PepperMill January 2017

Tim’s Spinnin’ Books

We need to kick off the new year right—with inspiration from a fresh round of Bookshelf Roulette.

Longtime readers are familiar with the game. I challenge myself to pick some random books off the shelf and within 60 seconds of opening each book, I find a passage to share with you.

So, here goes…

“I start every talk, article and chapter on shame with the Shame 1-2-3s, or the first three things that you need to know about shame, so you’ll keep listening:

  1. We all have it. Shame is universal and one of the most primitive human emotions that we experience. The only people who don’t experience shame lack the capacity for empathy and human connection. Here’s your choice: Fess up to experiencing shame or admit that you’re a sociopath. Quick note: This is the only time that shame seems like a good option.
  2. We’re all afraid to talk about shame.
  3. The less we talk about shame, the more control it has over our lives.”

     Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

“When a woman innocently shares upset feelings or explores out loud the problems of her day, a man mistakenly assumes she is looking for some expert advice. He puts on his Mr. Fix-It hat and begins giving advice; this is his way of showing love and of trying to help.

“He wants to help her feel better by solving her problems. He wants to be useful to her. He feels he can be valued and thus worthy of her love when his abilities are used to solve her problems.

“He has no idea that by just listening with empathy and interest he can be supportive. He does not know that on Venus talking about problems is not an invitation to offer a solution.”

     Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray, Ph.D.

“It (baseball) is the best game because the players look like us. They are not seven feet tall, they don’t weigh 350 pounds, and they don’t bench-press 650.”

     Is This a Great Game, or What? by Tim Kurkjian

The holidays usually bring a good book or two. Anything you’d like to share?

Tim Padgett

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”
—Will Rogers

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
—Oprah Winfrey


Through the Eyes of a Rookie: Face-to-Face with Grace

“Trust me, I basically fit every millennial stereotype.” I usually speak those words once I’ve made a claim about my generation. Unfortunately, a common misconception is that we are selfish, a.k.a., the “selfie” generation. Though there is some truth to those words, my hope is that I can help you see who we really are and what we are really seeking—authentic relationship.

At Pepper Group, one of the greatest practical and strategic core values we have is Face-to-Face with Grace. The gist of this value is attempting to have crucial conversations in person before picking up a phone or sending off another email. Sharing the inflection of voice, matched with sincerity of the eyes is the key.

Luckily for me, this fills one of my cravings. I don’t think it’s solely a millennial trait either, but one that’s common to all humans. We all desire human contact and interaction—ultimately in hopes of authentic relationship. Pepper Group takes this longing for connection and has found a way to manage and leverage it. Face-to-face with grace not only benefits us as a company, but personally as well.

Dr. Brené Brown says that human connection is defined as “the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.”

If companies are willing to capture the essence of authentic relationship and human connection within the workplace, not only will millennials come and stay, but every person will be connected, inspired and engaged. 

Corey Garrity

Pepper Group Wins Two Davey Awards

At Pepper Group, we appreciate our great clients who give us the freedom to solve marketing challenges from a fresh perspective.

Recently, The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts announced that we received two 2016 Davey Awards. We are honored to have won Gold and Silver awards for our video work for Omron and Swift Prepaid Solutions. We thank both of these clients for letting us create exceptional work that stands out, and for trusting our expertise to move people in fresh directions.

Gold Winner
Omron for Online Film/Video in Online Film/Video—Information
Omron Sales Recruitment Video

Silver Winner
Swift Prepaid Solutions for Online Film/Video in Specialty Categories—Animation
Swift Overview Video

The Davey Awards program is an international creative award focused exclusively on honoring outstanding creative work from the best small agencies worldwide. The 2016 Davey Awards received nearly 4,000 entries from ad agencies, interactive agencies, production firms, in-house creative professionals, graphic designers, design firms and public relations firms. A mere 10% were awarded Gold status.

The contest takes its name from the biblical story of David and Goliath. David defeated the mighty Goliath with a big idea and a little rock. That is the sort of thing small agencies do every day. The Davey Awards honor the achievement of  “creative Davids” whose strength comes from ideas, intelligence and out-of-the-box thinking, not a “giant’s” bankroll. The Daveys level the playing field so entrants compete with only their peers and can win the recognition they deserve.

Congratulations to Omron and Swift, and visit for a complete list of winners.

Novelty Multiplier #4 – Snapchat Filters

This November, Edlong Dairy Technologies returned to the Chicago Section IFT Annual Suppliers’ Night. The company wanted to take advantage of its location at the show by engaging directly with millennials, who are becoming big influencers in the food and beverage industry.

We knew our target audience and objective, but how could we ensure the right people, in the right place, would actively engage with Edlong’s brand? Collaboratively, we found that designing a custom Snapchat filter and tying it into a contest would draw the best results—and the best selfies.

The idea was simple. Snapchat selfie + live tweeting = potential selfie stick winner. We developed the Twitter hashtag #edlongsaycheese, which connected the brand name to the contest theme. Next, we designed concepts for the Snapchat filter. Using Snapchat’s templates and guidelines, we created a location-specific filter that included the trade show name and booth number.

To raise awareness about the filter at the show, we created a tabletop sign for the Snapchat filter, and a handout describing the contest, steps for using the filter and submitting photos, and fun facts about Edlong.

All said and done, the selfie contest was a great way for Edlong to test its first Snapchat filter and increase engagement with millennials. With 1,148,710 square feet of coverage, their filter captured 656 views, 22 cow-ear selfies and lots of smiles.

George Couris


Blazing Forward

A shark swims past your kitchen. Manatees and whales dive by your bed. Anything’s possible when your home is a JetCapsule 2.0, a futuristic floating pod that bills itself as a UFO.

That’s “Unidentified Floating Object.” The fiberglass JetCapsule features a full kitchen, panoramic views, up to four bedrooms, a spacious deck and even a hot tub. It’s powered by an electric motor, but you can also choose optional wind and water turbines for extra power. Need an armored version with bulletproof glass, night vision and a battering ram? Or a party version with giant roof-mounted subwoofers to entertain clients? Customized configurations are available.

Taking the plunge is fairly reasonable, compared to what you might pay to live on land. Prices are expected to start at $200,000.

Sharla Davis