Writing Projects for Varney’s Place


Wearing my writing and editing hats, I’ve recently completed these pieces for The Kenwood Group, for their blog.

Giants Stadium: In the Shadow of Kenwood

Starting Friday afternoon and 81 times in the next six months, the neighborhood around Kenwood will be transformed.

Thousands of people of all ages wearing Halloween colors and panda and giraffe hats will flood the streets around our office, their shirts bearing an odd collection of names which are common nouns like Posey, Pagan, Panda, Pence, Belt, Huff, Bonds, Snow, Mays, the Beard, and the Freak, as well as unique three-syllable names like Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Marichal, Scutaro, McCovey, and Lincecum.

Baseball season starts this week. The World Champion San Francisco Giants will be defending their second title in three years at AT&T Park, two blocks from Kenwood’s headquarters on Varney Place.

The Giants’ success the past few years has fanned the flames of mega-fandom among several Kenwood staffers.

Christina Crowley, A Long Career at the Epicenter

“My TV production professor told the class that some of his best students were the women. But we’d never get hired — men just felt too uncomfortable swearing around women.”

The power of social media!

The morning started off quietly at Kenwood’s office. Then congratulations began to pour in. President and CEO Christina Crowley received kudos from friends, colleagues, and clients on the anniversary of her employment at Kenwood.

She was puzzled. Then she discovered that, 27 years from the day she started at Kenwood, LinkedIn had sent celebratory anniversary messages to all her contacts. Nearly 400 of them!

Despite the nontraditional number of years, the 27th anniversary prompted her to reflect on her career. A graduate of an all-girl’s school in Michigan and a women’s college in Boston, Christina first moved to the Bay Area in the late sixties.

“San Francisco was the epicenter of the cultural revolution. In spite of, or maybe because of the very protected life I’d led, the energy of the City drew me like a magnet.”

Fun with QR Codes: Mobile Game Sparks Climb to the Summit

A Kenwood-produced, high-tech contest based on QR codes challenged attendees at the Bazaarvoice Summit user conference in early March.

The game, called Strive to the Summit,promoted friendly competition and interaction, encouraged users to utilize the conference app, and provided incentive to visit all of the key conference segments. Bazaarvoice is a social-media-based marketing company headquartered in Austin.

The Rise of eSports: Video Game Viewership Rivals Traditional Sports

The time has finally come: video game event viewership has surpassed that of many traditional sporting events.

This past year, Major League Gaming’s “Spring Championship Sunday”event in Dallas, a video game tournament, recorded more views than cable broadcasts of the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the NFL’s Draft Day, or the NBA All-Star Game — at least among males 18-24. In the coming year, MLG’s event is expected to broaden its reach into the 18-35 male demographic.  This phenomenon has a number of implications for the marketing tactics of companies trying to reach these age groups.

CES Report: FitBit, Beats, and Steam

A near-record 150,000 people from over 170 countries packed into the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, one of the largest trade shows in North America.

This year, the Las Vegas show was “the biggest in its 45-year history in terms of square footage, with more than 1.92 million square feet of exhibit space, compared to 1.86 million a year ago (according to Venture Beat).”

35,000 of those in the crowd came from overseas, and over 3,250 companies exhibited 20,000 new products.

Your Secrets to Success: On Skydiving, and Picking Up Your Marbles

What’s your secret to success in 2013?

That’s the question posed by the Kenwood Group to thousands of friends in a holiday email greeting last month.

Some of the responses were priceless, like “Don’t confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.” And  “if at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.”

The goal

To create a crowd-sourcing campaign that would help increase Kenwood’s social media presence — and to create some thoughtful holiday fun.

The challenge

Though a Kenwood team had spent three weeks developing a concept, unforeseen last-minute changes left less than a week to implement the idea.

The concept

Production Artist David Moore, inspired by what he’d seen in a Coca-Cola crowd-sourcing campaign, came up with the core idea. Senior Creative Director Daniel Pinkham honed it into a specific approach: “What is your secret to success in 2013?”


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