Theme for 2021: Process

Resolutions are trash; themes are much better. 

Resolutions are inflexible and a year is a long time for a person to stay focused on a goal. I find that quarters are a much better time frame for goals. Annual themes save us from likely failure from having hard set goals. It also gives us the opportunity to modify the meaning of the theme as the year progresses. For example, Kevin in January is different and in a different situation from Kevin in July. (Imagine, if you will, something that could completely change a year for an entire planet.) Read about last year’s theme here.

2021s annual theme for myself and Adelsberger Marketing will be PROCESS. While reading Seth Godin’s new book, The Practice,  I came across this quote from Richmond sculptor Elizabeth King: “Process saves us from the poverty of our intentions.”



Having a set process for what we want to achieve can help us do our best work even on days or times when we may not feel like it. If you want to be a writer, it’s a good idea to write every day. You may not want to write every day. But making it part of your daily process can help with forcing yourself through the “writers block.” I did this one year without thinking much about it. I decided I was going to post a new photo on instagram every day for a year. There were a lot of days I didn’t want to do that. But forcing myself through the process of posting everyday helped me see more of the beauty around me. I was even able to see more opportunities for photography in the everyday world.


Process as a theme works itself out in a few different ways for us:

  1. Process in personal life.
  2. Process helps pursue the best.  
  3. Process allows growth and decentralization.


Because we are professionals, we have to show up. We have to show up every day. We have to do the work. Even when we don’t want to or feel lazy. Or when we are too busy. I want to implement more processes to save me from myself on days when I feel tired, lazy, or overbooked. Our intentions can waver. But if we craft our processes carefully, they will provide correction for our intentions.


One of the major ways this will play out for Adelsberger Marketing in 2021 is outlining the processes we already do in a documented format. This way, we can make sure we complete the steps each time. Process will not only save us from disinterest or laziness but also help us fight against forgetfulness.  Many of these processes will take the form of checklists. Checklists can be profoundly helpful for humans. In 2008, the WHO created a standard checklist for surgeries to help cut down on avoidable deaths from the operating room. Surgeons are some of our most educated citizens – who would think they needed a checklist to be better? But after these checklists were implemented, they saw a 40% drop in avoidable deaths and a 1/3 drop in complications. 


Process is not necessary because someone is not a quality person or team member. Process is necessary because we are humans. Humans are prone to error. Whether it be distraction, exhaustion, or disinterest, checklists can be course correcting. We will be pivoting more toward these to help improve our processes in order to deliver the best possible outcomes for our team and clients. 


When you have a standardized process, you can also work to improve that process. It is difficult to improve something that changes every single time. We have some processes but they are not detailed and completely repeatable.  Also, they are not fully communicated to the team. As we continue to grow as an agency, we need better defined processes that are fully communicated. Looking back, I have not always communicated processes well. This is a failure of my leadership but it is also one that is overcomable. The best time to start is now.


Free theme cell phone background here.

Client Spotlight: Mack Pest Control’s New Site

We are excited to announce the launch of the new website for Mack Pest Control.

Mack Pest Control is a local company steeped in history with three generations working in the business. When working with Mack Pest Control to help determine the best way to communicate their value proposition, we focused on their knowledge.

Mack keeps two entomologists on staff to create plans to prevent pest problems and deal with issues that other firms might miss. Two programs that they have that are unique are the Target Program and the Pest ID Program. With the Target Program, they examine your home or business and develop a plan that is preventative instead of reactive. The Pest ID Program allows people to submit a picture to help identify the bug that is bothering them!

Click below to see the entire Mack Pest Control site!

Mack Pest Control Site

Working with a Legacy Brand: Coca-Cola

Corinth Coke

There is something special about working with a legacy brand. A brand whose color and logo invoke a feeling in most everyone who sees it. A brand whose products have been consumed by almost every individual in the United States and in most every country in the world. Of course, we are talking about Coca-Cola. 

Coca-Cola in America is distributed by regional companies. In the Jackson, Tennessee and Northern Mississippi areas, that company is called Corinth Coca-Cola. We were excited to get a chance to submit a proposal for this project and honored to be selected to create this new home on the web for this great company. 

Corinth Coca-Cola has been in operation for over a hundred years and is owned by the same family that started it. That statement alone is filled with so much awesomeness that you could almost forget to talk about the wonder they were to work with. The family team behind Corinth Coca-Cola are committed to their company, their community, and their employees. They also were great customers (which any creative service company will tell you are things that are automatically connected.) 

One of the interesting aspects that surfaced during the brainstorm portion of this project was the unique audiences that Corinth Coke needs to speak with. Unlike most businesses we work with, there is an entire global culture built around Coke fandom. We needed to build in part of the website to service those fans. We also needed to feature their biggest community event in the Corinth Coke 10K and their museum.

It was an honor to work with such a classic brand and such a great family! 

2020 Theme- Margin

I have never believed in New Year’s Resolutions. I am not opposed to goals for oneself, in fact, due to my Best Self Journal, I do quarterly goals throughout the year. But a few years ago, listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Cortex, they talked about the concept of a yearly theme. Themes are not pass-fail activities like a resolution. They are ideas that help direct your choices throughout the year. One year that was particularly successful for me was a theme of “Infrastructure in the Business,” which timed up incredibly well to help me survive the introduction of multiple children into my life.

Here is a link to a podcast about the concept of yearly themes. 

My theme for 2020: Margin.

Margin is something that is needed in my life in a few different ways and I wanted to take a moment to break those out and encourage you to think about a theme for 2020.

Margin in:

Profit- For my business to go to the next level and to be the best place to work in West Tennessee, I will need more profit margin in my business. An increased profit margin will allow us to build more space between projects or allow us to spend more time on projects by adding team members or taking on less “small” projects. This should lead to a better team experience. Additionally, in seeking to do awesome things like the Ramsey Solutions Christmas activities (massive party and $1,000 shopping spree for employees at the shopping mall), a healthy profit is required. To be the company I want us to be, we need to not only be profitable (which we have been), but we need to be more profitable than we have been.

Time- I regularly pack a lot into days. I do not think this is going to change, but how I pack things into days will probably change. Besides being more present in whatever task I am involved in at the time, I need to create a margin. Margin in my time will allow me to spend more time with my family and it not be detrimental to my work. And when needed, spend more time with my work and it not be detrimental to my family. To accomplish this I will need to seek efficiencies and extra help in my business over the year, which will likely be attached to part one of this theme.

Mental Space– I am listening/reading/watching, things basically from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. I want to seek more mental space in my daily life. This may mean less time on Twitter (how I love the Tweets) or choosing to not turn on the news in the car, or listening to music instead of a podcast, or not listening to anything at all. In addition to this, I need more mental space to work ON my business instead of just IN my business. The last year has been so crazy personally and professionally that not much time was spent working on things but rather instead working in them. Finding time to be still or just less distracted will be good for this year.

Waistline- And to round out all the areas of my life touched by this theme is my health. I need more margin in my waistline. Are there goals I would like to meet? Yes. But in general, I would like to lose some weight and get healthier. I also want to be better at moderation. I am an “all on” or “all off” kind of healthy eater and want to get some margin in my weight so that I can find balance.

So margin is the theme. Over the course of 2020, I will be working on building more margin. One of the nice things about themes is that it can change over the course of the year. Kevin today might not value the same exact things as Kevin in July. Even with that being the case, I think margin will still be important.

Here is to a great 2020.

Client Spotlight: United Way 2019

One of my favorite parts of my job is helping people tell their stories. This year the United Way of West Tennessee‘s First Ladies Luncheon chose to focus on a story from an organization they support – The Scarlet Rope Project. Tiffany was kind enough to share with us her story of survival and the life-giving work of Scarlet Rope.

We also worked with the United Way to create a promo to help let men know they were invited to the First Ladies Luncheon. This was a fairly organic project. It evolved as we shot it with board members and the fantastic Becky Fly, who was a great sport about the whole thing!


BTS: Jackson Chamber goes INTO the movies

Have you ever bitten off more than you can chew? When the first few pitches for the 2019 Jackson Chamber Annual Celebration video were left on the cutting room floor, one day remained. Being the genius I am, I suggested that we put the Chamber staff into old movies that revolved around the event’s nautical theme. Below I am going to do a breakdown of the process behind pulling this video off (this was a bit of a step up in difficulty over last year’s hit Carpool Karaoke).

1. Plan plan plan. We spent several hours planning out the video. This was key because we needed to find the right videos. It would not be as easy as selecting any scene from any nautical themed video, we needed certain scenes. What we discovered was that after a certain year of movies, the camera motion had gotten so loose, that it would be difficult to “green screen” people into movies. This limited our selection greatly and we were able to come up with just one scene more than was actually used in the project.

After we selected the scenes and received approval from the Jackson Chamber, we then went to work doing a scene breakdown. Each breakdown involved light placements, sound design, camera angles, costumes, props, dialogue, and scripting. Brittany Crockett on our team did a fantastic job of sourcing much of our costume work and props. She also worked with the Chamber staff on their dialogue.

2. Having the Right Equipment. To pull off this level of green screen project well, it took a lot of lighting and the appropriate green screens in addition to decent cameras and a space to work in. We even bought chroma green duct tape for the project!

3. Details, details, details. On the shoot days, we needed to be sure we got as close as we could to match the movement of the character in the scene, the camera angle, and the lighting. Though we had covered much of this in preproduction, it is another thing to make it work with actors on set. The Jackson Chamber staff were great sports during the entire process and we all had a good time. Particularly humorous was the Free Willy jump scene where Brittany got to spray me and Hannah with a hose while I moved an inflated whale with a broomstick taped to its back over Hannah’s head.

4. Time and After Effects. After the filming was done, the remainder of the work fell to team member Ricky Santos who spent a large amount of time in After Effects keying, scaling, content-aware filling the Chamber staff into these old movies.

During all of this process, we also managed to get some Behind the Scenes shots and with the help of Greg Hammond’s AV class at South Side High school, this BTS video was made:

We also helped the Chamber with some display graphics for the event to help take things to the next level:

Here is the full Annual Celebration Video:

I guess a hotdog is a sandwich?

As Will Farrell as Harry Carry made us all aware: Hotdogs are items of deep mystery. If you were a hotdog, would you eat yourself? Is a hotdog a sandwich?

I want to tip my hat to Oscar-Mayer . Here’s a shoutout for a very clever marketing idea. On National Sandwich Day, Oscar-Mayer launched a (sadly) 24-hour hotline for people to call to talk about whether hotdogs were sandwiches or not.

People got a little heated and even other brands got involved. Jimmy Johns took up for sandwiches. In general it was a very fun promo, some folks had strong feelings about the issue:

How often does a brand stir controversy while keeping it family friendly and not a PR disaster? Almost never. They got people talking about their product and brand in a fun way and no harm was done. I think the part that made it really work was the inclusion of the “hotline.” A low cost but brilliant solution to help give people some fun way to engage!


Behind the Scenes at the Haunted Farm

Medina Haunted Farm

Things get a little spooky at Medina this time of year at the farm in Medina. This community event is created by the Medina Lions Club and has been going on for 40 years. Since it is run by a civic group, all the scarers are volunteers and all the funds go to support local charities. We did a number of things for this project but the primary piece was the video.

Shooting a video at a farm and in the woods in the dark away from electricity was a bit of a challenge. Luckily, we have invested in the Sony A7SII line of cameras that are renowned for there excellent low light capability. We also brought several battery-powered lights with us for the shoot. The ‘hero’ image of Pennywise walking through the forest was achieved with a battery-powered 120D and two Dracast LED panels and a fog machine. (The most unnerving thing of the whole night was that Pennywise didn’t break character even when we were shooting this scene.)

The scarers were all super great about being filmed and did a great job of working with us. While the production was tricky, everything was taken to the next level in editing. Editing to music helped make the scary footage even more terrifying.

This video had amazing organic results! With over 100 shares and 15,000 views in the first couple of days, it spoke to a few things:

1. The Community is invested in this project. It takes lots of folks from lots of different groups of people to put this on, which connects the project with lots of different tribes around the area. It is also entering its 40th year so that leaves a legacy to connect to.

2. This is the first year they have promoted the farm in this way. There is a novelty to this video. People seemed to really enjoy that.

3. The production value of the video made people excited about the farm. If we had shot this on a cell phone, people would not have been as interested in the content. The high production value makes it worth watching!

So without further ado, here is the video:

Medina Haunted Farm 2018 from Kevin Adelsberger on Vimeo.

Not Sorry, Reese’s Halloween Win!

Reese's Candy Converter

Reese’s Cups, as we all know, are the greatest candy made! Their marketing team came up with a great idea this past Halloween. During a season where they probably sell some of their highest amounts of product, they were not inclined to sit on the sideline. They introduced the Reese’s Candy Converter.

The Reese’s Candy Converter was stationed in NYC and was loaded with 10,000 Reese’s Cups. Children (and probably several adults) were able to bring there “junk” candy to and exchange it for Reese’s Cups.

The free press generated on this is huge – with over 5K shares generated on their twitter account alone. This helped bring Reese’s to the mind of lots of people on the internet if they weren’t already thinking about getting Reese’s on Halloween.

They also positioned themselves as THE candy to have at Halloween. Usually, I feel like arrogant claims of superiority are bad for a brand, but when they come in such a fun way, it is hard to argue with!

The novelty of the idea and the expert execution of the concept made for a viral social media darling that is becoming more and more rare. My only question is, where did all of the traded-in candy go?

Client Spotlight – JCVB Video

JCVB Tourism Video

Video projects are pretty varied. Sometimes you show up with a little idea of what you want to shoot and allow the location and subject matter to direct you. Sometimes, however, you have to plan every shot out ahead of time. This was one of those times. With Paige from the Jackson Convention and Visitors Bureau, we planned out every shot of this video. Part of the reason this was so important was the goal. We used motion tracking to display statistics in places all over the Jackson area.

This meant going to several locations and filming very specific shots. Then, we combined them with music to give them a unified feel. Using the motion tracking abilities of Adobe After Effects, we were able to insert the explanatory text and numbers into the different scenes. We also used ‘practical effects’ (noncomputer generated effects) and incorporated numbers that were already in use at locations when we could.

Three great examples of this:
1. At the Old Country Store, we used the practical effect of shaped mashed potatoes (Sculpted by JXNTNWKND Host Paige Keith) in combination with digital effects to leave words on the table.2. At ComeUnity Cafe, we used the practical effect of a hand-lettered (Hand lettered by Renae Adelsberger) number with a digitally placed explanation for clarity. This was done to match the style of the menu used by Comeunity Cafe.3. At Rusty’s TV and Movie Car Museum, we were able to use the existing number of the General Lee to illustrate a point with digital words next to it.

It was also fun using real music for a video! Most of the time, we use stock audio. That can be bland sometimes. LoLo, a local Jackson artist, allowed us to use her song “No Time for Lonely” for this video. Using that song added a great beat and excitement to the video!

Here is the video:

Visit Jackson Tourism Stats Video from Kevin Adelsberger on Vimeo.