Pepperpots: We’re Feeling Pretty Good!

The LevLane PR Team is feeling pretty good after the 2011 PRSA Pepperpot Awards last night.

The team took home 3 Pepperpots and 2 Ladles!! We received Pepperpots for:
1) Feature Story: the Reliance Standard By-Lined Article
2) Audio Visual Programs: the BLOCS EITC How-To Guide
3) Special Events & Observances: the Philly Spring Cleanup.

We received Ladles for:
1) Editorial & Op-Ed Columns: the BLOCS Back to School Op-Ed
2) Speeches: Kathryn Ott Lovell’s Centennial Celebration Remarks

Congratulations to the LevLane PR Team!

Newsroom Content Advisory

We’ve been having conversations around the LevLane office about posting content to company newsrooms without infringing on copyrights. After some internal debate and discussion with legal counsel, we’ve come up with some do’s and don’ts for posting content to company newsrooms.

Whether we update your newsroom or not, we wanted to make sure we shared these best practices with you.

The ideal way to post news to your newsroom is to include the title of the article, date, news outlet and a link to the full article where it originates online. You may craft your own language that explains the content of the full piece, but should not directly lift any copy from the article and place it on your website.

Below is an example of what this might look like:

You can also access the Prudential Newsroom here. Notice that Prudential writes its own short blurb about the article rather than lifting from the actual piece.

Another good example is Microsoft In The News:

Microsoft does not include original language about the piece, but instead links directly to the original source.

It is not recommended that you copy and paste content from the original source onto your website. Doing this may infringe on copyright laws. Below is an example of how you SHOULD NOT post news to your newsroom:

Just some food for thought to help make your newsroom the best it can be.

Jomar’s new approach to discount shopping

Check out this great story from 6ABC’s Action News Team about our client, Jomar! We recently helped the local discount chain with a brand makeover, but you can still find the same great deals in-store. The Action News story will tell you about some of the wonderful treasures you can find at Jomar. The chain is now connecting with customers in fun, new ways. Check out Jomar online and visit the store’s Facebook Page and Twitter Handle.

Read full story on

Google Maps, Twitter and SEPTA?

November, 3 2011
By Drake Newkirk

Integrated Transit System or Socially conscious transit.

The next big app you already have …that is of you have a Android or iDevice.

We all know about google Maps for driving directions, but it amazes me how little people know about the little “Transit” button through which SEPTA intergrates with Google Maps, either through the native App or by simply visiting this URL in your phone’s browser: .

See supported phones

No, SEPTA isn’t the only transit system in the country who’s schedule has been tapped by Google Maps and quite frankly it’s not all that new, but it amazes me how many people who have smart phones and don’t even know it’s there. As a Philly native born and raised on SEPTA (35+ years of travel), this schedule in my pocket is a blessing.

Back In The Day
As I said, I was raised on buses, trolleys and on both the blue and orange lines. I’ve crisscrossed this city using various forms of public transportation, West to North, North to Yeadon, Germantown to Center City, Center City to the Airport, Germantown to Nice town, West Philly to Ambler, etc. So, I’m well aware of the inherent anxiety that comes with the fear of not knowing when or where the next bus will arrive. Not to mention being scared to death to take a “highly recommended”, “alternate” or “faster route”.

This little app would have saved my feet plenty of wasted miles walking, after incorrectly guessing what time the dreaded last “C” bus arrived, headed to Broad and Olney from Elkins Park .

Here are 6 reasons to at least try it:

  1. No need to remember it, it’s in your pocket.
  2. Just Explore.
    Take a walk. Get lost…well not really, but with “Lewis and Clark in your pocket”, be BOLD and take that left without fear of forgetting how to “get back” or “to” your next destination. The beauty of GPS, is you never make a wrong turn.
  3. Take The Fear Out. Follow Along.
    That pulsing blue dot is you. Keep an eye on where you are in the universe. It’s comforting to watch and helps keep you from asking that age old question, “Are we there yet?”

    And it even works in the El tunnel (AT&T)

    105, 109, R5, R8 to Lansdale, 52, 46, 38, 15, hike, hike, hike. There is nothing scarier than walking up to a SEPTA schedule rack. Nothing!
  5. Start With The Destination
    With Google Map integration you can focus on where you want to go and what time you want to arrive or depart. With the Goggle Map App you have options, SEPTA runs practically everywhere, so instead of starting at what train or bus, your familiar with, trust the app. I’m confident you will find options that you never knew existed.

    Example: I was taking a short trip to West Palm Beach, Florida a couple of weeks ago and was either going to drive or take a taxi. The flight was at 10am, so I had to be at airport about 8:30. Two problems, if I decided to drive I would have to park…nightmare. If I called a taxi, I’d be worried about if it would show up on time. So, the night before I pulled out my iPhone, opened Google Maps and typed in my Current Location and entered by destination. Then I simply adjusted the arrival time to when I wanted to get there and boom! I had options, 3 buses and a train to choose from. I choose a bus I had never been on before and arrived in 35 min. Normal compute by car from my house is 20 min, but I was dropped off at the gate and no parking nightmare. Success.

    I simply adjusted the arrival time to when “I” wanted to get there and boom! I had options.

  6. SEPTAs On Twitter Too!
    With SEPTAs new twitter stream/notifications SEPTA Is where you want to be.
    On Oct. 31, the authority will go live with more than two dozen accounts providing real-time updates on bus, trolley, subway and regional rail lines.

    System wide updates may be found by following @septa.

  7. Conclusion
    Stop being a punk. Try it, you may like it.

Occupy This

I walk through Dilworth Plaza every morning just for a reminder of what America smells like. And let me tell you, I love the smell of America in the morning! America’s bouquet is a delicious blend of musket smoke, fireside chats and the slow burn of an overworked I-Phone 4. It is not a single smell or necessarily a familiar one. Like the odor, the brave faces of Occupy Philly defy a sole descriptor and their reasons for living a temporary life fit for Valley Forgers are not singular. But, in fact the Occupiers do share something critically important: a respect for freedom and the right to demonstrate for what they believe.

To all those critics who say the Occupiers are a bunch of lazy, jobless hippies just looking for a cheap high and some free love, I say: Jealous! I also say Google American History or go to Wikipedia and search for King George III—the original one-percenter. King George III, like today’s Occupy naysayers (e.g. The Godfather himself: Herman Cain), accused the revolting patriots in his far away colonies of having no organized effort. He mocked them for not having a single message; for not having proper military uniforms and for having the gall to hide behind trees instead of forming a line and fighting like real men. But, what King George III found out the hard way, was that the common ground of the American people was their spirit; their determination; their will. And, as much as we in the communications profession preach to our clients about having a point and staying on it, I will say proudly that in this case, spirit beats messaging hands down.

So to those of you who turn up your noses at the Occupy Movement, I offer this quip, first uttered by the famous players of Monty Python (they too of King George III’s ilk): I fart in your general direction. Your mother is a hamster, and your father smells of old elderberries.

–Scott Tattar

A Search for Bargains Goes Social- New York Times

Decades ago, Macy’s proclaimed, “It’s smart to be thrifty.” Now, consumers who are concerned about the economy have elevated thriftiness to a lifestyle, as evidenced by everything from TV shows about “extreme couponing” to retailers that try to turn shopping into a quest for values.

Costco, for instance, is known for deals, found among its general merchandise, that are available one time only. The Burlington Coat Factory retail chain has a new commercial that carries the theme “Brag about it,” encouraging customers to boast about the buys they discover at “up to 60 percent off department store prices.”
Joining the trend is a chain in the Philadelphia area, Jomar Stores, which caters to households with average annual incomes of $25,000 to $75,000. Jomar has introduced a campaign from its new agency, LevLane, proclaiming that its specialty is “Retail treasures.”

The theme is underlined on a redesigned Web site,, with a section labeled “Treasure Chest,” containing offers that are available only to members of the Jomar frequent-shoppers program, known as the Treasure Club.

“Members get more,” text in the section reads, like “instant updates on new shipments” arriving at the five Jomar stores.

“That way you can snatch up the new stuff before nonmembers do,” the text declares.

Getting the jump on other shoppers is of interest to Jomar customers because the stores are not stocked like most other stores: Jomar buys returned merchandise from retailers like department stores, meaning that many of the items it sells are one of a kind.

A shopper who sees a red scoop-neck blouse in size medium at a Jomar store may want to buy it at once, because there are probably no others like it. By comparison, retailers like Marshalls, Ross and T. J. Maxx usually have items in much larger quantities because they buy lots of overstock and closeout merchandise.

To build traffic for the Jomar Web site and encourage membership in the Treasure Club, the campaign features a promotion in the form of an online contest, Show Your Jomar. The premise of the contest is summarized succinctly on “If you got a bargain, flaunt it!”

A customer can enter the contest by taking and uploading a photograph of “you and your favorite Jomar item: clothes, fabric, pots and pans, whatever.” All who enter receive $5 coupons.

Six grand prize winners will receive prizes that include iPads, $200 Jomar gift certificates and appearances on the home page of the Jomar Web site.

The campaign is being promoted on signs in the Jomar stores as well as bag-stuffers — fliers included in the bags shoppers carry out of the stores.

There is also a robust presence in social media: on the Jomar Stores fan page on Facebook, at, on the Jomar feed on Twitter and on the chain’s photo stream on Flickr.
The campaign, with a budget estimated at $60,000, is the first in several years for Jomar, which is part of a family-owned company, Jomar Textiles. The chain’s previous campaigns, on television and radio, featured a family member, Mark Segal.

“I was telling Philadelphia how wonderful my stores are,” Mr. Segal, vice president at Jomar Textiles, recalls. “My mother loved it.”

At a meeting last year with LevLane executives, he says, they told him that Jomar might be better off using new media rather than traditional tactics.
“I’m close to 50 years old,” Mr. Segal says. “I’m television and radio.” He was open to new ideas, he added, but wanted to learn more about the media consumption habits of Jomar’s working-class customers.

“We did have an e-mail list, so we knew a chunk of customers were online,” Mr. Segal says, and after LevLane staff members “spent a few months in our stores, interviewing our customers,” they determined there was enough Internet usage to make an online campaign worthwhile.

And if his customers didn’t go online, he adds, their children did, so “we felt it was viable, a tool we could use.”

The campaign is intended to encourage loyal Jomar customers to shop there more often as well as to recruit new customers through word of mouth.

“My customer gets hurt by the economy,” Mr. Segal says, and is “scared about losing their jobs.”

As a result, the size of each translation has declined, he adds, and “we are combating that by working on less margin.”

Bringing in new shoppers is a challenge, Mr. Segal says, because Jomar is not that well known outside “a segment of the population.”

“The lady shopping at Macy’s knows there’s a Ross,” he adds, but the Ross shopper — or the Macy’s shopper — may not necessarily know about Jomar.

Complicating matters, he adds, is the penchant among department stores for “advertising sales every week,” compared with perhaps “two sales a year” a decade ago.
Someone from a department store told me that only 7 percent of the merchandise is sold at regular price,” Mr. Segal says, which conditions a Jomar shopper to expect sales, too, even though the merchandise is already discounted.

“Our prices are 75 percent off regular retail, so a $100 dress is $25,” he adds. “But now, on Tuesdays, it’s 20 percent off the $25.”

The campaign is being accompanied by a remodeling of Jomar’s stores, which run from 30,000 to 50,000 square feet and have a warehouse, thrift-shop look.

“We’ve softened them,” Mr. Segal says, by changing the yellow and red color schemes, which were “screaming discount colors.”

“I feel more comfortable now doing this advertising to invite people to the party,” he adds.

Josh Lev, senior account manager at LevLane, which is also based in Philadelphia, agreed that the Jomar colors were, as he puts it, “not very inviting.”
The stores were “not the warmest environments,” Mr. Lev says, and the changes, which also include new signs, are making them “a better place to shop.”
The research that preceded the campaign took place among employees as well as customers, he adds, and “we found out a lot of good information.”
For one thing, Jomar shoppers describe themselves as “very loyal,” Mr. Lev says.

He recalls talking to a customer in line at a store who told him she was not happy that the promotion was intended to bring more shoppers to Jomar.

“She said, ‘I don’t want to give my secret away,’ ” Mr. Lev says.

Jomar customers also talk about how proud they are “of what they find there,” he adds.

“What’s unique about Jomar is the aspect of the single items” they buy from other retailers to sell in the stores, Mr. Lev says, which prompted the idea of Jomar as “a treasure chest.”

“You’re really digging for gems,” he adds.

While the current Jomar shopper “skews a little older,” Mr. Lev says, there is “an opportunity to go after a new target audience” of younger consumers.
“And when we go after the younger target audience, we know they’re online,” he adds.

It is no coincidence that the campaign, which began last month, will continue through December. After all, the fourth quarter is the most important for retailers as consumers shop for Christmas.

“My feelings for the fourth quarter are upbeat,” Mr. Segal says, despite the recent uncertainty about the course of the economy. “I think people are going to be shopping.”

Mr. Lev says that he hopes the campaign will be extended into 2012 with “more consumer-facing” elements like commercials.

Why I won’t buy the iPhone 4S (Brilliant play by Apple)

UPDATE: October 10, 2011
Told ya’ —> As iPhone 4S sets records, Apple’s legacy models show strong sales too –

FIRST THINGS FIRST: The Big Announcement.

New iPhone called the iPhone 4s.

  • Twice as fast
  • Advanced Voice Recognition software, Siri
  • Better camera
  • High definition video capability, with image stabilization

Biggest Disappointment: No iPhone 5.

Conclusion: Just fast and different enough to stay ahead of the pack, but far from the hype of the expected iPhone 5.


THE PLAY TO THE MIDDLE: The Big News News No One Is Talking About.

  • 3 tiered models – Free iPhone 3G with contract – Expect this to be the dagger in the heart of entry level Android phones.
  • Tiered iPhones means rapid deployment – Apple will sell more, phones to more people at a more rapid pace than ever before.
  • First dual ban iPhone – Compatible with both AT&T, Verizon and Sprint (more on that in a minute). This approach, which I’m sure is to become a rule, will allow Apple to focus on one tier model at a time, without having to develop the same model phone for separate carriers. Brilliant. Say it with me now Android users, “No fragmentation”.
  • Sprint gets iPhone – A Sprint iPhone is big news. Sprint has 35 million postpaid customers, many of which I’m sure have always wanted an iPhone. Sorry Android 🙁 .

This play to the middle market is brilliant, even if not obvious. If you have Apple stock, hold on, to it this will be a great year. iPhone sales will far eclipse this years sales. RIM is dead and Android will become the current day RIM.


It’s not GREAT enough.Because, the iPhone 4 I have, is great enough…for now.

Because, its the software stupid. – With all the new toys that are about to launch on the 15th, My iPhone 4 will feel like a brand new phone.


There WILL be a iPhone 5 in 2012 and we top tier users will be there lining up to buy it. Until then, we will wait.


Listening to CNN coverage of the death of Steve Jobs. Sad day.



A nun walks into an ad agency

…that was right after she marched into City Hall and then the Philadelphia Streets department, looking for the people responsible for the UnLitter Us campaign. Ok, I dramatize. Sister Anne hardly marches about, but rather strides with quiet purpose. And when I met with her, she was on a mission.

The diminutive Sister Anne teaches an art class at the John Kennedy Mental Health Center on Broad Street. Every Monday, she takes the subway from her convent in West Philadelphia to her subway stop at City Hall, where she is greeted by the dramatic faces of our campaign. With close to 100 posters lining the tracks and walkways underground, they were hard to miss this summer. Sister Anne’s voice is delicate as she describes standing on the platform surrounded by the expressive words and faces of our poets, marveling that we chose to fight filth with beauty. Sister Anne not only felt the soul of UnLitter Us, she was intellectually curious about the strategy we chose. She thought that by understanding the thinking behind the campaign, she could better help her students. Ultimately, the Center helps to rebuild lives based on the foundations of respect and dignity. Sister Anne helps her students purge their negativity and find what is beautiful inside of them to express through art.

So she delved…the focus groups, the findings, the creative strategy, the process, the elements of execution. Her questions were intelligent, her comments insightful. No detail was too boring for Sister Anne, so I lavishly divulged the intricacies of the ad campaign that became somewhat of a spiritual journey for the team who nurtured and brought it to fruition.

We always hope our creative strategy will hit the mark and move our intended target – in this case, urban youth 18 – 25. And yes, we have metrics and that show progress city-wide. Inspiring Sister Anne, however, and providing even the most modest assistance in her mission is an added bonus of a much higher order.