RK Venture is honored to have received Print Magazine’s Southwest Regional Design Award for posters created for Horsemen’s Feed & Supply Inc. While HF&S specializes in resources for horses and is well-known in that industry, they also cater to a lot of other animals. These posters show the other adorable four-legged friends being served.
RK Venture is a proud sponsor of the 15th Annual Way OUT West Film Festival. Previously known as the Southwest Gay & Lesbian Festival, this year’s festivities include 78 feature films from all over the world, 8 collections of short films, an exhibition, lecture, parties and the annual Queer Brunch. It’s a part of Albuquerque culture, celebrating our history in filmmaking and supporting the LGBTQ community in film and arts.
When looking to support local cultural endeavors and events, we see where our talents can be best put to use and serve our community. WOW Film Fest is a perfect fit for us. We’re movie people. This is a language we speak and a subject we get excited about. This makes Albuquerque, our home, unique. And we want to be a part of that.
Lee Gallegos, our web designer and social media coordinator extraordinaire, spearheaded the campaign by creating WOW’s graphics and website. Organization and promotion are most important here. The website is well organized to allow filmgoers an easy way to see what’s playing and at which venues with links to purchase tickets online. Write ups and trailers for each movie are displayed. Promotion of the films and the festival’s events are pushed out through social media.
Way OUT West Film Festival is now showing and will run through October 22nd. Come check it OUT!
The New Mexico State Fair has been rated the second-best state fair in the country placing itself on the top ten list two years in a row.
The reason? Affordable ticket prices, increased attendance (23.9% of the state’s population attended the fair), popular events such as the rodeos and concerts, midway rides, and the partnership with Uber to provide transportation to the Fair.
The economic impact of the Fair is more than $70 million.
There are deals and discounts for fairgoers, too. Walgreens offers a Mega Pass for $28 for unlimited carnival rides and admission to the Fair. There are also discount days for law enforcement, firefighters, teachers, military and veterans.
Did we mention sea lions?
This is a lot of excitement for one place. People with special needs, including those with autism, now have a space safe to go to escape uncomfvortable agitation. The Sensory Station is a place to deescalate.
RK Venture is proud to continue to collaborate with the Fair and be a part of its success. Over the last four years we have focused on expanding brand awareness and appealing to a younger demographic which has resulted in increased attendance and better perception of the Fair.
The New Mexico State Fair runs through September 17 at Expo New Mexico, 300 San Pedro NE.
RK Venture is very proud of the work we do with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to promote road safety. When we see the number of fatalities going down, we know that lives are literally being saved through the State’s commitment to road safety, our media campaigns and strong law enforcement. A recent Advertising Week report focuses on the efficacy of robust media campaigns to changing behavior that contributes to the downward trend of alcohol-related fatalities.
Billboards are the perfect vehicle for reaching our demographic. After all, our target audience are in their cars. According to a survey conducted by the Motor Vehicle Division and the University of Chicago, New Mexico drivers are highly aware of the ENDWI and DNTXT slogans. These are shown throughout the state on our highways and are incorporated in all other tactics of our road safety campaigns.
Our strategy for outdoor
When creating our outdoor campaigns, we incorporate messaging that’s being used throughout all the tactics in the campaign. That said, our billboards represent a more sober message appropriate for that media. Whereas entertaining and sometimes humorous approaches can be effectively used for social media engagement, and long-format messaging for TV can expound on the message through compelling and graphic storytelling, our billboards remain a quick read (for obvious reasons) and more serious in tone. Where the integrated campaign comes together is in the type of messaging itself: Are we focusing on consequences, planning ahead, targeting influencers, reflective emotions to making bad choices, facilitating triggers, graphic and hard-hitting imagery, fear of arrest, setting a good example, etc.? The billboards will tie in the chosen messaging being used throughout the media campaign.
New Mexico’s long-standing commitment to raising awareness and facilitating behavior change through robust, integrated campaigns is well-known within the industry. The results are good, but there is still so much work to do. Even one roadway death is still one too many.
RK Venture is proud that Metrolink has been recognized among their peers for our campaign to promote train travel and reduce traffic along a seven-mile corridor on the I-5 freeway in Southern California. Metrolink received the 2017 AdWheel First Place Print Media Award for Best Marketing and Communications to Increase Ridership or Sales for their I-5 campaign, an example of work involving great collaboration between our two companies.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recognized the campaign for its efficacy of targeting single occupancy vehicle drivers and helping to change the ingrained driving behaviors of commuters in Southern California.
The I-5 campaign included outdoor that was created to increase awareness of Metrolink train service along the 6th busiest freeway corridor in the greater Los Angeles area. Major construction was scheduled on the freeway affording a great opportunity to reach future commuters stuck in their cars. The graphics proved memorable to new customers — 60% of those who tried the train recalled having seen the billboards, more than any other outreach program. Our strategy was to create eye-catching billboards that conveyed a clear message and identified Metrolink as a stress-free way to commute. The design used colorful illustrations of the train and characters to capture the attention of drivers through a very crowded ad heavy corridor. Fun headlines promoted the primary message of easy commuting. The billboards were refreshed once each quarter to prevent creative fatigue and keep the interest to the driver.
As a result, ridership on the lines running parallel to the corridor increased 9.5% and revenue increased 6.8% from the previous year.
Previously, Metrolink won the 2016 Grand Award for its Campaign to Increase Ridership or Sales for the Antelope Valley Line Fare Reduction Marketing Campaign. This integrated campaign spearheaded by RK Venture combined print, digital, social media, apps, out-of-home, radio, and direct mail to create a robust campaign to increase ridership by marketing fare reductions.
The pilot program far exceeded expectations by Metrolink. The 6-month campaign was so successful in increasing ridership that our client chose to extend it for an additional 6 months. It encouraged more local trips and saw an increase in ridership by 16.4% from the start of the program. Sales data showed the one-way and round-trip ticket ridership increased by 44.2% suggesting new customers were introduced to the service. The digital campaign was very successful garnering nearly 30 million impressions and 150,000 website page views.
About a month ago we had a group of college students visit the agency as part of the American Advertising Federation of New Mexico’s (AAFNM) Advertising Agency Tour. It’s an opportunity for current students and recent grads to get a first-hand look at what working in the advertising and marketing industry is really like by visiting several firms and agencies. The students can see how the offices are set up and ask questions about what they can expect when they enter the field.
It was also a learning experience for us too. We get to think more reflectively about what we do and how we felt when we were starting out. They asked good questions. We did our best to answer truthfully and not bore them with how we used to do things in good ol’ days.
We ran through all the tangibles of working in the advertising industry and obtaining employment at an agency. These are the things that they most likely already know: have a good portfolio, produce spec creative when starting out, be passionate about what you do, work hard, etc. But since then, we’ve come up with some intangibles that are worth sharing.
Our Top 5 Intangibles to working at an ad agency:
Personality matters. Being able to collaborate with coworkers and focus on serving the work and the client is what’s important. It’s not about you.
Conflict is good. You don’t agree with the direction of the creative? Speak up.
Have interests outside of work. This will help you be more creative on the job. Everything can contribute to the work.
Be curious. Ask questions. Advertising is about communicating and finding solutions to clients’ problems. A lot of these solutions come through brainstorming sessions.
Be willing to get out of your comfort zone. You may be asked to do more than what you learned at school. Working in advertising requires constantly brushing up on your skills and wearing different hats.
From what we saw in the group that visited our offices, the future of advertising looks good. The students were attentive, professional and curious. We can’t wait to start working with some of them.
It’s been 20 years since Radiohead’s OK Computer was released, and the online magazine, Pitchfork, has been celebrating the anniversary including an article about their cutting-edge video for Karma Police. The behind-the-scenes look at creating the video includes the work of long-time RK Venture collaborator, Sean Broughton, whose visual effects bring to life Jonathan Glazer’s disturbed storyline.
Sean’s problem solving for how to shoot a quarter mile of fire chasing a car without actually blowing it up, is just a day in the life of this visual effects artist. His ability to combine art, craft and technology caught our attention. It’s a perfect fit for the work we create.
“Any piece of good art is something where everyone sees something different in it,
and to have a story that is so simple does lend itself to you reading into it.” — Sean Broughton
RK Venture is very proud of our long-time collaboration with Sean. As a Special Effects Supervisor and Director, Sean has created some of our most memorable and visually arresting spots for the New Mexico Department of Transportation in the continuing effort to end drunk driving (ENDWI) as well as stop distracted driving (DNTXT) and encourage seatbelt safety (BKLUP) including “What’s the Worst that Can Happen?”, hard-hitting, reality-based TV spots on the real consequences of the bad decisions people make. Sean has worked on many groundbreaking videos in the 90s, and that was the springboard for his expertise in the video special effects world, where he is considered a master today. Nick Tauro, Broadcast Creative Director for RK Venture, has also collaborated with Sean on both the “Last Call” and “Reverse” (see the links below). Sean was able to take Nick’s vision for the narrative and bring to life the horror of the decision to drive drunk. “It’s always a treat for me to work with someone of Sean’s caliber. His technical wizardry is matched by his passion for great storytelling. I’m continually amazed at the way his mind works.”
Common sense has its uses. But do we rely on it too much? Sometimes things seem so obvious — and intuition is a good starting point — but to fully serve our clients, we need to test our intuition and be methodical in our research. We’ve had some surprises along the way with statistics we wouldn’t have guess that can help inform our campaigns.
1. Parents’ disapproval of youthful alcohol use is the key reason children choose not to drink.
We know the role of parents is important, but we didn’t know it was so influential. Parents didn’t know this either. They put themselves on the bottom of the list when asked what influenced their kids most when it came to drinking. Turns out they underestimated themselves big time. So instead of just targeting teens and tweens about the dangers of underage drinking, we need to pay attention to the parents as well.
2. It can take a freight train a full mile or more to brake – even after it has hit something. That's nearly 18 football fields to stop.
Even if he does see someone or something on the tracks, an engineer can't stop in time. Metrolink’s mascot for safety, Smarty, has been advising about the dangers of railroad tracks for years. This one fact is astounding.
3. Licensed establishments produce 58 percent of DWI arrests in New Mexico.
RK Venture launched Buzzkill, an awareness campaign, in 2016 with the goal to curb over serving alcohol by servers and sellers. This statistic shows just how important that is. If we can help stop people from being over served at restaurants or sold alcohol at stores when intoxicated, we can reduce crashes from impaired driving.
4. Texting while driving makes you 23X more likely to crash.
Wow. Just wow. No need to tell us driving and texting is dangerous. We all know that. But 23x more likely to crash? That’s stunning!
5. 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising
We know that social media plays a large role in how millennials interact on a daily basis. We know we need to reach them where they are. What we can learn from this is that the messaging has to be authentic and informational rather than just persuasive. This is a smart group.
Research, facts, statistics and studies play a large role in how we approach the campaigns for our clients. Research based on empirical evidence, peer reviewed studies, surveys, scientific studies and published articles are all collected and factored into strategies to determine who our target audience is, how to connect to them and what form of communication will resonate most with them — not necessarily to manipulate, but to focus the conversation where we want it. This can save lives (as in the case with the New Mexico Department of Transportation and our efforts to end drunk driving), educate people about alternative transportation (as with Metrolink), improve attendance at events (New Mexico State Fair), and share some pretty cool products and services (Villa Myriam and Ardham).
We all have anecdotes, but only through research do we gain a new and more accurate perspective. Actors and writers will do research when developing characters and content to add nuance to their performances and scripts. Likewise, these little nuances can help in a campaign, where a small detail might resonate with someone. It’s all about connection.
As a lot of research can go into creating a campaign, a lot of research can then go into testing its effectiveness. The homework doesn’t stop at the launch of a campaign. It continues through and after its duration.
Media buying also requires ample research. We need to reach people where they are. As more and more people are getting their news and entertainment through non-traditional means, social media has become a vital means of communication.
We like to credit things we already know as being axiomatic. Truth is, it’s easier to see the obviousness of the facts after the research. That’s why it’s so important to do research, as much as possible and as often as possible.
First, RK Venture is proud to have been selected as a winner in the 2016 Print Magazine Regional Design Annual for the design of textbook covers for Metrolink. Designed by Rebecca Hahs, the graphics promote traffic safety and are distributed to middle and high school students reminding them of the importance of safety around trains and railroad tracks. Distraction among teenagers has become a big problem, and railway crossings are a dangerous place for pedestrians and bicyclists if they’re not paying attention especially with the increased use of headphones and cell phones. Good work, Becky!
View the awards on Print Magazine's website.
And in more news from Metrolink…
We can’t help but toot our own train horn after seeing the numbers coming back after the launch of our “Commute Altering” campaign for Metrolink. It’s off the rails!
The overall goal for all our campaigns with Metrolink is to increase ridership and make commuting, and using the train in general, more attractive. This not only helps the client gain revenue but also reduces road congestion, reduces the carbon footprint, reduces gas consumption, provides economic growth to the communities it serves (home values go up; business sales increase), and generally makes the community a more attractive place to live and visit.
Unlike some European cities or American cities in the East, Southern California is the epitome of car culture. How do we get people to leave their cars and use the train? By creating a campaign celebrating Southern California that makes using public transportation attractive and educating people on how it can benefit their quality of life, we’ve helped increase ridership to record levels.
A great opportunity arose. The I5 freeway was slated to undergo a huge construction project to widen the road in an attempt to increase the flow of traffic between L.A. and Orange County. The construction along the freeway would bottleneck cars for miles. Why not advertise to all the commuters sitting in traffic? Bright, illustrated creative was used to show a sunnier side, á la laid-back California, with different characters, groovy copy and graphics. Billboards were placed along the I5 freeway showing a sunny, mellow alternative to the commuters already stuck in traffic. Other tactics included a strong digital presence (to attract the all important millennial demographic), postcards (to help drive customers to the website), and radio spots.
And now for the numbers…
Ridership on the Orange County and 91 Lines (the ones running parallel to I-5) are up 9.5% from last year. Response rates (1.64-3.53%) to direct mail have exceeded industry standards (1.0-1.5%). The digital campaign has generated over 63 million impressions through August, driving over 190,000 clicks for a 0.30% click through rate. From May to August 2016, the I-5 Microsite has experienced the most web traffic since the inception of the site in January 2013, largely as a result of the media campaigns. The traffic during these four months accounts for half of total traffic on the site over the last 20 months.
This is a client whose mission we believe in wholeheartedly and are privileged to share in their success.
We’re always looking for new ideas. Sometimes they pop into the head effortlessly and at other times they need to be sourced. We are always looking around us for inspiration. Visual cues are everywhere, whether it’s in nature, products in your home, architecture, a walk through a museum, or just people watching in the neighborhood. The internet is also a fantastic resource for honing in on just what you’re looking for to help with a project or for simply browsing around for new ideas.
Below is a list of websites we at RK Venture like to peruse from time to time for inspiration. Some are reference sites; some are just fun sites to visit. All of them are worth bookmarking.
This is a great resource if you’re looking for a font and don’t know its name. You can answer a series of questions about the mystery font until it narrows the search down to a few results. It will even show similar fonts to what you’re looking for. Fonts can also be looked up by designer or publisher, picture fonts can be searched, and links are given to sites where you can purchase chosen fonts.
The name says it all. Cool posters using type in creative ways with links to the designers, a great site for inspiration.
Golden Ratio Calculator
If you’re looking for proportions for your design based on the golden ratio, try this calculator for quick results. It’s useful for page proportions and font size proportions (ratio of headline to body copy).
Charts, graphs and diagrams are showcased on this website. How information is organized and visualized is key to communication. Here are some artistic and effective ways of showing data.
Architecture for Sale
If you’re a busy person with a lot on your plate, we would recommend not looking at this website. Don’t even peek. Hours will go by before you come up for air. The houses listed on this site are spectacular in their designs with eye candy photos, specs, prices, locations, and their history and stories. Find your dream house and be inspired by your fantasies.
Sister Mary Corita was a nun, artist, and educator. Her artwork is graphic; her life was meaningful; both are inspirational. With a focus on the social commentary of the day promoting love and tolerance, she was a quiet activist speaking loudly through her art. In 1985 she created her Love stamp for the U.S. Postal Service. This site displays her art and tells her story. Her artwork can also be seen and bought on ebay.
The Matthews Gallery/Janet Lippincott
Janet Lippincott was a local artist who lived in Santa Fe. Her artwork can be found at The Matthews Gallery on Canyon Road, or you can view her art here online and be inspired by her use of mixed media, collage, drawings and paintings.
The New York Times
Perusing the New York Times over breakfast is a good way to stay informed and stay connected to the world outside New Mexico.
Music sites: Stereogum, Pitchfork, Allmusic
When designing or just working in general, music is an essential part of the process. It keeps us motivated and inspired. Figuring out the playlist for the day can be a much fun as actually listening to the tunes. All these sites are great resources for finding new music, reading reviews, and geeking out on liner notes.
No Film School
This community where filmmakers share cool tips (e.g. how to shoot a car scene) and gadgets (new cameras, etc.) as well as everything to do with filmmaking will inspire broadcast directors, filmmakers, or just plain movie buffs.
Browse and get lost in this great resource on fine art photography. Wind through a carousel of paintings, films, essays, photographs and interviews. This is time well spent breathing in the narrative of a photo essay, letting it percolate in the mind and soul and seeing its truth.
Please note that there is nudity on this site.
This is the used bookstore of photography and graphics. It’s there to peruse at one’s leisure, not go in with a set goal in mind. Walk up and down the aisles, smell that used bookstore smell, and discover lots of gems within. There are different ways to browse the site. One can go chronologically or select tags. An image chosen will give suggestions to others, etc. Don’t blame us if you waste hours on this site—you’ve been warned.
If you want to hone in on a particular image, we suggest using Google Images with FFFFOUND to produce results. For example, typing in “FFFFound bicycle” in Google Images will result in more interesting results than just typing in “bicycle”.
RK Venture recently won 8 Telly awards for TV spots created for the New Mexico Department of Transportation. The campaigns revolve around ending drunk driving, texting and driving, and seatbelt safety. Three silver Telly awards went to “Things I’ve Seen: Morning” and “Worst That Can Happen: DNTXT” and “Worst That Can Happen: Mash Up”. All 3 spots are reality-based messages on the real consequences of the bad decisions people make when driving, whether it’s to drive drunk or text and drive. Both campaigns differ on how that message is delivered. One uses real people recalling their experiences; one uses actors in a scenario that shows the results of making bad choices.
For “Things I’ve Seen: Morning”, one of the spots in the campaign, Creative Director, Nick Tauro, used real-life police officers to tell the story of what they see when they arrive at the scene of a drunk driving crash. Rather than target drunk drivers, the idea was to incorporate influencers, people who are connected to the consequences of drunk driving crashes. The thought was that many people are affected by the problem, and their stories would be an interesting place to mine for content. Mr. Tauro started by interviewing state troopers.
“We decided at first just to interview state troopers and hear their stories and think that there’d be good inspiration for our scripts. But then it turned out, when we sat and actually talked to them, we realized that their stories were more dramatic than any fiction we could create. Hearing it in their voice was more powerful because it brings another level of seriousness to it when you’ve got this tough looking state trooper telling you about how heartbreaking it is when he has to knock on the door and tell someone their loved one is dead.”
The officers and EMTs used in the spots were chosen because they looked the part. Once on set, they performed well through multiple takes and exceeded the expectations of the crew.
One of the EMTs choked up on set. That’s when it became apparent to Tauro how real this was. “It was actually a poignant moment for me personally, because any time you’re working on a script or a concept you really don’t know how strong and powerful your message is until it’s out in the world. We had the EMT reading the script for us for a voice over session. She was reading the one script I wrote regarding losing a young girl at the crash scene, and she had to stop the recording because she got choked up and started to cry. For me that was immensely validating. I thought that we were on target emotionally but also the fact that this was somebody who sees the worst things out in the world that we don’t ever see, and it showed that her emotion and dedication to her job, we had this really strong representation of that and it really got to her and got to us too. We had to take a pause and some deep breaths, and it was a pretty emotional moment.”
“Morning” was taken in one shot with the help of a strong crew.
RK Venture: Agency
Richard Kuhn: Principal and ECD
Nick Tauro: Broadcast Creative Director and Writer
David Garcia: Director
Ernesto Melara: Director of Photography
Phil Griego: Editor
halflife* digital: Post Production
Mountain Road Studio: Sound
Claudio Ruben and Dream Mullick: Co-Producers
“What’s the Worst That Can Happen?: DNTXT” is a spot that looks into the future to what can happen if people text and drive. It’s part of a series created for the summer campaign that includes drunk driving and seatbelt safety. The idea was simple. It shows people being dismissive to the danger they are about to embark on in different driving situations. For DNTXT, it asks “What’s the worst that can happen?” when a man innocuously picks up his phone to write a text. Flashing to the future, the spot shows that his decision is potentially deadly. When he realizes this, he puts the phone down. He’s demonstrating the correct decision, an approach that reinforces positive behavior. According to Adweek the spot “…rises above category clichés owing to a strong element of hope…”
Nick Tauro talks about how the middle sequence required a lot of expert post-production.
“We have a pedestrian getting hit by a car, so they end up on the windshield. So that’s a lot of quick editing. We had a stunt man who would do the repeated jump on the front of the car. We smashed a windshield. There was a lot of special effects, makeup for fake blood. All of that sequence did require a lot of post-production special effects. We worked with a director, Sean Broughton, who specializes in that sort of work and who we’ve worked with many times before. I think the strength of that whole series of spots were really those middle sections where we shift out of this sort of hyper reality or dream sequence almost, and show the worst of the worst part of whether it’s a texter hitting a pedestrian, people in a car not wearing a seatbelt, and what that looks like at point of impact, or a drunk whose passenger ends up getting fatally injured in the crash. Being able to show that in such a visually striking way with all the extra special effects and computer graphics made it really powerful, and I think that’s why that spot in particular got recognized.
RK Venture: Agency
Richard Kuhn: Principal and ECD
Nick Tauro: Broadcast Creative Director and Writer
Akash Khokha: Executive Producer
Sean Broughton: Director
Dean Mitchell: Director of Photography
Phil Perri: Editor
Left Field Labs: Effects and Color
The Brigade: Flame, CGI and SFX
“What’s the Worst That Can Happen: Mash up” is a director’s cut that was produced as a long-form video to be shown on YouTube and Facebook. It combines the two TV spots for “What’s the Worst That Can Happen: ENDWI” and “What’s the Worst That Can Happen: BKLUP” editing both together. A car full of young women and a car with two young men ask, “what’s the worst that can happen?”. Back and forth scenes from both commercials go through the process of seeing into the future of the horror that can ensue if they either drive drunk or drive without a seatbelt. It then presents each driver’s choice to do the right thing and not take the chance. This shows how bad driving decisions can lead to devastating consequences. It also demonstrates people doing the right thing.
At RK Venture, we have a philosophy to our business. This philosophy compels us to seek work that serves a purpose that benefits not only our clients and their goals, but the communities that they serve as well. When we heard the story of Villa Myriam, a local coffee producer and retailer, we became attracted to their business philosophy which seemed aligned with our own. They serve their communities through sustainable farming (using single source beans), paying their employees a living wage, and giving back to the community that has supported and embraced them.
And, honestly, coffee is just cool. Graphically, the design possibilities are exciting. Telling their story and branding their company is a great fit for us.
Villa Myriam’s business’ beginnings can be traced back to the owners’ grandfather’s farm in Colombia. Brothers Juan and David Certain came to the United States as political refugees in 1999. As much as they loved New Mexico, its landscape and people, the coffee they found here wasn’t so great. And these guys know coffee; they’re experts. Having grown up near their grandfather’s farm and business, it seemed the perfect venture for the brothers to explore. They started by importing the coffee beans from the family farm and roasting them in a small commercial kitchen at the South Valley Economic Development Center.
The product was a success. They were able to sell their beans wholesale to some of the area’s most renowned businesses such as Los Poblanos, Hotel Parq Central and The Range Cafe. The Brew, their neighborhood downtown coffee shop, came next. They are also selling new products, Nitro Cold Brew Coffee and Tea, unique products sold in cans.
With the different businesses, products, and endeavors, we had the opportunity to design a cohesive brand that can meld their various endeavors. The logo has been updated, keeping their type and adding a “bean crown”, the graphic designed by RK Venture’s Senior Designer, Rudi Backart. There are also other creative ways to tell their story graphically and literally that are being explored. So stand by.
The opportunity to design for a cool, emerging business is not the only reason we’re so excited about this new client. They have the kind of business we love, one that’s a family tradition blended with new products and ideas. An uprooted family going back to their roots to create a new take on an old business in a new land. What’s not to love?
Coincidentally, RK Venture has two Colombians working in its office: Dianne De Leon and Mario Moreno. Dianne was born in Queens, New York to Colombian parents. Mario was born in Bogota and moved to Long Island at the age of 5.
RK Venture has been working with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to help end drunk driving since 2006. In 2012, in an effort to engage its audience more, a new brand, ENDWI, was launched. The results speak for themselves. Since RK Venture began working on the campaign for NMDOT, New Mexico has moved from number 49 on the nationwide list of unsafe state roadways to below 30. In 2004, there were 219 DWI-related deaths on New Mexico’s roadways; in 2015 this number was reduced to 113, an almost 50% decrease.
Even with these positive results, there are still too many drunk driving fatalities each year. How to change the behavior of drivers and inculcate the doctrine of not drinking and driving as a social norm will be the goal until there is zero drunk driving fatalities.
Technology and social media are being used to their fullest to help spread awareness to the ENDWI program. A redesign of the website and upgrade to the mobile app have just been launched. The goal is to engage people to actively get involved in the ENDWI program and set good examples for others to follow. The website has a more responsive design due to the trend of people using mobile devices more to access websites. The mobile app now includes push notifications that will inform users of super blitzes (added efforts by law enforcement around holidays), statistics, preventative measures, and reminders to plan ahead. There is also a designated driver update. Users can create a list of designated drivers from their contacts to more easily arrange safe rides. The app works with the user’s phone apps to send messages through social media (Facebook, Facebook messenger, Twitter) or networks like WhatsApp, text and phone.
Users can lead by example. As Art Markman stated in the Harvard Business Review, “You can only learn a new habit when you actually do something.” (Emphasis his.) By empowering people rather than just persuading them, use of the app reinforces good behavior as well as shares that behavior with a peer group. When a user posts on Facebook through ENDWI about planning their next outing and needing a designated driver, they and others are interacting rather than just thinking about the idea of not to drink and drive. Planning ahead for a night out can become a social norm perpetuated by good habits and good examples.
Statistics can change behavior. So can fear. Seeing in numbers and infographics on how drunk driving effects the community can be sobering. Having constant access to this in a format that is not only instructive but also sharable can help spread the message that it is not tolerable to drive drunk.
Good behavior can also be reinforced by rewards. When someone drives home sober, there is no reward for just doing the right thing. But by creating a community through technology, people can share their smart decisions and be proud to belong to a program that can help end the misery. By engaging with friends, family and colleagues, being a good example is the reward.
Lee Gallegos, RK Venture’s Social Media Coordinator, uses social media to not only extend the reach of the ENDWI campaign, but to support the cause with community conversation and technological possibilities. "We are always exploring ideas in creative and technical capacities with both our clients and their audiences in mind. People are consistently experiencing new knowledge on a very personal level with their on-hand mobile devices—so much that a majority of the Internet is being shaped around small, dynamic and interactive experiences. Our team at RK Venture aims to create meaningful bridges of information, conversation and interactivity amongst our clients, their audiences, and the world we live in."
Social marketing and the use of technology complement the efforts of the ENDWI campaign and help build awareness, peer influence, set good examples and provide easy access to information. Our goal is empower people to make the decision to plan ahead when they know they’ll be drinking.
Advertising can help solve problems through good branding and communication. We have a clear problem. Too many families suffer from drunk driving crashes. How to change people’s minds before they get into their car will always be our cause. Now we have a better point of purchase. We can reach people on their phones, while they’re out, before they get into their cars or even take their first drink.
Everyone can relate to road rage. We have seen drivers lose their cool and drive erratically. We have become impatient ourselves with other drivers. As George Carlin put it, “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” Unfortunately, it’s not a joke. Up to 1,500 people are killed or injured in road rage incidents every year. It’s a serious road safety issue that needs to be addressed alongside drunk driving and distracted driving. A 2-ton car can easily become a deadly weapon in the hands of an aggressive driver. The impatience of someone late for work or their kid’s soccer game, or any other number of reasons, can end in tragedy.
RK Venture, in partnership with the New Mexico Department of Transportation and law enforcement, has launched a campaign to bring awareness to this serious problem. The death of 4-year-old Lily Garcia from a road rage incident last October struck the Albuquerque community hard. She died after being shot in the head while riding in the back of the family truck by a man who was angry he had been cut off on the interstate.
"This is possibly one of the most wanton and atrocious acts alleged I think in the history of this city."
Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court Judge Chris J. Schultz
After an anonymous caller tipped off police, Tony Torrez was later arrested for the murder of Lilly Garcia. The community could begin to heal, but it is a long road for the families, emergency personnel, and good samaritans who stopped to help Lilly on the side of the road. Everyone involved will feel the repercussions of that day for years to come. Their lives will never be the same. We don’t want to forget what happened to Lilly. A split second decision by an aggressive driver can ruin lives.
Radio spots, billboards, police handouts, merchandising and a website (operationlillyabq.com) have been created to bring awareness and educate the public about what we all can do to End Road Rage. Operation Lilly, a campaign in bright magenta, reminds us all to calm down and remember the seriousness of our actions on the road. The police have put out more patrol cars to look out for aggressive drivers and provide them with literature on how to de-escalate conflicts on the road.
We can all learn how to better react to aggressive drivers and learn tools to better control our own emotions behind the wheel.
We opened our doors on July 1, 2014, so 2015 was our first full official year operating as RK Venture and I am proud of that achievement and the work that the team has done. Not only did our strategic creative work hard for our clients and get results, but we were recognized by local and national media (Adweek, Creativity Online) for the great work we do. In particular, while official numbers have yet to be tallied, New Mexico is on track to have a record low number of DWI-related fatalities for 2015. Since we’ve started creating public awareness campaigns to motivate behavior change behind the wheel, DWI-related fatalities have decreased nearly 50%.
Personally, I’ve had the privilege throughout the year to watch how my therapy dog, Ciskoh, has such a positive impact on the kids who read to him at the Albuquerque Libraries’ “Read to the Dogs” program. It’s a joy to see kids open up in his presence, become more confident and improve their reading skills. Plus the year was topped off with a great adventure to Panama where my partner and I stayed in a jungle at an eco lodge on a chocolate farm. Yum!
Becky’s Year of the Goat
2015 was a year of learning (trying anyway) to be patient which was a big challenge for the old impatient me. Professionally, the high point was Metrolink’s F125/Tier 4 Locomotive becoming a reality. The opportunity to design this locomotive was exciting, highly unusual and different from the fast-paced, quick turn projects I normally work on –- it took about two years from when we started the design process to the start of production, and I’m looking forward to seeing what started as imagination in 2013 become a finished locomotive in 2016.
I’ve been a runner for a very long time, and it’s always suited my nature. In 2014, I decided to add something new to my repertoire, and decided to give yoga a try. It had never really appealed to me because it seemed like the pace was just too slow, but this time I stuck with it and have found it to be challenging, rewarding, discouraging and humbling all at the same time. Many months, lots of practice and many mini panic attacks later, my personal high points in the endeavor came when I was able to do a headstand and then a forearm balance on my own. And I’ve discovered that I’m still impatient. Namaste, ya’ll.
NICK TAURO JR.
My most memorable projects from 2015 are the multiple TV spots we shot for the NMDOT. Starting with “Slang” in the spring, throughout the summer “What’s the Worst That Can Happen?” campaign, the “My Instead” campaign, and finally the law enforcement spots “The Things I’ve Seen.” I’ve had the privilege of collaborating with some of my favorite directors and producers, all of whom share my passion for finding solutions to the problem of drunk driving.
On a personal note, I had the honor this summer to attend a month-long artist residency in Porto, Portugal. The opportunity to take time off from work to focus on my personal photography was one that I will always treasure. We aren’t just creative when we’re “on the clock” and having the chance to engage my muse and grow artistically is something I value highly.
Links: De Liceiras 18 Residency My website Some of my Portugal photos
DIANNE DE LEON
In 2015, as part of the effort to enhance knowledge of the DWI problem in New Mexico, the Department of Transportation and the governor launched an aggressive program to find the top 10 DWI Absconders of the state.
These are people who have numerous DWIs and have somehow avoided the law. Since the time of the launch, there have been 6 people who have been captured. This fight will continue until we no longer have a list and it feels as though we are doing our part to get the word out and to support the efforts of the state to do and be better. I’ve had the privilege to work closely with the New Mexico Department of Transportation on this campaign that will hopefully make our roads safer.
If you are a reader of this recent blog 2015 wrap-up post from our staff at RK, then you will note that most are writing about their favorite project and a note regarding something personally stellar that took place in their life outside the firm. I choose to talk about both in combination.
If you are familiar with our clients, then you know we have had the pleasure of working for the New Mexico State Fair for the last four years. I am responsible for the design efforts for any print and outdoor visuals that help influence the Fair’s success and many of those campaigns involve the myriad of livestock and equine events that are a basic component of every large state fair — the New Mexico State Fair is known throughout the country for their efforts in supporting our New Mexico ranchers and horsemen.
Outside my work at RK, my husband and I own a feed and supply store in Albuquerque, and our customers are from all counties in the state. My husband, Jim, grew up on a large New Mexico ranch and is not only an avid horsemen but an advocate for kids that are members of New Mexico Junior Livestock Association. Throughout our state the foundation has provided discounted feed and friendly assistance to these kids regarding how to raise their show steers, sheep, pigs and goats — all hoping to win the Best of Show which is an opportunity to put money in the bank for their future education. There is barely a weekend when we don’t have a few kids hauling their prize animals to the store for Jim to take a look in hopes that he can determine what might benefit all their animals in order for them to win in their event. We get involved in their successes and their heartbreaks that all lead up to showing in this once-a-year celebration at the State Fair.
The fair is also heavily involved in equine shows including Western and English competitions and the hugely popular rodeo events. Many of these horse people are our customers as well. I like horse people. I am one of them. There is always a horse story to be heard or a horse that could use some help with a proper saddle fit or the right feed to keep them strong and healthy. Creating an ad for the Fair is not simply a job that needs doing for our client but a part of my personal life and interest as well.
The successes that are reaped from our involvement at the firm with promoting the Fair go far beyond a design project… just give me that opportunity to put a beautiful horse on a billboard — not a bad way to combine my work with the things I love to do outside the office. More Fair please.
As a design and production artist, I’ve worked mostly in print and web throughout my career. Last year provided me the opportunity to put some of these designs in motion. I created animations for both the New Mexico Department of Transportation and Metrolink. Bringing our designers’ creations into motion was a welcome challenge that excited the recesses of my brain. Seeing the final images come to life and reactions to them is one of my proud moments working at RK Venture.
This summer I traveled to Chicago to act in the premier of a new play, A Work of Art, at Chicago Dramatists. Acting was my first love back in New York where I started that career in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of Balm in Gilead, directed my John Malkovich. To come full circle back to the theater world in Chicago was an adventure of a lifetime. I’ve fallen in love with the city (the food!) and will continue my love affair with more visits and hopefully more work. In the summer, that is.
The first half of 2015 was dedicated to creating and implementing an identity for the 28th Festival Flamenco Internacional de Alburquerque in June, the largest flamenco festival outside of Spain offering a range workshops, performances and events with the involvement of the highest caliber of flamenco artists in the world. To collaborate and exercise my skills demonstrated my abilities to offer perspective on such a large and complex event.
2015 proved my ambitions of a freelance, traveling lifestyle successful. A year had passed since my friend and I opened our home to AirBnB guests and frequent 4-week stays by flamenco Artists-in-Residence at the University of New Mexico. As our cozy loft was rented, I was fortunate enough to travel and see old friends (a single trip aimed to spend less than $500 in travel, and included ABQ > NYC > Boston > Maine > San Francisco > Portland, OR > SLC), or experience alternative ways of living (January stay at a secluded cabin in the snow-covered Mora Valley in northern New Mexico).
2015 was wonderful because my beautiful, ambitious, and smart wife and I shared office duties. Nichole and I where able to work out how to best use our individual and collective skills to work together at RK Venture. Combining my bookkeeping and accounting along with Nichole’s hard work and bright spirit has made (I believe) the office a better and more exciting work environment! I was able to build our porch (personal accomplishment) because Nichole has been able to more than just hold up the fort on days I was not in the office.
Finishing the front porch and deck from the ruins of a destroyed addition on our house was a personal accomplishment. Late 2014 was a difficult time because a front room in our house that was destroyed due to a faulty roof. One evening after returning from work on a day that saw a massive monsoon storm that caused much havoc in the area, Nichole and I walked into our home to see that the rain was now coming down harder inside our house then it was even coming down outside! Long story short, 2015was when we got to replace that leaky, then moldy, room with a brand new, clean and comforting front porch and deck… like a Phoenix rising from the ashes! This was very much facilitated due to the sharing of office responsibilities.
I started working at RK Venture in May of 2015. After working for years in my home office, the collaborative environment at RK has helped me hone in on my skills and create better work than when I’m on my own. This has been surprisingly refreshing and inspiring. A highlight was working with Becky on the campaign to launch Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line. There are many different pieces that went into this campaign. Keeping an overall consistency in message and design requires an eye for detail with an eye for the big picture. It’s a challenge I enjoy.
As for personal endeavors, I looked back through my Google calendar and it seems all I did last year was play tennis. (Monday: tennis w/Marina; Wednesday: match at Highpoint Thursday: tennis w/Heidi.) Hopefully I’ve gotten better.
Leaving my government job after 8 1/2 years was scary! I slowly transitioned into the position at RK Venture. I had very minimal experience in this type of work. It was a challenge that I gladly welcomed! I had the confidence and motivation in myself to learn and be the best I can. Now I achieved the training and love my job!
I sky dived for the very first time. For me, this resembled a major change in my life. Jumping into the beautiful sky released a new positive beginning mentally. It was an amazing experience!
RK Venture has produced three new TV spots showing the tragic consequences of drunk driving from the perspective of police officers. And it’s sobering. This is what it’s actually like. The trauma and devastation from DWI crashes has resulted in almost 100 deaths so far this year. An officer sees this too often, and it’s heartbreaking. All three scripts were based on true stories shared by officers of the New Mexico State Police.
“The Things I’ve Seen” is a thought-provoking campaign meant to give pause and focus on the seriousness of drunk driving. By featuring actual police officers in the spots and showing things from their personal perspectives, we hope to engage the viewer to feel what they feel and have a better understanding of the reality of what can happen when driving drunk.
"Badge" starts with the officer washing blood off his hands and ends with him putting his badge back on over his heart. In between we see the carnage of a DWI crash and the anguish on the faces of the family he needs to inform. It's a horrible day in the life of a police officer.
"Morning" takes place at dawn in a quintessential New Mexico setting. It pans from the wreck of a flipped vehicle with its driver lying dead next to it to the look on the officer’s face to a woman crying out in the distance. This is the gruesome scene of a DWI crash shot in one single, eerily beautiful take.
"Repeat" focuses on the problem of repeat offenders. There is repetition. The squad car door closes; the officer approaches the driver; the handcuffs go on the offender. Over and over. Too often it’s the same person. The officer’s perspective of another day on the job drives home the need to ENDWI, especially regarding those individuals who unfortunately don’t learn their lesson the first time.
When you think of places that represent car culture, California is on the top of the list — just listen to any Beach Boys song. Everyone seems to drive everywhere. Bumper-to-bumper traffic and lack of parking are frequent complaints among drivers. Freeways are clogged with cars, and smog chokes the air. Yet, getting people to leave their cars behind and switch over to mass transit is a tall order.
RK Venture has been working with Metrolink, a commuter rail system serving Southern California, for 5 years. In that time, we have produced many campaigns to drive (pun intended) business to the brand. Focusing on creating a more contemporary, urban feel to draw in a younger demographic, we’ve created several campaigns that add social media to the more traditional print, web and radio campaigns. Ridership has increased showing some of the strongest growth for commuter rails in the country. Additionally, the number of bicyclists using Metrolink has increased as well as a result of our highly successful “Bikes on Board” campaign.
RK Venture has won numerous Telly and Addy awards as well as several prestigious APTA (American Public Transportation Association) awards for our Metrolink work. (See link below.)
Metrolink wins national social media award
Encouraging alternative ways to travel helps alleviate the congestion of our roads, reduces vehicle generated pollution, and gives people a break from the stress of driving. RK Venture is proud to be traveling in the right direction with Metrolink.
RK Venture, in collaboration with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) and the office of Governor Susana Martinez, has launched a campaign to bring awareness and educate drivers to the dangers specific to Southeast New Mexico. The long term goal is to change the behavior of drivers so that they are more alert, informed, follow the law, and employ strategies to help keep them and others on the road safe.
The Southeast New Mexico (SENM) Traffic Safety Campaign was launched in response to the large increase in traffic deaths in the area. As business has increased for the oil and gas industry, more tankers and commercial vehicles are taking up the roads. In Southeast New Mexico, 86 percent of fatalities involving trucks are not the trucker’s fault. Driver alertness is critical. Through brochures, radio spots, billboards, rack cards, posters and merchandising, we are getting the word out to pass with care, slow down, don’t tailgate, drive safely, etc. We’re educating drivers with facts about how long it takes a truck to come to a stop, strategies for passing cars and trucks and more.
In Lea County, non-alcohol related fatalities have tripled from 2013 to 2014. They have gone up in Eddy County as well. Through an aggressive campaign, we intend to get these numbers down. Lives depend on it.
The New Mexico State Fair is here, a showcase of New Mexico life and universal fun that is experienced by all in the community.
“Talk About a Great Fair!” is the tagline for this year’s creative, words to elicit a feeling of community, a family event that everyone will be talking about.
A talking pickle, talking cotton candy, a talking guitar, and a talking saddle are all announcing the 77th New Mexico State Fair. They are the main protagonists. The supporting cast includes bunnies, corn dogs, baby goats (you’re not kidding), and bulls. They are all talking about a great fair!
In RK Venture’s 4th year as New Mexico State Fair’s creative agency, we have seen attendance in a steady increase with profits up. Perception of the fair has been turning around, making it a more hip and relevant event not to be missed. We needed to dispel the public perception that the Fair was an unsafe, run down, overpriced venue, that did not feature anything new or exciting. We also decided that a mix of traditional advertising, (outdoor, television and radio) would need to be complemented by an aggressive social media and web-based campaign, in order to reach the Gen X and Millennial segments of the target audience.
In 2014, Fair officials estimated more than 100,000 people attended on opening weekend. The highest number they’ve seen in years. In total, approximately 458,379 people attended the fair in 2014. This reflects the highest attendance under the 12-day format implemented several years ago. The numbers aren’t in yet for 2015, but we expect to see attendance rise again.
State Fair General manager Dan Mourning attributed the Fair’s success and increased attendance to “better promotion, better advertising, better word on how and what to get to the fair and what to expect at the fair.” We are proud to be a part of the resurgence of a great, New Mexico tradition.
We’ll all be talking about a great fair this year.
RK Venture’s My Instead! campaign, as part of our NMDOT endeavors, is about choices, choosing other activities besides drinking. Whether it’s gymnastics, playing the guitar, drawing or DJing, there are lots of cool things kids can do that don’t involve alcohol. Kids have been the main target of this campaign. Through different spots, interactive videos where kids share their stories, and through overall awareness and education programs, our goal is to reduce early initiation of alcohol and provide alternative scenarios to drinking.
This time, however, we’re targeting the parents. Our new spot, “Good Parent, Bad Parent”, focuses on their responsibility as role models. Kids learn behavior by example. The bond of trust between a parent and child is key. The initial foundation of drinking habits falls heavily on good parenting. According to research conducted for the The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, “teenagers who have seen one or both of their parents get drunk are more likely to get drunk than those teenagers who haven't seen their parents drunk.”
The My Instead! “Good Parent, Bad Parent” spots illustrate the importance of parent's good habits and the effects it has on their children.
Learn more about My Instead! on our website:
WATCH: Good Parent, Bad Parent Spot