Flesh Out
Hardly a week goes by in the ad business when, after reviewing some initial concepts, someone says: “We need to flesh out these ideas” or “Let’s flush out this idea.” As a writer (who may be just a teensy bit OCD about language usage), I cringe whenever I hear the latter.

If you’re one of those who say that you’re going to “flush out” an idea, don’t feel too bad. According to Merriam-Webster, “Flesh out” and “Flush out” are among the Top 10 Commonly Confused Words. Here’s how they explain which should be used:

Question: “To provide more details, should you flush out or flesh out your plan?”

Answer: “flesh out”

How to remember it: Think of fleshing out a skeleton. To flesh out something is to give it substance, or to make it fuller or more nearly complete.

To flush out something is to cause it to leave a hiding place, e.g., “The birds were flushed out of the tree.” It can also be used figuratively, as in “flush out the truth.”

Though Merriam-Webster doesn’t mention it in the section above, “flush out” can also mean to clean something by forcing water through it— such as flushing out a radiator. This meaning of the word seems to have no relevance to advertising ideas. Unless you’re talking about ideas so bad they need to be flushed down the toilet.

At this point, I think it should be clear that what we do is “flesh out” ideas. We expand upon them, we pull them together and make something more complete with them. Just as an artist builds upon a sketch of a person, adding the flesh to an almost sticklike initial drawing, so, too, do we build upon an idea. We do not drive it out of hiding, or clean it out with water.

One more thing: Don’t buy into the “Oh, what does it matter? People know what I’m trying to say” defense for using the wrong term. We’re supposed to be experts at this business. That includes using the correct expression for what it is that we do.

Let me know if you have any thoughts that could flesh this out a bit more.

September 30, 2013 · Posted by in copywriting  

z2 Drinks

The year 2007 did not involve moving to a new office (whew!), but it did involve just a bit more growth, moving up to seven full-time employees, three of whom were designers. An expanding design department was a much welcomed feature. In addition to design, we also started doing a lot more web sites, thanks to our expanding web capabilities.

Z2 also started working with The Marcus Corporation. Our first project was a re-branding of some of the services offered at The Pfister Hotel, and things grew from there. (And we’re quite proud to still be a partner and provide them with services for a large number of properties in the Marcus Hotels & Resorts portfolio.)

Now, for the drinks. Our annual “Club Z2″ event (which serves as a thanks/party for our clients, vendors, staff, partners, and friends) kept getting bigger each year, and we decided to offer some signature drinks, including “Zeer,” “Zoda,” and our famous “Z-tini.” The Zeer and Zoda have been retired, but there’s a good chance you can get a Z-tini by visiting us for a Cosmo Friday or the next Club Z2.

And then there was the Z2 Gear. If you attended any of the early Club Z2 events, you probably left with a t-shirt. Since we printed the shirts right in our own office, we came up with the “Z2 Gear” brand to put them under. Here’s the photo that promoted the brand.

z2 Gear

That covers the first four years–it’s hard to believe we’re almost halfway there! We’ve already covered 2006, 2005 and 2004. Next week we’ll dive into 2008. Now that was an interesting year!

September 27, 2013 · Posted by in misc  


While 2005 brought a few awards to z2 for our client work, 2006 blessed us with Telly Awards, Summit Awards, and our first Clarion Award from The Association for Women in Communications. (While we love getting recognized for our work, no reward is greater than doing amazing work for our clients, and 10 years later we continue to pursue that goal.)


We also grew to six full-time employees in 2006, so the “new” office we moved into the previous year was starting to feel just a little crowded. We may have started looking at a few other options to expand, including moving into a new building. (And yes, an old theater may have been one of the buildings we looked at. Perhaps fitting, as we were doing more video work in 2006.)


This was also the year in which we started working with Generac Power Systems, mainly doing photography, but expanding to other disciplines throughout the years. From commercial standby generators to consumer power washers, it’s been a pleasure to grow our partnership with Generac. In fact, we just did a video shoot for them using our RED ONE Digital Cinema Camera on a 26-foot crane!


Well, that wraps up 2006, and if you missed it, we’ve already covered 2005 and 2004. We’ll continue to look back at the history of z2 until we get to the present day, so stay tuned!

September 20, 2013 · Posted by in branding, misc, photo, video  


Whenever the opportunity arises to fire a rather large gun at watermelons and 2-liter bottles of soda, you do not hesitate. You take the job right away.

We recently shot a ballistics test video for our client, UPI Manufacturing, featuring a high-powered weapon and their ballistics material. To show the results if you were not using their product, we used watermelons and soda bottles. An explosive demonstration to say the least.

Of course we had to bring our RED ONE along to capture it in beautiful 120 frames per second. This gave us the chance to show these marvelous explosions in slow motion. We compiled the footage and delivered to UPI for use in a trade show environment.

From the beginning of the project we could feel that this video could be more “movie trailer”-like with suspenseful music and an aggressive color grade. It fit perfectly for the shots we captured that day and turned out great.

Enough talk, I’ll let the video speak for itself.

September 16, 2013 · Posted by in video  

z2 at night

2004 was great, but time marches on, and z2 marched into 2005 with a new space. Well, two actually!

The first z2 office was in a basement in Delafield, but by 2005 we moved just down the street to an office on the second floor of Milwaukee Street. The new office was 2,500 square feet, which seemed totally huge at the time, but somehow we also managed to add another 1,100 square feet across the hall for a photo studio. (We started doing a lot more photography in 2005, and really needed the dedicated space.)

If you’re keeping track at home, we went from “not many” square feet to a total of 3,600 square feet.

z2 in Delafield

We also added more people, bringing the number of full-time employees to four. (We’re counting Cory and Deb in that total, as well.) Just one year into it, z2 had a new office, more staff, and was ready for some big projects… and the big projects came, and they were good.

Since it was 2005, that also meant we were using screaming fast PowerMac G5 computers running QuarkXPress version 6. We even had a black and white laser printer. It was pretty wild!

z2 Signs

We also added our second metal sign. If you’ve been to our office, you’ve seen the sign, and (hopefully) signed the sign. The sign is our guestbook, and for each year of business we build a new sign and ask all visitors to sign it. Two signs… and more to come.

September 13, 2013 · Posted by in misc, photo  

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