prestigious awards from the American Advertising Federation at the local, regional and national levels. All totaled, the 2019-2020 season campaign won 9 Gold Awards, special Special Judge’s Awards at both the local and regional competitions and a National Silver Addy. It is such an honor to be recognized and earn shared success with our clients.