Case Studies

Selected works completed at the Miami Ad School's Account Planning program, April-June 2016. I was awarded Top Dog for my class work, team collaboration, and strategy development.



Starbucks revolutionized the coffee shop by creating the 'Third Place', but has begun to lose its luster with urban millennials, who prefer independently owned urban coffee shops. 

How can Starbucks create a new coffee shop concept that will win back the hearts and minds of this audience, the next generation of coffee shop goers?


  • We interviewed baristas and managers at multiple Starbucks and independent coffee shops, as well as patrons who had a strong preference towards either type of shop. Starbucks’ strengths were in their ubiquity, consistency, and speed. But urban coffee shops had unique environments that made a coffee trip an experience to be savored, rather than a grab-and-go event. 
  • Patrons who preferred urban coffee shops would not seek out the Starbucks brand, but would feel deceived by an unbranded Starbucks coffee shop.
  • Patrons revealed that most all their relationships begin online, but agreed that the first face-to-face meeting was crucial. Coffee shops were still seen as an ideal neutral environment to meet with someone new.
  • Through observational studies at both Starbucks and urban coffee shops, we saw that these one-on-one meetings were filled with moments of awkwardness, discomfort, and uncertainty - and neither type of shop had made any functional improvements to improve the experience.


Connection Cravers who initiate new relationships over coffee, but are dissatisfied with the environment at both Starbucks and urban coffee shops.

  • Age 23-34 | Lives in San Francisco | Enjoys coffee outside the home 2+ times a week
  • Digitally fluent and connected: Their phone is a natural extension of their hand, and their social networks are a natural extension of their phonebook
  • An opinion leader amongst their friends: someone that can be trusted to say what is cool in San Francisco


Starbucks' success has limited their ability to deliver on their original brand promise, and today are seen as noisy, crowded, and uncomfortable: a poor place to connect with someone.


Rather than trying to capture the mood or environment of urban coffee shops, we needed to identify the next step that neither type of shop was taking, but our audience was searching for - to truly innovate on the consumer experience.


Reinvent the 'Third Place' for the mobile age. 



THE INTERSECT is the physical extension of a digital introduction, and takes an active role in creating connections.

The coffee shop environment will be modeled after a restaurant to remove distractions, and keep conversations going.


Our concept shop needed to build brand equity for Starbucks, but their perception amongst our audience presented a challenge. We created a holding company, Mermaid Brands, that would allow new concept shops to exist as independent brands, but signal the connection to savvy patrons.


Arranging the Meeting

Deciding on a time and place can be a time consuming back-and-forth. The Intersect app finds mutual open time in schedules, and suggests the best time to meet.

Placing Orders

Etiquette around how to order, who should go first, and who should pay is unclear and creates discomfort. Once users have agreed on a meeting time, they place their orders ahead of time. 

Creating an Environment for Connection

Cushioned booths, rather than uncomfortable tables, keep guests comfortable and conversations insulated. Servers deliver pre-ordered beverages and guide arriving guests to their seat.

Art Director: Anjali Rao | Copywriter: Titania Tran



Litterati has an ambitious goal: ridding the world of litter. The project began as an Instagram hashtag, where users would take a photo of a piece of litter and then dispose of it, in the process creating the most comprehensive litter database ever collected. But to retain more control over their data, they transitioned to a mobile app. 

Litterati needed to create a movement to drive people to not only pick up litter, but use their app to document it.


  • We inspected usage of the hashtag and app from over 6,200 users, and found the Litterati app lacked the features that made participating on Instagram rewarding. As a result, retention and engagement were extremely low. 
  • We analyzed over 213,000 pieces of litter collected and found that most neighborhood litter comes from local businesses, but are the products of big brands such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Subway. 
  • We interviewed local business owners who were concerned about litter, and felt pressured from community members and local government, yet powerless and unaided in solving the problem.
  • We analyzed topics on hyperlocal social networks, and saw that community members do care about problems in their neighborhood, but only focus on specific issues others act on first.


Valuable Community Members, who invest time and energy to make their neighborhoods better.

  • Age 35-55 | Lives in a densely populated neighborhood | Married and has children or pets
  • Uses hyperlocal services such as NextDoor, Reddit or Facebook groups to discuss neighborhood issues
  • Considers themselves a ‘good neighbor’ and someone who can lead by example
  • Believes in supporting local businesses


The neighborhood is the largest shared space we have the greatest connection with, and are therefore the most motivated to take action in. 


Movements start with leaders, like Valuable Community Members, who are attracted to their intrinsic value. But to have appeal beyond this core audience, Litterati needed to have an extrinsic value to attract and retain users. By involving local businesses and big brands, they could build a conscious awareness around consumption and litter production at its source.


Create a movement to bring back community pride in neighborhoods using Litterati. Incentivize users with discounts as rewards.



Digital Campaign


#WelcomeToTheInitiation is designed to grab the attention of those both unexposed to Litterati, and so overexposed to litter that it has become invisible to them: The Uninitiated.

With a very limited budget, we made the case that Advertising on Facebook was the best channel to invest in:

  • Powerful demographic and psychographic targeting allowed us to zoom in on Valuable Community Members, and reach them in each neighborhood.
  • At launch, posts could be promoted to be seen by a wider audience and increase organic reach.
  • Motivating app installation is a large barrier to adoption. The Call To Action on promoted posts is a direct link to download the app, and will only show on mobile devices.

Art Director: Collin Horton | Copywriter: Sean Broderick

Clinton 2016


Emotions, rather than facts, have the greatest influence on a voter's mind. In the 2016 Presidential Election, Donald Trump, a businessman and reality show personality used this to great effect. Hillary Clinton, a challenger from the opposing party, had a storied political career but trouble creating a unique, identifiable brand with strong appeal.

What was Hillary Clinton’s strongest emotional appeal that her campaign could leverage to persuade voters to choose her over Donald Trump?


  • We ran a survey distributed on social media, to understand positive and negative impressions of each candidate. Clinton’s long political career was a challenge rather than an asset, as voters could not identify what she stood for. 
  • We interviewed prospective voters about the factors that influence their vote. In describing the worst-case scenario if either candidate was to be elected, Clinton was feared to be a disappointment and a continuation of troublesome policies. But Trump was seen as terrifying, potentially leading to racially charged policies, civil unrest, and conflicts abroad. 
  • We analyzed the sentiment and word choice used by both candidates over multiple speeches. Where Trump was punchy and provocative, Clinton was generic and indecisive.


Undecided Voters dissatisfied with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

  • Age 18-30 | Employed, Low to Mid Income | Consumes political news shared via social media 3+ times per week
  • Not a political junkie, but informed of current events influencing the candidates and election
  • Believes the United States is headed in the “wrong direction” rather than on the “right track”


Divided Americans unite behind a common cause: stopping evil. 


Clinton’s greatest asset was Trump’s divisiveness and unpredictability. Our ad needed to be emotionally provocative enough to overcome the ferocity of Trump’s rhetoric, and exploit the genuine fear he brought out in many voters. 


Show Trump as the greater of two evils, and that his potential election demands action: Voting for Hillary Clinton.

Art Director: Collin Horton | Copywriter: Sean Broderick