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On the morning of Halloween in 2012, something stirred within the agency and things would never be the same again. Citizens of The Underground, the creative team’s lair, were up to business as usual when the sultry notes of “Careless Whisper” started flowing through the basement.

Bobby Brinton, copywriter savant, sauntered into The Underground and serenaded everyone as the Sexy Sax Man. Everyone stopped what they were doing, instantly enamored by Bobby’s dance moves to George Michael. Rumor has it that Major Street’s shenanigans are attributed to the sweet, sweet music that Bobby created on that fateful day.

More than just a pretty face, Bobby also possesses the highest power of the pen at Penna Powers: senior copywriter. His nationally-recognized creative has earned awards ranging from an Emmy to multiple Addys. He strikes fear into the heart of the content team with his red pen and is the ultimate authority on AP Style. Every other copywriter pales in comparison to Bobby… except when it comes to skin color.

Intentional and articulate in everything he does, Bobby has commandeered the creative team on many occasions. Account services often refer to him as “Father Bobby” for his role in keeping everyone on track. His direction, along with partner-in-crime and fellow Kelly Osbourne fan Kenny Hammond, steers Penna Powers’ creative team toward an innovative future.

Bobby makes sure that any and all creative tactics are executed flawlessly, even if it means providing thousands of dollars in talent for free. If he had a nickel for every time he provided free voiceover, he would already own a Tesla. For now, he’ll just have to settle for being the agency rock star as the former lead singer of the Sony-signed Hudson River School band.

Thank you, Bobby for five years—minus eight days—of kickass work as our copywriter. While we appreciate your impeccable writing, we admire your sense of humor and witty personality even more. We’ll never be able to get the sight of your Sexy Sax Man costume out of our minds and we’re pretty okay with that.

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Utah has a serious problem with fatalities on its roadways year-round. However, during the summer months fatal crashes nearly double. In order to create awareness for the Zero Fatalities’ 100 Deadliest Days campaign, we knew we had to capture attention on social media.

Using Facebook’s auto-play feature, our creative team designed several 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs to get people to stop scrolling through their social feeds. The isolated motion within the cinemagraphs is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also unique enough to capture attention among various Facebook advertisements. This offers a unique experience from other social ads.

The 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs were used across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Some cinemagraphs featured major holidays or were used in a collection of statistics comparing your odds of dying in an unbuckled car crash to other events.

In order to highlight their full beauty on Instagram, we broke apart the images into smaller thumbnails that were accessible on the Zero Fatalities profile. Clicking on the center image would then deliver you to the full cinemagraph.

Check out our favorite 100 Deadliest Days cinemagraphs used for the Zero Fatalities campaign below.

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It’s 8:35 a.m. on a Tuesday, Penna Powers headquarters is dark and quiet as people slowly make their way into work. They walk into their offices and begin scanning through emails, easing into the relaxing morning, when out of the silence comes a sound so vulgar yet humorous that everyone jumps from fear and simultaneously laugh uncontrollably. The phone speaker system has just been fart horned by the only person in the Underground in so “early,” our resident superhero, Thor.

Known for being reliable, speedy and incredibly talented, this designer has officially celebrated five years at Penna Powers. You can catch him working on projects for UDOT, Zero Fatalities, UCAIR, Utah Cancer Control Program and many more. Usually the first person in the building every morning and one of the last to leave at night, he is perhaps the most upbeat and positive guy in the Creative department. Even after a long day staring at a screen, he’s one of the first to volunteer or join in on the staff extracurriculars, participating in our MS Ride, Summer Games and most notably as the secret weapon on the agency’s soccer team.

In his spare time, you’ll find him combing his long golden locks, heading into the mountains to climb, hike or camp, building fires with his bare hands or listening to an audio book while cuddling with his best friend… no, not Tyson… Kiki, his cat.

He’s the type of guy you can always count on and is so crafty he’ll literally build props for photo shoots to ensure the job gets done right. We’re lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Thor for these past five years and look forward to many, many more. Thanks for always putting a smile on our faces and providing such stellar work!

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Penna Powers is celebrating Shark Week! While considered a bona fide holiday for many, we’re using the cherished event to drive awareness for our client Zero Fatalities. Over the course of Utah’s “100 Deadliest Days,” the majority of deaths on Utah roads happen between Memorial Day and Labor Day. We’re creating original content for every single deadliest day in order to decrease deadly driving behaviors. For Shark Week, Penna Powers created Snapchat and Instagram Stories ads for Zero Fatalities. Utilizing these ad placements will be a first in Utah, with each social channel finally opening their ad platforms to agencies of all sizes.

In our research process, one thing we noticed was Utahns did not realize the extreme risk of buckling up when you’re in a car crash. Statistics from the CDC show that you have a 50 percent chance of surviving a car crash if you don’t wear a seat belt. However, many Utahns still refuse to buckle up when they get in the car.

Kenny Hammond, senior art director, designed the Snapchat and Instagram Stories ad to coincide with our “What are the Odds?” campaign that plays to the availability heuristic principle. Our goal is that Utahns will realize the gravity of not wearing a seat belt. The ads started running Sunday, July 23 and will run until Sunday, July 30.

At Penna Powers, we strategize media plans backed by research to show ads only where the audience interacts with content on a daily basis. We jumped on the chance the use the new Instagram Story and Snapchat ad placements to reach the key millennial demographic of 25-to-34-year-olds in Utah. Using the shark creative, we are able to split-test the two channels against each other with identical spends to see which performs best. For this flight, we will compare CPM, CPC, and CPV.

This Shark Week, Penna Powers hopes you realize the true danger at hand: not wearing a seat belt. Trust us, not wearing a seat belt is a risk you don’t want to take.

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Last week I was asked to present at the Annual Administrator’s Conference “The Learning Edge.” My topic: how to best teach and reach creative students in the classroom. Our company has been hiring creative folks for over 30 years, so I was glad to share my own experience and that of our creative team.

First, I wanted to prove how important creative jobs are in our economy. Many people were surprised to learn that developing creative talent is actually good for business. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the creative industry is responsible for $700 billion annually in the United States. Demand for creative jobs has risen 40% in the last decade, with one in 12 new jobs being creative in nature.


A word cloud that depicts the most “common” jobs among creative people

The creative industries offer many more opportunities now than when I grew up. When I was in high school, I had no idea what was out there. While most classes bored me, I loved to draw and write, but I had no idea that I could make money doing what I love. I can remember my dad telling me repeatedly, “art is fun…but you need to find a real job”.


Chuck Penna in High School

Lucky for me, my high school art teacher encouraged me to enter a graphic design contest. After taking first place, I went back east for the national competition where I was first exposed to the creative world. I think I came in last place in the contest, but I got to meet the creative judges who just so happened to be creative bigwigs from different advertising agencies. I couldn’t believe that it was possible to be paid to do what I loved to do (and work with really cool people while I was at it). I had found my future career.

While I know that there are many more creative jobs available today, as I prepared for my presentation, I wondered if our current creative team had an earlier introduction to the creative world than I did. I was surprised to find out many still had no idea in high school that their creative skills would lead to their current job.

I showed videos of our creative folks discussing their high school years. They had some of the same issues I did: not focusing in classes that bored them and not fitting into the perfect student profile. They all agreed that creative exposure was incredibly important. If you take high school students to different creative firms early on, for example, it can get them excited about their creative skills and show them how important it is to start developing their talents early.

At the conclusion of my presentation, a high school principal approached me with a very interesting dilemma. He said his oldest son is a straight-A student who wants to be an engineer and has already picked the university he plans to attend. Then he told me he was concerned that his middle son, who plays lots of video games and spends weeks getting ready for Comic Con, would struggle to find a “real” job. I told him not to worry, his son could be the next Star Wars director or design the next AAA video game hit. The key was showing him that his passion could turn into a job that he will love. The world needs creative people and engineers, and I think it’s about time we started showing our high school students how their creativity can turn into a fulfilling career.



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“You burn 150 calories per hour banging your head against the wall.”

This little tidbit, featured in a word bubble above a white board sketch of a velociraptor, generated a fair amount of buzz around the office. This is the Office Raptor’s goal: to educate, entertain and get people talking.

The idea came to me in my first few months at Penna Powers as the blank white board hanging in my cubicle mocked me mercilessly, begging for something to fill the empty space. My affinity for dinosaurs led to the logical choice for my cube mascot and after a quick image search, Office Raptor was born.


Some of his ramblings are for entertainment purposes such as, “Sharks were recently filmed living in an underwater volcano. I can’t wait for next year’s new sci-fi hit, SHARKCANO!” (It should be noted, Office Raptor is a HUGE Sharknado fan). Other musings are more focused on educating the office on the different advertising mediums out there.

The response varies from fact to fact. The more outlandish pieces of information tend to grab more attention, but that keeps people coming back for some of the drier factoids as well. In the end the goal is to get at least one person in the office to say, “Huh, I didn’t know that.” So far, Office Raptor is achieving his goal.

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Writer's Block Pic 800 It’s already creeping up on me as I begin this post: pressure in my chest, straying thoughts, the feeling that what I write needs to be brilliant, together with the voice in my head telling me it’s not… All of this could be called writers block.

This creative block was more frequent before I discovered a cure: give yourself permission to write garbage. This sounds contradictory at first. Writing garbage isn’t an option for communications professionals but that’s not what this sentence means. Giving yourself permission to write garbage just asks your inner critic to hold for a moment while you write as much as you can.

Writer’s block is your inner voice paralyzing your creativity with the need to be perfect. Ironically, perfectionism is the very thing that makes us create inferior work. An excerpt from David Bayle’s book Art and Fear illustrates this well.

‘A ceramics teacher divided his class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right would be graded solely on the quality of one piece.’

A twist to the story is that when grading day came the teacher found that all the highest quality pots came from the group graded on quantity. While the “quantity” group was busily churning out work, and learning from their mistakes, the “quality” group spent their time theorizing about perfection, and in the end, had little to show for it.

Giving yourself permission to write garbage is what gets everything moving for any writing project. Writing becomes much easier once you have words on the page, then you can let your inner critic help you strengthen the piece.

Do you have any personal remedies for writer’s block?

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phone 800

Have you called Penna Powers lately? If you have, you might have heard something a little strange when you were put on hold. You see, we’ve abandoned the elevator music and tired jingles of yester-year. Instead, we want to take a moment to share a little bit about ourselves with you with our phone hold music. Here are some samples:

For more fun entries call us anytime at 801.487.4800

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Did you know: 94 percent of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones. That statistic becomes more interesting when coupled with this one: 77 percent of mobile searches occur at home or at work–where a desktop computer is likely present (Google). Mobile phone use has become more convenient than computer use. Making the cell phone or tablet a powerful medium for reaching your current and future consumers.

In response to our evolving mobile culture, Google announced the following:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

In layman’s terms, if your website is unresponsive, go to the back of the line…”No Soup For YOU!” (Ten bonus points if you know the reference.)

Websites MUST be responsive for easy viewing on desktops, tablets and smartphones in seamless beauty. Not only will Google penalize an unresponsive site, consumers have very little tolerance for them.

So What To Do?
STEP 1: You need to know if your site is responsive or not. Google has provided a Mobile-Friendly Test where you can check your pages. Google has also provided suggested options for creating a responsive site.

STEP 2: If your sites need to become mobile-friendly, you can do it yourself, or you can work with a great communications firm (Penna Powers) who can easily help. The key is to do it sooner than later.

COST: The cost varies depending on how your site is currently built. Sometimes it’s better to start from scratch and other times it only takes switching to a responsive template/theme.

Great Responsive Site Examples:
Penna Powers enjoys working with UDOT, and together we created responsive sites shown below:

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 2.31.51 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 2.30.12 PM Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 2.29.19 PM


The Statistics
Mobile marketing is a MUST for success. This month the New York Times published: “Big Advertisers are Sending Their Dollars to Digital.” And honestly, the title says it all. Digital communication is essential to reach your consumers and if 77 percent of mobile searches occur on phones at home or work-mobile marketing should be top of the list.

If you need further convincing, review the latest stats gathered by Digital Insights.

  • 50.3 percent of ecommerce website traffic comes through a mobile device
  • 60 percent of global mobile consumers use their mobile device as their primary or exclusive internet source
  • The average media consumption for one person is 7 hours, and nearly 2 hours is spent on a mobile
  • 76 percent report they are more likely to respond to a text message than an email
  • 70 percent feel using an text message is a good way for an organization to get their attention
  • 64 percent of consumers who have subscribed to mobile messages said these messages induced purchases. And 64 percent of consumers think businesses should converse with customers more often using SMS

The global cloud computing company Salesforce tracked 470 voluntary consumers for a month on their smartphones and tablets and found the following:

  • 85 percent of survey respondents said mobile devices are a central part of everyday life
  • 91 percent of consumers felt access to content, however they wanted, is somewhat or very important
  • 46 percent of consumers who signed up for emails from a brand made a purchase through a mobile device
  • 41 percent of tablet owners say they use their smartphone and tablet simultaneously at least once a day
  • Males are 56 percent more likely than females to scan a coupon or QR code to get quick access to information
  • Females are significantly more likely to follow a brand on social media to receive coupons or deals

I’ll save other mobile marketing tips for a later blog, but please give us a call if you’d like some Penna Powers support.

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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I think there’s something that just has to be done. No, I’m not talking about wearing green. I’m actually talking about… Saint Patrick’s Day commercials. I’m not sure there are any holidays as closely associated with alcohol consumption as St. Patrick’s Day. So what better way to kick off the festivities than to compile a quick list of five commercials that remind us to relax and enjoy ourselves this upcoming holiday (this is the part where you raise your stein of beer and shout “here here!”).

1. Heineken – Boys Vs. Girls

This classic commercial’s message is clear: Almost nothing can get a group of full-grown men excited like a closet full of Heineken.

2. Bud Light – Swear Jar

When it comes to securing some drinks for the office, it’s incredible the lengths people will go. I mean, they could have just all pitched in to buy a case of beer, but no. They chose to swear their way to more alcohol.

3. Dos Equis – The Most Interesting Man in the World

The most remarkable part of this ad is its message. Few brands would have the guts to say something as bold as, “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”

4. Keystone Light – Headset

I won’t say that this ad is an accurate description of me attempting to be cool, but I will say that I enjoy watching this man fumble his way through an awkward situation.

5. Guinness – St. Patrick’s Day Morning

For many people, St. Patrick’s Day is even more exciting than Christmas (possibly in large part because you don’t have to spend St. Patrick’s Day with your extended family). For the final pick on my list of commercials, I had to go with this St. Patrick’s Day tribute.

Honorable Mentions:

Guinness – Round Up Your Mates:

Budweiser Light – Real Men of Genius:


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