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Tag: Tim Mask

September 13th, 2017

MWB Names Tim Mask as new agency president

JACKSON, Miss. (September 13, 2017) – Jackson Advertising Agency, Maris, West & Baker (MWB), announced that Tim Mask has been named the President of the agency, effective immediately.

Mask, who will be the fifth president, is a nearly 19-year veteran of the Mississippi-based agency, which he joined in 1999. Peter Marks, who has served as CEO and President of the agency since 2006, will continue in the role of CEO. “In his time here at our agency, Mask has very quickly risen up the ranks from a PR intern to an account executive, marketing strategist, and agency partner,” said Marks. “His keen insight into brand strategy and his deep knowledge of new and emerging marketing platforms and tactics will serve us well in years to come.”

One of Mask’s proudest achievements at MWB was championing the agency’s #CreateForGood initiative, which reflects the agency’s mission to attract clients that have a positive impact on health, the economy, and quality of life. “Here in Mississippi, there are many opportunities for us to use our creativity to inspire positive changes to the world around us,” said Mask. “You can do good work and good works.”

In addition to his agency responsibilities, Mask is the founder of the Fast Forward Mississippi Initiative, a benefit organization focused on reversing Mississippi’s¬†”brain drain,” the outmigration of knowledge worker¬†talent. In 2014, he co-founded one of Fast Forward Mississippi’s best-known initiatives, Kids Code Mississippi, with MWB Partner and Creative Director, Randy Lynn, to advocate for K-12 computer science education in Mississippi.

While serving as agency president, Mask will maintain his supervisory role on MWB clients, including the Mississippi State Department of Health, Entergy Nuclear, the Mississippi Development Authority and the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Maris, West & Baker is idea + creative content company focused on creating positive social impact and helping partners maximize brand visibility.

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March 15th, 2016

Bytes & Bites… but Why?

Shot from Kids Code Event

 

Monday, 3/14 (yes, Pi Day), MWB partners Randy Lynn and myself hosted a session to brief lawmakers and leaders on the future of computer science education and related workforce opportunities in Mississippi. The event was held in partnership with the Fast Forward Mississippi and Kids Code Mississippi initiatives and co-sponsor, C Spire.

Speakers included Governor Phil Bryant, Deuce McAllister, Senator Brice Wiggins and representatives from Code.org, C Spire, the Mississippi Department of Education, and the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

You may be wondering why an ad agency is working pro bono to promote computer science education. There are three reasons:

First, we love Mississippi and want to see our state succeed in every way possible. Workforce development and, in particular, strong education outcomes are critical to a brighter future for our state and its residents.

Second, we believe that technology will only become more important to our state’s economy in the future. At a time when other states and many foreign countries are increasingly requiring that students learn coding, the language of technology, we can’t afford to look the other way. We can, however, take steps to jump ahead of the curve.

Finally, we recognize that children are, very literally, our state’s future. It is well documented that students who are never exposed to computer-science concepts are less likely to pursue and succeed in technology-based career paths. They’re less likely to qualify for higher-wage jobs in the future. They’re less likely to start up innovation-based companies. They’re less likely to become technology makers, not just technology users.

We don’t expect our support of computer science education to have an immediate payoff for our agency ‚Äì we’re taking the long view here. MWB has been in business in Mississippi for more than 45 years. We want to help make sure the next 45 years are even better for all Mississippians.

Click to see photos from the Bites and Bytes event on MWB’s Facebook.

March 10th, 2016

Bytes and Bites: Interactive Code Education Briefing for Legislators

We want to ensure that Mississippi kids become technology creators, not just technology consumers.

– Randy Lynn, MWB/Kids Code Mississippi

The US Department of Labor forecasts that there will be the need for an additional 1 million jobs in coding and computer science by the year 2020. We believe that Mississippi can play a pivotal role in leading the developing innovation economy.

To promote awareness of the opportunities that exist for Mississippians, MWB’s Fast Forward Mississippi¬†initiative is powering a special Kids Code Mississippi¬†event – an interactive briefing specifically for legislators. The event – powered by leading Mississippi technology company C Spire – will be held Monday 3/14 at 9 a.m. at the Mississippi Children’s Museum.

Deemed the Bytes & Bites event (we’ll explain in a bit), the event will pair logistics with Mississippi students to step through brief coding tutorials on various open source platforms. Following this exercise, participants will hear remarks on the opportunities in computer science from Governor Phil Bryant, C Spire senior Vice President Eric Graham, Mike Mulvihill from the Mississippi Department of Education, sports star/education advocate Deuce McAllister, Senator Brice Wiggins, Emily Hoff of the Mississippi Children’s Museum, and special guest¬†Alexandra Vlachakis from Code.org.

Since this event is happening on 3/14 (Pi Day), we’ll also be celebrating careers in STEM by serving ‚Äì you guessed it ‚Äì Mississippi-baked pies!

 

August 24th, 2015

MWB CreativeFire Podcast featuring HOPE Policy Institute

Host Tim Mask talks with Dr. Corey Wiggins about the work of the HOPE Policy Institute (formerly Mississippi Economic Policy Center). Discussion ranges from education to public health to workforce development.

Tim also talks about the newest Kids Code Mississippi project with the Springboard to Opportunities organization.

June 9th, 2015

New MWB Creative Fire Podcast w/ Chef Tom Ramsey

Checkout the new MWB Creative Fire podcast. In this episode we talk the culinary side of the creative economy with raconteur Chef Tom Ramsey. We’ve also got an update on the Fast Forward Mississippi Initiative. Check it out.

May 12th, 2015

MWB Creative Fire Podcast w/ Kids Code, MWBeer30, and Camgian CEO Dr. Gary Butler

This edition of the MWB Creative Fire podcast originally posted 5/7/15. It’s the first of our revamped podcast recorded in the brand MWB Creative Fire Studios. Enjoy!

May 5th, 2015

DEV4MS

Our agency is the founding entity of the Fast Forward Mississippi initiative, which is dedicated to reversing the loss of Mississippi’s intellectual capital (brain-drain), and helping to develop a knowledge-based workforce for the 21st century. One of the signature projects of initiative is Kids Code Mississippi. As you can probably guess, Kids Code MS focuses on digital literacy awareness and promoting digital skills (coding) among Mississippi youth.

On May 2nd, through Fast Forward and Kids Code MS, we helped to organize and produce the first full-day “hackathon” for high school students, at Terry High School. You can read about the event at the links below.

We would just like say “thank you” to the valuable partners what helped make the event possible: SchoolStatus, C Spire, and JAWAD (Jackson Area Website and App Developers). And a special thanks to Ms. Mehreen Butt, a passionate Teach for American Mississippi Corps. member who see the unbridled potential in our kids. Stay tuned for more in the #DEV4MS series.

Read about the DEV4MS:Terry event on Kids Code Mississippi

Learn about the Fast Forward Mississippi initiative.

Screen shot 2015-05-05 at 10.03.56 AM

January 7th, 2015

MWB Podcast: How Renaissance architecture in Assisi, Italy inspired creativity in rural Mississippi


In this edition of the MWB Podcast, Tim talks with MWB CFO Mike Booth. After a trip to the village of Assisi, Italy, Mike was inspired to build his own architectural show place in rural Mississippi. And we mean literally build it himself…. down to planning his own 2x4s from trees on his own land!

We’ve often said that creativity permeates every person and function at MWB. Even an accountant-by-trade has creative inspiration flowing through his veins at MWB! Listen to Mike recount his moment of inspiration overseas, how a miscalculation led to a signature feature of his home, and newest project… a self-built windmill to aerate his fish pond.

It’s all in this week’s journey into creative chaos and enigmatic innovation that is the MWB Podcast.

 

(check out a couple of photos of Mike’s self-built creative home)

 

MikeBooth Home1
MikeBooth Home2

January 6th, 2015

Big wheel keep on turning

Yes it’s that time for the ubiquitous “look ahead” to what’s expected in 2015. Actually, I read a great article from Fast Company Create that was a list of prognostications from brand managers and creative types. Letting author Jeff Beer do the heavy lifting, we’ll comment on excerpts from his well-done piece. Read the full article on Co.Create.

What are the things (technological, societal, media-related, economic, or otherwise) that will most impact the work you’ll be doing next year?

Tor Myhren, worldwide chief creative officer, Grey: Our industry’s obsession with celebrities became massive this year, and I see this as an even bigger trend next year. Leader brands are using them to flex their dominance, challenger brands are using them as a shortcut to quick buzz, and everyone is using their social media tentacles as a cheaper media channel. I have never seen our industry lean more on celebrity, both as “the idea” and as a media outlet, than we did in 2014. Of course this simply mimics what’s happening in society as a whole. We are and forever will be a culture that cannot take our eyes off the stars. Micro-celebrities (like YouTube celebs) will continue to grow and become a more central part of media and partnership strategies.

I couldn’t agree with Tor more. Especially in regard to the “YouTube celebrity” phenomenon. Back in late 2013 MWB ran with a series of faux YouTube celeb shows as part of our youth tobacco prevention campaign (check out the exploits of Trip and Trey, Coach D-Blast, and Masterdaters here.) I actually believe you’ll see more marketing campaigns creating their own faux celebs on YouTube and other social media channels. It is an uphill battle to push product or even brand attributes via social media simply because it consists of platforms built for personal interaction, not passive messaging. Personifying messages solves that. It’s the evolution of the “spokesperson.” Used to celebrities were hired to be spokespeople because of their celebrity. Today, being a spokesperson actually generates the celebrity. This is a trend on the upswing.

Ben Priest, founding partner and executive creative director, adam&eveDDB London: The only real challenge facing us every year is finding great people. That never changes. 2015 will be no different. Great talent is a rare thing but when you find it your business hits fast forward.

I SWEAR there was no collusion between us and Mr. Priest on this quote. The “Fast Forward Mississippi” initiative is designed to address this very challenge for Mississippi on a statewide level. This is certainly true for creative firms such as ours – we want to find the best, most innovative folks we can and retain them. It’s also true for most other industries in an age in which we are moving into a full fledged global knowledge economy. Sorry for the tangent, but this issue is something in which Maris, West & Baker is deeply involved and I found it interesting that it came up in this article.

Adrian Belina, partner and creative director, Jam3: As people’s interest in Facebook continues to fade we will see fewer requests from brands to do campaigns and apps that reside within Facebook. In the last year, we’ve definitely seen a return to the microsite format, especially for digital campaigns, and I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of it as brands continue to use Facebook as a conversation tool rather than as their main platform.

I totally agree with Ms. Belina. I never believed that Facebook should be an anchor platform. It’s a great conversation tool, buzz generator, and can be useful for PR, but not as the “home” of a brand. There are actually other social media platforms that are better suited for such if that’s the route you take, particularly tumblr. I’m not sure I’m on board with the idea of microsite, though. At least not in the traditional sense. They can be really cool, but you risk having a dilutive effect (depending on the product/service). Not to mention being a management headache. To accomplish the effect of a microsite, I’d recommend a technology overlay such as Get Smart Content. (I’ve also learned that “dilutive” is apparently not currently a word…. so now I own it Dilutive‚Ñ¢.) We actually penned an article about this very topic here way back in February of 2013 titled “Clearing the Digital Kudzu.”

Jon Jackson, global creative director, Huge: People don’t have as much room for b*llsh*t in their lives anymore. With social and political issues top-of-mind for so many right now, we’ll need to employ a greater sense of empathy and understanding in everything we do. Companies that are honest with people and really trying to make their users’ lives a bit better are the ones that will do best. The work we execute next year will be focused on braver ideas, honesty, and empowering people with a little more control over their lives.

Mr. Jackson, I hope you are correct. I do believe there is movement in corporate America toward more of a Tom’s Shoes-esque model. Time will tell how genuine these efforts are, and how genuine consumers perceive them to be. I can foresee a rise in the prominence of “Benefit Corporations” in the global business landscape. The big question will be, if everyone and their brother starts making this empathy aspect part of their brand DNA, how special will it really be? Brands spent the better part of a century convincing everyone that “the customer is king.” A shift to “the greater good” may be the right thing to do, but those who do such at the expense of their consumer experience will likely become non-profit companies (and not in a good way). On a related note:

John Patroulis, chief creative officer, BBH NY: How a company behaves in the world is becoming increasingly important, which is a wonderful thing. Wonderful for the kinds of ideas we can create and the kinds of behavior we can inspire. In a world of perfect information, the activities, values, and stances you take really matter, and affect the health of your business whether you like it or not. A nice side benefit just happens to be happier, more inspired employees, customers, and planet. Using our strategic and creative muscle to help a company find its soul, its authentic space of good, ­and creatively express that in actions as well as communications (or, when done right, actions that are themselves communications) will be an important focus, along with everything else we do with them.

That’s a great point about happier employees, Mr. Patroulis. Many times the “customer is king” model was at the expense of the employees. Remember, that’s how Brad Hamilton (Judd Reinhold) got fired in Fast Times? Dennis Taylor was a total jerk.

Linda Boff, global executive director of brand marketing, General Electric: Virtual reality! We‚Äôre fascinated by the limitlessness of it and began creating content for Oculus Rift this year. It’s a great storytelling platform, particularly for GE, because it gives us another incredible way to show how our big machines perform in extreme conditions. We can take someone on a journey to the sea floor or into the human brain.

We’re also paying a lot of attention to connected TVs and thinking about how brands can play with original content. We love that media is becoming more ephemeral through platforms like SnapChat, Yo and Yik Yak, and at the same time, more long form with platforms like Medium.

Data is also going to have an impact on what we do next year. With data, you enable things, and there’s an opportunity for GE to tell stories with smart light bulbs or thermostats as media.

 

Not sure how compelling stories via light bulbs and thermostats will be, but the potential for wearables such as Oculus Rift is exciting. This from a guy who had his first experience with Google Glass late last year, and totally geeked out over it. The issue will be how well these items integrate into our everyday lives. They may never become as ubiquitous as some prognosticators claim, but then again after growing up watching Zack Morris talk on a brick, who would have thought I’d turn around and go back home just because I left my iPhone!

Those interviewed in Mr. Beer’s article go on to talk about how they are increasingly thinking through branding and consumer touch points at the holistic level. I think this is always the way we need to approach marketing. In an age when message delivery systems are literally customizable down to a person, we tend to let the media platform do the heavy lifting. We have to keep in mind that the media channel is an end to a means. It is FedEx. What is really important is what is in the package when it arrives. Content is and always will be, king.

Full credit of all content in quote blocks above to Jeff Beer and Fast Company creative. I encourage you to read the entire article.

stonehengeAs for Tim Mask predictions of what tactical marketing trends we’ll see congeal in 2015 – I think we’ll begin to see more executions created specifically for aerial¬† drones. Marketing messages for people looking down from above isn’t new. Messages have been painted on the rooftops of barns and big buildings for years. According to Erich von Daniken and Paranoid Rob Lowe, mankind has actually been messaging to flying audiences for centuries. Arial photography and video have traditionally been rare and purpose-specific. As we see camera-ready drones become more affordable and content taken from the air becomes more ubiquitous, it won’t be long before advertisers see the opportunity for product placement. It won’t surprise me a bit if we see a handful of novel ad campaigns this year that are only discoverable from the air. Remember, when it happens, you heard it here.

I suspect 2015 will also see a profusion of viral social-media based “challenges.” The Ice Bucket Challenge was brilliant. There have already been numerous copycats and I suspect more are on the way. Nothing wrong with that. It will be interesting to see what news twists can be incorporated into the concept, though. We may even do a little something for Kids Code Mississippi (… that was a teaser if you didn’t notice… stay tuned).

So we ask the millions of readers of the MWB blog, what are your predictions for 2015?

December 17th, 2014

The MWB Podcast


Brought to you from the Creative Cafe at Maris, West & Baker, we’re excited to launch the MWB Podcast! The show, dubbed a weekly 17-minute exploration into the world of creative chaos and enigmatic innovation, debuted it’s inaugural episode with special guest Dr. Sumesh Arora of Innovate Mississippi. Show host Tim Mask and Dr. Arora discussed the theory of diffusion of innovation and how it can be used within and extension model to spur creativity and economic development.

New MWB Podcasts will be posted weekly to the SoundCloud podcast platform and will be available via the MWB website. Each week a special guest will discuss some aspect of creativity and/or innovation relative to a wide range of topics including digital literacy, art and architecture, economic improvement initiatives, technology, and many, many more. Semi-regular show segments include monologues, feature profiles on companies and organizations that are engaged in innovative projects, and “The Coolest Thing I’ve Seen” series.

We invite you to tune in each week to the MWB Podcast. If you’re interested in making a guest appearance on the show, by all means please contact us.

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