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North Carolina Diary, Part I (McKinney, Howard Merrell & Partners, Pace Communications, Mullen)

Thursday December 20th, 2012

by Maria Luci

Last week, Kayleen Kauffman and I flew from Philadelphia down to North Carolina’s capital city of Raleigh. We arrived with almost 300 pounds of luggage in tow and were quickly introduced to some southern hospitality. No offense to the other cities we’ve visited over the years, but we found North Carolinians to be beyond helpful. Almost immediately, people began helping with our heavy cases and guided us on our way, which helped us arrive at our photographer happy hour at The Flying Saucer Draught Emporium ahead of schedule.

The Flying Saucer was a great place to meet with our Raleigh roster. We had a fun time downing a couple brews from their gigantic beer selection, and playing a round of bar trivia with Brent Clark, Bruce DeBoer, Bryan Regan, Jason Dail and Joel Collins. It was a great meetup—even though we lost badly at trivia. After happy hour, Kayleen and I headed back to the hotel to get some rest before the packed day we had ahead.

Raleigh happy hour.

The next morning, our first stop was at McKinney, in Durham. McKinney is an ad agency with a wide range of clients including Travelocity, Gold’s Gym, Samsung, Nationwide and more. There we met with art producer Stephanie Witchger, who continued the trend of North Carolina friendliness by offering us a warm welcome and showing us through their massive office (which happens to be an old tobacco factory). Once in a cozy conference room, we laid out the books for Stephanie to review. She was happy to look through all of them and seemed excited to learn everything Wonderful Machine has to offer.

Outside of McKinney.

Of the books we showed, Stephanie especially liked the work of Jeff Wilson, Bryan Regan and Liz Nemeth, but made sure to take promos from everyone to share on their giant promo wall. She told us that at the moment things are winding down for the holidays, but once spring hits, they’ll go back into photographer hiring mode.


Bryan Regan’s portfolio video:

After all the books were reviewed, Stephanie was even kind enough to walk us to the parking garage! All this southern hospitality was making us giddy and we cheerfully said goodbye as we headed to our next meeting at Howard Merrell & Partners.

HM&P is a Raleigh-based full service ad agency with clients like Butterball, Dixie and Cisco. We arrived with our books and were appreciating their interesting decor—including a replica of Phineas Gage‘s skull—when creative director Billy Barnes came by to tell us our contact for the meeting had recently left the company. We were ready to head out the door when Billy told us he would still be happy to get the crew together and ushered us into a conference room filled with art directors. It was a great review, with a few favorites being  Michael Herb, Tibor Nemeth, and Bruce DeBoer. The group said that they prefer to review printed portfolios over iPads and were happy to see so many print books on the table. Once all the portfolios were flipped through, promos taken, and WM tshirts handed out, we packed up again and hit the road for Pace Communications in Greensboro.


Howard Merrell review.

Bruce DeBoer’s portfolio video:

Being on a tight schedule, Kayleen and I raced to Greensboro, and with little time for lunch, grabbed a quick bite to eat at Dunkin Donuts—may I suggest the bagels? Then we headed to Pace, a content solutions agency whose clients include US Airways, Syngenta, American Cancer Society and Walmart. The Pace team puts together dozens of publications like Four Seasons Magazine and AAA Traveler. We arrived at their office bearing gifts—hot coffee and cake—and soon a crowd of photo editors and designers came flooding in. Many already knew about Wonderful Machine and were quite the brand advocates as others asked what we do. Kayleen and I hardly had to say a word as a photo editor went on about how great using both the WM site and our stock services is—and several creatives mentioned having worked with our photo editor Sean Stone.

Pace review.

By the end of the meeting, we’d run out of a lot of promos and all 15 books on the table had been flipped through several times. Mark Weinberg and Peter Taylor‘s travel photos were especially popular, while Dhanraj Emanuel‘s scrumptious food photos had stomachs rumbling. Chip Kalback‘s adventure photography also got a lot of nice compliments, and several creatives recognized Chris Burkard‘s work as they’d worked with him before. The meeting went exceptionally well with lots of great conversations about our photographers, WM, and the photography needs of Pace Communications.

Chatting about Mark Weinberg’s book at Pace.

Peter Taylor’s portfolio video:

Eventually we had to pull away and say goodbye as we still had the last meeting of the day: Mullen in Winston-Salem. For this late afternoon review, we brought some snacks and beer to liven things up. Here we met with John Rosato, their senior art producer, who was once a photo rep himself. John rallied the troops and we soon had a photo party going, with lots of creatives flipping and sipping. Everyone seemed to really like Liz Nemeth’s still life work along with Terry Vine‘s luxury lifestyle photos and Brent Clark‘s Christmas series. One of their favorite books was of our retoucher Janko Williams.

Mullen happy hour review.

Liz Nemeth’s portfolio video:

Janko Williams’ portfolio video:

Once the books were perused and the beer and cookies were gone, we said goodbye and headed out. We were very happy with the successful (and friendly!) day behind us. Kayleen and I were also looking forward to our next photographer happy hour and another day full of meetings in North Carolina’s largest city: Charlotte. Stay tuned for Part II of our North Carolina portfolio adventure, which will be posted next week!


2 Responses to “North Carolina Diary, Part I (McKinney, Howard Merrell & Partners, Pace Communications, Mullen)”

  1. Bruce DeBoer says:

    Thanks Maria, it was great to finally meet you and Kayleen. I’m thrilled you had a good experience. You visited some good folks.


  2. Lenn Long says:

    Glad you got to meet John Rosato up at Mullen. He’s great. He has been a panel speaker for our APA Chapter events here at APA Charlotte. Very knowledgeable and was well received.

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