Walt Jaschek and Paul Fey Among 2018 St. Louis Media Hall of Fame Inductees

Awards and Honors, Press

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Paul Fey and Walt Jaschek of Paul & Walt Worldwide in 1994.

Surprise, bemusement and, okay, a little wistful introspection:  my reaction to the news my great friend and creative collaborator Paul Fey and I are being inducted into the 2018 St. Louis Media Hall of Fame, as announced Nov. 7, 2017, by the St. Louis Media History Foundation.

Paul was the first to say it; “Maybe they think we’re dead.” Turns out they know we’re still alive. Whew.

Twenty other St. Louis media professionals are also among the 2018 inductees: a distinguished and inspiring list, as published by STLToday. The induction ceremony is March 17, 2018, in St. Louis, says the Foundation says on its Facebook page.

Paul and I teamed up in 1991 to create Paul & Walt Worldwide, the radio commercial boutique agency and production company. Paul served as President; I served as Executive Creative Director. The agency had offices in Hollywood, California and St. Louis. 

Says the Foundation, in citing us as inductees: “Paul and Walt quickly gained recognition and numerous ADDY and CLIO awards for their highly creative national radio campaigns for CBS-TV, NBC, King World, and many other clients.”  (You can hear some of them here.)

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This is us back then. I’m on the right.

Paul is now President and Chief Creative Officer of World Wide Wadio in Hollywood, and I’m now consultant and copywriter here at Walt Now Consulting in St. Louis. 

With an attitude of gratitude.

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Prospect-Based Brainstorming and Ideation: What Would Winona Want?

Brainstorming, Ideation, Prospect-Based

By Walt Jaschek

Pssst! 

Someone’s missing from our messaging meetings. Not Marissa. She’s still at lunch with the client. Good. Not Marv. He’s under his headphones. Let him be.

The missing person is­­­­­­ our prospect.

That’s “prospect,” singular, not “prospects,” plural, nor (ugh) “target audience.” F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “Begin with an individual, and you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created… nothing.”

An individual prospect should be present in all messaging meetings — not physically, fun as that would be — but virtually. If we don’t have research, qualitative and quantitative, then the prospect P.O.V. can be represented via a unique scientific innovation I call “best guess.”

It starts like this. On the whiteboard I draw a cartoon figure of the prospect, give that “person” a name, because a real name invokes a real conversation, and for the sake of this post, let’s call “her” “Winona,” and if that name invokes an a certain film actress, well, pure coincidence. (Paid stock photo above notwithstanding.)

Then we as a group look at the cartoon avatar  (now popular called “personas,”) and list a few things we “know” about this person. Often, participants in the session can be effortlessly, ridiculously specific, because they often actually know, In Real Life, an individual prospect: “She loves her new Tesla.” “She only drinks reds.” “She probably has never heard of our product.”

These avatars, then, “participate” in the brainstorm, as we channel their reactions to our messaging ideas. When someone takes a stab at a differentiator – “our people make the difference” – we toss that to Winona. Maybe she agrees; maybe she calls “B.S.” But at some ideas, she smiles, and I draw the smile. The ones we feel she truly “gets” are usually more relevant, more authentic, and, praise Odin, less complex.

About that, a great book called Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity, by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn, says this:

“Complexity is a coward’s way out. There is nothing simple about simplicity, and achieving it requires empathizing (by perceiving others’ needs and expectations), distilling (by reducing to its essence the substance of one’s offer) and clarifying (by making the offer easier to understand and use).”

Hmmm. That’s a lot of parentheses for a paragraph about simplicity. But of course I believe they’re right.

I believe the mission of message strategists is not to make our product or service understandable. 

It’s to make our prospect feel understood.

And at that, look: Winona smiles!

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The #1 Question I’m Asked About My Creative Marketing Consultancy Is…

Questions, Whiteboard Content

“How does you pronounce ‘Jaschek’?”

Jassik? Jasik? Jashek? Jasheck? Yaschek?

Right this second, you might be considering engaging me in some red-hot marketing consulting and copywriting projects, but are stalled by a fear of trying to pronounce my last name. Okay. I hear that. Here’s an interview with myself to help untangle that gnarly enigma.

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Q. How do you pronounce “Jaschek?

A. Well, much of my family here in the U.S. pronounces the “s-c-h” combination as an “s” sound, like ja-sic, with a short “a” sound, as if to rhyme with “classic.

Q. “Jaschek,” “classic.” Sure, that seems…

A. Forget I said that. The jury will strike the previous statements from the record

Q. Why?

A. I don’t pronounce it that way.

Q. How do you?

A. Well, during college, I started to embrace that odd consonant combination as a “shhhhh” sound, like the “sch” in Schwabor Dr. Scholls or Anheuser Busch, makers of Busch Light, thinking that this would actually help pronunciation, not hinder.

Q. So did it help, then?

A. Not at all. But by then the damage was done.

 Q. [Tries it out] “Ja-shhhek.”

A. [Nods in almost paternal approval]

Q. Side question: Is it true that your high school gym teacher would call you “JAZZ-check” in a high-pitched nasal, and that you felt that “JAZZ-check” was some alternate version of yourself that ran laps in an athletic supporter?

A. That is true. How did you get that information?

Q. We hear things.

A. Hmmm.

Q. You know, in its original, Germanc language, the “j” would be pronounced like a “y.”

A.True. But I can’t yustify that.

Q. [Rolls eyes] So: what IS the correct pronunciation of “Jaschek”?

Q. You’re asking me?

A. [Sigh.]

Q. I was hoping you knew.

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Copywriter and Communications Consultant? That’s two Walts in one!

Brainstorming, Copywriting, Marketing Consulting

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Hi. I’m Walt Jaschek, copywriter and communications consultant based in St. Louis, Missouri. Back in the 1960s, the candy Certs assured us in advertising it was “two, two, two mints in one!” I’ve paraphrased that for the Walt Now Communications slogan: “Two, two, two Walts in one!”

Yes, I’m a communications consultant and planner, for great brands near and far, leading messaging and ideation sessions, live or remote, often using my Prospect-Based Brainstorming Processes.

But, unlike many consultants, I can actually write – taking the ideas generated in brainstorms and crafting truly memorable copy, scripts and content. See samples in my Copywriting Portfolio.

The combination has led to many happy clients, for which I am grateful.

So decide which Walt you need: Communications? Copywriter? Both? Cool. Let’s pop a Certs and go!

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