As we head into the final weeks of 2012, I am happy to share with you some exciting news. Zapwater Communications has once again received prestigious industry awards for public relations excellence. The agency is the recipient of two HSMAI Adrian Awards for travel marketing excellence.
This year, we’ve been recognized with awards on behalf of seven different clients, including a Gold Sabre Award for Best Fashion & Beauty Campaign in North America and a Gold Bulldog Award for Best Consumer Campaign of 2012.
We certainly aren’t ready to rest on our laurels and we’re already gearing up for 2013. We’re continuing to invest in our staff, now 16 strong. Our last two hires have been at the Vice President level, helping us round out our leadership team.
Just this week, the Chicago Business Journal singled us out by saying “In a city where independent public relations firms are in surprisingly short supply, Zapwater has established a name for itself as a shop with expertise in practices ranging from travel and education to lifestyle and fashion. In 2012, the agency has so far won 19 awards for its public relations campaigns.”
In short, you can expect big things from Zapwater in 2013.
DEL FRISCO’S TAKES CHICAGO BY STORM
After months of planning, construction, hiring and training, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House opened its doors to the public on Saturday, December 1, 2012. But before the first steak was served, a premiere fete on Thursday, November 29 offered a first look of the stunning 24,000 square foot restaurant. More than 1,000 guests filled the three-story space for an evening of decadent dishes, cocktails and wine. In case you missed it, below are some highlights of the historic evening!
From the moment guests stepped food on the red carpet, they were greeted with wine and champagne.
Inside, the night got off to a spectacular start as Alderman Brendan Reilly joined Del Frisco’s CEO Mark Mednansky, Regional Manager Ray Kasperski and Big Shoulder’s board members in a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
From there, the party moved to the second floor main dining room where guests enjoyed a beautiful raw bar complete with custom ice sculptures and fresh seafood. Additional signature bites, including steak and lobster, offered a preview of Chef Jim Teutemacher and Chef Anthony Reyes’ menu.
On the third floor, the party kicked into high gear with Chicago’s favorite band, the Gold Coast All Stars. The band performed classic hits and some new favorites, because it’s not a party without Call Me Maybe!
If you haven’t made your reservation yet, do it now! Del Frisco’s will be the hot spot for holiday shopping lunches, after work drinks and, come summer, patio dining on Oak Street!
TRIP TO LA LA LAND
I had the privilege of accompanying our incredible neckwear client, TheTieBar.com, to Los Angeles to celebrate the launch of their limited-edition bow tie collection with Emmy Award® nominated actor, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and partner, Justin Mikita to benefit Tie the Knot. All proceeds from the sales go directly to various organizations across the country fighting for LGBT civil rights.
While there was plenty of star power at the party (e.g. Julie Bowen, Darren Criss, Lance Bass, Kathy Griffin, Harry Shum, and Joan Collins to name a few), the most memorable moment of the experience was watching TheTieBar.com’s owners, Greg and Gina Shugar, celebrate the partnership.
The debut collection of the Jesse Tyler Ferguson for TheTieBar.com collection is exclusively available online now at The Tie Bar (www.TheTieBar.com). Be sure to purchase a bow tie before they sell out! Follow TheTieBar.com at @thetiebar on Twitter for updates on the collection and more.
GUTEN TAG, GERMANY!
Oh the places we will go while working at Zapwater! I was recently given the chance to travel to Cologne, Germany (aka Köln, if we’re being extra authentic) with Gura Gear to assist at Photokina, the world’s leading imaging fair. The team at Gura Gear has been working day and night to launch their newest line of bags and accessories at Photokina, and I was lucky enough to get a first look at the bags and share them with editors from around the world.
While a single blog post won’t do our time in Germany justice, I’ve decided to share some photos from my trip… a picture is worth a thousand words!
And we’re off! Good bye, USA; hello, Germany!
The Germans are all about short and simple street names.
A beautiful day in Frankfurt on the Rhine.
The espresso did absolutely nothing for the jet lag!
Quaint architecture in Frankfurt.
A mouthwatering dessert on our first night in Germany.
We’ve arrived in Cologne! The view from my hotel room wasn’t so bad.
The Cologne Cathedral at night. UNREAL.
The newest line of Gura Gear bags – Bataflae. Editors and consumers alike were extremely impressed!
Another addition to Gura’s collection – Et Cetera accessory bags.
Live from the Gura Gear booth at Photokina!
When in Germany… I had to try “The Delicacy of Cologne,” otherwise known as sauerkraut soup. My sodium limit for the month.
Guten morgen, Koln! A gorgeous sunrise.
Inside the Cologne Cathedral.
My time in Germany at Photokina was something I’ll never forget. The people, food, architecture, culture and experience were fantastic, and I can’t wait until my next adventure. Who knows where the Zapwater team will be next!
Until next time… Prost!
ENJOY THE COLD CHICAGO!
Some people think that chilly temperatures mean that we have to save all of our fun activities for next summer. Luckily, we live in a city that keeps going despite the fact that winters cold is on the horizon. Here are a few things to look forward to in the city when the temperature drops:
Yes, rooftops! Chicago thankfully has rooftops that are open well into the winter. Vertigo Sky Lounge is open all year long and hosts an outdoor ice bar every January. Last year, the penthouse lounge hosted an igloo on the patio in addition to the outdoor ice bar and the beautiful scenery from the dana hotel’s 26th floor.
Nothing says autumn like a pumpkin flavored latte from Starbucks! Grab one and greet the season with a smile.
The Festival of Lights on Michigan Avenue
There’s something almost magical about watching the snow fall on illuminated trees. The city’s festival of lights brightens Chicago’s favorite street. This one always makes my inner child smile.
Fall and winter hold plenty of activities and surprises in Chicago. Instead of dreading the end of summer, embrace the season and find a chilly activity that makes you feel warm inside.
WHAT IS A SALTY HOG?
One of the best parts about being a Publicist at Zapwater is the array of clients that you get to work with and the never ending creativity you are able to explore. We are encouraged to consistently think “outside of the box” and put our creative muscles to work on a daily basis. For the month of September, my sites have been focused on a Salty Hog. What is a Salty Hog you ask? I got to hit the streets on a beautiful Chicago summer day with a videographer in tow asking the public just that. We heard responses that varied from high school teachers to motorcycle riders to ex-boyfriends, but few people guessed the true identity of the mysterious Salty Hog.
The fact is that a Salty Hog is a creative, decadent, salty and sweet pie available for a limited time at Bakers Square Restaurants. The pie is unique enough (in taste and name!) to really have fun with. The award winning pie has been an overwhelming sensation at Bakers Square restaurants where it is available only for the month of September. We tried the pie at the office and agree that it is a force to reckon with. The saying that “everything is better with bacon” is proved to be true with every bite of this sinful treat.
FALLING FOR FASHION WEEK
September and February are two of my favorite months for one simple reason – Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week. It’s invigorating to watch designers dress their models to hit the runway with their new innovations. I extensively research the runway shows in order to spot unique trends and themes for our fashion, beauty, interior design and lifestyle clients. Often these findings transpire into ideas for pitches, events and even promotions.
While it’s relatively to start discussing the major trends of Spring/Summer 2013 collections, there are three trends that I already love:
TREND #1: Monaco Blue
Pantone released its annual color report and announced that “Monaco Blue” is the hue of choice for Spring/Summer 2013 collections. According to a Pantone spokesperson, “The shade speaks to the practicality that we are seeing in society. You have to realize there is still concern out there for the economy.”
Photos courtesy of Pantone
TREND #2: Bow Ties
We’re big fans of bow ties at Zapwater, especially from The Tie Bar. But bow ties aren’t just for the boys anymore. Women can dabble in this trend too (check out the September 2012 cover of Seventeen with Kendall and Kylie Jenner). Bow ties are a great accessory option for women. One brand that’s embracing this accessory is Kate Spade, who recently unveiled their Spring/Summer 2013 collection. From bags to dresses, black bow ties were seen on almost everything!
Photos courtesy of Fab Sugar
TREND #3: Harness Power
Maybe it’s the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey; harnesses, leather and lace have already appeared in countless collections like Jason Wu and BCBG Max Azria. Every designer seems to embracing their inner Christian Grey!
Photos courtesy of Style.com
INTERNATIONAL BOW TIE FEVER
Did you know that August 28th is National Bow Tie Day? Made popular again by the likes of Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire the iconic bow tie has truly made it’s resurgence in popularity around the country, throughout Chicago, and the Zapwater Communication’s office. Our client The Tie Bar, now one of the largest retail necktie companies in the world, has certainly helped build the buzz for this holiday. The brand hailed by both GQ Magazine and Esquire delivers new ties, tie bars, pocket squares, and of course bow ties every month to ensure a fashion forward selection of products for their customers
Last year the brand hosted a Guinness World Record event at Wrigley Square in Millennium Park. About 500 guests joined together to set the record for most people tying a bow tie at the same time. In order to set the record, 250 people needed to successfully tie the bow tie. Approximately 360 guests were successful and helped The Tie Bar establish this now official bow tie record.
Where to go in 2012 you ask? One word: International! The Tie Bar tasked its customers that span the globe to film themselves in the now universal act of bow tying. The end result can be found in the You Tube video below and features numerous US cities and world countries all joining in. Participating places include Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Aruba, Paris, China, Germany, and The Tie Bar’s home base of Naperville.
Leading up to August 28th we are enlisting others to join the Bow Tie revolution and submit their own video to The Tie Bar at www.thetiebar.com/bowtieday. Spread the word, take part in the movement, and celebrate International Bow Tie Day on August 28!
GOOD AS GOLD
My favorite Olympic sport is gymnastics. Part of why I think I love it so much is because I was in fact a gymnast. My home storage unit has the medals and ugly leotards to prove it. Watching the Fierce Five win gold at the London Games gave me flashbacks to grueling two-a-day workouts and weekend team competitions. Gymnastics isn’t for the faint of heart, mind or body.
Gymnastics in many ways reminds me of the PR industry. It’s both a team and individual sport, requiring an unimaginable amount of strength, determination and commitment. For those that are up to the challenges, the rewards are often “good as gold.”
One of my regrets in life was giving up the sport of gymnastics. But thankfully, in many ways PR allows me to continue it. Every day is a new exercise and opportunity to deliver amazing results for our clients.
If only I could still do a double back flip…. Sigh.
DOWNSIZE FITNESS GOES LIVE: PBS NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT FEATURES ZAPWATER HEALTH AND FITNESS CLIENT
Zapwater client Downsize Fitness was featured in a broadcast segment on the Emmy award-winning PBS Nightly Business Report (NBR). Downsize Fitness is a growing company that is exclusively designed for chronically overweight and obese individuals. With current locations in Chicago, Las Vegas, and Dallas, the gym provides a welcoming environment that eliminates the self-conscious and alienating atmosphere felt in most traditional gyms, allowing members to focus on their health and wellness.
Airing since 1981, Nightly Business Report is carried by 350 PBS stations and by satellite to 125 countries with its daily coverage of fast-breaking business and economic news.
The show chose to highlight the uniqueness of the Downsize Fitness approach and how the company is committed to reversing the country’s obesity epidemic by providing long-term weight loss strategies that focus on sustainable wellness.
As medical costs for obesity are running the country nearly $150B a year, Francis Wisniewski, founder of Downsize Fitness is doing his part to bring down not only people’s weight, but their personal expenses.