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OH, THAT’S GOOD: Infectious Work for Montgomery County’s Bio Business

by | Jun 14, 2019

By Matt Smith

In my never-ending quest to find goodness in all the nooks and crannies of our wonderful region, I was recently sent a campaign from the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC). It was created by the MCEDC’s in-house creative team and it surprised me for a couple of reasons.

First, it’s really terrific work, and in my own dumb creative snobbishness I never would have expected something this good being created by any in-house agency.  Secondly, it came from a pretty unexpected source that I would never have found on my own—a county government’s economic department. Not the usual kind of place where I seek creative excellence.  

The multifaceted campaign is designed to attract more bio tech businesses to Montgomery County, Maryland, and it works on all cylinders. It includes a website, videos, gorgeous photography and a totally cool online brochure.  Here are a couple of links where you can check it all out: https://thinkmoco.com/builtforbio and https://thinkmoco.com/b4b-brochure.

The whole, wonderful package was created by the MCEDC’s one-man, in-house creative juggernaut, Warren Ellis, VP of Marketing.  The wonderful photos are by Cade Martin.

Great work is even more respected when you see it done in unlikely places.  I always thought working for an in-house agency would be one of the most difficult jobs in the creative world.  Why? Lots of reasons. You can start with the pressures associated with internal politics, and the fact that many in-house shops exist primarily to save money.  Such teams are supposed to be convenient and do as they are told, not take the kind of risks that lead to great work. In most cases, top management rarely gives the team a chance to shine.

That’s certainly not the case at the MCEDC, as this campaign attests.  This is potentially award-winning work that I’m sure will prove effective.  It’s clean and smart and it delivers the message loud and clear that the community and the county are good bedfellows for the world of high-level, bio tech innovators.

The campaign also works because it possess the kind of single-minded, focused strategy that I find rare.  So many clients and campaigns try to be everything to everybody. Who hasn’t seen that worn out message? You know the ones I mean:  “XYZ County /State/City is Open for business?” or “Come Visit ABC County/State/City and Find Out What We Can Do For You!”

This campaign isn’t afraid to take ownership of the ideas expressed in the work and stay on track.  My creative hat is off to MCEDC for having the courage to focus and for giving Warren the chance to shine.

Matt Smith is founder of SmithGifford, and has close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies.  SmithGifford is a Capitol Communicator sponsor.

You can find Matt Smith’s earlier columns at Oh, That’s Good.

About the Author

Matt Smith

Matt Smith is the Founder of Smith Gifford, with close to 40 years’ experience as a creative and agency leader at the nation’s top agencies. He's won literally every award out there, Cannes, Clios, One Show Gold, Silver and Bronze, ADDYs, ADDYs and more ADDYs, and even Pillar of the Community and Best Places to work twice. A fourth generation Washingtonian, he can't spell or understand grammar, having spent the first 10 years of his life in schools in France and Germany. Even though "Learning three languages before age 10 messed me up bad," Matt has written a hugely successful website called WoodyBoater for the past 13 years, for which he was featured on CBS Sunday Morning.


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