Something’s brewing with the ITD

Woodland Empire Ale Craft Sign

Imitation is the sincerest [form] of flattery. – Charles Caleb Colton

It appears that the Idaho Transportation Department isn’t a fan of craft brew. Or, more specifically, a billboard about craft brew that looks too similar to their highway signs.

So they’ve requested that Woodland Empire Ale Craft take theirs down.

The billboard, created by Oliver Russell, was meant to leverage the environment at the intersection of 11th and Front streets on the connector. As westbound vehicles approach the intersection, they are presented with a row of existing highway directional signs. The Woodland Empire billboard emulates the colors and graphics of these directional signs, but with a headline that reads “Craft Beer–Right Here.”

Woodland Empire contacted the City of Boise prior to erecting the sign, and was told it had no regulations governing design requirements for an on-premise billboard atop a private business’s roof. Turns out, according to Dusty Schmidt, one of the brewery’s partners, this is a very special case. “Because we sit within the city limits, we thought we were in the good, but our brewery also happens to be near the connector, which is actually a state highway with different rules.”

It’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission. – Grace Hopper

By no means is this the first time that a business has gone the ‘ask forgiveness’ route with signage, names, or other identifying marks. In recent memory, Boise Fry Company originally opened as Idaho Fry Company, but was forced to change their name after the Idaho Potato Commission determined it infringed on IPC’s certification mark on the use of the word Idaho with anything related to potatoes.

As for Woodland Empire Ale Craft’s sign, Schmidt said the brewery never intended to create a traffic issue, and that the brewery is now in discussions with ITD. “We just wanted to let the 37,000 daily commuters know where they could get a delicious, hand-crafted beer,” he said.

And true to character, Dave Cook, Oliver Russell’s creative director, questions whether it constitutes a true safety hazard given the many other signs and billboards along Front Street. “All billboards distract drivers,” he said. “Especially the good ones.”

Peak Broadcasting files for bankruptcy

Peak Broadcasting, which operates six radio stations in Boise, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.  According to reports in the Idaho Statesman, the Fresno, CA-based company will continue to operate its six stations in Boise and five in Fresno, and that programming would not be affected and no layoffs were planned.

Media buys could be another story, however. If you’re working with Peak on current or upcoming buys, be sure to talk with your rep, and ask them as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable. By no means is this a suggestion to stay away from Peak, but rather a simple reminder to keep your eyes open.

As is the case with many of the readers of this site, I have several friends and colleagues at Peak in Boise. I wish them nothing but the best, and hope that this entire process goes quickly and smoothly for everyone.

New Leadership for BAF’s 100th Year

At the recent Three Ounces + Ice event, the Boise Advertising Federation announced their new board members for the year, which marks the BAF’s 100th Anniversary.

All the details from the BAF:

The Boise Advertising Federation (BAF) named their 2009-2010 board members to lead the advertising trade organization, effective June 1, 2009. Shane Vaughan, vice president of marketing at Balihoo, will serve as president for the BAF’s 100th anniversary year.

“I’m honored to be elected BAF president in this, the 100th anniversary year of the organization. The talent in the BAF and the Boise advertising community as a whole is stunning. We’re committed to continuing to build outstanding educational, networking and award programming for the advertising and marketing community throughout 2009-2010”, said Vaughan.

Vaughan succeeds Jason Hamilton, Fuel3 Advertising, who will now serve as chairman of the board.

Board members were voted in by the membership at the annual Past Presidents and Installation event on May 28th. Also during the event, Brian Harrison, Almost Live Productions, received the BAF member of the year award for his outstanding contributions to the organization.

Additional board members include:

Edward Moore, DaviesMoore, executive chairman of the board
John Drake, Drake Cooper, 1st vice president
David Jensen, Oliver Russell, 2nd vice president
Carolyn Sali, DaviesMoore, 3rd vice president
Madeline Rutledge, KIVI-TV, executive secretary
Jennie Myers, Drake Cooper, creative awards show chair
Laurie Asin McMichael, KTVB News Group, fundraising chair
Robbin Gibson, Drake Cooper, membership chair
Sandy Anderson, Journal Broadcast Group, creative awards show judging chair
David Noot, Noot Group, programs chair
Laura Herrick, Foerstel Design + Marketing, public service chair
Kelsey Merida, KIVI, education chair
Lindzee Frei, Stoltz Marketing Group, publicity chair
Holly Sue Kerns, Kerns Branding, government relations chair
Crissie McDowell, Stoltz Marketing Group, website chair

The Boise Advertising Federation is a non-profit volunteer trade organization made up of members in the marketing, advertising, design, web, relationship marketing, mass media and public relation industries. As the oldest trade organization in Idaho, the BAF’s primary goals are to educate and promote professional development among the membership; and guide and protect the advertising industry from unwanted legislation. The BAF offers professional development seminars, informative luncheons and industry networking events.

For BAF membership inquiries contact Robbin Gibson or visit

Hey Seattle, Need a Vacation?

The folks at the Idaho Travel Council, with the help of Drake Cooper and North by Northwest, want to send a family from Seattle on vacation in Idaho.

The catch?  They’re going to film the vacation as part of a reality show on Idaho travel.

Still interested?  Take a look at the Adventures in Living casting call page for all the details, submission requirements and such.

From their site:

The winning family will enjoy an all-expense paid, 8-to-10-day vacation in Idaho, including stays in Boise, Sun Valley, Coeur d’Alene and more.

The adventure vacation will be captured by a film crew to create a new web reality show. In addition to the trip, the family will receive spending cash, an adventure guide and a wake up call from life as you know it.

Filming will take place approximately June 19 – 29 and we are willing to make adjustments to this schedule to accommodate the right family, including working with their employer. As a thank you for participating, the family would be welcome to stay and enjoy Northern Idaho at no cost for three additional days – without the cameras.

Deadline for entry is May 7th.

Where’s That Line Between Reporting and Opinion Again?

Something about the Idaho Business Review’s cover story this week about “Greenwashing” just rubbed me the wrong way.

Maybe it’s the interviews that seem to end with more questions than answers.

Maybe it’s because Simon Shifrin takes a residential developer, and their agency, to task in a thinly veiled ‘you’re not being open and honest’ sort of way about their business motivations. Let’s not even get into the quoting (somewhat out of context) from the agency’s website, without any actual contact with the agency itself.

Or it could just be the “me too” reporting — writing about “green” activities, environmentally friendly stories and such is all the rage these days, so if the IBR doesn’t cover it, they must be behind the times.

This, my all accounts, is much more of an op/ed piece than business reporting. And I don’t think I’m alone in that opinion. Rick Carpenter, Robb Hicken et. al., you shouldn’t have let this story out the door the way it was published.

Of course, I could just be way off base. Been known to happen before…

Oh, and by the way Simon, it’s Stoltz Marketing Group, not Stolz Marketing Group.

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