Friday, October 27, 2017

Frightful Finds to Spook-Up Your Weekend

The world can be a weird place sometimes, and the week leading up to Halloween is no exception. Whether your fears are real or fake, here are some of my strangest finds from the past week. 

  • Who ya gonna call?  – According to a recent survey, 30 percent of people believe their house is haunted, 45 percent believe in ghosts and 65 percent believe in spirits or the supernatural. So whether it’s Casper the friendly ghost or the belief in reincarnation, the existence of the supernatural adds an enticing thrill during this spooky month.
  • Leave the fakeness to the costumes – Halloween is a time for tricks and treats, but more and more candy is being manufactured with strange chemical ingredients. A treat here or there won’t do too much harm, but look out for things like growth hormones, vanillin, artificial colors and BHT, a preservative linked to cancer.
  • Windex in the Windy City – More than 2,000 people have RSVP’d yes to the Facebook event “Windex the Bean”, with another 20,000 interested users. Posts on the page spark everything from possible t-shirt suggestions to people debating Windex’s effect on the environment. Currently, the only known details are the date, Nov. 15, and the brief description of, “The Bean is dirty.”
  • Not so safe and sound – Notice anything strange on your bank statement lately? If you’ve recently used an ATM machine at a Walgreens in Chicago, you may want to check. More than a dozen skimming devices have been found throughout the city, with seven of these being at Walgreens locations. Experts say best practices include inspecting machines and covering keypads while using ATM machines.
  • What to do in-between Halloween plans… – Today, the wait is finally over and Stranger Things Season 2 is on Netflix. But with a packed Hallo-weekend what’s the best way to fit in watching this addicting series? The Hollywood Reporter published a cheat sheet on the most efficient way to watch the new season so you’ll be all caught up Monday morning at the office. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Fun Facts: Under the Sea and Outer Space Edition

The daily news feeds are not exactly uplifting, as of late. So I wanted to share some pretty interesting tidbits about stuff happening below the surface and beyond the cloud. 
  • Picking Up On Some Kilonova Vibes: In case you missed it, space is back! In
    August, scientists were able to witness (for the first time ever) a
    kilonova – when the cores of two collapsed stars smashed into each other and exploded gamma rays throughout the universe. The event, which occurred some 130 million years ago, is the first cosmic event to be witnessed with telescopes and gravitational wave detectors – utilizing resources and researchers at more than 70 laboratories across all continents. Don’t worry, they took pics. Now enter the era of multi-messenger astrophysics!
  • So Where Is The Cheese? If those Kilonova images got you all fired up, you are going to love what Google Maps is offering – a digital glimpse of more than a dozen planets and moons throughout space! Using half a million images from the Cassini probe and other spacecrafts, Google Maps can now transport viewers to the surfaces of Pluto, Venus and several moons all with a few clicks! Or just watch an astronaut play with a fidget spinner in space. Not a fan of technology? You can still sneak a peek at the wonders above this Sunday when the Orionid meteor shower – considered to be “the most beautiful” – will occur. Just hop a ride on Trainy McTrainface to a prime lookout and enjoy the show.
  • Fly Me To The Moon: Holding out for the real thing? Not to worry! Why experience space through pictures, when you could cruise through the Milky Way on your very own inflatable space yacht?!?! (Oprah voice) Come 2022, all the cool kids will be chilling on the expandable space habitat working for big lunar businesses or the local moon government. No big deal.
  • This Space Is Filthy! The outer limits are not all exploding stars, emo-looking moons and floating astronauts. There is a lot of junk in space, apparently. And all that exploring and leaving our garbage behind has accumulated some 100 million pieces of science trash orbiting Mother Earth at 17,500 mph. Check out Adrift, a film investigating the potential hazard the floating junk poses to our satellites and future spacecrafts. Clean up in aisle space.
  • What Goes Up...After we frolic through space, what’s the return flight like? China’s first space laboratory launched in 2011 is on a literal crash course back to Earth after officials confirmed they lost control of it last September. The 8.5 ton laboratory, named Heavenly Palace, is expected to hurtle back to Earth sometime in 2017, with no strong guesses on where it might land. So, keep an eye out for that piece of space junk, in particular.
  • Making Waves: When that space lab crashes, I am sure there will be quite a splash. But it won’t be anything compared to the loudest underwater sound ever that was recorded in 1997 off the coast of Chile. The Bloop examines this scientific mystery that was detected by hydrophones 5,000 miles apart, lasted for one minute and has never been heard again!
  • Go Ask Flipper: Apparently humans aren’t that special. A study of dolphin, whale and porpoise species found those with bigger brains tend to live human-like lives. So those showboating Orcas at Sea World may just be the underwater version of the Kardashians, you never know! In other food chain news, scientists have reported a rise of alligator attacks on sharks. That’s right, in the battle of Lake Placid vs. Jaws, alligators are flipping the script and coming out on top in certain rivers and estuaries.
  • Vintage Genes…Some evolutionary advancements seem fast, while other undersea wonders have ancient roots. Paleontologists examined the hatchling of a sea turtle from the Eocene epoch and discovered it had a pigment-based survival trait common to modern sea turtles. The 54-million-year-old turtle hatchling had the same color patterns as current turtles – dark back with light edges – that provides protection against UV radiation from the sun. The dark skin increases their body temps so they grow faster and boosts survival rates – a phenomenon called adaptive melanism that has been preserved for millions of years. Slow and steady wins the race!  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Award Spotlight: American Academy of Sleep Medicine “Sleep Recharges You” Campaign

LCWA recently won three IABC Chicago Bronze Quill Awards for our programs for Trex and Boise Paper, as well as our American Academy of Sleep Medicine “Sleep Recharges You” campaign, which was designed to promote the importance of healthy sleep among teenagers. 

The #SleepRechargesYou campaign was driven by a 2016 study by the CDC showing that more than two-thirds of high school students are currently failing to get enough sleep. Our program goal was to increase the number of teenagers sleeping the recommended number of hours per night.

Research has found that sleepy teens may fare worse in school than their well-rested peers, as teens who are sleep deprived may be more easily distracted and recall information more slowly. Sleeping fewer than the recommended hours also is associated with attention, behavior and learning problems. Additionally, lack of sleep may also impact teens’ athletic performance. When teens sleep, hormones are released that help them grow taller and develop muscles. Sleep also helps restore energy to the brain and body.

The impact of sleep deprivation on teens, as well as key interests of teens, were taken into account when developing our program messages. We chose to communicate to teenagers about four areas in which sleep can improve daily life: beauty, sports, learning and health. Additionally, LCWA determined that the target audiences were not only teens themselves,  but also their parents and the school administrators, coaches and health counselors who influence teen behavior.

LCWA reached teenagers through their peers, working with teen influencers on social media
to convey to teens the importance of healthy sleep. Additionally, a we worked with a teen to advocate to her peers with several blog posts highlighting the importance of sleep. LCWA and AASM also collaborated to promote the “Sleep Recharges You” campaign via digital and social media advertising, promoting the benefits of healthy sleep directly via Facebook and Instagram. Banner ads also appeared on websites geared toward teens, such as, and

LCWA and AASM targeted parents by announcing recommended sleep duration broken down by age group. These recommendations generated media stories in more than 1,000 outlets. We also distributed several releases highlighting the importance of sleep for teens and proactively pitched media with timely angles throughout the year. A mat release about the importance of teen sleep was disseminated to reach parents on a local level. To further convey the importance of this issue, we created blog posts from AASM spokespeople for HuffPost, Thrive Global and Sharecare.

To reach educators, the AASM created an educator toolkit, offering lesson plans and a full-sized poster for classrooms on the importance of sleep. This was distributed in classrooms widely throughout the country, and LCWA helped generate awareness for the kit through outreach to associations and trade outlets.

Overall, this well-rounded campaign garnered more than 763 million impressions and a media value of $3.5 million. There were more than 1.3 million impressions as a result of the digital and social media advertising campaigns, and the AASM received more than 1,400 poster requests from high schools throughout the country and Canada.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Don’t Let Paraskevidekatriaphobia Ruin Your Week

It’s Friday the 13th! A day of mystery and superstition. To kick of this week’s recap, here are some weird facts you may not know about this legendary day courtesy of USA Today. For instance, did you know that people with a fear of Friday the 13th are said to have paraskevidekatriaphobia? Try saying that five times fast. Actually, if you can say it once we’d be impressed!

In other news this week…
  • He Said, She SaidThe Boy Scouts of America announced on Wednesday that they would open their ranks to girls, allowing female scouts to achieve the group’s highest honor: Eagle Scout. While the Boy Scouts say they’re working to better serve families, the Girl Scouts claim their male counterparts are making a desperate play to bolster membership. As this battle of the sexes continues to heat up, PR Daily offers some interesting takeaways for communicators. Our favorite – “No one is reading the footnotes.”
  • Clever, Indeed! – Big news this week for those of us working in the home d├ęcor arena. The editorial team behind industry icon AD: Architectural Digest launched a spin-off e-zine called CLEVER. The new digital destination draws its name and inspiration from small-space, residential design with content that caters to the 18-to-34 crowd.
  • In the Cards – In a significant shift for the app, Snapchat announced this week the introduction of Context Cards, which add contextual information to geotagged photos and images shared in public stories. This new addition to the Snap process will provide information about locations and events with a simple swipe. But that’s not all. Context Cards also provide a way to take simple actions like calling for a ride with Uber or reserving a table through OpenTable. Coupled with the recently released Snap Maps, Snapchat continues to engrain itself as the place to be for today’s younger social media users.
  • The Write Stuff In an age when introducing yourself as a reporter might lose you even more friends than in the past, contributor Kristin Long argues that a journalism degree may be the most powerful education for today’s young writers. Her “6 Reasons You Won’t Regret Getting a Journalism Degree” are enough to make any undergrad switch majors. We’ll be looking for your resumes!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Ecore Flooring Forms Foundation for New Fitness Suites

LCWA recently helped client Ecore promote its selection as the exclusive provider of state-of-the-art ergonomic flooring for Hilton Hotels’ new revolutionary “Five Feet to Fitness” suites, a new wellness concept that brings more than 11 different fitness equipment and accessory options into the hotel room.

Hilton’s Five Feet to Fitness concept aims to provide health and wellness-minded guests
with the amenities of a fitness center in the privacy of their own rooms – making it more convenient than ever to maintain health routines when traveling.

Each of the Hilton fitness rooms feature a workout section covered in Ecore’s Forest rx flooring, a highly versatile surfacing solution designed to provide good ergonomics, comfort, acoustic benefits, and superior performance characteristics. The Forest rx flooring provides cushioning to absorb impact on athletes’ joints, increases sound control so as not to disturb neighboring guests during workouts, and offers anti-fatigue capabilities for a variety of workouts ranging from high-intensity interval training and plyometric exercises to yoga and meditation.

Our outreach to industry trade media to announce the partnership with Hilton has generated extensive coverage including nearly 15 placements to date in prominent athletics, hospitality and flooring publications such as Athletic Business, Building Design & Construction, Floor Covering Weekly, Floor Trends, Hotel Business and Hotel Management. And, several other publications are planning future coverage.

We look forward to generating more great coverage for this innovative product installation and trendy new fitness concept.

Monday, October 9, 2017

LCWA Helps Boise Paper Dispel Misconceptions of Recycled Paper

Recycled paper has long had a reputation for being dingy, dull and low-quality. However, with recent advancements in technology, these stigmas no longer hold true.

Recently, Boise Paper asked us to help build awareness for the quality and performance of today’s recycled paper with a four month-long comparison campaign. The #Dare2Compare campaign showed the similarities between Boise® X-9® Multi-Use Copy paper and Boise® ASPEN® Multi-Use Recycled Copy paper – proving that recycled paper performs just as well as the non-recycled line of paper.

We kicked off the campaign in April with a video contest that allowed us to collect user-generated content for use throughout the campaign. To enter the contest, participants were asked to create a video telling us why they choose to use recycled paper. Entrants had the chance to win prizes and have their content featured in future Boise Paper marketing materials.

We also worked with online office experts to compare Boise Paper’s recycled and non-recycled copy paper to prove that there’s no difference in quality. Then, we used quotes from all of our advocates to raise awareness and change perception with a sponsored post campaign on LinkedIn. Other social content utilized statistics about paper buying preferences and perceptions, and challenged social media followers to take the #Dare2Compare challenge by testing the two papers side by side.

We also supplemented our organic activities by reaching out to small business decision-makers directly. We developed two direct e-mails to tell our story, and also used search/display ads to drive the purchases of Boise ASPEN. In all, the multifaceted campaign generated more than 81.6 million impressions and successfully helped to educate our audience that recycled paper has the same high-quality as non-recycled paper.  

Friday, October 6, 2017

Shifting Focus – Astronauts, Santa and Augmented Reality

Below are a few interesting finds to help lift your spirits during a week filled with tragedy and continuous political banter. I hope they spark your curiosity … Enjoy!
  • SURPRISE…The Holidays Are Coming – I don’t mean to cause alarm, but it was noted during a conference call this week that there were only 79 more days until Christmas. It’s just a matter of time that holiday must-have lists will be announced and reservations for the Polar Express will be booked. What’s more, the Elf on the Shelf will be making appearances and watching our every move (creepy or fun, you decide!). And when it comes to social media marketing, brands will be focused on ways to convert holiday cheer into sales. Check out what Twitter has to say about becoming a “happening brand” this season.
  • Are You Seeing This? It’s no surprise that Snapchat and Instagram continue to vie for influencers’ attention. And for the most part, it seems like Facebook is succeeding. In fact, a recent Bloomberg article suggested that platform influencers are switching from Snap to Instagram due to increased reach and opportunity. But I must say that the idea of Snap’s “Spectacles v2.0” has me intrigued. The opportunity to allow my friends to see what I can see through my glasses is something once only experienced in the movies. 
  • To Infinity and Beyond – In my humble opinion, space exploration is important not
    only to satisfy human curiosity of the great unknown, but it is also important for the future of earth and all of us living on it. October 5, 2017 marked
    the first meeting of the National Space Council. A statement from NASA noted that, “…NASA has been directed to develop a plan for an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system, returning humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.”
  • Time to Set Your DVR – The average American watches five hours of television a day. According to the director of the Institute of Communications at Indiana University, the television experience grabs and holds your brain’s attention like a perfectly addictive drug. Our brains are hard wired to pay attention to anything that’s new in our environment. So, if you happen to hit the pause button tonight, take a look at what happens to your brain when watching the tube.

With that being said, let’s gear up for another great Chicago sports weekend. After all, there’s nothing better than a great marathon, post-season CUBS baseball and hockey.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Celebrate IN GOOD TASTE This October

LCWA client and local Chicago non-profit the Lynn Sage Foundation is raising awareness this October for breast cancer research as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of the IN GOOD TASTE Campaign.

The Lynn Sage Foundation’s IN GOOD TASTE campaign brings together more than 170 of Chicago’s top restaurants and bars to raise awareness and support for local breast cancer research during the month of October. From Oct. 1-31, participating eateries will donate proceeds from select dishes, desserts and drinks to help find a cure for breast cancer. Patrons can also participate by adding a donation directly to their bill.

What began in 2008 with 40 restaurants has grown into something much bigger. This year’s partners include Barrio, Big Star, Coda Di Vopa, Eli’s Cheesecake, Francesca’s, Gibson’s, Le Colonial, Little Goat Diner, Porter Kitchen, Piccolo Sogno, Ramen-san and many more.

All proceeds from IN GOOD TASTE will benefit The Lynn Sage Scholars program which funds some of the country’s most promising researchers in the field of breast cancer. To date, The Lynn Sage Foundation has contributed more than $1.3 million to support pioneering, young researchers at Northwestern University and Rush University. In 2017, The Lynn Sage Scholars program will simultaneously fund three Scholars for the first time.  

As we kick off this month long campaign, LCWA has helped with coverage in The Local Tourist and The Daily Herald. Our PR push will continue throughout the month to raise awareness and drive donations throughout Chicago.

To support the IN GOOD TASTE Campaign and find a special that sounds delectable to you, visit