“Toying” with History at Lincoln University | Slice Experimentation Series

By: Catarina Carvalho & Tony Sadowski

Experimentation in marketing couldn’t be more important! If you want to get attention, you have to stand out from the crowd. To get a new reaction from your audience, you have to surprise them with an approach designed to elicit a different response.

Slice Communications embraces a philosophy of innovation and openness to new ideas that we call “Yes, And… Energy.” 

Inspired by a common trope in the improv comedy world, “Yes, And…” is a cooperative approach to creative iteration that allows for a constant stream of new ideas that are built and shaped by all involved to reach a satisfying conclusion. We embody this core value in all aspects of our work, as it dovetails nicely with our others: co-pilot energy, goal-oriented focus, and always learning.

Working together with clients and with each other in a spirit of positivity can lead to great – and surprising – results!

The Client:

Lincoln University

The Challenge: 

After coordinating, writing, and designing a full Lincoln Lion magazine for Lincoln University in Spring 2023, we were asked to create another physical keepsake item to offer donors that would create some excitement – and ultimately alumni donations! – during Homecoming 2023. 

The Team:

Vice President of Creative Tony Sadowski and Creative Director Catarina Carvalho had helped guide the Lincoln Lion project to the finish line and were tapped to meet this challenge!

The Concepts:

Slice pitched three ideas for physical items, asking Lincoln to choose one for our team to pursue.

  1. Zine-style alumni keepsake booklet: Alumni would be part of building the collateral, and therefore more likely to hold on to it. With opportunities to contribute images and thoughts to be included, the zine would be a personalized reminder of their connection to Lincoln.
  1. Video brochure: This “booklet” would contain a video message (or to simplify, it could be a print piece with QR codes to scan that lead to various stories and messages). We could pull stills and quotes from these video testimonials and memories as teasers, which could be featured on a landing page with even more collected videos, some copy for context, and an easy donation button/form.
  1. Custom ViewMaster-style toy: If you don’t remember or have never seen one, this toy mimics binoculars, feeding the same image to both of the viewer’s eyes individually to create a 3D effect. Through this retro favorite, we could offer a fun keepsake with a vintage feel to inspire feelings of immersion and nostalgia. It could be paired with a playlist of songs popular in featured years, creating a sense of longing and pride for Lincoln and reinforcing the impact of giving to continue that experience for future Lions.

The Winner:

We were very excited that the custom “RetroViewer” (remarkably similar to its branded cousin) was chosen for this project!

The Production Phase:

Having already worked with Lincoln for some time, we had access to a photo library that included both historic images and current-day moments. Working with Lincoln, we selected 14 images and began drafting some playful copy that could be used on a landing page to hype up the RetroViewer for current and prospective donors.

While the client reviewed the copy for the landing page, Catarina and Tony worked together to craft the images that would be given that classic 3D treatment across two custom reels for the ViewMaster.

During the design phase, they experimented with adding some text to the photos:

The supporting text (pulled from the web copy) and on-brand design elements both added visual interest and helped elevate the story being told.

In the end, two reels were finalized and approved, with custom titles for each image and a QR code that leads to the landing page:

Mission Accomplished!

The 1854 Promise Fund landing page was updated and launched in time for Homecoming 2023, explaining that supporters of the fund are eligible to receive this unique collector’s item while supplies last.

Slice delivered 1,000 customized viewers, as promised!

They were, indeed, a lot of fun to make and a very cool fundraising thank-you gift for Lincoln University.

Let’s embrace a spirit of innovation together and make a commitment to surprise and delight in our marketing.

Contact Slice and we can work together to identify creative twists that will add fresh energy to even your regular communications!

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