Category: writing


Yeah, So I Heard Blogging is Really Effective When You Post Regularly…

And from whose mouth dropped this pearly bit of wisdom? Mine own.

More than once, in fact —  in every meeting we’ve had recently with a new or potential client, since social media is a component of nearly every proposal we’ve written lately, and a part of every job we’ve landed unless it is 100% straight print.

Oh (I whine in a non-annoying way), I don’t have time to update our blog — I’m ghost-writing four other blogs every week, plus all the writing I have to do like website content, print ads, a ton of collateral, ghosting clients’ Facebook fan pages, Twitter feeds, e-newsletters, blah blah blah socialmediacakes.

Flickr/theTrial
Flickr/theTrial

But I THINK about our blog constantly. Given the choice, I’d be blogging every day because I have an opinion on everything. In theory, this blog is supposed to have some parameters that keep me within the rather elastic bounds of advertising, marketing, and media; selling stuff; how badly brands/people are selling stuff; how cleverly stuff is sold with out anyone realizing they were, in fact, sold something, or they don’t care because it was so well done; egregious marketing ploys; any time the Wall Street Journal writes about something that I find amusingly outside its purview; I think you get the picture. And did you notice I dropped the “royal we” at some point? Because this is my responsibility, like the creative direction and graphic design are Steve’s. The blog just really ties the room together, man.

So, my random attached-to-no-holiday resolution (although I could pin this onto Labor Day…) is to get back to blogging monthly for Alchemy, and start posting our clients’ news as well when we had a hand in it. Because in addition to always having something to say about someone or something, we have a lot of new work and new clients to talk about, and they deserve the attention.


We Have Some Reservations…

swede fest 2 palm beachIt’s time for SWEDE FEST™ 2 PALM BEACH. If you’re a fan of MST3K (and you won’t know what that means if you’re not), a swede fest™ is a similar animal. But instead of making snarky comments to two robots about a cheesy science fiction flick, you make your own cheesy three-minute “homage” to a scene from a favorite film, which is known in certain circles as a “swede.”

Why are they called swedes? We’re so glad you asked.

Sf2013_FB_Square1 dateYou probably know indie film festivals have a rich history of showcasing amazing undiscovered talent, where Hollywood insiders troll for the next big thing, where A-list stars promote the small labor-of-love projects they do between blockbusters. A swede fest is an indie film festival with NONE of that going for it.

The key to understanding why is in the “swede” part. A swede is a no-budget, laughably bad remake of a hit Hollywood film – the bigger, the better. The term comes from the 2008 comedy, “Be Kind Rewind,” and was made up to explain the sheer awfulness of their remade films by touting them as European – “swedes” because it sounded really sophisticated.  This film, starring Jack Black and Mos Def, is not exactly a classic — but neither is it comedy kryptonite.

A still from the swede for "Point Break"
A still from the swede for “Point Break” already submitted by some over-achievers.

And bada bing! Next thing you know, there’s an underground sweding craze. Two guys in Fresno invited a bunch of friends to make films starring themselves, then get together to screen them in another homage: to the indie film festival – but without the beautiful celebrities, coolness factor, or bidding wars. And that, my friends, is how we ultimately come to SWEDE FEST™ 2 PALM BEACH.

We’re sweding a sci-fi/horror classic. Nope, not telling. And we have friends sweding “gems” (yes, in quotes, because the following movies are neither precious nor squeal-worthy)  like Ghost, Point Break, Titanic, and The Shining. A full list of the movies reserved for sweding is at www.swedefestpalmbeach.com. You can also buy tickets there to the July 27th festival for the outrageous sum of $5 per person.

And if you are interested in playing director (and star, and editor, and production assistant, etc.), you should call dibs on your movie today. SWEDE FEST™ 2 PALM BEACH allows one entry per film, so if someone else loves Mannequin as much as you do, you could be SOL. The deadline to submit is July 9th at 11:59 PM. Instructions for submission are on the same website.

Guess we should mention that, again this year, we designed all the stuff (logos, collateral, ads, swag, you know the drill), including that groovy low-tech website. Do we love WordPress or what?


BDB Wins First-Place Awards from The Florida Economic Development Council for Alchemy’s Creative

Just some of the components of the "Right Here. Right Now." multimedia campaign developed for the BDB.
Just some of the components of the “Right Here. Right Now.” multimedia campaign.

The Business Development Board of Palm Beach County was honored at The Florida Economic Development Council’s (FEDC) 2012 Annual Meeting with three first-place awards in promotional and marketing innovation — and two of those were for creative work done in collaboration with Alchemy.

The BDB received the first-place award in the following categories: Ad Campaign for its “Right Here.Right Now.” multimedia effort targeting out-of-state corporate headquarters via a direct appeal to those companies’ CEOs (produced with Alchemy); External Publication for its annual business magazine and investor/member directory, Profile Magazine (primarily an in-house effort with the help of an outside publisher specializing in this sort of hybrid product); and E-Media for its micro-site at www.HQpbc.com, the web-based component of the “Right Here. Right Now.” campaign (again, with Alchemy).

More > “BDB Wins First-Place Awards from The Florida Economic Development Council for Alchemy’s Creative”


SWEDE FEST™PALM BEACH Opens Big!

Any time you work on a brand-new event with a client, there’s always the possibility that — even with a great concept and a clever hook, after everyone’s hard work, late nights, inspired ideas, creativity, sharp copy, media hooks, great pitches, relentless social media outreach, promises from everyone to cover the event, smart media buys, great sponsors, high-profile partners, and every other factor you can imagine — you’ll have a half-full venue. There are so many intangibles you can’t control; then add in that it’s summer, in Florida, during hurricane season, when it usually rains every afternoon from 4:00pm until 7:00pm, it’s hot and humid and hair gets frizzy, people are away on last-minute vacations before school starts and/or work gets back to a more normal schedule, and did we mention it’s summer? And that no one knows what a “swede” is?

Midtown's Belle Forino and Sherri Gedraitis in front of the step-and-repeat using our logo and graphics
Midtown’s Belle Forino and Sherri Gedraitis in front of the step-and-repeat using our logo and graphics

Yet none of that seemed to matter last Friday night when the inaugural SWEDE FEST™PALM BEACH launched to a sold out crowd of over 500 attendees on Mainstreet at Midtown.From the red carpet in front of The Borland Center for Performing Arts through the final credits, this was high-energy entertainment for everyone involved, with “swedes” submitted by amateur filmmakers ages 10 to 60. More > “SWEDE FEST™PALM BEACH Opens Big!”


Downtown Beauty Institution Debuts New Web Presence with Unique Video Productions

The Cosmo & Company Home Page
The Cosmo & Company Home Page

When you’ve been a mainstay in the area’s salon industry for almost four decades, surprising your clientele is going to take something really…different. One thing Cosmo DiSchino has never feared is taking a risk. Ever since opened his original downtown West Palm Beach location after arriving from Boston’s famed Newbury Street, Cosmo has been the man behind the chair. He is the mastermind, the owner, the motivator, and the mentor at Cosmo & Company.

More > “Downtown Beauty Institution Debuts New Web Presence with Unique Video Productions”


Alchemy Takes a Dare With Scholarship Foundation’s Website

The Dare 2 Be Great home page
The Dare2BeGreat.org homepage

How does a scholarship foundation in its very first full fiscal year, having just sent its inaugural group of nine graduating seniors to university to the tune of $75,000 in freshman-year tuition, maximize a web presence so that it serves two audiences and two purposes? When it’s the Dare 2 Be Great Foundation, it reaches out to Alchemy Communications.

Those two purposes: To get students to apply for the scholarships, and to attract the support of members of the Delray Beach community who have the resources to help finance the scholarship program.

The site therefore had to have a “curb appeal” that would appeal to these visually oriented, highly intelligent, media-savvy high school seniors, yet have the necessary polish and language donors look for to convey the long-term goals and commitment of the Dare 2 Be Great founders and principals, a fantastically committed yet diverse group of individuals with one thing in common: a passion for nurturing excellence in students who might otherwise never have the chance to experience the higher education they deserve.

More > “Alchemy Takes a Dare With Scholarship Foundation’s Website”


All of the Good Ones are Taken

Them Crooked Vultures
One of the more recent bizarre band names; this one's a supergroup, no less.

And no, I’m not actually quoting Ian Drury (Mott the Hoople); I’m quote the Wall Street Journal and an article about the fact that bands are having a really hard time coming up with names — kind of like copywriters with the task of coming up with a new headline for an old product. It’s awfully fun to read about Them Crooked Vultures (John Paul Jones — Led Zeppelin, Dave Grohl — Nirvana and Foo Fighters, and Josh Homme — Queens of the Stone Age) picking a name that means absolutely nothing, and the lengths to which bands nowadays have to go to be original when literally any musician with a MySpace page can claim a name and make a case for it. What makes music so exciting these days makes giving your band a name a lengthy exercise in existentialism. And an often amusing dose of creativity.


The Brain May Like E-Books, but my Heart is Still in Print

Books are good
Books are good

There was a great — and very lengthy — story in the “Room for Debate” commentary in the New York Times titled, “Does the Brain Like E-Books?”  . I have to admit that I am warily curious about the Kindle and all the other e-vehicles for the written word, and right now I can simply say that the price makes it out of my budget for the moment. But even if the Kindle dropped below $100, would I buy one? I don’t think so. I am attached to the page, the shape and feel of the books, the anticipation of turning the page, even the cover art (which can be seriously embarrassing when I’m on one of my “vamp, were, alternate universe” kicks).  I grew up with a book in my hand or tucked under my arm, and I have a book in my handbags every time I leave the house — there are drawbridges, long red lights, and diner meals that require I have reading material. My partner loves the idea of the Kindle — not because se he’d use it, but because I could potentially clear valuable bookshelf space for his stuff.

I’m hardly a Luddite — what blogger is? — but I am going to hang on to my books for the forseeable future. At least until someone else buys me a Kindle.


Wikipedia’s New Editorial Utility Sparks Debate

Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

I read Jimmy Wales column today in Huffington Post about Wikipedia reducing some controls whilst  strengthening othersm asking, “Will the new, more gentle tool, be more widely used than protection was? I certainly hope so. We are always looking for ways to help responsible people join the Wikipedia movement and contribute constructively, while gently asking those who want to cause trouble to please go somewhere else.

“Faced with the choice of preventing you from editing at all, versus allowing you to edit even though you might have bad intentions, we have erred consistently for the latter — openness. The new tool, by making it a lot easier to keep bad stuff from appearing to the general public, is going to allow for a much more responsible Wikipedia that is, at the same time, a much more open Wikipedia.”

As a huge fan of Wikipedia, and someone who ecourages her teenager to augment research using Wikipedia, I think Wales is right in downplaying the changes and believing this is positive evolution. Wikipedia is a fantastic source, a challenging and gigantic job for its admin, and I have no plans to start thiking that what I’m reading there needs to be corroborated by another independent news source.  Good on them.