Palio Communicates outside our borders

Palio Communications is the biggest, baddest, meanest advertising agency in the land, and they live right on broadway in Saratoga Springs. The building is beautiful, the insides are extraordinary, and they employ over 100 talented people. Palio must be one of the largest employers in the city. 

It was started by a gentleman named Ed Mitzen sometime in the middle of the nineties – Ed has since left the company. The name is based on a horse race in Italy, which is clever. Many of the original members are still there, but I have no idea who is really in charge anymore. InVentiv is now the parent company and folded it into a powerhouse consortium of marketing firms throughout the country. But I do have to ask why do they have an amoeba in their logo?

Don't Make Fun of the Palio Logo

Don't make fun of the Palio Logo

Palio is Located in This Building Towards the Southern Side of Broadway

Palio is Located in This Building Towards the Southern Side of Broadway


Palio began by importing some New York City expertise from large ad agencies. They became successful quite quickly, and imported and hired much of the talent in Saratoga and Surrounding areas. It was and still is a boom for the creative types who need to make a living. The word on the street they work every ounce of that money out of each employee. It is not an easy place to have a personal life, but it must be exciting.

Intro Animation to the Palio Website

Intro Animation to the Palio Website

Palio does not do a lot of local work, they have a lot of mouths to feed, they hunt for big fish. On their website they have a few local clients that I will focus on.

The Times Union Actually hired Palio for a while. I believe that is was for their TU Jobs insert and Freebie. It slips my mind exactly when they did campaign, but I’ll guess it was five years ago. Before Craig’s List came out and stole that entire market. The print ads seemed fairly common place, but Palio specializes in getting people to remember things, and it was a broad campaign that was consistent in each phase of the delivery. 

Jobs TU Print ad

Jobs TU Print ad

The TV commercial was produced by Palio, but I don’t know who the film company was that actually created it. No matter how hard they tried, it still had that local feel about it. I don’t know if it was the voiceover speaker, who seems to be on every ad made in the Capital Region, but it didn’t ring national campaign to me.  

Jobs TU TV Screen capture

Jobs TU TV Screen capture

Saratoga Springs Shakespeare in the Park is a free project that Palio can let their hair down and be creative. I’m sure they write up a brief, create a strategy to project the program into the audience, and a design elements that reach the essence of the acting troup. In the end we get a poster each year, a very nice poster.

Shakespeare in the Park Poster

Shakespeare in the Park Poster

Palio is not the kind of design studio that you just walk into and ask for a logo. Mercy! I don’t even know what they would say – probably nothing for less than twenty thousand dollars. Palio Makes the list merely because they are in Saratoga Springs, not because they do much design in Saratoga Springs. They bring jobs and creative people to Saratoga Springs, while employing many more that already live here. Their work cannot be judged in the same way that you can judge other local work because the audiences are so much larger than most local clients. They tend to have a generic yet professional feel that no one else in the area can afford to produce.


2 responses to “Palio Communicates outside our borders

  1. SUPER! I especially like the logo, while not understanding it either. The JobsTU add is so great also. Let’s hear more.

  2. Chris,
    Hey, I saw this piece and wanted you to know that if you are ever writing about Palio in the future and have questions, I’d be happy to help! In the meantime, I’d like to share some information about the company.

    Palio is a full-service advertising/communications agency within the inVentiv Health family of companies. As you mentioned, Palio was founded in 1999 by Ed Mitzen, and also by Mike Myers and Guy Mastrion. Ed has since left to start up a new company, Fingerpaint Marketing. Mike Myers is president of Palio and Guy Mastrion is chief global creative officer of Palio.

    In 2007, Palio launched a new brand identity to reflect the agency’s passion and unfaltering commitment to great work. The updated brand identity is represented through a new logo and corporate colors. The logo, which you think looks like an amoeba (we’ve heard that), actually celebrates the race course the horses of the Palio di Siena have run for hundreds of years. As the hallmark of our brand, the logo not only reflects the vibrancy of the agency and the passion of our people, but also the way in which we strive to take our clients’ brands to a higher level—to enable them to break away from the pack and make their own moment in history. The new logo has an organic quality that is a bit unexpected and speaks to the artisanship of what we do and our willingness to drive original thought.

    It’s true, we work hard. It’s also true, we play hard. We’re proud of the team we have assembled over the years. Our approach is simple: hire the best, the brightest, and the most talented and creative in a variety of fields. And then we painstakingly nurture these uniquely talented people in an environment where they feel at home and can truly flourish – our 5 Core Values come into play here: Great Work, Continuous Learning, Work/Life Balance, Teamwork and Fun. A company is only as successful as its employees — and Palio truly lives and breathes this philosophy.

    We’re thrilled you mentioned the work we do in the Capital Region. We do a lot of pro bono work as well. We like to think of it as community partnership in action and recently received the honor of the Community Service Award from the Albany-Colonie Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Council and the Business Council of Cohoes.

    Here are a few of the most visible pro bono partners we work with: Saratoga Shakespeare Company (you mentioned this – we’ve been their partner since 2000 – developed their logo – and this year, will be working on the promotional materials for their summer production of Hamlet), Double H Hole in the Woods Ranch (developed their logo), and The Saratoga Palio: Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race (developed their logo; mark your calendars, next year’s race will be run on September 20, 2009). We do do logos, for free sometimes 🙂

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