the sally sisson blog

July 14, 2013

Cartoons and Content Marketing: All work and all play

content for kids

This was one of my favorite projects in recent memory. Fun because it required sitting around in my pajamas watching several episodes of Phineas and Ferb, one of my longtime favorite cartoons (right up there with Adventure Time and SpongeBob), and fun because it involved brainstorming silly ideas for games and activities and writing catchy copy involving the evil Dr. Doof and his nemesis, Perry the Platypus (a.k.a. Agent P).

Over the past two years I’ve worked on several copywriting and content development projects for SUBWAY® Restaurants and SUBWAY KIDS™. I do this on a freelance basis for the advertising agency Jack Morton Worldwide, through their Boston office. This year’s SUBWAY FRESH FIT FOR KIDS™ meal campaigns with Disney have been especially fun, and I love that they’re giving away free eco-friendly reusable lunch bags with each meal. Each bag comes with a free game or gizmo inside, plus a special code to unlock other downloadable activities from the website.

The Phineas and Ferb kids meals came with a make-your-own wallet kit inside the reusable bag, plus a code to unlock these printable games and activities I developed:

Agent P’s Cipher Code Wheel

online games for kids


Dr. Doof’s Cootie Catcher

content writing for children


and more…

games and activities for kids

I also wrote copy for the Frankenweenie micro-site for SUBWAY KIDS™ and developed content and online games and activities for the new Monsters University FRESH FIT FOR KIDS™ meal, in SUBWAY® Restaurants this month.

Other copywriting and content projects for SUBWAY KIDS™:

Content Writing Samples: Monsters University for

Content Marketing and Cause Marketing: Public relations with a purpose
Writing all online content and collateral material for the Random Acts of Fitness for Kids™ national program for  K–6 schools, 2011–12 and 2012–13 campaigns.

Earth Day Interactives: Copywriting with a conscience for corporate clients
Writing copy and features for online interactive “Ec0-Quest” game as part of marketing promotion with The Nature Conservancy.



1 Comment

May 17, 2013

Creativity as Commodity: The value of cutting through clutter

photo blogging, creativity, content marketing

“OK, GLASS, FIND DOG FOOD!” by Thomas Hawk

Picture, caption, period. End of story.

Sometimes that’s all you need for a blog post. If it’s really, really good, and you’re very talented and clever.

The picture and caption above are all that comprise today’s post on Thomas Hawk’s photoblog. Sometimes the photographer writes several paragraphs to accompany his photos, sometimes barely a sentence.

I stumbled upon this image while reading The Battleground of Creativity, a post by Geoff Livingston on, among other things, perfectionism, fear of failure, and the agony of the creative process.

As a content writer and editor, I work with clients to whittle down text and push out content at a steady pace. But when it comes to writing my own blog posts, I often struggle. I keep long lists of ideas, thinking I’ll spin them into brilliant essays on something or other that everyone will want to read. Or not. I overthink and underproduce. It’s hard to be prolific when you’re a perfectionist who has a hard time pressing the “publish” button—and then walking away.

My three thoughts of the day:

Sometimes less is more. (Note to self.)

Enough said. Don’t write three paragraphs if you can say it in one. Don’t overcomplicate a blog post; break it into a 3-part series. Leave some white space. Breathe. Let a picture tell a story. Add a compelling caption and be done with it.

You get what you pay for.

This minimalist approach only works if the content you post — written or visual — is strong enough to stand on its own. Want an arresting image that breaks through the clutter in inboxes, news feeds, and social media channels? Spend money on a really good professional photographer. Want a logo that’s clever, iconic and and stands the test of time? Forget crowdsourcing and Fiverr (another rant for another day). Instead, find the most talented designer you can afford. Want a landing page that lures in visitors and ups your click-through rates? Hire a good copywriter. Don’t try it yourself. If you want creative work that makes you stand out in a crowd, invest in creative talent.

Lose the LOL cats. 

In an age where everyone’s churning out and repurposing content, it’s hard to find ideas that aren’t derivative. So when we stumble across something original, a small gem like a black Lab wearing Google Glass, it makes us stop and think. Or bookmark and buy. Or smile and share and re-post on our own blogs, inspired to be a bit more creative and original ourselves the next time around.



No Comments

November 12, 2012

Online content and social media promote healthy school, community and corporate partnerships

The Energy Balance 101: Enrichment Zone web content I developed last spring for the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation is now live on, and I’m excited to see kids already participating in these first weeks of September.

Developed to complement the existing standards-based Energy Balance 101 curriculum for grades K-5, the Enrichment Zone is a flexible program designed for after-school programs, clubs and community organizations across the country.

I’ve had a hard time explaining to people what it is, who it’s for and who’s behind it, so here’s the skinny:

HWCF + Together Counts!

What is the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation? It is a CEO-led coalition of over 200 organizations working together to help families and schools reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015. With corporate heads from General Mills, Inc., Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.; Kraft Foods and Kellogg’s; Anytime Fitness and Sports Authority;  Hershey, Nestlé and Mars at the table, the impact is significant.

How is Michelle Obama involved? In May 2010 the First Lady, founder of initiatives like Let’s Move! and Partnership for a Healthier America, announced with HWCF companies their pledge to reduce 1.5 trillion calories annually by the end of 2015. These changes are being made through new lower-calorie options, reduced calorie content of current products, and reduced portion sizes of existing single-serving products.

HWCF + Discovery Education

Next the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation set its sight on the nation’s elementary schools. Developed in partnership with Discovery Education, the Energy Balance 101 program provides schools with a free online K-5 curriculum and resources to help kids lead healthier, more active lifestyles.

Energy Balance 101 Discovery Education Building on the success of its program in the schools, EB 101 began extending its reach to the home and out in the community. Fueled by a successful brand and social media campaign, the TogetherCounts movement has a wide following (and 12,000 followers on Twitter!). Check out this cute and super-quick Together Counts! animation to get what the movement what it’s all about:

Together Counts

Watch: What is Together Counts?

The next phase is underway. HWCF is rolling out programs and activities for kids, parents, families and community groups outside of school. Here’s where I come in. The Energy Balance 101: Enrichment Zone is now being used by after-school teachers, Girl Scout leaders, parents… pretty much anyone interested. More flexible than the in-school curriculum, it is modular in format to suite a range of programs and schedules.

The lessons and activities incorporate and reinforce Energy Balance 101 concepts; promote physical activity after school and on weekends; and inspire students to make healthy choices and be mindful of their daily Energy Balance for life.

Organizations like the following have already signed on as Enrichment Zone partners:

    • Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.
    • U.S. Soccer Foundation
    • National Recreation and Park Association
    • K. Kellogg Foundation
    • Gen Youth Foundation
    • Paul Pierce’s The Truth onHealth
    • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Together Counts!

Although separated into different web sites last year, all of the above can now be found in one place:

Here you’ll find interactive features and active social media channels for schools, homes and community organizations. It’s a fun way to track who’s doing what in K-5 schools across the country.

Check out the blogs, tweets and posts from schools and organizations already actively participating. I’ll be helping out with a pilot after-school program at Inly School in Scituate, MA and will blogging about the experience along the way. I’ll keep you posted!

Links and Resources:

Michelle Obama’s speech at the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation partnership announcement

Mars Candy And Michelle Obama Are Making Candy Bars Smaller — And Twitter Is FREAKING Out


No Comments