One of the many advantages of a full service agency is having multiple experts on hand to help fulfill any imaginable marketing need no matter the objective, budget, complexity or deadline.
Recently we sat down with our own Kathleen Finley, SVP/Director of Print Production (who directs so much more than printing), to get the latest on the wonderful, wacky world of print production these days.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
I would say budgets first. Everyone thinks they can ‘find it cheaper on the internet’ but you can’t find SMZ’s expertise on the web. Then deadlines second. But our production department pulls off delivery dates without sacrificing project quality. At least I like to think so!
What qualities make a good vendor partner?
Loyalty. SMZ vendors are very loyal. Our vendor partners understand our clients, their budgets, mindsets and always meet or exceed our expectations.
What are some of the oddest things you’ve ever been requested to estimate?
An oversized, paper mache pig on top of a vehicle. Didn’t produce that project but it was an education to research and quote. And the half-ton shirt pile built over chicken wire on a flatbed we produced for Community Choice Credit Union (CCCU) which is still being used at local festivals events.
What are some other favorite projects? (Those Detroit Red Wings Joe Louis Arena stairs looked pretty awesome!)
Yes, the Joe Louis Arena stairs and doors. Very impactful and fun to produce with a great response from the public.
I was unfamiliar with the game ‘Plinko’ but brushed up on it when we produced an 8’ x 6’ portable Plinko Game board for Community Choice. It was recently in the Gratiot Parade.
What would someone be surprised to learn about your job?
It’s not just ink on paper. If you can imagine it, it can most likely be produced!
Any other good war stories – like how you had to have the tree limbs trimmed so everyone could see the SMZ sign on our cool new offices?
I didn’t know anyone heard about that. When I started SMZ’s new office building exterior signage project, it was early summer and the trees were not in full bloom. Installation time arrived and tree limbs covered the sign. Of course I went into Kathleen mode and pushed into high gear. The building management was called and they trimmed the tree. Sign looks pretty good, right?
A large bank’s corporate lobby banner to kick off a new campaign is another fun project story. An evening installation project that should have taken 2 hours, took over 8 hours! It was a challenge getting a 15 ‘ x 45’ banner up four flights in their headquarters’ atrium lobby. It was impossible to get this oversized banner in an elevator so our first idea was to hoist the banner up by rope from the lobby floor. But because of the risk of damaging it, we decided we needed to carry the banner up a narrow stairwell. (I wasn’t just directing, I was one of the carriers!) The banner got stuck in the stairwell but eventually made it to the fourth floor. I did send the vendor out to buy a commercial steamer to remove the wrinkles. End result, the banner looked great and the client loved the unveiling. The vendor and I still laugh about this.
SMZ department staff experts: Listen. Think. Do. Steam when necessary.
What would you like us to produce for you?