Thursday, April 12, 2007

Shane's World Round Two: Saint Louis

Heading east to the “Gateway to the West.” Weird. I’m sitting in the Salt Lake International Airport awaiting departure to St. Louis after a busy morning. I suppose that I should introduce myself to those of you who will be following me virtually around the NRA Annual Shin-Dig...

My name is Shane. That’s I’ll I’m willing to hand out freely in today’s cyberworld. Anyone with an internet connection and time to kill can probably find out every detail of my existence if they were so inclined. On principle, I just don’t hand it out freely.

I am the Creative Director for a specialty advertising agency that works with Springfield Armory...among other companies that will be exhibiting at the show. I’ve been in “the industry” for my entire career. Starting as a junior copywriter at the in-house creative group that handles Browning and Winchester firearms, I worked my way up over 8 years to become the Creative Director there. During that time, I hired Bill Dermody, who is now the "marketing guy" at Springfield.

I had gone to college with Bill and knew him as about the only other “gun guy” in a university of 25,000+ students. Certainly the only other one in the somewhat liberal communications program.

I left Browning/Winchester about six years ago with two partners to start a firm that would allow us to apply our passion and expertise to a broader range of “hook and bullet” clients. Bill stepped into the Creative Director position for a couple of years after I left, then took the Marketing Communications Director position with Springfield.

The fact that you’re here poking around the Springfield website is evidence that you’re a unique kind of gun nut. And before you take offense, the term “gun nut” is one of adoration.

Everyone I know at Springfield is into guns for the same reasons you and I are...mostly to have fun. And in an oxymoronic kind of way, they’re very serious about it. Springfield doesn’t always play by the rules. You won’t find a lot of fluff with these guys. Their marketing communication is as straight shooting as their firearms. That’s mostly due to Bill. They tell it like it is.

You might remember Bill’s acceptance speech when the SOCOM II won “Rifle of the Year” two years ago in Houston. He said, “At a time when so many are willing to die for their extremist beliefs, we’re proud to supply the products that help them on their way.” Pure poetry.

I’m looking forward to Bill’s remarks tomorrow morning when Springfield is awarded the NRA’s Golden Bullseye award for their EMP (Extreme Micro Pistol). Should be entertaining.

It's been great to work with both Springfield and Browning, because they share the same great bloodlines. In fact, since my departure, Browning has done some amazing things with the Cynergy and other designs and I think John Browning would be proud of the last several years of innovation marketed under his name. The buzz I hear from friends who are still at Browning is that 2008 will be one for the books. Stay tuned.

If there were ever a gun design that has remained unchanged, it’s the 1911. Like all John Browning designs, he did it right the first time. So making an old design sound new would seem to pose the same creative problem for me with Springfield Armory, but these guys bring fresh 1911 options and improvements to market every year.

The EMP, however, is not just another 1911. It is literally a whole new design. In creating an entirely new frame size, Springfield had to redesign virtually every part within the gun. In doing so, they didn’t simply design for size, they designed for greater functionality. Some might consider messing with a John Browning design heresy, but if anyone is worthy to approach such a task, it’s Springfield Armory.

Well, the Southwest Airlines cattle call is about to begin and I’m in the coveted “Boarding Group A” so I gotta dash. Show starts tomorrow and I’ll be sure to keep you posted. Consider my blog for Thursday, April 12 as Spring-filed.

Peace out.

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