Monday, November 7, 2011

Social media experts talk healthcare at VSBrooks.

   Social media has become an important part of our everyday lives, giving each and every person a voice online. With that in mind, we decided to organize a symposium on the implications of social media for the healthcare industry, in collaboration with the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association.


 Our renovated offices became a classroom for the afternoon, as healthcare executives gathered for a primer on topics from Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to blogger outreach and online reputation management, given by a panel of some of the top local experts. There were many questions and animated discussion, as this is a topic that's very much on every marketer's, communicators and institution's radar screens.

Special thanks to our collaborator and social media maven Maria de los Angeles, who put together the panel, and the panelists Alex de Carvalho, Hilda Mitrani, Blanca Stella Mejia, Craig Agranoff and Jeff Zelaya. (Click on their names to find out more about them or as they said, just Google them!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Like us and you may win an iPad!

We are turning 15 years old soon! And like every teenager, we have one thing in mind: popularity! (No, not that other thing.)

So we are on a mission to make new friends to share our birthday celebrations, and to make it sweeter, we'll be raffling an iPad among all of our Facebook followers. All you have to do is like us before October 14, and it could be yours!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hurricane VSBrooks?

Soon a sleek new office will emerge from the rubble.

Construction update: we are at that point where it looks like a Cat 5 just blew through what was once our work space, and you wonder if it'll ever look as good as the architect's renderings. The after-demolition space was a sight to behold –and it left us without internet or phones for the best part of a day. What's a remodel without a few horror stories? But once the dust settles and the drills stop, we are looking forward to enjoy our new beautiful digs in a few months. Can't wait!

Want to see more images of the wholesale destruction of our old offices? Check it out in our Facebook Page!

Monday, April 25, 2011

You have a website, now what?

  If somebody spent only one minute per page, it would take 31 thousand years to visit all of them. To actually read their content, you better clear your schedule for the next six hundred thousand decades. This is by far the largest amount of information ever collected in human history. So how do you make sure your website stands out in this digital haystack?
You've heard about terms like page ranking, web presence and SEO (search engine optimization) and you know that if it doesn't show up in Google's first results page, it may as well not exist. You may even know you can pay for better position - which can be a costly proposition. (There's even a sub-industry with the sinister name of Black Hat SEO that promises fast results, but eventually will get your site banned from most search engines.)
   Our client,, faced this problem and they solved it beautifully. Their website was launched in March 2011, just before the FL legislative session started. A month later, a Google Search for "Florida lobby" returns 16.5 million results - and shows them in second place. That's ahead of the websites for the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists and the website of their main competitor. The only result above them is the website for the Florida Legislature itself. How where they able to attain this impressive result in such a short time? Turns out is not that much different that attracting attention in the real world. It takes old-fashioned elbow-grease in the form of relevant quality content, dedication and consistency. is, among other purposes, a valuable repository of information about Florida legislative issues, indexed by issue. We designed the website to be easy to read and navigate for the readers, and easy as well for their staff to update with a robust Content management system (CMS), an online tool that allows them to make real time changes to the content without the need of knowing website programming. We also used a clean layout on purpose, avoiding the use of techniques such as Flash which creates sites that are not easily indexed by search engines.
   Armed with this tool, they went to work and populated every section of the website with relevant content culled from news organizations and specialized sources such as the Legislature reporting service. The result is content that is organically rife with relevant keywords. All the content is linked back to the original source, creating a web of links that reverberates across websites. And they have been diligently consistent about finding and posting this content, not letting a day pass without updating the front page on most sections. At this point, you can probably find more in their website about what's happening in the state government than in any of the state's main newspapers.
   This collection of quality and relevant content is what's clients are looking for the site to provide, and the gateway for the premium issue-tracking service they offer. It's a huge time saver for the industry leaders who are interested in finding only the content that relates to their industry - and it's also what has given its robust web presence in a mere month.
   So the lesson is: there are no shortcuts or magic tricks in the web age. Be relevant and consistent, offer quality, always link, and be disciplined about adding and updating content. Then sit back and watch your page ranking shot to the top of the results.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where are all these pink snails coming from?

By Daniel Timiraos

   Look anywhere around the City of Coral Gables and you’re bound to run into them. Snails. Big pink ones. At first they just blended in during the morning commute. Lack of coffee in the morning will do that to you. But a lunchtime walk around the city confirms their big pink existence. Listen to some jazz at the Coral Gables Museum and there’s one of them to keep you company. Head up the traffic circle on Coral Way, there’s another to greet you. So what are they and where did they come from?
   The snails, which symbolize nature, were created from recycled materials and leave a minimal carbon footprint. To make a long story short, they were originally set up in Miami Beach for Art Basel. Apparently, they were not very well received, seeing as one of them ended up in the ocean. Seems like they found a quieter home in the Gables. Some people seem to like them, others not so much. Here are some articles if you want to hear more about the big pink snails.
   Whether you like them or not they will be around for a bit. And who knows, when they're gone they just might be missed. Let us know what you think of them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Creatives are Kooks.

By: Olivia Errasti, VSBrooks Advertising
   One of the things that really attracted me to the advertising industry is the unconventional work environment. Advertising agencies are known for having playrooms and cool office designs with fun wall colors and some of the latest gadgets and programs. Yes, it’s different and most definitely fun to work in an advertising agency, or at least it’s very much so at VSBrooks Adevrtising, but it’s not just for the hell of it. To be a successful ad agency is to have forward-thinking, kick-ass creative. Creatives are asked to pump out so much work in such a short amount of time that in order to keep them producing fresh, quality ideas, they need room to bug around. Every single creative at VSBrooks Advertising has their own method of ideating, and from an outsider’s perspective, the process is pretty entertaining.
   Vivian Santos, Executive Creative Director, takes what I call the Omm approach. When she is brainstorming she retreats into her office, door closed, and does not speak to a soul until her chi has aligned and her mind is hyper-focused. Every once in a while, though, you’ll catch her with her door open. Vivian sits in her chair, leaned all the way back, legs spread out and locked forward, with hands behind her head as she looks up at the ceiling. You would think she was waiting for a police officer to pat her down for paraphernalia.
   Then you have Danny Timiraos, our Senior Art Director. His design process is probably the most normal, but that’s relative. Danny sits in front of his computer in a far away, forgotten corner of the office and clicks away. ALL. DAY. LONG. He is swifter with a mouse and computer than a teenage girl is texting away on her cell phone. Watching him design is about as interesting as watching a librarian reshelf books. They’re doing a lot of the same thing, but in the end everything is in its place and looks astonishing. Danny’s final product is clean, crisp, and beautiful artwork.
   Alejandro Barreras, Creative Services, has the most active method in our office. He’s got a desk with a comfy chair and huge, snazzy monitor. Yet he hardly sits there while he is brainstorming. Alejandro is usually doing one of three things while he is generating ideas:

(1) wandering around the office, taking everything in as if he’s seeing it for the first time,
(2) sitting on one of our couches, laptop where it’s designed to be, that is…wait for it…wait for it…on his lap, or
(3) shooting at a coworker with one of the fully automatic Nerf guns in our arsenal.
In case you were wondering, yes, we have worker’s comp.
   I don’t exactly know how our creatives’ processes lead to such wonderful work, but the proof is in the pudding. Their "beerstorming" (the act of brainstorming within an alcohol-fueled environment) and lollygagging has led to multiple awards for the agency, and as someone in account services, the best part is sitting back, enjoying the show, and sometimes even taking part in the Nerf gun battles. What do the creatives around your office do?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sometimes fighting hunger is just a walk on the beach.

   Some of the most rewarding work we do at the agency is for Feeding South Florida, an organization dedicated to "wage a war" against hunger. It's a noble purpose and they mean "war" quite literally - take a look at some of the work we have done to promote their cause, complete with camo gear and dog tags.
   FSF has organized the 5K Walk/Run March 4 Hunger, this Saturday March 12, from 7:30 to 10:30 am, along the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. And of course, the VSBrooks team will be there, marching with them.
   Most of us are fortunate to sit at a full table each day and don't have to worry where our next meal is coming from. But for too many of our fellow Floridians, hunger is an every day reality. We can make a difference. For every dollar raised, Feeding South Florida can provide nine pounds of food and grocery items. Think about that for a second. For the price of a typical lunch, a hungry person could eat for several days.
   This is why we encourage you to spend a couple hours of your Saturday (nice weather for a walk on the beach!) and help achieve a great turnout for this worthy cause. Registration is $25 in advance or $35 the day of the race.
   To register, visit Split Second Timing or check out Feeding South Florida's wepage for more details.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


By: Olivia Errasti

   5 months. That’s how long I’ve been involved in the advertising industry. Just FIVE months. When I first started – and some would say I am still just starting, though I beg to differ given the bevy of mistakes I have made that have forced me to learn faster than an Army recruit facedown in the mud, while an officer is yelling, “You’re a pansy!” But back to my point…when I first started, I was wide-eyed, slightly intimidated, and almost entirely ignorant.
   Starting at VSBrooks Advertising during their peak season, I was thrust into the whirlwind of constant client requests, publication due dates, and media plan adjustments on a daily hourly basis. Tack on the fact that I was starting from ground zero and you have a recipe for a royal clusterfudge.

So, seen through the eyes of a newb, I bring you lessons I have learned about advertising as an account coordinator at VSBrooks:
1) Don’t you DARE miss that double space!
   As account coordinator, the bulk of my duties involve proofreading. Not for one moment while I was in grade school did I think that there would be a real-life, day-to-day application for my secret pleasure of correcting grammar, syntax, and content. But my secret pleasure for proofreading has become a curse. I want to be the one that catches all the errors, feeling a sense of victory every time I strike through a word repeated twice or put a “#” where a space was forgotten. I’m sure by now you’re thinking, “This girl is so weird she probably hasn’t had a boyfriend since OJ Simpson decided that a white Ford Bronco was the perfect getaway car.” But in my defense, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way about proofreading. Otherwise, my coworkers and I would not geekily say to each other “Good catch!” when a particularly inconspicuous error is caught.
Moral: I never thought playing scrabble by myself would pay off, but my zeal for concise, grammatically correct writing has been an integral part of my early (however minimal) success.

2) Check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self.
   You know in school when teachers tell you to always double-check your work so much that it makes you NOT want to check it? Well, they’re right. I consider myself an intelligent individual with plenty of common sense. I graduated top 10 of my class in high school and have a BA from Boston College. Before you say STFU and stop gloating, I’ve made some of the dumbest mistakes because of not double-checking my work. Mistakes so dumb they make a sea cucumber look like Isaac Newton.

Lessons learned from the myriad mistakes I’m referring to:

· Double-check your e-mail subject lines and make sure they match the content of the e-mail.

BODY: Dear Client, we are working diligently on the flyer for the Center’s grand opening this weekend…

· Double-check the jargon of your profession so that you’re not talking to the client about a header when you mean to be talking to them about a call-to-action.
· Double-check to make sure you really don’t have records of a document before you ask a coworker three different times to forward an e-mail to you.
· Lastly, but most importantly, ALWAYS CHECK WHO IS CC’D IN AN E-MAIL. This particular one infuriated a peer to the point that she said with deadpan expression and questionable sarcasm, “I wanted to dangle you by your ankle from the edge of the roof of this building”.

Moral: It’s worth your time to double-check your work before you send it, rather than spending twice as much time fixing your mistake (and worrying about whether or not you can make it after falling 12 stories).
3) Your skin better be thicker than Aretha Franklin’s waistline.
   You see the people you work with day in and day out. Every one has an off day. As one of the least confrontational people you’d ever meet who works with some of the most upfront people you’d ever meet, dealing with people’s off days and sometimes-justified bad moods was an immediate dilemma.
   Being in account services and working directly with clients, I’ve also gotten a mouthful from the client. My first month I was sheltered and thus blissfully believed every one was all about candy canes, puppies, and rainbows. In my second and third month in the advertising world, the veil came off and I was a deer caught in headlights. I cringed every time I heard a shout from the other end of the office, “Oliviaaaa!!” Every time I would think to myself “WTH did I do now? Why am I always being called out?” However, during the last two months I have realized, the tone in people’s voice when they say or request something, the snappy comments – they’re not personal. Every one is here to work and get the job done right.
Moral: A coworker may be upset in the moment and mostly it’s because they don’t want to get an earful from the client. It is not the end of the world. Chances are, they will just as quickly be over it. And if not, swallow your pride and apologize. No use pulling a Dick Cheney and making your colleague apologize to YOU after you’ve shot them in the face.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


    For years, the biggest target audience age for marketers was between 18 -24. Well the target has moved or rather aged toward Medicare. As Ana Veciana-Suarez writes in her article, "Baby boomers, the generation that once vowed to never trust anyone over 30, begin turning 65 this year."
   The Miami Herald has published two articles by Veciana-Suarez today that really flesh out this pivotal shift in the demographic and what they can expect in Medicare.
Turning 65? Time to brush up on the details of Medicare, explains how medicare will affect this new senior population.
A cheat sheet on the four parts that comprise Medicare, further explains the complexities of medicare.