Whiteboard Videos – The Creative Marketing Solution for the Modern World

A whiteboard video is a creative marketing solution. It is used to explain a product, introduce a new policy at work, or simply market a brand or individual. A whiteboard video involves time lapse or stop motion effects that coincide with text to create a very eye-catching video. In the video, images are drawn in or strategically placed in real time to really grab the attention of the viewer. Essentially, a whiteboard video is like a short film that tells you a story – frame by frame – through creative writing, content specific cartoon images, you can even have music playing during your video to enhance the viewer’s senses even further.

Whiteboard videos first came into the national spotlight in Janurary, 2007. UPS, United Parcel Services, created and aired a series of whiteboard videos in a national campaign. The videos were a huge hit for UPS and these ads ran for several years. In 2010, a non-profit group in England took to YouTube to show off their whiteboard video skills. This group, the Royal Society of Arts, gained the Number 1 status for non-profit companies on YouTube in 2011, with over 46 million views of their work.

Today, whiteboard videos can be used for education purposes as well as business and professional services. It is a highly effective way of grabbing the attention of your viewer. Video marketing is now the preferred method of advertising and promotion in the modern era of the world wide web. Visual stimulation through video marketing has been proven to get a potential client interested far more than simply just text. If you or your business are looking for a fun, creative, and highly effective way to market your business, talent, or brand, have a marketing professional create a whiteboard video.

At the I.C.E. Agency, we employ a staff that is well versed in making effective whiteboard videos. We have a team of creative writers who can help deliver your important message. Our video editors have the experience and knowledge of the software to create a quality whiteboard video. Our image and music library is extensive, so you can be assured no matter what business or profession you are in, we have the images and sound to exceed your needs. For a free consultation on creating a whiteboard video, contact the I.C.E. Agency at theiceagents@gmail.com or visit our website for samples of our work at www.theiceagents.com.

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A Vinyl Record is More than Music to my Ears

To me, a vinyl record is a musical journey worth taking. Vinyl records are said to be making a big comeback in the music industry. Although for most music fans – myself included – vinyl records never went out of style, just out of circulation. There have been several formats that have sought to replace the vinyl record – 8 track tapes, cassette tapes, then CD’s, and now we have the digital music formats.

Let’s face some facts about vinyl records. Vinyl records need to be played on a record player – which needs to be plugged into your wall and is often big and bulky and of course is not portable. Record players have become the preferred item at neighborhood garage sales for years and are a common item displayed in consignment shops as well as antique stores. As for the vinyl records themselves, mishandling is a common problem and the vinyl gets scratched and/or warped over time. Vinyl records do not collapse and are properly stored in the album jackets that are sold in. So, vinyl records and their record players take up a fair amount of space in your apartment, basement, dorm room, etc.

Cassette tapes, then CD’s, and now digital music have become a more practical way of obtaining and listening to music – not only at home, but anywhere. For example, you can elect to purchase a single song online as opposed to buying an entire album in a store. It takes just a few dollars and a few minutes to download a song to your phone, computer, or iPod device. In our society’s lust for instant gratification, digital music has become the go-to format of how most music fans buy their music. Vinyl records are still sold in stores – whether a physical store or online – just like all other types of music formats. However, you will need to wait until you get home to play your record, which is not always the case for cassette tapes, CD’s, and certainly the ever popular digital music downloads. Most of us just don’t have the time to drive to a store, look through vinyl records, pick one out, pay for it, drive home, and play it on their record player.

So, vinyl records are not portable, take up too much room, are not convenient for the busy world we live in, and a require a record player, which may or may not exist in your home or within reach. My answer to this statement is – So What?

Vinyl records come in album jackets. On the outside of the album jacket, there is often beautiful works of art, photography, and self expression. Album jacket covers have been a featured part of pop art for close to 50 years. In addition, on the back side of the album jacket, is the list of songs on the album – sometimes with additional information such as songwriting credits, length of song, etc. The vinyl record sleeve houses the vinyl record and often times includes similar information – songwriting credits, sometimes lyrics, even complex stories about the album itself. These record sleeves often reveal undiscovered truths. Personally, I love reading that Eric Clapton played on this song, or Paul McCartney produced this song, or that Stevie Ray Vaughn played guitar on this particular track. It makes the songs more personal and interesting to me.

As for the whole experience, vinyl records force me to slow down and I’m grateful for this. Yes, there is a process to the concept of the vinyl record. I have a number of favorite record stores that I love to visit and shop. I live in RI, so no store is more than a half hour drive. I take my time sifting through albums – fan favorites, imports, concerts and those highly desirable obscure albums. Albums are priced accordingly based on their age and musical importance. That being said, albums are very much affordable. I have a reconditioned record player at home that was a special Christmas gift – thanks Rachel – and some Bose speakers that produce amazing sound quality. I still get goosebumps when the record player’s needle hits the edge of the vinyl producing that familiar sound just before the actual music starts. I love sitting down and reading the album sleeve end to end, learning all that I can about the album and the musicians playing on it. As long as I live and remain as busy as I am, I will always look forward to those precious moments of bliss.

For me, a vinyl record is not just about the sound it produces. It is a musical experience that will never be duplicated simply by downloading a single song to my iPod. Listening to a vinyl record brings me closer to the music. It is the most delicious morsel to feed my hunger for musical knowledge. So, dust off that record player, grab your favorite Barry Manilow album, sit down, have a cup of something sweet, and enjoy. You won’t be disappointed.

Hiding behind vinyl records

Frankie Galasso, America’s Most Featured Sports and Entertainment Cartoonist

Frankie Galasso is a nationally recognized sports cartoonist. In 1987, he made his start with the Evening Times of Pawtucket, RI. His work later found it’s way onto the Editorial pages of The Providence Journal. His editorial and sports cartoons have been picked up by more than 36 self syndicated and free-lance newspapers.

In 1999, Frankie became the regularly featured sports cartoonist for the Providence Journal. He created his first lithograph “Memories of McCoy” for the Pawtucket Red Sox. Frankie was commissioned by the 1999 Calder Cup Champion Providence Bruins. He was the first to ever capture the History of The Rhode Island Reds Hockey Team, a non-funded venture of his own. The success of the lithograph resulted in the birth of what is today – The Rhode Island Reds Heritage Society, 600 members strong.

In 2000, he was picked by the New York Post Sportsweek to be their exclusive sports cartoonist. He has gone on to win more than 10 New England Press Awards in various categories. He has become one of the youngest inductees selected into his hometown of Cranston, RI “ Hall of Fame” for his preservation of sports cartooning, editorial achievements and his charitable works in the community. He has been frequently asked to be a guest on local sports and political talk radio and his cartoons are featured on local NBC channel 10 “First and Ten ” during the NFL season.

In 2006, Frankie, a musical composer as well, composed and recorded the hit song ‘Come to Papi’ with his band FIVE22 for David Ortiz. The song was used on David Ortiz Night at Fenway Park and has become an internet fan page standard for many Sox fans around the world. In 2007, he made ‘Top 25” for President of Red Sox Nation for his contributions to the Sox fan base in both his music and artwork.

Frankie supports local charities, donating his time and works whenever possible. Some of these charities include Curt Schilling’s Pitch for ALS Foundation, The Boston Liver Foundation, The Jimmy Fund, The Day Kimble Children’s Hospital of Ct., The Make-A-Wish Foundation and Created Wily Mo Pena’s logo for his MOPEACE Foundation. Frankie lives a quiet life in his hometown of Cranston, RI.

I had the pleasure of interviewing him recently and here are some excerpts of that conversation.

Frankie, thanks for meeting with me. Tell me in your words how you describe yourself.

“I’m a cartoonist. Simple right? I’m one of a few remaining sports cartoonists and illustrators from the heyday of newspapers. Newspapers used to be where people got their news, first and foremost. So, the cartoonist played an important role in telling a story and delivering the news in a creative way. Our job was to get the reader’s attention, to make them laugh, and to get them interested to read further.”

You have done cartoon artwork of celebrities, sports figures, lighthouses, landscapes. What is the process like? Take me through your thoughts on drawing an image.

“Well, it’s a lot like you are doing now. You’ve done some research on me and it shows. Now, when I draw an image, I do my research. Yes, I’m inspired by good, professional work. But I research the image. Online, in person, I go meet with a celebrity if I can, I go to a lighthouse. I look at old photos, new photos, I even take photos of the image myself. I get to know the image, if that sounds right, so well that I feel confident drawing it to the best of my ability.”

In terms of artists, how would you characterize your work? Who in the art world do you closely resemble?

“Well, I did an interview with the YES network some years back and they had sports journalists speaking about the role of cartoons in delivering the news. Legends such as Al Hirschfeld and Bill Gallo. I see myself as a journalist of course because of my many, many years in that field. But if I had to name artists I feel that resemble my style and artwork, I would say Walt Disney and Norman Rockwell – two heroes of mine and giants in the field of Americana and creating interesting characters.”

The I.C.E. Agency is proud to be working with Frankie Galasso and helping to promote his special talent and artwork. Stay tuned for a brand new website featuring Frankie’s 30 years of cartoon images, lithographs, and other merchandise. If you would like to learn more about Frankie Galasso and his artwork, email the I.C.E. Agency at theiceagents@gmail.com.

http://www.theiceagents.com

The “R” Word – A Video

The “R” word is a cruel slang. It is a hurtful word to a population of individuals with mental and developmental disabilities.

Watch The “R” Word video, which aims to spread the news about this cruel slang and will hopefully increase the knowledge of its impact on this population.

Watch the video on YouTube HERE.

Some people have mental retardation (intellectual disabilities). While mental retardation is not a bad word, when used to describe someone or something you think is bad or stupid it becomes another thoughtless hurtful word. People with intellectual and developmental disabilities are not bad. Their condition is not bad. The prejudice and discrimination to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is BAD…and WRONG! Please stop using the word ‘retard’. It hurts individuals and families of those with disabilities. Watch this video produce by the ICE Agency in North Kingstown, RI. It provides visual clarification about the negativity and cruelty of using the “R” Word towards those with mental and developmental disabilities. Watch the video, spread the word, and be kind to everyone around you. The “r” word, “retard,” is slang for the term mental retardation. Mental retardation was what doctors, psychologists, and other professionals used to describe people with significant intellectual impairment. Today the r-word has become a common word used by society as an insult for someone or something stupid. For example, you might hear someone say, “That is so retarded” or “Don’t be such a retard.” When used in this way, the “r” word can apply to anyone or anything, and is not specific to someone with a disability. But, even when the “r” word is not said to harm someone with a disability, it is hurtful.Because of this, Special Olympics, Best Buddies and the greater disability community prefers to focus on people and their gifts and accomplishments, and to dispel negative attitudes and stereotypes. As language has evolved, Special Olympics and Best Buddies have updated their official terminology to use standard, people-first language that is more acceptable to constituents.

10 Criteria for Better Website

When visitors arrive, how easy is it for them to use your website?

Twenty-five years ago, usability expert, Jakob Nielsen, developed a set of general guidelines to help answer this question. Sometimes referred to as a “heuristic evaluation”, designers and usability experts use lists like these to measure how easy or hard it is to use a website.

I’ve paraphrased Jakob’s original guidelines to list ten questions you can ask to evaluate your own website, right now. Let’s get started:

1. Does your website keep things simple? Avoid information that is irrelevant or rarely needed. Show only the text and visual elements that need to be there – no more, no less. Every additional thing competes for your visitors’ attention.

2. Are users informed?Provide feedback when something changes, such as an icon lighting up or text telling a visitor that their task was successful.

3. Are you speaking their language?Use words, phrases, and ideas that are familiar to your audience, and avoid computer jargon that few really understand. This is important: be careful about how much you assume your visitors understand your interface, product or business.

4. Is your website consistent?Follow established conventions when possible, and don’t make visitors wonder whether different words or ideas mean the same thing.

5. Do you avoid making visitors remember things?Make actions and options visible to visitors so they don’t have to remember things from one point to another. Most people are busy, distracted, and much less invested in your website than you might like. Don’t make them think.

6. Do you provide control and freedom to explore?Is it easy to find things? If visitors make a mistake, be sure there are easy ways to go back, start over or continue a different way.

7. Do you help visitors avoid mistakes?A thoughtful design should prevent problems from occurring by guiding visitors to success, capturing errors as they happen, and avoiding as much unnecessary complexity as possible.

8. Do you help visitors recognize and recover from errors?Your best efforts aside, to err is human. If visitors make mistakes, use plain language to explain what happened and how they can successfully complete whatever they were trying to do.

9. Is your help…helpful?Ideally visitors shouldn’t need to use documentation to successfully use your website, but sometimes it’s necessary to provide help or customer support. Make these resources easy to find, read, and search. Focus on the most important things your visitors are trying to do.

10. Does your website grow with your visitors?Your site should be easy for new and novice visitors, but also scale to speed up the experience for expert users – ideally in ways that are invisible to the new folks. Allow visitors to customize as they go, in ways that flow naturally with the experience.

The suggestions above will help your visitors use your website more easily, resulting in a better overall experience. Happier customers will tend to spend more time engaging with your website, which will help you get closer to your business goals.

I hope you found this list useful and I encourage you to check out Jakob Nielsen’s original list, where you can find many other resources for design and research.

Consider giving WWW.THEICEAGENTS.COM A CALL 401-583-7171 and they will perform a FREE evaluation!