New Work: Click2Science and ‘The Moment it Clicks’


If you work in or follow the education industry, you’re likely familiar with the acronym STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). It’s become a buzzword of sorts, for good reason, as an increasing number of studies connect teaching STEM skills to students with improved critical thinking and science literacy, helping enable the next generation of innovators.

Just last month, Inside Higher Ed released its 2014 Survey of College and University Chief Academic Officers in conjunction with Gallup. According to the report, state support for higher ed is up 5.7 percent over last year. With new investments being made, 66% of public university provosts are planning “major allocations of new funds” to STEM fields within next year’s budget, which outpaced support for online programs, professional or pre-professional programs and arts and sciences.

While most of our education-related work serves higher ed, STEM is a unique field that touches students at every level. Phenomblue recently had the opportunity to work with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office on Click2Science, a free and professional development resource that empowers coaches and trainers, and arms frontline staff to teach STEM skills to youth. It’s important work, as many of these coaches and trainers face serious staffing and other resource limitations. The kids at these out-of-school organizations often lack access to STEM learning otherwise, which stimulates critical thinking and positions children to take the jobs of tomorrow.

The UNL Extension Office engaged Phenomblue to help craft a targeted awareness campaign aimed at engaging and educating out-of-school time providers with This included a strategic teaser campaign that leveraged Click2Science’s existing communication channels (primarily email), while exploring new opportunities through social media and more grassroots tactics.

Approaching the project from a high-level strategic mindset, we developed a campaign — “The Moment It Clicks” — that pairs Click2Science’s emotional appeal with its tangible benefits. Through this campaign, we want coaches/trainers and partnering organizations to automatically associate Click2Science with STEM. And we want this idea to ‘click’: Click2Science is essential to their operations.

We created a brand manifesto that tells Click2Science’s story through video, developed messaging to compel potential partner organizations to adopt Click2Science as their main source for STEM training, produced conference and trade show branding assets and ideated many out-of-the-box strategies to build Click2Science’s brand and use.

Through our ongoing engagement with the UNL Extension Office, we’re excited for future opportunities to help Click2Science do its good work even better. For more, visit our Click2Science Work page.

More Transparency, Collaborative Competition and Other News in Pharma/Health


As part of our new ongoing More series, today’s post will concentrate on news and trends, along with our own strategic insights, within pharma and health, one of our four focus categories. For nearly ten years, we’ve been creating work that transcends the patient-consumer divide. By staying on top of global shifts in regulations, the marketplace and healthcare administration, we’re able to better connect with and empower consumers. Here’s a look at what we’ve seen in the pharma/health space recently.

Growing Global Pressure for Transparency
Last week, Johnson & Johnson announced Yale University’s Open Data Access Project (YODA) will serve as an independent body to review requests for full and free access to its clinical trial data. A YODA spokesman told Pharmafile, “This is the first time any company has collaborated with a completely independent third party to review and make final decisions regarding every request for clinical data, and we believe it sets a new industry standard in ensuring all requests for clinical data are reviewed in a systematic and objective way that protects patient privacy and confidentiality.”

The announcement signifies a major shift for drug companies – less secrecy, and more opportunities for enhancing public health, as researchers will now be able to examine Johnson & Johnson data themselves to identify their own conclusions. Ultimately this move will likely encourage other pharma companies to release their trial data, too.

Big Pharma Reports Are In
Quarter reports and full-year 2013 results are out, including Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly & Co. While the reports reflect varied revenue performance, each company has its own outlying issues affecting results. Across the board though, you’ll find each brand evolving and attempting to position themselves for long-term growth.

The Chicago Tribune reports John Lechleiter, Eli Lilly & Co. CEO, as saying the company will now go back on offense…”we’re on the cusp of launching products in cancer and diabetes, two therapeutic areas where we’re well established and where we have built out the infrastructure we need. And we believe that’s going to be the beginning of our return to growth.”

Collaborative Competition
New competition within diagnostics and care from outside influencers like Google, Microsoft and AT&T are bringing new viewpoints and increasing expectations around healthcare, as PM360 reports. Former Bartle Bogle Hegarty chairman Cindy Gallop describes the current industry as collaborative competition – “when everyone in a sector competes with everyone else in the sector by doing exactly the same thing as everyone else in the sector is doing.”

Responsiveness is key in any industry today, but especially pharma. In order to survive, traditional companies will need to stop watching and waiting to see what trends and technology take off, but either innovate themselves or adapt quickly in order to compete with outside influencers.

Doctors Like Wikipedia, Too
A new report from the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics found that nearly half of pharma manufacturers are using social media. Also found in the report, Wikipedia is the single leading source of medical information for healthcare professionals, as well as patients. Murray Aitken, executive director of the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, explains “This trend only heightens the need for relevant, accurate content that can be accessed and used throughout the patient journey. Healthcare professionals, regulators and pharmaceutical manufacturers all need to overcome their reticence and acknowledge the vital role that they can and should play as participants in the healthcare conversation.”

Anyone can write and edit pages for Wikipedia. At the time of writing this there were 20,657,612 Wikipedians. Today’s patients and doctors are turning to this undoubtedly vast, and arguably unreliable, source, as well as social media for their research needs. The ability to monitor online conversations is a huge resource for pharma/health marketers to gather research and influence, or even regulate, the information out there about their brand.

Will You Be At SXSW?
SXSW may not be the first (or 176th) thing you think of when talking quality in healthcare marketing, but the topic is taking Phenomblue’s Kt to this year’s festival. After participating in the first ever QA Summit on Digital Healthcare Marketing this past fall, she’ll be on a panel discussing the findings and best practices for QA in healthcare and across industries. This SXSW Showcase peels back the lid on why and how this panel came to be…and why you should pay attention.

Top Online Schools, Gap Years and Other News in Higher Ed


Today’s post is the first in our new ongoing More series (along with 2013, we’re bidding farewell to our Rewind series) with a carefully curated and relevant resource for the modern marketer. Biweekly posts will concentrate on our four focus categories – in other words, the spaces we’re experts in and love. Our new series’ inaugural post highlights recent news and trends within higher education – along with our own strategic insights, it’s all for today’s higher education marketer.

The Winners Are In
U.S. News & World Report released its rankings for the 2014 Best Online Programs last week. Dean Idalene Kesnser from Indiana University at Bloomington’s online graduate business program (which ranked first on the online graduate business program list) told The Chronicle of High Education that rankings are “’especially important in online programs because your students can come from anywhere, not just regionally based students.’ Indiana has improved its online courses by working to have them mirror residential courses.”

While U.S. News released its long-standing Best Colleges list back in September, this is is the third year they’ve released an online list suggesting not just a shift in educational offerings, but that the average college student profile now has a much wider, and complex, definition.

Why Your Students are Opting for Gap Years
Joe O’Shea advised potential students to take a gap year before enrolling in college, suggesting young adults spend a year living or volunteering in a developing country to better understand themselves and the world. “The treadmill from high school to college makes it hard for students to see alternative paths. But that is changing…In fact, all the Ivy League universities now endorse gap years for interested students.”

Opinions, and greater trends, such as gap years are critical resources on how prospective students’ view of college has changed, as well as the entire decision-making process. Marketers who fail to recognize and adjust are bound to come up short for recruitment and retention goals.

Blackboard Gets Even Bigger
Blackboard has acquired MyEdu, a web platform managed by 20 employees for students to showcase their skills, experience and portfolio to potential employers. “Education platforms and learning management technology in particular are being rapidly transformed by the consumerization of user experiences and are increasingly beginning to view the student as the consumer when it comes to product development,” Rip Empson for TechCrunch reports.

While Blackboard is used in 75% of institutions today, it’s missing a “cool” factor. The acquisition signifies the need for Blackboard, and other leading vendors, to evolve with either internal innovation and/or acquisitions just like this, to satisfy the high expectations of today’s digitally rooted students.

The Not-So Average Student is Now Average, and Other Top Trends
The top issues facing higher education in 2014 include cost, the Higher Education Act, filling the skills gap and quality assurance in non-institutional learning. Among the ten issues listed, Fortune’s John Ebersole consciously omits MOOCs – “increasing awareness of their limitations for certain audiences combined with a feeling of ‘enough already’ will make these yesterday’s news in 2014.”

While the verdict is still out on MOOCs, last week we attended the CASE District VI Conference, where much of the chatter centered on the surge in non-traditional and post-traditional students. Today’s average student is no longer fresh out of high school seeking a full-time education – and now it’s time that policies and programs catch up.

And New Data to Prove Our Last Point
New data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) highlights the success and impending longevity of “distance education” by breaking down the educational and enrollment trends from Fall 2012. The numbers show, amongst other things, that nearly 3 million studied wholly online and just over 5 million studied at a distance in some way; the big dogs are still the non-traditional early online adopters and that the international reach of online is minimal, estimated at less than 2 percent. Non-traditional education is here to stay, and marketers and enrollment teams must take notice that students’ options are broader than ever.

Upcoming Webinar!
Inside Higher Ed editors Scott Jaschik and Doug Lederman will host Managing the Student Lifecycle, a webinar on January 28 at 1pm CST. The two will discuss the changing education landscape that is now lacking a never-ending supply of students with enrollment rates rapidly decreasing. As former editors of The Chronicle, too, we expect this session to be especially forward thinking and enlightening. Sign up for free here.

Rewind: Creativity Thru Simplified Tech

Rewind is our weekly More post where someone from our brand experience agency curates his or her favorite news from the week before. This week’s post is brought to you by Sam W., our associate creative director.

If money were no object, Sam would travel around the world taking on as many experiences as he can. Until then, his favorite part of his job is problem solving and overcoming obstacles to achieve things clients or co-workers may have not thought possible.

I’ve been very intrigued by companies lately that simplify technology to allow a broader audience to flex their creativity. The company littleBits has been creating easy to use kits since 2008, but have recently expanded their horizons to the music industry with the release of the Synth Kit in partnership with KORG. The kit comes with 12 modules ranging from a keyboard to oscillators to a micro sequencer. But the amazing thing is that these pieces also work with their other kits, which allow you to do all kinds of crazy/creative things.

There is also a Kickstarter project by the name of Patchblocks that is similar to the Synth Kit. The main difference being multipurpose units versus “single” purpose modules. There is only one unit to purchase but this single piece can carry multiple functions, be combined with additional Patchblocks and is completely customizable with the provided software.

The company Electroninks Incorporated is currently raising money via Kickstarter to release Circuit Scribe, a rollerball pen that allow you to draw circuits that work with a variety of custom magnetic components the snap to the drawn circuits. Circuit Scribe will work with Arduino and MaKeyMaKey, adding endless possibilities.

Last, but not least is the 3Doodler from WobbleWorks, Inc. This “pen” will allow you to “draw” with the same plastics that a 3D printer uses. 3D printers are expensive and can be intimidating. The 3Doodler is simple to use because it doesn’t require any software. The “pen” allows you to do anything from rapid prototyping to making pieces of art.

Rewind: Expansive Outlet Malls to Turkey Shortages

Rewind is our weekly More post where someone from our brand experience agency curates his or her favorite news from the week before. This week’s post is brought to you by Megan M., our manager of quality assurance.

If she could have any superpower, she’d pick to read minds as it’d take all the guess work out of effective communication and save time. Her favorite part of doing Agency QA is being the person on our team to play the role of the user and provide the outside perspective. While focusing on the big picture, Megan considers getting to see loose ends tied up and facilitating better solutions on the fly the most rewarding parts of her job.

The big news here in Omaha last week was the grand opening of the new outlet mall. All the buzz and anticipation of larger-than-life crowds nearly gave me nightmares – much like the annual Black Friday buzz and shopping horror stories. But speaking of Black Friday, Walmart released their sale ads (following suit after Target did the same) and there are a few gadget deals sure to have some people scrambling. One major downside though? Thanksgiving day deals…what?!

So, since we’re on the topic of shopping still, have you heard about Coin? Well if you haven’t, you should. And if you don’t believe me, try to wrap your head around this, last Thursday in just 40 minutes Coin raised $50,000 crowd funding to cover manufacturing costs. This video will tell you all you need to know and how it works. There might still be a bit of skepticism but I’ll tell you what, for someone like me who doesn’t use a wallet and uses purely good luck to keep all of my cards in my possession, it definitely seems just short of the answer to a better life.

San Francisco made one little guy’s life a whole lot better last Friday when it morphed into Gotham City for a day. Together, the city and Make-a-Wish Foundation helped 5-year-old Miles, in remission from Leukemia, become Batman, capture Penguin and the Riddler … and rescue a damsel in distress! The project was one of the most elaborate in Make-A-Wish Foundation history and a great way to restore some faith in humanity. Thanks, San Francisco!

Now, absolutely unrelated, I give you a video from Italy’s Rolling Stone, Rocker vs DJ. A total dig at EDM. Ploy to grab attention and sell more magazines or truth? Eh, you can decide.

Lastly, Thanksgiving is next week and there’s a turkey shortage … at least at Butterball. So, if you are a loyal Butterball type-of-family and you haven’t yet, go get your turkey before you can’t!

Bonus Day Recap: Hear Nebraska Presents Omaha Girls Rock Compilation Release Party

Andrew N., copywriter and Kt M., vice president and general manager, teamed up for our last Bonus Day to update the benefit-album/concert concept for the multiscreen age and to raise awareness for the myriad of benefits of childhood music education.

The team created a digital compilation album to raise money and awareness for Omaha Girls Rock, a nonprofit whose mission — primarily though a week-long summer camp — is to give girls the confidence to use their voice through music education and performance. If you haven’t watched this video about the camp, we highly suggest you do … right now.

At 6pm on Sunday, November 17, Hear Nebraska will present an Omaha Girls Rock Compilation release party featuring Howard, Manic Pixie Dream Girls and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns at Slowdown in Omaha — $7 gets you into this first-time event and a download card for the album. Hear Nebraska is a nonprofit cultural organization, co-founded and directed by Andrew, which provides resources and a voice for bands, artists and members of Nebraska’s creative class and the businesses that support them. For more on the event, visit its Facebook event page.

Local bands with female musicians were asked to contribute songs to the digital album during Bonus Day. To inspire young female musicians, Kt and Andrew also asked the bands to send pictures of themselves playing an instrument when they were younger. Girls can identify with these older, mentor musicians and get a better sense of the potential talent they and the other young women in their community can develop.

Ultimately, the team hopes these efforts will grow beyond the boundaries of Nebraska to form a national network of localized musical activism, allowing artists and musicians of all ages to share their unique stories and songs regardless of geography.

This is part five of our featured Bonus Day projects from the third quarter of 2013 (check out CONTROL(ling) Malaria, Energizing, Pop Perks and Phototrippin’). Bonus Day is an internal, agency-wide flash-exercise in innovation, where ad hoc teams of dreamers, innovators and creators carry a passion project from conception to completion in a day.

Rewind: Another Animal, & Sriracha, Lovers Edition

Rewind is our weekly More post where someone from our brand experience agency curates his or her favorite news from the week before. This week’s post is brought to you by Sara H., senior project manager.

Sara has worked at Phenomblue for more than three years … her favorite project to date was Mutual of Omaha’s My Wild Kingdom because targeting a new generation of fans (kids!) was a fun and unique opportunity for us. If money was no object, Sara would spend her days eating bagels.

Animal lover friends, 19 Indications You Love Animals More Than People. Is it wrong that I can relate to 9 out of 19 items on this list?

No more shutting your phones off during takeoff and landing? I HOPE SO.

The residents of Irwindale, California eyes are burning so they’re suing Sriracha. I feel for you … but it’s like really good.

Kraft Mac & Cheese is removing the orange dye that gives the food its signature color. But only in the shapes pasta, like Spongebob, which we all know is better than the original elbow noodles anyway.

This is real-life Instagram.

We have been lied to! Baby carrots are not babies. They’re just cut in half!

Banksy finishes his 1-month NYC “Artist’s Residency.” I was in New York a couple weeks ago and was THIS CLOSE to the Central Park stand, but at least I got to see/hear the “Sirens of the Lamb” truck.

Rewind: Searching for Gold

Rewind is our weekly More post where someone from our brand experience agency curates his or her favorite news from the week before. This week’s post is brought to you by Travis G., senior designer of graphic and motion.

Since joining our LA office, Travis has enjoyed working on the AIM redesign and brainstorming in general. If he could have one superhero power, he’d have gills as he grew up surfing and loves the ocean, and he’d be able to spend more time underwater!

I love the way this project not only quantifies the number of people viewing it through increasing complexity, but that the increasing complexity can result in viewers pulling other people into the room in hopes of increasing the complexity of the horse.

While watching a sport like basketball where the action is constant and many shots are taken, it can be difficult to see patterns form over the course of a game … or a season. This infographic quickly and clearly shows the differences in how the Miami Heat plays based on the strength of a defense.

It’s probably a floating data center, but who knows! Maybe Google really is building a fleet of Wall-e’s!! I’m holding onto that slim hope.

I’ve always been fascinated with the effort and ingenuity we’ve put into searching for gold. Who would’ve guessed trees could tell us where it’s at!

Everyone loves going to a drive-in theater. But this theater has a twist; the cars are junked cars arranged to provide seating for a temporary outdoor theater in NYC!

The Gh’oul Carving Kit!


Over the years we’ve created a bunch of creepy (and sometimes slightly gross) projects to celebrate the Halloween season. Maybe you’ve noticed…we have a thing for Halloween.

But one of our favorites after all the work we’ve done is The Carving Kit. Year after year, we see its website hits go up come October. We haven’t had a chance to update the site much since it was released in 2010…but it’s still a gh’oul time!

Phenomblue eliminates the mess that comes with carving pumpkins with The Carving Kit, our innovative twist on the classic Halloween card. In 2010, we used 3-D, VFX and Adobe Flash Platform Development to bring you a personalized, shareable and not-super-frightening-but-still-fun interactive experience.

Use your webcam to broadcast your face on a spooky old TV, and then adjust the rabbit ear antenna for brightness, contrast and color. Now, behold! A customized Jack O’ Lantern etched with your face. Then share it with your friends across your social media networks.

Happy Halloween!

Rewind: In Which the Zuckerbergs Arm Wrestle

Rewind is our weekly More post where someone from our brand experience agency curates his or her favorite news from the week before. This week’s post is brought to you by Brandon B., our associate director of software design and development.

Brandon has worked at Phenomblue since he was an intern with us while still in college – with little experience in development when he started, Brandon credits Phenomblue for how he got into his line of work.

After 10 and a half years, the BitTorrent search engine ISO Hunt agrees to close its doors and pay $110 million in damages to settle a lawsuit with the ever-popular MPAA. Considering the lawsuit was filed in 2006, I would imagine the legal teams working on both sides are happy to see this battle come to an end.

Apple’s hotly contested multi-touch patent was upheld by the US Patent and Trademark office, reversing a previous ruling from December of last year. Don’t you just love America’s patent system?

Randi Zuckerberg, the sister of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is publishing a book entitled “Dot” which encourages children to spend some time away from their electronic devices and social media. I hope the sibling tension results in some sort of televised Zuckerberg arm wrestling match.

A month after its release, the folks over at BGR have put together a pretty good review of the iPhone 5s. With mobile device performance on a meteoric rise, I’m finding that each new review is becoming increasingly nit-picky. I include myself in the group of nit-pickers.

Turns out the Navy’s newest ship, the USS Zumwalt, is powered by Linux along with a host of other off-the-shelf technologies. According to the article, this futuristic warship is also set to be commanded by none other than Captain James Kirk. The future is now…