HVAC Trading Cards? Sure, Why Not?

HVAC doesn’t sound like the most exciting topic to write about, but it’s actually pretty interesting.

The industry has long been a leader in energy efficiency, for instance. New technologies are always being applied to the development of products, and in the U.S., the “Made in USA” logo truly means something — creating not just exemplary products but jobs and expanding opportunities for those of us who live here.

It’s also an industry that has welcomed new forms of communication as social- and public relations continue to bloom. Part of the reason why is that there’s always new information to share in the HVAC biz, and even better, we have myriad places through which to share that content.

These guiding principles were behind a recent writing assignment I took on in tandem with Winstanley Partners for the KN Series of hydronic, cast-iron boilers. Starting with the idea of a technical brochure that would extol the benefits of the product to its key audiences, we took the assignment a step further, creating pieces of ‘mini-content’ that were even more targeted to core audiences.

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We didn’t negate that first idea of a one-sheet technical brochure, but rather created it to include components that could stand alone, and therefore speak directly to engineers, architects, builders, managers, and others.

As the copy and design started to coalesce, we soon noticed that the end-result was not unlike a set of trading cards.

HVAC trading cards? Well sure, why not? They’re shareable, printable, scale-able, and (yes) trade-able. That’s what we want when it comes to sharing information about a decidedly niche product. Plus, there are plenty of uses for such a thing – from social media content to trade-show giveaways.

These one-hit wonders were designed by Victoria Fiorini — copy by moi.








Writing on the Flip


Writers have come a long way in terms of where their words can be seen. Once relegated to the printed page, now we’re writing for virtual places all the time.

That’s what made a recent — and very tactile — writing assignment so unusual and fun. I was charged with writing a few highlights regarding the Berkshire town of Lenox, which were then placed on the literal flip side of some photo placards.

The placards are just one part of the newly redesigned Lenox Visitors Center, meant to offer information and inspiration to residents, tourists, and business people alike.

A handful of writers contributed to the project; below are a few of the snippets I was able to sneak through.


Placard Photos by Ed Acker.

Madvertising Update

Clockwise: Jane Maas signs copies of her book; Erin, copywriter at Winstanley Partners, chats with Jane; I show off my copy of Mad Women; Jane’s inscription in my copy of her book.

I met real-life Mad Woman Jane Maas this week — author of Mad Women, her memoir of life as a copywriter at top Madison Avenue ad shops.

The biggest takeaway of the day, for me, was that at 80 Jane Maas has the energy of a 20-something. I hope I have half the energy at that age – I feel like I have about half now.

I also Tweeted up a storm though, recording some of Jane’s best lines of the day. There’s something for everybody here.

Tidbits from Jane Maas:
• Women represent 3% of all agency creative directors in the U.S.

• Women in ad agencies today make an average of 90 cents on the dollar compared to men.

• ‘We have to go back to the old lesson that we can’t put money into too many different slices of pie.’

• ‘an ad can’t make anybody do anything’

• Jane Maas’ favorite campaign she’s worked on is I Love New York.

•’My secret of success is that I’m little. I don’t intimidate men, and I don’t intimidate women.’

• Jane Maas used to write ‘spontaneous dialogue’ for Name That Tune.

• ‘Have women come a long way in ad agencies? My answer is no.’

• ‘I knew there was pot smoking going on at Ogilvy, but especially at Wells Rich Greene.’

• ‘get the money before they screw you.’

• ‘Linda’, a copywriter, lost her virginity to the account exec on Lime Jell-o.