illustration of music background in doodle style

Is That the Right Music?


Throughout my career, I have always enjoyed listening to music of all types while I work. And while it’s no shocker that music inspires us, it can have a profound and magical impact on what we create while listening to it, and when those ideas translate to video or film. Simply choosing the wrong music or creating original compositions that miss the mark can completely change the emotion you hope to evoke from the viewer. Again, I admit, this is not news. But I do feel that music is often overlooked in the sense that it can have such a significant role in a spot. Here’s some examples I think really illustrate this well. One of them was a Publix spot I did years ago and I felt using a piece of music by a band called The Album Leaf would be the difference between a spot that evoked real heartwarming emotion and one that made you roll your eyes.

To prove my point, watch this spot:

Now find some piece of music that is a little happier, turn the volume off the spot and watch it again.

Here are some other examples I feel do a tremendous job with music.
1) A funny spot for Hockey Canada but the music really brings it around to be extremely emotional.

2) A classic from Nike.

3) Halo 3 Believe.

4) Gears of War.  How can you go wrong with Mazzy Star?

Another method I find very interesting is juxtaposing a piece of music to what you are seeing. For example, a spot or clip might show a very serious topic and use a piece of music that is at the opposite end of the spectrum. That unexpected choice of music can be very jarring and completely change the context and power of the ad itself by that one simple music choice. Steeler’s Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle With You” during the ear amputation scene in Reservoir Dogs, for example.

That’s it. I shall now turn on some more music and get back to working on our clients.

– James Rosene

octopus drawing

The Importance of Growing 8 Arms

Ah creativity. So many ways to interpret it. So many different meanings. It’s often looked at as an ability to bring something new to life. For others it is not an ability, but a psychological process by which novel and valuable products are fashioned. No? Right on. Because for others, creativity is not the process but the product. Definitions of creativity range every which way because really there is no definitive expression that is right or wrong. One would be ill advised to think otherwise and believe there is a best single definition of creativity since creativity carries so many meanings. Creativity is, indeed, a multi-faceted phenomenon.

Admittedly, that is a long-winded introduction to my point. My wife has often said I am full of hot air and can go off willy nilly on tangents. See, I was about to go off on another one there. But back to my point. The importance of becoming as multi-faceted as creativity is itself. As a partner in my own ad agency, and long-time copywriter by trade, I’ve learned along the way to become just that. Multi-faceted. But years and years before I took this leap into the unknown, I always felt I was more than just a copywriter. That seemed so limiting to me. I kept learning lots of other disciplines. Not necessarily because I felt it was important but because I enjoyed it. I’ve since come to realize it is both. In the early years of my career, I learned Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign & Illustrator) and got pretty good at it. I was fortunate to have an extremely talented Art Director partner for many years who taught me lots of tricks so I was lucky there. But I learned on my own. I became capable of laying out my ideas, designing and retouching photography pretty well and enjoy it very much. Recently I have begun diving into After Effects and Premier to learn video editing and motion graphics techniques. It certainly piles on the weight on your shoulders but it’s a good weight. It has empowered me with an ability to expand my thinking as I have learned of new technology that opens the doors to new ideas. Being more skilled in these technologies makes your brain bigger, fatter and in the words of Kramer from Seinfeld, “mossy”! When concepting alone, with a partner or in a group, knowing other disciplines will lead you down roads to more novel, original and innovative thought, And so I truly believe it’s important to keep growing those arms. The resources to learn are everywhere. Lynda, Skillshare and Tutsplus are great obviously. But every program has tutorials of their own. Even further, all you really need to do is Google whatever it is you want to learn. Tutorials are just sitting there waiting for your little finger to press the video play button.

It’s an invaluable philosophy to hold true to, at any level.  If young creatives develop additional skills, and understand more than just their craft, as they move onward and upward they will, in my opinion, become more valuable to their clients and better teachers themselves.

So grow some more arms. And use one of them to crack open a beer and another one to pat yourself on the back because you’re making yourself one very powerful, highly valuable creative.

-James Rosene

brand road map

Content Strategy Hinges on this One Thing

The idea of content strategy is a bust. Content strategy hinges on one thing and one thing alone: a solid, well-founded, brand roadmap. The brand roadmap consists of five brand dimensions:

  1. Brand Purpose
  2. Brand Essence
  3. Brand Pillars
  4. Brand Personality
  5. Tribe Persona

The brand roadmap serves as a filter and springboard. This is the differentiating part of the equation. The second part of the equation takes a different kind of thinking. It’s the left side of the brain. And it has little to do with strategy. This part of the formula focuses on creativity and the ability to develop fresh and on-brief creative solutions. Creative that emotional engages people or provides some kind of utility. If your company has taken the time and due diligence to craft a solid brand roadmap and invested appropriately to creating meaningful on-brief creative work, than sharing on the web is easy. Breakthrough social content will happen when, and only when, both parts of the equation are solved. Without this equation, you’ve got nothing but a blindfolded chicken shooting in the dark.

farm at sunset

Farming for Leads Takes a Big Turn

What began as a cold-call LinkedIn conversation has become a major boost for EraserFarm, a Tampa-based branding and advertising agency.

EraserFarm managing director and partner Cindy Haynes got going last summer, when she reached out to a marketing executive with the North American Spine Institute in Dallas. Haynes and her team had tried to make contact with the Tampa-based Laser Spine Institute for branding work, but efforts there stalled.

Haynes clicked with her new contact in Dallas, which led to an in-person pitch for branding services. Then, in October, when Houston-based health care conglomerate Nobilis Health acquired the North American Spine Institute, EraserFarm was named the company’s ad agency of record. The work EraserFarm is tasked with doing for Nobilis includes developing branding campaigns for the spine institute, a national migraine treatment center and a bariatric weight loss program.

It’s a big deal and also a major step toward a big-picture goal for EraserFarm, founded in 2013. “We’ve been able to bypass the large agency stigma,” Haynes tells Coffee Talk. “Some brands are beginning to see past that need to only have a large agency.”

EraserFarm, named for the ideal that an eraser is only a tool to work harder and find a better idea, has signed on several other firms for work in recent months. Haynes, who founded the company with business partner James Rosene after both worked for larger advertising firms, adds that the company is close to a few more significant deals.

“Making the decision to go from a paycheck to being an entrepreneur was a big leap for us,” Haynes says. “It’s finally starting to pay off.”

creative herd

The New Creative Team. Or Better Yet, the Creative Herd

Can creativity exist within the traditional ad agency framework of the writer/art director team? I think the answer is yes, absolutely. However, is it the best road to take when you’re driving to that proverbial big idea? Not necessarily. Now, more than ever, is the time to loosen the reigns on our definition of a “creative team”. Customizing it to the job or assignment is the foundation for the new “creative herd”.

In this day and age, technology, UX, design, development, social and media can play a bigger role in the creative process. That’s not to suggest we don’t need great writers and art directors because we most certainly do. But bringing together all these disciplines will undoubtedly cast a wider creative net. And we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that an ad is not always the answer to a client’s problem, challenge or opportunity. Embracing this larger partnership of talent ignites ideas you never thought possible and makes it easier to invent with new platforms. At the end of the day, agencies bring more value to their clients and the growth of their brand. And let’s not forget about our creative egos that get stroked when we do some really cool stuff.

Imagine a team that consists of a digital strategist, art director, designer, writer and media. I don’t think I am going out on a limb saying you will walk out of the assignment with more than a print ad. And without even trying, you’ll be building a strong, organic culture of collaboration. Give it a whirl, if you haven’t already, and see how much further a creative herd takes your next idea.

North American spine hands holding baby above water

EraserFarm Featured in Communication Arts for North American Spine Campaign

Normal isn’t exciting. It’s not flashy. It’s, well, normal. And while we realize this, it’s just the opposite for someone suffering from chronic neck and back pain.  Being able to do the simplest of things we take for granted without pain is truly amazing. And it’s all made possible by a procedure called AccuraScope® from North American Spine. The campaign Normal is Amazing is based in this simple but powerful truth.

We’re very proud, honored and appreciative of Communication Arts for recognizing our client North American Spine, Tampa ad agency EraserFarm and featuring our work for this campaign. Click here for the Communication Art feature.

North American Spine brings together spine specialists from several fields including Orthopedic Spine, Neurosurgery and Pain Management dedicated to the relief of chronic back pain.

EraserFarm Selected as Agency of Record for Fitlife Foods

On the heels of recent growth, Fitlife Foods has selected EraserFarm as its agency of record. First opened in 2011, Fitlife Foods creates energy-packed meals for the time-starved, health-conscious consumer. The Tampa-based retailer recently opened its ninth location with additional expansion plans on the horizon. EraserFarm has been tasked with continuing to build the Fitlife Foods’ existing brand creative while ensuring scalability for the multi-unit business.

“The EraserFarm team brings robust experience in the food and restaurant industry making them a natural partner,” said Fitlife Foods founder and Chief Executive Officer, David Osterweil. “Their unique approach to creative will continue to cement the Fitlife brand as the go-to solution for busy individuals who want fresh and healthy meals.”

“We are so pleased to have been named agency of record for a game-changing brand like Fitlife Foods,” said EraserFarm managing partner, Cindy Haynes. “Our clients’ growth is the focus of everything we do, and like Fitlife Foods, we share in the mindset of creating breakthrough solutions. We look forward to being a partner in their expansion efforts, and know that the result of our collaborative efforts will be a greater brand awareness in these new markets.”

About Fitlife Foods

Founded in 2011 by David Osterweil, Fitlife Foods provides fresh, craveable, chef-prepared meals. As a lifestyle brand, Fitlife Foods is known for helping people save time and gain energy for their active, performance-based schedule. Fitlife Foods offers more than 60 fresh, grab-and-go, made-from-scratch meal options that are available in small, medium and large sizes. The Fitlife Foods team embodies high energy, fun and hard work, and our culture inspires you in your busy life. Whether you’re a busy executive, stay-at-home parent, professional athlete, or fitness enthusiast, a day with Fitlife will enhance your outcome and motivate you to continue being your awesome self. For more information, please visit:

EraserFarm is a Tampa-based advertising agency whose mission is to cultivate breakthrough solutions that grow their clients’ business. With a media-agnostic philosophy, the agency specializes in developing big ideas grounded in solid strategy that work across today’s evolving channels. The agency is proud to have client partnerships with organizations such as the Strategic Property Partners, Kinney Fernandez & Boire P.A., Intrepid Powerboats, Health First, Nobilis Health Corporation and Safeguarding a Future for Africa’s Elephants (S.A.F.E.).

I think it is time to change on black background

How to Kill your Brand

92% of people wouldn’t care if your brand disappeared tomorrow. Take that in. 92%. Only 8% of brands would be missed.

The difference is that the 8% actually do something to enrich people’s lives. They offer some kind of branded utility. These brands improve people’s quality of life.

When branded utility is done right:

  1. It increases brand likeability that increases brand preference that in turn directly influences sales.
  2. It stimulates usage.
  3. It drives affinity and advocacy.

This isn’t a new concept. It’s been done for years, AAA road guides and Michelin stars. More recently:


Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap

Dominos Pizza Tracker

So instead of just making your product incrementally different, find ways for your brand to actually do something to make a person’s life better. Make it more: easy, creative, social, interesting or informed. Talk to your customers and learn where their frustration points and then create a solution for them. Branded utility is not about nouns; it’s about verbs. Do something. Join the 8% or die.

AAF Q and A

Check Out our Creative Director, James Rosene, in the American Advertising Federation's Latest Q&A

Q. Tell us a little about yourself and EraserFarm.

Well, I’m a dad with 3 nutty kids—2 boys and a girl and an incredibly beautiful wife and devoted mom. I play ice hockey 3 times a week and have the scars in my face to prove it.

I am an Arizona State grad from a time long, long ago. After living and working at shops in NYC, Arizona, Dallas and Tampa I finally decided to open my own shop—EraserFarm. A name actually inspired by my daughter and her friends who created a fictitious place called Eraser Country. It had a long list of rules required to live there. My favorite is no hunting is allowed (You can see the actual book on our Facebook page). But we loved the idea of an eraser as a symbol of all the hard work we put in to find that best idea. Country was a little odd and since we are always refining (or cultivating) the ideas to be the best they can, we landed on Farm. So thanks Sophia!


Q. What do you do for inspiration?

I love movies and music. I am very inspired by other’s work as well so I keep up on the latest stuff happening and being created in not only advertising but art and technology. Coffee really helps my brain get cooking too.


Q. What is your all time most memorable moment at EraserFarm?

Wow, that’s tough. We’re very early in the life of the agency obviously. I could easily say winning our first account but really it was coming up with this pretty neat idea and cold calling a client in Dallas, Texas. They agreed to see it and we flew down to present. Mind you, this is when we had no money coming in. Well it went unbelievably well and guess what? Nothing happened. Until about a month ago. And we just signed them on as a client, plus 2 other brands they have.


Q. What’s your favorite project you’ve ever been involved with?

I’ve had lots. I am a big animal lover and as such I would say working with the folks at S.A.F.E. in NY has been my favorite so far. African elephants are being killed for their ivory at such a rapid rate, they will be gone in as little as 11 years. I’m happy we could help in some way. And working on the Tampa Bay Lightning to create the Be The Thunder campaign while I was at 22squared was a runner-up.


Q. What does the next 10 years of advertising look like to you?

I think it will continue to become less like advertising and keep getting more personal and real. Technology and the way consumers interact with brands is continually changing and reshaping. More than ever, they have an active role in the stories brands create. They are always looking for more information and conversely provide us with mounds of it to help craft that content.


Q. What’s your favorite thing about working in the Tampa Bay area? What do you think Tampa Bay has to offer that other cities don’t?

I am optimistic about the ad community coming together and drawing in great talent. The growth of the city is certainly very exciting with the tremendous plans underway over by the Waterfront. But it still maintains a unique identity and is just the right size so I’m not bashing my head against the dash dealing with traffic like I used to deal with in Dallas. OK maybe I still do that.


Q. If you weren’t working in advertising, what would you be doing?

Playing ice hockey. Probably toiling away in the AHL. That would be awesome.


Q. What advice do you have for students/people just starting out in advertising?

Well first and foremost be sure you love it. If you don’t, I think you’ll just keep doing what everyone else is doing. And there’s a lot of that out there. But if you truly love it, you will churn out new, unforgettable, interesting, thought-provoking content and ideas. Always have something on your plate to work on you love. If it’s not something the agency is providing, find it yourself. Keep challenging yourself and never think you are great. Because none of us are. When you think you are, you are done. And you’re also an ass for thinking as much.


Q. Where can people connect with you or learn more about EraserFarm?

Just stop by the Ice Sports Forum in Brandon, TBSA in Oldsmar or the Ellenton Ice Arena. If I’m not there, shoot me an email at, @eraserfarm on Twitter or at Shameless plug, sorry.


Q. What was your first project?

I worked on a cologne for teenage girls called Luv’s Baby Soft Cologne. And then in the afternoon I was working on liquor ads that ran in Penthouse. True story.


Q. What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?

My wife and kids. Ok so that’s 4 but too bad.


Q. Before you go, is there one last piece of wisdom you can drop on us?

Be fearless. And never shy away from the idea that someone may not like what you have to say or the way you think. There is a monumental amount of freedom that comes to you when you don’t take things personally.