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Makeover Challenge

Lundmark Advertising & Design: Makeover Challenge Concept & Strategy Unveiled!

They created a character named Milo to make oceanography more accessible to children.




Lundmark Advertising & Design: Makeover Challenge Concept & Strategy Unveiled!

Lundmark nailed it when it came to connecting to our target market in terms of the age range,” says Amie Yam-Babinchak, director of marketing, sales and strategic communications, South Carolina Aquarium. “We appreciate how they paid attention to that and created approachable characters like Milo.”

Short for the aquatic animal family name Myliobatidae, Milo was created to make oceanography more accessible to children. Yam-Babinchak adds, “Choosing a cownose stingray for the primary character is also a smart decision because this type of stingray has such a welcoming appearance. When children visit our Aquarium, they sometimes think the Myliobatidae are smiling at them.”

The Lundmark team has a personal connection with the target market. “Quite a few of us have children who enjoy going to our local aquarium,” Russell Sypowicz, director, brand strategy and business development, Lundmark, explains. “I know the thrill in my kids’ eyes when they see the aquatic creatures at the Aquarium. We were able to bring those personal insights into the project. Also, as an agency, we could pull on our experience working with attractions and destination marketing organizations. We understand the value that these types of organizations play in community building as well as economic development.”

Brandon Myers, president, Lundmark, adds, “The collaboration with the South Carolina Aquarium team was great too. Kayla, Amie and their team couldn’t be any more friendly and helpful. They gave us a great creative brief that helped paint a picture of the Aquarium’s brand differentiator, and then we used ideation and iteration to refine the direction.”

Play plays a large part in that direction. “We wanted the Kids Club interactions to be fun and memorable,” Kia Hunt, creative director, Lundmark, says. “So, we use Milo in several ways as a friend to accompany the kids on the journey. For example, we intentionally designed the shipper, so Milo’s wings are printed on the box’s flaps. A kid can untuck the flaps and make their own ‘Milo’ by flapping the wings.”  Commenting on another iteration of the Milo character, Kayla Halchak, membership manager, South Carolina Aquarium, notes, “Lundmark even went as far as to sew a custom plush version of Milo that could be purchased in the Aquarium store.”

Remarking on the experience, Hunt says, “We had such a fun time brainstorming, developing concepts, researching and learning about the oceans, illustrating the characters and designing the materials for the Makeover Challenge, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to support a business that is probably struggling during the pandemic. I feel very deeply for the many businesses and individuals affected by pandemic. I’ve been looking for ways to offer services to the industries most affected—those that rely heavily on tourism, travel or entertainment budgets—and working with the Aquarium makes me particularly happy.”


Agreeing with Hunt, Myers adds, “We follow the Makeover Challenge every year and have applied to be a competitor many times. We were thrilled to be chosen for the competition as it was, and I was personally delighted when the idea to evolve the contest from an academic exercise to charitable action was raised. You see, every year, Lundmark chooses a few different local nonprofits to work with, and while we are a for-profit company, we still want to share our resources and time to help our community. The project with the Aquarium is a perfect fit for Lundmark, and it was no surprise that the firm’s partners and the rest of the team are thrilled to have the opportunity as well.”

Linda Casey is the editor-in-chief of BXP.

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