When a Favorite Product Goes Away

Does everyone remember the Seinfeld episode when Elaine discovers that her favorite form of birth control, the Today sponge, was off the market? She spends the first part of the show finding and hoarding the sponges from every available source. She fills a closet with her beloved sponges. But she goes beyond just gathering the remaining sponges, she rations them too. At the end of the show she queries whether or not a boyfriend is “sponge-worthy.”

Well, that scenario is happening to me. Years ago I fell in love with the Listerine jj-1894_1zPocketPaks Breath Strips in Fresh Citrus flavor. Then, the company that made them changed hands and through some terrible twist of fate, the Fresh Citrus flavor was discontinued. The horror!

I consider the Listerine PocketPaks Breath Strips to be one of the greatest inventions of the 20th Century, right behind the automobile and the internet. I’m not alone; Esquire magazine has praised them as a modern marvel.

Like Elaine, I began hoarding. I ordered dozens of packages from every source I could find. I had stashes at home and stashes at the office. I kept looking for new sources and hidden caches to be uncovered. Alas, I’m down to my last couple of packs. I’ve ordered a few more off Ebay, paying well above retail price, but I know the end is coming soon and I will not be able to get them ever again.

I’ve started experimenting with other flavors. The Cool Mint is OK, and I can live with the Fresh Burst, but the Arctic Berry and Cool Heat are non-starters for me. But none of the new flavors come close to my favorite Fresh Citrus.

Yes, I’ve started to wonder whether the person I’m talking to is worthy of a coveted Fresh Citrus Listerine Breath Strip, or should I just confront them with bad breath. If anyone knows where a guy can score a few Fresh Citrus PocketPaks, please hook me up before I have to determine whether or not you are breath strip worthy.

– Jim

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


The Holy Grail Found In A Small Pub



Walking into Jim’s Tap is like walking into the pub that all the beast slayers and bounty hunters hang out at after a long day of escapading, exchanging tales of adventure and whimsy over tall flagons of ale. The dim orange lighting and red carpet is accompanied by the warm glow of a fireplace illuminating a mounted boar’s head above its mantel. The walls are adorned with various medieval décor (including knight’s armor) hanging over the bar’s wooden tables and black chairs with silver-studded upholstery.

When I was a college student in Brookings, SD, Jim’s Tap was my bar. I and my social circle could frequently be found there next to the fireplace, tables pushed together, enjoying a bounty of brew (sometimes perhaps too bountiful) and exchanging our own tales of whimsy, our conversation getting louder and louder as the night ages. (My social circle was pretty big, comprised of many smaller, more close-knit cliques.) When we weren’t drinking tap beer we’d be downing Backpackers – a concoction unique to Jim’s Tap. Not much is known about the Backpacker other than the fact that it’s enchantingly delicious and neon green in color, which only adds to the bar’s fanciful mystique.


Not my hog.

When I think of Jim’s Tap today, I think of the many laughs I shared around those pushed-together tables. I think of some of the greatest times I had with old friends and new. I think of the initial formative moments I spent there getting to know my now fiancé (who hailed from a neighboring clique), chatting and crushing on each other over the noise of our surrounding friends. I think of all this, set to a scene of perfect ambiance that sparked the imagination.

Every once in a while you come across a business that doesn’t need to talk you into liking it. It doesn’t need to have big sales promotions to keep customers coming back or launch social media campaigns with an inhumanly gregarious presence; it’s perfectly happy with its 133 Facebook Likes and sparse, punctuation-less updates. Sometimes businesses win consumers over by just being themselves, humbly doing what they do best. If they do it right, they can acquire what I think is the holy grail of business – true customer loyalty. This loyalty is not won by drink specials or fast service; it’s won by consistent positive experiences, experiences that turn into life-long memories.

So what makes Jim’s Tap so special to me? Why does it ignite such passionate nostalgia? Is it the boar’s head or the free snack mix? Nope, it is the memories. To me, Jim’s Tap isn’t just some bar; it’s a symbol of the good times. And if I lived in Brookings today, you can bet that I’d still be frequenting that old pub.

After living in Sioux Falls for about a year now, I have yet to find a Jim’s Tap replacement. Any recommendations? A mounted boar’s head is a plus.

– Andrew

OTA Sessions: My Takeaways from OTA

I have to be honest—I didn’t know what to expect when I first signed up to attend the OTA Sessions. I was hoping to get some good pointers and hear a few fun stories along the way. Well, it blew away my expectations. I can honestly say this was one of the more powerful events I’ve attended in recent years.

I learned a lot at OTA but I wanted to bring up the points that have resonated with me over the past few days.

Create a movement not a campaign

As Spike Jones told us, movements continue for forever and campaigns have an end date. The movements should propel the brand forward while getting your strongest advocates to be influencers of the movement. We all want to feel like we have a voice—what is more powerful than being a brand champion for the companies you believe in? Or in terms of marketing a company or product—what is more powerful than having passionate influencers out there talking about how much they love your brand? I work as a media buyer so it is easy to think of things in terms of a beginning and end date for each campaign. One of my personal goals is to think of things in terms of a movement as I plan the media buying instead of just focusing on a message for a finite amount of time.

90% of Word of Mouth Marketing is offline

And just when we thought that divulging our every thought and opinion online was the answer. This was the one thing Spike Jones encouraged us to remember even if we forgot everything else he said. It is easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest and greatest
social media tool but we can’t forget the people continue to talk about a brand/company offline.

Feel the Burner

Julien Smith delivered some great advice—feel the burner. It was meant to encourage you to experience what might scare you. He challenged us to take a minute and feel the burner. Sure, you might get burned, but you also might discover something you would’ve missed out on if you just stuck to your safe and predictable path.

Change on a daily basis

As Mitch Joel mentioned in his presentation, 20% of Google searches each day are searches that have never been done before. This is a great illustration of how fast things are changing. It also reinforces how important it is for online content to continually evolve to embrace the constant changes.

Using photos to tell the story

I don’t know about you, but I’m filing away everything I’ve been taught about bullet pointing my presentations. The presentation styles were as captivating as the message each speaker delivered. I will remember the photos that helped tell the story much longer than I will ever remember a bullet point. I can tell you the identity of Spike Jones, see the burner image from Julien Smith, and recall the sculpture Tim Brunelle used to illustrate his journey message. The photos were a powerful reinforcement of what they wanted me to take away from their talk.

Thanks to everyone who put on OTA sessions! I enjoyed the day and am looking forward to seeing what OTA brings in the future.

– Heather Solberg

OTA Sessions: Sure, I’ll Go.

Anytime we get an e-mail from our Certified Advertologist with the phrase “and the company will pay for it”, it gets my attention. This time the offer was for an all day OTA session at $150 a head so I was all for it. Plus, what I knew about social media and a connected world was that I didn’t know enough.

My personal experience on the subject began about a year ago at the request of a few of the Corazón soccer players who suggested that I join facebook. I did and soon had about 20 friends. The frightening part was that most of them were 14-year old girls. I was expecting a call from the authorities at any moment.

Soon after that, (to the chagrin of the facebook youth of America) the baby boomers
signed on. I’m up to 98 friends, most are adults, and we are all social networking away in a world that is changing by the minute.

At the OTA the first change I noted was the wardrobe of our industry prophets. Not that long ago, experts in our field would have been in a suit and tie, speaking to an audience clad in dark suits looking like they were at secret service convention. Today’s visionaries need only Levis, t-shirts, hoodies and sneakers to deliver compelling information about an environment where the opportunities to deliver one-to-many messages are quickly fading.

A more meaningful change is one that Julien Smith discussed. He talked about the new channels that don’t require transmitters or printing presses. The next night while discussing the day’s soccer games and other high level subject matter, one of the soccer moms shared a perfect example of what Smith was speaking about. When the O’Gorman Knights won the state boys basketball championship in Rapid City while she was at an event in Sioux Falls, the news came instantly via a text message. She didn’t have to wait to find out during a sportscast “right after these messages”. Instead, her husband became the media channel and there wasn’t a 2,000-foot tower or a gross rating point involved. What we take for granted is amazing when you think about it.

Who would ever have thought that our mission would turn to building tribes? Or that a group of people, the size of South Dakota, would join facebook every day? Or that someone would actually take the time to document how the country is feeling based on comments that we post on the web? It was an eye-opening day.

And who would have thought that we could have such a great line-up of industry leaders on stage right here at the Orpheum? It was a great OTA. Kudos, and thank you, to Hugh Weber for his courage and energy to bring this day together. Thank you to all of the guest presenters for bringing their stories to South Dakota in an enlightening and interesting way. And thank you Sioux Falls for turning out and supporting an event like this with your attendance.

I’m looking forward to next year…and you know what? Sure, I’ll be thrilled to go.

– Leigh Anglin