Horror Movie Branding: Find Your Shower Stabbing

With Halloween just around the corner and trick or treating being highly discouraged, there is no better way to preserve the spirit of all things spooky than traumatizing your children and loved ones with your favorite scary movies.

            When thinking of a classic horror movie, what do you remember best? Is it the extremely well-crafted plots and genuinely likeable protagonists (I write while trying to keep a straight face)? Of course not. I want you to take a minute, think about it, and then tell me the name of any main “good guy” character from any classic 80’s slasher flick. With the obvious exceptions of horror junkies, chances are most of you struggled a bit with this one.

            What if I asked you to then not only tell me the name, but a vivid description of any VILLAIN from one of those movies. Immediately you get all of the Ghostface Killers (not to be confused with Ghostface Killahs), Jason Voorhees(es?), and Freddy Kruegers you can stand to hear about. So why is this? The main protagonist of a horror film has significantly more screen time throughout the film than the killer, who often remains unseen with whispers of where they might strike next.

            It’s all about creating a brand, and horror movies are a masterclass in brand creation. Because of Friday the 13th, old school hockey masks are no longer just that, more often than not, I’ve seen them referred to as “Jason Masks” and nothing else. The iconic screeching instrumental accompanying the famous shower stabbing in Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ is nothing short of horror film legend and is referenced in pop culture constantly. You may not have even seen the movie, and you know that scene and music anywhere.

            Now while it may not be the best idea for your brand to adopt a machete toting mask wearing psychopath as the face of your company, there is actually a lot to be learned about branding from your favorite baddies.

            So much of it boils down to the icon, it can be a logo, a product, or even the name of the brand itself! Jason’s mask, Freddy’s glove, the red spirals on Billy the doll’s cheeks (sorry my Saw fanboy is showing) each of these symbols immediately invoke one thought only. Horror iconography in some cases is just as recognizable as the logos and names of some of the largest most successful companies in the world.

The brand you create needs this icon, and it needs to express what sets you apart from the others. The best new horror movies are the ones that learn from the classics but take a new approach. Take such a simple thought or idea and twist it enough to make it something that is truly your own. Horror movies could’ve stopped at Psycho, but the simple killer trope was not enough. Supernatural horror could’ve stopped at the Exorcist, but when people saw just how much they feared the supernatural and owl-esque head movements, a whole new world was opened.

Sizzle Reel from the ’80s

With 2020 being less than ideal (to say the very least) we wanted to give homage and harken back to one of our favorite decades … the ’80s.

The ’80s was not only one of the most creative decades in recent history it was also very innocent. Sure there were troubled times with the cold war and the A.I.D.S crisis but in a way that was still a benefit of the ’80s because it would prepare us to be able to handle 2020 with all it’s conflict and adverse human conditions.

From fashion to movies to music and beyond it is no wonder that over the past few years we have seen the influence of the ’80’s find its way back into our modern culture. Even the song we chose for our sizzle reel was a cover of a lesser known ’80’s artist Den Harrow (circa 1985) done by our friend Massimo his absolutely amazing band Confrontational. We suggest you give him a listen and of course check out our reel and pass it along, hopefully we can transport you back to a better time.

Thanks and hang in there, things will get better, they always do!


5 Years of Fresh

When we started fresh and Fresh in 2015, one thing was for certain, we were bound and determined to make it work.

Unlike some and like some companies of our ilk we started with zero. But our passion and determination were bountiful.

For me personally it couldn’t have been a worse time to start a business. I was selling my house, going through a divorce, looking for a place to live and had a 16 year old to support and maintain health insurance on.

But there’s an old saying and I am here to tell you it’s true. “If you dare to take the leap, the universe will conspire to help you”.

In the last five years, sure we’ve grown the company, but we’ve also grown as individuals. We have had some great successes along the way, working on some great clients doing fun work and even winning a Hatch Award which to date was the only award show we entered because to us it isn’t about that, it’s about being true to our original mantra of doing great work with great people from great brands.

Of course I would be lying if I didn’t say we made mistakes along the way and will probably make more, but we always learn from them so once you can recognize the value of a mistake it can lessen the sting.

Beyond that we feel fortunate to have had the support of family, colleagues and friends who have helped us build our business by engaging, referring and believing in us. So thank you to all, we know we would be nowhere without you all.

Here’s to the last five years and to the next.

Uniquely positioned to shepherd your brand through the digital landscape.

Since way before 2015 the principles @Fresh have been shepherding brands as big as General Motors and as small as … well … us, online.

Whether through online advertising campaigns, apps, sites, out of home and brand activation, we’ve seen it all, done it all.

As companies emerge through this pandemic, some have put in digital duct tape solutions, some had started to make the switch, some are sitting there wanting to make the change. What ever the need or opportunity,
Fresh is uniquely positioned to help brands with this transition.

Why are we uniquely positioned?

  1. Creative Pedigree – We have been involved in ideating and producing national and even international creative campaigns for tier one agencies and brands for as long as there has been digital.
  2. Experience – We truly have seen it all, done it all and conquered it all for brands big and small.
  3. Value – Sure you can go to a large agency and pay a lot of money every month, but we are pretty sure that when faced with a situation like Covid-19 you wish you had that money back and wish you had known what it was actually being spent on.
  4. Nimble and accessible – Cutting out layers and layers of time and meetings and people who never touch your business — with Fresh the people you meet are the people that get it done. Plain and simple.
  5. Ask around – Anyone that knows us, has worked with us will say the same, we work on a project only basis, and that is two-fold: 1) we know that we are only as good as our last project 2) we get that not every relationship jives and no one should feel obligated if things aren’t working.

Finally, if you fit into any of the categories above, contact us and let’s talk, we aren’t hard salesy pitch type people. Our goal all along is to collaborate with cool people on cool projects and bring our Fresh perspective to the table.

Why we do the things we do.

All the time we get the question: What made you guys want to start your own digital creative shop? 

Our answer is simple: We wanted to work on fun projects with cool people. 

And, well, here we are. 

We get to go to work with people we like every day. We get to work on only the kinds of projects we want to work on. We get to try new things, learn new things, and decide which new things are awesome, and which new things we do not like. 

We also get to flex some muscle in terms of our own experiences, successes, training, and talent. I don’t know at what point after starting a new business where it happens that you look around and think to yourself: “we belong in this room. we are creative. we do great work. we know design and we can work our way around some hefty technical challenges. we bring a lot of value to our clients in an unassuming and fun way. we’re good at this.” 

We get to take on new roles. We get to learn the ins and outs of running a small business. We manage our own books, hire people, send invoices, pay bills, file taxes, pay rent, license software, sharpen new skills, and use new tools. We own the whole process, and while sometimes that can feel a little overwhelming, the feeling of ownership and true investment is unmatched in terms of motivating us to deliver the best work we possibly can. Our names are all over it. It’s work for hire…but it’s also for pride. 

We work out schedules, secure conference call numbers, and decide whether puppy PLB can come back because he peed on the floor (twice – sorry, Jesse!) 

We manage big projects and sophisticated clients. We have established relationships with large agency and media and technology partners. We know the creative rules and best practices. We’re also current, technically savvy, and know exactly when to bring in a subject matter expert to deliver the perfect guidance for a client.

We know and are learning so many things that have helped us see so much success as Fresh. As we continue to evolve, we keep focused on learning new things and staying tuned into the reasons why we started this whole thing in the first place: work on fun projects with cool people and deliver outstanding creative work.