A case for happy hours — like you needed more excuses anyway

A happy, relaxed workplace leads to better thinking and a better product.

A happy, relaxed workplace leads to better thinking and a better product.

Ding! New email comes in. Subject line: “Who needs a drink?!” You waver a little bit before responding. On the one hand, it’s been a long day and you really need to unwind. And there’s nothing important that you had to do after work. On the other hand, you just don’t know if you feel like going to happy hour.


A happy hour may be spontaneous, or it may be planned months in advance — but either way, it’s always a good idea. At ab+c Creative Intelligence, we try to plan a happy hour each month, hosted by one of the departments in the agency. We’ve had a creative department tailgate party in the parking lot, a public relations Halloween happy hour in our spooky garage, and a media team Oscars gathering complete with red carpet — just to name a few.

Don’t have the space or energy to plan a themed happy hour? No problem! Just grab a couple of colleagues and head down to the local brewpub to enjoy some of their happy hour specials. Do it. It’s good for you. It can actually be healthyRead full post...

It’s all about the perks

Spending time with family and friends is the greatest perk of all.

Spending time with family and friends is the greatest perk of all.

Not so long ago, a company would lure a potential employee with a competitive salary and medical benefits. These days, companies have new ammunition — perks. Perks represent the “value” employers put on their employees. But they also have a potentially darker side.

Salary.com recently posted an article about 14 companies that offer incredible employee perks. At first blush, they all sounded amazing and of course my employer should adopt all of them immediately. But it became clear that these perks were about keeping the employee onsite. Free lunches and dinners, yoga, a playroom, childcare, on-site gyms, on-site concierges to handle life’s chores — everything a working stiff might need to get through the day, right outside his or her office door.Read full post...


Who ya gonna call? — Part II

If you missed Part I, get caught up before you read any further. 

Dawn guessed that whoever was haunting the first floor might have been alive during the 1930s. She began to play a ’30s hymn on the piano in an attempt to rile up the spirit. No response. Perhaps the ghost was more of a Belieber.

Downingtown Area Paranormal Investigators examine Craig Brown's office.

Downingtown Area Paranormal Investigators examine Craig Brown’s office.

The team then moved into the office of a former employee who had brought in an Episcopalian priest to bless the building because of its history. Dawn dangled a necklace between her fingers and encouraged one of the spirits to move it. To everyone’s surprise, the necklace began to swing in circles but stopped after only a few minutes.

We ascended to the second floor where Courtney Rossi, our Human Resources and Traffic Manager, had an eerie encounter one morning two and a half years ago. Courtney was the first one in to work. She headed to her office, and spotted a very tall man standing in a doorway about 20 feet down the hall. Well over six feet tall, the man stood with his head down, wearing a wide-brimmed hat that covered most of his face. He was also wearing a dark, horse-riding cloak and large, filthy boots. Courtney couldn’t make out any facial features. When she took a step forward to get a better look, the phantom backed into the office and disappeared.Read full post...

Who ya gonna call? — Part I

Ghosts of ab+c 1

Plenty of people have had otherworldly encounters at 819 N. Washington.

ab+c Creative Intelligence has a full house these days. We’ve been steadily adding new clients, which means we’ve been taking on additional employees to handle our ever-increasing workload. So it’s time to kick out a wall or two — we want to keep everyone happy, right? And by everyone, we mean the living and the dead.

Why are we concerned about those who have crossed over? Let’s just say our building has a rich and eerie history. Constructed in 1904, it was originally the Yeatman Funeral Home. On the first floor, coffins were displayed and viewings took place; John and Lynda Yeatman lived on the second floor; and the third floor, which housed Goldey-Beacom college dormitories for a brief period, wound up as apartments. After the funeral home closed in 1990, the building was abandoned until 1998, when ab+c purchased it. And as we learned even before we moved in, the joint is jumpin’ with ghostly apparitions, unexplainable phenomena and mysterious noises.Read full post...

Chili with a Little TLC

The Ingredients

  • 85/15 Ground Beef
  • 1 can petite tomatoes
  • 1 can diced chilies
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • 1 cup salsa
  • sautéd diced white onion and green pepper
  • chili powder
  • cayan red pepper
  • ground cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • Hot sauce
  • Triple X habanero sauce
  • And a dose of TLCRead full post...

Marc’s White Chicken Chili

Serves 8-12 (party size)

  • 1 lb. dried navy beans
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 3 tbs garlic, chopped
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco, or to taste
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon aniseed
  • 4  4-ounce cans mild green chilies, drained and chopped
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups grated Monterrey Jack
  • 1 cup sour creamRead full post...

Disclaimer: your results may vary

The breathtaking action is then followed by a line of microscopic type at the end that states, “Stunt driver on closed course. Do not attempt.” Hey, I’m going to fight the urge!

The breathtaking action is then followed by a line of microscopic type at the end that states, “Stunt driver on closed course. Do not attempt.” Hey, I’m going to fight the urge!

Every weight-loss TV ad worth its salt has a “results not typical” disclaimer at the end of it. You know what I mean. You see a newly svelte man or woman standing inside a pair of giant jeans that once housed their enormous frames — with the disclaimer, “Results not typical.” If these “results” aren’t typical, why in the world are they showing them? Oh yeah, it’s advertising.

While I’m not an attorney by trade, my copywriting background has made me proficient at crafting disclaimer copy. The disclaimer has been described as those few seconds of legalese at the end of an ad designed to take all the fun and fantasy out of what you’ve just witnessed. (Actually, that was my description. See? I told you I was a writer!)

Some of my favorite TV disclaimers: You’ve seen the fast-paced spot that feature 57 seconds of an exotic sports car wildly careening down a snowy mountainside or racing on two wheels around the rim of an active volcano. Let’s call it glorifying some form of death-cheating behavior. Read full post...


Creative intelligence as it relates to the creative process

No matter how large or small the assignment, we harness the power of creative intelligence to ensure measurable results.

No matter how large or small the assignment, we harness the power of creative intelligence to ensure measurable results.

The creative process is constantly evolving. From the beginning of my career in the ’70s to today, it has kept up with — or kept ahead of — the ever-changing world we live in. But one aspect has proven to be steadfast over time: creative intelligence. It’s the most important part of the process.

When we apply creative intelligence to a marketing communication challenge, we start with research, strategy and planning. That has proven to be a solid foundation, and on it we build innovative and powerful ideas. We have an array of communication mediums that I couldn’t have imagined 40 years ago. Traditional print, TV and radio have made room for the web, social media and mobile. But the basics of successful communication haven’t changed. We use creative intelligence in everything we do, to identify, reach and engage our audiences. Read full post...


Music to our clients’ ears

Over my nearly (ahem) four decades in the ad business, I’ve written tons of jingles. Presided over original music sessions from Nashville to New York. And spent hundreds of hours listening to and selecting stock music and sound effects — all to create that elusive emotional connection between our clients’ brands and their consumers.

Boy, have times and budgets changed. Weeks of lead time and wads of cash to create one-of-a-kind audio tracks that stuck in your brain are now virtually unheard of (unless you’re selling cars, beer, airlines or cosmetics). Today, Garage Band, Pro Tools and a plethora of music libraries fill the void cheaply, quickly and — I must admit — conveniently.Read full post...