We’re a team of strategic problem solvers and creative professionals.

And we’re pleased to meet you.

Steve Caplan

Founder/Principal Strategist

With over two decades at the intersection of public affairs, entertainment, and advertising, Steve Caplan brings a unique perspective to strategic communications.

Prior to launching his own agency in 2012 he was a Partner at GMMB, one of the nation’s leading cause marketing firms, where he headed the firm’s Los Angeles office. In addition to providing strategic counsel and advertising and social media expertise to advocacy organizations, not-for-profits, and major brands, Steve has overseen creative development and strategic efforts for clients including; the California Endowment, the Motion Picture Association of America, Save Darfur Coalition, and the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs widely acclaimed “Me Not Meth” campaign.

He has been on the front lines in shaping communications strategies for a number of complex policy issues, including homelessness, global health, and the environment, having served as a senior advisor during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen.

Steve spent nearly seven years as executive vice president of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), where he represented  approximately 270 of the nation’s leading commercial production companies, along with hundreds of vendors and suppliers for this $5 billion-a-year industry.

He also has extensive experience in politics at the national, state and local levels. He was a leading player in the 1991 election of Philadelphia Mayor (now Governor) Edward G. Rendell and later served under Mayor Rendell as Assistant Deputy Mayor Intergovernmental Relations. In addition, Steve was liaison for Mayor Rendell to a number of urban policy organizations, including the US Conference of Mayors.

Long active in community and civic affairs, he has served on a number of boards and commissions including Film LA, where he was vice chair, and on the advisory board of the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI). He was an appointed member of the City of Los Angeles Business Tax Advisory Commission, which successfully enacted comprehensive business tax reform in Los Angeles in 2004, and in 2006 was invited by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to be a member of a delegation of city officials and other leaders from the private and non-profit sectors for a trade mission to China, Japan and South Korea.

Steve attended the University of California, Santa Barbara as an undergraduate and earned his masters degree from the Fels School of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on public finance and management.

Scott Hidinger

Executive Creative Director

Scott’s career kicked off at the age of 5 where he insisted on wearing a 3-piece suit and carrying a briefcase full of his artwork to Kindergarten. Several years later, he attended the Herron School of Art and Design. He then continued his education at Indiana University, graduating with a BFA in graphic design in 1996.

Scott spent the first 8 years of his career in Atlanta working for a handful of agencies while also teaching a graduate class at the Creative Circus. In 2002, he moved to Los Angeles to join Deutsch. In 2014, he started a new phase, and began consulting and freelancing for a wide variety of clients.

Scott’s work (Target, Expedia, Zillow, Saturn and HTC) has been awarded by the One Show for Art & Copy, the Addys, Communication Arts, The Effies, The Webby Awards, Lurzer’s Archive, The Ex Awards, Show South and The London International Awards.

But creative direction isn’t just a career, Scott strives to live a creative life, pouring his passion into everything from the re-design and renovation of his mid-century home (which received interest from This Old House) to the design and build of a custom Triumph motorcycle (receiving buzz via his quirky blog as far away as Germany and Russia). He even spends time in the kitchen, channeling creativity into food.

Scott lives on the Westside of Los Angeles with his wife, their 3-year-old daughter and their 80 pound puppy, Olive.

Sandy Pfaff

Senior Consultant

Sandy has more than 25 years of experience in public relations, marketing and sales with a combination of agency and corporate experience. On the agency side, Sandy worked for Ketchum for 12 years until 2008 when she was Senior Vice President in charge of business development for the West Coast. Prior to moving to the sales side, she managed major accounts for the agency including Visa U.S.A., Nike and Intuit, among others.

Before joining Ketchum, Sandy spent seven years in financial services at Fleet Financial Group (now BofA) in Boston, MA. At Fleet, Sandy was an Assistant Vice President in Corporate Communications working on internal communications and marketing programs for what was then a regional bank with 30,000 employees. She also spent five years in sales and marketing for Fleet’s real estate group prior to completing the bank’s financial analyst program.

A born collaborator, Sandy thrives in the role of client relationship manager. Whether as an independent consultant, strategist or implementer, Sandy is known for her ability to immerse herself in a client’s business and connect with teams to get the job done.

Outside of the office, Sandy can often be found on her bike on the roads or trails around West Marin or spending time with her boys, Ben and Gabe.

Sarah Heering

Senior Media Consultant

Sarah Heering is a pioneer in the ever–evolving world of digital media and advertising, leveraging her understanding of technology and e–commerce to maximize her clients’ budgets and results. Sarah combines more than 10 years of marketing experience with an analytical approach to media, advertising, and e–commerce and offers a broad knowledge of branding and direct response advertising with an emphasis on ROI-driven results.

After attending Fordham University in New York, Sarah worked her way up as head of Business Development and VP of FYMc, an ad agency in Sherman Oaks, CA, where she worked with clients like Warner Brothers and Universal Studios. There she tackled the creation and execution of advertising and marketing programs, as well as the use of management applications in non–traditionally integrated environments.

John Carlos Harrington

Senior Designer

John Carlos knows how to cut to the core of a brand’s identity, extract its values, and then precipitate those values through every level of design. With over 12 years of experience working with clients such as Quiksilver, The American Red Cross, Better Health East Bay, Comcast NBCUniversal, Samsung, Goodwill Industries, Colette Paris and Toshiba, his work spans philanthropy to technology to luxury goods. Born from print and advertising, his approach is holistic, thorough, and speaks a language where design is grammar and experience is the vocabulary.

Audrey Ponzio

Of Counsel

Specializing in integrated marketing and multicultural community engagement, Audrey Ponzio has counseled and developed best-in-class programs for leading brands including Sprint, GE, Starbucks, Kraft Foods, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Time Warner Cable, The American Heart Association, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Delta, and PepsiCo.

A frequent partner to the Message team, Audrey launched APC Collective in 2014 to develop communications, marketing, and social programs that help clients simultaneously grow their reach, influence and impact.

Audrey helped rebuild Edelman’s multicultural practice in New York City as Senior Vice President, where her team created award winning national multicultural campaigns for a diverse portfolio of companies across every sector, including public affairs for corporate, health, consumer, food & beverage, entertainment, and travel & tourism.

Audrey graduated from the University of Texas in Austin, where she received her Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communications. She also holds a Masters in Public Administration from Columbia University. An advocate of education and empowerment for underserved communities, Audrey also has served as counsel to non-profits across the U.S. and Latin America; including Blue Engine, Voto Latino, Alaska House, American Indian College Fund, Mi Sangre Foundation and The Maureen Orth Foundation.