ADwërks Obtains The Most ADDYs

IMG_2046

This was just the beginning.

The 48th annual ADDY Awards Show, which was held this past Saturday in Sioux Falls, was rife with cut-throat competition between ad agencies, but out of everyone else, ADwërks is proud to announce that we probably obtained the most ADDYs – the name of the signature drink at the event – leaving everybody else with egg on their face. We attribute this success to our strict and rigorous training, which involves shutting down the agency early every Friday to drink. It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication, but after receiving this honor, we know that it was all worthwhile.

On a side note, we took home some bling too.

Best of Class Award – Advertising For the Arts & Sciences – Non-traditional Category

We took home two Gold ADDY Awards and the Best of Class in Advertising for the Artsphoto for the SculptureWalk X campaign we did last spring. We created big metal Xs and installed them on all of the sculpture stands downtown to spread the word about the SculptureWalk eXpo, which was being held to celebrate SculptureWalk’s 10th anniversary.

As Jim put it, “It pays to wake up in the middle of the night with an idea.”

Gold ADDY Award – Newspaper Category

Andrew missed the announcement of these awards because he was in the bathroom relieving himself of all the ADDYs he obtained earlier in the evening. But we received a Gold ADDY Award and four Silver ADDY Awards for the print campaigns we did for the Falls Park Farmers Market. A couple examples are below.

2013_04_FPFM_Ad_ArgusLeader_10x2.5_OpeningDay

2013_05_FPFM_Ad_AL_10x2.5_SoilYourself

– Andrew

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.

WP_728x90-anim

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.

201312_WP-POSTER_LO-RES

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

Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons Campaign

Being a Girl Scout is much more than just selling cookies. The program offers young girls GSDH HiResa world of new experiences and opportunities, empowering them with the confidence to do almost anything, even making a commercial. That was the idea behind the public service announcements (PSAs) ADwërks and Mud Mile teamed up to produce for Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons.

First we had to put together a group of Girl Scouts from around the Midwest to star in the PSAs, so we sent out a request for submissions. Any Girl Scout who wanted to be in the spots just had to send us a video containing whatever content they wanted. Some told us why they wanted to be in the PSAs, others introduced us to their families and pets, and one little girl even launched a rocket into the sky. She made the cut, obviously.

Once our stars were selected, we scheduled a production day here in Sioux Falls, and the day was jam-packed. After the girls got their hair and make-up professionally done, they learned about the field of advertising and what the motive was behind the PSAs we were about to make. They also got a rundown of the video production equipment, from the green screen, to the cameras, to the lights and the audio, so that they could run the equipment when we were ready to shoot.

After a long day of shooting, the girls were sent on their way. To thank them for their participation we sent them home with a goodie-bag that included their very own movie clapboard, which was probably the most popular gadget among the girls on the set.

The day gave us enough footage to make three different PSAs, and we’re pretty proud of how they turned out. Check them out below

Along with the PSAs we also produced a billboard, some radio spots, and did some work for their website.

– Andrew

The Dreadline

The Dreadline Nov 12, 2013

The dreaded deadline (or dreadline, as I like to call it in my head then laugh at myself in my head because I’m cool) has a bad reputation. Too often it’s last minute, down to the wire, and demands an unreasonably short amount of time to accomplish the task, especially if you want to do it right.

dannydevito

“I like them. I think they make me look sexy.”

Creatives in advertising know this all too well. We like to mumble and grumble when a job with a deadline that’s tighter than skinny jeans on Danny Devito lands on our desk. We’d prefer to take our time on the project, immerse ourselves in it, and explore all the avenues, with ample time to check Twitter and watch cat gifs for “inspiration”. Of course this isn’t always realistic. A tight deadline may seem like it restricts creativity, but I’d argue that it can have the opposite effect, and help it flourish.

Orson Welles said, “The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.” Sometimes restriction breeds creativity. When you have restrictions, you’re forced you to overcome them. And how do you overcome them? Well, you gotta get creative. In the case with deadlines, when you’re granted with a lot of time on a project, it’s easy to get wrapped up in exploring every possible avenue without choosing a direction. But a tight deadline forces you to pick a direction and move forward.

Tight deadlines are going to elbow their way to our desks no matter what; it’s just the way the world works; so we might as well embrace them. And by just changing our attitudes about them and having confidence in ourselves, it will make a world of a difference in our work.

– 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.

DGR-blog-photo

The brochure.

DGR-Ipad

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.

blogx2

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

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!

An Epundemic

An Epundemic Jan 14, 2013

“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

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