Fender Music Instruments Corporation (FMIC) sought an online makeover in 2008 for launch in early 2009. These were the days before CMS / Wordpress driven sites took over the market—and if I recall, one of the last sites I developed using basic HTML with Flash (AS2) technology. I recall this project landing in my lap. It ignited an incredible sense of joy to be able to work on a globally well-known brand that I loved. In due time, I became overwhelmingly disappointed and bored by the entire experience—and not because of the company itself, but by the in-between representation. You can tell by my initial concepts where I started (the first 5 pitched ideas), and where it wandered based on multiple points of feedback. The account came to me from one of Fender’s long-time contracted photographers, Steve Pitkin, whose official studio is centered here in my hometown (Rockford, IL). Pitkin Studio has been shooting Fender products and roster artists for the better part of 30 years. Steve called me up and asked if I was interested in expanding his studio from being solely photography based to more of a full marketing firm services option for his blue chip accounts. Enter FMIC (Fender).

This led to a domino effect of work for Fender and Pitkin Studio, as well as other accounts Steve contracted to me. I was quite shocked by the direction Steve and FMIC chose to go with, but the customer gets what the customer wants. Steve’s conservative influence and communication with the client played a large part in their direction, too—and ultimately, Steve got what Steve wanted, too. Playing it safe with a corporate conservative online approach took precedent. I recall feeling extremely letdown by everyone involved on this account. Their decisions to bypass full screen product centric online marketing in favor of a boxed grid already felt dated in 2008 and 2009. They weren’t able to see the bigger picture, though I fought for it until realizing it was a pointless battle against too many chefs in the kitchen.

I had abandoned Flash/HTML web development by the end of 2009 to focus entirely on Wordpress technology and clients who were willing to trust my direction. CMS website development that utilizes HTML/PHP/MySQL and 3rd party app plugins rules much of what every living organism sees online, on any device.

Pitkin Studio attempted to bring me on full time and in-house in early 2010 to grow their business into a full servicing firm—but a handful of lowball offers and smoke and mirror discussions forced me to sever the communication. Albeit Steve has a good business, and his creative direction is perfect for corporate, safe, marketing initiatives like what FMIC chose in that moment. At the end of the day, the customer gets what the customer wants— but I don’t believe that should happen without trying to influence what’s best for longterm success also.

ClientFender Music instruments CorporationServicesCreative Direction, Web Development, Online Marketing for Pitkin StudioYear2008-2009Linkfender.com

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