Need a killer brand experience? Order up a bouquet of Schofield’s Flowers

By Anthony Vagnoni & Chandler Atton
Posted April 3, 2024

If the ad industry had its own built-in meme generator, it might be Steve Schofield. Irrepressible, photogenic, talkative, multi-talented and frightfully effective, ‘Scof,’ as he’s universally known, is in and of himself a one-man headline machine. From hosting podcasts to authoring memoirs to doing bits of industry stand-up to mastering the ‘pop up’ concept for brands before most of them knew what it was, Scof and his company, Schofield's Flowers, produce a steady stream of remarkable projects, endeavors and stunts. Oh, and did we mention he used to be a cop?

It’s all true. From his early days in the Cook County Sheriff's Department to a family history intertwined with the city’s mob days to his migration to Hollywood, where he’s led or launched a number of standout VFX and production houses such as Radium, Zoic and ModOp, Scof has had a hand in more memorable stories and exploits than should be fair. On top of that, he’s a sharp producer who delivers stand-out work for his clients. It’s like they said about Hyman Roth in “The Godfather”: he’s always made money for his partners.

Recently, Simian’s Chandler Atton sat down with Scof to talk about some of his more recent highlights. The conversation, as always, was full of fascinating asides and illuminating observations about how experiential has become the attention-getting media channel of choice for progressive brands. Read on to learn more.

Give us a brief history of how Schofield’s Flowers came to be. Who are its partners and/or leaders?

Schofield's Flowers was launched in 2019 with a vision to operate as a boutique, creative solutions company. Heather  "The Hammer", my New York-based Managing Director and I lead a tight-knit team dedicated to providing brands with unique experiences that offer more options for engagement, including social media activation and content creation. By solving problems through experiential strategies, we position ourselves as an extension of our clients' teams, offering solid solutions for any project.

What defines Schofield's Flowers and the method you and your team bring to the table?

We’re a creative solutions studio powered by collaboration, kindness, and damn good production. We help agencies and brands turn impossible projects into beautiful creations, one petal at a time. We’re the problem solvers they need to get projects to market. We present our work via unique decks that we create for every pitch.

Among your most recent projects, which proved the most challenging? And how did you approach them?

Time isn't always on your side. One of our recent projects, Delimex, presented a significant challenge due to the short timeframe of only a month for execution and the necessity of sourcing vendors specifically for the project, which we were able to do, and it became a huge success for GUT Miami. Halo Top Creamery with Wolfgang LA also had its own challenges. We had 70 activations in 15 cities and in each one, we had to design a new truck, work with the right vendors to supply the right amount of product to all the locations and make sure we had enough freezers to store it all.

How did you get so involved with experiential projects? What skills from your background in more traditional commercial production have carried over to working in the experiential space?

When I launched Schofield's Flowers, I had been writing a lot and decided to write a book of short stories about me growing up in a mobster flower shop. When I asked my designer how we should launch the company, he said, ‘book launch,’ and we immediately became an experiential company. Next thing I know we're being asked to join the Mob Museum in Las Vegas for their 6th anniversary and I’m doing a podcast in front of the wall where seven gangsters from O'Banion’s North Side gang were killed, selling my book of short stories to the thousands of people coming through that weekend.

Then I did another pop-up at Lunetta All Day for Valentine's Day, which Brian Jarmon from Media Monks attended and just loved it. He said, "Dude I absolutely love what you did today and if I ever get a project for something experiential, I'm going to call you." And he did for “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and we were off and running.

Experiential work has many similarities to traditional commercial work. You still have to produce it and you still have deadlines. I think the key difference is that you must know what kind of outsourcing you need to do concerning bringing in the right team, fabricators, art directors and the right creative producer who has worked in the vertical you're pitching, whether it be food or automotive. And finding the right director to shoot all the content is always key. We're a complete 360 studio that works closely with the agency or brand and delivers the completed project at the end.

 What have you done since launching Schofield’s Flowers of which you’re most proud?

I'm particularly proud of our work with Halo Top, as well as SIXT Rent-a-Car featuring Nico Rosberg, because that was a legit fan experience. I’m also especially proud of "The Trial of the Chicago 7", which was an experience during the pre-vaccine days of the pandemic in which people could actually get out of the house and go see the locations of the actual Chicago riots. We even created a podcast series that could be listened to alongside the five photographs we displayed.

Tell us a bit about your ‘comedy in advertising’ videos that you just teased on IG? What’s the idea behind these? What are you hoping to achieve with them?

That's something I'm looking forward to doing as I decide to hang up my spurs and pass the company along, but I've just started thinking about all the different changes we've had over the last 30 years. If I held up a ¾-inch videocassette at AICP Week, most people wouldn't know what it is.

I studied Improv with Del Close, the king of Improv, out of Chicago, and I've always enjoyed comedy. As I was reflecting on my career over the past thirty years, I decided this would be a funny time to do a one-man show on the three decades of advertising, from where we were then to where we are now. It's amazing when you think about it. I worked on one of the best online video campaigns ever, with Fallon and Anonymous Content called BMW Films. To this day people are like, "Oh my god, that's one of the things that got me into advertising!”

Quickly cut to where we are now with AI. We used AI for my voice on my St. Valentine’s Day Instagram post, where we wrote a quick script and picked out a voice, and it was a much better voice than mine. And when it comes to doing decks, it enhances your presentation, absolutely. The key to AI is if you're a good writer you'll have a big advantage over someone that isn't.

Schofield's Flowers is working in lots of emerging areas of production as well - can you tell me about your experiences with NFTs?

In the realm of newer and experimental production forms, including NFTs, we believe strongly in the potential for artists to control their destiny and maintain authenticity. Our collaboration with The Infinity Reality for the gallery at 16 Crosby and partnerships with figures like DeShone Kizer and companies such as Helvetica have underscored our commitment to innovative platforms and technologies.

Has your team dabbled in AI at all, or do you have any plans to? Where do you see that tech heading in the fine arts?

Like I said, AI technology has already been incorporated into our work, as seen in our last post about the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, where we used it for voice overs. The key to taking advantage of AI is working with the right collaborators. If I had an opportunity to work with a company, I'd work with Rehab. I love what Tim Rodgers is doing and we’d bring in Rehab as our partner. Everything that goes into great experiential work depends on teamwork.

With all you've got going on at Scofield's Flowers, how does Simian help you work more efficiently?

Simian has been instrumental in streamlining our workflow, particularly with its ease of use for video uploads and client communication. We send out a lot of email blasts and because of how easy Simian is to use, I never miss out on any of the analytics. I love it!




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