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Posts Categorized: Paradise

Paradise Chief Creative Officer Dies Gruesome Celluloid Death

By Eric Snider

“Wanna see me die this weekend?”

When that ominous phrase appeared in the subject line in a email from our Chief Creative Officer, Tom Merrick, some Paradise staffers rushed to his office for an intervention, others looked up phone numbers for hotlines, and a few of us mused, “Working here’s not that bad.”

False alarm.

We fully expect Tom to be alive and well come Monday. As it happens, he invited one and all to see him die a gruesome death on screen this Saturday.

Tom’s college roommate Greg Lamberson has become something of an icon of underground horror/gore cinema, producing and directing several films and writing a series of books. His first film, “Slime City,” became a cult classic among 1980s horror movie fans — especially those with a fondness for unalloyed gore and low-budget special effects.


On Saturday, Aug. 20 starting at noon, the Tampa Pitcher Show will screen “Slime City’ and its 2010 sequel, “Slime City Massacre,” back to back.

Tom Merrick has a role in both movies. Back in his early filmmaking days, Lamberson tapped his buddy for a part in “Slime City.” “I played the bumbling best friend of the main character,” Tom said. “The main character who squashes my head like a melon.”

For the sequel, Tom plays a different role (obviously) but ends up with the same fate (butchered).

Tom’s appearance in “Slime City” did not propel him to stardom nor stir some irrepressible acting bug. So he moved on — to advertising. He started in a small agency as the assistant to the Creative Director, and spent the next 27 years becoming one himself.

In his early 40s, the lifelong punk-rock and metal fan picked up a guitar, took some lessons from a friend, got better but not great, and formed a band called Crankdaddy with colleagues from his ad agency in Syracuse.

Tom evolved from hammering out three chords to writing punchy three-chord songs. And singing them. Crankdaddy played a few short years’ worth of gigs in and around Syracuse and as far away as New York City. Tom convinced Lamberson to let the band write and record a song that runs over the end credits of “Slime City Massacre.”

After suffering through the brutal upstate New York winter of 2014-’15, Tom tapped out. He and his wife moved to St. Pete. He took over the creative reins at Paradise. Bought a house with a pool five minutes from the office.

Crankdaddy is no longer.

But Tom Merrick will forever live on in gore yore.

Tom will reunite with Greg Lamberson at the Tampa Pitcher Show double feature. Greg, Tom and another actor from “Slime City Massacre” will do an audience Q&A. Fans of cheesy gore shouldn’t miss it.

What: “Slime City” and “Slime City Massacre” Double Feature Event
Where: Tampa Pitcher Show, 14416 N. Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa
When: Saturday, Aug. 20, Noon

Trailer: Slime City (1988)

Trailer: Slime City Massacre (2010)

Paradise Wins National ADDY Award

Agency receives national recognition for public relations campaign

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (June 7, 2016) – Paradise Advertising was awarded a National ADDY Award today at the American Advertising Federation (AAF) National Conference in Anaheim, California. Claiming a Silver ADDY for its “Manaphin” Case Study Video for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, the agency builds off of its Gold and Best in Show awards at the Florida/Caribbean District ADDY’s.

“It is a tremendous honor to be awarded a national ADDY,” said Cedar Hames, President and CEO of Paradise. “I am incredibly proud of my team and that we are one of only two agencies from Tampa Bay area awarded at the national level. It’s a fantastic feeling to be recognized alongside some of the most talented people in our industry.”

The American Advertising Awards is the ad industry’s largest and most entered competition, receiving over 40,000 entries per year. In a three-tiered, national competition, entrants must place at the local and district levels before gaining entrance to the national competition. Winning an award at the national level is regarded as one of the most prestigious awards to earn within the ad community.

Paradise’s “Manaphin” Case Study Video for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater — an April Fools Day stunt that touted the discovery of a half-manatee/half-dolphin in Gulf waters and went viral internationally — grabbed Gold and Best of Show in the Online Interactive category at its district-level competition in Tampa, Fla. Paradise also earned a Gold in Cross Platform (advertising across all media) for its winter campaign on behalf of the Naples/Marco Island/Everglades convention & visitors bureau.

“Winning a national ADDY award speaks volumes about the appeal and effectiveness of our agency’s creativity,” said Tom Merrick, VP and Chief Creative Officer at Paradise. “If your work is good enough to win three times in a row, you have reason to be proud of the work and the team that created it.”

Iconic St. Petersburg Resort Hires Celebrated Local Agency

Paradise Advertising welcomes the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club to list of public relations clients

Paradise Advertising is now the Public Relations agency of record for the Vinoy Renaissance Resort and Golf Club, located in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. The partnership, which began March 1, is the agency’s third Marriott International client for public relations.

Adding PR services rounds out the relationship between the Vinoy and Paradise, which began in April 2015 when the Vinoy hired the agency to handle its social media channels. As the resort’s official Public Relations agency of record, Paradise will work to promote the grandeur and esteem of the Vinoy, as well as its innovative culinary offerings, world-class golf and tennis facilities and luxurious ambience.

Paradise also handles public relations for two other Florida properties: Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa and the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa.

“We’re thrilled to grow our relationship with the Vinoy,” said Cedar Hames, CEO of Paradise. “Not only is the St. Petersburg icon located only steps from our agency, but our continuing partnership helps to solidify the success of our efforts within Marriott International.”

Agency’s Creative Department Moves into new “Thinking Room,” Hires New Chief Creative Officer

 Department moves into new workspace and welcomes Tom Merrick

Paradise Advertising’s Creative Department has undergone a series of exciting changes with the addition of a new Chief Creative Officer and a new workspace to house the department in its headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.

Tom Merrick recently joined Paradise in the role of Chief Creative Officer. He brings more than 25 years of agency experience with both business-to-business and business-to-consumer advertising at various agencies in New York. Most recently, Merrick served as Executive Creative Director at Eric Mower + Associates where he managed the creative output of a 250-person agency across eight locations and handled client relations. Additionally, he served as an adjunct professor at Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School for five years.

Along the way, Merrick won numerous awards for his work for high-tech, healthcare and financial clients. Eager to put his strategic and creative skills to work for different clients in different categories, Merrick was intrigued by the opportunity to become part of the Paradise Advertising team.

“Paradise is an agency to keep your eye on,” said Merrick. “We have clients who are eager to create fun, breakthrough campaigns, and people from every discipline with the skills to make them. I couldn’t be more excited to be part of such an incredibly talented team.

The Creative Department’s new space is located a short walk down the hall from the agency’s main office. Designed to maximize collaboration and foster “creative collisions,” the open-concept work environment features wall-mounted video monitors and a fully furnished modern seating area.

“It looks and feels like a living room,” says Merrick. “But it’s designed to foster big thinking. It’s a Thinking Room.”

Merrick and Paradise’s other creative directors will occupy three open-walled cubicles at one end of the room, providing constant access and inspiration to the team. There is ample room in the space for Paradise’s growing team of copywriters, art directors, video producers, and editors to collaborate on their next groundbreaking campaign.

“We’re thrilled to have Tom join the Paradise team and simultaneously introduce this new work environment for our award-winning Creative Department,” said Cedar Hames, CEO & Chief Strategy Officer of Paradise. “The expansion of our office is tangible proof of our continuing growth, and we can’t wait to see the benefits of its collaboration-focused layout.”

Paradise Advertising Wins Six Medals at Tampa Bay Addy Celebration

On the heels of its national success at the Adrian Awards in New York City earlier this week, Paradise Advertising & Marketing took home six ADDY Awards Thursday night at the 2016 American Advertising Awards Tampa Bay Chapter Awards Show Gala.

Paradise was the only local agency to win a Gold ADDY for a nationally integrated campaign — for its 2015-16 winter program on behalf of the Naples/Marco Island/ Everglades convention & visitors bureau.

The gala, which took place at the Cuban Club in Ybor City, celebrated the best in marketing creativity throughout Tampa Bay.

Paradise’s six medals included work for the Daytona Beach convention and visitors bureau; Naples/Marco Island/Everglades CVB; Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater; the Women and Girls Cancer Alliance; the Juvenile Welfare Board; and Remember Honor Support.

“This has truly been a special week for Paradise and its partners,” said Cedar Hames, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of Paradise. “So much goes into developing all of our work, I want to salute the talented team we have built here at Paradise. Each and every member of our group brings great passion to their work and take great pride in our story-telling efforts.”

Here is a complete run-down of Paradise’s ADDY awards:

- Naples/Marco Island/The Everglades: Winter Campaign 2015-16 — Gold

- Daytona Beach CVB: “Authentic” — Silver

- Remember Honor Support: 4th Annual Patriot Day Breakfast Video — Silver

- Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater: Manaphin Case Study Video  – Silver

- Women & Girls Cancer Alliance: Panty Pledge Campaign — Silver

- Juvenile Welfare Board: Logo & Identity Package — Silver

Paradise Wins 18 Medals, Including 9 Gold, at Global “Oscars” of the Travel and Hospitality Industry in New York City

Evaluated and awarded by a top panel of more than 200 international judges under the guidance of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

Paradise’s 18 medals for five different clients — Amelia Island CVB; Orlando North, Seminole County CVB; Paradise Coast (Naples, Marco Island and Everglades CVB); Space Florida and Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater — included wins across the advertising, digital/social media and public relations categories.

In the past three years, Paradise has won 103 medals at the annual gathering.

“This is a great honor for all of us at Paradise and a tribute to our talented team and our driven partners who are leading the way in this age of storytelling,” said Cedar Hames, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of Paradise. “Our focus is on creating world-class ideas through stories that consumers talk about and fall in love with, no matter where and how they might encounter them. The­ power of stories is at the core of everything we do.”

Out of more than 1,300 entries submitted, Paradise’s work was judged to be exceptional by experts in hospitality, travel, tourism and media. According to HSMAI, judges were asked to evaluate each entry based on its own merit and success in achieving its objective.

Flourishing Social Media Team is Agency’s Trending Topic

Paradise Advertising’s Social Media department continues to see growth with two new hires. Bridging the gap between traditional departments such as media, PR, analytics and creative, the social media department has proven vital to the success of crossover campaigns.

Jessica Mackey, Director of Social, leads the Paradise Social team and works closely with all of the department’s clients. Prior to joining Paradise, Mackey honed her skills at agencies in New York, Washington, D.C., Connecticut and more, where she developed a strong background in social strategy and account management.

Mackey’s team has grown with the recent hires of two new Community Managers:  Lauren Couturier and Casey Goldstein. Couturier, a graduate of Stetson University, comes from a social media management background and works out of Paradise’s Naples office. Goldstein, based in St. Pete, is a graduate of University of Florida, holds a Master’s Degree in Social Media and comes from a background in social media management at the university level.

Paradise Advertising is currently working with a diversified set of clientele, including: The Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club, Orlando North/Seminole County, Space Florida, and the Naples/Marco Island/Everglades CVB.

Social media continues to prove itself as an invaluable media channel for all brands and provides the opportunity to create genuine relationships with new and existing consumers. These relationships strengthen brand awareness and loyalty, and the one-on-one connections foster brand advocates who help tell the brand’s story on their own.

“Social media is a channel within the broader marketing mix that can, in many ways, more effectively gauge customer feedback, reach specifically targeted individuals, and make human connections,” said Mackey. “Our team is able to bring a new perspective on integrating campaigns to the social world, and provides ongoing insight and consultation to all of our clients.”

Paradise Advertising’s social media services include: Strategic Planning, Campaign Integration, Creative Content Development, Community Management, Building Consumer Advocacy, Cross-Platform Expertise, Analytics and Reporting, Social Influencer Campaigns, Social Campaign Development, Crisis Management, and Paid Social Advertising Efforts.

Social Fresh Conference: Learning to be Human

By Brittany Weissler, Senior Writer

I have to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect going to my first social media conference. I’m a digital native—no, I don’t care, I’ll say the infamous word—I’m a millennial. We’re supposed to innately know social media. Be the lifeblood of the social sphere. But it’s a lot simpler to say you know social media than to say you understand social media marketing.

selfie stick

At Paradise Advertising, we know how important it is to stay up on industry trends. Just like the Harlem Shake, one day you’re in and the next you’re terribly embarrassing. Advertising and marketing isn’t just a science, it’s an art. It’s a dialogue between brand and consumer, and this dialogue lives in its purest form within social media.

In September, I attended my first social media conference—Social Fresh 2015 in Tampa, Florida. Held in the lovely Marriott Waterside in downtown Tampa, I arrived fresh-faced and wide-eyed, was handed a coffee and a selfie stick, and the industry talks began.

In a nutshell, the theme of the conference was “be human.” Sounds simple, yet it can’t be emphasized enough about how incredibly effective it is and how often it’s done wrong. No one wants to be “handled” or to talk to a robot dishing out canned responses, but it can be hard to remember that the nameless, faceless person behind the screen is an actual human. And that human wants an honest connection, even when talking to a brand. They want humor, sympathy and earnest communication. There is a real human behind every brand message and Facebook post, and it needs to be felt. They want to feel heard when they have a complaint, to be understood when they demand change, and to take part in the product and campaign development of their favorite brands. The world is more connected than ever, and that means stronger connections between brands and their patrons.

Now, there were a lot of discussions and opinions on how to do social “right” and how to do it “wrong,” but some of the most striking facts were the hard numbers.

The average person spends 24% of their time viewing ads while on mobile, but advertisers only spend about 8% of ad money on mobile (directly contrasted with people spending 4% of their time viewing ads in print, but advertisers spending 18% of ad money on print).

Social leads convert to purchases 3x higher than the next most effective channel.

What the numbers said to me was that people are tired of being “sold” and want to have honest conversations about products, brands and lifestyles. Social media is an amazing conduit to have these conversations and develop strong, loyal bonds with our audience. And while social posts help strengthen this bond, a real relationship goes beyond a single Tweet. Here at Paradise Advertising, we turn online conversations into real world experiences. Whether it’s through sharing product previews, highlighting user content, or rewarding loyal fans with giveaways, we’re creating an honest relationship with our audience.

Overall, Social Fresh was a great experience, and it reaffirmed what we already believed. Social communications are among the most sincere and most personal way to connect to our audience. So remember: stay human.

Paradise Wins 41 Medals, Including Platinum and 20 Gold, At Global Creative Festival In New York

On the heels of winning 35 medals from worldwide creative festivals over the past year, including four Best of Shows for three different clients, Paradise Advertising, Digital and Entertainment was honored again in New York last night with a record-breaking 41 more medals, including 20 Gold across all media and platforms and the coveted Platinum Award for the World’s Best Integrated Campaign, at the Adrian Awards, the global “Oscars” of the travel and hospitality industry.

The awards were presented at the New York City Marriott Marquis and showcased the best in creativity from the Who’s Who of worldwide travel and hospitality brands by the top global advertising and public relations agencies.

Celebrating creative innovation, inspiration, and effectiveness in marketing communications from across the globe, the annual event is the world’s largest advertising, digital marketing, and public relations competition in the industry. Thousands of entries from more than 35 countries are carefully evaluated and awarded by a top panel of over 200 international judges under the guidance of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).

“The soul of Paradise has always been about growing our client’s brands through game-changing strategic and creative thinking,” said Cedar Hames, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of Paradise. “We are honored to win 41 Adrian Awards, and especially 20 Gold and the prestigious Platinum for the World’s Best Integrated Campaign. This a tribute to in our talented team and forward-thinking marketing partners who are leading the way in the digital, mobile and social media age.”

Paradise’s record-breaking 41 medals for five different clients include major wins across advertising, digital/social media and public relations categories. The Tampa/St. Petersburg based agency placed first for Best Television, Best Web Videos, Best Web Series, Best Website, Best Outdoor Campaign, Best Transit Campaign, Best Magazine Campaign, Best Loyalty Campaign, Best Public Relations Television Feature, and Best Complete Integrated Advertising Campaign.

“We are all stunned, shocked and thrilled to dominate the Adrian Awards for the second year running, “ said Larry Tolpin, President and Chief Creative Officer of Paradise. “I would like to thank everybody who made this possible: our clients for their courage and trust; our agency team for their hard work, long hours and brilliant transmedia storytelling; and the Adrian Awards Festival for championing and honoring creativity, innovation and advertising ideas that work.”

Some of the marketing partners of Paradise who brought home top Adrian Awards this year include Amelia Island CVB, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, Naples, Marco Island, Everglades CVB, St. Petersburg/Clearwater CVB, and Seminole County CVB.

“There is a clear, proven, correlation between creativity and effectiveness,” added Tolpin. “That’s why these awards matters and why we have a relentless focus on delivering the best work and best results for our clients, day-in and day-out, campaign by campaign.”