Trolley Time

Trolley Time Aug 26, 2016

If you’ve ever stepped foot on the Sioux Falls Downtown Trolley, then you know that it has the ability to transport you back in time. Not like the DeLorean in Back to the Future, but more like a revelation into the early 1900’s Cable-Car era, when streetcars operated in the historic pathways of downtown. Rows of wooden benches, enormous windows, brass pillars, and other vintage components provide an authentic interior to this modern replica. With stops located throughout historic downtown, it’s incredibly convenient for locals and tourists to hitch a ride. Alas, as summer winds down, so does the Downtown Trolley service. Business and community donations kept the historical street car rolling this year, and thanks to all the charitable people who supported the Trolley, it was another successful season for tourists and locals alike. Being located on the ‘Main’ drag gives us the opportunity to enjoy a piece of history, from our vast windows and by catching a lift.
Come venture downtown to enjoy the last full week of looping the inner-city streets in style. Since the Trolley is like clockwork, you have the flexibility and leisure to plan your day doing casual activities or exploring. And, if our calculations are correct, when this Baby hits 88MPH, you’re going to see some serious…Sorry, we’re still thinking about Back to the Future. 

Happy Travels,

Trolley 7Trolley 6Trolley 5

Tonic Turns Two

Tonic Turns Two Aug 18, 2016

Monologue:  It’s My Birfday and I’ll Bark if I Want to.

I didn’t want to celebrate my birfday this year, but these jolly jackholes decided Blog 1otherwise.

Instead of laying around the house, and having a nice, relaxing day watching for the mailman–he doesn’t bring phone books anymore, so it’s fun–I took a car ride to the office.

I toddled in on my leash, as usual. It looked and sounded like another typical day. Tyler was on the phone, so I couldn’t play with my squeaky toys. My tennis ball from yesterday was still wedged under the Craftsman, and the coffee snobs were hard at it again. Today should be a do
g-gone good time. Ruff.

These birfday bandits must not think I have any friends because they only invited themselves. Well, the UPS guy stopped by for a minute and brought me a treat, which he does every day. Oh, and the guy from the dry cleaners stopped in, but I don’t think he knew it was my birfday. He just nodded. Hazel wasn’t even here to Paw-ty. Her mom probably doesn’t think she’s mature enough for a shindig of this caliber. Ruff.Blog 2

I figured I better check out the ballyhoo going on downstairs.  Maybe someone took the last Diet Coke from the fridge and all hell was breaking loose. Then, I spotted the massive white bone. ‘Guys, you shouldn’t have,’ I thought. Even new food bowls packed with tasty treats, just for me?!  I sat and waited patiently as the Empress and the Scribe held the camera in my face. “Smile, Tonic,” they said at this angle. “Stay, Tonic,” they begged at that angle. I only smile when I’m about ready to puke. They should know this by now. The Cog Whisperer turned into the Dog Whisperer by using Milkbones as a decoy to get my attention for the party hat. Party Hats?! You know I don’t like hats! Why did you bring hats?! You should have just put phone books all over the kitchen if you wanted to scare me silly. Ruff.

The treats weren’t even scratch and sniff. But, there were Milkbones. I love Milkbones. And toys. The front office now looks like a dog-toy crime scene. The party was over in less than 30 minutes. Thanks, party animals.


P.S. Mike is still my favorite, and Nikki ate three cupcakes.

(Ghostwriter: Syntax Architect)

Blog 3

We’re growing… again!

We’re looking for for one of those Digital Savant kind of people. Could it be you? Do you know Google Adwords? Do you dream in Analytics? Are you a Search Engine Marketing Superstar? We should talk!

We are looking for someone to help us manage a large SEM account. It’s a big account with a big budget, but they also want big results, so this is a great chance to flex your SEM muscles. And it’s a chance to work in a fun and vibrant office where you can enjoy the finer things in life like Folgers and Grain Belt. And you get the chance to work hard alongside a bunch of fun-loving jackholes!

If this opportunity still sounds like something you’re interested in, we should talk. Send your résumé to Tell us what makes you the King or Queen of SEM. Explaining why you want to dig in and show us that ROI isn’t just a fancy acronym. Tell us what your potential co-workers and clients should expect and any other crazy stuff you think we should know. Tell us about your 3-plus years of SEM experience and brag about your Google certifications. If you’re good, let us know!

Hurry up. We’re ready get to work and have some fun. Are you?

We’re Looking for a Couple of Well-Trained Wackos

It doesn’t happen very often, but ADwerks is hiring. In fact we need two people. First, we need a copywriter. But not just any old copywriter. We need someone who’s just about one taco short of a combo platter. Second, we need a social media/digital strategist. Someone who dreams about the perfect Tweet. If either of these sound like you or someone you know, let us know, we should hang out.

Do you know words? Words that can inspire, motivate, persuade & sell. Can you write words that will create action in a short 8 seconds or a long 30 seconds? Words that convey a message in as little as 140 characters or more than 2 pages? Can you prooofread as well as you edit? Can you take critiques as well as you take direction? Do you enjoy the finer things in life like Folgers and Grain Belt? Do you want to work hard alongside a bunch of fun-loving jackholes? If you think we’re just trying to be witty or ironic, consider this before responding… this ad was written by our HR department. Yeppers. If this opportunity still sounds like something you’re interested in, we should talk, or better yet, write. Send us your story. Email explaining why you want to subject yourself to this agony, what your potential co-workers and clients should expect and any allergies you may have. For real, don’t just send a resume and boring cover letter. We want someone who entices and intrigues us and is looking for a long term, committed relationship. Hurry, work is stacking up. No phone calls, just written words please.

Send your stuff to

Social Media/Digital Media Strategist.
We are looking for a digital and social media strategist to lead regional social strategy for one of the 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 efforts designed to increase consumer awareness, as well as consumer acquisition, retention and engagement.
• 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 semi-monthly 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
• Manage digital media buys on a variety of platforms.
So if Facebook is your native language and you brag about how many people follow you on InstaGram, give us a shout.
Again, send your stuff (including link to your social accounts) to

Holiday Libation Limericks

It’s no secret that at ADwërks, we like to indulge in a drink or two every now and then. So it’s only natural that one of our favorite things about the Holidays is the cheerful beverages. The more cheer the better. In fact, pour us a glass of straight cheer with a little ice. And make it a double. It’s pretty hectic around the office this time of year…

Anyway, we wrote these Holiday Libation Limericks inspired by some of our favorite festive beverages. Use them to help you decide on what you want to drink, recite them to your friends and family, or if you happen to be that uncle, teach them to your nephew. Please read responsibly.

Blitzen’s Bourbon
A glass, some bourbon and ice
Is all you need to feel nice
Although it’s traditional
It can be quite medicinal
As a Holiday coping device

Yule Log Nog
‘A sip, sip sip on the nog
Until your head’s in the fog
Who knows how it’s made
Just know it brings aid
To Christmas’s stressful prologue

Caroler’s Candy
This seasonal drink tastes dandy
Like booze and a cane of candy
Peppermint Schnapps
Is always the tops
And may leave you feeling quite randy

Ho Ho Cocoa
Hot cocoa is very well-liked
From adults to wee little tykes
Thoust don’t disapprove
It can still be improved
Since it’s always better when spiked

ADwërks wishes you and your family a happy Holiday full of cheer!

Jim’s Offbeat Voicemail Gets Upbeat Remix

It was about 3am when Jim’s phone dinged with a new voicemail. It was from an unknown man carrying on about how he loves our “Rocky’s” ads. In our minds, that can only mean two things – ads for the Rocky movies, which would make us way late to the party, or ads promoting the magnificence and majesty of the Rocky Mountains. Maybe the copy would read:

Unlike other mountain ranges, the Rocky Mountains offer a dramatic wilderness, diverse wildlife, and only a few people have had to resort to cannibalism to survive. Start your adventure today.

He then applauds us for our “Christmas ads,” then goes on to complain that we’ve been playing them for too long and he strongly encourages us to update them.

It’s odd to say the least.

But thanks to our friend Dar Heikes, musician and audio engineer (and also husband of our Cog Whisperer Caryla Chambers) we now have a remix of the mysterious voicemail. So rather than scratching our heads, we’re now tapping our feet.

And here’s the original.

No Green Beer for Me

By Jim Mathis

Let me start by saying I am not Irish. Mostly Welsh and German, and like most American mutts, I’m sure there are several other nationalities sprinkled in my family tree. But to the best of my knowledge, there’s no Irish. However, like many Americans, for one day in March, I put on a green sweater and celebrate my faux-Irish heritage.

In my younger and wilder days, I would gather with a group of friends early in the day for eggs and corned beef hash before heading downtown for the parade. There we would crowd into bars, drink too much unnaturally-green beer and regret our actions on the morning of March 18. Now I’m more likely to raise a glass of Guinness in the comfort of my own home. For some reason, the idea of drinking a gallon of beer and laced  with food coloring no longer holds any appeal to me. Perhaps it’s the memory of those pain-filled mornings after.

Speaking of green drinks, my bride (and I’m sure a few others out there) look forward to St. Patty’s Day for a whole different (and non-alcoholic) reason. Every year as the first of March approaches, she knows the Shamrock Shake will return to the Golden Arches. While she can resist a shake for most of the year, the cold minty appeal of the green drink draws her into the drive-thru every year.

Forgive me for focusing on beverages, but St. Patrick’s Day is often cited as one of the top drinking days of the year, so it seems natural. And since we’re talking about drinking, let’s look at whiskey. The whiskeys from the Emerald Isle are not nearly as celebrated as those from Scotland, but they should not be overlooked. After all, it is believed the word whiskey has it’s origins in Ireland. The Gaelic phrase “uisge beatha” literally means “water of life.” Then the Scots borrowed the phrase and changed it to usquebaugh,” before the English shortened that to “whiskey.”

A discussion of Irish whiskey generally leads to the two big names; Jameson and Bushmills. Now if you’re a good Irish lad or lass, this is an easy choice determined not by taste but by religion. You see Jameson is from Dublin, and if the roots of your family tree are in Dublin, chances are you are Catholic. But Bushmills, while it is a fine whiskey, is distilled in Northern Ireland and that means Protestant. Put another way, Irish Catholics often say that whiskeys from the North “are filtered through the wrong bible.” Order the wrong brand in a stubbornly patriotic Irish bar and you might end up in fight. Who knew ordering a drink could cause such a ruckus?

I don’t want to start any battles, so I’ll just call it Irish whiskey and let you decide which brand (and church) will make yours. For years, I thought of whiskey as primarily a man’s drink. Not to sound sexist, but a whiskey on the rocks can be an acquired taste, and maybe it’s just the women I know, but they have tended to stay away from the brown liquor. But recently I’ve noticed a lot of women ordering Irish whiskey – my wife and my sister among them. The drink that has lured them? Irish whiskey and ginger ale. I’ve seen it called a Big Ginger, a Phlump or a Classy Irishman. Call it what you like, it’s a simple cocktail to make and a great alternative to a boring rum and Coke.

But I digress, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t all about drinking, it is also the time when everyone makes corned beef and cabbage, just exactly the way their Irish forbearers didn’t. That’s right; the corned beef we all associate with this distinctly Irish holiday isn’t a big deal in Ireland. Back in the motherland, they probably would have eaten bacon and cabbage and their pork in the dish would have been more like what we call Canadian bacon. Confused? When the Irish immigrants got to this side of the pond, they simple couldn’t afford the more expensive pork, so they substituted cheaper salted and cured cuts of beef. And the tradition was born, not out of heritage, but necessity. So where would Irish Americans get their corned beef? From a good Jewish delicatessen, of course, because their culture has been kosher curing beef brisket for centuries.

While corned beef and cabbage get all the glory this time of year, it’s not the only meal with Gaelic roots. A rich shepherd’s pie is just about the perfect comfort food and if you want to make it special for the holiday, throw a little Guinness in the gravy. Add a couple of slices of soda bread with caraway seeds and currants and you have a bona fide Irish feast.

I think this year, we’ll head down to watch the parade, but when the young (and young and heart) move inside for a green-tinted Miller Lite, we’ll head for home and stay out of the fray. On the way home, we will pick up a Shamrock Shake for Kara, then I’ll open a pint of dark, rich extra stout beer for myself. I’ll make a pot of savory lamb stew. After dinner, we’ll tip back a wee bit of Irish whiskey, (mine on the rocks, hers with ginger ale) and remember that underneath our green sweaters, we’re just a Welsh boy married to a Scandinavian girl.

Do yourself a favor, eat something good today.

This article originally ran on the March 2011 issue of Etc. for Her magazine.

They’rrre GR-R-REATLY Boring

It’s 6:30am and my alarm goes off. By alarm, I mean my mother telling me to get up. “It’s time to get ready for school,” she says. “I laid out your favorite Zubaz pants.” (Kidding about that, kind of…) Then she’d leave my room to continue preparing breakfast, and probably hoping that I’m not going to snooze her for another 5 minutes. While lying in bed, teetering between dreams and reality, sometimes the only motivation I had for facing another day of Mrs. Hansen’s 3rd grade boot camp was the bowl of cereal waiting for me downstairs.

Cereal used to be much more of an experience than it is today, and of course much more of a sugar-infused experience as well. Whether it was puffed, frosted, looped or marshmallowed, it was all the same fuel of empty calories that prepared us kids for a long day at school. But there was more to kids cereal than just bright colors and a sugary taste, there was the enchanting “back of the box.”

I remember just getting lost in the back of the box. Oftentimes cereals would have an intricate, Where’s-Waldo-esque scene on the back, and I’d chomp away while admiring the cartoon fantasy land that I desperately wished I could visit in real life. The back of the box always coordinated with the cereal’s theme too.

In addition to your standard cereal mascots, there was a cereal for just about every lovable character in pop culture – E.T., Slimer, Gizmo, even Steve Urkel. And although it was clearly “evil” marketers just trying to get my mom to buy their brand, I didn’t care, and still don’t. I’d totally buy cereals based on some of my favorite things today – Frosted Beerios, Professor Blastoff’s Podcast Pops, Micachu and The Sugar Shapes, C3PO’s – wait, that actually existed…

Once the box started feeling light, you knew that any day a toy would pour out with the final bowl of cereal. Sometimes if you were too impatient, you might force-feed yourself just so you could get to that toy. And whether it was a little dinosaur, a toy car or one of those parachute guys you could throw out a window, a fight between my brothers and I over who gets the toy would inevitably ensue at the breakfast table, to the point where we had to take turns claiming ownership. (Josh always got the best ones, no fair…) Today it’s a lot harder to get away with throwing a toy in with food, because apparently kids will eat and choke on everything.

Walking down the cereal aisle now, there are few pop culture tie-ins, no fun fantasy lands and hardly any “FREE INSIDEs,” only “Whole Grains!,” “Zero Sugars!” and boxes with computer-generated graphics (which somehow removes the warmth), directing you to go online to join some lame cereal community or to play some mundane online game.

Of course we want our kids to eat healthy and to avoid choking-hazards, but nonetheless, cereal has lost its fun and pizazz. There is no flare, no spark, just a grocery aisle that is the result of years of regulations and consumer complaints. The cereal world that I once visited every day is long gone, and to me, it’s a tragedy.

– Andrew

Golden Opportunities

To some, it’s just a job. But for Kendall Titiml, the man with the golden voice, it’s a golden opportunity.

Walk into the McDonald’s in Wayne, America (that’s in Nebraska, but look at the water tower and you’ll understand the nomenclature) and you may be greeted by a smile wider and brighter than the arches outside. That “I’m Lovin’ It” personality belongs to Kendall, 22, a marketing student at Wayne State College. Kendall entered the Voice of McDonald’s IV, a contest to recognize McDonald’s employees for their singing talents. As he made it through the public voting to be one of the U.S. finalists, news organizations in Nebraska, Iowa and Palau (Kendall’s home and an island nation 500 miles east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles south of Tokyo with a population several thousand less than Aberdeen, SD) covered his journey.

But a lesson in PR (and life): don’t assume you know the whole story.

As we worked to share Kendall’s story (and help him get votes), we got a chance to interview him. He chatted about his philosophy in life, love of music and excitement that he would use his winnings to send his mom to his sister’s graduation and he may even make the trip home as well.

But then he mentioned something else.

At five-years-old, he became ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome and needed to be taken to a larger hospital hours away in Hawaii. While there, his family stayed at a Ronald McDonald House. Kendall told us how grateful he became back then for the chance to recover and he believed McDonald’s gave him two opportunities in his life.

While we thought we just wanted to share the story of a hard-working college kid with a great voice and passion to perform who loved to inspire people with his positive personality, we found another story. A young man grateful to share his talent and endlessly appreciative of people he never would know who gave his family a place to call home while he recovered.

Next up, Kendall heads to Orlando in April where he competes for international bragging rights singing with 16 competitors from around the globe, all hoping for their golden opportunity.

– Jolene Loetscher

Advertising Books Have All the Fun

I have yet to have someone launch into a rave account of a so-called “business book” without experiencing a shudder. The very term conjures up images of suits sitting around a conference table discussing how to “seamlessly integrate value chains” and the “leveraging capabilities of management synergies.” On the other hand, if someone walks up to me and says something along the lines of, “So, I bought this business book, but it turns out that it’s all about advertising and who really cares about that? This is so lame,” my ears perk up. As soon as they leave, I pull the book out of the garbage, dust the coffee grounds off of it, and crack it open. I am one of those frustrating people who learn by example, which means that a book full of case studies will be more useful than a textbook, and more fun than a trip to Disneyland (gross exaggeration there).

So, what books get my heart racing faster than a Kentucky Derby winner? I have to admit I may have been influenced by employers and professors both past and present, but here are three of my favorites.

1) Juicing the Orange by Pat Fallon and Fred Senn. Maybe it’s because Fallon started in my home state of Minnesota, long before notable agencies existed off of Madison Ave, or maybe it’s because I love their work (especially the Sony Bravia rollout), but this is one of my favorite reads. Juicing the orange refers to the fact that there is only so much juice (profit) in a piece of fruit and it must be leveraged to the last drop in order to get great returns. Each chapter is devoted to a client with a problem, something all agencies can relate to. Fallon approaches these advertising solutions with an artistic air that is sometimes lacking in mainstream advertising, and I think their answers tend towards the elegant without sacrificing utility.

2) The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell. I have to admit that I’m a Gladwell geek. His books drip with statistics about things that I actually care about, like buying behavior and what makes a product cool to consumers. Yeah, there aren’t really stories about little advertising agencies triumphing over the big dogs, but it’s still full of little nuggets of knowledge. True, there are stories and stats about crime rates and what made Hush Puppies famous, but The Tipping Point also discusses what makes social epidemics happen. Think of it as going viral without involving YouTube. Gladwell also discusses “connectors, mavens, and salesmen,” three groups of individuals that could come in very handy in the world of advertising.

3) Then We Set His Hair on Fire by Phil Dusenberry, former chairman of BBDO North America. Phil is probably best remembered as the man responsible for igniting Michael Jackson’s hair. In addition to stories about incredibly famous ads, he explains the difference between an idea and an insight and how an insight can fuel an entire campaign. I love the book, but I have to admit that you won’t find any words of wisdom about digital marketing. Instead, think of this as celebrating that place somewhere between Mad Men and the modern age of marketing. Just remember, a great insight is still a great insight, and some things about advertising never change.

Since my calendar says that we are entering the dark days of winter (despite the thermometer refusing to drop below 20 degrees), why not try perusing one of these books? It’s a little old school, but at least you can read them on your iPad/kindle/nook while lamenting the lack of snow.

– Elizabeth (aka E)