Since she joined LevLane in 2010, Donna Pangione has often been referred to as the “hub” that keeps the agency’s projects in motion, from concept to completion. Here’s why:
How does your position fit into the functions of the rest of the agency?
Our department brings the project to life. Whether that’s a brochure, an outdoor billboard, print advertising, t-shirts – we handle it from start to finish and deliver the final product.
What led you to LevLane?
I had worked at LevLane years ago, and remembered the friendly people. I was glad to find that a lot of the people were actually still here! In this ever-changing world of advertising, it is rare to find so many familiar faces so many years later.
How did you know this was the right position/career path for you?
I loved the subjects of art and English growing up. Penn State University had an advertising major at the time, so I thought that would be a good mix of both! Now, I am one of the few Penn State Alumni with an actual advertising degree.
What is a typical day at LevLane like for Donna Pangione?
I manage the creative workflow, answer A LOT of questions, answer a lot of phone calls, double-check, double-check, double-check, review proofs, and most importantly ensure that everything is produced on time and within budget.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role at LevLane?
I interact with everyone on a daily basis and each department has its own idiosyncrasies. It can be challenging handling multiple personality types in the appropriate manner. It is also difficult to partake in the multiple steps involved in the successful completion of a project. My anticipation is always to exceed clients’ expectations, so there is a lot of back and forth and verifying to ensure that all parties are satisfied and that the final product looks as close to perfect as possible.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?
It is so satisfying to see the finished product and working collaboratively with others to develop the best possible creation. And I love when I come in under budget!
What types of projects do you most enjoy, and why?
I love utilizing unique printing techniques that just add the final, special touches to a design. Embossing, UV coating, varnishing techniques, foil-stamping, die cuts…it’s fun!
What’s your favorite thing about LevLane?
Everyone works really hard and at the same time the atmosphere is laid back, fun, and friendly. I also thrive on the fast pace of the agency. The ever-changing environment allows the day to go by quickly and there is always something to do.
How do you handle the constant pressure of working on multiple deadlines?
Jogging!! Also, remembering that we are all working toward the same goal and that the deadlines always end in a beautifully-executed design.
As the head of your team, what plans or goals do you have for Production over the next year?
I’m really excited for the new software that we recently began using. It is a system that enhances project management tools. The goal is to further explore how it can facilitate our workload and make managing and interpreting creative needs more feasible and efficient.
Do you have any advice for someone trying to enter/advance in your area?
Follow your heart!! You’ll be successful…whatever success means for you. But above all, only you know how to make yourself happy. Follow your heart and you’ll get there.
What are some personal qualities that help you do your job efficiently?
My ability to “see the forest for the trees” has brought me a long way in this industry – sometimes it just takes common sense. My job requires careful consideration to budgets and timing, which are essential when it comes to producing projects as directed. I also try my best to be a good listener – that’s very important! Whether it’s filing each project into a “job jacket” or organizing the various folders on my desktop, my ability to organize has been a great help. It is extremely important to pay attention to detail and stay one step ahead of the game.
Some people describe you as “the glue” here at LevLane. Why do you think that is?
My department is kind of like the quarterback of a football team. Our job is to throw the ball and to set the play in motion for the rest of the agency. Without direction, it is hard to know where to begin and how to proceed. The glue is unseen, right?! Another way to put it is that we are like the hub of a wheel – everything starts and ends here and turns all around the central location. We are able to take note of the details and note any inconsistencies to bring the project up to par.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
To Key West to paint sweatshirts on Sunset Pier….yup, that’s where I’d like to be right now. (She showed me pictures. It’s awesome!)
By Gena Bushnell, LevLane Spring 2015 PR Intern and marketing major at Saint Joseph’s University
Is there a restaurant your friends have been raving about and you’ve wanted to try? There is no better time to schedule that reservation than during Center City District’s Winter Restaurant Week. The event kicks off on January 18th and runs Sunday through Friday until January 30th. With more than 120 participating restaurants ranging from Italian to Japanese and from seafood to steakhouses, there are plenty of options to explore. Participating restaurants offer guests a three-course dinner for only $35 and many restaurants also offer a three-course lunch option for $20.
For more than 10 years LevLane has worked with the Center City District to create vibrant and engaging creative work for many exciting Philadelphian events and initiatives including Dilworth Park, the Rothman Ice Rink at Dilworth Park and Center City District Sips. Throughout Center City, LevLane created and placed 64 brightly colored transit platform posters that reflect the livelihood of the city itself and the corresponding bus tails are sure to catch your eye as they pass by. Complimentary and unique web banners and online display ads can be seen online at Philly Style Magazine, Philly Weekly, or Philly.com.
Be sure to keep an eye out for all of the exciting creative work popping up across the city and make your Restaurant Week reservation today!
Each November, the walls and doorways of LevLane’s offices start to fill up with purple paper hearts – each one representing a dollar donation made to Adoptions From the Heart during National Adoption Month by a LevLane employee. Eventually, they form a sea of purple, and represent a sizable annual donation to AFTH from the LevLane staffers who donate. This annual tradition was started and is continued each year by VP, Digital Media Director Dan Hall, who’s been with LevLane for 13 years.
1. How and when did you first become aware of or get involved with Adoptions From the Heart?
We became involved through our son Matthew. We adopted Matthew through Adoptions From The Heart in 2010. When we decided to adopt, we looked at a few difference adoption agencies. Adoptions From the Heart seemed the most welcoming…the most open. Unlike some of the other agencies we met with Adoptions From The Heart didn’t care about your religion or your sexual preference. They just want you to provide a happy, healthy homes for children…to be a family. They also stressed the importance of openness between the adoptive parents and the birthmother, which can be scary for new adoptive parents. But we quickly learned how important openness and the adoption story is to the child. We selected Adoptions From the Heart and had a flawless experience. We were very fortunate. Now we have a family.
2. What made you want to support AFTH?
After we adopted Matthew, Adoptions From the Heart sent out a request for volunteer board members. My wife suggested I apply. They helped give me the greatest gift I will ever have in my life, so volunteering was the least I could do. I applied. They accepted. I help in anyway I can.
3. What do the employee donations for Adoptions From The Heart go towards?
Donations go to the Adoptions From the Heart Birthmother Fund. The fund helps women who have had an unplanned pregnancy and are trying to make a tough choice during a difficult time in their life. Adoptions From the Heart provides free advice, counseling and financial support for these women in need.
4. Is it true that the total amount of donations made by LevLane employees each year is among the largest that AFTH receives?
They have many organizations that graciously contribute. I am proud to say that LevLane is among the top contributors for this fund drive.
5. How does it feel to be the steward for what has become such a large, annual collection effort?
I have personally benefited greatly from the work Adoptions From the Heart does, but most folks in the office have never or will never need or use their services. Yet, they come into my office in droves with their hard-earned cash in hand willing to help out. It always warms my cold, black heart.
Two-term LevLane intern offers five top tips
Six months ago, I walked into LevLane as a public relations intern with little office experience, and not a clue of what to expect. For two semesters, I sat at the front desk in LevLane’s lobby greeting clients, helping them to their meetings, and feeling my heart sink when I could not match a face to the name of the colleague that the client was in to see. The frantic feeling quickly faded and my confidence grew as I began to work and interact more with my new co-workers.
My internship at LevLane has taught me about the industry I’m pursuing, what to expect from PR life inside an advertising agency, and most importantly, what is expected from me. My activities ranged from checking in dozens of media members at a big event, to contributing to blog posts and press releases, to sitting in on client calls and brainstorming meetings.
As terrifying as my first few months may have been, I now see what a gratifying opportunity it has been to watch such a successful integrated agency operate. In my final days at LevLane, I have been asked to share my top five intern tips, so that they might benefit other interns to follow:
As an intern you’re not supposed to know what to expect, and with that will always come nerves and uncertainty. No matter how unsure you are of yourself or your surroundings, a confident smile will always be the best way to smooth over any uncertainties that you may be experiencing.
From having multiple copies of your resume available when you arrive for your interview (trust me, you never how many people you will end up interviewing with), to always having pen and paper handy in case of being called into a meeting, being ready means you have it together. A trustworthy intern is never scrambling or unorganized, and although none of us start out like this, it should be your goal to leave this way.
You have landed an internship, and you are right where you want to be – now it’s time to work. Intern work may seem mundane and unimportant, but in the grand scheme of things, intern tasks are often foundational layers for the work that comes next. Completing these tasks in an efficient and timely manner will not only prove your worth, it will improve the work and outcome for the agency. These experiences will also serve as great practice for you as a PR professional. Landing an internship alone does not prepare you for what may lie ahead, but presents you with an opportunity to immerse yourself in every task and to learn as much as possible.
Feeling like the lowest man on the totem pole will never be fun, but it’s easier if you open up to the people around you. There is nothing wrong with asking for help if you don’t understand something, and there is great reward in having the courage to respectfully add your input once you’re comfortable. Getting involved and reaching out to others is the absolute best way to break out of your comfort zone and form professional relationships – and even new friendships – along the way.
Learn and grow
Your internship will give you the opportunity to dive head first into an industry that you love, and will serve as a way for you to gain valuable experience you can’t get in a classroom. How much you absorb while you’re immersed in this world is completely up to you. Within this learning period, you have a unique opportunity to learn about yourself; take advantage of it. The experience will allow you to figure out what you like and what you don’t, who you are as a worker among others, and the truth about your shortcomings juxtaposed directly against your strengths. An internship does not just fulfill a credit requirement, or hold a place on your resume; an internship rubs your rough edges smooth, instills a new air of confidence, and helps you evolve into a professional who’s ready for anything.
By Gina Turdo, Public Relations Major, Rowan University Class of 2015
LevLane added to its pewter collection on December 2 when the agency won two 2014 PRSA Philadelphia Pepperpot Awards. The annual Pepperpot Awards recognize the Philadelphia region’s top PR campaigns/projects and tactics as determined by a panel of out-of-state judges.
This year, LevLane won for its submissions in the categories Special Events and Observances (Seven Days or More), Budget Under $15,000 and Editorial/Op-Ed Columns.
For Special Events and Observances, LevLane’s winning entry highlighted the Rydal Park Lively Fall Speaker Series created for Rydal Park continuing care retirement community. This annual October series features popular media figures talking about their long careers, giving prospective residents a chance to experience Rydal Park’s “spirited living” and consider joining the community. The series drew a high number of qualified prospects, and resulted in apartment home purchases that contributed to Rydal Park’s best sales year.
Levlane’s winning Editorial/Op-Ed entry for the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Licenses and Inspections was called Keep Building Safety in Mind and appeared during May, which is National Building Safety Month. The editorial informed Philadelphia residents about the resources available to them through the Department of Licenses and Inspections’ new online power tool, and appeared at a critical time – just before the one-year anniversary of a tragic building collapse in the city.
Awards aside, the festive evening was enjoyed by LevLane team members who work together throughout the year to achieve exceptional results for clients that resulted in these impressive wins.
As the agency for 15 U.S. markets of Massage Envy Spas in 11 states (representing almost 200 spas total), LevLane applied its social media and public relations forces to promote Massage Envy Spa’s annual “Massages for Military” Veterans Day event, which resulted in more than $200,000 dollars in donations to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) as well as hundreds of free, one-hour massage therapy and facial sessions for veterans, current military personnel and their spouses.
Massage Envy Spas in the Toledo, Ohio and Southeast Michigan regions provided free, one-hour massage therapy or facial sessions to veterans, current military personnel and their spouses who scheduled appointments for Veterans Day (November 11), while Massage Envy Spas in many other regions donated $10 for every one-hour massage or facial session provided to members and guests on that day to WWP. Additionally, Massage Envy Spa members and guests contributed to “fishbowl” in-spa donations, and many members donated one of their unused massage therapy sessions to WWP.
LevLane’s media relations and social media efforts resulted in a significant number of TV news and other media placements, prompting high numbers of Massage Envy Spa appointments made on Veterans Day, and resulting in large regional donations made to WWP.
For example, the Washington, D.C.-Maryland-Northern Virginia region, with 37 spas, raised a total of $55,972 for WWP. In addition, members donated 739 of their unused, prepaid massage sessions, with a retail value of $88,673, in order to provide a free massage to a veteran or service member, for a total donation value of $144,645. The 78 Massage Envy Spas located throughout Long Island, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Northern and Central New Jersey, Westchester County, New York and Connecticut raised a total of $39,805.40, for which a check presentation was made by Eugenia Tzoannopoulos, regional developer for Massage Envy Spas, to Danny Rodriguez, warrior outreach coordinator in Wounded Warrior Project’s New York City offices (see photo).
We are growing insensitive to online advertising, and recent studies reveal the challenge that advertisers face when planning and recommending online ads. According to conversion optimization company Invesp, the average Internet user is served 1,700+ banner ads per month but views only half of them. Of the ads viewed, 85% of those clicked came from a measly 8% of Internet users.
What does this mean? It means that, on average, only one in a thousand ads in a campaign is ever clicked. These seem like some scary numbers for advertisers, especially as they focus more and more on digital platforms and are forever seeking ways to make the most of a client’s budget. LevLane Media Manager Steve Lipenta shares his perspective on breaking through online without disturbing the peace:
Q: Does it worry you that consumers are becoming less perceptive of ads when searching the Internet?
SL: Consumers have become used to seeing ads where they expect them, and when they show up in a new place — creating a new roadblock for their experience — they get upset.
Q: From a media standpoint, how can we break this barrier in a considerate way, while still giving the client what they want?
SL: There’s a delicate balance to standing out without being too intrusive. It’s important to position your message in an engaging way, as opposed to just shouting offers at them.
Q: What would be your best advice to give in regards to placing ads on social media platforms such as Facebook?
SL: Know your audience and target smartly. Minimize waste where you can, and focus your efforts on the users most likely to want your product or services.
Q: How can we regain the consumers’ trust when advertising online?
SL: Try not to disrupt their experience too much. Thirty-second mid-roll ads in streaming will make them resentful. Brands have done a great job of using “bait-and-switch” ads that start out as though they are only thirty seconds and include a produced ‘fast-forward’ effect, reducing the spot to a :05 branding spot. Consumers will be grateful for the reduced disruption to their experience, and will be more likely to seek out your product.
Q: Is there one rule of thumb you live by working in media?
SL: How about three? Check your math, get everything in writing and don’t leave added value on the table.