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.

2014

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Watch Your Tone

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 Contact is a Terrible Thing to Waste

A few weeks ago I ordered a gift for Mother’s Day, one of the fruit bouquets you see fruit_bouquetadvertised just about everywhere. I placed my order a week in advance, arranged for delivery and thought I was done. But what I had inadvertently done was sign myself up for a barrage of attacks on my inbox. You see, when I placed my order I innocently clicked the box saying it was OK to send me special offers. What I didn’t know was they would email me twice a day, every day through Mother’s Day, reminding me it was not too late to make the purchase that I had already made.

I thought that was it, with the holiday over they would leave me alone. Oh no, Monday morning they hit me again to tell me it would be a great graduation gift. I thought maybe they would let me update my preferences to let them know I only need an email once a month or even once a week. Nope, my choice was all or nothing. I voted for nothing.

About that same time, I made another online purchase and once again the emails started coming. Today I got two from that retailer before 8:00 AM. Update preferences? Yes, I think I will. But they didn’t give me the chance to get fewer emails. No, they only gave me the chance to sign up for more emails from other companies. Unsubscribe to all was my choice.

In both case they had a chance to keep in contact with a happy customer but they abused that opportunity. In both cases they spent money on advertising in both traditional and online media to attract me as a customer. In both cases I was very happy with the product, but right now I don’t want to do business with either. They had a chance to keep in touch with a valuable contact but they squandered it, now they have nothing.  If you’ve had similar abusive email relationships with companies, please don’t email to tell me your story, my in-box is already full.

– Jim

Celebrating 15 Years of Handcrafted Marketing Solutions, and “That’s What She Said” Jokes

On February 19, 1999, ADwërks opened its doors for the first time. Jim had boldly, and kind of crazily, decided to leave his stable job with a cushy office, for an unstable job with a home office, that also doubled as a spare bedroom.

There was no fancy ribbon cutting ceremony or popping of champagne (although there was a healthy supply of Maker’s Mark in the house). There was just one man (with 50% more hair) and one dream. And with that, Jim turned on his Windows 98 computer and fax machine, and began work for a couple of car dealers in Topeka, KS and Lincoln, NE. ADwërks’ first client grew up to be CarHop, and they are still a client today.

What began as a dream, quickly spiraled into a reality. Like, a real-employees-who-need-retirement-plans type of reality. Over the last 15 years, ADwërks steadily grew from one employee and a handful of clients, to 12 employees and numerous clients. Some clients and projects have come and gone, but many clients have been working with us since the beginning.

ADwërks has undergone many changes over the years – changes in staff, changes in locations, changes in clients – but there is one thing that has remained the same, and that’s the passion. It’s the same thing that motivated Jim to leave his job and go at it alone, and it’s what continues to fuel ADwërks today – a passion for advertising, a passion for producing great work, and a passion for working with great people.

Thanks to our friends, industry colleagues, clients, and all who has supported us over the years! Here’s to many more!

– Andrew

Toulouse-Lautrec & His World Campaign

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s art has captivated the world for decades. His immersion into the theatrical and decadent nightlife of 19th century Paris influenced his creation of a wealth of prominent and iconic works. To celebrate these works, an exhibit called Toulouse-Lautrec & His World has come to America for the first time, and the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls is one of only four stops around the country. ADwërks was honored to have the opportunity to promote it.

Since we knew the exhibit would appeal to a diverse group of people, we created and implemented an extensive marketing campaign that’s sure to reach everyone.

TV
Accompanied by 19th century cabaret music, images of some of Toulouse-Lautrec’s most recognizable pieces transition from one to the next as a French woman’s sultry voice communicates the message.

Radio
Taken from real quotes from art critics of the time, the radio spot features two cynical French men scrutinizing Toulouse-Lautrec’s work. But hearing their rants today, they actually provide us with an accurate description of his art. What some may have considered Toulouse-Lautrec’s flaws during his time, we view as his strengths today.

Digital
This is one of four animated GIF ads we created. They resemble the same look as the TV spot. To replay, just click it.

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Posters
Since a good portion of our target audience frequents downtown Sioux Falls, we created posters that were displayed in the windows of downtown shops.

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Additionally, we created some print ads and a billboard to help get the word out.

The exhibit will take place January 25th through June 8th, and will be held in the Everist Gallery of the Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion. It will feature 150 of Toulouse-Lautrec’s original works, including 12 of his famous posters and 35 sketches. If you enjoy art even just a little bit, you’ll definitely want to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to witness Toulouse-Lautrec’s work firsthand.

– Andrew

ADwërks Helps Engineering Firm Rebrand Itself

Over the past year ADwërks has worked with its client DGR Engineering to help redefine and modernize its brand.

The firm has been around for more than 60 years, and as their business grew, their number of clients, employees and locations grew as well (branches in Rock Rapids, IA, Sioux City, IA and Sioux Falls, SD). And you don’t grow as large and successful as they have without running into a few snags along the way. So they turned to ADwërks for help.

DeWild, Grant… Who?

The new logo and name, brought to you by ADwërks.

The new logo and name, brought to you by ADwërks.

Part of the rebranding process involved revisiting their company name. Since 1952 they had been known as DeWild, Grant, Reckert and Associates, named after the original founding partners. The problem was that today it’s an employee-owned firm, and the founders’ connection and relevance to the company has ceased, making it hard for clients and employees to relate to. Not to mention the name was a bit of a mouthful and a little confusing, spawning many different variations, from DeWild, Grant and Reckert to DGR Consulting Engineers.

So we suggested they officially change their name to DGR Engineering – concise, memorable and descriptive, without deviating too much from their roots. And this way the name remains consistent across the board.

Who Am I? Why Am I Here?

A crucial part of the rebranding process involved brand discovery. We helped the company discover and define who they truly are as a brand. We did this by meeting with a few employees at each location and subjecting them to rigorous interviews and tortuous self-realization; but it was ok because we brought them food. In reality, we only helped these employees have a great open dialogue; we just took notes. We asked them questions that got them thinking and talking about the company and brand, who they are and what they stand for – discussions you don’t normally have with your co-workers day-to-day.

The interviews helped us create a brand manifesto that solidified what everyone was thinking. The manifesto established and redefined their brand, producing a mutual understanding of their brand identity by every employee and creating brand unity across the company as a whole.

New Look, Same Great Brand!

With the interviews finished and the new name established, we went to work, creating a bunch of new materials including a brand new logo, website (desktop and mobile using responsive design), brochure, brand standards manual, the aforementioned brand manifesto, marketing materials, the photography that was used in these materials, plenty of new stationery and business documents, and finally a press release announcing the newly rebranded company and its new logo.

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The brochure.

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The new website with responsive design, complete with desktop and mobile versions.

All in all we had a great time helping a great company. The entire experience was rewarding for us and we are proud of the work that came out of it.

Check out DGR Engineering’s new website here, and for more examples of our work check out our website and YouTube channel.

– Andrew

ADwërks Intentionally Confuses The Public With Big Blue Xs

Ok, maybe the word “confuses” is not entirely accurate, but I don’t feel comfortable putting blogx3the word “titillates” in a headline. Anyway, you may have noticed a bunch of blue metal Xs lining the streets of downtown Sioux Falls. And if they left you wondering, “What the heck is with all these Xs?” then we did our job.

Jim Mathis – ADwërks President, Certified Advertologitst™ and Sweater Vest Aficionado® – is also the President of the SculptureWalk board, so ADwërks donates our services for its marketing. Jim went to bed one unseasonably cold March night, only to awake after dreaming of Xs (as in the letter, not the ex’s that George Strait sings about). His revelation was that the X is the perfect motif for the 2013 SculptureWalk season, and so the titillating campaign was born.

So, what the heck is with all these Xs? Well there are three answers to that question. First, by placing the Xs on the empty sculpture stands, they promote the 2013 sculpture lineup with the tagline “X Marks The Art,” which we included in the window posters we put up in downtown shop windows and ads in area publications. Secondly, X represents SculptureWalk’s 10th anniversary this year. And finally, the signs promote the SculptureWalk eXpo, an event this weekend in celebration of SculptureWalk’s decade milestone. It will be the single largest free indoor sculpture exhibit in the upper Midwest, featuring 250 sculptures on display and on sale along with free sculpture-making seminars.

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With this campaign we hoped to create an intriguing spectacle by placing these Xs on Phillips Avenue, Main Street and 8th Street. The enigmatic nature of the simple X is just mysterious enough to spark curiosity in passersby, motivating them to find out more, which is why we put stickers on the Xs that explain their purpose.

If you still haven’t seen the Xs, head downtown today (Phillips Avenue has the most signs) and have a gander before they’re replaced with new sculptures early tomorrow morning. And if you’re looking for something titillating to do this weekend visit the SculptureWalk eXpo at the Washington Pavilion, Saturday 12pm-10pm and Sunday 12pm-4pm, and check out the new sculptures downtown.

– Andrew

An Epundemic

“Believe In Your Smellf,” “Don’t Suffer The Coughiquences,” for whatever reason bad puns are everywhere in advertising lately. I guess you could say it’s an epundemic. It’s almost to the point where the terms “copywriting” and “pun-writing” are synonymous, as if there’s no other possible way to write.

This might seem pro-pun, but I just couldn’t help myself. Puns are addicting. That’s partly why they can be so evil.

Don’t get me wrong; puns can be fun, in an ironic sort of way. In fact, I’m somewhat of a punslinger myself around family and friends. I just don’t think every freakin’ brand out there should build an entire marketing campaign around one of the lowest forms of jokes, that’s all.

Among copywriters, puns are infamous for being the first ideas that come to mind when brainstorming. I know that all too well – lost in the darkness of my mind trying to think of a great idea, suddenly with a flash of light in the distance the sweet siren of puns calls my name, tempting me to come closer… It’s easy to give in, but you must push on. Nine times out of 10 you can do better.

Some hardcore copy critics out there believe you should never ever incorporate a pun into your advertising; I’m not that harsh. I think they can work, sometimes pretty well, as long as they accomplish your basic advertising objectives – inform, persuade or remind by saying something meaningful about the product or brand in a memorable way, to sum it up. And of course you must manage to do it all in a way that builds up the brand in a positive and intelligent way, which can be hard to do in the pun realm.

Oh boy…

If being silly is all an ad pun has going for it, it probably won’t accomplish anything more than that. That’s why I’ve been getting such a bad taste in my mouth with the omnipresence of these lazy puns in advertising, in national campaigns for that matter! “Smellf?” C’mon. Again, maybe it’s worth a laugh while having some beers with friends, a SHORT laugh at that, but not worth a national ad campaign. Some seem to be solely based on one copywriter’s bad joke, which totally just diminishes the product and the brand. We should aspire to write more like Hemmingway, not Gallagher.

What do you think? Are puns the unfailing heroes of advertising, or are they the hacky comedians of copy?

– Andrew

A Bid for the Presidency

Wander through the White House or saunter around the Smithsonian, and you probably won’t see any presidential memorabilia made out of poultry (though if Ben Franklin got his way a few centuries ago, we woud be a nation of turkeys). But travel to Dakota City, Nebraska and you’ll find a frozen history lesson.

About three years ago, Rebekah Speight took her kids to McDonald’s and as she cleaned up, a familiar face looked back at her. It wasn’t from a coin purse, but from the pile of uneaten McNuggets. The McNugget looked like George Washington. So government waste no more, Speight kept the pronounced POTUS profile and tucked it into her freezer.

Here’s where the word-of-mouth world that GW knew and our world of connectivity meet to make a creative grass roots campaign. When Speight needed to raise money for a higher purpose, to send students from her church to camp, she got the calling to auction the meaty McNugget. And the lesson from history and marketing is that at times the best viral campaigns mean brushing off the freezer burn and taking a bite of creativity bigger than George Washington’s wooden dentures could take (yes history teachers, and my mom, I know that’s not quite true). It’s stepping outside the usual to create chatter about the unusual. It’s using the tools and toys we employ every day – Facebook, Ebay or Twitter – to drive awareness of those causes that matter the most to us.

For Speight, her bid for the presidency on eBay got media coverage from around the world, creativity that cost conversation and getting bids past $8,000. While Commander in Chiefs may communicate about taxes or partisan politics, when a message makes its way through all the other talk of the day, we must ask why it matters so much. For Speight, the head of state (even in a state of breaded tastiness) gave her a way to help the cause and kids she cared most about it.

– Jolene

Update: The winning bidder chickened out on the sale, but organizers say they will still work to find someone interested in bidding on this presidential piece of poultry.

Is Your Writing All Talk?

Commitment Innovations Today

People Inspiring Discovery

Soaring Achievement Excellence

Do these phrases mean anything to you? I mean, the individual words are ok. But put together, they’re ambiguous, and pretty much meaningless.

This is something I frequently notice in advertising and business communications – words that are pretty on the outside (sometimes not even that), and empty on the inside. They’re purely cosmetic. It’s just a gag played on the audience, similar to the tricks performed by this magician.

For the sake of conversation, let’s call these meaningless ad phrases “gaglines.” (Not only is the illusion that they’re saying something of value a joke, but they make me gag.)

Gaglines defeat the purpose of your advertising. They’re just pretending to say something, but really not saying anything at all.

The purpose of your advertising is most likely to fix some kind of problem; transparent gaglines don’t fix those problems. Just because you use words like “excellence” or “inspire,” doesn’t mean you’re saying something meaningful and beneficial about the brand. Ad copy needs to be real and genuine. It should focus on the message, not the words.

Every ad you put out there is an opportunity – an opportunity to be heard, to influence consumers, to boost sales for the client… Failure to say something meaningful about the brand is a missed opportunity. So take advantage of your spotlight moment. Give your words legs to walk, and say something worth listening to.

– Andrew