ADwerks named Google Premier Partner

We know it’s not polite to brag, but please indulge us this once. ADwerks was just named a Google Premier Partner Agency. Yep, this little agency on the prairie is playing with the big boys. Only a small percentage of Google Partner Agencies earn the honor of being a Google Prepremier-google-partner-RGB-searchmier Partner demonstrating AdWords skill and expertise, having met Google AdWords spend requirements, and delivered client revenue growth, and sustained and grown their client base.

As one of only 3 Google Premier Partner Agencies in South Dakota, ADwërks is being recognized as being one of the best in digital media in the upper Midwest. To earn the honor, ADwërks met Google’s strict criteria, managing large Google accounts, achieving Google certifications and most importantly exceeding industry standards for driving results.

Heather Solberg, director of digital media for ADwërks said “It’s great to be recognized for the work that we do every day. We manage details, watch results and are constantly striving to get better results for our clients. It’s great to see that work pay off.”

“While I’m proud of our team and the recognition from Google, what really drives us is getting results for our clients. The best award we can win is having a client tell us about busting sales records and growing their business.” said Jim Mathis, ADwërks owner and Certified Advertologist™.  “ADwërks has long been known for our media expertise, but I don’t think people realize our strength in digital media. Today, Google is recognizing our expertise in digital marketing.”

Was that too much bragging?

McDonald’s Love Notes

Isn’t it nice when someone leaves you a little love note just because?

Whether it’s a note from your mom in your lunchbox:
“Have a good day sweetie!” (Hopefully only when you were a kid)

Or a note from your adoring husband, left on your pillow:
“Just wanted to tell you that you’re beautiful and I’ll love you forever.”

Or a romantic note from your loving wife:

  • Take out the diaper garbage. It’s stinking up the bedroom.
  • Pick up more diapers.
  • Pick up the dead spider on the floor. I used your shoe.
  • The cat puked on your chair. Clean it up.

That was the idea behind these love notes we created for McDonald’s. They were randomly slipped in the food bags of McDonald’s customers in the drive thru. Just because.


How One Brand Brings A Little Paradise To My Weary Morning Routine

By: Andrew Eide

The alarm clock shrieks like Gilbert Gottfried, startling me awake at 7am. I’m so tired it Gilbertfeels like my soul is quivering. I hit the snooze button and indulge in another 15 minutes of sleep. Again the alarm clock sounds off impatiently, and reluctantly I rise, careful to not disturb my slumbering wife and 5-month-old daughter.

I slowly pull out the bottom drawer of my dresser. It once belonged to my grandparents – now worn down and creaky in its old age. Again I cross my fingers in hopes I won’t disturb my sleeping loves as I retrieve a clean pair of boxer briefs.

The next and final obstacle in my stealthy escape is the bedroom door, and the obnoxious beast on the other side of it clamoring to get in. Gently I pull the door open, revealing my cat Brody, crying out of desperation for attention and attempting to catch a glimpse of the room he’s not allowed in. Kicking him aside, I close the door, leaving the bedroom at peace.

I stumble my way downstairs as my two cats gleefully follow. I crack open a can of Friskies Liver & Chicken Pate and feed the furry groupies rubbing against my legs. Next I start the coffee maker and head into the bathroom for a shower.

The warmth of the water on my neck practically lulls me back to sleep as I lose myself in thought, staring at the shower wall with one eye closed.

My daughter Ever was born in February. In anticipation for her birth, I took a part time job on nights and weekends to help get us through my wife’s maternity leave. But going back to work was torture for Jenny. She was already unhappy at her job, where she was overworked and underpaid, and she couldn’t bear the thought of missing out on Ever’s babyhood. So we decided it was best for her to quit and take care of Ever fulltime, and I’d just get more hours at my part time job. Now my baby’s happy, my wife’s happy, and I’m happy. But between my two jobs and my 5-month-old night owl at home, I’m a bit exhausted.

However, the weary beginning to my morning is turned around as I reach for my Old Spice body wash. The scent is Zanzibar, from the Fresh Collection. One sniff and I’m transported to the serene landscape depicted on the bottle – the ocean inhales and exhales as I lay on the coast beneath the orange glow of dusk. It’s a little escape that I sorely need. Old Spice continues the experience with its wondrous copy on the back of the bottle:



Hypothetically speaking, there is only one island with enough coastline, historical mystery and well-deserved wealth in natural spices to inspire a body scent guaranteed to turn every womanly encounter into a game of spin the expensive, diamond-encrusted bottle. That island is Zanzibar. That’s just a hypothetical fact that nobody can argue with.


Another one of my favorites is Citron from the Fresher Collection: Citron


CITRON is like captaining a schooner, the scent of fresh lime and sandalwood blowing through your sails, en route to forbidden mermaid love. Also, the schooner has a go-cart track on it.



And then there’s WOLFTHORN from the Wild Collection:



In the realm of animals and men known as earth, there is one animal intelligent enough to smell like the most fearsomely handsome animal of them all, and that is the man, who smells like the wolf would if a wolf smelled like a handsome man. That’s just the way things go in the realm I’m talking about.



We all know Old Spice for their ludicrous TV spots, but they don’t stop there. You can find their trademark branding and fantastical voice in everything they touch, from their website, to social media, to the backs of labels on their products. They even manage to delight me at the most intimate of moments, in my shower, and during a time in my life when I’m in most need of a little paradise, even if it means a brief mental escape and a good laugh.

This is the Holy Grail for brands. Before this big change in my life, I was a moderate Old Spice fan. I’d maybe get some of their deodorant once in a while, but now they dominate my bathroom, from shampoo, to body wash, to body spray.

It is said that people don’t buy logically, they buy emotionally.  And this is a prime example of that. It may sound strange, but I guess I’m using hygiene products to fulfill an emotional need, and I choose Old Spice, despite the higher price tag, because they accomplish it best.

I’m not exactly sure when or how it happened, but at some point Old Spice became something to me that goes beyond clean skin deep –  transcending dirt, grime and perspiration – and captivating my sense of humor, enchanting my imagination, and touching, dare I say, my heart. Man, I love good branding.

KSFY & Washington Pavilion Media Camp

By: Carol Oren

Last week I was honored to be a part of the first ever Washington Pavilion/KSFY Media ksfyCamp. The idea was the brainchild of General Manager Jim Berman. When I was approached to be the client the kids would pitch the sponsorship to, I enthusiastically said, “YES!”

The camp was free of charge and open to high school students. Applicants were to submit a 3 minute video and were hand-selected by KSFY staff. These young adults learned all aspects of a television station from writing, reporting, weather, and even sales. That’s where I came in. They sat down with my Account Executive, Leah Jones to learn more about the agency and the client they were going to pitch the sponsorship to, PizzaRev, a real ADwërks client.

washingtonpavillionI was ushered in to the board room on the 4th floor of the Washington Pavilion to hear the presentations by 3 separate teams. What I expected to get out of the experience and what I actually got was nothing in comparison. These kids were polished, professional and had statistical information regarding news viewers, social media followers and what they were going to bring to the table for PizzaRev.

The first group was a little nervous and mostly read from their scripts, but the second and third groups blew me away! One young lady really stood out. She walked in the room, dressed in a business suit, walked over to me and shook my hand. She then led the group by introducing herself and her team. This young lady wowed me with the social media stats of all the campers, and she explained what that could mean to the viewership level of the two newscasts. She then handed the pitch over to the rest of the team – what the client would get, how much it would cost, etc. These kids put their everything into selling the sponsorship to PizzaRev so their newscast would air on Friday.

We had time after the presentations for a question and answer session and I also offered up some advice and tips on selling to a client. When all was said and done, the group came in at a higher priced sponsorship than I expected, but paying it was well worth seeing the huge grins on their faces when I accepted the sponsorship.

If you missed Friday’s newscast, you missed a glimpse at our future anchors. These youngsters hit it out of the park! They were dressed professionally, smiled and were well-polished on camera. Way to go Washington Pavilion and KSFY! I hope you make this an annual event for kids to learn more about the world of journalism.

The Passing of a Legend

By Jim Mathis

You’ve probably never heard of Tony Mikes, but he has made a tremendous impact on my life, helping to shape my career and my business. It’s a bit of a strange path from his home in Eastern Pennsylvania to my small agency in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, but I’m a better person for taking it. Tony Mikes passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2015. I’m proud to call him a friend and he will be missed.

In 1988 Tony started a company called Second Wind. Second Wind is a network of smaller to mid-sized advertising agencies, design firms and marketing shops all over the country. What Tony did was give the owners and managers of these businesses a place to come together, learn from each other, share successes and failures. For more than 25 years, Tony sat at the helm of Second Wind, helping agency leadership find their way through this tumultuous business. Craig Lawrence and Paul Schiller (the founders of Lawrence & Schiller) were early members of the network and the agency still belongs today.


Prior to starting Second Wind, Tony had a successful career as an advertising agency owner himself. He had already experienced many of the growing pains and tough decisions that the network members were experiencing. He was there to help guide and grow; the perfect mentor for small agency owners like me.

I met Tony over 20 years ago. I was a media director for Lawrence & Schiller. The agencytonymikes had planned a manager’s retreat in the Twin Cities and Tony was brought in to facilitate. At the time, I was a disgruntled employee; not happy with some of the direction I saw the company going and was seriously considering quitting. At the end of the meeting I was feeling better, but I still had reservations. Then I had the opportunity to drive Tony to the airport (which was more coincidental than intentional, I was picking up Kara so we could spend the weekend in Minneapolis), but the 45 minutes I got to spend one-on-one with Tony were invaluable. He was able to see my concerns and walk me through them. In that short ride he talked me off the ledge.

Years later when I started ADwërks, I decided to join Second Wind as soon as I could afford it. Since then I’ve made many dear friends in the Second Wind network. I’ve learned things that have helped make me successful and avoid many pitfalls that could have been quite costly. In mid-July I’ll be traveling back to Wyomissing, Pennsylvania to spend a few days with other small agency owners at the Second Wind headquarters. I will miss Tony, but I am grateful for the many lessons I’ve learned from him and the others in the Second Wind family.

Lessons From Dear Old Dad

By Jim Mathis

Over the years my father taught me many life lessons. Some seemed trivial and even silly at the time; while others felt like he was passing down great wisdom, as if he was transferring the weight of the world from his shoulders to mine. At times I think his lessons were carefully planned, and sometimes his teaching was delivered accidently in the course of our everyday lives. But each time he shared his ideas, insights and challenges, I grew as a man and he helped to shape the person I would become.

When I was young, my father would take me fishing. He taught me to be patient and wait for the excitement that would come when the fish began to bite. While those moments of exuberance were sometimes few and far between, the time we spent waiting became a chance to talk one on one with the guy I looked up to. Somehow through those times I learned the virtue of patience was far more valuable than bragging about what we caught.

GooseCallThe time I spent hunting ducks with Dad was much the same. We’d get up early, drive an hour or so, take the boat across a dark river. We’d set the decoys in the still water and climb into the duck blind, long before the sun began to rise. We’d sit and wait to hear the whistle of teal flying past. We would talk quietly while our eyes scanned the sky, waiting for our chance to bag a mallard or gadwall. Some days we’d shoot our limit of ducks and proudly bring our bounty home while the morning was still young. Other days we’d sit and talk, occasionally calling in vain to ducks on the horizon. Hours later we’d pack up and head home empty handed. It was on those days, without ever saying it, Dad taught me that hunting was more about time spent in the field, less about the contents of our bag.

When our outdoor excursions were successful, he taught me to carefully clean the fish and fowl, to respect the animals and use what we had harvested. While that lesson was important, I think he also wanted to delegate the dirty work, and I was happy to help. Then we’d go inside and clean our guns and neatly put away the decoys, calls and other equipment. A place for everything and everything in its place, a lesson learned.

When it came time to cook, he taught me to neatly stack charcoal briquettes into a dusty black pyramid in the old Weber kettle. He would douse the stack in lighter fluid then strike a match and toss it in. We’d watch in awe as the flames reached high into the air, the smell of petroleum was thick in the backyard and I was proud to be part of the ritual. I’ve since learned to fire up the grill without all of the chemicals and fuss, but I still think about him whenever I strike a match. The smell of sulfur and smoke take me back every time.

As I grew older, Dad taught me an appreciation for many of the finer things in life, from the pleasure of a good steak; to the sweet and briny goodness of an oyster you shucked yourself. He also showed me how to enjoy the simple pleasure of a good libation. Over the years we shared many fine Scotches, bourbons and ryes. And even though I’d moved hundreds of miles away, we’d talk on the phone and compare notes on a new (or perhaps 18 year old) Scotch one of us had discovered. He’d save me samples, and when we could get together we’d enjoy a glass. When he passed away last winter, many of my friends who had come to call him a friend as well lifted a glass of fine bourbon or Scotch in his honor.

Many years ago, mom and dad were called into to my kindergarten teacher for a conference. The teacher firmly encouraged my parents to be honest with their son about what dad did for a living. My folks were a little perplexed; I’d been to dad’s office and seen what he did, so what was the problem? Apparently, when the teacher had asked each child what their dad did for a living, I had said “he colors.” Mom and Dad said I was right. I went to his office and he was there drawing pictures and coloring them in with markers. That’s what art directors did back then.

I think that may have been the most important thing he did. My dad got me interested in dad2advertising. He had worked in advertising as I was growing up. I thought it was so cool that he got to create ads and brochures. I wanted to do that when I grew up. By watching him as I grew up, I think I learned as much about advertising as I did in college. Without his wisdom and encouragement, I would not be where I am today.

Six years ago I started writing a column for Etc. For Her Magazine. Every month I’d send copies of the magazine to Des Moines for my Dad. He would often call with comments (or corrections). When his health began to fail, Mom would read the articles to him. Through that humble publication, Sioux Falls became his favorite place to visit. He would arrive with a list of new restaurants to visit and places to see, all based on what he learned from Etc. for her.

So this Father’s Day as I remember all my dad did for me, let’s all drink toast for the men who taught us to ride our bikes, to know right from wrong and what it meant to be loved. Here’s to you, Dear Old Dad, and all the other Dads out there.

We Need A Social/Digital Media Strategist!

We are looking for a social media strategist to lead regional social strategy for one of ADwerks_GearLogothe world’s most recognized brands. Yes, you read that correctly – we’re going to pay someone to spend their day on Facebook and Twitter. How cool is that?

This position will manage digital platforms, develop a social media strategy to build greater brand awareness, develop, implement and manage all social media related efforts designed to increase consumer awareness, as well as consumer acquisition, retention and engagement.

Responsibilities Include:

  • Research, develop and manage day-to-day social media content
  • Manage social advertising campaigns on Facebook and Twitter with regular status updates provided internally and bi-weekly reports to the client
  • Manage a social media budget and media strategy for paid ad placement to increase engagement on social platforms
  • Interact with consumers/customers in real time via social media platforms
  • Identify opportunity areas and conduct research in order to leverage social media activities and strategies to extend the campaign
  • Ensure social media platforms and channels are effectively aligned with the client’s brand and overall business strategies
  • Monitor trends in social media tools and applications, and apply that knowledge to the use of social media strategies within the business
  • Develop and manage a content calendar
  • Provide consumer insights to help lead overall marketing strategy

Position Requirements:

  • Candidates should be highly organized and detail oriented
  • Must show outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • Degree in Marketing/Advertising/PR or Communication, or English
  • Minimum of 3 years of experience in social media/digital marketing required
  • Agency Experience preferred
  • Capable of performing tasks independently and meet objectives with little supervision
  • Well versed in all social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other comparable and up-and-coming social media channels
  • Experience with third party social media software tools and social listening or engagement tools
  • Strong Analytical Skills
  • Knowledge of Photoshop and InDesign is preferred but not required

If this position sounds like it’s up your alley, please send your resume and cover letter in PDF format to

Falls Park Farmers Market 2014 Campaign

Because we love advertising AND local produce so much, every year ADwërks puts together a humble, yet bold ad campaign for the Falls Park Farmers Market, the largest farmers market in Sioux Falls with over 100 years under its belt.

The campaign consists of periodic email blasts that let customers know what’s new and in season at the market along with some print ads in the Argus Leader. The concept behind this year’s campaign was to position the idea of buying local produce from people in your community against faceless factory farming, rather than just doing things like childishly, yet still hilariously, drawing similarities between produce and the human anatomy, like we did last year. See a few examples of this year’s ads below, along with the aforementioned immature ads below that.









Watch Your Tone

Watch Your Tone Aug 13, 2014

I recently took a series of online courses from MarketingProfsPRO called Marketing certificateWriting Bootcamp. Don’t believe me? I’ve got a diploma to prove it. I had to take quizzes and everything. Why are you doubting me so much? Seems weird… Anyway, the class covered many topics, and in its wake left a bunch of knowledge in my brain, knowledge that I am going to bestow upon you.

One of my favorite courses was on tone of voice. You know how when you were a blossoming prepubescent teen and your mom would say; “Don’t take that tone with me,” then she’d send you to your room? Or how when you’re married and you’re a blossoming prepubescent man and your wife will say; “Don’t take that tone with me,” then send you to your room? That’s because it’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it that makes all the difference.

Brands can use tone of voice as a tool to more accurately communicate who they are. For example:

A company that makes things might say:

The diversity in our department enables us to be innovative and creative, resulting in revolutionary, ground breaking and immersive products for our customers.

Or they could say:

We build awesome products that our customers love.

The message is the same but they sound vastly different because of their language, personality, structure and tone. Neither is wrong, as long as they effectively communicate the brand’s personality, culture and values.

How do you start?

To determine the type of tone you should have, start from the beginning by defining your company’s values. Are they silly? Inspirational? Cool? Intellectual? Just don’t say “boring”. It’s easy to jump to that conclusion for some, but I guarantee you it’s not true. Your values will then define your brand, which defines your personality, which dictates the type of tone of voice you should have. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to talk. But before you open your mouth, make sure you’re ready to use it consistently.

Positioning your tone of voice in the consumer’s mind doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time. Think about it. When you know a person, you have certain expectations for how they talk, the types of jokes they make and the things they say. When they say something that aligns with your expectations of them, all is right with the universe.

Now if I suddenly decided that I wanted to talk like, oh I don’t know, Darth Vader, it would come across as strange, since it would go against the expectations people have of me.

Let’s say I told Mike, one of our art directors, to use a certain headline in an ad and he didn’t listenThe Office Dark VaderAdwerks to me. I’d normally say, “Hey, what happened to that headline?” But if I wanted him to suddenly perceive me as Darth Vader, I’d say, “I find your lack of obedience disturbing. Your insolence betrays you. Now feel the wrath of the dark side,” then I’d pull out my pink lightsaber (I’ve always wanted a pink lighstaber). It’d be weird because I’ve never talked like that before; I haven’t established that I’m Darth Vader. That’s an extreme example, but I think you get what I mean. It takes time to establish your tone of voice, and that’s why you must do it consistently and accurately.

Tone of voice can really do wonders for your brand. It can help you stand out from the crowd, engage customers, share your personality, build trust, strengthen and reinforce your brand, and all of this can ultimately lead to generating more sales. And today, given the amount of voices (including the ones in my head) we hear every day, tone of voice is especially crucial to helping you stand out and be memorable.

– Andrew

A Life Insurance Ad That Will Haunt Your Dreams

The following ad contains a scene that is spine-chilling and disturbing in nature. Viewer discretion is advised.

The horror, the ungodly horror! This… this, thing… is one of the creepiest ads I’ve ever seen, and it’s about life insurance, of all things.

The headline is one synonym away from what people put on gravestones. It’s exactly what the creepy lady in the Lazy-Boy would whisper to you in the middle of the night as she rocks back and forth in the corner of your room. “Sleep in peace dear; it’s time to put that life insurance policy to good use (cackle cackle).”

And then, there’s the hand — that disfigured, unholy, inhuman hand – gently stroking the other one as she plots to free you from your earthly existence with her knitting needles.

Despite its flaws, I guess this ad did get me thinking about my own mortality, which I suppose is the point. After all, you never know when a demented granny with a blood-thirsty grin will sneak into your house in the middle of the night and strangle you with the same yarn she used to make mittens for her grandson little Timmy. So I was able to get a life insurance policy for just $27 a month!

– Andrew