Urban Vibes  

Problem: The Urban Outfitter's shopping experience does not resemble their bold brand core. Shoppers are relying on online purchasing instead of visiting the brand's curated stores. 

How can we connect the Urban Outfitter's customer to the brand in a new way?                                                                                              Leverage an interest the young, aspirational customer has (music) to help keep the shopping experience relevant. 

Secondary Question: Urban Outfitters makes clothes for people who want to embody individualism, experimentation and novelty, but many need help getting there. How can we also inject objectivity into a subjective fashion world? 

Who is a good partner that is creating emerging technology for the music industry?                                                                                                  We selected the new ROLI technology. Their mission is to democratize music production by making music creation easy through the use of their hyper-intuitive electronic music blocks in the physical and digital space. The technology is made up of physical blocks, the NOISE application (which can be used apart from the blocks) and a social sharing platform. We decided to use the digital application. 

We wanted to harness not only ROLI's technology, but their vision to democratize. Like music, fashion is a complicated language of expression, especially for young people. We imagined a world were selecting an outfit to put in an online shopping cart could be an expressive art of composition rather than an oppressive fear of getting it wrong.

Urban Vibes is our combination of the ROLI technology and Urban Outfitters. We want to revolutionize the act of picking an outfit by having trusted 'experts' assign sounds to articles of clothing. Each piece of clothing will have a different sound creating harmonious or disharmonious pieces when combined in the basket. This will connect Urban Outfitter's customer's to online purchasing in a bold and interesting way that mirror's the brand's core while also providing the customer with confidence in the outfit that they select.

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TEAM: Michael (Moose) Michtaew, Eddie Bennett, Blake Smoral

Curved House Kids

Curved House Kids

Curved House Kids

I discovered Curved House Kids on Aboutme and it felt like I had found true love on tinder. Within a week, I interviewed, bought a ticket to Berlin and joined a team to create learning tools to help kids navigate our visual world. I took a deep dive into the impact of visual literacy in elementary education and worked with writers, art directors and artists to create resources that were presented at the International Visual Literacy Association Conference. I also planned, promoted and managed a bilingual children’s festival celebrating the connection of art and science.

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Planning a Bilingual Art+Science Festival

I never imagined I would be planning a bilingual children's festival. My team and I overtook an old bookstore and transformed it with a giant cardboard castle, music for rapping about geological rocks and water glasses with perfect pitch. The challenge was to communicate with German and English kids at once, forcing me to develop activities that were very visual and experiential such as an animal mash up, the science of sound and planets on parade. Creating this festival challenged  the way I viewed communication from predominantly verbal to the marriage of visual and verbal. .

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Deep Dive Research

I had the opportunity to study the education systems in Germany, the UK and the US to help guide the artists and writers in the creative development process. We produced educational materials that helped build Curved House Kids into an international brand. I also created a resource guide for the work that other companies were doing in the field. My work helped produce a series of new workshops and provided research and support for our IVLA presentation.




I volunteered as the marketing chair for a seven week campaign because I have always preferred villains to heroes. My role in creating our villain spanned from crafting a communication plan with forty-four different inputs, sawing and creating a  twenty-foot encouragement board, sneaking our team on campus wearing all black with backpacks full of chalk and encouraging UNC students to encourage kids at the UNC hospitals.

For seven weeks in the fall of 2013, my new media technology class from the School of Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill planned and executed - from start to finish - a creative marketing campaign to benefit a local nonprofit. With $100 and social media tools at their disposal, a campaign, “Heel Heist for The Monday Life,” was developed, and a mischievous do-gooder named Scamzees was born. Here’s his story. 

Campaign highlight reel: http://bit.ly/1doBrX8
#HeelFaster Book: http://bit.ly/17JtARq
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1ci8ecl
Twitter: http://bit.ly/16YO1K2
The Monday Life: http://bit.ly/HmXdMk


Communication Plan

Communication Plan


Your Lasting Gift

We decided to design a communication plan about one of the least likely to be talked about topics, death. Nearly 90% of individuals consider their own deaths and begin planning, but only 30% discuss these plans with their families. Overwhelmingly, individuals wish their funerals to be a celebration of their lives rather than a focus on their demise. Yet, the funeral industry is huge in the United States with funerals costing on average at least $10,000. This results in an exponential burden placed on the families to make those, at times, guilt focused decisions. Does Grandma deserve this mahogany casket? She did tuck me in every night. This is not the way that the individuals would have necessarily have wanted to be memorialized, but culture has created the need to express love and honor through these purchasable symbols. This burden extends to our global family. The environmental impact of current culturally popular funeral practices have resulted in:  

  1. Cemeteries in the US taking up 1 million acres of land

  2. 115 million tons of casket steel enough to build over 2,000 empire state buildings

  3. 2.3 billion tons of concrete from burial vault could pave a sidewalk to the moon 28 times

 The Green burial council is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to encourage environmentally sustainable end-of-life options, and the use of burial as a new means of protecting natural areas. 

Our communication plan shifts the focus of one's death from the elaborate funeral to the gift that was their life and how that life can continue to be a gift.

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Nineteen percent of the social media conversation surrounding green burial was found on a fantasy website. The nineteen percent of the conversation found on the more news based twitter had words associated including: pagan, cult and following. Green Burial is a misunderstood practice. We felt the first step in reframing green burial as a personal lasting gift was to introduce people to the concept of green burial.

1. A scientific article on medium discussing the merit of green burial and the positive environmental impacts (combats fear)

2. Green Burial introduction by the "Green Living Guy" and Eco-consultant and green living our with a blog with over 4.8 million followers. He expresses interest in finding new topic to features in his blog and invited individuals and organizations to help him create cultural conversations.

3. "What is green burial?" on various Green Burial social feeds (currently their social feeds typically repost other content or celebrate the fact another funeral home is adopting green practice, but they need to leverage their own resources to educate the general public more about the topic at large.)  

Encourage individuals to own the process 

Our interviews revealed the immense burden that is placed on loved ones as soon as someone passes. People fear they will not have the funeral the individual would have wanted. Often, loved ones have very limited time and are grieving as well and have to settle for the most convenient options. The second part of this communication plan encourages individuals to own the process of making decisions regarding one's funeral. 

1. Be a guest on Bad Christian Media podcast. BCM  focuses on social issues that the church has a difficult time discussing. (Planning my own funeral)

2. Create a Facebook timeline symbol (similar to the I am an organ donor). I choose to be part of Your Lasting Gift

3. Reach out to local business owners who are passionate about conservation/the environment in various areas to also add the Your Lasting Gift symbol to their own timelines as a personal decision

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Free the Conversation 

Shift the social media conversation about death to focus more on a person’s life to make it easier to talk about preparations for death with loved ones. Conversations about death are an important part of life. Help decrease the burden on loved ones and a person's global family by helping to facilitate these conversations before an individual passes away. 

1. #YourLastingGift to me concept is introduced on a blog post by popular counselor

2. Brandon Stanton Human's of New York (funeral edition), but the stories focus on the individual's life instead of the individual's death. No pictures of coffins and tombstones, but maybe a picture of their saxophone. 

3. The idea for a collaborative spotify playlist was born from the amount of pinterest/twitter comments we saw seeking music for someone's funeral. The collaborative playlist allows individuals to work together to add the songs that represent a special moment between the individual who passed and the individual who adds the song. The #lifecelebration playlist would be introduced by several musicians. 

Team: Martin Madrigal, Carly Harrison, Afia Boyke 



A Challenger 

Single pod coffee is synonymous with Keurig. Convenience dominates the conversation. Tassimo does not have a seat at the table.

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Coffee discoveries 

1. Coffee consumption is not restricted by amount, time of day or location

2. Single pod coffee is viewed as a solo experience

3. The chief complaint about Tassimo is that it is slow

4. Desire for specialty coffee is increasing



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Tassimo's new purpose

Leave Keurig to tackle convenience. Lean into the fact that Tassimo takes time to brew by challenging the role of convenience and speed in the single pod coffee category.

Purpose: Make single pod coffee an experience to savor.

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Take your Tassimo Time

Tassimo will invite sippers to treat their single pod coffee experience as a personal time to pamper and reflect

-Tassimo resting pods in crowded locations

-Tassimo wrapper creative inspiration ideas for  #Tassimotime

-A pre-set calendar plug in to alert a sipper that their #Tassimotime is near



Lowes + Smart Home Tech

Lowes + Smart Home Tech

Lowe's + Smart Home Technology

We were tasked with redoing the smart home security display at Lowe's. We dug a little deeper and quickly discovered that no one was in the smart home technology aisle. Crickets chirped, even Lowe's employees did not know what was on display. We interviewed dozens of Lowe's customers and discovered that Lowe's was the place they went to get the tools they needed to accomplish a project. Many feared smart home technology and were hesitant to install it in their homes. We discovered that we did not merely need to redesign a display, we needed to reintroduce the Lowe's customer to smart home technology not as technology, but with imagery that they could trust. Our strategy was to show that smart home technology is as simple and empowering as the tools in a toolbox.




Sharpie Tattoo

Sharpie Tattoo


Sharpie the Brand

We tried to imagine what Sharpie would be like as a store. First, we took a deep dive into the brand and outlined their core. 

Sharpie's Purpose: Stand up for self-expression

Values: Creativity, honesty/integrity and encouraging innovation

Vision: Help people to experience their ideas, feeling, moods and memories

Strategy: Design new products to help creative people work

Sharpie takes a stand for self-expression by designing new products to help creative people work. The permanent ink of a tattoo mirrors the confidence that Sharpie wants to instill in their creators. Sharpie, owned by Newell Rubbermaid, is the dominant market leader in permanent marker and pen products, holding 89 percent of the market share in 2013, so they can afford to make a bold move[1]. Sharpie recently launched the edgy Sharpie Extreme campaign through social media. Sharpie Extreme, with fade resistant UV technology, is for “when you need a marker as bold as you.[2]” Tattoos are the boldest form of self-expression because of their permanence. The recent advertising strategy and continued market share dominance makes now the perfect time to launch Sharpie Tattoo.

Sharpie Tattoo (Ink Space + Tattoos + The Shop)

Sharpie Tattoo was born as an expression of the creativity of the brand and the confidence permanence instills in its customers. 

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Ink Space                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Sharpie Tattoo is part creative space part tattoo shop. Customers arrive and are greeted by our creative inspirer who shows them to our Ink Space. This creative nook has a papered floor, an assortment of sharpies, sticker paper and a blank wall. Visitors are asked to leave part of themselves permanently behind by drawing on our wall. Sharpie Tattoo also provides creative prompts in case a creator needs initial inspiration. The Ink Space will also serve as a home for our monthly tattoo workshop classes and evening adult social events centered around the communal creation of art.   

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Tattoos                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If a customer brings their tattoo idea, drawn with Sharpie products, they will receive 15 percent off their tattoo. Sharpie Tattoo will also offer henna and semi-permanent tattoo options.


The Shop                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               The final three walls of the shop will be professionally designed, in Sharpie, by local artists to reflect the location and the culture surrounding the shop. 

The Audience

The ideal person to walk through the door of Sharpie Tattoo is a student interested in design. A Pew Research Center study indicates that more than one-third of Americans ages eighteen to twenty-five have a tattoo[1]. Our launch will specifically target college students in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago with prominent social media accounts (especially Pinterest and Instagram) by inviting them to design a complimentary henna, semi-permanent or permanent tattoo in Sharpie. We will also reach out to art schools in each area.

The Launch

Our launch locations are based on the aggregation of areas with the most tattoo shops and a large population of college students. The large amount of existing tattoo shops in our locations, while creating competition, also conveys interest in permanent ink design. Sharpie Tattoo will capitalize on the existing platforms of popular artists and tattoo interest in the various areas. In order to create a widespread presence throughout the Unites States, Sharpie Tattoo will launch on both coasts and in the Midwest: in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. The first shop will be in New York City and based on the rate of success, Sharpie Tattoo will expand to Los Angeles and Chicago.

-New York City has at least 1.3 million college students[2] and the most tattoo shops in the country with 277[3]

-Los Angeles has at least 1.1 million college students[4] and 160 tattoo shops[5]

-Chicago has at least 670,000 college students[6] and 121 tattoo shops[7]

The Competition

The competition for Sharpie Tattoo will be other local tattoo shops. We have included the top five ranked businesses on Yelp, in our three launch cities, because forty-nine percent of tattooed people think that the reputation of the tattoo artists/studio is the most important factor in choosing an establishment.[8]

-       New York: Village Tattoo, Kings Avenue Tattoo, Diamond Tattoos, The End is Near and Eight of Swords Tattoo[9].

-       Los Angeles: American Electric Tattoo, Generation8tattoo, Tattoo Love, Tinta Rebelde Art Gallery and Tattoo Studio and Alchemy Tattoo[10].

-       Chicago: Insight Studios, Deluxe Tattoo, Speakesy Custom Tattoo, Revolution Tattoo and Code of Conduct[11].

Our Business Model

Sharpie Tattoo’s employees will include our creative inspirer/administrator and three artists who will work as independent sub-contractors within our studio. Sharpie Tattoo will retain high quality licensed artists by only collecting a sixty percent commission rate.[12] Artists will bring their existing customers and their own tools to Sharpie Tattoo. Sharpie Tattoo’s overhead will include the rental and design of the space, materials for various programs, initial design aesthetic and the salary of the administrator/creative inspirer. Sharpie Tattoo’s profits will be monetary, but the greater profit will be in social media shares and likes for the Sharpie Brand amongst the targeted audience of college students.



[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/daily-number/tattooed-gen-next

[2] http://www.citylab.com/design/2012/08/americas-leading-college-towns/3054/

[3] http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/gallery/most-tattoos

[4] http://www.citylab.com/design/2012/08/americas-leading-college-towns/3054/

[5] http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/gallery/most-tattoos

[6] http://www.citylab.com/design/2012/08/americas-leading-college-towns/3054/

[7] http://www.totalbeauty.com/content/gallery/most-tattoos

[8] http://www.statisticbrain.com/tattoo-statistics/


[10] https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=best+tattoo+shops&find_loc=LA

[11] https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=best+tattoo+shops&find_loc=Chicago+IL



Comedy Nerds

Comedy Nerds

Getting to Know You

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Persona Project

This project allowed my team to study a group of people and analyze the numbers to form a person's habits, interests and to some degree personality.