Chick Ciccarelli is a senior-level executive with over 30+ years experience in advertising and web development. His unusual advertising strategies have often redefined the standards of marketing. He’s re-thought the selling processes of everything from motion pictures to media space and helped brand hundreds of products, companies and individuals. Many of his campaigns captured number one market positions.
Chick is currently the CEO of WebWizards® Network, Inc. (a group of Internet retail outlets offering personalized ground support, private/public classes and traditional web presence services for local Internet users and small businesses) and CMO of Blu Professional. Notable current accounts include the Songwriters Hall of Fame®, the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame®, Y Entertainment, Artists Group International and VitalValt®. See more clients here.
Chick was formerly the CEO of MediaBuys, LLC (once the largest media buying club in the nation). He worked on high profile projects with AFM Advertising such as the GRAMMY Awards, Latin GRAMMY Awards, EIF’s GRAMMY Jam, MusiCares, the BFCA’s Critics’ Choice Awards, the Sundance Film Festival, RKO Distribution and the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra.
In late 2005, MediaBuys became the ad agency of record for the City of New Orleans to find sponsors for Mardi Gras after the devastation from Hurricane Katrina. With only 30 days before Mardi Gras season, Chick launched a national sponsor-seeking effort and signed Glad Products as the first sponsor in Mardi Gras’ 150 year history to help the city generate badly needed revenue.
In the film and television post-production industry, Chick developed Editvu® (an online digital video delivery system used by companies such as ABC Daytime, Castlerock Entertainment, Disney Channel, Ogilvy and Sony Pictures). As VP of Communications at L.A. Digital, Chick’s marketing campaigns helped the company into a number one market position and as VP of Communications at Moviola, he helped the company resurrect it’s 75 year old brand that had been laying dormant for 20 years, and captured a number one market position.
Chick also co-founded Theafilm Distribution Network. As Executive Vice President he created and developed the highly publicized ‘flat-lease’ motion picture distribution process, reviewing over 200 films from HBO, Showtime, Dino Delaurentis and other well-known film producers and production companies. During his tenure, he implemented the national theatrical trailer exhibition of “Wing Commander-IV” on 570 General Cinema screens, a first for the electronic gaming industry.
As Senior Art Director at Lewis Anthony Advertising (formerly Reeds Farris & Lewis), Chick helped capture a number one national market position for Custom Building Products, MGM Grand Air and a number one International market position for WorldPortLA (The Port of Los Angeles).
Chick has won numerous national design awards in both print and web development and was honored by the Smithsonian Institute for his promotional contribution to the historical Voyager flight around the world. He is a member of the National Academy of Media Arts & Sciences, finals judge for the International Business Awards (The Stevies), and a GLG Council Member (world professional learning and expertise network).
Chick lives in Los Angeles CA with his wife Julia, is an avid follower of boxing, is a New York Yankees fan and loves teaching web programming techniques to people in the surrounding community at his Valley Village WebWizards studio.
Mark Bianchi is a man with a vision. During his over 20+ years as a senior executive, entrepreneur and investor, he has managed and turned notable companies into over $183 million dollars of revenue collectively. Mark’s ideas and techniques have proven to be effective for consistent passive income through dividends and the ability to avoid excessive risks. He has the unique insight to know when to invest into companies, how to build them into market leaders and when to exit for profitability.
Mark is a firm believer that success in life and business requires a good balance of mind, body and spirit. He is one of those people all about ‘getting things done’ and driving results through collaboration, partnerships, and relationships.
Mark is currently the Business Development Executive of WebWizards Network, Inc. and the CEO of Blu Professional, a consulting group specializing in business, financial and marketing services. In this position, Mark assists other corporate executive teams in developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining their strategic initiatives (sometimes as their interim Chief Strategy Officer).
Prior to his current position, Mark was the COO/President (and major shareholder) of Go West Creative Services for 7 years, a large scale corporate event and experiential campaign company (conferences. sales meetings, gala awards, concerts, branded activations, product tours, etc) with offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, Las Vegas and New York City. Mark was responsible for all daily business operations and financial activities. Key accounts included Petco, 5 Guys Burgers and Fries, Sonic, Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader and Farmers Insurance.
In 2003, Mark held a position as Chief Operations Officer (and investor) at Captive Media (an active lifestyle media group) in Los Angeles for 5 years. Responsibilities included daily operations, creative production and he was instrumental in the launch of Health Club Panel Digital Network (the nation’s largest provider of advertising and marketing opportunity in health clubs (4,500 health clubs in 120+ DMA’s) for national brands. Key accounts included 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness, Gold’s Gym, Curves and advertisers including Starcom, Coca Cola, Leo Burnett, and Kellog’s Special K. Mark was intricately involved in the $32 million sale of the company in 2008.
Also in 2003, Mark made a capital investment into Archion Technologies (a leader in high performance, hardware RAID based shared storage solutions designed specifically used for AVID digital video workflows and used by the film & television industry). As CEO, Mark initiated and captured a U.S. Patent. Key accounts included Callaway Golf, CBS/Interactive, COX Broadcasting, 20th Century Fox, Fox Sports, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures and others.
In 1995, Mark left his position(s) as Vice President of Operations at Varitel Video, and Vice President and General Manager at Steadi Systems to pursue his own company, L.A. Digital Post (the largest motion picture and television non-linear editing equipment sales/rental company in North America). As CEO, founder (and majority shareholder) Mark built the company over an 8 year period and sold the company in 2003 for $13 million. Key accounts included Paramount, Warner Bros. Fox Studios, ABC Family and productions such as Survivor, ER, Friends, Drew Carey Show, Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal and The Rock.
Mark has also made successful investments in many real estate development projects. He splits his time between Los Angeles and Nashville and is active in health & fitness, church related activities and helping kids increase their education through a variety of community programs.
I’ve been called an overly creative person all my life, which to me just means thinking beyond the the obvious. When people ask me what I do for a living, I often tell them “I create illusions of granduer” (which I produce through advertising art direction, web development and business structuring). People come to me when they are ready to take something to its next level, whether its product or business branding, reputation enhancement, pitching something or just building an awareness campaign. I’ve been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and sometimes have simply been able spot a good opportunity when it reared its head.
I’ve been lucky enough that many of my campaigns captured number one market positions. And, while I’ve been involved in a wide variety of advertising roles and positions, I am most sought for my work as an Art Director and Web Developer. After 40 years of advertising deadlines (20 of those in web development), I have a amassed a very interesting portfolio of projects from a uniquely recognizable client list, but only after a long, exhausting journey of deadline-driven projects and a constant, never-ending education about what makes things tick.
GETTING MY FEET WET
For the most part, I grew up in Long Beach, CA. I was always pretty good at art and was actively involved in high school art related things such as Governor of Fine Art, Advertising Club President and various Student Body Committees (where I was often called upon to design flyers and the school newspaper). I think everbody knew I would eventually make a living with art in one form or another, but I really secretly wanted to be a rock star.
After high school, I traveled to Salt Lake City Utah to live with one of my half brothers, where I did make the attempt to fulfill my dream as the lead singer of a local band named “Crevice”. Oddly, all the members of the band worked for different local steel factories. We were all in great shape, but only mildly popular in the area.
Like any young man, I wanted to explore the world (or at least California because I love the ocean) so I moved around a lot. I landed in Ventura, where I worked for a small singing telegram business called Pacific Music Notes and worked on various low-paying endeavors including a costumed role as local radio station KGAB’s mascot “Wacko the Wonder Duck”, a foul-mouthed event-disrupter who’s job it was to be obnoxious at parties. Fun, but the gig didn’t require much talent other than trying to stay sober under that heavy suit. People were constantly buying Wacko cocktails.
LEARNING FROM THE BEST
I had become good friends with KGAB’s staff but there were many changes going on. Our lead disk-jockey, Bob Gowa, was offered a job at KMEL radio in San Francisco and station manager Bruce Roberts was moving up the coast to Carmel-By-The-Sea to manage KRML (the same station used for Clint Eastwood’s movie “Play Misty For Me”. While I was visiting Bob, he suggested we drive south to see his friend Star, in Monterey who was promoting Tom Petty’s first major album.
I fell in love with Monterey and in particular Pacific Grove and stayed, but there were no weird mascots to hang my hat on. So to make a living, I resorted to working at a liquor store and on the side, I drew caricatures of tourists on the Monterey Wharf, under the guise of “Godfather Cartoon”. I literally would dress up in a pin stripe suit, don a fedora and carry my art supplies in a violin case. It sparred a big birthday party for me called the Godfather Celebration, that became too big to manage (after 750-1000 people per event).
My caricatures were more realistic than just fun, exaggerated features so it didn’t always come out the way most people might have envisioned. Once, I was drawing a caricature of a rather homely looking young lady and upon finishing her boyfriend took a peek. He said, “That’s the ugliest drawing I’ve ever seen.” Being young and stupid I replied, “I draw ’em as I see ’em”. He decked me and I decided caricatures were not worth physical pain and it certainly didn’t pay enough to take care of any medical bills.
I eventually became a known cartoonist/graphic artist and settled on Cannery Row to have my studio and collaborated with other Monterey artists, Bob Wecker, Jerry Takigawa, Bill Cooke, photographer Don Gruber and became a regular pest to Playboy cartoonist, Eldon DeDini. These were my initial mentors in commercial art and whom I aspired to be. They were the crème de la crème creatives of the Monterey Peninsula. It was DeDini who introduced me to the Northern California Cartoon and Humor association (members included DeDini, Gus Arriola (“Gordo”), Charles Schutz (“Peanuts”), Tom Armstrong (“Marvin”), Cathy Guisewite (“Cathy”) and many others. I became a room-mate of Don Gruber’s and shared offices with Bob Wecker before later moving out of the area. My cartooning style became more defined and my graphics work became sophisticated enough to win a bunch of printing design awards.
RUNNING OUT OF LOCAL PROSPECTS
For a while, I worked as an on-staff graphic designer and special projects director for a corporation called The Cambridge Diet Plan (owed by local millionaires Eileen Feather and son Vaughn Feather). At the time, the company was bringing in a million dollars a day. Working at Cambridge taught me the structure and inner workings of fast paced corporate environments, how they think and advertise, but also how careful one must be about pissing people off above you. (I was fired twice there for being an opinionated Italian). One of my main jobs was to keep the staff morale in high spirits while they worked exhaustively 7 days a week. I had unlimited budgets, so I designed things like a big 50s dance, a 5,000 person picnic at Laguna Seca Raceway and private concerts with Gallagher and Pablo Cruise and tons of other fun things. Unfortunately, the company would become known as the “killer diet” because people were using the product and dying, (oh yeah…plus that being fired thing), so I moved back into the freelance world again.
I became one of many main artists for the McFly’s Bar and Restaurant franchise (considered a distinct honor at the time) and designed many promotional items (posters, flyers, menus) for other restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the area and also one in Southern California. I illustrated an entire wall of famous detectives throughout history for P.I. McFlys at the Sherman Oaks Galleria. I also created a cartoon strip called “Police Blotter” for the local Pacific Grove newspaper and also held several fine art shows at The Pacific Grove Art Center. But, it all seemed like a bit of a blur considering the amount of bars I hung out in where I created hundreds of cocktail napkin cartoon art (while drunk) which ended up in the hands of a revolving door of tourists. (Years later people would send me scans of the art they held on to and shared with me on Facebook). It blows my mind, every time someone finds one.
My last project in Monterey was for the Clint Eastwood for Mayor (of Carmel) campaign, whom my buddy Bruce Roberts had begun working on. By this time Bruce had become a police officer in the Monterey County Sheriff’s office and was running for Mayor as well, but when Clint entered the picture, his celebrity status was really larger than life and Bruce was asked to help Clint’s campaign. Bruce hired me to design memorabilia booklets and t-shirt designs with a cartoony flair.
After 8 years I had pretty much exhausted my potential new client options in Monterey and decided that a larger market (Southern California) to open up opportunities for myself. Monterey Art Director John Bruno had moved south to work for a company called Boss Films and on a little movie called “Ghost Busters”. He introduced me to other artists at Disney (who wasn’t biting) and my first client in Los Angeles, Peterson Publishing. I designed snippets of illustrations for Motor Trend and did all the cover lettering for Car-Toons magazine. Personal computers had not really entered the picture yet so I did this all by hand. I also had the honor of working on promotional art for Landmark Entertainment Group who designed some of the most incredible tourist attractions around the world, including Universal theme parks.
Over a period of time I opened a studio near LAX which moved to Marina del Rey and became Ciccarelli & Gray with my friend and artist Tom Gray. One of our apparel clients became involved with the historic Voyager Aircraft. The Rutan Model 76 Voyager was the first aircraft to fly around the world without stopping or refueling. It was piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager. The flight took off from Edwards Air Force Base’s 15,000 foot (4,600 m) runway in the Mojave Desert on December 14, 1986, and ended 9 days, 3 minutes and 44 seconds later on December 23, setting a flight endurance record. My job was to design a logo and other promotional items. Just before the flight, we realized that they crew had no official gear to wear on the flight with their name on it. I stayed up all night long to hand airbrush the logo on sweatshirts. Photos on the front page of the L.A. Times showed the airbrushed logo emblazoned on Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager shirts with their outstretched arms. Later the shirts made it to the Smithsonian Institute and are now displayed with the plane.
I managed to squeeze in a marriage to my high school sweetheart amidst all my work (but unfortunately it only lasted a few months). At the airport studio I was introduced to a writer named Cynthia Lewis. She was in need of graphic help for her clients and I needed a really good copywriter for mine. I didn’t know it at the time, but her father, Chuck Lewis, was the Copywriter and Creative Director of well known B2B ad agency in Hollywood, Reeds, Farris & Lewis. He would later become my mentor and change my career forever.
GRADUATING TO ART DIRECTOR STATUS
Cynthia Lewis must have seen something in me or my work because she somehow convinced her father to meet and hire me as an art director. I had worked as a freelance artist for ad agencies upon occasion, but never on staff and it scared the shit out of me. Ad agencies are an extremely competitive world and you are responsible for very large ad budgets. You have to be exceptionally creative. I had tried for several years to get Chiat Day to notice me, including taking out a billboard across the street from them in Venice Beach (with a picture of me holding a Teddy Bear with a plastic gun to his head, along with the headline, “Hire Chick or the bear gets it”). I got an interview, but not a job.
Chuck Lewis took me to new heights. His writing and photography skills were so dead on with whatever client he was promoting it was frightening. He came from that Ogilvy Mather, old-school level of ad creation that I had admired for years. Chuck was a hard act to follow with visuals. He taught me that there is a big difference between graphic designers and art directors. Graphic designers create for the look, but art directors create with a strategy in mind — to get someone to the call to action. I was lucky enough to work on accounts such as WorldPort LA (the Port of Los Angeles logo, World Cruise Center), MGM Grand Air, Custom Building Products and others, many of which I won design awards for. The World Cruise Center became the largest passenger facility on the West Coast and the fourth busiest in the nation. We captured a number one national market position for Custom Building Products and a number one International market position for WorldPortLA.
THE FILM BUSINESS
Oddly enough, I found myself taking a break from advertising, and returned to my music roots to write a musical called “Secret Identity” (about a nerdy kid in love with a rocker chick). While doing so, and quite by accident, I co-founded Theafilm Distribution Network, which offered a new way of film distribution for independent films. I was living in the penthouse of the Hollywood Tower and an independent film producer living in the same building approached me about trying to raise money for his film. He asked me to take a look at it and I created and developed the highly publicized ‘flat-lease’ motion picture distribution process. Peter Bart at Variety ran several feature articles about the process and we were the talk of the town for several years. We reviewed over 200 films from HBO, Showtime, Dino Delaurentis and other well-known film producers and production companies. Eventually, the partnership fell apart but before I abandoned the project, I created a new company and implemented the national theatrical trailer exhibition of “Wing Commander-IV” on 570 General Cinema screens, a first for the electronic gaming industry.
Still working on…….
THE INTERNET AND 20 YEARS LATER
Pitch to CBS and Les Mooves
THE MOVIE & MUSIC INDUSTRIES
Moviola and LA Digital
Grammys, Latin Grammys, Sundance, Hollywood Symphony
New Orleans Sponsorships for mardi Gras after Katrina. In an effort to help bolster economic development in New Orleans after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, city officials have authorized the nation’s leading media buying club, MediaBuys, LLC to seek out corporate involvement for Mardi Gras in February of 2006.
Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame
Songwriters Hall of Fame