Brought to You by Hard Work

For the Atlantic 10 conference, March Madness is more than a series of games. It’s a proving ground. And for two years running, it’s also been a national brand platform.

Last winter, 160over90 partnered with the A-10 to launch a comprehensive, NBA-style branding and advertising campaign that leaned on the league’s strong performance record and national rankings, and unleashed a challenge to any team: Who Wants Next? The positioning heralded the end for basketball dynasties that rest on laurels from long ago. Winning games and advancing deep into March is a workright, not a birthright.

We created a 2:00 national TV spot to tell the story of the grittiness and uncompromising work ethic embedded in the A-10’s athletic programs, as well as the academic excellence of each member school. Here, “free throws are not free.” “Glass slippers are swapped for work boots.”  And “knockout punches are landed from 21 feet.” Acclaimed performer, slam poet and verbal stylist Saul Williams was recruited for the voiceover, and the music was scored by rjd2. Both artists epitomized the grittiness of the campaign, and effortlessly captured the rhythm of the game.

The hype piece earned a lot of positive attention in the college sports arena, as did the league itself, sending a record six teams to the 2014 NCAA Tournament. All 13 member institutions shared in the social storytelling, pushing the video spot to 800,000+ eyes to open the campaign, and the spot garnered more than 48 million media impressions including coverage in The New York Times and Sports Illustrated and a killer retweet from the one and only Dr. J.

We kept the forward momentum going with a bold evolution of the Atlantic 10′s identity in summer 2014.

A10 brand book

And this basketball season, we built on the ‘Next’ storyline, taking the theme of hard work and tenacity one step further by highlighting the league’s constant commitment to advancing — on the basketball court, and likewise in the classroom. A minute-long commercial reintroduces Saul Williams and rjd2 to tell the next chapter of the A-10 story in unapologetic fashion. Lines like ‘Next will create hysteria in the student section’ and ‘Next will shatter all expectations’ bring to life the hunger and tenacity of the A-10, a conference built on hard work. Work that starts in driveways, playgrounds and gyms, which we captured with footage shot during a four-day, five-campus, six-game road trip.

[See more at]

This same hard work was on display at last week’s VCU overtime game, and in Dayton’s First Four victory and second-round upset.


While the A-10’s 2015 March Madness run has come to an end, we can’t wait to see what’s next for this power basketball conference.



Chief Executive Officer: Shannon Slusher

Chief Creative Officer: Darryl Cilli

Executive Director of Client Services: Sonya Cooper

Executive Producer: Tom Ammon

Director: Konstantinos Psimaris

Producer: Derick Crucius

Editor: Anderson Bradshaw

Creative Director: Brendan Quinn

ACD/Copywriter: Kris Blake

Digital ACD: Chris Lee

Motion Designers: Joe Dunlap, Jay Keree

Account Director: Jeremy Kanefsky

Account Executive: Andrew Larsen

Project Manager: Ted Quann

Social Media Strategist: Caleb Mezzy

Musical Score: RJD2

Voice-Over: Saul Williams


All it takes is a cardboard box.

From one mom to another, I know the feeling. We’re busy. Very, very busy. We’re juggling everything from schedules to schoolwork to snack time to sleepovers. And it requires a lot of effort.

But you know what should always feel effortless? Having fun and hanging with our kids.

To them, we’re basically superheroes. We don’t need to invent all kinds of special outings and perfectly planned activities for playtime; most of the time, all it takes is a cardboard box. Or a stack of blankets. Or a bat and ball. Or a SUPERPRETZEL.

For SUPERPRETZEL’s new brand campaign—We Make the Pretzel. You Make the Super.—we’ve adopted a ‘back-to-basics’ stance that cuts busy moms a break, inviting them to make food the entire family likes to eat, and freeing up time for good old-fashioned fun.

The campaign even takes a little dig at today’s over-the-top, overly crafted rituals of showing off and documenting the food you make, rather than enjoying it—and, more importantly, enjoying time with your family.

With simple ingredients, ready in seconds, SUPERPRETZEL helps get you out of the kitchen and into living room parties, pirate ships, and backyard camping adventures. Or for me and my three, nightly dance parties.



Keeping It Real. Virtually.

The University of Florida undergraduate experience is so much more than buildings, books, and locking arms at the end of the third quarter. It’s learning to see beyond the brick and spanish moss to the events, relationships, and experiences that are formed inside those walls.

In other words, as much as we love them, a clickable map just wouldn’t do.

Instead, we selected 36 experiences unique to being a Gator, from swimming with research robots, tailgating at a football game, organizing the largest student run pep rally, building a concrete canoe or watching thousands of bats swarm from their houses at sunset. Each experience is a window into a collection of  locations from across campus.



What’s it like to be a Gator? See for yourself, or sample a couple of our favorite videos below:



The Team
Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Shannon Slusher
Chief Creative Officer and Principal, Darryl Cilli
Chief Creative Officer and Principal, Jim Walls
Chief Strategy Officer and Principal, John Campanella
Director of Client Services: Maggie Insogna
Creative Director: Greg Ash
Associate Creative Director Designer: Alex Liebold
Account Supervisor: Kelly Thompson
Senior Copywriter: Larry Werner
Director of Production: Brian Tennyson
Designer: Tim Beitz
Lead Developer: Cameron Baney

Your Mom Said You’re Too Good Looking

You’re not much of a morning, afternoon, or evening person. Campus squirrels are too aggressive. You already have 98.6 degrees.

You can make any excuse not to go [or go back] to college. But with affordable tuition, small classes, and powerful support, Kansas City’s Park University has removed all of the real barriers to higher education – for high schoolers and adult learners, for first-generation college prospects and graduate students, for active members of the military, and more.

And since we’re in support of the whole college thing, we teamed up with the fine folks at Park on a brand campaign that tackles ‘excuses,’ encourages audiences to get out of their own way and ‘go for it,’ and spells out the ways you can become more amazing [and more paid] ‘with a degree’ at Park University.

Here’s an inside look into the making of Park’s compelling, pro-college case:

Bus Wrap_Park University

First things first, we call out absurd, incredibly lame, embarrassing, and all-around mighty bad reasons for not going to college, and plaster them on billboards and buses.

Then, because we have an unusual sense of humor and Park gets it, we take it a step further by creating an automated ‘Excuses’ hotline, with the option to connect to an Excuse Abatement Expert. [It’s real. We swear. Just call 1-888-214-9941.]

After we’ve torn down excuses, we need to build up confidence. Like this: “It’s not about what drives you. Or who. As long as you’re driven.” And then like this: “It’s not about coming in first or second or twelfth, as long as you finish. It’s about going the distance. Finding out what you’re made of. And proving to yourself you’ve got what it takes to become everything you ever wanted to be.”

Then comes the really aspirational part, where we help individuals envision themselves with a degree. “You with a degree has ‘je ne sais quoi.’ That certain ‘something’ that employers love. You know, education?” And it doesn’t hurt that we ever-so-conveniently drop in the fact that you can make $700K more over the course of your career with a college degree.

Father Ad_Park University

So, you still think that ‘Grandma needs a sub for her bridge game’ is a good reason to pass up on college? Yeah. We didn’t think so.


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

1:1 MKTG

You’re in a crowded room. Desperate for attention. Ok, maybe not desperate, but you want someone to talk to. You can either: a) Shout ‘hey, you!’ and hope someone turns around, or b) walk up to the most promising candidate, drop their name, and strike up a conversation.

Brands are in the very same predicament, 7 billion times over. The Interwebs have connected people across the world, helping even small companies attract global networks of fans and followers. But in their rush to speak to massive pools of potential leads, too many brands have over-standardized and over-simplified their message.

Now, technology advances have turned the dial again. Personalized brand experiences [think premium services like platinum cards] that used to be reserved for a select few are no longer a perk. They’re a must for any marketer who wants to remain relevant. Amazon is nailing it with personalized recommendations, proving that it’s possible to cater to—even predict—consumers’ tastes. And after 10 years of sliding sale figures, Coca-Cola is seeing a sudden upswing, thanks to a custom can redesign. When you can buy a drink labeled with your own name, or a friend’s, Jessicas and Andrews and Emilys the world over create shareable content, engage on social media, and, of course, keep buying.

We think Coke and Amazon are on to something. In fact, we’ve been doing one-to-one marketing since before it was trendy.

Here are a couple of our favorites.DowntownCrossing A Boston neighborhood branding gig positioned Downtown Crossing as a vibrant community where people come together to meet, live, work, and play. And amid extensive redevelopment, it cloaked unsightly construction work with reminders of real-life intersections, featuring pictures of everyday Downtown Crossing passersby.

BrianaTurnbaugh A highly personalized recruitment effort for Wilkes University called out Briana Turnbaugh and five other high school applicants by name—on highway billboards, in MTV commercials, and other super-public forums. In the process, it turned lots of heads. Hello, New York Times.

In 2015, we’re challenging you to make your audience the hero of the story. Good news for you is that we’re here to help.