#STLMADE Writer Walt Jaschek Showcases St. Louis Stories for TheSTL.com

Appearances, Content Writing, Walt a Life

Walt Jaschek and wife Randy at the launch of the #STLMade Movement and the website TheSTL.com, at Venture Cafe in St. Louis, March 14, 2019.

I’m Walt Jaschek, and I’m #STLMade: born and raised in St. Louis. I’ve built a blessed life here, and have enjoyed a decades-long writing career here. I crafted work of which I’m proud, and which gained some attention from peers and associates; in 2018, I was inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. Needless to say, I dig this city like rock ‘n’ roll.

That’s why I was delighted to be invited to contribute articles to the new website TheSTL.com, part of the new #STLMade movement, which intends to “shine light on St. Louis thinkers, doers and makers.” A noble cause. I’m for it.

The site is now alive and my first article is published in it. Headlined Niche of Time, it spotlights a cool company in St. Charles, Masterclock, whose high-tech timepieces are sold globally. The firm is run by a dynamic CEO, John Clark, who is also, you will see, a one-man quote machine! Read the article.

Stay tuned for more articles as assignments arrive, and see what it means to be truly #STLMade. Like me. Meanwhile: Cheers!

Former Current Editors Walt Jaschek and Paul Fey Become a Story In Themselves

Press Coverage, Radio Commercials, Walt a Life

 

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Former Current Editors Inducted Into St. Louis Media Hall of Fame

Walt Jaschek served as editor-in-chief of The Current, the campus newspaper of the University of St. Louis, in 1974-1975. Staffer and Walt’s new pal Paul Fey was editor in 1975-1976. Years after graduation, the two went on to form Paul & Walt Worldwide, an ad agency specializing in funny radio commercials for national entertainment brands. For this body of creative work, among others, they were recently inducted into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame. And to bring it back home, their former creative meeting ground, The Current, ran a pretty funny article about the whole thing. Read the piece by Kat Riddler here.

The circle of life. It’s a thing!

2019 St. Louis Addy Award Winners: Congratulations! 1989 St. Louis Addy Award Winners: Hey, That’s Me!

Award-Winning, Flashbacks, Press Coverage, Walt a Life

By Walt Jaschek

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Part 1: A Surreal Night for an Addy Newcomer.

Heading to the 2019 St. Louis Addy Awards at Busch Stadium tonight, to cheer on the winners, be inspired by the work, and see old friends. It’s with no small bit of nostalgia that I realize I have been attending the St. Louis Addy Awards for exactly 30 years.

And though I’ve won my share of Addys over the years, none of the wins can compare to that first night, in 1989, when I won not one but two “Best of Show” Addys at the ceremonies at Powell Symphony Hall. It was a mind-boggling night my 33-year-old self was not prepared for. I was also not prepared for the article by Jerry Berger that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the next morning. 

Here’s a clip of the piece, which everybody from my Mom to my dentist saw. (Back then, everybody read the paper.)

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Headlined “Ad Writer Steals Show,” the article, accompanied by a mustache-laden head shot of my 33-year-old self, begins:

“Walter S. Jaschek, a free-lance advertising copywriter, stole the show the annual ADDY Award competition Thursday night at Powell Symphony Hall.

“Jaschek, who has an office on the South Side, won three gold and two Best of Show awards for advertising produced in St. Louis between Oct. 1, 1987, and Sept. 30, 1988.

“Jaschek submitted only three in the almost 900 entries received by the ADDY committee,

“‘I’m glad I made the right decision last April to free-lance,’ said Jaschek, a former member of the advertising management staff with Southwestern Bell Telephone Co.

“In the Best of Show category, Jaschek won in the radio and print categories. The radio winner was a 30-second commercial, ‘Laugh Catalog,’ for the Comedy Club, which Jaschek created by teaming up with former St. Louis Paul Fey; the print winner was themed, ‘Warm, Personal Letter,’ created to announce the opening of Jaschek Ink.” (The name of my business then.)

The article concluded:

“Hollywood entertainer John Byner served as master-of-ceremonies for the program, which marked the first held away from a hotel without a dinner.

“Of the more than 2,400 guests at Powell, 500 were advertising students from 24 colleges.”

Part 2: Looking Back at 1989 from 2019 (Video and Interview.)

A few months ago, the St. Louis Ad Club, to promote the 2019 St. Louis Addy Awards, asked members for “unusual Addy memories” they could capture on video and post on social media. I was only too happy to recall that first, very surreal win, and how it led to what became known as “The Red Underwear Story.

That’s a crisp and wacky 60 seconds, but the interview went longer. Here’s more of the Q & A.

Q: Let’s get warmed up….tell us a little about yourself. Name, title, where you work, a quick journey through your life in the ad business.

Walt: I’m Walt Jaschek, freelance copywriter and creative strategist, and because Jaschek is impossible to spell or pronounce, I DBA as Walt Now, as in, “What Now?” I have been so blissfully self-employed since 1988, and if you do the math, that means more than 30 years. So don’t do the math. 

Q: What’s the difference between a copywriter and creative strategist?

Walt: Pants. Copywriters wear jeans. Creative strategists wear khakis. So today I come to you as a copywriter. But I have some khakis handy.

Q: What’s your perspective on the focus on winning awards in the advertising business?

Walt: Well, I think there are three reasons they are the big dang deal that they are. (1) We work mostly in anonymity – if you write an article or draw a New Yorker cover, you get a byline. They don’t put bylines on ads, though God knows I’ve tried. It’s a way of saying, “Look. I did this. Me. Do you like it?” (2.) Agencies know awards represent a creative culture, and culture attracts talent. And (3.) let’s cut to the chase: ego. Creatives are a roller –coaster of insecurity and egomania. I mean, would I carry this award around with me if I had more self-esteem?

Q: What about the Addys specifically? How does an awards show that is geared towards the local level different than national shows?

Walt: The appetizers are better. Here in St. Louis, you’re far more likely to see toasted ravioli.  You’re not gonna get THAt a Cannes. No, seriously, I think it’s a matter of building community. Of representing. Saying, look at the work coming out of St. Louis. Take that… Austin. Or to keep it in the district: check it out… Des Moines.

Q. Do you remember your first Addy?

Walt: Sure. You always remember your first.

Q. Do you remember how many Addys you’ve attended?

Walt: No. I’d have to count the hang-overs.

Q. Is there a specific Addy story you’d like to share with us today?

Walt: I won my first “Best of Show” Addy in 1988 when I was 33 years old, my very first year of freelancing, for the ONE and ONLY THING I submitted that year: a one-page piece of a paper — a funny letter announcing my business launch.  Unprepared, I had to go on stage at the Fox in front of a huge crowd to accept from comedian John Byner, and pictures of me from the podium have a shocked, deer-in-headlights quality.  I improvised something about being glad I wore my “lucky red underwear.”  That was too much information, now and then. 

Q. But the red underwear thing became a running joke, right?

A. Right. That line became a running joke, and at another Addy ceremony years later, when I teamed up with Paul Fey and won a “Best of Show” for radio, we actually brought red underwear up to the podium and threw them into the audience. People were grabbing at them, like Fred Bird throwing t-shirts at Busch Stadium. For years after, people would say to me in public:  “I still have your underwear!” Depending on who I might be with, that could be a little disconcerting.

Q: What lesson can we take away from your Addy story?

Walt: My quite serious take-away from that silly story is this:  Enter SOMETHING.  Even if it’s it’s only ONE thing. And even … if it’s the ONLY thing you got. ‘Cause, who knows? Weird stuff happens.

Q. What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering entering the Addys this year?

Walt: iBuprofen. Take it early And often. Also: have a speech prepared. Just in case. otherwise. You could end up like me. (Holds up Addy award with red underwear draped over it.)

Q. Thanks, Walt.

Walt: See you at the show!

Writer and Creative Strategist Walt Jaschek is a 2018 inductee into the St. Louis Media Hall of Fame.

Walt Jaschek is Grateful for These Graceful Recommendations

IRL, Recommendations, Walt a Life

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Walt Jaschek has an attitude of gratitude: for many things (like the view from Bryce Canyon, Utah, above) but especially for the kind recommendations for his concepting and copywriting services, as provided on LinkedIn from distinguished professionals and executives in advertising, marketing, design, production and sales. A sampling:

Ramona Kristmann
Creative Director

When I have a client who REALLY needs to differentiate, I call on Walt Jaschek. He’s my “Go To” brand strategist/copywriter. Walt is masterful at helping to position brands and writing copy that communicates a brand or client company’s strategic difference.

Walt writes straight and powerful copy, that’s simple to read. He’s has a knack for making the complex seem simple.

Walt forces you to look at marketing communication through the eyes of a cartoon avatar, who represents your target audience. Then, he invites this cartoon avatar to join your meeting. Soon, you find they are actually sitting right there with you, as you discuss whether a marketing message is resonating. That’s the magic of Walt Jaschek. And, that’s why I partner with him whenever I can.

Bob Mogley
Sales & Marketing Professional

Walt Jaschek is the “Woody Allen of Advertising.” The guy’s in a league of his own. He gets it – and does it all. No matter whether you’ve known him for five years or five minutes: You’ll Want Walt.

Why? Because he gives your message meaning, he gets results and he genuinely loves what he does.

The man pours an incredible amount of passion, wit, creativity and direction into every project he touches…and it shows.

His work stretches across the country and I am no longer taken aback when I run into clients and associates who have either worked with Walt or know his work.

Meet with Walt and you will want him working with you, too.

Mike Whitney
Owner, Whitney Design Works LLC

Walt Jaschek is an extremely thoughtful and creative person. I’ve enjoyed working with him on freelance projects from the Arbor Group, but I’ve actually gotten to know him better through personal channels. He believes in starting at the beginning, which is almost always the best place to start. He feels that a tagline, if handled properly, is the “kernel” or “nugget” of the advertising message. According to him, if you have a great tagline, you’re well on your way to success. I would heartily recommend him for any project that requires a strong tagline, excellent writing, and/or great ideas. He is also a very ethical person, as well as totally likable.

Angie Lawing
Marketing Executive, Film/Video Producer

Walt Jaschek is an imaginative and dedicated storyteller with a keen eye (and hand) for writing comedy. He shared numerous scripts for a short film concept, and gave us plenty of humor in a variety of forms. Once we settled on one of his scripts, Walt helped champion the project in a collaborative, respectful and enthusiastic manner, from storyboards to filming and editing. He is generous with his time and sharp with his wit.

Mike Sneden
Owner, The Arbor Group

Walt Jaschek is a first rate, creative writer providing copy and concepts that are unique but spot-on to strategy. His word craft is second to none and he is a true collaborative spirit. I just wish I had enough projects to employ him continuously.

Mike Behr
Entrepreneur, Strategist, Innovator, Senior Marketing Executive

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Walt Jaschek for several years and on dozens of branding and marketing initiatives. Walt is brilliant as both a brand strategist and copywriter. He can quickly understand a client’s needs and value and package that succinctly into headlines, copy and brand statements.

Whether you need help with developing or better defining your brand, concepting a campaign, creating copy for broadcast, print or web, a sit down with Walt is the best place to start.

Doug Brooks
Owner, Marketing Management Group

I have used Walt Jaschek several times as a creative catalyst when our creative projects needed a spark. Our last project required us to turnaround creative concepts and final copy in two days. Walt was in our office for a brainstorm within 24 hours of my call. His ideas and execution wowed our client and ultimately helped earn us a new account and ongoing creative business. He was constantly available throughout the process and his work was outstanding. A true professional!

Dan Klein
Partner, Spoke Marketing

Simply put, when I grow up I want to be like Walt. Walt Jaschek is an idea guy… whatever you are thinking, he can turn it upside down and bring something new. Unlike a lot of idea guys though, he is organized… grounded in process… he is able to facilitate any discussion and bring it to a place you can act on the idea. Then – he can act. He will write it up and deliver it on time. If I could use Walt on every project… every project would be better for it.

David Meyer
Partner, Spoke Marketing

WARNING: do not hire Walt Jaschek unless you feel comfortable saying “Damn! I wish I’d thought of that!” While I do miss the mustache, Walt is passionate, creative and brings energy to every meeting; no exceptions.

The only thing I like better than working with Walt…is taking credit for his ideas.

Kristy “Tucc” (Bauer) Tucciarone, Ph.D
Program Chair and Professor, Lindenwood University

Hands down, Walt Jaschek gave the BEST presentation about Advertising Copywriting; In fact, he was the more informative speaker we have had all semester…heck, all year,” shared advertising students at UMSL. As the Professor of Advertising I constantly seek ad professionals who can tap the potential in students and make it come alive. Walt did exactly that. I recommend his presentation “Let Loose the Large” to all students studying advertising!! His work is engaging, fun, and effective.

Julie Taylor
Principal, Taylor Management Group

Walt Jaschek has a unique ability to bring a brand to life. Through the creative process, he uses his ability to bring together many seemingly disparate views into a brand story that creates awareness and increases client revenues.

Gabe Lozano
Founder and CEO, LockerDome

Walt Jaschek is one of top creatives in the marketing industry; he’s clever, original, and a true professional. It’s impossible to turn down a cup of coffee with this guy, as it’s simply fascinating to see his mind go to work.

Rod Patershuk
Owner, Noble Business Development

I recently signed up for the “Perfect Your Pitch” workshop with Walt Jaschek and Mike Behr. Our business is complicated for the common layman or even for the sophisticated investor; so we’ve had trouble switching audiences. Being heavily technical in nature our success has been fair with people who already have a knowledge base in our area. But we wanted more; to be better understood.

First and foremost Walt and Mike are professionals that understand the process. Through a deep conversation that flowed easily, they helped us get to the root of our issue. It wasn’t painful in the least and provided a great deal of clarity. There was no talking down to, or jargon; no preconceived notions or boxes to be put in. They provide a structured format, that’s flexible and can adapt to our needs. Both Mike and Walt are easy to talk to and very bright. They proved to be good listeners that really understand getting to the next steps. They have plenty of skill in taking difficult concepts and relaying them in way that’s more easily understood.

In the end we definitely got more than we bargained for and had a good time getting there. I’d highly recommend spending time with them to help you get to your goals faster.

Jeane Vogel
Executive Director, Webster Community Arts Foundation
Artist, Jeane Vogel Studios

Walt Jaschek is, by far, the most talented person I know. But talent comes at price. Sometimes it’s moodiness or quirkiness or just being hard to work with. The cost of working with Walt? Well, you have to contend with his amazing good humor, dry wit, exceptional creative mind and amazing results. Worst of all, you don’t get want you asked for: you get better!

Walt says: Thank you all, very, very much. I am sincerely grateful for your kind words and recommendations. If you want to add to them, I’ll graciously accept.

And I work every day to be worthy of them.

Home

Seeing Video Scripts Turn Into Real Videos: A Thrill, Still

Process Posts, Videos, Walt a Life

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Completed after weeks of work: a series of dramatic, dialogue-driven, leadership training video scripts I wrote for an international management consulting firm. Take a look there at page 7: that’s a great scene, huh? (Just kidding.)

Bonus: Just spent a few days on the set, watching a great director, dedicated crew, and gifted actors bringing my words to life. Gotta say: that never gets old.

Director Mike Sneeden of Arbor Group, crew and actors about to shoot a scene from my script. Goosebumps!

How to Register to Vote Without Really Trying: a Tip from Walt and Randy

Civic Duty, Public Service Announcement, Walt a Life

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Pardon this quick PSA, but you must be registered to vote by October 9, 2018, in order to be eligible to vote in the mid-term elections November 6, 2018. In the above pic, wife Randy and I point to a cool shortcut I put on the whiteword. Text the word “register” to 64433. You’ll get a link to a site that’ll make you official in ~ 2 minutes. So work those thumbs, and see you at the polls November 6!

Why we created the Herobots™: It begins with a bored boy…

Coloring Books, Creator-Owned, Herobots, Walt a Life

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By Walt Jaschek

When I approached ace St. Louis illustrators Don Secrease and Bill Lux for help in bringing to life The Herobots and launching the characters in a coloring and games book, I was thinking of a bored 6-year-old boy. And myself.

It started with a specific 6-year-old boy. A crabby, impatient, hungry one. I don’t know his name. But he was part of a big crowd enduring a long wait in the lobby of a pancake restaurant with his mother. He was squirming, and I could tell he was desperate for some stimulation, any stimulation. His mother didn’t engage him; didn’t hand him a pencil and paper; or even her phone. (I guess I should be happy about that part.)

I felt the restless boredom radiate out of this young man, and I immediately I wished I had on me a coloring book young kids might like, about, oh, say, superhero robot action figures. I wished I could also hand him some crayons and tell him to “have at.” (With Mom’s permission, of course.) I even had a name bouncing around my mind: the HEROBOTS.

A few months later, after great work by Don and Bill, working from a script by me, we sent to the printers Herobots Coloring and Games Book #1. Here’s the front cover…

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Here’s the back cover.herobots-backcover

Here are a few pages from the story-to-color. The Herobots are actually action figures, you see, by day, living on the shelf of Sally’s Comics and Toys store. 

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2009646_herobots-coloringbook2-int (1)_Page_13The plot thickens.

And yes, there are also games!

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The 48-page softcover is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but it’s the stack of hard copies I keep on me at busy pancake restaurants that I value most. Because these are the copies I can hand…

…to give random, bored 6-year olds. Bless them. Because I am one of them. Always. It’s why I create, I think. Or at least why I created this video preview of the first few pages of the book. Warning: the narration is by me. (Which you can turn off — just watch the captions!)

So, you ask, is the Herobots Coloring and Games book selling on Amazon and Barnes and Noble? We wouldn’t say it’s selling like, well, pancakes. But we don’t mind. It’s that moment of handing one to a bored kid — for free — that makes up for it.

And speaking of free…

Here’s a FREE boredom-busting bonus!  With just a few clicks, parents of young readers and colorists can get FREE downloadable, printable coloring pages of the Herobots and their foes. Bots of fun for rainy days.

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I like to imagine a restless 6-year-old being a little less bored now.

At least for a while.

Walt Jaschek home

Bryce and Zion Canyons: 3 Video Postcards from Walt

IRL, Travels, Videos, Walt a Life

Breaking: Walt Jaschek takes a vacation!

September, 2018: After writing full speed for more than a year — including his busiest summer ever — Walt grabbed his wife Randy and finally escaped St. Louis for a few days. Their mission: to hike their backpacks off, meandering miles of Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon in a state Randy calls “Ut-ahhhhh.” 

The duo sends you these three “Video Postcards” from the trails.

In the first (above,) from the Rim Trail of Bryce Canyon, Walt stops to thank you for the birthday wishes, and tries to figure out if they’re going from Sunset Point to Sunrise Point, or vice versa. “It’s all about the Points,” he says.

In the second, Walt and Randy let the scenery do the talking as they trek among the fantastic fins and hoodoos of the Queen’s Garden Trail in Bryce. Turn audio up for the music, called, appropriately, “Passages.”

Finally, the couple leaves Bryce and heads for Zion Canyon, the mackdaddy of Utah National Parks, where their minds continue to be blown and their walking sticks continue to pound Earth. This music video includes Observation Point, the Emerald Pools, and a cameo by a very thirsty squirrel.

Walt and Randy are back now, for a busy September, but the visions of red rocks, waterfalls and mesas still permeate their imaginations; and blasted blisters are still all over their toes. Badges of honor, really.

Photography and editing: Walt Jaschek. Music: You Tube Music Library

Walt Writing and Pacing in His Home Office: A Typical Day Compressed Into 43 Seconds.

Process Posts, Video, Walt a Life

Yes, I pace and write, simultaneously, all day long. I move from MacBook to sketchbook to iPad to popcorn. Especially to popcorn. These 43 seconds demonstrate one thing: a writer’s life makes for kind of a boring video. Oh, well, at least you can see our living room!

Walt Jaschek home