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?

National Award Announcement For The Washington Pavilion

We had the privilege of working with The Washington Pavilion to announce that their washingtonpavillionAction Arts and Science Program won a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. This honor positions them as one of the top arts and humanities-based programs in the country. Michelle Obama will even be presenting them with the award in Washington D.C. tomorrow, so yeah, this is kind of a big deal.

We were excited to lend a hand because 1.) We love and support the Washington Pavilion and all of the great things they bring to Sioux Falls, and 2.) Their Action Arts and Science Program brings amazing learning opportunities to kids that don’t otherwise have access. And quite frankly, this program doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves.

The Action Arts and Science Program offers super cool arts and science activities to children in Title I schools in Sioux Falls, from the art of graffiti, to the physics of skateboarding, these activities truly make learning fun, and they sound so awesome that they should maybe consider an after-WORK program for adults… please? Preferably a class that teaches you how to make your own personal robot. I’d name mine CyBoris.

The goal is to expose students to these subjects in a fun and engaging way to inspire confidence, teach creativity and problem solving, and set them up for a lifetime appreciation for the arts and sciences. Doesn’t that sound like something we all should be getting behind?

To prepare the Pavilion for this big announcement, we partnered with our best pals at Mud Mile to create a video featuring interviews of students and teachers, plus a 30 second PSA. We 2015-10_Washington-Pavilion_NAHYPA_Brochure_VFIN_JPEG_1also made a brochure to educate people about the program and the award, and we offered our all-around guidance and strategy when it came to making the announcement in the press.

It was a great project to work on, and downright inspiring to see such a wonderful program for so many wonderful students in the community get the recognition they deserve. Check out the video made by Mud Mile below. And if you want to learn more about the program go here. Thanks to the Washington Pavilion for letting us be involved with such a rewarding and meaningful program!

:30 PSA

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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


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 Media Team Gets More Experty

Our team of expert media professionals has gotten even more experty with a brand new ADwërker!

Kristi Cornette, our new Pilot of the Airwaves, will work as a traditional media buyer for our 0_2013-03-14_Kristi-Cornette_018_SaraCam_Fix_Flat_Croppedlargest account CarHop, handling mostly TV and print. She’ll work alongside Monique Lupkes, our OTHER traditional buyer for CarHop, and together they’ll conquer the many CarHop markets across the country, riding the airwaves to true media glory.

Kristi has been in advertising for 22 years, and she’s been buying media for 16 years. Her agency experience is bountiful, including employment at Barkley in Kansas City, MO, where she bought for Sonic (not the hedgehog), Valentine Radford, also in Kansas City, where she bought for Pizza Hut, and closer to home, Nichols Media, where she bought for various clients in the auto industry.

When she’s not piloting the airwaves, Kristi enjoys spending time with her family, which is comprised of her husband Michael, 10-year-old son Cooper, and their dog Scout. Together they enjoy having movie nights, watching TV and just hanging out as a family. The Cornettes have recently returned to Sioux Falls after temporarily living in Missoula, MT and Kansas City, MO, but they’re glad to be back.

Although this is the first time she has worked at ADwërks, it’s not her first encounter with the Mathi. Kristi has known Jim and Kara for about 18 years, and she and her husband actually used to live five doors down from the Mathis household. Is that why you moved away Kristi? Nonetheless, we’re happy you came back.

Based on her mad media skills, good experience and great personality, we know Kristi will make an excellent addition to our team. Please feel free to help us welcome her aboard!

Please, Make It Stop!

People are annoyed by advertising every day. That’s just how it is. To a certain degree consumers have gotten pretty desensitized to it, so it’s our job as advertisers to rise above all that generic, annoying clutter, and stand out in a meaningful way that presents value to the consumer. But every once in a while something comes along that does its job of breaking through the clutter, but in a bad way.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been punched, slapped and beaten over the head with a commercial, to the point that I scramble for the mute button every time it comes on. I’m sure you’ve seen it. It’s a Zales spot that shows couples in a few different romantic scenarios, accompanied by different lines of copy like “The Falling For You Store” and a song that I really liked at first – “If it wasn’t for you, don’t know what I’d do…” (It reminded me of The Rosebuds).

So it has a good song, some nice cinematography and a pretty good message. The only problem is that the commercial has been following me everywhere I go. Aside from reaching me at home every night, during every single freaking commercial break, the spot has interrupted my YouTube viewing, annoyed me at in-store TV displays and stalked me at a sports bar. It’s ruthless. If I could file a protection order against it I would. And one can’t argue that I’m not in the target audience, because I’m recently engaged; they’re just a little too late. So now I despise the song and resent Zales for torturing me. You know they used this same tactic as an interrogation method at Guantanamo Bay, right?

I definitely think there is such a thing as too much frequency in advertising. We spend so much time focusing on making sure the consumer receives the message, we forget that reaching them too much might have the opposite effect. You know how when you were a kid and your mom told you to do something over and over again, so much that you wanted to deliberately NOT do it just out of spite? That’s what this is like. The first 10 times I saw the commercial I had a positive reaction, and because of that, if I were in the market for jewelry I would have considered buying from them. But they didn’t stop there. They continued beating me senseless until I couldn’t take it any longer.

You can argue that in the end the ad did its job. It broke through the clutter and placed Zales top of mind as a jewelry brand. But does the end justify the means? Is it ok to twist consumers’ arms until they say uncle, or is it better to make them genuinely like you? I would think the latter, but then again, I’m just a fussy, whinny copywriter.

– Andrew

The Lost Lesson Plan: Stuff They Don’t Teach You In Ad School Part I

School can only prepare you for so much in advertising. Some things you just can’t teach, lessons better learned in the school of hard knocks. Since I graduated and entered the ad world, I’ve picked up on a lot of things they don’t tell you about in school, or things I wish I had known. Here are those observations.

1. The Creative Department Is Nothing Like Don Draper’s – Going into the creative side of advertising may seem like the most fun and glamorous choice. You stumble into work at 8:30 or 9 in the morning wearing jeans and a wrinkled t-shirt because you’re creative like that. Then you effortlessly spout out a few genius ideas with a Starbucks in one hand and an iPad in the other, clear a spot on your desk for your future ADDY awards, then spend the rest of the day tweeting and palling around with your fellow creatives, right?

Wrong. You come in on time, appropriately dressed, and you work hard. You have to. In fact, if you’re anything like me, you never stop working. The creative process is fickle. You can’t limit your thinking to Monday through Friday 8 to 5. And chances are you’ll have to weed through 100 ideas before finding one halfway worth presenting to your creative director. It’s a very rewarding and enjoyable career path indeed, but it’s not Mad Men.

2. Media Buying Is Totally Killer – You may be under the impression that media buying is the stuffy, quiet side of advertising, (“It’s something to do with numbers right?”), and it doesn’t offer the kind of glory that creative offers – couldn’t be farther from the truth.

First of all, elements of creativity definitely go into buying and planning. It would be hard to deliver higher GRPs on a smaller budget than the previous year without using a little creativity. Also, deciding on what mediums to place the advertising takes plenty of ingenuity.

Secondly, media buying is a HUGE part of an agency’s services. In school I didn’t realize how important it really is, not only to the agency but to the client. There is a substantial demand for media buying services too. We have 11 employees and three are media buyers.

Also, buyers get majorly brown-nosed by their media reps. I’m talking lunches, gift baskets, snacks galore (especially during the Holidays), sometimes even free vacations. Lucky for us, our media buyers share their bounty. Well, just the goodies. It’d be weird if I went to lunch with Carol and one of her media reps, chomping away as they discuss business. “(Smack Smack) Can you pass the ketchup?”

3. Your Time Card Is Always Watching – Before going into advertising I had no idea that there was this thing called a time card. It keeps track of the billable hours you spend working on projects so your agency can make money so YOU can get paid, but indirectly it’s kind of a babysitter that makes sure you’re not misbehaving.

Every single day, by minimum increments of 15 minutes, you have to record the projects you worked on (using job numbers) along with the specific task you were performing with that project (copywriting, research, etc.) known as a function code. Since I work on a lot of different projects, I am constantly updating my time card throughout the day. And in a way, this ensures that I stay on task. I’m pretty sure there’s not a function code for “Fartin’ around on YouTube.”

By no means did these revelations affect my attitude about going into advertising; in fact, they’ve probably enhanced it. But they contribute to what I think is one of the most important lessons of all, and that is that you should never have expectations or pre-conceived notions in advertising. Chances are you’ll be disappointed. If advertising is anything, it’s unpredictable, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

– Andrew

The Elusive Perfect Ad

Some say it doesn’t exist. Others blindly believe. Me? I was hopeful, but just didn’t know for sure, until I had a sighting the other day.

I was driving home from work one night, ear buds plugged in and listening to one of my favorite comedy podcasts Professor Blastoff, when all of a sudden an ad came on. It was a short, quirky-funny Old Spice ad, done in a style of humor that tickled me perfectly. Majestic and awe-inspiring, I literally laughed out loud (LLOL) then listened to it again. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the spot ever since; it just stuck with me. I guess that’s the power of the elusive perfect ad.

I’ve been a long-time fan of Professor Blastoff and have never heard any actual advertisements on the show, other than the hosts occasionally endorsing things like, but never anything product-related, nor anything that’s been professionally produced by brands, so I didn’t even expect it.

In my opinion, this was a perfect ad. The message was genuinely entertaining, and it reached me in a moment of zero clutter. Plus, after visiting the production company’s website (Earwolf) and looking at the “Advertise” section, I discovered that I fit into the surprisingly narrow demographic, so it was perfectly targeted. And most importantly, the ad led to a sale. After years of using the same deodorant, I finally upgraded.

Now the only problem is, I can hardly remember the spot anymore, and I don’t know what episode it was on. I have tons of Professor Blastoff episodes on my iPod; each is at least over an hour long. I fast-forwarded through a bunch of them but to no avail. I searched online and scoured the Old Spice website, nothing. I even tweeted @OldSpice and wrote on the Professor Blastoff Facebook page, no one answered.

In our world of ever-increasing media saturation and just plain bad advertising, this perfect ad is hard to come by. But it was refreshing to see that although elusive, it is still out there, that is, if my sighting was real. I’m halfway expecting Old Spice to respond to me with, “We don’t know what you’re talking about. We never ran an ad on Professor Blastoff.” And then creepy, mysterious music will play.

Maybe one day I’ll find this perfect ad again, but it really doesn’t matter, because now, I can say that I am a believer.

– Andrew

Not Another “Go Digital” Lecture

You’d think people and businesses would be adapting to the Digital Age by now. Some have, but many still haven’t gotten the memo. Resistance to change almost seems to be wired into human DNA. So a lot of people, small business owners and companies alike, are in denial, and seem to think the Digital Age is just another passing fad. But if they want to succeed, that kind of thinking has to stop.

It’s not just about the technology; it’s about the consumer. Consumers are the reason businesses need to adapt to the digital/mobile movement in the first place. Why? Because consumers are living in the Digital Age, they’re embracing it, it’s where they can be reached, and it’s what they expect when they interact with businesses. And fully embracing the Digital Age doesn’t stop at setting up a Facebook Fan Page.

For example, I never carry cash, only a debit and credit card. Although I expect to make purchases with my cards, a lot of businesses miss out on my sale because they don’t have a card reader. I try to be proactive and grab some cash if I know I’m going to some place that doesn’t accept cards, but carrying cash just isn’t convenient for me, and many other people feel the same way. Therefore, we non-cash carriers sometimes end up just hoping a business will accept cards. How pathetic does that sound? “Please, please just let me buy something from you!”

If a business isn’t providing everything they can to make things easy on the customer, including the most convenient payment option out there (i.e. debit cards), then they’re missing out on sales. This goes for small businesses too. Their quality of service should compare to, if not surpass the quality of service of their larger competitors. Plus, making the debit card option available is easier than ever before. It’s called the Square.

In this new digital era, the ability to accept cards is just one example of the many modern shopping conveniences consumers expect out of businesses. And that list will only increase in the future.

Consumers have much more say in how they shop than ever before. They call the shots, and they expect convenience. Are you going to give it to them? If not, someone else will.

So yes, go digital, but beyond that, go where the consumer takes you.

– Andrew

The Sport of Love… and Placement

A tear-jerker of a Lifetime movie of the week, maybe Bravo’s latest gathering of domesticated and disturbing housewives or some classic TLC Kate (minus John) Plus 8… I couldn’t figure out what the heck (hey, we like to be family friendly at ADwërks, so I’ll leave out the expletives) my husband, Nate, would be doing watching anything but a television channel about, with, around, named after or related to sports.

You can walk into a room and wonder a lot of things about what your significant other may be doing, but grab a glance of the screen to see a life-size teddy bear, then you bear the burden of wonder and worry. So I ask him what he’s watching.

His answer: ESPN.

ESPN! ESPN? I wait a few seconds and listen to learn more about the life-size teddy bear (which in the wrong situation, could be creepier than a crew of clowns) that the voice-over espouses would bring joy to your wife, girlfriend or FWB when she receives the gift of an over-priced, over-stuffed toy for Valentine’s Day, even serving as a stand-in when your man cannot be there. (I don’t know what it says about a guy that he can be replaced by a 54-inch polyester carnivore. He may need a gift of a gym membership.)

Seconds later, a 20-something woman kicks her footed feet up to the camera, proclaiming what every girl must dream of getting from her fella, leopard print footed pajamas, courtesy of PajamaGram. It’s then Nate waxes poetic about every type of teddy, Puritan-teddy ala PajamaGram and floral confection available for last minute ordering, and he sheepishly admits he visited each of their websites.

It made me realize, roses may be red, but the true color of Valentine’s Day must be green. For advertisers, for the love of the game means the game of placement. We talk about knowing your audience, understanding your target, comprehending your competitor, but none of it matters if it goes where no one you want to see, sees it. Somewhere along the lines, the makers of mail order teddy bears, pajamas and flowers figured this out. They also figured out it doesn’t matter if women don’t want to lounge around in pajamas with ears and tails. They just need to get to the guys with copy laced with racy double entendres. While I find the fashion of the hoodie footie jammies horrifying, Nate describes the horror movie plot line that becomes real life around Valentine’s Day shopping. A fear these companies learned to master and conquer (like a valiant hero of any host of Katherine Heigel rom-coms) with perfect placement.

Now if only the Real Housewives could show me the perfect procrastinator’s gift.

DISCLAIMER: After reading this, Nate wanted to be sure no one thought he “actually bought any of that crap.”

– Jolene