Nov 29

The Show 2010: Reflections

Tagged in: Everything Talks
Posted by: Kat Dalager | Comment (1)

Now that a bit of time has passed since we put on an annual advertising award show - actually, THE advertising award show of the Twin Cities, called (appropriately) The Show, it’s nice to step back, take a breath, and reflect on what it took to pull the thing off.  A year ago, having a year’s worth of planning seemed an overly long amount of time.  Somehow it always comes down to the last second, which is not at all different than how most things work in this industry.


In case you’ve had your head under a rock, The Show is the Twin Cities’ version of The Addys, the national advertising award program created by the American Advertising Federation. It’s the largest fundraiser for the Advertising Federation of Minnesota and helps keep us in the black for the year. No Show, then no Student Advertising Summit, no Golferoo, no breakfast or lunch programs, no pub crawl.


Here’s the juicy part: While The Show is still hosted by the Advertising Federation of Minnesota, it’s no longer officially part of “the system.” About 15 or so years ago, the fees required to participate in the national program became pretty pricey. Way pricey. Which means that it cost so much to participate that we were practically losing money. (The KC chapter experienced that this year:


So, we did what any price-conscious, independent-minded midwesterners would’ve done: we defected.


Not that National was not particularly pleased with our defection, but we’re Minnesotans and won’t be pushed around, dammit! The cool thing is, we’ve developed a national reputation for showcasing not only the best creative work in the area, but in the country. Heck, one year we even had a judge who said he could now “check this off his list” of award shows that he wanted to judge in his lifetime. We all got big heads over that. (There’s no way he was just feeding us BS because it was before we took him out drinking.)


Okay, back to a year ago.


The stars aligned and we scored one of the best design firms in the country to be our Agency of Record. I personally think it was because I did not pull the legs off daddy longleg spiders when I was a kid and this was karma payback; co-chair Conor Callahan thinks it’s because he asked them. Whatever. KNOCK became responsible for coming up with a theme and for directing the creative for the entire program.


So as KNOCK went to work on creating a Call for Entries, The Committee went to work redeveloping the website with Sierra Bravo and planning the event itself. Jeff DeKeuster spent a bijillion hours making sure every entry single received the best possible presentation. Anyone who thinks that going from physical entries to online entries is a quick and easy process must’ve had a lobotomy. Actually, it feels like WE had lobotomies. No, wait: we just WISHED we had lobotomies.


Did I mention that this is primarily a volunteer activity and that working professionals donate thousands or hours of time and tens of thousands of dollars of resources each year to pull this puppy together? I have to say that I’m grateful to work at an agency that supported not only my involvement, but allowed me to rally folks from throughout the agency to help with the cause to produce the reel, signage, displays, and soon-to-be-produced book. Unbelievably awesome.


In July we brought in highly qualified creative-types from across the country to hang with us for a weekend and to judge the nearly 1,300 entries. We were pretty surprised that the number of entries wasn’t down very much from the previous year, despite the economy. Of that, we had 388 winners from Merit to Gold.


Wouldn’t you know that I was gone over judging weekend so I missed all the wining (thankfully, not whining) and dining and elbow rubbing. And the technical problems. Guess the judges were great peeps and took it all in stride knowing they’d have to finish judging online from the comfort of their own homes with a gin and tonic in hand.


(Side question: WHERE ARE THE WOMEN CREATIVES?!!  We need more women in high creative positions, so let’s start the ball rolling by mentoring young girls through organizations like Art Buddies (go Sue!)


Onward to Target Field. The Committee took multiple tours of Target Field with various groups of people for a multitude of logistical reasons. I have to say that I never got tired of seeing the place. It’s amazing, inside and out, with large volumes of supplies being moved about, spotless floors and busy people. I had thoughts of being inside a giant ant hill, only with beer.


Guests probably got a good sense of this themselves as they wound their way around the Legend’s Club, which spanned from first through third bases. For all we know, there may still be a few account people lost in the 573 Club.


Each time we were guided by different TF representatives, each with a slightly different perspective on how we should host the event. No matter: this group knows how to make our own decisions. A pleasant lot, nonetheless. We chose our date based on post-season availability, hoping that the World Series would be held there .


With the venue checked off our list, it was on to producing the event itself with all its parts and pieces, including production of the reel, the displays of winning work, the food, the entertainment, volunteer coordination, lighting, sound, signage and so on. BTW, we know the lighting was brutal and not exactly cocktail hour ambience. The lights that were on were security lights, so they were either on or off, no dimming. It was either nosh in the dark or have it the way it was. Guess TF is working on that for next season because it was a common complaint.


As mentioned earlier, somehow it always comes down to the last second. Our final reel came in about 7:00 that night and the final displays of winning work came in around 6:30 after a printer went down earlier that day. The doors opened at 5:30, but we were able to hold off the masses until show time. Many thanks to our highly competent volunteers, efficiently coordinated by Veronica March. But from all accounts, no one was the wiser since they were having too much fun partying along the way. Good thing it takes longer to stumble than to walk.


Well, that’s The Show 2010 in a nutshell. We’ll let you know when the book is printed and available. In the meantime, keep producing great work and doing the Twin Cities proud – and we’ll start planning for next year.


-- Kat Dalager, Manager of Print Production, Reigning Goddess of All Things The Show

Nov 29

Magical Holiday Ad Breaks as Latest in Famous Footwear’s “Make Today Famous” Campaign

Tagged in: News Releases
Posted by: Kristine Olson | Comment (3)

New “Frozen Moments” spot layers slow-motion scenes to create a

winter-wonderland stage for the retailer’s brands


MINNEAPOLIS – Famous Footwear’s holiday advertising debuted nationwide this week with a 30-second run through snow in a spot called “Frozen Moments.”  Developed by agency Campbell Mithun, the ad presents a young woman moving in slow-motion down a snowy sidewalk past (and over) her neighbors, who are engaged in a series of winter vignettes – showcasing the most famous shoe brands, of course.

“This spot captures the magic of the holiday and conveys that even the shoes on your feet can contribute to the creation of memorable moments. The technique here presents an emotional story arc for viewers, with our shoes nearly becoming characters within it,” said Famous Footwear Senior Vice President of Marketing Will Smith.

The ad represents the latest in the retailer’s “Make Today Famous” campaign and uses the emotional picket-fence scene to present shoes within the context of “famous holiday moments.”  Famous Footwear intends for the slow-motion scene to motivate consumers to shop its buy-one-get-one-half-off holiday sale.  The spot runs nationwide, with companion radio, through the end of the year.

Creating “Frozen Moments”

Campbell Mithun filmed the winter spot on two summer nights (really!) using a digital phantom camera, which shoots at an extremely high frame speed, 300 frames per second in this case, to create the final slow-motion result.  The crew shot five background scenes to create the context of neighborhood action surrounding a young woman as she runs past dropping packages, flying snowballs, a whizzing sled, a tipping ladder and in-transport holiday goodies, to meet her young man arriving via taxi.

“A layering of scenes accomplished our objective to engage consumers. The main character carries the emotion and narrative tension, and the contextual scenes add depth as well as additional opportunities for meaningful shoe-centric camera angles,” said Campbell Mithun Art Director Andy Anema.

To create the winter wonderland, the agency “snowed” the location by covering it with white blankets and truckloads of cotton-fiber-based realistic, packable snow.  Sound for the spot, created by Nylon Studios, finalizes the snow-globe wonderland feel.

Other creative partners included Loni Peristere, director, and Brett Nicoletti, editor, both of Zoic Studios.  Agency credits include:  Robert Clifton Jr, executive creative director; Andy Anema, art director; Bill Johnson, copywriter; and Alex Colvin and David Howell, producers.  Spark is the media agency.

Make Today Famous

Famous Footwear’s Make Today Famous campaign was created by Campbell Mithun in 2009.  The campaign features vignettes showing how people can make even everyday activities “famous” in their own unique ways, influenced by the shoes on their feet.  The 2010 holiday ad represents the fifth seasonal effort under the Make Today Famous campaign umbrella and follows the recent 2010 Back-to-School executions featuring fast-paced “time-slice” moments.

About Famous Footwear

Famous Footwear is a leading family branded footwear destination, with 1,100 stores nationwide and e-commerce site  The chain offers consumers more than 80 nationally recognized brands, including Nike, Skechers, Naturalizer, Puma, Steve Madden, Converse, New Balance, DC, Rocket Dog and Carlos by Carlos Santana, and features a broad assortment of toning footwear from brands like Skechers and Reebok.  A proud national partner of the March of Dimes, the retailer sponsors March for Babies walk events in more than 1,000 communities nationwide.  Famous Footwear is operated by the retail subsidiary of Brown Shoe Company, Inc. (NYSE:BWS), which has $2.4 billion in sales as a retailer and wholesaler of footwear.  For more information, visit and


About Campbell Mithun

Campbell Mithun has thrived for 77 years guided by Ray Mithun’s founding philosophy:  make “everything talk” for client brands.  The agency has built a national brand-building reputation and, with its Compass Point Media unit and BrandOptix package-design resource, continues to build client success in today’s digital marketplace by making Everything Talk at each (increasingly granular) point of customer contact. 




Nov 19

From Focus Groups to "Friend Groups"

Tagged in: In the News
Posted by: Kristine Olson | Comment (0)

CLICK HERE: 11.19.10

Nov 02

Google Will Eat Your TV

Tagged in: Everything Talks
Posted by: Sean O'Brien | Comment (0)

Convergence - we’ve been talking about it for so long, I almost hesitate to bring it up again.  Here’s the story in a nutshell - Without your TV, convergence amounts to a hill of beans.  Apple has been on the cusp of creating a compelling version of convergence - and there have been glimmers of hope with Microsoft’s Xbox.  But the latest Apple TV has fallen short and it’s been almost a year since the Xbox 360 launched its integration with Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter.  The story of Xbox 360 and Apple TV can perhaps be similarly stated - Without the Web, convergence amounts to a hill of beans.

Now finally, I think we have a compelling vision of the future - with Google TV.

Of course, this isn’t a product review.  There are many better places for that. Ultimately, what I’m interested in is the interplay between broadcast content, web content, and applications.  And that’s where Google TV lives.  

On the surface, the whole thing might seem very familiar.  Even after watching the promo materials, (and before I had a chance to try it), I found myself thinking “haven’t we seen this before?”  I mean, hasn’t the “Web met TV” before?  You know… in a gadget called “Web TV?”  I have my own point of view about the whole web-on-tv experience…  in a past life, the fine folks at Web TV gave me device so I could optimize sites and evangelize the product.  From a developer’s perspective, I found Web TV interesting - but rendering was slow.  From a user’s perspective, without any true integration between Web content and TV content - who really wants a big keyboard on their couch?  

It’s easy to see why Web TV failed.  And at times Google TV can seem like Web TV all over again…  browsing can be slow at times, and the Logitech Revue does have a keyboard.  

But what’s striking is what Google TV gets right.  This isn’t just the Web on your TV. This is Google for your TV.  The first thing I did was a “Live TV” search… I Googled “ocean” and got a list of ocean-related content that was currently playing that I could immediately watch, and related content that would be playing in the future, which I could immediately DVR.  That mental model - the Google search model - replaces channel surfing and aids content discovery in a profound way. Shark week will never be the same.

The “Live TV” feature was great, but I decided to turn on a football game.  When the commercials came on, I opened up Google Chrome and watched the latest AOTS Around the Net segment, while still watching the game using picture-in-picture.  In fact, once the segment was over, I turned the game off, and browsed to Comedy Central to watch the latest Colbert Report.  And then to PBS Frontline just to see how other content might fare… everything worked great, and after accessing the vast content that is available from sites like PBS you get another idea of how this is different.  Much of the video content is clickable and interactive.  

In much of broadcast “interactive video” is thought of as a zero-sum game.  It brings up questions of who creates the specialized content, how would consumers access it (ie did it have any mass), and who would pay to produce it?  But with a TV that’s not just web-enabled, but web-friendly - interactive video is a natural and abundant alternative, even complimentary, source of entertainment.  Of course it is.  Yet, it’s a shift that can easily be downplayed, even while it is changing the nature of both how we watch TV and how we create TV content.

And I haven’t even mentioned the Android app platform or the coming TV app gold rush.  The installed apps (especially Pandora, Netflix) are great and, while there’s no app store currently, when you look at how apps are changing how we consume Internet content across mobile devices - it’s easy to imagine how much apps alone will change TV consumption. 

Google TV is a major milestone in a set of devices that will change how we consume TV.  If it’s allowed to, that is.  It’s clear any Web-on-TV device is going to have to navigate a whole range of issues brought by content providers and carriers.  It’s also clear that the stakes just got a lot higher.  Everyone wants a piece of the biggest screen in your house… the big question is how the pieces will be divided and if, after the feeding frenzy, there’ll be anything left for you.

- Sean O’Brien, tech-convergence tracker, director of technology and innovation

(photo by

Everything Talks