The Blog and Pony Show

Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Schifino Lee - 11:21 am January 23, 2014

New TV campaign targets families affected by drug addiction

The Phoenix House is a drug & alcohol rehabilitation organization with over 120 programs throughout the United States. Although the Phoenix House helps thousands of people annually, there is still a large barrier to getting people the help they need. Since many patients come in via referral, it is important that those with loved ones affected by addiction understand just how important getting treatment is.

To create awareness for the Phoenix House throughout the Tampa Bay area, Schifino Lee developed a TV spot centered on the idea that every addict is a ‘ticking time bomb’ that has the potential to explode the family at any moment – so don’t overlook the symptoms. As a result of the spot, Phoenix House saw a big increase in telephone inquiries and website visits over the spot’s 3-month schedule.

To learn more about the Phoenix House, or if you know someone affected by drug & alcohol addiction, visit

Schifino Lee - 5:36 pm December 16, 2013

Congratulations to Tampa Bay Sports Commission

Congratulations to our client Tampa Bay Sports Commission for being awarded the 2017 College Football National Championship Game. We are proud to have been part of the campaign that brought this game-changing event to Tampa Bay!

Amanda Koenn - 1:47 pm November 13, 2013


With 32 stores, Westshore Pizza is the largest regional pizza chain in Hillsborough and Pinellas. However, they had a branding problem: inconsistency. Franchisees had different menus, different color schemes and logo variations from store to store.

Westshore Pizza engaged Schifino Lee to help boost sales and grow their franchises with a rebranding effort and an outreach campaign. The first step was organizing focus groups and interviewing more than 800 people about Westshore’s food, branding, pricing and other features. The research findings revealed that Westshore was viewed as a high quality, great value restaurant, but their inconsistencies were holding them back.

Incorporating these insights, Schifino Lee developed a new brand identity including a new logo — a simple circle with the name Westshore Pizza & Cheesesteaks; the “we” in Westshore distinguished to support the community feel of pizza. Schifino Lee also updated marketing materials, packaging and restaurant menus. Additionally, the research inspired TV and radio commercials and billboards across the region that targets the social nature of pizza.

Schifino Lee - 5:48 pm November 4, 2013

We’re Hiring a Production Artist

You are a production machine. An expert within Adobe Suite, and believe that God is in the file’s details. Understand that deadlines mean something. You’re fast, smart, intuitive, and you have a sense for design when the opportunities arise to make your mark. If you are a production artist and looking for a new opportunity where striving for excellence lives and breathes throughout our entire agency creative process – not just the beginning, the middle or the end, we’d like to meet you. Contact us today and set up an appointment to chat. We look forward to seeing how your skills complement ours!

Job Functions Include:

  • Building print-ready mechanicals.
  • Executing creative concepts that are on strategy across all media (DM, email, online, print, TV, radio and out-of-home).
  • Partnering with senior creative to develop great work within clients’ branding guidelines.
  • Partnering with members of the creative department for art/mechanical preparation, file release to press, color correction and general prepress functions.
  • Remaining abreast of technological advances in the field and being able to identify areas of use in the organization.

Job Requirements:

  • Strong interpersonal skills, with a can-do attitude.
  • 1+ years experience in an agency environment
  • Expertise in Adobe Suite
  • Ability and desire to work in a fast-paced, deadline driven environment.
  • Ability to manage multiple, concurrent projects.
  • Detail oriented

Please apply with your cover letter, resume, portfolio and salary requirements to
This is an on-site position, local applicants only.

Amanda Koenn - 12:20 pm October 30, 2013

Dine, Drink and Dance at Zoofari on Nov. 2nd!

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo tasked Schifino Lee with developing a fun and energetic creative concept for the 27th annual Zoofari food tasting event. Zoofari, one of Tampa’s biggest outdoor parties, features food from more than 50 local restaurants, nationally acclaimed live music, art auctions and open bars throughout the park. Robert Randolph & The Family Band will take the main stage and live music from other local artists will be found throughout the park.

Schifino Lee was responsible for creating posters, flyers, t-shirts, print, VIP button and digital advertisements and radio for the annual event. We knew the creative needed to be just as fun, lively and unique as the event itself. We accomplished this by featuring headlines like “Party Like a Croc Star” and “Like to Party? You’re Koalafied.” with simple animal photography and type treatment. Four variations were created and rotated throughout the creative deliverables.

Zoofari will be held on Saturday, November 2nd at 7 p.m. General admission tickets start at just $75 and VIP tickets are available. Visit their microsite for tickets or more information. Be sure to bring your biggest appetite and get ready to party!

Amanda Koenn - 9:11 am August 14, 2013

Letter from Governor Rick Scott

In our 20 years of business Schifino Lee has never received a letter from a Florida Governor congratulating us on our success and entrepreneurship….until now!

Letter from Governor Rick Scott

Schifino Lee - 11:36 am July 23, 2013

Gerdau forges branding with national ad campaign

In a world covered in steel, Gerdau has built a unique reputation in its industry. Their diverse product range, dedication to customer needs and environmental approach to production are second to none. Gerdau is the leading producer of long steel in the Americas and a top supplier of specialty long steel worldwide. They are also one of the largest recyclers of steel and a member of the U.S. Green Building Council.

With more than a century of experience, Gerdau wanted to communicate their commitment to innovation, quality, recycling and our local communities so they engaged Schifino Lee to produce a national advertising campaigntargeting the steel industry. Schifino Lee was pleased to help Gerdau tell its story and interpreted their Global brand for the US Market.

The resulting campaign consisted of print advertising that highlights how Gerdau “helps build dreams” through examples of their work including San Diego’s New Central Library, a massive 140-foot-tall, 294,673 square foot structure made of glass and 6,650 tons of Gerdau steel. Over 85 percent of the steel used to build the library came from recycled materials that were melted down from scrap metal and reformed into high-quality rebar. Another ad highlights Gerdau’s work on Tampa’s new I-4 Connector, “a roadway that connects dreams to success”; for this project Gerdau has shipped more than 19,000 tons of steel.

The print ads Schifino Lee created for Gerdau show how the company put best practices, products and people in place to create success for clients and better living environment for people across the world.

Amanda Koenn - 9:52 am July 2, 2013

Website Wins Award of Excellence

Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce has received an Award of Excellence in a national competition sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), a national association of professionals who manage chambers of commerce.

The Chamber received the award for their website and campaign launched by Schifino Lee Advertising & Branding in advance of the 2012 Republican National Convention! Congratulations!

Schifino Lee - 12:30 pm June 26, 2013

Add some DAZZ to your home

When customers buy most household cleaning products, 90% of what they pay for can be water and packaging. Years of experience with concentrated cleaners in the industrial market taught David Shahan, President of SunState Labs, that there must be a better way.

That was the catalyst that motivated him to invent effervescent cleaning tablets. Once Mr. Shahan realized he had a product that could transform the way people buy household cleaners, he engaged Schifino Lee to create a name, look, and personality for his invention that would inspire retailers and customers to try it and buy it.

“The entire team at Schifino Lee has done a remarkable job taking my product from a simple idea, to a vibrant new brand capable of going head-to-head with the industry giants,” said Mr. Shahan. “They exceeded my expectations throughout every phase of the branding process.”

Schifino Lee created a brand strategy and integrated marketing campaign that includes the brand name (DAZZ), logo design, package design, website development, public relations, social media, and consumer advertising. The campaign will be used to position the new cleaning tablets, called DAZZ Cleaning Tablets, as a smart, affordable, ecofriendly alternative to existing household cleaning products.

“When it comes to CPG Schifino Lee has a strong track record of developing compelling brands that speak to audiences, exponentially elevating returns. Dazz’s unique product offering, brand position and packaging puts it on solid ground for success,” said Paola Schifino, Principal and Co-founder of Schifino Lee.

“I was able to invent a cleaner that offers people a better product,” observed Mr. Shahan. “Schifino Lee was able to invent a way to show that DAZZ has the brains and beauty to compete against leading brands, at a fraction of the cost.”

Like DAZZ on Facebook by June 30th and receive a starter kit of your choice. Learn more about DAZZ on, buy DAZZ Cleaning Tablets on Amazon, and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for special offers. Share this email with a friend, and please ask your local retailer to start carrying DAZZ so it’s more convenient for you to purchase where you normally shop!

Schifino Lee - 2:31 pm June 21, 2013

Instagram or Vine: What’s the Right Choice?

Almost immediately following Instagram’s announcement that it added video recording capabilities to its already popular app, the debate over Instagram vs. Vine started heating up. But as we listen to the arguments over which platform we should embrace and choose to evangelize to our clients, I have to ask the question, why can’t both win? After all, how many other social platforms have been declared dead when something new is offered only to continue finding success in spite of what the “experts” said?

Facebook, Google+ and Twitter have all at one point played each side of this victor becomes victim scenario, and now Vine joins the list. But each time we come to learn that each of these tools speaks to a specific audience that identifies and fills a need within a vast and very diverse space. We tend to think in absolutes, where there always has to be a single great option. The fact is that people are not absolute. They don’t come from one mold and no one thinks, acts or makes decisions the same way. Instead, the challenge needs to turn to finding the best way to use each tool to create engagement within each of these audiences. Just as developing content for Facebook and Twitter is very different, I believe we’re going to find the same to be true with Instagram and Vine. There may be some overlap, but I think there are huge advantages to be found within both channels, and I for one am very excited to see how these endeavors unfold. This doesn’t have to become the Pepsi vs. Coke, Chevy vs. Ford, Mac vs. PC, cat vs. dog debates of the past. The brands that embrace the people that truly love both will be the winners.

Schifino Lee - 11:58 am June 11, 2013

Consumer demand for new homes leads to refreshed branding for home builder

Homes by WestBay, an award winning home builder based in Tampa, FL, wanted to refresh their brand to capitalize on the recent uptick in demand, as well as build awareness with new homebuyers and realtors. Homes by WestBay engaged Schifino Lee to revamp their look and create an advertising campaign to not only gain a larger audience but to enforce that with Homes by WestBay your Someday home can become a reality today.

Schifino Lee prepared a campaign consisting of a refreshed logo, email advertising and billboards. The campaign was used to highlight your Someday home at an affordable price while showcasing its beauty through high quality imagery.

While the logo embodies a relaxed feel, the company is fast paced in the world of homebuilding. Homes by WestBay’s Capri model was recently awarded the 2013 Grand Diamond Award by Tampa Bay Builders Association.

Paola Schifino - 3:43 pm May 31, 2013


When it comes to business, client relationships are your most important asset.  Your long term clients know who you are, understand your full scope of services, and know what you can do for their company. But what happens when a new generation of customers ladder up. Don’t assume they have been briefed on your great relationship or how you have come to their company’s rescue on more than one occasion.

In fact, even if they are aware of your company and its services, this next generation client might not value the company you are today or the way you present your services. They might seek a company with a more innovative approach. The truth is, when it comes to the next generation client – perception is reality.

Identifying and nurturing a new generation of customers is imperative and will require you to take action:

  • Don’t assume your current contact will be there forever. Communicate your brand on an ongoing basis to relevant players in the department even those subordinate to your point of contact. You never know when they’ll move up.
  • If a new player enters be sure to introduce your brand and services. Don’t assume they have been briefed on your company’s greatness.
  • Connect with your new contacts on LinkedIn and if your company has an LI Group invite them to connect there as well. Follow their companies FB pages.
  • Most importantly evaluate your brand every two years. If you haven’t evaluated your brand in the last 5 years you are on the verge of extinction. The next generation customer has a whole new set of values and needs that might not line-up with your company’s offering and brand.
    • Conduct customer surveys and/or focus groups (be sure to include non-clients in this research)
    • Afterwards, adjust operations and service offerings if needed
    • Re-align your brand based on customer insights and retooled services
    • Develop strategic messaging for each audience

Remember, if you don’t define who you are to your next generation client, your competitor will do it for you.

Amanda Koenn - 11:23 am May 23, 2013

AM820 launches new brand campaign to position it as the source for breaking news

AM820 News, the all-news AM radio station based in Tampa, FL, wanted to build awareness and position the station as the source for breaking news in Tampa Bay. AM820 News engaged Schifino Lee to develop messaging and an advertising campaign to gain listenership and enforce this unique positioning.

“Listening to AM820 gives you access to the fastest and most relevant reporting of breaking news, both local and national,” said Bruce Maduri, CEO of parent company Genesis Communications. “We realized breaking news is our competitive advantage and we needed to get this message out to as many potential listeners as possible within our broadcast area.”

Schifino Lee prepared a media campaign consisting of two :15 TV spots and a digital RSS billboard that provides up-to-date breaking news headlines. The producers at AM820 News are responsible for updating the billboard message with the latest breaking news using a new application which feeds data to the boards within seconds. AM820 was the first advertiser in the country to use this new RSS feature offered by CBS Outdoor.

Schifino Lee - 2:07 pm May 21, 2013

Unstoppable for 20 Years

In celebration of Schifino Lee’s 20 year anniversary we’ve developed a campaign to salute all Unstoppable companies that share our passion to change the world.

Listen to our :60 radio spot

Schifino Lee - 5:11 pm May 14, 2013

The Importance of Reaching the Hispanic Market

The United States is rapidly growing in diversity, and the Hispanic population is the forerunner of this change. In fact, Hispanics are now the largest minority group in the United States.

The Hispanic population increased from 35.3 million in 2000 to approximately 52 million people in 2012. That is 16% of the entire U.S. population and according to the U.S. Census this number will only keep growing as Hispanics are expected to make up 30% of the entire U.S. population by 2050. For this reason, it is vital for businesses to market to Hispanics.

Not only is the Hispanic population growing in size, it’s increasing its purchasing power. It is estimated that by 2015, their buying power will equal $1.5 trillion. If you aren’t reaching the Hispanic market, your company is missing the opportunity to gain loyalty from an increasingly powerful sector of the economy.

Notice how the word “loyalty” was mentioned. We say this because Hispanics are just as brand loyal as the general market, regardless of the current economic state. Brands must win their loyalty, but once you have it, they’re yours forever.

At Schifino Lee we are helping companies like Lowry Park Zoo further diversify their brand by reaching out to the Hispanic market, helping to move them forward and achieve customer loyalty for a lifetime.

Schifino Lee - 2:29 pm May 8, 2013

Good Graphic Design and Color in Annual Reports Shown to Increase Valuation of Companies

We all know viscerally that we prefer color (vs. black & white) and we admire outstanding design (vs. poor design). But is the extra cost of color printing and professional design worth the added difference? When it comes to a company’s annual reports, the answer is a resounding yes.

Research findings at the University of Miami School of Business Administration show including an additional color throughout a firm’s annual report would have the same impact on an investor’s firm ranking as a 20 percent improvement in revenue from the previous year.

“The implication of these findings should point firms in the direction of good graphic design (of annual reports),” says Claudia Townsend, assistant professor of Marketing at the University of Miami School of Business Administration.

Schifino Lee takes this point very seriously when it comes to the design of company annual reports for our clients. We recently designed the 2012 annual reports Energy Insurance Mutual, Walter Investment Corp., Hillsborough County Education Foundation and The Lowry Park Zoo. All employed the right combination of graphics, color and design to maximize their organization’s perceived value.

Nothing wrong with looking good. In fact, it makes smart business.

Schifino Lee - 6:21 pm April 22, 2013

World Renowned Writer Visits Schifino Lee

Dr. Harry Coffman, world renowned author of the Book Good Enough, visited Schifino Lee to spread positive energy and world changing conversation.

The uncle of our VP & Director of Client Services, Roxie Clements, Harry resides in Portland, Oregon.  As a spiritual advisor to nations, presidents, governors, as well as world figures, Harry travels extensively – most recently to Israel.

His book has been published around the world, including in Holland under the title Goed Genoeg ( in the Dutch language of Schifino Lee Principal, Paola Schifino – also shown here with Harry & Roxie. “In reading my signed copy of Good Enough I am enthralled by Dr. Coffman’s experiences as an angry but determined young man that have led him down his path of enlightment.”

The book is available for purchase on and bookstores across the country.

Schifino Lee - 12:20 pm April 16, 2013

New Additions to our Creative Team!

We’re very excited to introduce to you our two newest additions to the Schifino Lee Creative team: Curtis Elliott, Director of Visual Engagement and Deniz Kayiket, Junior Art Director.

Curtis, born and raised in Southern California, got his BS in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of California-Orange County. He has over six years of advertising experience working on brands such as Taco Bell, PETCO, Sony, Del Monte Pet Foods, Smokey Bear, The Art Institutes, and branded numerous startups and small businesses.

Prior to Schifino Lee Curtis worked on Taco Bell’s rebranding transformation from Think Outside The Bun to Live Mas at DraftFCB. “This experience taught me how a brand is so much more than just a logo, and you must prove your brand strategy over and over again for people to believe in it.”

Deniz was born and raised in Turkey and immigrated to the United States when she was 12. She received her BA in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of Tampa and worked the past two years in freelance design.

Deniz, who played volleyball professionally when she was a teenager, always remembers having a love for design. “I have been a visual thinker since I can remember and I always had a need to communicate and inspire people. It doesn’t feel as much that I chose the right industry but more so feels like this industry chose me.”

Please join us in welcoming Curtis and Deniz to the Schifino Lee team.

Amanda Koenn - 2:24 pm April 15, 2013

ROI of Social Media – Can you Measure It?

This has been a very hot topic with the ever increasing interested in Social Media for businesses.

Social Media is an opportunity to get on someone’s radar and let that person know you’re cool, smart, funny, interesting and valuable to have around. Continuously providing valuable content keeps people coming back, increases trust in your brand and attracts visitors to your website. Once people get to know you better, they may even tell their friends about you!

That’s the value of social media – the potential to create a new relationship where there wasn’t one before. And then the ability to repeat that process over and over.

Coming up with the dollars and cents of your campaign is virtually impossible to nail down because there is guesswork involved. But, you can look at your analytics to see the number of referrers on your site that came from Twitter or Facebook or the amount of coupons given away in a Facebook offer. You can also look at trends. For instance, did your website experience a spike in traffic soon after you posted on Facebook?

Like any other marketing tool, social media requires strategy, planning, content development and continuous monitoring. If you’re thinking about launching a social media presence then it is imperative you get educated on the various tools and methods that are available or hire a professional to help you handle it.

Schifino Lee - 5:56 pm April 5, 2013

Schifino Lee helps Vigo-Alessi develop La Cucina concept

Vigo-Alessi has completely revamped the kitchen on its campus where it operates 325,000 square feet of manufacturing space in seven buildings, and produces its diverse product line.

The company has partnered with several culinary schools to sponsor scholarship contests for the students, who create recipes using Alessi products. In the “Alessi is Amore Pursuit of the Palate” student cooking contest, the best recipe is chosen by a chef from the school and the winners of these contests are then flown to Tampa to prepare their winning dishes on camera – which are uploaded to the Alessi website.

Schifino Lee helped Vigo-Alessi launch an integrated marketing campaign to grow its business and strengthen its market position as a top Italian foods brand. The branding campaign included labeling, TV ads, a new website and a $1 million media buy.

The newest idea for La Cucina Alessi came up when we suggested using the Vigo-Alessi kitchen and adjoining dining area for a pop-up restaurant concept, where chefs operate in temporary space.

The idea got the client thinking about a range of ideas, from bringing in different chefs to work in the company’s kitchen to Facebook raffles and sweepstakes to charity nights. To realize those ideas, the kitchen needed to remodel.

Read the full article:

Schifino Lee - 3:10 pm April 2, 2013

Merchants Association of Florida Announces Name Change to Sherloq Solutions

New Name. New Look. New Vision.

Merchants Association of Florida, Inc. (MAF) is now Sherloq Solutions. The new name, new logo as well as the tagline – Business Problems Solved – are all part of the company’s rededicated focus on the collection industry, delivering innovative solutions and unequalled support. The new Sherloq brand will be introduced in website marketing, sponsorships and advertising on April 2.

“The new Sherloq Solutions name marks a new era for the company, a full-service resource that delivers the gift of time, money and peace of mind,” said Erik Greer, President. “Sherloq Solutions is the outsource organization with the experience, expertise, structure and extreme personal care to represent your business as you would yourself. Sherloq Solutions is committed to helping its customers track down information and revenue.”


The name change demonstrates the company’s commitment in helping its customers achieve their goals by our increased investment in data and technology. “Sherloq stands for ingenuity, problem solving, resourcefulness and knowledge, while the ‘Q’ at the end connotes uniqueness and intelligence. It all fit their mission of tracking down information and revenue for clients,” said Ben Lee, Principal of Schifino Lee, the branding firm behind the new name and image.

The rebranding represents Sherloq Solutions’ expanded mission to use great technology along with our very experienced staff to produce timely and positive results. Sherloq Solutions’ new name reflects the resourcefulness, tenacity, personal service and loyalty to our customers practiced by MAF for nearly 100 years.

“Understanding that the Sherloq website would be a primary touch point for the brand’s audience, our goal was to make the site as user friendly as possible in an effort to increase sales leads and convert prospects. I believe their new website will do just that,” said Ian Nerney, Project Manager at Bayshore Solutions, the firm building the new website.

For more information about Sherloq Solutions, visit

Schifino Lee - 11:43 am February 12, 2013

Success Is In Sight: New Brand Communicates Business Publication’s Vision

The Gulf Coast Business Review is more about a vision for business leaders than a rearview look at the business day. And now its name reflects that.

“Review says ‘look back,'” says Matt Walsh, editor and publisher of the Business Observer. “Business leaders want to know what’s next, and that’s what we try to do — look forward.”

Walsh says the name-change decision also came from wanting to shake things up for the weekly business newspaper, which covers from Tampa to Naples. “We felt it was time to make a new statement, to refresh and rebrand our identity,” he says.

The Business Observer engaged Schifino Lee to help launch the fresh brand and tell its story in a way that inspires C-Level executives.

This new brand positioning communicates that business leaders can better succeed with the actionable insights offered by the Business Observer. Moreover, it keeps the focus on this region’s businesses while embracing a larger perspective. Just like the Business Observer.

For the main icon, Schifino Lee came up with the concept of using a paper airplane made out of the Business Observer publication. It flies over the state’s business areas to provide a better view of the business world – with local, regional, national and global insights that give businesses the power of the best information, insights and practices with integrity and authority. This has helped create confidence in the updated brand and build the foundation for future growth.

The work launched in the first redesigned issue (January, 2013). It will be utilized in other marketing and communication throughout the state in the coming year.

“Our focus is on getting the most relevant and compelling information to those who make decisions in business, and the new branding reflects that,” Walsh says. “We’re driven every day to provide information that’s relevant, compelling and useful. As we say, we report what the boss needs to know.”

Subscribe today or learn more at

Ben Lee - 9:13 am January 24, 2013

Is Social Media a recipe for success for B2B?

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about social media. But does it work for B2B companies? It seems anytime social media is mentioned in B2B circles, people scoff because they have this preconceived notion that social media is all about teenagers and Facebook. Wrong!

Little do they know, studies have shown that B2B companies with an extensive social media presence report ROI more than four times that of companies with no social network engagement. Think LinkedIn, online communities, surveys and YouTube demos.

With these kinds of results, you would think more B2B executives would be on board—but they’re not.  In fact, almost 43% of B2B CEO’s never even considered social media.

Why not? Maybe it’s because B2B buying decisions are bigger than most B2C decisions.  Maybe it’s a risk-averse reaction to reputational concerns and online relationships. Clearly extensive research must be done before any major purchase is made.

Ironically, social media can aid those B2B decisions.  Social media allows for engagement between individuals and it humanizes a company—it can help establish and deepen relationships with customers and vendors. Having the power to receive instant feedback and answer questions or concerns with a potential client should be reason enough to give it a try.

Not to mention, all of the different social media platforms will help improve your search engine rankings on Google.  I would say that’s a serious perk.

Schifino Lee - 11:37 am January 22, 2013

“With Schifino Lee, You Can Do It!” – Tony Little

Most Americans know the name Tony Little. They associate him with images of Gazelles (not the animal), “You Can Do It!” and, yes, that iconic pony tail. By several accounts, Tony Little has logged more airtime on US television than any other celebrity (averaging about 6,000 hours a year). He has been seen on TV in 81 countries, touched over 45 million consumers and generated more than $3 billion in sales.

Tony Little WebsiteIn order to continue this long-term success in today’s always connected, never stopping world, Tony recognized the need to position his brand for future growth. He was familiar with the Schifino Lee team’s success building retail brands such as Lifestyle Family Fitness and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, so he reached out to us. The only mandatory: “I will not cut the pony tail.”

Schifino Lee built on Tony Little’s brand strengths: authenticity, approachability, making every day an opportunity to be positive. We developed a brand strategy and platform that communicated the idea of Enjoy Possible. Every touchpoint (Web, logo, social media, e.g.) communicates Tony’s inspirational and motivational “You Can Do It!” attitude.

Schifino Lee - 11:10 am January 3, 2013

Gopher Resource launches new brand campaign to support its mission, values and growth

There are over 200 million vehicles on U.S. roads. Every one of them has a battery that eventually must be recycled. Gopher Resource is a global leader in the safe and sustainable recycling of automotive and industrial batteries. Gopher engaged Schifino Lee to tell their story in a way that will inspire achievement in employees and confidence in communities where Gopher has facilities.

An important foundation of Gopher’s success is their culture of operational excellence and working together. Employees working together with each other and their communities. Gopher facilities in Minnesota and Tampa working together to implement best practices. Everyone working together to embody the Gopher principle of “A step ahead and the vision to be greater.”

To communicate this positioning and immerse employees in Gopher’s culture, Schifino Lee created a new corporate logo, a series of core values posters, screen savers, newsletter design, and iconic new signage.

The work was premiered at a town hall-style meeting to generate maximum enthusiasm and involvement amongst employees. Following the employee launch, customer-facing marketing materials were created. These included an updated website, corporate identification package, and building signage. A media kit, several new Web initiatives, and a community communications plan are in process for 2013.

“We help the world achieve a cleaner, safer future by the conservation of resources through recycling,” said Mark Kutoff, CEO of Gopher Resources. “That’s a social mission and a business mission wrapped into one.”

The new brand positioning communicates this message in ways that inspire employees to live the Gopher culture and achieve greater success. It enhances a perception with community leaders that Gopher is a responsible and valuable corporate citizen. And it creates confidence in the Gopher brand that helps build the foundation for future growth.

Schifino Lee - 10:55 am December 28, 2012

The Value of a Strong Corporate Culture

In a survey of 100 major corporations on the S&P 500, companies that ranked high in “corporate culture and candor” posted an average positive growth of 9.9%, while companies ranking low experienced a decline of 5.7%.  The executive communications of these top-ranked companies demonstrated a strong commitment to protecting their corporate reputations and building cultures of accountability.

While the correlation (and ROI) between company culture and positive growth seems obvious, many companies simply do not invest in building, sharing and teaching their company values… not with employees nor to customers.  Instead, these low-rankers mostly expend their communications chasing prospective customers (and neglecting their employees altogether).

What to do?  Develop a strategic communications plan to share your brand’s mission and values with employees and customers alike… and do it right. It could be as simple as a weekly email; or a monthly poster series throughout the office; or a company video interviewing (documenting) the stories of long-term employees. Whatever the tactics, the efforts are shown to pay off in spades.

For more information on the survey:

Schifino Lee - 11:42 am December 6, 2012

Social Media Isn’t a One-Night Stand

Many brands fail in the social landscape because, while customers are looking for a long-term relationship, brands are looking to score right away. In many ways, social media is the courtship phase of a new relationship. You have to focus on listening and getting to know the other person – what they’re looking for in a partner, their wants and needs. It’s understanding what they’re looking for from you, what they expect from you, to keep the relationship alive for the long run and not just what you’re willing to do today while everything is still fresh and new. It’s giving without asking for anything in return. You can’t build a solid foundation for a relationship by constantly asking for favors. You have to send flowers, open the car door and watch the occasional chick flick. You can’t just show up in a beer stained tank top with a bag of pork rinds and expect her to fall all over you.

Gary Vaynerchuk explains it as, “Everyone in social-media marketing is acting like a 19-year-old. You’re trying to close on the first transaction. Too many businesses are looking for rapid monetization from their social-media marketing efforts, acting like a hormone-induced teenage male with his prom date. Instead, take it slower.”

Although the comment that “content is king” has become very cliché, it’s still one of the most important aspects of beginning a new relationship through social media. These days, there are far too many options in the world to just settle for mediocrity. There has to be something of substance there, something that your customers can embrace or find value in, that make entering into that relationship worthwhile for them. You have to earn that “Like” or “Follow” – they’re not just going to give it to you. Personally, I check the feed to see their past history – what kind of content they have put out previously and how often they make updates. Do I find value in entering into this relationship? Believe me, your customers are doing this too.

Don’t think you can just coast after entering into this new relationship – it’s up to you to maintain it. Keep the fire stoked and the intimacy alive. Give your best, give often, listen, respond and stay active in the conversation to show you care more than you demand and you’ll be amazed at how much more willing your customers are to give back once you finally ask something of them. Learn from what they like, share and comment on, and adapt the conversation accordingly, but be genuine. Don’t be afraid to reach outside of your comfort zone and give them access to the part of your world that not everyone gets to be a part of.

To be successful in social media, you can’t monetize every click, or focus on the ROI of every impression. Understand that many people will already have preconceived notions of what you expect based on their past relationships with other brands. Maybe they’ve experienced a needy brand that bombarded them with requests or was burned by another that never listened. Be different. Don’t focus on immediate results, but remember that you’re building value, retention and a life-long relationship. Take it slow and the prize will be sweeter. These are your brand ambassadors and hopefully your life partners.

Schifino Lee - 6:58 pm November 29, 2012

Schifino Lee helps Vigo Importing grow its Alessi Foods brand

Pursuing its goal to grow the Alessi brand of food products nationally, Vigo Importing Co. and Schifino Lee partnered together to embark on a substantial marketing campaign. The integrated campaign launches with cable TV spots, in-store displays, radio spots, digital advertising and social media for its Alessi Premium Pasta Sauce line.

While Alessi has been producing top-quality Italian food products since 1947 and is the country’s No. 1 seller in the balsamic vinegar and breadstick categories, brand awareness is relatively low. The company sees enormous opportunity to grow Alessi’s brand equity and increase market share in several food categories.

“We want our branding and advertising to reflect the appeal and quality of our products, highlighting our use of the finAlessiest ingredients,” said Alfred Alessi, owner of Vigo Importing. “Schifino Lee has a successful track record of creating communications that build emotional connections between brands and customers.”

Schifino Lee held focus groups to better understand the Alessi retail customer. Based on the findings from these groups, Schifino Lee refined the Alessi Premium Pasta Sauce brand and developed compelling communications to reach the desired consumer.

Amanda Koenn - 11:11 pm November 27, 2012

Bayshore Little League Scoreboard

Our client Clark & Martino cares about the local community & has recently shown this support through the donation of a new scoreboard for the Bayshore Little League. Schifino Lee is proud to have partnered together on the creative development of this scoreboard.

Schifino Lee - 8:18 pm November 13, 2012

Bing vs. Google

Google may be the dominant web search leader, but how your content is optimized for Bing matters too. ‘I’ll Google it’ has even become a common phrase in today’s culture, meaning to search or to look up certain information. Bing’s 15.7% of all web searches come in a distant second place behind Google’s 66% in the search market, but Microsoft is dedicated to closing the gap by using methods that help extend and support your brand beyond what is currently possible within Google.

In a recent campaign, Bing It On, Microsoft openly challenged Google to a head-to-head competition for search engine supremacy, where users compared any five search results and selected which results were the most relevant and ultimately, better. Bing claims that blind users chose Bing’s results over Google’s by a 2-to-1 margin. Although Bing proved to be a worthy adversary, blind taste tests will get them just so far.

Bing’s advantage lies within its ability to search and leverage people’s Facebook friends to persuade decisions and provide trusted knowledge. When friends upload recommendations and reviews online, consumers are more comfortable trusting those sources and catapult a brand’s relevance beyond any SEO or SEM initiative. This may seem trivial but this could be the most powerful feature of any search engine. When searching for vacations, cars, restaurants, virtually anything, you can either search through the list of recommendations and reviews from total strangers, or, you can see the recommendations and photos from Facebook friends whose opinions you trust.

While Google uses information from Google+ to make similar recommendations, there’s no argument that Facebook’s reach greatly surpasses it. Essentially, Bing has not only been able to qualify their own search results, but make a push to confirm a new level of legitimacy for marketers to continue investing in Facebook. In fact, this insight emphasizes the importance of becoming a good steward on Facebook and providing great content that your customers will want to engage in. After all, the more likes, posts and photos they see come up from their friends, the more at ease they will feel in making purchasing decisions resulting in greater follow through.

It’s hard to say that Bing will ever catch Google for search engine dominance; however, it does offer a different perspective on the traditional sense of search. If for nothing more, it differentiates itself as to why it’s another important tool to utilize instead of becoming another either/or choice. Maybe one day the phrase will change to, “I’ll Bing it.”

Schifino Lee - 4:24 pm November 8, 2012

Tampa Bay Sports Commission showcases what’s “New Now” at USF Athletics District.

Working with Schifino Lee on a multi-phase “New Now” facility marketing campaign, the Tampa Bay Sports Commission has been promoting the newly renovated USF Athletics District nationwide.

For the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, Schifino Lee produced a new website, print ad and advertorial featuring the nearly $70 million in improvements at the USF Athletics District, including the USF Sun Dome, USF Track & Field Stadium, USF Baseball and Softball Stadiums, USF Soccer Stadium and USF Campus Recreation facilities. If you haven’t experienced the new renovations first-hand, be sure you visit soon. It is amazing!

As part of the USF “New Now” phase, Schifino Lee also created a unique and eye-catching pop-up book that includes a scale model of the USF Sun Dome. This gives event organizers a closer look at the nearly $36 million in renovations. This 3D piece showcases the venue’s details, from the main entrance and seating bowl, to the adjacent Pam and Les Muma Basketball Practice Center.

The USF Athletics District promotion is part of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission’s ongoing “Tampa Bay is New Now” new facility marketing campaign which targets organizers and decision-makers of numerous sporting events.

Schifino Lee - 3:41 pm October 15, 2012

How to decide between Apps vs. Mobile Websites


Since the introduction of the iPhone, the debate over how to distribute content to customers through mobile devices has centered around the misconception that you have to choose between developing a native mobile app or a mobile website. The truth is, it’s not an either or battle. Mobile websites and native apps offer different benefits and serve different purposes which create better customer relationships when they work together. At the end of the day, people don’t care about the web vs. app debate; they just want to find what they’re looking for on whatever device they have in front of them.

Of course other factors do come into play with this discussion – price, timing, audience, etc., but the focus always needs to be placed on how people will experience, engage and interact regardless of the platform. App users and web users coexist not because they use both to perform the same function, but because they use each independently to solve different problems. Apps are generally used by your “heavy users” to perform definitive, more personal and reoccurring tasks, while websites are used more for generic research or quick lookups on-the-go. Simply put, doing vs. searching.

Doing vs. Searching may help to provide clarity as to why your customers need these tools, but additional questions need to be asked that help evaluate the best development and deployment strategy:

  • Why do you want or need a native app?
  • What platforms are you trying to reach?
  • How often will you make updates?
  • What is your budget?

Like any other media, mobile development is not a one-size-fits-all solution and should be structured to fit your customers’ needs and goals regardless of what device they have in front of them. Native apps provide rich media integration with a higher engagement rate, while mobile websites offer a wider reach at a lower cost. But, it’s always more important to focus on making something people can use.

Download our full presentation or contact us today.

Schifino Lee - 2:06 pm October 9, 2012

The Alessi Campaign Is Live!

Schifino Lee is very proud and excited to announce the launch of the Alessi campaign! This is an exciting opportunity to help raise the visibility of the Alessi brand.

While Vigo Importing Company has been producing top-quality Italian food products since 1947 and is the country’s No. 1 seller in the balsamic vinegar and breadstick categories, brand awareness is relatively low. The company sees enormous opportunity to grow Alessi’s brand equity and increase market share in several food categories.

Schifino Lee created compelling communications to reach the desired consumer, based on customer research. Alessi and Schifino Lee devoted much time and effort to express the brand assets.

The campaign includes cable TV spots, in-store displays, radio spots, digital advertising, social media and a unique microsite.

Amanda Koenn - 9:14 pm October 4, 2012

Unearth Some Fun at ZooBoo

ZooBoo at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, the largest family Halloween event in Tampa Bay, kicked off last week with their Shriek Peek Weekend on September 28-29. The turnout for the event was awesome with the Zoo exceeding their goals by 3,000 attendees!

“Shriek Peek was an awesome weekend for Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, even with a little rain Friday night.” said Jason Davis, Marketing Manager at the Zoo. “The yard signs you designed were handed out at the very end as people were leaving and everyone thought they were really cool.”

In addition to yard signage, Schifino Lee creative executions included print advertising, web, posters, direct mail, radio and TV to name a few.

ZooBoo is select nights in October.

Amanda Koenn - 9:13 pm September 28, 2012

Schifino Lee creates chilling TV spot for ZooBoo at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Schifino Lee worked with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo to develop this years ZooBoo theme and creative. The creative executions included print advertising, web, posters, direct mail, radio and TV to name a few. Check out this year’s chilling spot then go creep around ZooBoo at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo — the largest family Halloween event in Tampa Bay.

September 28-29 Shriek Peek Preview Weekend • Opens 7 p.m.
October 5-7, 11-14, 18-21, 25-28 • Opens 7 p.m.

Schifino Lee - 6:37 pm September 24, 2012

If you want your customers to interact with your products, interact with them!

More and more brands are finding interesting and compelling ways to interact with their target audiences in this interactive world. Nestle’s Contrex bottled mineral water knew that if they wanted to more effectively reach their audience, they’d have to come up with something nobody has ever seen before.

What appeared to be a row of random pink exercise bikes in Paris turned out to be the heart of Contrex’s viral ‘My Contrexperience’ digital campaign created by the Paris-based agency, Marcel. As you can see from the video link below, intrigued women approached the bikes and began pedaling and their movement came to life to be reqarded with a sexy exhibition as well as Contrex water conveniently located next to every exercise bike.

The bottled water market today is filled with boring clichés that people no longer get excited about. Contrex’s interactive campaign targeted women with a common message: if you want to lose weight, exercise rigorously, then cool down with Contrex water. They were able to take an ordinary message and turn it into a unique, extraordinary concept.

The days of just merely seeing an ad on television or in print are over. Consumers are now expecting to be entertained, as much as interacted with, in an engaging manner. Newspapers are even moving to the digital space to better interact with their audiences and give their consumers an opportunity to better connect with the traditional media.

No brand is going to survive if they don’t step away from play-it-safe techniques and start moving towards original, creative consumer interaction. The execution and delivery proved to be a success and the video went viral.



Schifino Lee - 4:38 pm September 20, 2012

Schifino Lee elevates Sterling Research Group as an innovative creator of insights

Sterling Research Group is one of the industry’s leading full-service market research companies. Sterling’s passion, innovation and customization helps their clients create the most satisfied customers possible.

Schifino Lee was engaged to position Sterling as an innovator of insights for developing a universe of more satisfied customers.

The brand promise Schifino Lee developed for Sterling, “Pursuing Insight. Perfecting Experience”, emphasizes their promise to provide actionable insights unique to each client, so the solutions provided are authentic competitive advantages.

To support the new brand strategy, Schifino Lee created a new logo, tagline, website and electronic brochures that highlight Sterling’s commitment to renewing and revolutionizing client-customer relationships through leading-edge research technology.

Sterling Research Group is crazy passionate about pursuing the insights that can help clients transform customer experiences. If they’re not crazy passionate, their customers won’t be either.

Amanda Koenn - 1:27 pm August 29, 2012

Schifino Lee Creates a New Way to Communicate Tampa’s Business News

There are approximately 16,000 journalists anticipated in Tampa Bay for the Republican National Convention. That is 4X more than for the Super Bowl. The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce recognized this as a unique opportunity to show the world that Tampa is one of the brightest regions for business success.

To engage with this influential audience of journalists, the Chamber of Commerce hired Schifino Lee to develop the Tampa 2012 Media Center, a website containing some of Tampa Bay’s most intriguing business success stories. The Tampa Media Center,, provides ready access to a trove of relevant news stories for journalists to utilize. The website allows visitors to search by category or browse through all stories. All content is easy to find and share.

Schifino Lee was responsible for the website’s creative design, logo development, copywriting, and website programming. Tampa-based journalists with global business writing experience were brought on board by Schifino Lee to interview subjects and write the stories.

On the site, you will find a range of stories, from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business to Raymond James to Moffitt Cancer Center. Each story is also linked with related information, furthering the goal of making it as easy as possible for influential journalists to write positive stories about Tampa’s business environment.

How bright is the Tampa business story?

Tampa has received multi-million dollar investments from Jeff Vinik, the Blackstone Group, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation within the last 2 years. Tampa has the business environment that powers the founding of companies from Outback to Wikipedia to M2Gen. The business stories on the Tampa Media Center website include over 100 success stories joined by the fact that Tampa has the business resources that made them possible. Tampa truly brings to life the idea of Stronger and Brighter Together.

Schifino Lee - 3:16 pm August 22, 2012

Schifino Lee develops new name and brand identity for Mental Health Care, Inc.

When Schifino Lee gets involved, big things happen. For example, Mental Health Care, Inc. (MHC) recently partnered with Schifino Lee to undergo a name change. With our naming recommendation, MHC joined with three other accredited behavioral health, drug and alcohol centers creating the largest mental health care merger in Florida. Schifino Lee’s naming and branding for MHC resonated with the other companies as a positive reflection on the future of the industry. In October the companies will merge as “Gracepoint.”

The name Gracepoint gracefully reflects the ideals of healthy living, and eliminates the negative connotations about mental health care. These centers are more than mental health care centers, and Gracepoint is more than a name. It is a place for wellness, and it’s the answer for many people who want to achieve their best lives.

One out of four people suffer from a mental illness, and 2 out of 3 of those diagnosed are not getting treatment. Florida has closed 36 psychiatric hospitals within the past 20 years, so these centers step in and replenish the services needed by so many people. This merger will allow Gracepoint to help 30,000 adults and 14,000 children each year. They will offer more specialized treatments with 38 psychiatrists working out of 69 locations with 87 treatment programs. Gracepoint’s CEO Joe Rutherford, has announced that his goal for the merger will allow them to make sure every patient in the region has access to the appropriate specialist.

Schifino Lee - 6:02 pm August 3, 2012

Over 250 Reasons to get Creative

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo asked Schifino Lee to “brew up” unique concepts and advertising materials for the 17th annual WaZoo Beer Fest, taking place on August 4, 2012. This nationally renowned event, named one of the “10 Great Beer Festivals in the Country” by USA Today, is comprised of a night full of beer, food and live music.

Schifino Lee was responsible for creating posters, flyers, t-shirts, print and digital advertisements and directional banners for the annual event; all designed to be just as fun, lively and unique as the event itself. Compared to this time last year, WaZoo ticket sales are up and don’t seem to be slowing down.

A ticket to WaZoo Beer Fest includes tasting of over 250 beers from around the world, accompanied by food from local restaurants throughout the Tampa Bay area. Although they won’t have the animals on exhibit, there will be live animal encounters throughout the park and live music from local artists.

Click here for more information or purchase tickets online.

Amanda Koenn - 3:32 pm July 11, 2012

Schifino Lee expands its media planning and buying team.

Knowing it takes a great deal of insight, industry experience, negotiating skills, and creativity to build successful integrated media campaigns, Schifino Lee has added Media Planner/Buyer Tamara Whittaker.

Tamara brings solid experience in developing media strategies for a variety of industries, along with a thorough understanding of consumer behavior, client needs, and all aspects of marketing communication. As Tamara puts it, “With today’s vast array of media platforms, knowing when, where, and how to connect with your target audience is as much art as science.”

She has planned and managed awareness, search engine marketing, and lead generation campaigns for clients such as WellCare, Alessi, Vology, SPCA, Xerox, Tech Data, Shriners International, Harvard Jolly Architecture, the St. Maarten Tourist Bureau, and Eckerd College.

Prior to Schifino Lee, Tamara served as a Senior Project Manager for Pinstripe Marketing in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she developed strategic integrated marketing campaigns, served as account manager, and managed media planning/buying and media relations for clients in the professional services, destination, travel, and tourism industries. She also holds a B.S. in marketing from the University of South Florida.

Schifino Lee - 3:53 pm July 6, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Being an International Intern

Christine Jorgensen provides this entry about her experience as an international intern at Schifino Lee.

It takes a lot of time to prepare everything you need before your departure to a new country – 6 months to be exact. Obtaining your visa is the hardest part of all. I could not get a working visa without paying an organization to help me; and it’s not cheap. There are many costs on top if the visa that you must be able to pay including flights, living arrangements, transportation, insurance, etc. If you happen to find a paid internship, you are lucky. If not, you must be able to pay at least $750 per month in addition to the above costs, money many people do not have.

Another challenge is the difference in language and culture. You need to be able to understand and communicate the most basic and important things in the other language. You may even need to learn the specific words and phrases that are used in whatever industry your company does business in. Do not be disappointed if you don’t understand everything people say to you, because it will happen. Despite how uncomfortable you may feel in this new culture, just be outgoing and open-minded and you will soon feel at home with the culture and people. In the United States, and especially at Schifino Lee, everyone is very nice and pleasant. They understand that you are an international intern and work to help you as much as possible.

This experience also has its benefits. You meet so many new people and learn about a new culture. You also get the opportunity to expand your language skills, discover new talents and become more self-confident and open-minded. These incredible experiences will stay with you for a lifetime and help you in the future, in your personal and professional life. This is all included in your resume, which is great when looking for a job since people with experience abroad are in high demand.

All in all, I have to say that working as an international student is worth every single dollar (or euro) spent. There is no experience like it, and I would definitely recommend it to anybody considering it.

Schifino Lee - 4:01 pm July 3, 2012

Ben Lee Participates in Panel Discussion at TBCN

On June 28th Ben Lee visited University Mall – but not for shopping. Ben had been invited to participate in a discussion about branding a new product or service at Tampa Bay Community Network (TBCN) for their new TV Show – Creating Your Own Job.

Tampa Bay Community Network is an organization that provides members with video production training, facility and equipment to put their messages out on five cable television channels and the Internet.

Together with Jamie Long-Wilson, Barry Wallace and Eric Torres, Ben held an interesting discussion with the panel and provided useful tips about creating a brand.

Schifino Lee - 9:07 pm June 20, 2012

Schifino Lee mints a shiny new campaign for Zeno Office Solutions’ ‘Penny a Print’ program

On April 30th, a 48-foot billboard made of over 120,000 pennies was installed on I-275 at Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. This one-of-a-kind execution is part of an integrated multi-media campaign for Zeno Office Solutions promoting its new Centurion ‘Penny a Print’ program for companies with 50+ employees and/or 20+ printers.

To announce this new service Zeno partnered with Schifino Lee, who strategically created the program’s print, outdoor and online advertising, targeted eblasts, sales collateral and website. The key message: Take control of your printing costs with free printers, free toner and unlimited maintenance — all for a penny-a-print.

“Marketers strive for advertising that has stopping power. Ours literally does. We have clients who were about to sign a contract with a competitor, then saw one of our billboards and called us instead. We love Schifino Lee’s creative because it creates results,” said Keith Roher, VP Sales, Zeno Office Solutions.

The eye-catching billboard on I-275 billboard spells out ‘1¢ a Print’ using 2,160 pounds of reflective pennies. Each coin was shined and hand-glued to 12 four-foot panels. The creative has garnered local and national media attention on television, newspapers and business publications. It will travel to different highway locations throughout Tampa Bay over the next several months.

Amanda Koenn - 5:23 pm June 7, 2012

Creativity Uncaged: Schifino Lee Designs Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo’s Karamu Event Material

Schifino Lee partnered with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo to create collateral materials for the 24th Annual Karamu black tie gala to benefit their animal care, conservation and education programs. The community’s leaders joined the extraordinary fundraising event on April 14th at the Zoo’s Safari Lodge. Guests enjoyed cocktails, unique encounters with animals, a seated dinner, plus silent and live auctions and dancing.

The overall concept, “Flights of Fancy”, came from the creative team at Schifino Lee. We also designed all of the elegant materials for the Karamu event: Bwana pre-party invitation, event invitation with inserts, response card (which included donation and seating options), the envelope so guests could RSVP, the program cover and note cards. Florida birds graced the pages. Blues and purples splashed with water designs appearing throughout the invitation.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo noted that Karamu XXIV was the highest attended most successful event they have had to date. More than 400 guests attended the gala, and proceeds exceeded $200,000. The donations contribute to animal care, education programs that reach school-age children across their 7-county region, rescue and rehabilitation of Florida wildlife and conservation work that benefits more than 90 threatened species around the world.

The entire team at Schifino Lee is grateful for our partnership with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and their success.

Schifino Lee - 7:27 pm May 23, 2012

Mobile: the Reason Why Ad Sales Have Slowed for Facebook

Recent ad spending has taken a dip for the social networking behemoth, resulting in a Q1 sales decline of 6% from last year’s December quarter.

A regulatory filing made by the company originally blamed the downturn on seasonal ad spending fluctuations, but a recent amendment revealed a deficiency in the company’s mobile monetization strategy.

If users increasingly access Facebook via mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users… our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected,” reads the amendment.

Basically, more and more Facebook users are opting to access the site via their smartphones, rather than computers, thus bypassing the ads altogether.  With advertising accounting for more than 80% of the company’s profits last year, it could pose a major concern for investors if the newly public company fails to develop a winning strategy to combat this issue by next quarter.

It’s bizarre that Facebook is only addressing this issue now. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to develop a plan to leverage advertising for mobile before going public?

Schifino Lee - 8:36 pm May 21, 2012

Schifino Lee’s Salute to the US Air Force

With MacDill Air Force Base being located in South Tampa there was no way Schifino Lee could turn down the opportunity to work with the Airlift/Tanker Association in preparation of the 65th Annual Air Force Ball. Schifino Lee developed a poster, sponsor flyer, invitation and program cover for this annual event that honors the Air Force and supports the Tampa Bay community.

The theme of this year’s Air Force Ball is “Generations,” and celebrates the three generations of the US Air Force in the Tampa Bay area.  From World War II to the Cold War and Vietnam, the Air Force has played an integral part in the growth of our community.

All proceeds of the event go to Operation MacDill, a program at Monroe Middle School that addresses the academic and social needs of students, many who are transitioning to the Tampa Bay area as children of military parents. Another way the Air Force Ball benefits the Tampa Bay community is by allowing sponsors to fund the attendance of the most junior Air Force members, who may not otherwise get the opportunity.

The Air Force Ball will be held at the Tampa Convention Center on September 29, 2012 and will consist of a cocktail hour, dinner, an address from the keynote speaker, General Norton Schwartz, US Air Force Chief of Staff, and live music. Overall, the Air Force Ball is a great event for an even greater cause, and Schifino Lee is proud to be a part of it.

Amanda Koenn - 5:31 pm April 19, 2012

Schifino Lee to present branding tips, best practices and case studies at April 30th Chamber event.

The Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce brings together the leaders of our area’s most powerful businesses to learn from each other, share ideas and promote best practices.

As part of its monthly Competitive Edge Series, the Chamber is hosting a special program on Monday, April 30, 2012 called “Intersection: How Madison Avenue Creates Value for Main Street and Wall Street.” This is an excellent opportunity for businesses to learn about enhancing their brand from one of Tampa’s leading branding, interactive, advertising and marketing communications firms, Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding.

Ben Lee, Principal and Co-Founder of Schifino Lee and Evan Brownstein, Chief Creative Officer will be covering a variety of topics including how to increase a company’s value to customers, a proven step-by-step branding process, several successful case studies showing the impact of branding a company and steps that can be taken right now to grow and enhance a company’s brand.

The Competitive Edge Series program featuring Schifino Lee will be held at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, 201 North Franklin Street, Suite 201 on Monday, April 30th from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm. Registration begins at 11:45 a.m. and lunch will be provided by Wright’s Gourmet House. Click here to RSVP for the event or call 813-276-9440.

Amanda Koenn - 3:37 pm April 5, 2012

Quaker Oats prepares Larry for bikini season

When a long-established brand like Quaker Oats decides to refresh their logo the advertising world pays attentions. Schifino Lee wanted to know the details behind the new Larry and the new look, so we investigated.

The makeover was moderate but very effective to convey the message Quaker Oats is selling its consumers, “energy and healthy choices.” Larry is still sporting his classic Quaker hat but has lost his double chin. “We took about five pounds off him,” said Michael Connors, Vice President of Design at Hornall Anderson. The overall makeover included a hair cut, a pricey facelift, and a trip to the gym. Connors and his team shortened Larry’s hair to keep him looking thin. They also removed the double chin and brought in the sides of his face to introduce a more youthful slimmer look. And the final touches included broadening Larry’s shoulders to finalize his healthy energetic appearance.

Overall, Larry is looking pretty good. Time and tweets will tell how effective Larry’s new look will work for Quaker Oats and PepsiCo Inc.

Schifino Lee - 6:44 pm March 29, 2012

Schifino Lee hires Director of Digital Innovation

If the right-brain is creative thinking and the left-brain is logical thinking, then Josh St. Aubin is Schifino Lee’s cerebral cortex.

On one hand, he is a talented designer with strong visual arts skills. On the other, he’s a brilliant programmer fluent in multiple languages: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ActionScript, Flash, XML, Flex, PHP, ASP… the guy is scary-good.

“The digital landscape is in a state of constant change. Your customers want more than a website for your company. Today’s consumers spend more and more time online while engaging with multiple touch points that include social media, display, email, applications and mobile. When you utilize these new channels to their fullest potential, you capitalize on huge opportunities to connect with you customers.”

For 12 years, Josh has created innovative communications and experiences that helped build brands such as Dollar Rent A Car, Thrifty Car Rental, Transitions, Melitta, Badcock Home Furnishings and the New York Rangers.

Josh’s B.F.A. is from the International Academy of Design and Technology. He is a believer in “touch-nology,” and feels that the primary benefit of any innovation centers on its ability to connect people with experiences they love and enjoy.

Schifino Lee - 9:00 pm December 28, 2011

Schifino Lee celebrates clients’ advertising and branding milestones

Over the past few months, Schifino Lee has been celebrating 1-, 2- and 3-year “anniversaries” with our clients on the launch of their new brands, new websites or other milestones. To commemorate these events, Schifino Lee has created special anniversary cakes and delivered them as gifts.

The initiative was kicked off in November, with Auditz celebrating the 1-year anniversary of the company’s website; next it was America’s Battery Recyclers, who celebrated the 2-year anniversary of its name and branding. December marks anniversaries for Jones Lang LaSalle’s Urban Centre branding, Fountainhead Practice Management’s website, and Franklin Street’s rebranding.

So far, the response has been nothing but positive (who doesn’t love cake). Clients are surprised and appreciative of the unexpected treat; and it reminds them to start thinking about updating and renewing the work.


Amanda Koenn - 2:53 pm December 22, 2011

Schifino Lee brings clients together to donate bicycles and helmets to children in need this holiday

Schifino Lee brought together Clark & Martino, P.A. and ToyMakers of East Lake to join forces and provide bicycles and safety helmets to local children in need this holiday season. An initial delivery of 12 helmets and bicycles was delivered on Saturday, December 17th at the Union Street United Methodist Church in Clearwater, FL.

ToyMakers of East Lake is a non-profit organization that restores used bicycles to top condition and donates them to underprivileged children throughout the Tampa Bay area. When Schifino Lee made Clark & Martino aware of this initiative, they thought it would be a great opportunity to promote and encourage head-injury safety by donating new helmets with the bikes.

“We are very excited to partner with the ToyMakers of East Lake on this initiative,” said Dan Clark, Partner at Clark & Martino. “We truly believe in promoting safety through proper precautions, and we are grateful to help these children enjoy a happier and safer holiday season.”

ToyMakers of East Lake was just as enthusiastic about the new partnership. “Under the able leadership of Trevor Charlton, who founded the ToyMaker’s bicycle initiative, we’ve been delivering restored bikes to Tampa Bay children for several years now; including safety helmets is a natural fit and we sincerely appreciate the partnership with Clark & Martino in this effort,” said Bob Helms, President ToyMakers of East Lake.

If you’d like to make a monetary donation to support the initiatives of the ToyMakers of East Lake, please visit

Amanda Koenn - 4:13 pm December 19, 2011

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo selects Schifino Lee as agency of record

On the heels of the New Horizon’s branding work, Schifino Lee has also been retained by Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo as its agency of record for creative and media services over the next 2 years to help promote zoo ticket sales, events and fundraisers.

“Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is a pillar to the identity of the Tampa Bay community, and many don’t know about their very important work to preserve our nature and wildlife,” said Paola Schifino, Principal of Schifino Lee. “Schifino Lee is thrilled to be able to contribute to this effort.”

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is a 501(C)(3) not for profit organization and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums and accredits only those institutions that have achieved the highest standards for animal care, education, wildlife conservation and science.

Read the full artical on the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Amanda Koenn - 2:58 pm December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays from Schifino Lee

Wishing you and your loved ones peace, heath, happiness and prosperity in the coming new year.Watch our Schifino Lee Holiday Video.

Schifino Lee - 2:31 pm November 17, 2011


In September, AACSB International of Tampa, Florida, introduced eNEWSLINE Live (ENL), a series of live-streaming videos that address global topics and trends in management education.

Hosted by John Fernandes, AACSB’s president and CEO, the bimonthly videos will feature experts from business education who will provide insight on a variety of topics. The first video, streamed in September, featured Steve Reinemund, dean of Wake Forest University Schools of Business in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Reinemund spoke on the topics of sustainability, corporate social responsibility and ethical leadership.

For information about ENL and upcoming video segments, visit

Amanda Koenn - 7:00 pm November 14, 2011

Schifino Lee Launches Mobile Website for Law Firm


When Tampa Bay law firm Clark & Martino, P.A. wanted to make a bold and innovative communications move, they connected with their brand marketing partner, Schifino Lee, to develop and launch a mobile version of the law firm’s website designed for smart phones.

“We wanted to go the extra mile in making sure our information is readily available in the most convenient way possible,” said Dan Clark, partner at Clark & Martino. “Creating a mobile website was a natural way to make ourselves more available to the public and legal community.”

While creating a mobile website is fairly uncommon for law firms, Clark & Martino realized the benefits of maximizing accessibility for a highly mobile audience. Having a mobile website results in exponential customer satisfaction gains as more people than ever use their mobile phones to access the web.

“A mobile site can either complement a consumer’s overall brand experience or undermine it. The good news is that companies are really starting to take this seriously as they understand the critical role that customer satisfaction plays in the mobile experience,” said Eric Feinberg, Director of Mobile Strategy at ForeSee, a company that analyzes people’s experiences with mobile sites.

Clark & Martino’s mobile site takes key features from the firm’s traditional website and puts them on a mobile friendly platform that optimizes functionality and usability on the smaller screens. The Clark & Martino mobile website makes it easier for people on-the-go to access the law firm, get directions, interact with staff and learn more about Clark & Martino and its services.

“With people wanting immediate information wherever they are, it makes sense for service providers to consider creating a mobile website,” said Ben Lee, Principal of Schifino Lee. “Making your website more accessible can increase customer satisfaction, greatly enhance the brand experience, set yourself apart from competitors, and grow business in very tangible ways.”

Schifino Lee - 2:29 pm November 7, 2011

AM 820 News’ audience shows dramatic growth, power of new “All News-All Day” format

Reflecting the impact of a powerful new format and branding, radio station AM 820 News increased its share of listeners ages 18 and over by 500% in the four-month period between June 1 – October 31, 2011, according to recent Arbitron reports covering Tampa Bay area radio stations.

The Clearwater-based station, which offers an “all-news, all-day” format with nonpartisan delivery, garnered the following monthly share increases in the Tampa Bay market:

Genesis Communications, owner of AM 820 News, engaged Tampa-based branding and marketing agency Schifino Lee to better define its brand image and raise the station’s awareness through digital billboards, print ads, radio spots and social media.


“We are extremely pleased with the results of the new branding and marketing campaign,” said Bruce Maduri, president of Genesis Communications. “Our new format is proving attractive to a wide portion of the public, and this new campaign is letting them know about us in a simple yet compelling way.”


“Schifino Lee is proud of our work related to this campaign,” said Ben Lee, principal of Schifino Lee. “We’re continuing to implement new creative strategies to increase listenership.”


Schifino Lee - 8:48 pm October 21, 2011

Excellence Industries, a leading manufacturer of commercial refrigeration, launches new branding at national trade show.

Launching a powerful new brand at one of its industry’s largest trade shows, Excellence Industries is touting the “power of partnership,” emphasizing the commercial refrigeration company’s ability to help its customers with everything needed to sell frozen and refrigerated products at retail locations.

Excellence Industries, based in Tampa, Fla., is the premier commercial refrigeration partner for brands such as Nestle, Pepsi, Good Humor, Ben & Jerry’s, Whole Foods, and Marriott. A key to its success is its skill in helping companies in the dairy, ice cream and food industries with all their refrigeration needs, from equipment manufacturing, branded graphics and logistics to leasing, servicing and recycling nationwide.

To emphasize this wide-ranging, customer-focused approach, the company hired Schifino Lee, a Tampa-based branding and marketing agency that has deep experience in business-to-business manufacturing and recycling – a powerful combination for the Excellence Industries message.

The company’s new branding was showcased October 2nd at the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) convention at McCormick Place in Chicago. Excellence Industries debuted a new logo, new tradeshow display and new collateral materials at the show, which will soon be followed by an enhanced web presence.

“We are very excited about how our new branding tells the story of how we help our partners,” said Howard Noskowicz, CEO of Excellence Industries. “With such a wide range of services, it’s important for us to emphasize one overall premise – we help our partners grow and manage their businesses.”

For Schifino Lee, the work builds on its success in creating new and refreshed brands for such companies as Vertical IT Solutions, Gerdau, USAmeriBank, Celestar and AM 820 News. Also, it ties into the agency’s skill in marketing for the recycling industry, with such companies as Kimmins Contracting, Sims Recycling, Association of Battery Recycling and EnviroFocus Technologies.

“As companies become more aware of the need to think about their products from cradle-to-grave, it’s important for service providers to consider recycling as part of their messaging,” said Ben Lee, Principal of Schifino Lee. “That goes hand in hand with forming a trusted, long-term partnership with customers. Both of these ideas are strong in our work for Excellence Industries.”



Schifino Lee - 6:57 pm October 14, 2011

ARMA Global, one of nation’s fastest growing defense companies, engages Schifino Lee for enhanced branding initiative.

ARMA Global is a rapidly growing company that supports the US Special Operations Command and other elements of the Department of Defense in successful implementation of foreign policy, material delivery and security objectives.

As they planned the company’s strategy, ARMA’s leadership recognized that their branding and marketing needed to attain the same standards of excellence that their operations and execution had.

To reach these objectives, ARMA selected Schifino Lee.

“Schifino Lee has a proven success record of creating brand communications that drive growth,” stated ARMA CEO, Todd J. Schweitzer. “Schifino Lee was the perfect fit for ARMA. We were impressed with their past performance of working with other companies in developing the right message to their customers.”

The new branding and marketing initiatives include a refreshed logo, new collateral materials and new website copy and imagery that represent genuine innovation for their industry. ARMA needed materials that communicated both the superior professionalism of the company as well as the “we have walked in your boots” experience of their personnel.

“ARMA serves those who serve our country,” said Ben Lee, Principal of Schifino Lee. “We are grateful for and honored by the opportunity to serve them.”

Schifino Lee - 8:10 pm October 7, 2011

AM 820 News launches with new format and brand, offering Tampa Bay: “All News. All Day.”

News radio on the AM side of the dial has been long dominated by loud and angry talk.  Knowing Tampa Bay residents spend a substantial amount of time in their cars, the station owners of WBBA 820AM saw an opportunity to give radio listeners something needed, desired and different: all news, all day in a straightforward and nonpartisan delivery. 

The result: AM 820 News.  Currently in the midst of launch, several programming and outreach components are in place, while others are continuing to roll out over the coming weeks. Audience response has been extremely positive. Per Arbitron, between June-August the station’s market share of listeners 18+ increased 67% and its cumulative listenership is up 31%.

AM 820 News offers a constant stream of local stories, traffic, and weather, along with news-you-can-use and national headlines. A joint content agreement with WTSP-TV (CBS-10) will include local forecasts, local updates, and simulcasts of 10 News broadcasts. AM 820 News has a 50,000-watt transmitter that covers most of central Florida, keeping traveling locals in the loop on hometown news.

In support of the station’s launch campaign, Tampa-based branding and marketing agency was called upon to Schifino Lee create the new branding, logos, print ads, digital billboards, and social media.  Outdoor billboards began appearing last week all around the Tampa Bay area, and print ads are schedule to run in the 4th Quarter. Meanwhile, social media including Facebook and Twitter is already starting to ramp up.

Beyond consumers, a key target audience for the AM 820 News marketing campaign in this early stage is advertisers. Schifino Lee was selected partly because of its knowledge of what media advertisers want, gained from its long experience in national and local media buying. As part of its partnership with AM 820 News, Schifino Lee will also create and run its own ads on the station which is, ironically, a unique and unconventional practice for advertising agencies. Agency Principal Ben Lee said, “We are convinced the editorial environment of all-news is a smart place to advertise.”

AM 820 News is owned by Genesis Communications, which also owns five other stations in central Florida including 1040AM Tampa Bay, an ESPN station. “Our challenge for AM 820 News is to change people’s perception of AM radio and let them know that there’s a new and different option for those who desire news without all the partisan talk,” said Bruce Maduri, president of Genesis Communications.  “When you gotta know now, we hope people tune into AM 820 News.”

Schifino Lee - 2:59 am October 5, 2011

Social Media vs. So What Media

Fantastic Adweek piece ( points out that most marketers treat social media as if it were cheap broadcast media.

Audiences are tired of that. Businesses need to create relevant content and participate in genuine conversations – not mindlessly use social media with a short-term transactional mentality.

True social media is about building an emotional connection, not selling a transactional promotion. The best news comes at the end of the piece. When brands do the right things with social media, it is a powerful way to build equity and create measurable value.

We would love to learn from your experiences… Who is creating social media that is authentically social, and who is churning out social media that is merely “so what media?”

Schifino Lee - 3:40 pm September 28, 2011

Veredus recruits Schifino Lee to create new branding, website and marketing campaign to support its growth


Veredus, a leading national IT staffing firm, was experiencing strong, positive growth and innovative transformation. They engaged Schifino Lee to bottle this energy into a new branding campaign that tells their story in a concise and compelling way.

Schifino Lee delved deeply into Veredus’ business with focus interviews, competitive research and creative strategy development. It was determined that the company’s branding needed to reflect their first-class people, energy and industry knowledge.

The tagline, “Talent To Transform”was recruited to convey this message.

Schifino’s creative team created an updated new logo, graphics and internal marketing campaign to lay the foundation with employees. Afterwards, Schifino Lee created customer-facing marketing materials including print ads, sales collateral and a new website: encompass a consistent look-and-feel and utilize custom photography featuring actual Veredus employees.

The new Veredus websiteenables visitors to submit a job, search for a job by key word and location, and obtain valuable tips for your resume and interview. It identifies the company’s many locations in each geographic region. The site also supplies a wealth of important information including career transforming guides, tips and tools.

“We wanted a website that encompassed our new innovative look and feel as well as: easy navigation, high functionality, and a convenient job search feature,” said David Hull COO of Veredus. “I’m also very appreciative of the consultation and advice we received from Amanda Koenn and the team. They were instrumental in not only getting the website delivered, but in reviewing and integrating our web video content.”

Schifino Lee - 4:21 pm September 15, 2011

Smart branding helps USAmeriBank reach $1 Billion in just four years


Formed in February 2007, Largo-based USAmeriBank provides banking services to mid-sized commercial businesses and consumers in the West Central Florida market, and Schifino Lee Advertising + Brandinghas been with them nearly from the start. Amidst a challenging financial market USAmeriBank tapped award winning advertising firm Schifino Lee in 2008 to reposition and rebrand the bank.

A thorough look at the competitive landscape ranging from local community banks to large national banks, and an analysis of customer needs in this time of turmoil provided Schifino Lee with a strong foundation for executing USAmeriBank’s unique new brand position, logo design, environmental graphics, collateral and website. USAmeriBank quickly became known as the Tampa Bay area’s bank of choice to their primary target market of business owners with $1-$10 million in revenue per year.

Utilizing consumer research led by Schifino Lee, the creative team positioned USAmeriBankin a way that made their audience feel confident that they would be working with a bank that is right for their business because of the bank’s expertise in providing financial solutions that help customers and communities grow. Schifino Lee developed a corporate image for USAmeriBank that positions them as larger, financially stronger, and better prepared than other homegrown banks and more personal and nurturing than the national and regional banks. Schifino Lee also helped differentiate USAmeriBank by communicating their unique business model to their target: They are employee owned and hire only the most experienced and knowledgeable bankers to build long lasting relationships with businesses and individuals. All of this has led directly up to their billion dollar success.

In mid-February USAmeriBank reached $1 billion in assets in just four short years. They managed a 23.6% gain in this past year alone including 7% since the start of 2011. They are ranked third most profitable and third-largest bank among 140 U.S. banks that were formed in the last four years. It is now the second largest bank on the Gulf Coast and well-positioned for continued growth.

Schifino Lee - 2:44 pm

Bridging the Generation Gap

Click to View: Share. Like. Buy.

Share. Like. Buy” is an entertaining video that explores how many companies view the Millennial Generation, consumers between the ages of 18 and 34. Traditional companies who do not understand the thought process of millennials see them as walking contradictions. We agree that millennials can be contradictory, but no more so than consumers of other generations.

In this era of corporate corruption and implosion, it is hard for anyone to trust “the man.” In a world dominated by fast food chains, people of all ages struggle trying to keep a healthy diet. Many companies believe that these young consumers contradict themselves simply because they do not understand how to communicate with them. Being a technologically inclined generation who has grown up communicating on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, you have to connect with them socially. It’s less about offering the best deal or most innovative product and more about positioning yourself as a “friend” of your consumers.

When targeting the Millennial Generation, think of it as having a girlfriend. If you just do the bare minimum and show up every now and then, they won’t be around long. You need to show them attention. Ask how their day was. Tell them what you’re thinking, and care about what they have to say. Make them feel safe, like you’re not just telling them what they want to hear.

You also want to be a part of their social life. Meet their friends and know their interests (after all, the strongest references to millennials are their peers). Most importantly, be someone they would be willing to get “Facebook official” with, someone they would tweet after a long day.

It’s more than just talking to your “consumers” and informing them about who you are and what you do. Creating a dialogue with the Millennial Generation can lead to a long and loyal relationship.

Amanda Koenn - 5:58 pm September 1, 2011

Schifino Lee develops peer-to-peer campaign for Cody Fowler Davis Trial Attorneys


Cody Fowler Davis Trial Attorneys is a Tampa-based law firm that litigates complex and protracted personal injury cases involving wrongful death and serious physical and/or emotional injuries stemming from vehicular accidents, premise liability situations, and product liability claims which may entail aspects of insurance bad faith.

The Firm knows the defense approach insurance companies will take because for years the insurance companies retained the firm’s lawyers to represent their insureds. Now they use their unique skills and perspective to help plaintiffs.

In its communications, Cody Fowler Davis Trial Attorneys sought to inform peers that the firm now focuses on personal injury cases and that it puts referring attorney’s reputations as its top priority by providing their clients with exemplary representation. The firm also wanted to differentiate themselves from all other Personal Injury attorneys by focusing on their unique background experience.

Schifino Lee developed a peer-to-peer outreach campaign based on the firm’s values and unique differences that inspires confidence of fellow bar members to refer their Personal Injury cases to Cody Fowler Davis Trial Attorneys.  The campaign consisted of custom photography, print advertisements, direct mail, e-mail and a unique campaign microsite;

All of the outreach focused on the following core promise to peers: “You can trust that you are making the best decision for your client by referring them to Cody Fowler Davis Trial Attorneys, P.A. because they have extensive trial experience in Personal Injury cases on both plaintiff and defense sides and possess an impressive combination of credentials that only a few Florida attorneys have.”


Schifino Lee - 3:25 pm August 23, 2011

Meet Schifino Lee’s Media Innovator


Today, the concept of media planning has transformed. The goal is to intersect with people’s lives, not to interrupt them. Brands need to form relationships with customers that are emotional, not transactional. That is why the term “media planning” is waning and being replaced by deeper terms such as “media strategy” or “integrated communications planning.”

Moreover, a changed competitive landscape means that media strategy is just as important for small businesses as it is for large companies. The good news is that new media channels make reaching customers at multiple touch points accessible for all companies, small and large.

Nordin Benhalima, Media Director, leads the Integrated Communications Planning team at Schifino Lee. Through strategic insight and customer-centric plans, Nordin has directed multi-million dollar campaigns throughout the country and helped make Integrated Communications Planning an integral part of Schifino Lee’s experienced and passionate process to grow client’s business.

Under his media direction, Nordin has helped WellCare Health Plans grow into a multi-billion dollar company serving over 2 million Medicaid & Medicare members in 13 states.

In addition, Nordin has directed awareness, search engine marketing and lead generation campaigns for clients such as Gerdau, AACSB, Catalina Marketing, Jaguar of Tampa and Lifestyle Family Fitness.

Is your business growing with today’s changed media landscape? Contact Nordin today and learn how it can.

Schifino Lee - 3:08 pm August 12, 2011

Is Facebook The New and Improved Yellow pages?

Imagine a “store finder” on a Website that allows you to see if your friends have checked in to a particular location. Or an online Yellow Pages that allows you to see reviews or comments your friends have posted in addition to seeing basic information such as location and phone number.

Facebook did more than imagine it… they created it. They launched a new Parent-Child Page management system for businesses and their local branches called “locations.”

Before “locations,” there was a third-party tool called Hearsay Social that was launched to address the corporate/local problem. Since then, the company has worked with Facebook to create a native Parent-Child Page management system, complete with API’s and a basic graphic user interface. The limited private beta program’s first public facing component is now live, using The Regal Entertainment Group as the first example.

 What does Locations mean for marketers?

 A business can display an interactive map, powered by Bing, on its corporate pages that allows Facebook users to find the nearest locations and also to navigate to the corporation’s local branch pages. Facebook users are able to search any address to pull up nearby locations represented by child pages and the faces of friends who’ve checked in there before. The purpose of “locations” is to hopefully drive more likes and foot traffic to their local branches and has the capability to potentially replace the “store finder” tab application that is found on most corporate websites. The child pages also features a link back to the parent page allowing for cross-page promotion.

 The new Parent-Child Page management system will allow corporations to easily manage their hierarchy of pages without having to add administrators to every page, install applications, or have to change settings simultaneously. The new app will allow for a simple way to coordinate marketing campaigns like offering coupons on the corporate page. “Locations” allows users to stay on Facebook rather than to leave the site in order to use a store finder on a client’s website. Once access to the Parent-Child system and locations is rolled out, it could increase Facebook’s utility as a Yellow Pages but with social recommendations. “Locations” has the ability to drastically change the ways in which corporations and their clients interact with one another allowing for more growth and potential.


Amanda Koenn - 3:15 pm August 10, 2011

The Johns Hopkins Hospitals’ Wilmer Eye Institute selects Schifino Lee for brand vision project

August 10, 2011 – (TAMPA, Fla.) – The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins has long been recognized for bringing together ophthalmologists consistently ranked by their peers as among the finest internationally. These doctors are joined by a specially trained and highly experienced team of nurses, technicians and staff cited by patients for their knowledge, responsiveness, and sensitivity. Working together, they have established and refined a flexible approach for delivering state-of-the-art ophthalmic care at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The ability to change the way the world sees.
Wilmer graduates have had a wide influence on ophthalmology. More than 100 alumni have become department chairs at academic centers around the world. They have brought with them more than eight decades of remarkable achievements that have literally saved the sight (and lives) of millions of people, a legacy of excellence that continues to this very day.

The ability to change the way the world perceives.
Tampa Bay-based Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding, Inc. has created fresh ideas in all forms of digital and traditional media for businesses such as AT&T, Gerdau, USAmeriBank, Lifestyle Family Fitness, Tampa Museum of Art, Vology, Stellar Partners and PlasmaTherm. The Schifino Lee team also has extensive experience developing innovative marketing for healthcare companies such as Atlantic Imaging, Wellcare Health Plans, Pfizer, Novartis and Reproductive Medicine Group.

Communicating the Wilmer vision.
When the Wilmer Eye Institute decided to communicate their unique brand story to audiences in new ways, it selected Schifino Lee and its creative team led by Evan Brownstein, Chief Creative Officer. The assignment: Take the extraordinary vision and accomplishments of Wilmer and design a brand narrative that resonates with donors, potential donors, patients, potential patients, doctors, medical professionals, the media and all audiences.

“We are honored that The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins chose Schifino Lee for this project,” said Mr. Brownstein. “So many lives have been touched and transformed by Wilmer. By designing a brand narrative that is as innovative as the Wilmer experience, we hope to help Wilmer reach and serve an even bigger audience.”
Ben Lee, Principal and co-founder of Schifino Lee, noted, “More and more healthcare institutions and organizations are realizing that building a brand can be one of the most effective things they do to accomplish their missions.”
Recent examples of this right here in Tampa Bay include:

Moffitt Cancer Center bringing in Joe Hice, the former Chief Marketing Officer of Segway and Director of Corporate Communications for Harley-Davidson Motor Company as Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing;
BayCare Health System naming Stewart Schaffer, former Chief Marketing Officer of Lazydays, as its Chief Marketing Officer;
Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute engaging Schifino Lee to design and create their brand story.
“Hospitals recognize that they are in the customer service business and are adopting best practices of consumer brands. This is a trend we see growing and strengthening,” Mr. Lee concluded.

About Schifino Lee
Schifino Lee is a full service advertising and branding firm based in Tampa, Florida. The firm’s team has come together from a variety of careers and life experiences to strategize, craft and disseminate fresh ideas and messages in digital and traditional media for regional, national and global companies. These clients include AT&T, Vertical IT, Sims Recycling Solutions, Gerdau, and Wyndham Hotels. The Schifino Lee team also has extensive experience developing innovative marketing for healthcare companies such as WellCare Health Plans, Novartis, Schering Plough and Pfizer. As a full-service marketing and communications provider, Schifino Lee offers a wide range of services including advertising, public relations, interactive and marketing communications consulting. The company was founded in 1993 and currently employs a team of approximately 20 professionals.

About The Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins
The Wilmer Eye Institute has long been recognized for bringing together ophthalmologists consistently ranked by their peers as among the finest internationally, with a specially trained and highly experienced team of nurses, technicians and staff cited by patients for their knowledge, responsiveness, and sensitivity. Working together, they have established and refined a flexible approach for delivering state-of-the-art ophthalmic care at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and in seven locations around the state. Toward that end, The Wilmer Eye Institute constructed and opened The Robert H. and Clarice Smith Building and Maurice Bendann Surgical Pavilion in June 2009, creating the most modern ophthalmic surgical facility and vision research center in the world.

Schifino Lee - 4:03 pm August 9, 2011

Schifino Lee partners with four Tampa Bay brands growing as fast as their businesses



The Tampa Bay Business Journal recently announced its Fast 50 Awards. Schifino Lee congratulates all of the winners. And we are particularly grateful and proud to be branding partners with four of this year’s honorees:



Our initiatives with these companies all began with an important question: Is your brand growing as fast as your business?


When a company is in fast-growth mode, a lot of things change. Increased logistics. Expanded customer service. Upgraded financial systems. Just about every facet of the company evolves and transforms as you grow.


The one thing that many growing businesses are slow to transform is their branding. As other facets of their business change, their image and message to customers – and potential new customers – can become outdated if the brand doesn’t keep pace with the times.


Frequently this “old” brand image will pigeonhole a company, or make them look smaller than they have now become. Growth can move a company into entirely new areas of competition, but they may appear “stuck” in their previous market space. The opportunity costs of an outdated brand can be huge.


Rebranding can address these issues by communicating who you are today


Rebranding can create new opportunities by getting customers to view you in new ways. It can address new channels of business and position you for future growth. Rebranding can also reenergize your team and company culture, as well as attract a new brand of employee.


To accomplish a successful rebranding, it is important to partner with a branding professional who has a proven track record in this specific area of expertise. Ask to see examples of their work and consult references before hiring anyone.


Most importantly, consider the future growth opportunities that could be available to your company if potential customers were aware of how your company has grown and how far your brand has evolved.


Schifino Lee - 4:11 pm July 26, 2011

Schifino Lee illustrates presidential leadership qualities for Hillsborough County Bar Foundation


To promote the recent Hillsborough County Bar Foundation’s annual Law and Liberty Dinner, Schifino Lee combined symbolic art with inspiring messaging to highlight the appeal of the keynote speaker, best-selling author and TV commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin.

 In a phone conference with the Schifino Lee team, Ms. Goodwin said her speech would focus on the qualities that make an effective leader in time of crisis. Her examples would be Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Goodwin won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 1994 for No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II and her 2005 bestseller Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln is the basis of Steven Spielberg’s next film.

Goodwin’s phone conversation inspired Schifino Lee art director Eric Clark to create a stylized double portrait of Lincoln and Roosevelt that was used in advertising, direct mail and collateral for the dinner.

Clark said about his artwork, “The idea of a dual portrait of the two grew out of their shared values. We wanted the art to have an historic feel, but also evoke energy and fun because Doris Kearns Goodwin is a great scholar and a very entertaining speaker. The illustration mixes art deco style (which contrasts strength with delicacy) with contemporary digital execution that adds dimensional and thematic depth through subtle layering.”

When Goodwin saw the portrait she pronounced, “I love it!” immediately recognizing that the symbolism of the art paralleled her lecture, and the artistic elegance enhanced the theme.

With the speaker enthusiastic and the work receiving overwhelmingly positive responses from the dinner guests, Schifino Lee was proud to be a part of an enormously successful event that benefited an extraordinarily worthy cause.

Schifino Lee - 7:32 pm July 22, 2011

Rebranding helps “Fast 50” winners keep pace with growth.

The Tampa Bay Business Journal recently announced its Fast 50 Awards, recognizing the fastest growing companies in Tampa Bay. Schifino Lee congratulates all of the winners. And we are particularly grateful and proud to be branding partners with five of this year’s honorees:

  • Vology
  • Celestar
  • Audio Messaging Solutions
  • Franklin Street
  • Socius

Our initiatives with these companies all began with an important question:

Is your brand growing as fast as your business?

When a company is in fast-growth mode, a lot of things change. Increased logistics. Expanded customer service. Upgraded financial systems. Just about every facet of the company evolves and transforms as you grow.

The one thing that many growing businesses are slow to transform is their branding. As other facets of their business change, their image and message to customers – and potential new customers – can become outdated if the brand doesn’t keep pace with the times.

Frequently this “old” brand image will pigeonhole a company, or make them look smaller than they have now become. Growth can move a company into entirely new areas of competition, but they may appear “stuck” in their previous market space. The opportunity costs of an outdated brand can be huge.

Rebranding can address these issues by communicating who you are today. Rebranding can create new opportunities by getting customers to view you in new ways. It can address new channels of business and position you for future growth. Rebranding can also reenergize your team and company culture as well as attract a new brand of employee.

To accomplish a successful rebranding, it is important to partner with a branding professional who has a proven track record in this specific area of expertise. Ask to see examples of their work and consult references before hiring anyone.

Most importantly, consider the future growth opportunities that could be available to your company if potential customers were aware of how your company has grown and how far your brand has evolved.


Schifino Lee - 1:36 pm July 15, 2011

How do you rebrand a 110-year old company?

Gerdau evolves brand and engages Schifino Lee to create advertising campaign.

In 1901, the American League declared itself a Major League, six South Pacific British colonies federated and called themselves Australia, and the company that is now called Gerdau was founded.

Besides celebrating their 110th anniversary this year, all three of these events have something else in common. They all involve a crucial aspect of branding: what do you call yourself and how do you communicate this to your audiences in a way that is relevant for them?

The AL was originally a minor league known as the Western League. Then, when marketing innovator Charles Comiskey joined forces with Commissioner Ban Johnson, they rebranded as the American League. Most importantly, the AL eventually became home to our beloved Tampa Bay Rays.

Tampa Bay is also the North American headquarters for Gerdau. Gerdau’s history began in 1901 as a small nail factory in Porto Alegre, Brazil, called Pontas de Paris. As part of its 110-year anniversary celebration, Gerdau is introducing a new brand and visual identity that positions the Company for continued growth. In addition, the long steel and special steel operations of Gerdau in North America, Gerdau Ameristeel and Gerdau Macsteel, will now be called Gerdau.

Gerdau selected Schifino Lee Advertising + Branding to communicate this initiative in North America. Schifino Lee’s experience with rebranding campaigns for major divisions of AT&T combined with their team’s creative expertise communicating at a local level for brands such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Wyndham Hotels made them the best choice.

Schifino Lee’s campaign for Gerdau is built on the idea that, though Gerdau’s name has changed, one thing has remained consistent: the company and its people are committed to the communities it serves. Full-page print ads are running in over a dozen publications nationally.

Fledgling baseball leagues aspiring to be bigger. Former colonies getting together to become a continent. And one of the world’s most successful steel companies reaffirming their commitment to communities across America. It all really does go back to branding.

Schifino Lee - 3:48 pm June 29, 2011

Chief Creative Officer Appointed at Schifino Lee

“Creativity Is a Fancy Word for the Work We Have to Do By Friday.” – David Ogilvy

When the Chief Marketing Officer of American Express asked his marketing firms to create something that would inspire people to choose his brand over Mastercard or Visa, the Creative Director and his team had a non-traditional solution: partner with Robert DeNiro and launch The American Express Tribeca Film Festival.

When Enterprise Rent-A-Car challenged its marketing firm to communicate how a rental car company could make customers feel so important that they would choose an upstart over the more established Hertz and Avis, the same Creative Director had a solution: the “Pick Enterprise, We’ll Pick You Up” campaign that helped grow the brand to #1 and over $10 billion in revenue.

When Bacardi wanted to launch the first line of flavored rums while still building its flagship brand, that same Creative Director, now with McCann-Erickson, developed the “Bacardi By Night” campaign and came up with “Shake Up Your Night” for Bacardi Limon, O, CoCo, and Razz.

And when the Florida State Fair wanted to get younger people excited about coming to the Fair, that Creative Director launched a campaign that used YouTube and Facebook as platforms for a contest to create real-life super heroes based on Fair attractions and food. This campaign raised Web site visits and attendance at the Fair by 20% while lowering the average age of Fair goers.

What do all of these success stories have in common?

None of them started life as a “TV idea” or a “Web idea.” They all started as a solution to a client’s business challenge. They all began as an idea that would engage and entertain, no matter whether people experienced them as an event (Tribeca Film Festival), 15 or 30 second mini-movie (a.k.a. Enterprise or Bacardi TV commercial), or social media interaction (Florida State Fair).

And they all had the same Creative Director: Evan Brownstein.

Evan had the privilege to work with great people at American Express, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Bacardi, Nestlé, and Claritin. At Columbia University Film School he learned how to tell stories from Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, and Terry Southern who taught him that when you work with great people, you can do great things.

Working with great people is what drew Evan to Schifino Lee.

Clients universally say that Schifino Lee genuinely listens to them and learns about their businesses. Then that learning is translated into creative work that is fresh and compelling—in both digital and traditional media. All with the goal of growing clients’ businesses.

Schifino Lee is proud to announce the appointment of Evan Brownstein as Chief Creative Officer. We welcome you to put his creativity to work for your business. Call us at 813 258 5858. Evan’s extension is 240. His email is You can connect with Schifino Lee on our Facebook page or via Linkedin. Let’s start a conversation and see where it grows…

Schifino Lee - 7:57 pm June 17, 2011

Schifino Lee develops new advertising, website and SEM for Williams Schifino Mangione & Steady

Schifino Lee recently launched the website for Williams Schifino Mangione & Steady Law Firm. The new website for Williams Schifino provides an online legal services resource to current and potential clients along with direct access to Williams Schifino attorneys as they relate to these services. The Schifino Lee team sought to demonstrate the firm’s excellent reputation and abilities while creating an intuitive online experience that remains true to the firm’s client-centric approach to making the legal process more manageable. The new site is designed entirely with clients and potential clients in mind. Visitors can access in-depth information about each practice area and the attorneys in them. Since its launch the site has attracted considerable traffic and positive feedback from clients and industry leaders.

Schifino Lee also provided search engine optimization services in order to drive quality traffic to the site, and developed a robust content management system that makes updating the Williams Schifino website a breeze.

In order to support the new look expressed on the website, Schifino Lee refreshed the Williams Schifino brand message through new print advertisements. The new print advertisements are intended to position Williams Schifino as the premier corporate law firm in Tampa Bay. The Schifino Lee team sought to target business professionals in the Tampa Bay area in need of corporate legal services, by relating the confidence, training and skill needed to achieve goals in daunting activities such as skydiving and mountain climbing to the confidence, experience and skill needed in the courtroom. The new print advertisements illustrate that Williams Schifino is the aggressive, experienced and results driven law firm for a business to turn to when faced with seemingly insurmountable situations.

About Williams Schifino:
Williams Schifino is dedicated to providing expert legal advice in a timely and cost-effective manner. Our goal is to build long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with our clients. We are here to work in their best interests, to advise and represent them, and most importantly, to bring them optimal results. For more information, please visit

For more information visit our website at or please contact Ben Lee or Paola Schifino at 813-258-5858, exts. 224 and 223, respectively, or at and

Schifino Lee - 2:23 pm May 31, 2011

Schifino Lee’s e-strategy helps WellCare reach 65+ demographic

By recognizing the exponential boost in older Americans’ adoption of online technology, Schifino Lee Advertising & Branding helped Tampa –based WellCare Health Plans drive traffic and generate leads for their Medicare Advantage Plans, while also supporting sales channels and online enrollment.

The e-marketing strategy initiative was the product of a 7 month long project, which included a comprehensive breakdown of how internet-savvy the audiences for Medicare health plans are.

First, Schifino Lee studied the behavior and tendencies of Americans aged 65 and older; analyzing the good, the bad and the ugly of the “online enrollment web experience.” This analysis paired with calculated Search Engine Marketing, Lead Generating Media Placement and Comprehensive Web Content propelled Schifino Lee’s development into a fully trackable e-marketing plan.

Schifino Lee and WellCare crafted banner ads, e-blasts and keyword searches that drove over 240,000 web users to content- and art-rich microsites that launched on October 15, 2010, and ran until December 31, the end of Medicare open enrollment. Schifino Lee isolated 9 reasons to choose a WellCare Medicare Advantage Plan and made banner ads and microsites for each. Each one provided both a user-friendly online enrollment experience and tracking metrics that strengthened WellCare’s sales channels and conversion rate.

“It’s not just Generation Y utilizing the web anymore; now we see our parents and even grandparents turning to the internet for news, health information and entertainment ,” said Bryan Schulis, Account Coordinator of Schifino Lee who helped manage the campaign on a day-to-day basis. “There is no better way to connect and channel consumer interest than with integrated e-messaging for the benefit of our clients.”

By encouraging and harnessing the older demographics’ budding internet usage Schifino Lee has successfully bridged the gap between consumers in-need and valuable services.

For more information, please contact Bryan Schulis at 813-258-5858, ext. 234, or at For more information about WellCare Health Plans, visit the website at

Schifino Lee - 2:31 pm May 24, 2011

Schifino Lee uses iconic images to create exciting theme for AACSB International’s annual conference

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the world’s premiere accreditation for business schools. Its annual International Conference and Annual Meeting (ICAM) brings more than a thousand educators and business leaders from over 45 countries together to discuss pressing issues and new initiatives in management education.

Last year, the conference was held in Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world. Schifino Lee developed the conference’s strategic theme and graphic identity, “Lights, Camera, ICAM,” by taking cues from Hollywood to create an exciting environment while reinforcing AACSB’s global standards of professionalism and academic integrity. The theme encompassed bold colors, large scale photography of iconic stars and quotes from famous films.

Schifino Lee produced the conference’s event materials including banners, signage and collateral materials; and fashioned the layout design for The Exchange, a popular gathering spot which included sleek couches, Hollywood statues and contemporary wall artwork. Click here to see more.

AACSB’s Hollywood ICAM conference was the organization’s most well-received conference to-date, resulting in new ICAM conference standards that will be hard to top in this year’s upcoming event in New York City.

For more information on this event, please contact Amanda Koenn at 813-258-5858, ext. 209 or at

For more information about AACSB, visit the website at

Schifino Lee - 1:36 pm May 18, 2011

A new brand of intelligence: Schifino Lee positions Celestar

Celestar, a fast growing defense contractor providing intelligence and other critical support services to the military, was ready to step up and take its place among the defense industry’s top-tier solutions providers. Schifino Lee translated Celestar’s core values of dedication, tenacity and initiative—honored military values—into a powerful, differentiated brand message that commands the respect and attention of its US and international clients.

Schifino Lee immersed itself in Celestar’s business with employee focus groups, executive interviews, competitive research and a marketing audit. We discovered a top-to-bottom dedication among Celestar’s mostly veteran workforce for “fully completing the mission.” Celestar’s emphasis on military virtues, such as loyalty and integrity, set them apart from competitors who tended to put corporate ROI above all.

With this understanding, Schifino Lee’s creative team developed a new logo, tagline and visual identity to express Celestar’s philosophy: “Passion for the Mission.” After this foundation was laid, Schifino Lee created marketing materials including print advertisements, collateral materials, tradeshow displays and a new website,

Schifino Lee - 3:54 pm May 17, 2011

Translating complex ideas into compelling creative messages (and Chinese)

Schifino Lee works its magic across many global industries — big, small and otherwise. A recent project took us into the obscure world of lead anodes for electro refining. RSR Anodes, based in Casa Grande, AZ needed a new website and sales literature to present its products to a worldwide audience of hydrometallurgical processors.

RSR’s manufactured product is a slab of lead and other materials that when charged with an electric current will attract a specific non-ferrous metal (such as zinc or cobalt) from ore dissolved in acid. For the Schifino Lee creative team, the first stop was educating themselves on electro winning—that is the refining process that employs the anodes—and the RSR manufacturing process.

The new website describes the numerous compositional and manufactured features of the anodes, and the benefits they present to metal refiners. Schifino Lee reduced these complex concepts into concise language that can be understood by everyone involved in the purchasing process—from a plant manager with an advanced engineering degree to a purchasing manager who never studied chemistry.

One more challenge to Schifino Lee was publishing the information in 5 languages: Spanish, French, Chinese and Japanese as well as English. Since its launch the website has had more than 25,000 unique visitors which is excellent traffic for this niche product. View website:

Schifino Lee also provided RSR Anodes with SEO services in order to drive quality traffic to the site, and developed a robust Content Management System for client administration.

Why has Schifino Lee been retained by clients from so many different industries, in places near and far? Because, we listen to our clients and learn about their businesses—and we translate what they do into creative work that is fresh and compelling—in both digital and traditional media.

And shouldn’t we all start doing business in Chinese?

Schifino Lee - 8:45 pm May 16, 2011

how to sell designer ice cream

Rachel would rather enjoy a Magnum than canoodle with Baptiste

Here’s a marketing challenge: make ice cream on a stick a super premium luxury product that size double-zero fashionistas will crave as much as Birken bags.

The solution:

  1. Hire Rachel Bilson, the unspeakably pretty (and skinny) actor/ model to be your spokesperson
  2. Retain uber designer and Chinese fan waver Karl Lagerfeld to make short films (web commercials) starring Rachel.
  3. Premier the resulting masterpieces at the coolest of all film festivals, Tribeca.

Now stand back as your brand goes viral and market share skyrockets thanks to the amazing, super cool, hyper stylized images that are not quite art, but not really marketing either.


Schifino Lee - 9:23 pm May 9, 2011

Extreme niche marketing

The best advertising doesn’t just talk about a product; it demonstrates how the product makes the user’s life better. People connect with advertising and brands when they feel the emotional satisfaction of having a need fulfilled.

Honda and their brand marketing partner RPA know how to do affective marketing, but the current Civic work falls short. It’s not because the cars fail to satisfy, but because the people whose needs are being satisfied are hard to identify with.


Schifino Lee - 4:45 pm April 19, 2011

Am I a hip-hop hamster?

Since I have absolute faith in the abilities of media planners (especially Nordin) whenever an advertising message comes my way I believe I must be a customer.

I’ve seen the commercial for the Kia Soul several times now, it must be a vehicle I’d buy. But am I really a hip-hop hamster?

Enormous, anthropomorphic, urban, hamsters dressed in hoodies, caps and bling lavalieres are, according to the spot, the ideal drivers for this boxy, mini SUV. They rap the message “you can give her this, or you can give her that.” Meaning you can drive a toaster on wheels or be cool in the eyes of the ladies by driving Kia Soul (which looks like an undersized Scion— a car that does in fact resemble a toaster on wheels).

So why does Kia think I aspire to be a Hip Hop Hamster? I suspect this message is about authenticity. Stand out from the crowd and to thine self be true by driving this car. It’s a unique presentation. But that’s all that’s unique. The rest screams wannabe.

Hamsters are innocuous little rodents, way down on the pet totem pole. A disposable imitation of a real companion (i.e. dog) and not even as cool as a ferret, hamsters are best known for running and getting no where. Hip Hop was once an expression of a genuine cultural movement. Now its just another style so safe and sanitized you can buy it at Kohls in grade school sizes. A pre-packaged “look” the insecure can put on to blend into and pretend to be part of the crowd.

As for the vehicle, it doesn’t seem all that distinctive to me. In a video on the website the designer states he set out to design something cool and stylish (nice try). What is really interesting is his inspiration: a wild boar wearing a backpack. Now that’s standout.

Rodentine, disposable, second-best, uniform, going nowhere, imitative are not how I see myself. Until I learned about Kia Soul, the name I would’ve given to those attributes is “LAME.”


Amanda Koenn - 3:11 pm April 12, 2011

Spin For Kids

The 2011 Spin For Kids Celebrity Bike Spin took place this past weekend at the Glazer Children’s Museum. The host of this years event was Buccaneer great, #51 Barrett Rudd.

The funds raised will benefit Academy Prep, a Tampa middle school which prepares economically disadvantaged students to achieve acadmic success, and PlaySmart, a national non-profit organization that helps kids reach their full potential through sports.

The event was a great success and included 5 hours of spinning on the lawn of Curtis Hixon park with motivational instructors pushing everyone to their limits. After the intense spin a party was held at the Glazer Children’s Museum with a live band, food, drinks and dancing.

Glazer Childrens Museum on Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa, site of Celebrity Spin for Kids.

SchifinoLee provided all of the marking support for this super event including the logo, flyers and ads.

Schifino Lee - 7:03 pm March 22, 2011

Imaginary Sanitary

First came auto flush toilets followed by auto faucets. Some public washrooms now have auto soap dispensers that ejaculate the right amount of liquid into your wet palm. These conveniences are not about hygiene, but about saving money. But that hasn’t stopped the good people at Lysol—probably the #1 germ fighting brand—from offering home auto dispensers as a must-have  to save your family from heaven-knows-what that is lurking on that liquid soap bottle.

There is just a teeny flaw in this pitch. What do you do immediately after touching the so-called germy soap pump? YOU WASH YOUR HANDS! That’s why you touched the bottle in the first place. Any agent of infection you might pick up touching that tiny plunger is eradicated within seconds by the soap emitted from said plunger. Hygiene problem solved.

Are dirty liquid soap dispensers really a problem? According to the Hand Washing Fact Sheet of the Wisconsin Department of Health, soap bottles only need to be cleaned when refilled. Or use bar soap that is a whole lot cheaper.

And don’t get me started on the True Clean Towel (watch their video at your own risk). It never occurred to me that the portion of bath towel that touched my face this morning may have dried a more discreet section of my epidermis yesterday. Ewww, gross! But wait a second—wasn’t that, um, foot scrubbed with body wash and rinsed in plenty of hot water? So it was clean, fresh, odor free and exfoliated when it got toweled wasn’t it? Oh well, nevermind.


Schifino Lee - 3:02 pm March 4, 2011

She takes rebranding personally

Georgian-American Soprano

International Diva

Lina Tetruashvili is a glamorous, raven-haired soprano. So is Lina Tetriani.
Which would go to an opera house to hear sing Musetta or Violetta?
By shedding her Georgian handle and adopting a more operatic name lyric Lina graduated verismo roles in small houses to Grand Opera.


Here she is as Magda in act I of La Rondine.

Schifino Lee - 4:46 pm February 23, 2011

Using Quick Response Codes

We wrote last week about QR (quick response) codes—that square matrix that connects a smart to web content. Today we’re adding some “best practice” guidelines for their use.

  1. Size matters. A bigger code is easier to capture, especially for phones with a hair-trigger auto focus. Trying to hold your phone just right to is really frustrating and will not engender good will.
  2. Get a commercial for the price of a bus shelter. QR codes to link to any kind of data. It can be text, flash, audio or a short video. So it is essential that—
  3. Content has to be mobile-enabled. What’s the use of connecting people to a web page or site they can’t read on a mobile device?
  4. All codes are local codes. QR codes let you run the same ad in multiple publications without any changes except for the code. It is even possible to use APIs to localize and personalize the resulting web experience.
  5. It’s okay to tease. When you include a QR code you can whittle down the ad, poster or even speciality network video to its selling essence and let the web carry all the details. Reaction becomes interaction as the viewer is able to get more information immediately.
  6. Close the deal in seconds. Talk about hot irons and strikes: an interested consumer can connect from your poster to your e-commerce site and make a purchase within minutes of first seeing your message.
Schifino Lee - 4:24 pm February 21, 2011

Schifino Lee launches new agency website & blog

Why are we refreshing our website? For the same reasons every business should consider:

  • To better represent who we are today (not last year or 2-3 years ago)
  • To take advantage of innovations in web programming
  • To simplify navigation for quicker arrival at what visitors want to see
  • To build a better showcase for our work
  • To create an efficient platform for future content
  • To refine our design aesthetics

As a leading provider of online solutions, our business has evolved so our online presence had to as well.
It’s imperative that we have a site that exemplifies what a website should be for our business and to convey our brand personality.

Some improvements you will see:

  • Featured work on the home page. Our product is what visitors want to see, so there it is.
  • More interactivity, because many brand experiences happen on the web today
  • New options for searching our online portfolio by industry and by category
  • A complete overhaul of our Blog to reflect the most current agency and industry information

And a few features you can’t see: We built it on an open-source CMS for easy updating; and we’ve incorporated some best practices for SEO (search engine optimization).

So please explore Schifino Lee’s new web experience, follow us on Twitter and visit often to see new content and catch up with our “Blog & Pony Show.”

For more information visit our website at or please contact Ben Lee or Paola Schifino at 813-258-5858, exts. 224 and 223, respectively, or at and

Schifino Lee - 3:28 pm February 18, 2011

secret society

QR codes are the new secret weapon for reaching cream-of-the-crop demographics. That square matrixy looking thing you see on ads and posters and shop windows is a QR code. QR stands for quick response. You point your smart phone at it and get connected to info on the web. Way cool. When I first started seeing these—and Microsoft’s colored triangle version— I felt like I was missing out so I had to upgrade to a smart phone (Android platform HTC Evo).

To view QR codes you need a code reader app. There are several of them, all free, for all the platforms. The app opens the phone’s camera, focuses and captures the matrix. It reads the URL embedded in the code and opens it in the browser.

We’re using them at Slee. We made a series of posters for AT&T with codes that lead to exclusive content. We’ll do the same with materials for ICAM. And we’re even putting them on our own collateral and ads to connect prospects to our fabulous new website.

Less than half of mobile users have smart phones, so a huge part of population can’t read QR codes, but they are still worth pursuing. They let you connect directly to professionals, decision makers, high wage earners, youth and early adapters—the customers who launch new brands.

Paola Schifino - 7:49 pm February 11, 2011

Michelangelo, Bernini, Calder, Slee

Cradle of Champions before its unveiling in Fort Worth

On January 28, 2011,  Slee’s contribution to the civic monuments was unveiled by officials from the City of Fort Worth and Gerdau Ameristeel. The Cradle of Champions sculpture is the steel manufacturer’s gift to the city, one of the co-hosts of Super Bowl XLV, and was designed by Schifino Lee.

The artwork is made from steel recycled, cast and rolled  by Gerdau at one of its mini mills. This is the the third time the Brazil-based metals companies has given a monument to a Super Bowl host city.

The sculpture stands in Sundance Square, the heart of Fort Worth.

According to a story on ESPN cable and internet, Cradle of Champions honors the rich tradition of scholar football in Texas. The 14 tons of steel come from North Texas Stadium, which was recently demolished, and high schools were asked to contribute some bit of steel from their own facilities. On the back of the sculpture will be engraved all the names of Lone Star high school and college football players who have and will play professional ball.

Schifino Lee - 11:44 am January 24, 2011

Slee gets Pulitzer Prize-

Winner’s Praise.

When best-selling author and TV commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin saw the work Schifino Lee created to promote her upcoming appearance in Tampa she pronounced, “I love it!”

Her book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1994. Her 2005 book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln was a huge bestseller and is the basis of Steven Spielberg’s next film.

Art Director Eric Clark created the stylized double portrait of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to illustrate Goodwin’s theme: the personal characteristics and values that make one a great leader.  She will give examples of how values such as perspective, magnanimity and humor helped past presidents excel and can help anyone succeed in a leadership role.

Ms. Goodwin will be keynote speaker at the Hillsborough County Bar Foundation Law & Liberty Dinner on March 24, at the Grand Hyatt. Admission is by reservation only. Call 813-221-7777 for information.

Ben Lee - 12:16 pm January 11, 2011

Logo Evolution

A client asked last week, “When is it time to change our logo?” Eric answered him briskly, “When your company changes.”

Your logo symbolizes your company. It stands for all your corporate values and represents the customer experience. When those aspects change significantly—that is they improve—the logo needs to be updated to capture them. That’s what Starbucks Coffee will be doing in March when it rolls out its new mark.

Among my favorite logos are AT&T, Shell Oil and Volkswagen—all old ones that have evolved over the years with their corporate ancestor. Mostly they get modernized to reflect progressing aesthetics. Shell Oil, for instance, has updated its shell and evolved it from a representational image to an expressionistic one. Volkswagen’s initials-in-a-circle have gotten sleeker, more high-tech (and expensive) looking as their cars have done the same.

Apple Computer started out with a crunchy-granola, fruit label type logo that spoke of its California upbringing and small-company, “hand selected” philosophy. It was a great way to represent food and wine and a new way to talk about technology. As Apple dedicated itself to simplicity and being the computer anyone and everyone could use it drastically simplified its logo to just the apple with rainbow. Changes from rainbow to black to white to chrome reflect contemporary aesthetics as well as Apple’s position as a technology leader.

None of the companies we just discussed use their name as part of their logo. This is partly language-neutral globalism, partly ubiquity and partly pride. Starbucks has joined this crew with a 40th anniversary iteration of their mermaid. A company spokesman said that the mnemonic refinement reflects refinement of their strategy.  The Associated Press dug a little deeper (January 5, 2011)

“The brand is now evolving to a point where the coffee association is too confining and restrictive,” said John Quelch, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School. “Starbucks is fundamentally selling an experience, but by no means is coffee the only part of the experience. It is important that they not have a logo that is too confining.”

I never did see the connection between mythical human-fish hybrids and coffee. I sort of get how she can symbolize the other-worldly, get-away-from-it-all experience of relaxing with a good cup of coffee (something Starbucks has never had). But what she has to do with students and officeless consultants sponging wi-fi, lines of SUVs snaking toward the take-out window and the pseudo-socializing of social networks someone needs to explain to me.

Paola Schifino - 3:10 pm January 4, 2011

Luxury & Vanity


What is significant about this ad from fashion and luxury goods purveyor Hermes?
It’s not that there’s nothing the least bit vulgar or titillating about it. Or that it occupied the back cover of a speciality magazine (Opera News) with advertising focused almost exclusively on its specialty.


Schifino Lee - 1:39 pm December 1, 2010

I’ll be hum for Christmas

I was in a certain discount department store before Thanksgiving and the place was done up in full Christmas drag with traditional holiday music blaring away. So I thought before overexposure to cheese wrecks them, let’s take a minute to appreciate the holiday songs we love. Here are the favorites of your friends at Schifino Lee:

Alison: “Rocking Around The Christmas Tree” by Brenda Lee

Eric C:  “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” by Gene Autry

Ben Lee: “Bing Crosby’s ‘White Christmas‘ reminds me of growing up in New York City in the 30’s eventhough I didn’t.”

Amanda: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

Paula: “Santa Baby” (here’s a sweet and sultry performance by Kylie Minogue)

Jill: “12 Days of Christmas” by Bob and Doug McKenzie. Anyone who knows Jill understands.

Roxie: “I’ll be home for Christmas”

Jeannette: “The Christmas Song” as sung by Nat King Cole

Nordin: “Any of the Christmas carols that the Chinese Restaurant sang to the family in A Christmas Story family.”

Eric L: “All I Want For Christmas is You” Mariah Carey

Bryan is half-Jewish/ Half Christian so he gets 2 picks: N Sync, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” and Adam Sandler’s original “Chanukah (Hanukkah) Song”

Schifino Lee - 5:36 pm November 15, 2010

cause & effect

Our friends (and clients) at PIERS posted this interesting bit of international trade information on their recent e-newsletter:

a TEU is the capacity of a 20-ft shipping container.

a TEU is the capacity of a 20-ft shipping container.

These are the top five categories of imports to the United States from countries using the Euro.

You can see that half the volume of trade is beer and wine. The next biggest import is car parts. It makes us wonder if there’s a relationship. Will drinking less Becks lead to fewer dinged Beemers?

PIERS is Ports Import Export Report Service. They are the world’s leading compiler, supplier and analyst of trade data. Manufacturers, retailers, shippers, investors, journalists and even government economists use their databases.

Schifino Lee - 2:24 pm October 27, 2010

What I’m doing here

In this edition of Blog and Pony Show Tyler Ward, our newest intern, explains why he signed on.

I’m interning at Schifino Lee because I’m hungry for new experiences. I have a strong background in finance, and anyone in my shoes and his right mind would be pursuing jobs in investment banking right now.  Maybe I should say anyone in his left mind would be pursuing a job in investment banking since that’s the analytical side of the brain.  And there’s the problem: I am in my right mind—creative and eager for all kinds of stimulation—and left-brain businesses such as law and finance do not have the creative energy that stimulates me (at least in entry positions).

So far nothing has quenched my thirst for new experiences and creativity as well as advertising and branding.  It is exciting, motivating, and thought provoking to constantly have a fresh task at hand.  Furthermore, I love learning new things and I learn best by doing (I read far too slow, even after numerous speed reading classes, to learn fast enough to be “contempt”).

My experience at Schifino Lee so far has been fast paced and stimulating (which I certainly expected since my other experiences with Paola Schifino—a close family friend—have been far from ordinary).  So far, Schifino Lee has given me exactly what I want, I have asked – to learn while having the chance to be creative.

Finally, I need to confess that my left brain did play a part in my decision to intern here. All this experience will look good on my resume.

Tyler Ward is not only our best dressed intern ever, but the best-dressed man in the office. He is a recent graduate of Stetson University and is a native of Tampa.

Schifino Lee - 10:54 am October 19, 2010

What happened to portfolio reviews?

I asked the other creative team members yesterday and they concurred: no one has asked for a portfolio review. (more…)

Schifino Lee - 5:09 pm September 29, 2010

Coming to a screen very near you

Advertisers/Agencies are licking their chops to reach potential customers via video on the most intimate form of media. Cellphone Networks are gearing up to handle the bandwidth and the amount of mobile video users that will hit nearly 24 million in 2010.

Much like TV, different content is going to be viewed depending on the demographic. The product or service is going to be key in the targeting process. Verizon’s V-Cast and Flow TV are leading the way for aggregating video content with many of the top providers.

For one of our clients Schfino Lee targets young, active males through ESPN Mobile where we found the click-to-call feature a valuable response tool.

Schifino Lee - 12:12 pm September 24, 2010

Cisco lets you conference with people in the future

The commercials have been on for months, but Cisco Systems’ spots starring Ellen Page still annoy me.

The premise: Juno visits her hometown of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and sees the town transformed by Cisco video technology.


Schifino Lee - 1:30 pm September 20, 2010

A new way to let your fingers do the walking.

Since yellow page advertising continues to decline, more local businesses are turning to new techniques to attract and retain customers. The directories, meanwhile, are scrambling to come up with new ideas to retain advertisers and it looks like mobile tactics might be their saving grace.

A study by the Yellow Pages Association (YPA) documents the growth of mobile users and their use of directories on mobile platforms.

So it looks as though our fingers are doing the walking, but please—not while you’re driving.

Schifino Lee - 4:18 pm August 11, 2010

‘The Great Typo Hunt’

Theorising that one could travel within his own country, Jeff Deck stepped into his car and vanished… He found himself travelling the nation, facing signage that was not his own and driven by an unknown force to change grammar for the better. His only guide on this journey is Benjamin D. Herson, a friend of Jeff’s. And so Jeff finds himself leaping from town to town, striving to put right what once went grammatically wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home…

No, but seriously, this actually happened.  You can read the story on NPR and then go buy the book from Amazon.

Schifino Lee - 3:54 pm July 29, 2010

If you’re not part of the solution…

The business jargon bandwagon that everyone is riding nowadays is called, “Solutions Provider.” Why merely sell a thing or service, when one can provide a solution?

The strategy of solutions provided has a sturdy psychological basis. There’s a gap in your life or business, some gaping hole caused by a deep riddle or gnawing necessity. If only you could solve it, life would be complete. Hence the Solution Provider, your dedicated partner, friend and enabler. In addition to the “if only” card, the Solution Provider also plays the self esteem card. They provide a unique solution customized to your needs because each of us is a precious snowflake.

Schifino Lee, as a Commercial Identity Solutions Provider, stands ready to assist any business upgrade to the rarified aura of Solutions Provider. Here are some examples:

Egress Solutions Provider: Doorman

Tonsorial Grooming Solutions Provider: Barber

Nutrient Disc Deployment Solutions: Pizza Delivery

Flora Uniformity Solutions Providers: Lawn Crew

Glass Transparency Solutions Provider: Window Washer

Female Self Esteem Improvement Provider: Cosmetic Surgeon

Temporary Child Care Solutions Provider: Baby Sitter

Text to Action Translation Provider: Actor

Satisfaction Obstruction Solutions Provider: Customer Service Rep

Animal Cardio Health Provider: Dogwalker

Transaction Consummation Solutions Provider: Cashier

Domestic Sanitation & Appearance Enhancement Provider: House Cleaner

Spousal Atonement Solutions Provider (entry level): Florist

Spousal Atonement Solutions Provider (mid level): Maitre d’

Spousal Atonement Solutions Provider (advanced): Jeweler

Solutions Solutions Provider: Math Tutor