Presenting US Navy Recruiting at the VML Annual Meeting

Last week, Captain Dave Bouve and I had the immense pleasure of jointly presenting some of the amazing work that VML has produced as a partner in The Navy Partnership at this year’s VML Annual Meeting. How we’re working with our great WPP partners to reach a new audience and introduce them to the US Navy’s unique form of National Service. It was an honor to stand on stage with the Captain and show off the amazing work our collective team has done. I couldn’t have been more proud of the team we’ve assembled.

This was a really fun afternoon. This was my second Annual meeting since joining VML and it was a great experience. Yours truly walks out around 9:17 and gets a chance to humblebrag on all the great stuff we’ve been able to work on with the Partnership. Captain was great, really knocked it out of the park. I was nervous… big audience… no pressure… but it wound up going off pretty much without a hitch!

As a bonus, I was honored to be awarded the VML Spark Award for Atlanta! It was completely unexpected and I was blown away when they started reading the winner’s bio… Podcast? Comic Books? Wait a minute… Great stuff and I have tremendous gratitude for all of the opportunities the VML has provided for me and was humbled beyond belief by the award. It was the topping to an amazing day.

Cold Brew Coffee Mocha Almond Protein Smoothie

Every so often you stumble across something so easy, so wonderful, and so perfect, that you feel compelled to share it with the world.

This is that thing.

Let’s begin by listing some of my favorite things: Chocolate, coffee, protein, and almonds… oh, and smoothies. I think you can guess where this is going…

So how easy was this? So easy I’m not even going to write up detailed instructions. I’m just gonna recap what I did here and let you put the whole mess together yourself. All you need is the following: some cold brew coffee (you can buy it everywhere now, or you can just do like I do and make your own very easily… and here’s a hint, use a french press to strain it. It makes the whole exercise stupid easy. It’s literally a two step process), chocolate whey protein (pick your healthiest powder), and almonds (I used the lightly salted ones… I just like the savory/sweet thing). Whipped cream topping is optional, of course.

I started by filling an ice cube tray with my cold brew coffee, this gives me “coffee ice cubes”. You can mix 50/50 coffee/water if you like, but like I said, I love coffee, so I loved mixing my coffee with coffee. Once your coffee cubes freeze, drop them into a blender with a serving of almonds and a scoop of protein. Blend the shit out of it until it’s a smoothie, then pour it into a glass and drink the hell out of it. 

Easiest protein packed breakfast/snack I’ve ever had, and by far the most delicious. Here’s the punch a glass packs:
Calories: 310
Total Fat: 17g
Protein: 36g
Total Carbohydrates: 7g
Sugars: 1g

Daddy Daughter Podcast Episode 12 – Welcome Back! Christmas Lists, Video Games, and Anime

Wow, has it really been over a year? Apparently. Abby and I finally got a chance to sit down and revisit our daddy daughter podcast, and we had a blast… as usual. This time we dug into the upcoming holidays and got sidetracked on a conversation about video games, which led into Abby teaching me a little bit about her new obsession with Anime. Listen along and learn with me!

You can subscribe via iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud to get it automatically updated to your choice of podcasting software and if you’re so inclined you can follow us on Twitter as well! We’re @DaddyPodcast and you can follow along and even ask us questions there, we answer every one in the podcast!

The VML “25@25 Podcast” featuring yours truly

I suppose I’ve been pretty fortunate to land a job in Advertising working for the United States Navy. It’s no secret that I’m a former sailor and I hold my experience in the Navy in high regard, it’s helped shape me into the man I am today. So here I am, working at one of the premiere digital advertising agencies in the world overseeing the digital efforts of the United States Navy as part of The Navy Partnership. Not bad.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of VML and to celebrate, they’ve chosen 25 people who contribute to the culture of the agency and make it a great place to work. I’m proud to have been selected to be among those 25. Last week I got to sit down with our Global CEO, Jon Cook, and spend some quality time discussing my experiences in the Navy, and my work on the Navy’s advertising & marketing efforts. It was a great conversation and I had fun doing it, even if it got a little serious in parts… 

Take a listen. You get to hear a little bit of me being me. 

My Trip to Mile High Comics!

Mile High Comics
The world famous Mile High Comics Warehouse Store. Yes, it’s that big. Click the image to open a full-sized version and get up close and personal.

I originally wrote this back on Jun 29, 2015 and saved it in my drafts. I just found it and figured I’d go ahead and publish it. So without further ado… 

When I was much younger and used to ride my bike a couple miles away to the local Drug Fair or Safeway to buy my comics, there was no such thing as a “comic book store”. Comic Book Collecting wasn’t really a hobby, it was just something you did. Comic book conventions were mythical events taking place in exotic locations like New York and San Diego, (and from the photos, mainly in basements). So there were a handful of names you were familiar with if you were one of those people who was seeking out comics in the 70s. Chuck Rozanski/Mile High Comics was one of those names. I grew up sending out self-addressed stamped envelopes to him and others, and including my quarter, and getting the latest “list” of comics for sale along with prices. Prior to the invention of the Comic Book Price Guide, one of the only ways to gauge the “value” of a book was to see what mail order comic book companies like Chucks were charging for books. This was where I first learned that Amazing Fantasy 15, Fantastic Four 48, Showcase 4, and a host of other books were considered “key” books and commanded higher prices than other books around the same time.

This was how I learned about comic book collecting.

By the time the late 70s and early 80s rolled around, word of the Edgar Church Mile High Collection began circulating. I’d hear people talking about the collection Chuck had purchased and the unheard of quality of the books. Mile High Comics and Chuck were legendary among the small circle of people I knew who were into what was becoming a real hobby.

I’ve traveled a lot in my life, but one of the few places that have eluded me have been Denver and for some reason or another I’ve never had a chance to travel there. As luck would have it, I recently spoke at a conference in Denver, had a couple hours free, and the hotel I was staying at had free bicycles that they’d let you check out to ride around town. You couldn’t ask for a better combination of enablers. I was finally going to get a chance to visit the World Famous Mile High Comics Jason Street Warehouse.

The ride from the hotel was about 20 minutes or so to get to the other side of the city and over to the area where the warehouse was. It was a warehouse district (duh!) with plenty of other facilities nearby… with a very distinct smell… I remembered that Colorado had recently legalized weed. You never forget that smell.

You can’t prepare yourself for what you see when you walk into the warehouse. You think you can, you have this image in your head about what you think it’s going to look like, but it wildly exceeds whatever you’re thinking. Right off the bat there’s a display case filled to the brim with gold and silver age keys. Amazing Fantasy 15, Showcase 4, etc… I was mesmerized.

The size and expanse of the place is mind-boggling. You can just walk and walk and walk and never see the same thing twice. Walls of variants, toys, collectibles, and row after row of comics. I’ve been to comic book conventions that have been held in smaller spaces with significantly fewer comics available. There’s a section of trade paperbacks that is larger than even the largest comic book shops I’ve seen. It’s massive.

Chuck wasn’t there the day I arrived, but he had been in and out and it appeared that I had just missed him, so I spent some time talking with the amazing staff. They were kind, patient (I was such a tourist), and even invited me “upstairs” to a loft area overlooking the whole warehouse where I was able to take the panoramic photo above.

I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to finally get a chance to visit the mecca of comic book collecting and I’m here to tell you, it did NOT disappoint. If you love comic books, and you’re ever within driving distance of Denver, you owe it to yourself to go. It’s something you’ll never forget.

Sea Story Podcast by America’s Navy

Sea Story Podcast by America's Navy
Sea Story is an ongoing series that brings you extraordinary tales of action, danger, and adventure—all directly told by the real Navy Sailors who’ve lived them. Sea Story is an official podcast of America’s Navy. [Click to Listen!]
One of the oldest traditions among sailors is the telling of “Sea Stories”. Those legendary tales told by sailors since the earliest days of sailing the oceans of the world. Every sailor has a sea story and if they say they don’t, they’re lying… or they’re just avoiding telling you something that they probably only share with other sailors. Bringing this time-honored tradition into the twenty-first century provided an opportunity that perfectly blended audience, content, and innovation and resulted in one of the most successful launches in recent memory… the Sea Story Podcast. 

By having real sailors tell true stories of adventure and drama, we allowed the men and women of the Navy to share what life is like aboard ship, overseas, and under the oceans in the most authentic way possible. 

The response has been overwhelming. Within the first month, Apple selected “Sea Story” for its “New and Noteworthy” promotional section within its podcast app, driving organic attention and resulting in huge audience numbers. Engagement, listens, likes and shares far exceeded expectations and everyone who listened became hooked. 

Give it a listen, subscribe, download and enjoy hearing from real sailors in the fleet what it’s like to live the life of a sailor in the world’s greatest Navy.

America’s Navy 2016 Army / Navy Game Facebook Live “Midshipmen March to the Stadium”

In an organization steeped in tradition, few resonate as deeply as the Midshipmen March to the Stadium, the annual tradition of marching United States Naval Academy Midshipmen to take their place inside the stadium for the annual Army Navy football game. It’s a spectacular sight and nothing galvanizes the worldwide Navy audience faster than the first appearance of the Midshipmen of Annapolis at the start of one of the most watched college football games of the year.

At the 2016 Army Navy Game, the 117th meeting between the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen, we deployed a team in a realtime social command center with video & photography support as well as live community management. The team embedded themselves within the atmosphere of the game, providing up to the minute activity across the Navy’s social channels. Engaging at times with over ten times the volume of social activity during the course of the day and generating high performing content.

The flexibility of the lean, agile team allowed for spontaneous content capture enabling us to respond in realtime. The US Navy’s first Facebook live broadcast of the march to the stadium generated over 280,000 views, 3,100 shares and 11,000 “reactions” over the course of its fifteen minutes.

Capital One Café

Over the late winter and spring of 2016 I was fortunate enough to work on an amazing opportunity to help Capital One reimagine their retail banking business through a combination of rich digital user experience and incredible in-store display technology. When Cap One acquired ING, they also got a handful of cafes in the deal. ING, not being a traditional banking institution, had begun using cafes for their retail banking business. When Capital One looked closely, they discovered that the cafes were doing extraordinarily well. This led to them expanding the cafe program and turning it into a National Expansion.

This is where we were brought in.

Realizing that there was a real opportunity here to create something truly groundbreaking, Huge and Capital One partnered together on the overhaul of their retail cafe customer experience. Through a combination of hardware and platform partnerships, Huge brought strategic creative and UX insight to bear along with creative technology, to design and develop a first-of-its-kind retail banking experience. High definition touch-enabled signage, synchronized messaging, day-parted content that included games and quizzes about financial topics… even the ability to call a customer service representative over for assistance on a topic. This was banking reimagined. Probably one of the most successful projects I’ve been involved with. 

Huge Cafe Atlanta

I had such a great time working on this, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this project. Apple Watch? Check. Anticipatory Mobile App? Check. Coffee? Double check! One of the things that I believe is (or should be) on everyone’s bucket list is a chance to create something that’s never been done before. This was my opportunity to check that off mine. Richly rewarding, amazingly collaborative… and let’s be honest, cool as hell. This is why I love doing what I do.

At the time, it was such a radical idea: An agency opening up a coffee shop. In hindsight it seems like such a no-brainer. Where else were we going to “eat our own dog-food”? If we’re going to pitch our expertise, what better way to do it than by seeing it being done in the real world? Creating an anticipatory experience using the Apple Watch was one thing, building a solid business case for the watch was the real win. By building a service layer on top of the cafe’s POS system that integrated the watch directly, we empowered baristas and enabled seamless integration with our customers’ cafe experience.

Along the way we got to eat a lot of delicious dog-food. 

Daddy Daughter Podcast Episode 10 – DragonCon, Fall break, WWE, Cosplay & assorted geekery!

Our new Daddy Daughter Podcast logo, drawn by the amazing @SageCoffey on Twitter!
Our new Daddy Daughter Podcast logo, drawn by the amazing @SageCoffey on Twitter!

It was an amazing summer. We went to Heroes Con, took a trip to the beach, saw the WWE, and ended the summer with a family trip to DragonCon! This time was extra special as Abby cosplayed for the very first time! We talk Fall break, DragonCon, WWE Divas, Cosplay, and give a much deserved shout out to Sage Coffey who drew our new Daddy Daughter Podcast Logo!

I know what you’re asking yourself… you’re saying, “self… where can I listen to this amazing podcast with some regularity? How can I subscribe?”

Well look no further, true believer! You can subscribe via iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud to get it automatically updated to your choice of podcasting software and if you’re so inclined you can follow us on Twitter as well! We’re @DaddyPodcast and you can follow along and even ask us questions there, we answer every one in the podcast!

Hope you had a great summer!