A Not-So-Politically-Correct Holiday Letter From ADwërks

It’s been another great year here at ADwërks – a year rich in achievements, milestones, and slightly inappropriate comments from around the office that we will always cherish.

A few ADwërkers experienced some major milestones this year. Sara had a baby, Andrew got married, and our illustrious leader Jim Mathis had a birthday, and coincidentally, they were all scheduled for the same day. Yes the universe can be quite the jokester. Jim couldn’t help but think that Andrew’s wedding reception was nothing more than a lavish birthday-bash held in his honor, and the birth of Sara’s first-born baby was clearly an homage to him, and she would likely name her new bundle of joy after his namesake. It turns out Sara’s baby boy was born before her due-date, and she and her husband named him Elis, but… close enough.

Also, Kara experienced a rare milestone that is just a pipe dream for most nerds around the world – she can now technically call herself a cyborg. She underwent a surgery that left her with some robot discs installed in her neck (at least that’s how Andrew understands it), and is currently on the path to recovery.

Over the year, ADwërks saw many changes in its staffing (there was an intern in there somewhere, she rocked), but at the end of the year we are now left with the fantastic addition of Kristi Cornette (who joined as a media buyer in February), along with some extra office space.

With the passing of another year, comes valuable experience and wisdom gained. To help pick up some of the workload that came along with the recent changes to our staffing, Jolene, our MBA-holding, talented public relations specialist, has learned how to try to answer the phones at the office. Sure, some callers have been accidentally hung up on here and there, but it’s all a part of the learning process. And now she can boast a brand new skill on LinkedIn – Phone Etiquette. Oh, and Magazines for some reason; I guess she’s just really good at magazines.

Reflecting upon this past year, we experienced many ups, but also experienced some downs, just as everyone does. But they sucked; they just… sucked. So we’ll just tell you about one. Not to dismiss them, but we’d like to keep a light-hearted tone in this letter… Andrew’s cat had to have his penis removed. Moving on.

As in any office setting, there’s plenty of every-day (and not-so every-day) conversation that takes place on a daily basis here at ADwërks. And through that conversation, several classic quotes emerge from the mouths of ADwërkers, like, a ridiculous amount, sort of like a Christmas elf sweat shop. Multiply that by 365 days, and there are just too many quotes to count. So here are just a few from over the year, that are either intentionally taken out of context, or we literally just can’t remember the context, which makes them even more magical.

  • “I’m going to tie your dickless cat to the train tracks next to you.”
  • “We wouldn’t have to worry about this sh*t if dinosaurs were still alive.”
  • “Can you take the R-ball off the funny band?”
  • “Is your butt purring?”
  • “Turn your teeth in backwards and eat yourself.”
  • “Elvis poopy-butt.”
  • “You can’t bulk up wrist.”
  • “Can I access your server?

Wow… so wise, so inspirational…

As much as we love producing great work, ads and campaigns come and go, but fond memories endure, and we look forward to another productive year.

Merry politically-correct-Holidays from everyone at ADwërks!

ADwërks Acquires Advanced Intern Technology

To assist with our summer workload, ADwërks has acquired the coolest, most cutting-edge and advanced intern technology of modern times – a human, named Catherine Schuller.

Catherine Schuller

Catherine Schuller

Catherine will be spending her summer at ADwërks, where she’ll be interning under our McDonald’s Account Supervisor Leigh Anglin. Her duties will include working on market research, consumer insights and anything else Leigh puts her up to.

The Sibley, Iowa native is a Senior Advertising Major and Classical Studies Minor at Iowa State University. As a student she has already gained some great advertising experience as an Ad Director for her college’s student-run publication, Trend Magazine, where she delegated cold calling and ad sales. Completion of her internship at ADwërks will not only provide her with even more experience before entering the job world, it will also fulfill a school requirement and allow her to graduate upon completing the fall 2013 semester.

Just days before starting her internship, Catherine returned from a three-week long expedition in Greece, where she traveled the country and attended a global seminar as a part of her Classical Studies Minor.

Outside of school and advertising, Catherine enjoys golfing, watching television (specifically the drama genre), making Andrew jealous by having a black belt in Taekwondo, and collecting salt and pepper shakers. And no it’s not because she has a weird passion for condiments, it’s more about appreciating and collecting the most interesting and creative shakers she can find. So far she has over 70 pairs in her collection, including a replica set from Alcatraz.

We’re excited to have Catherine here for the summer. If you want to welcome her or give her some career advice, leave a comment below!

–          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.


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

How To Survive An Ice Apocalypse At ADwërks

1. When you come to work in the morning, park in a neighboring parking lot so they can signremove the snow in the ADwërks lot. To avoid soggy sock syndrome, follow the foot tracks in the snow made by the brave explorer Michael Hay.

2. Check and send as many emails as possible before the internet goes out. Of course no internet means no Facebook or Twitter, but the most important thing is to not panic. Write your witty updates on a post-it note and post them later. You wouldn’t want to deprive your loving fans of every bit of minutia or every single thought you’ve had throughout the day now would you?

3. Be prepared to endure a fickle loss of electricity. During a no-power period, make sure you carefully ration the coffee that’s left in the pot and evenly divide it with all coffee-drinking ADwërkers. We’re all in this together. If the power suddenly comes back on, make another pot with haste; you never know when it will shut off again. If you find yourself in the situation of no power and no coffee, you might have a mutiny on your hands.

4. Over the course of the day you may experience momentary periods of power loss. officeEvery time the power shuts off, the lights will go out and many inexplicable alarms and beepings will resonate throughout the office. Be assured that they are not bombs preparing to detonate, however the source of the sounds will still remain a mystery. ADwërkers will attempt to put an end to the incessant beepings by peeking into unoccupied cubicles, picking up various electronics with a baffled look on their faces, and blankly staring into the printer/electrical room searching for the culprits, but they will soon give up only to check their phones and riffle through magazines.

5. If the lights go out when nature calls, it’s ok for men to use the window-lighted lady’s photorestroom. After all, it’s much better than the alternative of guys relieving themselves with the door open in the window-less men’s bathroom; no one wants to see that…

6. Snack mix and treats from media reps can only last so long, so it’s important to discuss what to do in the event of a food famine. The worst-case scenario is you’ll have to resort to the same fate as the Donner party. Establish who will have to go first. The consensus here is to go from youngest to oldest to ensure the highest quality of sustenance, sorry Andrew. When it’s Hay’s turn to be dinner, be prepared to experience a strong beer buzz upon consumption.

– Rod Bender           3854345f559002b6bbfff11ed8ae0eca


Announcing The Newest ADwërker

Every office has one. You know, one of those types… an office manager, and ADwërks has a brand new one!

Jane Spreacker (pronounced sprecker) has joined ADwërks as Zen Mother. In her new role she will seek office enlightenment by handling duties like expense reports, filing, payroll, billing, answering phones etc. That may seem like a lot, but as Zen Mother, Jane understands that one must manage the office, rather than be managed by the office.

Along with her friendly personality and awesome sense of humor, Jane brings a ton of work experience to ADwërks as well, including six years as administrative assistant at the Sioux Falls School District, and more appropriately 10 years as office manager at Lawrence & Schiller, where she first worked with fellow ADwërker Kara Mathis.

Jane has two daughters that are out of the house, and one husband in the house, and together they reside right here in Sioux Falls. When she’s not at work Jane spends her free-time engaged in her favorite past-times, reading and gardening.

Jane fits in well with the ADwërks culture, and we’re happy to have her on the team. Apparently she feels the same way. She said, “I’m so excited to be back in advertising that I’m giddy; I could just dance!” And we’re excited to have you here Jane. We’d dance too, but you probably don’t want to see that.

Feel free to help us welcome her aboard!

_ _ _R _ _ _ _ _ _

_ _ _R _ _ _ _ _ _ Sep 25, 2012

The other night I was driving home on I-229, probably paying too much attention to the billboards, businesses and illuminated signs along the road. I couldn’t help but notice the number of businesses and buildings that had signs with burnt out letters. One in particular read “_ _ _R _ _   _ _ _ _” (or something like that; I just remember seeing a lonely lit “R”), on the side of a large building, probably retail of some sort.

If they just took care of their sign, I’d be able to tell you the name of their business, but instead, we’re left trying to play hangman. This is definitely one of the worst cases of sign-neglect I’ve seen.

They had one chance to tell me who they were as I zoomed by at 67 mph, and they screwed it up. And the neon red “R” sign immediately left me with all kinds of preconceptions about their company. Thoughts scrolled through my head as I continued home.

“Their merchandise is probably out-of-date and disorganized.” “Going inside would be like being in a Kmart. Eww.” “They definitely have a bunch of fax machines in there.” Then my imagination really started to run wild. “On the upside, maybe they sell fun obsolete technology that you can’t find anywhere else, like shoe phones or mini disc players, and not as a ‘retro’ gimmick, but because their building lies within a rip in space-time that has frozen them in a perpetual state of 1993.”

A consumer’s first impression of a business, whether it takes place online or on the street, is extremely important. Often-times signage is a part of that first impression. The sign can say a lot about a business, almost foreshadowing what kind of experience consumers may have if they come inside. So based on the sign “_ _ _R _ _   _ _ _ _,” what kind of shopping experience would you expect to have? It definitely would not be like a trip to the Mall of America; I can tell you that.

Letter burn-outs can also result in comical changes to the sign’s meaning. Here’s a bunch of unfortunately funny examples.

– Andrew

How To Make Your Clients Use Social Media

Social media iconsThe following is a conversation I find myself having with people in the marketing industry more and more frequently:

Other Marketing Industry Person: “So what do you do at ADwërks?”

Me: “My main focus is in copywriting and I also handle a good portion of our social media work, both internally and for clients.”

Other Marketing Industry Person: “So you do social media stuff? Ok, here’s a question: How do you get your clients to use social media? How do you convince them that they need it more than they need other forms of marketing?”

Me: “We don’t.”

Other Marketing Industry Person: *Blank stare*

Now, in case you’re also wearing a blank stare right now as you look at your screen, let me clarify. At ADwërks, we believe—and can support with research when asked—that social media, in its countless formats and functions, is NOT for every client. At least not entirely.

Because here’s the bottom line: No matter how many times your nephew tells you “evvverbody’s using Twitter,” no matter what your competitor is doing on Facebook and no matter how many times you see something about Foursquare check-ins at the restaurants you visit, signing up for every social media service MIGHT NOT be the best thing for your business.

If you’re a small B2B business selling office furniture and your Twitter stream is most likely going to be a bunch of links telling people to buy your desks and chairs, then all you’re going to do is offend people by being spammy. And the pro-social media crowd might say, “Yeah, but you can still offer customer service through Facebook and Twitter,” which is true. But if you run a small business with 5-10 employees, none of whom have the time it takes to properly invest in a social media presence, then setting up a Twitter account won’t do you a ton of good in the first place. At least not for now.

You’d be better off focusing on the best marketing methods you can utilize based on your budget, whether those methods are “traditional” (duh duh duhhhh) media methods or “new” media methods.

The truth is, traditional doesn’t mean old. When done well, with creativity and a focused, targeted approach, traditional advertising has the ability to make a bigger impact on your customers than a hollow Twitter stream or a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated since November of 2009.

So how do we “get” our clients to use social media? We don’t. We “get” our clients to use the BEST media they can use to achieve the best results they can achieve. Sometimes it’s social media, sometimes it’s traditional media like a TV spot and a sign on the back of a city bus.

But most of the time, it’s finding the best combination of both traditional and new media that helps our clients succeed.

-Mike B.

What’s your take on social media? Do you agree with Mike’s thoughts? Think he’s totally off-base? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by Sean MacEntee. Thanks Sean!

The Impact of OTA

The Impact of OTA Apr 08, 2011

OTA phota 2Conferences happen across American on a regular basis. Covering hundreds of industries and thousands of attendees, these conferences create, share and spread millions of ideas every year. The problem is that many of these conferences are held in “big cities”—New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin—and they cost thousands of dollars.

So when given the chance to attend a big city-caliber conference for a fraction of the cost right here in Sioux Falls, I was obviously excited. About 350 other folks were too.

All in all, I can say that the OTA Sessions—founded and hosted by Hugh Weber (also the founder and president of Storyline)—turned my typical Friday into a day of introspection, inspiration and invigoration. More importantly, the event helped me understand the importance of DOING big things, not just thinking big things.

Whether it was Sally Hogshead making me realize that even my “everyday” tasks could be infused with elements of fascination to get better results orDusty Davidson and Jeff Slobotski showing how being passionate about a mission or goal can turn that mission into something amazing, each presenter managed to get my brain juices flowing in his or her own unique way.

OTA phota 3Add that to the WIDE array of attendees who shared their wisdom, spoke their minds, and represented the OTA region with originality and action, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a memorable conference and a powerful push to accomplish something meaningful over the next 12 months.

I’m already excited for next year’s OTA, and I’m pretty sure that excitement will only continue to bubble and build over the upcoming year. I look forward to seeing you there.

-Mike B.

Disclaimer: As someone involved with the planning and execution of the OTA Sessions, it would be impossible for me to keep my review totally unbiased. That said, this entire post is sincere and true, both from a co-planner’s perspective and from an attendee’s perspective. One love.

Photo c/o The OTA Sessions. Thanks OTA!

The Weather Where I Live

I live in a quiet neighborhood north of Lincoln High in Sioux Falls, in Minnehaha county, in the Sioux Falls DMA (as defined by A.C. Nielsen), in the great state of South Dakota, on the Northern Plains of the Midwest, pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the United States of America, not far from the geographical center of North America.

But I do not live in Oz or Neverland or Atlantis or Bridgadoon. No, those are all mythical or fictional places, much like KELOLAND. Frankly, I like South Dakota, and while our weather often gets tough, it’s never as bad as what the TV describes in KELOLAND. KELOLAND must be a God forsaken place, constantly battered by storms and pestilence, a place so stark and foreboding they never speak of weather, only storms. I hear it’s that way on Jupiter, too.

As the neatly-coiffed weatherman talks of deep and treacherous snow in Northern KELOLAND and ice and freezing rain in Southeast KELOLAND, I thank my lucky stars I live here in eastern South Dakota where we only got a couple inches of sleet.

– Jim Mathis