Wednesday, March 25, 2009 

Baby Back Blues BBQ | Pulled Pork Label Design

HERE'S THE FIRST RETAIL PRODUCT FOR BABY BACK BLUES BBQ THAT I KNOCKED OUT (yay). To me, packaging design for retail is high consumer art, very competitive, very hard to do well. By well I mean: stand out on shelves, get folks to pick it up and put it into their shopping carts - period. I actually think the designs on cereal boxes are THE most researched, focus-group heavy, expensively-researched-before-they-hit-the-market products on shelves. Package design ALWAYS takes longer than most people realize (just getting to this point was probably 6 revisions, not including the logo). As BBB is also slowly introducing their brand for retail, there isn't an overwhelming demand to begin with. As such, the first-run labels will be done on color laser prints and affixed by hand onto the vac pack pulled pork units (not exactly cost effective for mass production). When/if the demand increases, the co-packer will have to figure out how to automate that part of production - but that's a good problem to have, right?

At some point, I'm going to add something relative to this label (and every product vying for retail shelf space), regarding the Universal Code Council or GS1 (the organization which issues barcode accounts), which is truly nothing short of a monopoly. FYI, they lost a class-action law suit a few years back, which turned out quite well for those of us who created an account with them before 2000 (can you say "grandfathered in?").

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Thursday, March 19, 2009 

Creedence Again | 5 Song Sampler

Just got this one done (for the most part). It has to be said that while using Chicago Recording Company for a video shoot is like killing a cockroach with an atom bomb, it does convey a certain image that's over and beyond what other tributes would ever do for their recordings. Truth is, unless folks weren't always bugging us for CDs at these shows, we would never bother messing with re-doing these classics - I mean, you're only going to suffer by comparison, right?

And so, although this video is far from perfect (we recorded & taped everything in 2 hours), I think it gets across the idea of our somewhat unique approach to a tribute band: we're a sort of tribute. In other words: Since we definitely don't look anything like the original guys in CCR - especially John Fogerty - why bother trying? As long as we do justice to those timeless classics (I think we do); as long as we're entertaining (we definitely are); as long as we sound good (and I know we do, especially Rich Perez's vocals), I'd like to think that's enough for any true CCR fan.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009 

The Ray Kroc of BBQ?

Well, looks like it's finally here: I've always wanted to be involved with a small business owner who was ready to franchise their model on a national level, and although the same rules apply for any genre, I guess I always thought it would be something food-related. More, I've always felt that, if a business owner has a few key things buttoned down: financials, training, minimum number of years in business, efficient operations, etc., it's not that big a deal to replicate it. And I never agreed with anyone who said that a business needed more than 1 - 2 units in operation to start a franchise, either. I mean, if it's a long-running proven winner, isn't that proof enough to start cranking out copies of the original?

And so, thanks to Ken Faught of Baby Back Blues BBQ, it looks like this train is finally leaving the station, and soon. I'm happy to report that, starting with the video I produced for his website (which he and everybody else loves), he likes my style & vision, and is entrusting me to "build the new car" around his already smooth-running engine. That includes: New logo (above left, this is the first time it's gone "live" anywhere), website, retail product design/packaging, t-shirts, training videos, a commercial, new menu, etc. In other words, everything a business needs to start franchising and attract franchisees.

Of course, it's WAY to early to project how big, how quickly he'll grow, or how successful he'll be with this. But, paying close attention to all the signs for Ken and his brand (how many companies get invited to put products on the shelves of the huge corporate chains before there's even a product in existence?!?!? How many businesses have people bugging them nearly every day about being a franchise owner? And on and on and on and ON), I'm wondering just how charmed Mr. F and his brand could turn out to be? I know I'll do my damndest to help him get there quickly, with a minimum of hiccups...

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009 

Have You Ever Seen The Rain | Creedence Again

Here's a condensed version of the CCR classic, taped last month at the legendary CRC (Chicago Recording Company). For the record, using CRC as a video shoot location is on the same level as using an atom bomb to kill a cockroach, but it's got a great look & staff, and we got a LOT done for a two-hour (total) session. Photos by Leigh Hanlon, and check out Rich Perez absolutely killing with his re-creation of the CCR-era John Fogerty.