A blog by Campbell Consulting Group, based in Bend, Oregon.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We love it when our clients call us because they've sold out of products. Nice problem to have, right? Especially in this economy! While we are probably best known as a firm for serving some of the bigger companies in Bend, we also take great pride in helping out the smaller businesses. Angelina Organic Skincare is a definite fav, and she just called to say they're working overtime to make batches of new products, thanks to standing room only traffic generate by the front page business section article we generated in the local paper last week. Way to kick off the holidays! If you care about your skin, check out Angelina's shop - in Bend or online. Bend woman’s business is skin care Angelina Swanson creates, sells products from location near downtown By Rachael Rees / The Bulletin Published: November 29. 2011 4:00AM PST What: Angelina Organic Skincare Products Where: 525 N.W. Hill Street, Bend Employees: Five Phone: 541-647-1655 Website: http://angelinaskincare.com/ For Angelina Swanson, beauty goes beyond the skin’s surface and permeates the body holistically. “Every woman is beautiful already,” Swanson said. “It’s just helping them bring that out in a healthy way.” Swanson, the founder of Angelina Organic Skincare Products, in Bend, said a product needs to not only aesthetically improve skin, but also nourish and nurture it. “The skin is your biggest organ, and it’s your strongest barrier,” she said. “You need to keep that intact and strong.” The company opened its doors in Bend on Northwest Hill Street four years ago. Five employees, including Swanson, work in the on-site store, the lab where the products are created, and the healing garden room, where massage and facial services are offered. The skin-care line, featuring more than 150 products, is sold through local and national spas, boutiques, rock-climbing gyms, natural food stores and other outlets. Products include body butters, masks, massage oils, sugar scrubs, face creams, the new Mojito Mint Pedicure line and the anti-aging line Youth in Bloom. A need for a remedy prompted Swanson’s creation of skin-care products. When working as a rafting guide in Arizona, Swanson said, she suffered from cracked heels. She tapped into her academic roots in botany and biology to make a treatment. “Desperation leads to innovation,” she said. “I couldn’t find a product that worked.” When Swanson, 37, moved to Bend 11 years ago, she worked as a massage therapist, using her own skin-care products when giving massages. As word spread about her products, she began getting requests from spas around town to make custom lotions and oils. Swanson sold her first tin of Skin Doctor, the treatment for cracked heels and hands, about 10 years ago, she said, and started selling online and wholesale in 2003. Over the past seven years, Swanson said, she has been working with Sage Spring Spa in Sunriver to develop various products. She makes all her products in her lab, consulting with cosmetic chemists and dermatologists. Using one of her slogans, Swanson said her products are truly “the alchemy of beauty:” an art and a science, which involves natural ingredients. “Trying to use all natural materials to create the same effect as synthetic materials is challenging,” she said. “You have to know your farmer. We work with farms all over Oregon and Washington.” Tumalo Lavender, off Connarn Road, supplies Swanson’s lavender and sage, while Dancing Bee Acres, in Irrigon, supplies her beeswax and honey. To be competitive in the international skin-care market, Swanson said, she makes it a priority to create products with organic, local and fair-trade ingredients, and to personalize the experience for her customers. One way she gives her customers a little something extra, she said, is by offering free facials on Fridays. Each woman can get one free 20-minute facial, she said. “It’s difficult for women to try a new product line. It can be expensive to switch over,” she said. “(The facials are) kind of a fun way to introduce women in town to our product line ... The customer can make sure they are getting the right skin care for their skin type.” With customers constantly demanding new products, Swanson said, she is always researching and formulating new treatments. “Our customers are very discerning. They’re label readers and are conscious about what they’re putting on their skin,” Swanson said. She said coming up with the perfect formula is no easy task. It can take years, but she said she enjoys the process of making something that not only smells good, but also is effective. “Our local customers are really our biggest testing ground,” she said. “We have pretty harsh weather here, so if our products are nourishing and effective in Central Oregon, then they’re good to go on the market.” Q: Why do you feel using local ingredients is important? A: A huge part of our business is connecting our customers with the source of their skin care. Making the connection with farmers brings more soul into the product we are selling. Our community has been struggling. It’s really important for all of us at the lab to do as much of our business as we can locally because we’ve watched a lot of our friends lose their jobs. Q: Where do you see your business going in five years? A: Our sales have doubled in the past year in the local and wholesale market. We just built a new online store, which we launched Friday, so we can focus on online national sales. Q: How do you decide what new products you are going to make? A: Our customers beg us and then we spend years trying to develop something that works for them. Q: What is the specific target of your skin products? A: Our niche is working with people who have sensitivities, damaged skin or skin that is out of balance. Q: What is your favorite product that you sell? A: The Youth in Bloom firming night cream, because I’m not getting any younger. — Reporter: 541-617-7818 rrees@bendbulletin.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Social Media Megaphone

If you’re a woman walking around the streets of 2011, you’ve probably got an opinion about beauty and the media—you might love the catwalk and don’t care about the measurements of the models. Or the sight of one more scantily clad woman bouncing across an ad might make your lip curl.

Either way, you can shout your opinions directly into the ear of the Mad Men through social media. And I just love that. I still get a kick out of it.

Of course, like everyone else on the blogosphere, I’m getting around to the notorious Chapstick ad. I don’t know the ratio of dude vs. chick consumers of Chapstick, but I’d wager their target audience is women. And yet, one of those Ad Men (or Women) decide to stick a girl’s rear end center stage on in an ad, à la American Apparel. It’s a tired old trick.

And yet for some reason, this ad hit a nerve, and the firestorm hit Facebook.

I cruised past the Chapstick Facebook page (for all the bad publicity of both the ad itself and criticism about their lukewarm apology, I’m sure their Facebook hits have been going through the roof) and found their new ad.

Lol, when was the last time you saw an ad that featured a man showing more skin than the lady? The comments on this post focused on the question posed (sand or snow) and few commented on their dress. However, one is worth noting: “I was feeling disgruntled the other day at the comment deletions and what I felt was an inadequate response to the concerns of so many consumers. But I feel that you have redeemed yourself now and will resume buying your product. This ad is great... it is directly relevant to the product and uses an image of a woman that is empowering. I'd be psyched for my daughters to see it. Tx!”

Psyched for my daughter to see it? Yes, we’re entering an age where sexist advertising might become retro. A thing of the past. I’m not talking about the narrow definitions of modern day beauty—beauty’s appeal has always been its fleetingness, the rarity of perfection—I don’t see that changing. But consumers have become too savvy for blatant sexist advertising to work anymore. And parents, those people who purchase products for their tweens and teens—the super-consumers of society—have become aware of the harmfulness of sexist advertising.

Does the vocal few truly represent the majority? Probably not. Do advertisers and marketers need to take this as a warning as they think to themselves, better Chapstick than me? Definitely.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Unplug, Turn Off and Tune Out

It’s satisfying when you get an instantaneous response from a work email via BlackBerry or iPhone, but if it’s 10 at night, you might ask yourself, does your colleague ever sleep? Or read a book/sit in the park/do nothing? Then again, why are you sending a work email at 10 at night?

Business tasks have an insidious way of creeping into every waking moment. Beep-boop: there’s something you need to check: email, twitter, Facebook. This seems particularly true in the world of PR. You might be afraid you’re not doing your job well if you’re not plugged in, ready to respond to your clients 24-7. This is especially true if you work remotely.

Fast Company published a blog post that’s worth re-visiting: What Happened To Downtime? The Extinction Of Deep Thinking And Sacred Space. It explores something artists and creative writers have known for years: some of the best ideas come when the brain isn’t actively thinking. When it’s still, quiet, meandering slowly. Suddenly an answer to a problem, a plot twist or an image worth capturing in acrylic springs to mind inexplicably.

PR involves creative thinking (or it should) and PR professionals need to value, guard and insist on their own downtime, a break from emails and tweets.

Thankfully, I’m old enough to remember the world before the Internet spread its (awesome, revolutionary, annoying) web. I won’t grow nostalgic over typewrites and phones that actually went ring ring, but I will say this: that divide between work and home was invaluable. Your front door separated you and your family from the world—to gab, bicker, read, or of course, watch TV. Try it for one evening: turn off the computer, turn off the phone, maybe even turn off the TV.

You don’t have to trek into the woods to be disconnected.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PR Professionals Should Think Like Immigrants, Too

When I was a kid, I was taught that people must work to earn their living—doesn’t matter if the job feels “beneath you” or involves manual labor. Working rather than hanging out in your backyard waiting for opportunity to find you, was honorable. It’s a philosophy I’ve seen reflected in immigrant families and first generation Americans. So Glenn Llopis’ blog post in Forbes last week, “How to Survive in 2011: Think Like an Immigrant” immediately caught my attention.

Though his writing can sometimes feel overwrought with excitement, Llopis makes some great points about the kind of attitude that can bring you what he calls “earned serendipity.” The idea is, instead of taking the usual plodding path ahead in life, you seek out new opportunities, seize your chance and leap forward. Yes, it does sound a bit like a Dickensonian plot twist, but in today’s constant twitter feed of gloomy economic snapshots, it’s an encouraging perspective.

Here’s what Llopis says about the immigrant’s mindset, which leads to that earned serendipity, “The immigrant trusts that great opportunities are all around him, in both obvious and not-so-obvious places.” And he lists these ways they find these opportunities:
  • Common, menial tasks
  • Requests for help
  • Small acts of kindness or sacrifice
  • New relationships
  • Everyday conversations
  • Simple transactions
In my opinion, it’s also a philosophy that can inspire PR professionals. In any job, it’s easy to follow a formulaic pattern and justify this inertial by saying it’s “traditional.” As in, “I just focus on traditional media.” In other words, you just send press releases to newspapers and magazines, leave a voice message and then wonder why your client received limited coverage.

A better way to approach public relations is to think of new ways to build relationships. Common, menial tasks? Assist in your community’s local park clean up—you might be surprised who you meet. Requests for help? Actively pursue learning opportunities in areas you know you can improve. Everyday conversations? When you’re open to casually talking to new, different people (and I don’t mean just at a networking event) you’ll be surprised what interesting projects, businesses and opportunities you’ll learn about. Injecting your work philosophy with a bit of the elbow grease that makes immigrants succeed in America could lead to some amazing results, at work and in life.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Oyster Races Gain TV Exposure with Zany Stunts!

One of Campbell Consulting’s newest clients, Merrell Oyster Adventures Races, has given us a fun, rollercoaster of events this summer!

On June 25, The Merrell Oyster Racing Series introduced the Oyster Off Road Adventure Race to Bend. This one-of-a-kind, mountain town race combined pure athleticism with thought-provoking strategy, requiring each team of 2-4 to run, bike, paddle, climb and perform other crazy athletic stunts while answering clues and completing tasks.

If that sounds like fun to you, register for the Portland Oyster Urban Adventure Race, the last of the three Northwest races, to be held in Portland, Oregon August 20.

To help promote all three Northwest races, I wrote an article for Race Center Northwest that’s been circulated on their homepage since May. Oregon Lakes and Rivers also featured the event, along with dozens of other online calendars. The event also made The Source Weekly’s top picks list. The Source also ran a Facebook contest promoting the Bend Oyster.

In the world of radio, 92.9 became the official media sponsor of the Bend Oyster and ran a Find the Oyster contest, in which a giant oyster was hidden in two local restaurants. The person who found the oyster won $100 in Merrell gift certificates. Other fun schwag was given out to radio listeners to create excitement about the event.

Julia Gray of KBND 1110 a.m. also interviewed Jason Ornstein, executive director of adventure for the Merrell Oyster Racing Series, on the radio.

During the Bend Oyster, KTVZ 21 covered the event and interviewed Emily Salberg, race organizer. The local newspaper, the Bend Bulletin published an article about the event and the race results.

Christie Johnson prepares guacamole challenge
I wasn’t able to be at the Bend Oyster, but I did get to travel up to Seattle to help coordinate media at the Seattle Oyster Urban Adventure Race. Jason, Emily and I set up challenges for King 5 reporter Christie Johnson to complete during half a dozen live TV spots, including making guacamole with her arms tied to two participants and eating a cupcake with a clue hidden in the middle without using her hands. I also chatted with the Seattle Times media team, who participated in the race and shared information about it on Facebook.

One interesting aspect of the race I noticed was that participants could take it as seriously – or as casually – as they wanted. Some teams were obviously there to win, but others were more interested in just having a fun time than pushing themselves to their physical limits.

Teams also designed matching t-shirts that usually reflected some aspect of the race or a Seattle theme (think rain). Each participant gets a cowbell on a lanyard when they complete the race, and one team called themselves “More Cowbell.”

I think everyone who finished the race would agree with Christopher Walken when he said, “I got to have more cowbell!”

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

“Brand Journalism” – A Misleading Name for a Great Trend

“Brand journalism.” Doesn’t this term sound like doublespeak? And worse still, combining these terms dilutes the concept of “journalism.” We all know journalism is the profession of writing for news sources, but good journalism strives to not only report the facts correctly, but also to investigate, give context and strive for an unbiased view of both sides of an issue.

Call me old fashioned, but in spite of Fox News, I still believe in the importance of the free press. Just take a look at the journalists under attack every year in other countries to remember why journalism is an important aspect of a democratic society and needs to hold itself to the highest standards.

In spite of all that—I love everything behind the concept of “brand journalism”—it just needs to be called something else. How about this? Simply “good PR.”

A recent article on Ragan.com did an excellent job exploring this trend—basically, the trend of hiring writers with a journalism background (compared to writers with only a marketing background) to write well-written copy, press releases, Web content, blogs, how-to articles, etc.

And this is really nothing new—for years journalists have known that the real money is in public relations; former journalists have been hired by companies for their writing skills; and freelance writers, such as myself, have pieced together a living through public relations gigs and writing journalism articles.

So why all the chatter now about “brand journalism?” I think it’s because, with SEO an important aspect of Web marketing, and consumers looking to the Web to instantly find information about topics or answer questions, quality writing has become paramount.

Is this writing actually journalism? The writers may be using the skills they use working on an exposé for a newspaper or magazine, but writing for a company—even an “article” that will run in a newspaper or magazine—is not journalism. It’s just writing.

And that really does make all the difference.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Merrell Oyster Adventure Races Teams with Campbell Consulting

From the Beard and Moustache National Championship to Bend WinterFest, if there’s a fun, zany event being held in Bend, Campbell Consulting Group wants to be ahead of the race—that’s why Campbell is pleased to announce it will be the public relations agency for the Merrell Oyster Adventures Races, to be held in Bend, Portland and Seattle this summer.

The Merrell Oyster Racing Series is introducing the Oyster Off Road Adventure Race to Bend on June 25. This one-of-a-kind, mountain town race has the uncanny ability to combine pure athleticism with thought-provoking strategy, requiring each team of 2-4 to run, bike, paddle, climb and perform other crazy athletic stunts while answering clues and completing tasks.

The Off Road is similar to its sister race, the Oyster Urban Adventure, an exceptional, high-caliber urban adventure race produced by Team Player Productions, currently held in ten markets across the country and on its fourth successful year in Portland and its fifth year in Seattle. Year after year, the race has remained unparalleled in its athleticism as well as its innovative courses that continue to challenge its growing following of racers.

Campbell will be promoting all three of these adventure races. Already, we've posted information to calendars and sent out press releases. But with races as unusual as these, there are all sorts of opportunities for fun PR campaigns to get the word out about Oyster. Stay tuned to the Campbell blog and Facebook Page for updates!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cycle Pub to Self-Serve Taps: Walking the Line Between Awesome and Gimmicky

More than any other alcoholic beverage – perhaps more than any beverage, in general – beer seems to inspire people to have fun. Not just the kind of fun where you fall off the back of your pick up truck laughing before the game. I’m talking about quirky, inspired ideas from the people who make the beer. For instance, take a recent stroke of Easter inspiration at the 21st Amendment Brewery Pub: they hid cans of beer around the bar and patrons got to have their own adult Easter egg-style hunt. Or a limited edition winter brew created by Deschutes Brewery—they named it Giraffe on Ice Skates.

One contraption that gained some press when it was first introduced in Bend was the Cycle Pub, sponsored by the Old Mill District. The cycle pub seats 16 people at a “bar” and they pedal around Bend while drinking beer.

Perhaps beer inspires fun ideas because of the kind of people drawn to creating craft beer in the first place. Plus, the people who write and blog about beer love their job – they’re quick to report on any new innovation or development. From a PR point of view, that means quirky ideas are sure to bring in some good press.

But when does an idea cross the line into the realm of a gimmick? Pretty simple: when customers find it annoying rather than amusing. Recently I was chatting with Chris Shott, writer at the Washington City Paper in D.C. and he brought up self-serve taps. Three bars around D.C. installed taps at each booth so customers could pour their own beer. My initial thought was, “that sounds like fun.”

But Shott had a much different experience. He wrote, “In the end, despite all this fuzzy math, Redline still charged me the original 55-cent rate. Crunching the numbers, it now appears that sitting on my ass and pouring my own suds cost me about $6.60 per glass. That’s 60 cents extra! One whole ounce of suds and change.”

Perhaps since the time Shott wrote about self-serve taps in December, the D.C. pubs have worked out the kinks and pricing so patrons can enjoy their self-serve beer. Whatever innovative idea a pub – or any business – embraces to encourage patrons to have fun with their product, it has to be user-friendly; and it should fit into the company’s overall vision and brand.

So what about those other beer ideas—21st Amendment’s Easter Beer Hunt, or the Cycle Pub? Well, I doubt we’ll see many Cycle Pubs crawling slowly through Portland any time soon, but what I love about this bar-cum-bike is it’s so purely “Oregon.” What could be more Oregon than drinking and cycling at the same time?

Just make sure I’m not the one steering the dang thing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What PR can learn from the most influential tweeters

When you’re tweeting for a client, sometimes the way you tweet is just as important as what you’re tweeting. Recently I was asked to craft a set of tweets for one of our clients – a colleague was running into a mental wall: the tweets needed to be fun and hip, a little irreverent but also savvy. But the subject matter was technical in nature—nothing that screamed “we’re having a ball over here!” As I read up on the subject, I could tell why my colleague was struggling: how to make something that is complex, functional—and let’s admit it, dry—sound exciting? In only 140 characters?

I worked on the tweets when I’d usually be working on creative writing projects—a Saturday afternoon after consuming several cups of coffee and reading a few chapters of a novel about poets wandering around Mexico. It put me in the right mood.

But today I stumbled upon a great resource for inspiration for those creative tweets, maybe even better than the rambling prose of Roberto Bolano. TIME’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds. Maybe this is a no-brainer I should have thought of long ago—but PR professionals can learn how to tap into new twitter “voices” by reading tweets by the best, funniest and smartest people around. After poking around TIME’s list, I signed up for some of my favorites. Here’s a short selection of the crème de la crème:

Margaret Atwood
But tho' will not sing Oklahoma song at USAO, will show hardly-ever-seen slide of self & Queen, in which we look eerily alike...

It’s just fun to be connected to Margaret Atwood in some little way without, you know, actually stalking her.

Kanye West
I just zoned on how ill it is to really fall in love... Pimpin' is whatev ... Love is that sh*t!

Can’t wait for that future client whose brand voice includes keywords like pimpin’ and bling.

Conan O’Brien
Thanks @charliesheen for the compliment. To clarify, I'm 7'1", a super genius, and those aren't freckles -- it's male menopausal acne.

By far, best twitter feed I’ve ever read.

Charlie Sheen (Conan’s not the only fan of ‘the Warlock’)
hyaena gallery tonight. Olive Ave. Burbank. epic & most insane tribute to the Warlock. Video commentary by me in bigness form. C

Okay, Charlie’s not on the TIME’s list (they know when to back away slowly) but I think every PR person should be following Chuck—it’s such an amazing train wreck, how could you miss it? Number one lesson: Unless you’re harvesting peyote in South Texas, you don’t get to refer to yourself as “the warlock.”

So don’t take your cues from Charlie Sheen, but do start following people who inspire you in your everyday life—chances are, if they wow you on the page/in a rap song/on TV, they’re going to be writing the tweets worth reading.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy Girls Race is Getting Some Big Attention

So far, the Happy Girls Half Marathon and 5K Run is getting some great press and there's a real buzz around Bend about this upcoming event - already, almost 550 people have registered! It's also been covered on OregonLive and in the Bend Bulletin. So now, Campbell Consulting is helping Lay It Out Events get the word out regionally that Happy Girls is the perfect (and healthy) excuse to come visit Bend with your girlfriends, your kids or you whole family.

If you aren't registered for Happy Girls yet, here are some details:

EVENT: Happy Girls Half Marathon and 5K Run

The scenic route starts along the Deschutes River and is perfect for beginners and seasoned runners. Terrain includes a mix of gentle trails, groomed paths and paved surfaces, the best of all worlds. Run distances include a half marathon, 5K run, a half-marathon relay as well as a Happy Little Girls Run for the under 10 crowd. Walkers are welcome, as well! Register at: www.happygirlsrun.com.

DATE/TIME: The Happy Girls Expo, race packet pick-up and Happy Little Girls run take place Saturday, May 28. The Happy Girls adult races take place on Sunday, May 29, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

LOCATION: Riverbend Park, Bend

PRICE: $20 - $90

CONTACT: Gina Miller, Phone, (541) 323-0964

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sagebrush – Did You Say Street Fare, Scavenger Hunt, Private Dinner?!

You might have heard the buzz about Sagebrush:
“There’s going to be a scavenger hunt—I think they call it a Scramble.” — “It’s a huge community fundraiser.” — “I can’t believe a Sagebrush chef is cooking us a private dinner!”

Sagebrush is going to be better than ever this year—and involve the entire community in new ways like never before. This week-long series of events will benefit more than 100 nonprofit and create a Sagebrush Match Fund to help those charities raise even more money. Here’s a break down of the new Sagebrush events – and of course, those old favorites that make Sagebrush the must-attend culinary event in the Northwest:
  • July 9 – Community Challenge/Scramble: This scavenger-hunt style race sends contestants dashing around to garner points and win prizes. There are great prizes at all class levels – from serious athletes to families pushing strollers. Participants can choose to donate to their favorite charity, with their dollars going even further by pairing them with the Sagebrush Match Fund. (This kind of fundrasier was first dreamed up by in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – check out this video to see what a scramble looks like.)
  • July 13 – Street Fare: This outdoor festival will feature the area’s best local restaurants and street carts along with local indie music. Popular vendors will pair their specialty dishes with Deschutes ales for an evening of street food, live music and craft beer.
  • July 14 – Private Dinners: The Sagebrush Private Dinners provide an intimate dinner in an exceptional setting: select private homes in Central Oregon. Each exclusive dinner is prepared by a local chef and a Sagebrush Feast chef and the menu is developed through a collaboration of the host and the chefs. 
  • July 15 – Classic Golf Tournament: Cash, trophies and bragging rights are the golf tournament prizes at stake for up to 52 teams competing in a best ball competition in this fierce but friendly golf tournament at one of the top golf courses in Bend, Oregon. Entry fees directly benefit the Deschutes Children’s Foundation Endowment Fund, a long-time recipient of Sagebrush charitable dollars.
  • July 16 – Feast: A mainstay of Sagebrush, you can not only sample the food of celebrity chefs, you can actually meet them and talk with them in person! Held outdoors in the beautiful setting of Broken Top Golf Club, this wildly popular event features small plate pairings, amazing live music, Deschutes Brewery’s handcrafted ales and Northwest wines.
Sagebrush will provide a matching grant opportunity and proceeds will benefit organizations serving the Central Oregon community. Donors are able to designate funds to any participating nonprofit, and also donate to the match fund being raised by Sagebrush. After the event closes, each nonprofit receives 100 percent of their designated funds, plus a percentage of the Sagebrush match funds.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Monk's Blood is Here! 21st Amendment's Belgian Ale

Fans can start lining up in the supermarket and pub—21st Amendment Brewery’s Monk’s Blood is finally here! There’s been a flurry of buzz about this Belgian-style dark ale brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, oak chips and dried figs. Initially released in December of 2009, Monk’s Blood is the first installment in 21st Amendment’s Insurrection Series, a limited edition, once-in-a-while, four-pack release of a very special beer that rises up in revolt against common notions of what canned beer can be.

Monk's Blood has a rich malt aroma, slightly fruity, with notes of dark figs and oak tannins at 8.5% ABV. The beer is a tribute to the brewmaster monks of Belgium’s monasteries. These monks drink only beer during their fasts—providing a new perspective to drinking beer, or “liquid bread” as they call it, on an empty stomach.

To develop the original recipe for this beer, 21st Amendment founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan traveled to Belgium. Near the famous Trappist Abbey of Westvletren, the visited traditional breweries in the hop fields of west Flanders. Monk’s Blood is designed to pair with winter stews, cheeses and desserts or to be savored by itself in a Belgian tulip glass, perhaps contemplating the higher plains of life.

Draft Magazine rated Monk's Blood as one of the Top Beers of 2010 - pick yourself up a four-pack and see what all the buzz is about!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What’s the best part of TED? Oh yeah, it’s BIL

As we all know, TED is in full swing down in Long Beach—the glossiest, bling-iest, intellectual conference around. With a price tag of $6,000, it’s an elites-only event. Sure, TED now posts a sample of talks on their website—which are well with a watch—but I think it's more fun to explore BIL.

BIL, the unconference. A free, self-organizing, emergent arts, science, society and technology unconference held near TED that first formed spontaneously in 2007. I read about BIL yesterday in the Wall Street Journal and it made me smile (when the front page of WSJ makes you smile, it’s something memorable). I loved the idea of a bunch of smarty-pants couch surfers rubbing TED the wrong way, stealing a bit of their publicity. In this particular article, when a TED spokeswoman was asked about the conference’s relationship to BIL she declined to comment.

No comment?! (First off, the PR side of me says, “Ouch, that was a mistake—now you look like a real snob.”) But the real zinger is this:

If TED is all about “ideas worth spreading” than they should be spreading around a little more BIL.

BIL is the ultimate DIY—because the organizers of the original BIL encourage people to create their own BIL unconferences—to organize their own community events that share great ideas, not just about technology, but about comedy, politics, communication, really, anything worth talking about.

We all know that ever since higher education became accessible to everyone (thanks, Kennedy) great ideas are no longer limited to the realm of the leisure class. It’s just a matter of putting time aside to, you know, actually do something great.

So, when will the creators of BIL be gracing the stage of TED?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Bend WinterFest a Bright Spot in Bend, Oregon's Cold Season

It's been kind of a let down this week, with Bend, Oregon's 2011 OnPoint Bend WinterFest coming to a close last Sunday. The weekend was jam-packed with activities for visitors of all ages. We especially had fun checking out all the great vendors (Ida's cupcakes were divine) and visiting with some of the animals (a miniature donkey tried to steal my handbag), but the real highlights were competitors flying through the air on Friday and Saturday nights on the giant Rail Jam, and the Metal Mulisha performance on Sunday. My family of three sampled fare from nearly every food booth, saw many good friends and were amazed at the number of people turning out to enjoy Bend, Oregon's winter wonderland. On to 2012!
Check out this wrap up on kezi: http://kezi.com/news/local/205065

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bitter American: Brave the Feb Chill and Drink One on the Porch

If you don’t think session beers are a good choice for February, you haven’t tried 21st Amendment Brewery's Bitter American yet. Right now in Portland, the sun is valiantly shining on my balcony porch, and it seems like a great time to crack open a can.

This is my first experience drinking a craft beer in a can (I sort of skipped that whole chugging Bud Light as a teenager phase, and went straight to bottled beer. What can I say? I grew up in Oregon.)

My first thoughts are, “wow, this does have a ton of flavor.” With an alcohol content of just 4.4% by volume, I’m surprised by the intensity of the flavor, even though I did, you know, write the press release.

I love strong beers, but tend to shy away from super hoppy brews—this beer does have a strong hoppiness that’s not unpleasant, but definitely present. It’s not what I expected from an extra pale ale. I enjoy the maltiness mixed in with the hop flavor—21st Amendment uses an imported English heirloom malt called Golden Promise in Bitter American.

All in all, this is my best beer-in-a-can experience—I definitely recommend giving Bitter American a try, especially if you’re hanging out with friends on a Friday evening. Drinking a Bitter American, you’ll feel like you’re drinking a stronger beer—but you’ll understand why 21st Amendment co-founder Nico Freccia likes to say, "Go ahead. Give one, or three, a try."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Savvy New Beer Mag Embraces Cutting-Edge App

Last night I attended the launch party of a new magazine created by an old hand in the world of beer media – Megan Flynn. The woman behind Beer Northwest has expanded to include the entire West Coast with Beer West Magazine.

The new magazine might have been the reason we were all at this launch party, but a new app was center stage: Beer West is the first magazine to partner with Beaverton-based tech company Digimarc to provide reader-only content through a phone app. What sets this app apart is it registers what the phone is looking at. Behind 25 different images in Beer West Magazine is a special watermark (which can be printed behind anything, even, theoretically, a temporary tattoo). The app recognizes the watermark and connects to special content online.

While Megan was talking about Beer West and Digimarc in front of the audience of writers and PR reps, a news clip on KGW flashed onto the pub’s televisions featuring non other than Megan, herself, and a montage of people with iPhones flashing their screens at pages of Beer West. Kudos to Megan for having the guts to launch a magazine in these stilted economic times, and for having the business savvy to create so much buzz around it. Partnering with Digimarc was an intelligent move (and they revealed how much this cost the magazine: $4.99 a watermark, that’s a total of only about $125).

A feature article on Deschutes Brewery’s newest brewer Veronica Vega is included in this first edition of Beer West – and you got it – readers can use the app to access a reader-only interview with her online. (FYI - the print article is much longer than the blip online, with a two and a half-page spread on Vega. Should she consider creating her own fan club? With a name like Veronica Vega, of course she should!)

In the future, the app is also suppose to register what the phone is listening too, a feature that will put users, as CEO Bruce Davis put it, “in the web, not on the web.” To her credit, Megan made a little joke about how spooky that sounded.

If this new app becomes as big as Davis hopes, it could be a step towards keeping print relevant by making it more interactive with the web and more fun. Personally, I would never trade in my books, magazines and newspapers for Kindles and Ipads. But I’m old school—sometimes I like to unplug and look up from my computer screen. Interestingly, getting away from the computer is one of the motivations Davis cited, saying the app “could liberate the world.”

I couldn’t help being distracted by the six o’clock news flashing on the giant TVs looming above Megan and Davis. The screen showed interviews with Hilary Clinton, President Obama and scenes of protesters running through the streets of Egypt. “Well,” I thought to myself. “It’s not liberating the entire world.”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Strong Beer Month: Are You Experienced?

The cats at 21st Amendment Brewery and Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery are experienced, baby. Hey, it may not be the Summer of Love (okay, so it’s February) but these breweries know the 9th annual Strong Beer Month is going to warm you blood, raise your spirits and improve your conversational prowess. Both pubs continue the month-long tradition of offering 12 beers, six at each brewery, that are strong and have intense flavors.

The brewers of the 21st Amendment and Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery once again bring you an astounding range of memorable brews to lift the winter doldrums. Those who visit both breweries and try all twelve beers get to keep the special commemorative glass. Commemorative t-shirts are also available. These special beers, glasses and t-shirts will be available from February 1st until they run out. ABV ranges from 8.4% to 11.1%.

“What can be better than listening to a little Jimi?” asked Dave McLean, co-founder of Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery. “Listen to Jimi with Lord and Master or Tweezer Tripel in hand and you won’t even notice it’s raining outside.”

“And don’t forget,” added Shaun O’Sullivan, Co-Founder and Brewmaster of 21st Amendment Brewery and Co-Founder of Strong Beer Month with Dave, “the most experienced drinkers know a cab ride’s the best way to get home after throwing back a couple of strong beers. They don’t call one of our beers Two Lane Blacktop for nothing.”

21st Amendment’s Strong Beer Month Brews:
Lower de Boom
21 Rock2
Lord and Master
Two Lane Blacktop
Imperial Jack

Magnolia Pub and Brewery’s Brews:
Tweezer Tripel
Promised Land Imperial IPA
Old Thunderpussy Barleywine
Smokestack Lightning Imperial Stout
Pride of Branthill
Rye Rye Rocco

The festivities begin February 1st, but check back often at both pubs and at www.strongbeermonth.com as special kegs and casks of vintage and barrel-aged beers will appear throughout the month.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

One Day Only at Deschutes Brewery’s Bend and Portland Pubs!

Limited edition beer “Giraffe on Ice Skates” to celebrate the OnPoint Bend WinterFest on January 29, 2011

No, “Giraffe on Ice Skates” isn’t the title to a Dr. Suess book; it’s a bit of hopped-up shenanigans from Deschutes Brewery. Saturday, January 29 at the Deschutes pubs in both Bend and Portland is Bend WinterFest day. Purchase a pint of Giraffe on Ice Skates (a special beer brewed up just to celebrate WinterFest, the annual celebration of winter held in Bend’s Old Mill District) in the Portland pub and receive a free OnPoint Bend WinterFest button. Plus, Deschutes will donate $1 from each sale of Giraffe from both pubs to local charity Saving Grace.

In Portland, patrons drinking Giraffe will also be entered to win a Bend WinterFest package, including accommodation at the Riverhouse Hotel, 2 lift tickets to Mt. Bachelor, a VIP brewery tour, Deschutes swag and two Bend WinterFest wine walk glasses. In the Bend pub, patrons will be able to win some cool Deschutes swag.

Giraffe on Ice Skates is named for some experimental hops that were marooned in the Deschutes Brewery cooler this Belgian-style beer is brewed with hibiscus. IBU’s 16  ABV 13.7%

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

21st Amendment Brewery’s ‘Bitter American’ A tribute to unsung, unwitting heroes everywhere

After a long day at work, the average American might feel a little bitter at the curveballs life threw his way—but cracking open a Bitter American will immediately improve the mood. And seeing the astronaut chimp on the can will put average troubles into perspective—let’s face it, if you’d been rocketed into space against your will, you might be a little bitter, too. Bitter American is 21st Amendment Brewery’s newest seasonal, an extra pale ale, available now through March. This is the third in 21st Amendment’s series of canned craft seasonals, which also includes Hell or High Watermelon Wheat and Fireside Chat.

Bitter American was first created at 21st Amendment’s pub in 2006 as a response to the trend of “extreme beers” – complex beers high in alcohol and often including unusual ingredients. 21st Amendment wanted to offer the opposite: a “session beer,” or lower alcohol beer that would encourage patrons to enjoy a drinking session with friends (a staple in British pub culture). This beer packs a lot of hop and malt flavor into a refreshingly low alcohol (4.4% by volume) brew—making it the perfect session beer to enjoy with friends.

“What I love about Bitter American,” said Nico Freccia, co-founder, “is that it is the antidote to the strong, dark, intense beers of winter. Winter beers, like barleywines, are incredible styles, but after a while the palate needs a rest. Bitter American provides that.”

“The secret to Bitter American is achieving a balance between malt flavor and hops while using a smaller grain bill,” says co-founder and Brewmaster Shaun O’Sullivan. “If you just add more hops into a session beer grain bill, you get an unbalanced mess of overwhelming bitterness. Our secret is the use of a special, imported English heirloom malt called Golden Promise. This malt has a rich, full body and distinctive flavor that gives the beer a complex, caramelly and toasty flavor. Against this backdrop, we are able to hop generously to achieve a hop flavor and aroma that belies the strength of the brew.”

As Freccia likes to say, “Go ahead. Give one, or three, a try.”

Bitter American is available in cans and on draft starting this week at quality bars and stores in all 15 of 21st Amendment’s current distribution territories, including CA, OR, WA, AK, ID, MN, OH, MA, NY, NJ, DC, MD, PA, VA, and GA. For up-to-date availability, events and promotions, visit www.21st-Amendment.com.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Campbell Consulting Joins the World of Wikipedia

I can’t keep track of the number of times I get on Wikipedia each day—five times? Ten? It’s so easy to type “bedbug” or “Go! Team” and get instant info. So of course as a public relations agency—whose whole objective is to get our clients’ messages out there to the masses—Campbell Consulting is working on creating Wikipedia pages.

With a background as a freelance journalist, the project found its way to my desk. I started with the Old Mill District. Understanding how to write the news, rather than market-speak, really helps when working on a Wikipedia page. Objectivity is crucial and so is showing your supporting documentation—in fact, if you don’t, your page will come down faster than you can tweet about it going up. (More info about public relations and Wikipedia can be found in a great interview by PRWeek last spring.)

Working your way through the labyrinth of “help” and “how-to” pages is almost as bad as filing taxes. Wikipedia states that anyone can edit pages—and in its simplest form, yes, that’s true. But creating a page—complete with photos—is more difficult than it sounds. I asked a few techie friends for their advice and they laughed at me and said they still hadn’t gotten around to figuring it out, themselves.

Not encouraging, but I kept at it—finding documentation and getting feedback from the marketing director for the Old Mill District. She was a great help with this project—sending me photos and answering my questions quickly. Finally—ta da!—the Old Mill District page is finished!

But what’s this? “This article may require clean up to meet Wikipedia quality standards?” Yes, my article was tagged. Though anyone can edit Wikipedia, a set of what I call “online librarians” live for the joys of editing and flagging Wikipedia pages. They can be annoying—but in the long run, they help keep Wikipedia as factual as possible.

So, in your opinion, how can I improve the Old Mill District article? In the spirit of Wikipedia, let’s make this a group effort!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Spreading the Word about Bend WinterFest – the Northwest’s Largest Winter Festival

Anyone who lives in Bend knows about OnPoint Bend WinterFest – with tons of snow being hauled from Mount Bachelor to construct the largest off-mountain rail jam west of the Mississippi, who could miss it?

But Lay It Out Events, the mastermind behind Bend WinterFest for the past six years, wanted to turn up the volume and grow the event to more of a regional attraction, so this year they have partnered with us—Campbell Consulting—to make sure that happens.

Our public relations goal has been pretty simple: shout from the top of Mount Bachelor that Bend WinterFest rocks. In other words, we’ve been fiends on the computer and telephone, first reaching out to regional travel magazines, such as Northwest Travel, Sky West and Alaska Air/Horizon Air, Portland Monthly; winter sports publications—check out Bend WinterFest articles in Freeskier and About.com: Skiing. The readers of Boise Weekly up in Idaho really lucked out—thanks to a contest Campbell Consulting created that gives readers a chance to win a massive Bend WinterFest prize package by creating snow-themed videos. Soon, we will be reaching out to our local media connections and a ton of parent and snow sports bloggers.

We want to make sure everyone who might want to come to Bend WinterFest knows all about it. After all, who wants to be the loser who hears about how amazing Bend WinterFest was—from their best friend, in mid-March, waaay after they’ve taken down the rail jump and the crowds have gone home.

Presented by Mt. Bachelor, Bend WinterFest runs February 18 to 20 and has become the President’s Day destination event for tourists from San Francisco to Seattle.

For everyone who hasn’t heard the buzz about Bend WinterFest – it’s time to check it out and book your trip. Seriously, Bend WinterFest is the largest winter festival in the Northwest, and includes: 
  • Performances by California musicians the Aggrolites and Lyrics Born 
  • Nordic SprinterFest races – all skiers welcome to enter!
  • WinterFringe – bringing street performers to downtown Bend.
  • The Newport Avenue Market European-style market, selling the Northwest’s best food, wine and fine art.
  • Kids’ performance and craft area. 
  • OMSI activities, including 3-D dinosaur puzzle and nanotechnology table.
  • Snow and ice carving competition (Think of the childhood memories of a winter wonderland of ice sculptures. You’ll be voted best parents of the year.)
  • Performances by motocross team Metal Mulisha 
  • And of course, the snowboard and ski jumping competitions held on the U.S. Cellular Rail Jam.

The event is surprisingly affordable: Bend WinterFest buttons (which act as passes into the event and are good for the entire weekend) are $6 in advance, $7 at the gate. A family 4-pack is $20 in advance, $24 at the gate. Children 5 and under are free.

Plus, A portion of Bend WinterFest’s proceeds is donated to local charity Saving Grace. Last year, the event donated $9000 to Saving Grace. In the past six years Bend WinterFest has awarded over $39,000 to local and regional charities.

Bend WinterFest has partnered with RiverHouse Hotel to offer a special weekend deal for the event: when people book a Three Day Ski Vacation package with the Riverhouse Hotel, they’ll receive the third night and third day of skiing for free at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. Plus, kids stay and ski for free.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Perfect Picks for Portland

With the biggest football game in Oregon State history happening Monday night, I imagine it's difficult for many to think about anything else! But as always there are many exciting events happening this weekend in Portland.

The RiverCity Music Festival with square dancing to workshops to some of the best Bluegrass this country has to offer has once again returned to Portland January 7, 8 & 9th. The Red Lion on the River in Jantzen Beach hosts this year; nightly tickets and weekend passes still available!

On Saturday Portland and the Oregon Symphony will be hosting a pioneer in female comedians; Joan Rivers will be performing following a opening performance by the symphony. Joan has pushed the boundaries and paved the way for funny women for decades - the show will not be for the faint of heart. See her and the symphony at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall starting at 7:30pm. Ticket info here.

And for those unable to think of anything but football make your plans now to watch the big game. The Bossanova Ballroom is hosting a free viewing party with snacks, beer and drink specials as well as a 15 ft viewing screen. East Burn is also inviting you to join their football celebration with their beer and drink specials. And of course the Ducks don't disappoint and have had special uniforms made fo the Championship game - be sure to keep an eye out for them.