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May 27, 2015

Marketsmith, Inc. and Brushfire Inc. Grow Into Data-Driven Creative Powerhouse Under New Marketplace Umbrella

Marketsmith, Inc. CEO Monica C. Smith is a force to be reckoned with. For her, being the leader in data-driven direct marketing strategy and analytics was not enough. She also wanted to be the leader in using data to reach and engage customers across all channels in today’s increasingly digital, fast moving, overcrowded environment.

The acquisition of award-winning advertising and PR agency Brushfire, Inc. earlier this year was the first step towards fulfilling her goal. Since January, the two agencies, along with leading programmatic media measurement and optimization platform, i.Predictus, have been working together under the same roof, leveraging Marketsmith’s powerful data-based capabilities and building tremendous momentum under the umbrella, “The Marketplace.”

To better create synergies and ensure the two teams are strategically and technologically aligned, Jill Draper has been named President of both Marketsmith and Brushfire.

“As technology continues to change how consumers interact with brands,” said Smith, “our agencies also need to evolve. Jill has been an invaluable factor in the success of Marketsmith, and I expect that she will bring the same deep knowledge, insight and experience to the future of Brushfire.”

Draper joined Marketsmith as President in 2013, after her career took her from senior leadership positions at such agencies as Y&R and McCann Erickson to EVP, Managing Director at DVC Worldwide and its subsequent incarnations as Aspen Marketing and Epsilon. She was integral to Marketsmith’s acquisition of Brushfire, the creation of The Marketplace concept, and the company’s strategy for future growth.

Evidence of this strategy is The Marketplace’s hiring of general advertising, direct response and healthcare marketing veteran, Mark Drossman as EVP, Executive Creative Director.

Drossman’s primary focus will be to develop a distinctive voice and positioning for The Marketplace, the pursuit of thought leadership opportunities, new business acquisition, and the formation of a creative S.W.A.T. team to help Marketsmith clients who need top quality creative solutions with great cost-efficiency and fast turnaround. Drossman has worked as a copywriter and creative director at a number of New York’s top agencies including OgilvyOne worldwide, where for over a decade, he co-led a group responsible for the acquisition and retention creative across all channels –including DRTV – for all American Express cards and OPEN, Time Warner Cable, and DHL, among other accounts. He later co-founded an innovative multichannel consumer healthcare agency in NYC and Cambridge, Massachusetts dedicated to increasing engagement between pharmaceutical companies and patients by infusing new thinking into the marketing mix.

Added Smith, “At our companies, we constantly obsess about innovating in the omnichannel space and we look for people who share the same entrepreneurial drive. People with a big heart and strong spine. Mark brings all that as well as a history of success across all categories and disciplines. He’s the ideal choice to help us connect the dots.”

About The Marketplace

The Marketplace is at the intersection of powerful, fact-based data, game-changing insights and breakthrough creative. It’s where three proven industry leading organizations – all built on a foundation of innovation and the pursuit of excellence – live, work and collaborate together under one roof: strategic marketing firm Marketsmith, Inc.; award-winning creative agency, Brushfire Inc.; and groundbreaking programmatic media measurement and optimization platform, i.Predictus.

January 14, 2015

Marketsmith, Inc. Acquires Brushfire, Inc.

Leading New Jersey Agency Expands Marketing and Creative Capabilities

Parsippany, January 14, 2015 – Marketsmith, Inc., a leading direct response marketing firm honored with the 2014 Business of the Year Award by NJ BIZ, ranked #10 on Crain’s New York’s 2014 Fast 50 List and #135 on the Inc. 500 2014 List, has announced the acquisition of 48 year old marketing communications agency Brushfire, Inc., which will continue to operate under that name. These two prominent New Jersey firms will offer clients marketing services including analytic and creative capabilities.

Brushfire, an established integrated marketing communications agency founded in 1966, has extensive experience in advertising, public relations, social media and experiential marketing, digital, interactive and in-store merchandising. Current and former clients include the New Jersey Lottery, The New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, Minwax®, Thompson’s® WaterSeal®, Subaru, Gorilla Glue® and Remington™ among others. They are a member of Worldwide Partners, the largest global network of independent agencies with members in 89 countries and across the USA.

Marketsmith, founded in 1999 by Monica C. Smith, has created successful campaigns for such clients as Euro-Pro, Garret Wade, Tumi™, Philosophy®, MOMA and Ralph Lauren® among others. The company owes its growth to an innovative approach to executing data-driven marketing strategies that maximizes ROI for clients and fosters consumer engagement. Their groundbreaking work earned them New Jersey Technology Council’s 2014 Impact Company of the Year Award. Ms. Smith, who has been influential as a champion of data driven marketing, also launched and runs i.Predictus, an advertising analytics platform.

Ms. Smith and Marketsmith President Jill Draper consider the acquisition of Brushfire a landmark event for the firm and a key element in future growth. Ms. Smith said, “Brushfire has been considered one of New Jersey’s leading agencies since I first entered the business, so I am honored to invest in such an iconic marketing brand. We want to bring a fresh perspective and an innovative spirit to the firm and help it achieve national growth. Brushfire’s capabilities are a perfect fit with our expertise and philosophy, allowing us to take an even wider view of client needs and helping them accomplish all of their goals.”

Brushfire president Joan Mueller, who will continue in that role, cites Marketsmith’s innovative style as a key advantage. Ms. Mueller said “The investment of Marketsmith into our organization will drive our business forward. We’re inspired by the opportunity to collaborate with the Marketsmith team to devise innovative solutions that grow our clients’ businesses. Monica has been a trail blazer in her field, and we’re looking forward to benefitting from her leadership and influence on our business.”

About Marketsmith

Honored by NJ BIZ with the 2014 Business of the Year Award, ranked #10 on Crain’s New York’s 2014 Fast 50 List and #135 on the Inc. 500 2014 List, Marketsmith, Inc. is a strategic direct response marketing firm with an innovative approach to executing data-driven strategies that maximize ROI and foster consumer engagement. Marketsmith partners with its clients to create the powerful intersection of fact-based data and humanity to propel both business and community.

Responsible for over $200 million dollars of media spend per year across TV, radio, print, digital and direct response and driving over $1.5 billion dollars annually at retail. Marketsmith has successfully launched and managed initiatives for both large and small brands, across multiple industries. Under the leadership of Founder/Chairwoman Monica C. Smith the firm has been recognized as the 5th Fastest-Growing Women-Led Business on the Inc. 500, along with receiving the New Jersey Technology Council’s 2014 Impact Company of the Year Award.

September 22, 2014

So you want to open a pop-up?

(PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

New Jersey residents who frequent Manhattan may remember two successful pop-up stores a few years ago for the Division of Travel and Tourism.

Created by the marketing agency Brushfire Inc. in Cedar Knolls, “The Jersey Shore Store” in Union Square and “Fall for New Jersey” on the Upper West Side brought in more than 15,000 visitors and reached entirely new demographics for potential Jersey tourists.

Brushfire’s pop-up spaces — which featured Jersey representations such as a penguin from Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, fall produce from local farms and an award-winning sand sculptor’s storefront masterpiece — were such big successes that the agency kept getting calls from out-of-state to create more.

“We are big believers in the pop-up concept and continue to recommend it under the appropriate circumstances,” said Valeria Warner, the firm’s senior vice president.

The problem: It isn’t for everyone.

Here are some things to consider before you “pop:”

  • Affordability: While the cost of rent is usually lower and there is only short-term risk involved, Warner warns it’s still not cheap. “There’s a lot associated with it — design, security, staff, toilet paper — you become the retailer overnight. So with a punch list of a billion things to worry about, most people hire a firm.”
  • Sales strategy: A pop-up store can not only encourage on-the-spot purchases. That’s also a way to avoid operating costs during slower months if your business can afford to reap only the benefits of the busiest months. But if you want a lot of sales or publicity, Warner said, you’ll need a location with plenty of foot traffic — which can increase the cost of the space.
  • Risk: A pop-up store can give a business the opportunity to try new ideas and products. “It gives people a chance to experience the concept that you’re selling without an upfront investment,” Warner said. “If you’re a restaurant, you can get reviews and a following. If you’re a designer, you can try out a new direction. If you’re a website, a pop-up store can bring it into brick-and-mortar and face-to-face with your customers.”

April 9, 2014

Brushfire Tapped To Relaunch Remington Men's Brand

Remington hired Brushfire as agency of record to launch its revamped men's shaving and grooming line and increase brand awareness for the Remington Men's brand. Brushfire is the first agency to work on the Remington Men's brand in more than five years. The agency will handle advertising, marketing, public relations, digital, cause-related, and social media services. "Remington has literally gone back to the drawing board to redesign and revamp its men's lines, and the resulting technology is beyond impressive," said Joan Mueller, president of Brushfire. "We're privileged to have the opportunity to partner with Remington to reintroduce the products and the legendary Remington Men's brand to consumers in new, creative ways."

March 8, 2014

Minwax Gooses Gen Y's DIY Destiny

With America’s DIY drive back in full throttle, Minwax is introducing a TV campaign themed “We did that!” And it's meant to remind committed crafters of the pride that comes from a just-finished project as well as to nudge the next generation of consumers toward the woodworking aisle.

“Younger consumers may not yet have the need to take on a DIY project based on their life stage -- whether they own a house or not, married or not,” Julie Brock, senior product manager, tells Marketing Daily. But “Gen Y is on social media and sharing all they are doing -- it can be cooking and posting their recipes. So wood-finishing projects are a next step to what they are already doing.” Blogs and Pinterest are important sources of inspiration, she says.

The new campaign, from Brushfire Inc., is intended to help them jump from just thinking about a project to actually putting their sanding goggles on. It contains two 15-second spots, shot by Todd Bellanca of Lost Highway Films. One focuses on a man and the other on a woman, but in each, the main character can’t help showing off their handiwork to anyone who will listen. There’s also a short video, which it will use on social media, focusing on how a mother and daughter share that pride and accomplishment.

The campaign, which Brock says targets men and women equally, is built around TV. “Consumers watching DIY Network, HGTV and even Extreme Home Makeover gain education and knowledge, which builds confidence,” she says. In addition to running on late night on NBC and CBS and such cable networks as HGTV, DIY, ESPN, A&E and MLB, it also includes print, set to appear in Real Simple, Country Living, HGTV Magazine and This Old House.

Consumer interest is running high, thanks to the newly buoyant real estate market. Minwax parent Sherwin Williams, based in Cleveland, posted record sales in its most recent quarterly results. And the Home Depot just reported its best sales growth in 14 years.

Minwax is a 110-year-old brand. “To continue to grow,” Brock says, “the brand must try to expand our market the beyond our current user base, by connecting with DIYers who may not have thought about trying wood finishing on their own.”

Watch these commercials below.
Minwax® TV Spot - "I Did That -- Nicolle"
Minwax® TV Spot - "I Did That -- Brian"

September 26, 2013

Just Our Cup of Tea: Bromley Tea Names Brushfire Agency of Record

Brushfire Inc., a full-service marketing communications firm, has been chosen by The Eastern Tea Corporation as agency of record for their flagship Bromley Tea brand. Brushfire will handle research, brand development, advertising and PR for Bromley, which introduced the first decaffeinated tea in the United States and now features a full line of tea offerings including black, green, organic and flavored teas.

“We chose Brushfire because we were impressed with the work they had done for other food and consumer packaged goods marketers, their understanding of the tea and beverage categories, and their grasp of the overall consumer and retail space,” said Ira Barbakoff, VP of Eastern Tea Corporation. “Brushfire gives our brand the experience and talent we want without having to look across the river.”

“As tea lovers, it took just one sip to realize that we have, in Bromley Tea, a true challenger brand,” added Joan Mueller, President of Brushfire. “And the timing is right: the highly competitive tea category is experiencing record growth, so we’re excited to partner with this innovative, high quality brand.”

Headquartered in Monroe Township, New Jersey, The Eastern Tea Corporation was founded in 1981 with the introduction of Bromley Tea’s naturally decaffeinated tea – the first in the nation. Bromley Tea continues to grow, featuring classic teas such as Green Tea, Decaffeinated Green Tea, Organic Pure Black Tea, and Golden Chamomile. The company’s newest line of exotic teas from around the world include well-known teas such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast, as well as flavored teas ranging from Passion Fruit Green Tea to Sun Sweetened Raspberry to Cool Mountain Mint. For the full line of Bromley Teas, recipes for cooking with tea, and tips for brewing the perfect cup of tea, visit www.bromleytea.com.

Brushfire, Inc. is a fully integrated marketing communications firm, delivering advertising, public relations, promotional marketing, media and interactive capabilities to both national and regional clients. Brushfire has been recognized with many prestigious industry awards including numerous Telly Awards, the premier award honoring the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs; and the Silver Anvil, the public relations industry’s highest award. The agency has also been named NJ Biz of the Year. Brushfire is agency of record for leading clients in government, industry and consumer packaged goods.

June 7, 2013

Brushfire, Inc. Wins Three First Place Trophies at NJ Ad Club’s 2013 Jersey Awards

At the 45th Annual Jersey Awards, where the New Jersey Advertising Club recognizes outstanding advertising agencies and campaigns, Brushfire, Inc. took home nine awards, including three First Place trophies, four Second Place awards, and two Certificates of Merit. First Place prizes included two for NJ Lottery – Powerball, Full-Page Newspaper Ad Spread and Green Ball “Things to Think About 1” Radio :30 or less – and one for NJ Tourism: Trade Magazine campaign for “Now That’s New Jersey.”

Second Place prizes include three awards for NJ Lottery: Radio :30 or less for “Things to Think About 2,” TV Campaign for “Dream. Play. Win,” and TV :30 or less for NJ Lottery Powerball “Game Changer.” Brushfire received another Second Place award for NJ Motor Vehicle Commission for “Share the Road” in the TV :30 category. The agency also received two Certificates of Merit for NJ Lottery – TV :30 or less for “Winter Moneyland” and Radio :30 for “Try Try Try.”

The NJ Ad Club Awards topped off a busy month for Brushfire on the awards circuit: just days earlier, the agency scored two Telly Awards, which honor the finest film and video productions, web commercials, videos, and films. Brushfire’s two latest Telly Awards include a Bronze Telly each for two NJ Lottery TV spots: the "Dream Play Win" TV campaign, consisting of three 30-second spots, and "Game Changer," a 30-second TV spot.

Brushfire Inc. is a fully integrated marketing communications firm, delivering advertising, public relations, promotional marketing, media and interactive capabilities to both national and regional clients. Brushfire has been recognized with many prestigious industry awards including numerous Telly Awards and the Silver Anvil, the public relations industry’s highest award. The agency has also been named NJ Biz of the Year. Brushfire is agency of record for leading clients in government, industry and consumer packaged goods.

February 15, 2012

Xenon Introduces "Game Changer," The New $2 Powerball, To New Jersey

The new Powerball can change your entire world.

| SHOOT Publicity Wire | --- Who amongst us hasn't fantasized about a big Powerball win? Xenon, the New York-based commercial production company, has created a trio of spots – the :30 "Game Changer" and two :15s, "Cash Cow" and "Eye Popping," developed through Brushfire, Inc. (Cedar Knolls, NJ and New York, NY), designed to introduce the new $2 Powerball to New Jersey. The three spots debuted January 16th on all cable systems across New Jersey as well as CBS stations in the New York and Philadelphia markets.

"The new Powerball can change your entire world" the spots intone. Created primarily of computer-generated images, the commercials focus on a red Powerball which transforms into a variety of objects including a spinning globe, a sparkling jewel, couples frolicking in a hot tub, and a revving tachometer. Your wildest dreams – yachts, cars, jewels - could come true if you "play the new $2 dollar Powerball from the N.J. Lottery and give your dreams a chance."

Director/Creative Director Michael Wiehart, who has extensive experience in live-action and all forms of animation, explained: "We did not want to be tied to one technique or one execution but to find the best, most effective approach to tell our story. We initially thought we would use more live-action but, as it turned out, the best solution was CG. Ultimately we had the objects, the scenes and the transitions tell the story."

Wiehart initially created all the images for the storyboards and style boards in CGI and then did motion tests and style frames to determine what would be live-action and what would be CG before planning the shoot and beginning production. "I tried to synchronize the lighting of the CGI and the live-action to create one coherent look. The CG blends nicely with the live-action and doesn't scream CGI," he continued.

Brushfire Senior Vice President/Creative Director Ken Musto says of his collaboration with Xenon: "What we wanted to do creatively was produce a lottery commercial that was different. Most all lottery spots are situational comedies – all humor. We bid this project to a number of production companies and looking at Michael's reel we were sure he could make this into something great, something magical. He had the imagination, the genius and 'got it' right away. It was like he was reading our minds. He and Executive Producer Doug Robbins were awesome to work with."

Doug Robbins added: "It was a perfect partnership of creative energy and trust on every level. The Lottery had worked with Brushfire and trusted them absolutely. Brushfire, who I have worked with for many years, trusted Xenon. From the moment the project was presented as a bidding opportunity Michael felt it was his. He understood it, and embraced it, and put forward a presentation and interpretation that sparked the energy and excitement of the agency. Right from the beginning we were a team that was in sync. Every step of the way there was an unquestioned trust that gave us the freedom to work within the parameters that we had all discussed and identified at the outset and the final delivery was a home run."

To execute his vision, Wiehart worked closely with the artists at The Napoleon Group (New York, NY) who built the animation. "We had a short turnaround after the shoot and Napoleon created a smart production pipeline to create an infinite number of jackpot amounts to be inserted into future ads, and to get the offline, online, transfer, music and sound design and audio mix done in a timely fashion."

In addition to Michael Wiehart and Doug Robbins, the Xenon creative team included Postproduction Producer Angela Gianforcaro, Live-Action Producer Jennifer Pearlman, and 3D Supervisors Perry Morton and Ken Kresge.

Representing Brushfire, Inc. were Senior Vice President/Creative Director/Copywriter Ken Musto, Senior Art Director Izzy Franco and Producer Liz Pollard.

For The Napoleon Group (New York, NY) Derrick Yuen was responsible for the compositing, online and offline editing and color correction and Ron DiCesare provided the sound design, audio recording and final mix. The spots are underscored with stock music.

Brushfire also created radio, billboards, bus advertising, rich media banners, newspaper ads and in-store materials which support the television campaign and carry out the campaign theme.

January 16, 2012

New Powerball commercial from Brushfire is a Game Changing for New Jersey Lottery

Game Changer, a new ad introducing New Jersey’s first $2 Powerball game, is just that: a classy new approach that leaves the sitcom sensibility in the dust.  The ad, which debuts January 16th in 15- and 30-second versions, marks the first time that a Lottery commercial is composed almost entirely of compelling computer-generated imaging.

Created by Brushfire with Xenon Productions graphics, the ad focuses entirely on the Powerball itself, which is magically transformed into the iconic dreams of the winners-to-be — from a spinning globe to a glittering gem to a roaring tachometer ready to whisk the winner off to a new life of luxury.

Three spots were prepared to run on all cable systems across New Jersey as well as CBS stations in New York and Philadelphia markets. Radio, billboards, bus advertising, rich media banners, newspaper ads and in-store materials carry out the theme.

Brushfire Creative Director Ken Musto says he felt it was time to set a new tone for Lottery commercials, getting away from the usual crazy stunts and talking animals. “Both techniques are entertaining, but we think Game Changer is more visually engaging – it’s clean and modern and makes you feel good, and strategically it makes the Powerball itself the real focus of attention. It’s designed to make consumers aware that Powerball is changing for the better, and to make them excited about playing.”

Click here to view the 30-second spot and a 15-second spot.

Brushfire Inc. is a fully integrated marketing communications firm with offices in Cedar Knolls, NJ and New York City, delivering advertising, public relations, promotional marketing, media and interactive capabilities to both national and regional clients. Brushfire is the agency of record for Minwax®, Thompson’s® WaterSeal, New Jersey Division of Travel & Tourism, New Jersey Lottery, Subaru of America, and Kozy Shack® Enterprises, among others.

Case Studies

Because we’ve been in business for over 40 years, we’ve seen a lot of client challenges. And with our help, we’ve seen lot of client successes. While the details are all specific to each client, we’ve seen some major themes emerge for companies in the categories in which we work, including home improvement, appliances, housewares, travel, entertainment, and CPG. So we’ve tailored our offerings to ensure that if we see these problems, we’ll know how to solve them — better than anyone else.

Capabilities and Approach

  • Brand Development and Strategic Planning
  • Research Development and Oversight
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Social Media Management
  • Media Planning and Buying
  • Interactive Services
  • Direct Marketing
  • Corporate Communications
  • Custom Publishing
  • Business to Business
  • Trade Show and Event Marketing
  • In-House Promotional Management

That’s a pretty extensive list. But it doesn’t mean a thing unless you have the experience to bring together and manage these various capabilities in a fashion that provides the most balanced and effective program for clients, which we do.

That begins with our approach.

We are integrated, “tactically neutral,” and provide unbiased counsel to our clients.

We immerse ourselves in your business and apply strategic thinking rigorously and methodically.

We start by learning about and obsessing over your brand. We look to uncover that one special insight — that singular nugget of information—that will allow us to create ideas that resonate deeply with consumers. Our strategic account team provides a variety of methods to uncover these insights:

  • Analysis of existing research and brand background information
  • Creation and analysis of qualitative research studies
  • Creation and analysis of quantitative research studies
  • Consistent use of Brushfire's proprietary National Research Panel comprising 250+ men and women aged 25-62, which we have tapped for numerous clients to help us get to that insight that goes beyond a traditional creative brief.

The insights we uncover provide us with the information needed to create focused communication strategies that unleash the fire and Brand Energy that lead to media and creative ideas that get results for our clients.

Firestarters

Careers

We somewhat immodestly think Brushfire is a great place to work. If you love to collaborate, challenge yourself and your colleagues, and will stop at nothing to produce surprising work for a client’s brands, we want to hear from you. Here are some current openings. And check back often—our new business winning streak means new positions can pop up at any time.

Please check back later for information on open posiitons

Contact Us

2 Wing Drive
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927
[p] 973.871.1700
[f] 973.871.1717

Prospects: joan@brushfireinc.com
Press: mgoldstein@brushfireinc.com
Employment: joan@brushfireinc.com