Metaphorically Speaking

If you know us, you know we know a lot about the higher ed space. And sports. And CPG.

It’s safe to say we’ve dabbled less in the private equity space. So our Discovery for Riordan, Lewis & Haden (RLH) was as much about exploring the brand DNA as learning about the private equity world.

Turns out that RLH has a pretty distinctive approach to investment. In a highly complicated industry, the best way for them to explain their model and share their 30+ years of business insights with us was through metaphors. Metaphors that likened private equity to everything from navigating new territories to partnership to mountain climbing. And to mixology, insofar as comparing the building of a business to the patience of crafting a fine port.

That stuck with us. So much so, we believed they were a great way to illustrate RLH’s investment approach to others. For this year’s RLH Limited Partners Dinner, which brought some 40 big-name funders to the table, we introduced an intriguing, investment-affirming leave-behind, crafted around those metaphors.


Inside, the partners found:

A Tawny Port

Aged 30 years. Because building a great business is like crafting a fine port—patience and expertise are essential.

A 10 Ft. Rope

Custom-cut, hand-tied, and sourced from a local marine shop. No explorer in the wilds of business should ever be without one.

A Sewing Kit

Assurance that limited partners will remain tightly interwoven with the future of their business as it grows in size and complexity.

A Carabiner

An homage to making connections between ideas and individuals, just as a reliable carabiner connects the precise components critical to reaching the peak.

A Compass

Because in business, it helps to have an experienced guide who has successfully traversed the route numerous times before.


Our Newport Beach team hunkered down in the garage for a day’s worth of arts and crafts, hand-assembling 50 ‘metaphor boxes.’

They turned out pretty well, if we say so ourselves. And even better, the limited partners had great things to say about the keepsake.



The Team

  • Chief Executive Officer and Founder: Shannon Slusher
  • Chief Creative Officer and Founder: Darryl Cilli
  • Chief Creative Officer and Principal: Tammo Walter
  • Managing Director: Megan Pomplas
  • Director of Print Production & Photography: Danielle Rigby
  • Associate Creative Director: Bryan Hill
  • Copywriter: Nick Micale
  • Senior Account Executive: Alicia Wiley
  • Project Manager: Alison Carter
  • Production Manager: Rebecca Shead

Reporting for Duty

This week, we’re all keenly aware that the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces dedicate their lives to protecting our freedom. Park University keeps the military top of mind, everyday. They don’t just salute them, they serve them.

That brand promise – woven throughout 90 years of Park University Military Education programming – is what we looked to capture in a new viewbook for prospective students.

Hit Your Mark_Park


To tell the full Park/Armed Services story, from the classroom to the frontlines, we leaned on military milestones: the first military pilot program in 1889, on-campus training programs during WWII, the christening of the USS Park during the Vietnam War, and the creation of an additional fall term during the 2013 government shutdown.

It's Our Honor_Park

To resonate with audiences from privates to veterans, we featured personal stories of Park alumni like Trish Newton, who’s changing the face of early childhood education in Kurdistan, and Robert Van Eman, who’s working to change how first responders see emergency scenes.

And we showcased the 40 campus centers on or near military bases across the country, reminding prospective students that, wherever they are, Park feels like furlough.


A March In The Park_Park

Thirty three pages later, we hope aspiring students in the U.S. Armed Forces community can see Park for what it truly is: the go-to university for military personnel, dedicated to freeing people from the traditional, boxed-in approach to higher ed.


The Team

  • Chief Executive Officer and Founder: Shannon Slusher
  • Chief Creative Officer and Founder: Darryl Cilli
  • Chief Creative Officer and Principal: Tammo Walter
  • Managing Director: Megan Pomplas
  • Creative Director: David Levy
  • Associate Creative Director/Copywriter: Christian Sternal
  • Account Supervisor: Jeremy Groff
  • Account Executive: Scott Andreen
  • Designers: Harilaos Skourtis, Matt Fouty
  • Copywriter: Nick Micale

Table to Farm

“We need to get out of the office for a bit.”

Greg called it. We had been deep in work for months, side-by-side and heads down at one giant table in our downtown Gainesville office. We were overdue for some team bonding to remind us why we choose to spend 50+ hours a week with one another.

So, thanks to a nice little perk 160over90 provides – two days off each year for community service activities – we figured it was prime time to step away from our computers to get some fresh air while doing some good.

North Central Florida happens to be home to a number of animal sanctuaries: horse retirement homes, big cat rescues, and an organization called Two Tails Ranch. Founded 30 years ago to board elephants and other exotic animals – temporarily and permanently, due to events like owner surrender, closing zoos or health issues – the Ranch has been home to more than 250 elephants since its inception. In 2008, Two Tails began offering an educational program, “All About Elephants,” to teach visitors and volunteers about the species.

We warily arrived, fully expecting to scoop elephant poo all day. But we were pleasantly surprised to learn that we’d be helping do something far more glamorous – organizing the materials that would soon be turned into the resident camel’s new home.


After a few hours of handiwork on the grounds and some close calls with a snake (or seven), we were handsomely rewarded with a tour of the ranch and introductions to some of its greatest inhabitants: giant turtles, a couple of zebras, and a family of lemurs who had just welcomed a new baby, to name a few.



The day wrapped with group photo shoot time with Patty, one of several elephants who currently call Two Tails home.


After a long day on the ranch, we were ready to get back to the office. We returned feeling reinvigorated, and reminded of all the great work happening right here in our backyard.



The Team

  • Director of Client Services: Maggie Insogna
  • Creative Director: Greg Ash
  • Associate Creative Director Design: Alex Liebold
  • Associate Creative Director Copy: TJ Aseltyne
  • Account Supervisor: Kelly Thompson
  • Senior Designer: Walton Dale
  • Intern: Taylor Hartley

It’s Great to be a Florida Gator

Ranked 14th in the nation, the University of Florida is one of the nation’s top research universities. On average, the incoming Freshman class has a GPA of 4.3, which means that UF is competing with the most elite universities in the country. We were tasked with increasing the yield for the class of 2019 by showing them why it’s so great to be a Gator.

For help, we turned to the 40,000 students who live it every day.

The response:


We compiled those :15 videos into 13,000 personalized websites sent to the incoming class of 2019 from all 50 states and over 100 countries. Fingers crossed, the switch was flipped on Valentine’s Day. [How about that for love.]

The result was a coordinated effort between us and all of UF, including marketing and communications, the admissions department, IT, Dean of Students Office, and the UF social team. Together, we netted 150,000 page views, 50,000 Facebook views, 600,000 Twitter impressions, and 5,000 mentions of the #UF19 hashtag – in just three days.


Despite application totals being down by 5%, by #CollegeSigningDay on May 1, enrollment was up 4% over last year – an all-time enrollment high for the institution.

Sounds like there are a lot of good reasons to be a Gator.

The Team

  • Chief Executive Officer and Founder: Shannon Slusher
  • Chief Creative Officer and Founder: Darryl Cilli
  • Chief Creative Officer and Principal: Jim Walls
  • Chief Strategy Officer and Principal: John Campanella
  • Executive Producer: Thomas Ammon
  • Creative Director: Greg Ash
  • Associate Creative Director/Copywriter: TJ Aseltyne
  • Associate Creative Director/Designer: Alex Liebold
  • Director of Client Services: Maggie Insogna
  • Account Supervisor: Kelly Thompson
  • Senior Designer: Walton Dale
  • Lead Developer: Cameron Baney

A National Moment

A Hall of Fame baseball player once said, “Baseball was made for kids, and grown-ups only screw it up.”

When we started working with the Washington Nationals this spring, we fully immersed ourselves in the brand, adopting the mindset of a lifelong fan. It just so happens that for a 10-year-old Major League Baseball team, that meant channeling our inner 10-year-old, recalling the early days at the ballpark when we shared a game and two bags of peanuts with our grandpop, and beamed about how green grass can be.

There was a lot to be excited about then. And there’s a lot to be excited about at the outset of the Nats’ 2015 season. Not only are they looking at what could be their best team to date, they’re celebrating 10 years of history-making memories. In our brand campaign, it was important to commemorate that milestone and cement the team’s connection with a transient D.C. community, overcoming the 30-year stretch when America’s favorite pastime was absent from the nation’s capital.

Throughout TV, radio, print, and social, we dialed up the emotion by recreating memorable in-game experiences, ultimately playing to the true fans – young children – and striking a chord with families.

We took it back to 2005, when Livan Hernandez took the bump and delivered the first pitch – a strike – birthing the Washington Nationals. Nats_History_FirstPitch We relived the debut of Stephen Strasburg in June 2010, and the 14 he sat down, bringing a crowd of 40,315 to its feet. Nats_History_Strasburg And we tipped our cap to Jordan Zimmermann’s epic no-hitter last season. Through impactful design, you can almost hear thousands of total strangers’ high fives. Zip_Zero_Zilch_Zimm Each of these moments raised spirits and rallied supporters. And collectively, within the brand story arc, they echo an essential truth: that the Nationals, like their fans, come to play.


The Team

  • Chief Executive Officer: Shannon Slusher
  • Chief Creative Officer: Darryl Cilli
  • Executive Director of Client Services: Sonya Cooper
  • Executive Producer: Tom Ammon
  • Director: Konstantinos Psimaris
  • Editor: Anderson Bradshaw
  • Motion Designer: Jay Keree
  • Creative Director: Brendan Quinn
  • ACD: Kris Blake
  • Copywriters: Elliot LeBoeuf, Rachael Silverstein, Sean Pezzulo
  • Account Supervisor: Cody York
  • Project Manager: Ted Quann
  • Social Media Strategist: Caleb Mezzy