Inside the 2011 AAFH Trailblazer Gala Invite
Established in 1997 by the American Advertising FederationHouston (AAFH), this annual award recognizes an influential business leader for enhancing the overall image of Houston through marketing. Proceeds benefit theAAFH educational and scholarship programs.
Each year, the marketing materials are created pro bono bya local advertising and marketing agency from AAF Houston. In 2011, 4 Guys Interactive volunteered to be the creative agency for the Trailblazer Gala. As the chief creative resource to 4Guys for "all things written," it was with pleasure and responsibility that Joe Fournet of Ideas & MORE worked alongside them to help develop and execute the printed materials. 

The 2011 Trailblazer Award recipient was announced:  Leroy Shafer, the Chief Operating Officer of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, known far and wide in rodeo circles and within the Houston area community. He began his career with the “Show” in 1973 and has practically been synonymous with the Rodeo ever since. He is truly a trailblazer if there ever was one.
When 4 Guys came up with the concept and tagline “The ManBehind The Brand,” it fit Leroy like a custom-made pair of boots. It also made for an exciting way to tell his story.
However, the creative development of the ensuing invitation (showcased here) and subsequent program for the gala evening at the Houston Museum of Natural Science proved to be a challenge. It was vital to tell Leroy’s story in words and images, and be accurate and interesting without writing a book in the process!  
Using the 4 Guys-designed branding motif throughout, the overall look was to be straightforward yet different and eye-catching. The special visual effects would complement the photographs, not compete. The writing had to convey why Leroy was such a worthy recipient of the award, yet not be boring when relaying vignettes of his life story as it was interwoven with the Rodeo’s history.  

It's imperative on projects of this scale that great working relationships are established. From the moment Mr. Fournet sat down with the Rodeo folks to obtain facts, figures and interesting stories about Leroy, through the coordination and selection of photography to the final completion of the printed pieces, the marketing staff of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo was amazing. A tip 'o the Stetson also goes to the 4 Guys team, whose creative thought process, design and production skills are top notch.
The Trailblazer invitation and subsequent program were ones in which content needed to be portrayed interestingly and captivatingly, both in narrative style as well as with non-standard photo captions. When all was said and done, the results were enthusiastically received by Leroy, along with other key decision makers from AAFH. Leroy even reflected often during the Gala that his Trailblazer experience had indeed become very special; one that he would not soon forget.

Back to Top