Suppose you’re a statewide organization that speaks for over 2,000 state, county and local parks and recreation areas. What do you say to the people living in your state?

If you’re in a lot of other states, you give them a boring lecture about how important parks are to the quality of life of the blah blah blah. But if you’re a bit more open minded, like the folks in Michigan, you invite them to sample your awesome product.

That’s the spirit behind a body of work we put together for the Michigan Recreation & Park Association

But first we advised them to do something about that name. It was 80-some years old and showed it. In today’s digital world, long names are problematic. If possible, make the name small enough to work in any pixel-challenged environment (from banner ads to ball caps).

mParks is where we landed. And we gave them a brand line that hit smack dab in the center of that strategic invitation: Come Out And Play. Logo design was courtesy of Kelsey Kaptur and Izabela Skonieczka.

At the heart of this platform is a song we created by the name of (you guessed it) Come Out And Play. The song – inspired by the campfire singalongs of days gone by – is used for events, PSAs, online videos, hold music and more.

With music by Tom Parr and lyrics by Mark Lantz, the track was recorded at Yessian Music here in Detroit, produced by Gerard Smerek, featuring a rather nifty mandolin solo by Jeff Dittenber. You gotta love a good mandolin solo!

Vocals – as in our holiday song, It’s Not Christmas (Without Cookies) – were provided by the wonderfully talented Taylor Taylor, who also played guitar on the track. Taylor’s a Lansing area native with one of those jazz-inflected voices you just love to listen to. When she hits it big, we’ll of course claim to have discovered her. Because that’s what you do in advertising.