Every year, Lori Reed looks forward to traveling to New Orleans to attend the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s annual “Carnivale du Vin” fundraiser, for which she’s created marketing campaigns since 2005.
Reed, owner of Reed Creative, a Washougal marketing and graphic design firm, didn’t make the trip in 2020, of course; the Oct. 17 event was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But she still delivered a high-quality campaign that not only helped the event raise more than $1 million for children’s charities, but earned top honors in the “Event Marketing” category at the American Marketing Association (AMA) PDX Max Awards, held online Feb. 24.
“Reed Creative was able to help create a unique event for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation that felt special for the audience,” according to a statement on the AMA PDX website. “They had the ability to bring an in-person feel to a virtual event, something we all know is extremely difficult. With a year full of surprises and unforeseen challenges, it was great to see how so many companies have risen above and beyond to adapt and pivot through creative digital marketing efforts.”
Reed was “truly honored and humbled to learn that a small, boutique design studio in the small town of Washougal could compete against larger agencies in downtown Portland.”
“We were so happy with how this project turned out,” she said. “Creating aesthetically pleasing and effective event marketing materials under the pressure of a pandemic was a creative outlet for our team to focus on. Being a small part of something much larger than us — a national event that helps better the lives of others — and having it recognized by the local chapter of the American Marketing Association as best-in-event marketing makes our designer hearts happy. We’ll consider that a high note in an otherwise extremely tough year.”
Reed embraced the challenge of producing branded elements to provide the event with as much of an “in-person” feel as possible.
“Reed Creative’s role was to support this ‘pivot to virtual’ by working closely with the team at the foundation to design and produce event promotion materials in fresh new ways to capture the audience’s attention during turbulent times,” she said. “The biggest challenge for us as a design business was to scale back significantly from the volume of work we have typically delivered to this client for the past 15 years. However, we were grateful to be invited to be a part of delivering a stellar experience, even on a smaller budget with fewer resources available.”
Reed Creative performs pro-bono and contracted work for the foundation, a nonprofit public charity founded in 2002 by famed chef Emeril Lagasse and his wife, Alden Lovelace, to create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition and arts education.
“It goes without saying that Reed Creative is such a fantastic part of what we do,” Antonia Keller, vice president of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, told the Post-Record in 2019. “Their creativity and dedication are integral to the guest experience and a significant part of why our donors keep coming back to support our mission of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.”
For the 2020 fundraiser, Reed and Friedrichsmeyer created a refreshed event logo; a digital interactive PDF invitation; a custom designed and printed “party package” box containing event and sponsor materials; auction paddles; a 20-page printed auction catalog; informational wine cards; pop-up signage for the auctioneer stage; and new brand assets for the foundation’s website.
“The foundation came to us with the ‘re-imagined’ theme, and it was up to us to explore how to refresh the existing brand to reflect this and bring it to life,” Reed said. “The final approach was scaled back to meet current restrictions and smaller budgets. To keep time down, we repurposed a few illustration elements from concepts previously created but not pursued. We incorporated a new color palette and introduced patterns and additional embellishments to evolve into a fresh treatment that was still effective as well as sensitive to the difficult times many faced in 2020.”