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Brian Shaw

At Penna Powers, we have a somewhat unconventional workplace. Just saying, “We don’t work in silos” is a bit of an understatement. We pride ourselves on the fact that it’s not uncommon to hear the whirr of a nerf dart flying overhead, or that no one will bat an eye if you wear slippers to work.

Red checkered slippers beside sofa. Pair of slippers near bed. They greet you every morning. Warmth of home.

Slippers at work? Yes please!

Here’s the thing, if you work in an office setting, you don’t really need shoes. I mean, what are shoes for? Their original purpose was to simply protect your feet. Sure, you could argue that over thousands of years style and comfort have become equal partners in that purpose, but ultimately the true design of a shoe is to prevent tiny, pointy objects from stabbing your foot. Slippers, on the other hand, were explicitly created to be comfortable. That’s their entire goal, purpose and reason for existence. So, with that in mind, riddle me this: How much protection do you really need for your feet? If your answer is anything less than “about 32.33% (repeating of course),” then here are three reasons it’s time for you to ditch the shoes.

1. Did I mention slippers were literally created to be comfortable?

First and foremost, slippers are relaxing, and relaxed workers are more productive. While I suspect most people have experienced slippers at some point in their life, just in case you haven’t, here’s how it works. Essentially, you take two tiny pillows of pure heaven and strap them to your feet in a way similar to sandals, only slippers look normal when worn with socks.

man in slippers

Nothing about this man looks normal.

Slippers not only help your feet feel better, they also help keep your feet warm, which can be a legitimate concern at least a few months out of the year.

2. Most people won’t notice, and the ones that do, will be envious.

If your job is anything like mine, a good portion of your day is spent working at a computer desk, and computer desks are excellent at hiding feet. In fact, taking a quick survey of all of my neighboring coworkers, I can’t see any of their feet without significant effort. If your coworkers aren’t likely to see your feet, you might as well be donning slippers.

But don’t worry, even after Jerry notices that your feet look at least ten times happier than his, he won’t be mad… he’ll be envious. And that’s because people who wear slippers to work have completely given up are super cool and everyone likes them. Poor Jerry, he could never pull off slippers like you can.

3. They slip on and off (I mean, it’s in the name).

Finally, slippers are extremely convenient and adaptable. Have a meeting mid-day? No problem. Just slip those slippers right off, throw some shoes on and no one will be the wiser. Going to be parked at your computer for a while? No biggie. Slip those slippers right on and give your feet a well-deserved break from the confines of shoes. Wore sandals to work but then realized that sandals are lame? No worries. Slip those nasty sandals right off and enjoy all the benefits of a regular slipper-user (even without socks).

iStock_000085978909_Large

Please note: While this man’s slippers are on point, I can’t condone the use of his sweats or a soul patch.

So what are you waiting for? Get yourself some slippers today, and experience comfort on the job like never before.

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If you didn’t know, May the Fourth is officially Star Wars Day (as in, ‘May the Fourth be with you’). While Star Wars fans, robots and even a few aliens typically celebrate the occasion with parties, binge watching the entire cinematic series and arguing over the validity of midichlorians in the prequels, many advertisers spend their time coming up with clever ways to tie their brands to Star Wars. Here are some of my favorite ads released on Star Wars Day over the last year. Make sure to keep your eyes open this year for all of the new, fun ads that are sure to be created.

USDA-food-safety-ad

This clever USDA Food Safety ad makes me really hungry for some TaunTaun. I just hope they smell good on the inside.

Pillsbury ad for Princess Leia Cinnamon Buns.

Pillsbury ad for Princess Leia Cinnamon Buns.

Jolly Rancher ad - Which side will you choose?

Jolly Rancher ad – Which side will you choose?

This General Mills ad highlights the Fruit Roll Up as a tasty snack, or a nifty way to take out AT-ATs.

This General Mills ad highlights the Fruit Roll Up as a tasty snack, or a nifty way to take out AT-ATs.

I can't quite place it, but something is different about Yoda in this Long John Silver's ad.

I can’t quite place it, but something is different about Yoda in this Long John Silver’s ad.

Even Darth Vader uses Phillips bulbs for his light sabers. (Bonus points if you can tell me whose light saber Vader is using in this shot. Hint: It's not his own!).

Even Darth Vader uses Phillips bulbs for his light sabers. (Bonus points if you can tell me whose light saber Vader is using in this shot. Hint: It’s not his own!).

Yoda has never looked 'fresher' in this Subway ad.

Yoda has never looked ‘fresher’ in this Subway ad.

I'd be much more excited to fly if United gave their grounds crew real lightsabers.

I’d be much more excited to fly if United gave their grounds crew real lightsabers.

A delicious combination of Princess Leia, Oreo and milk.

A delicious combination of Princess Leia, Oreo and milk.

A very clever play on one of the franchise's most famous quotes.

A very clever play on one of the franchise’s most famous quotes.

Yoda's wisdom forever immortalized in the fortune cookie at Pei Wei.

Yoda’s wisdom forever immortalized in the fortune cookie at Pei Wei.

Don’t worry if you miss all the May the Fourth advertising this year… There’s always Revenge of the Fifth!

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Writing a request for proposal (RFP) for your company’s marketing needs can be daunting. You want the best firms to respond, and you want to really get a sample of what their work is like. But having to summarize the entirety of your organizational goals, target audience, invoicing process and a million other considerations into a succinct document is nearly impossible. Here are some tips when writing your next RFP:

  1. State your expected budget. Too often, RFPs leave off a budget, usually on purpose to see what the agency proposes. But, there is a big difference between a $100,000 marketing budget and $1,000,000 marketing budget. If you want to see what the agency proposes at different cost levels, then tell them the different cost levels. The best RFPs say “for the sake of this RFP, our expected marketing budget next year is ____.” Personally, I review a lot of RFP submissions for digital media, and it’s impossible to compare them if they’re all different budget amounts.
  1. Only include references if you’ll use them. Obviously, the references a marketing firm will give will all be positive and won’t really help you in the evaluation process. Consider alternate ways to get references – ask around, have them list a client they no longer do business with, or just consider having specific letters of recommendation in the proposal (e.g. how often do they provide proactive recommendations?). Just like when you’re interviewing someone for a job, you need to be able to get useful information from the references.
  1. Don’t ask “yes” and “no” questions. If you’re asking the question, it must be important. Instead of asking “Does your agency use do video in-house?” you could ask “Please describe your video capabilities and the expected cost of a 30-second spot.” This will yield superior answers and help you to better compare the submissions .
  1. Steps to writing a marketing RFPInclude target audience information. If your target audience is residents who live five miles from your store, then say it! Too often, RFPs keep this hidden or say they want submitters to define the target audience. Wouldn’t you rather have proposals that outline what media channels your target audience uses, what drives them and what messaging would resonate better with them?
  1. Proof your RFP. We’ve all seen a Powerpoint presentation that was obviously put together by more than one person. It has different font sizes, a different layout and just doesn’t look professional. It reflects poorly on those presenters. The same goes for a marketing RFP – even though it’s easy to change your fonts, is the message consistent? As a firm that submits many marketing proposals, usually the questions we ask after reading it have to do with this: Do you want the target audience as you stated in the background section or the scope of work section? You’ll get better proposals if your RFP is consistent and error-free.

A good way to gauge how well-written your RFP is would be to see how many questions you get. If there’s few questions from submitting firms then it was a success, but if you get lots of questions then you missed some crucial pieces. Oftentimes good firms will read over an RFP and choose not to submit based on the quality of it. You don’t want that to happen to you.

As a bonus, most marketing RFPs follow this format.

Marketing RFP Format

Purpose of RFP – Why it’s being issued (usually contract expiring).

Background – What your company or organization does and the challenge or opportunity faced.

Question & Answer Period – Details how to ask questions and the deadline to submit questions.

Restrictions on Communications – Don’t allow firms to communicate or wine and dine your employees.

Submitting a Proposal – How to submit a proposal with the deadline.

Length of Contract & Terms & Conditions – All the legalities.

Interviews – If you want to interview the top submitting companies, this is where you put that.

Qualifications – Ask for proposals to include related work, business license and bios of employees.

Scope of Work – This is the most important part. It outlines what you want done (e.g. PR, media buying, a website, etc.) and gives details about your target audience and your goals for each.

Technical Response – Details how you’ll evaluate the response. Most firms use a point value, for example: references are worth 100 points.

Proposal Format – Outlines exactly how you want proposals laid out (e.g. page 1 is the title page, page 2 is the executive summary, etc.).

Proposal Evaluation – Shows who will evaluate the proposal and the expected timeline.

Obviously, this format would change based on the scope of the RFP, but these items are typically included. We hope you will consider these guidelines for your next marketing RFP to get the best responses. Now that we’ve helped you make your next RFP easier, please make sure to invite us.

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