A look back at 2011

2011 was an interesting year to say the least. There were plenty of good times, and a few not-so-good ones, but overall 2011 was pretty solid. Here’s to setting bar for 2012 even higher.

January was a great way to start 2011. 2010 had ended, and had seen its fair share of ups and downs. I had recently moved into a new apartment and started a new job at an advertising agency I idolized, working on an account that to say I was passionate about would be an understatement. 2011 definitely had its work cut out for itself.

New Year’s Eve was a great excuse to throw a party to christen the new apartment and celebrate with some great friends.

Lowlight: during a hockey game I was playing in, I took a puck to the mouth, requiring 7 stitches. I kept all my chompers though. Sorry, no pics, unfortunately.

February was rough. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Casie’s father, Jim, who passed away at the age of 52. A truly kind and generous man, missed every day by those who came in contact with him, no matter how briefly.
Jim and Casie

I was selected to work the Jr. Gold ‘B’ state hockey tournament as a linesman. My second state tournament selection in the past two years.

Celebrated my 24th birthday.

Joined the Be The Match Marrow Registry. I encourage you to do the same.

Walked in the Minneapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade.

My hockey team, the Moose, made the AHA playoffs. We got worked, but a hockey tournament sponsored by Summit brewery always leads to a great time.

Appeared in Vita.mn for a feature story on the best outdoor patios in the Twin Cites.

Received a promotion at Olson after only seven months on the job.

Spent a week traveling through California with Casie (we both had never been there before): Three days exploring San Francisco, during which we celebrated Casie’s 25th birthday; One day hiking through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and three days relaxing in Monterey and sightseeing in Carmel, Pebble Beach and Big Sur.
The Lone Cypress

At sunset on the last night we were there, I proposed to Casie and for some reason she said “yes.”Monterey at sunset

My sister Kelsey’s 22nd birthday.

Went to Virginia on my first official business trip. Again, a place I had never been before.

July – Wedding season
Traveled to Chicago for Casie’s cousin’s wedding during the 4th of July weekend. Chicago is by far one of my favorite cities.

The next weekend, I was the Best Man in my friend Shawn’s wedding.

Celebrated my brother Eric’s 19th birthday.

Two weeks later, Casie and I attended the wedding of her co-worker Sarah, and my co-worker A.J.

Spent some quality time at the cabin, fishing and shooting guns.

Casie and I moved into a new apartment. Three days later, we moved out of the new apartment and into my parent’s house. Long story.

Went to SurlyFest with my good friend Neil.

Celebrated my mom’s ninth 40th birthday. ;)

Moved (again) into a new apartment. We’re staying at this one for a while. Too much moving.

Walked in the Anoka Halloween parade (Anoka is the “Halloween Capital of the World” I might add) in a giant inflatable beer bottle costume because a pretty girl asked me to.

Celebrated my one-year anniversary at Olson.

Phenomenal client dinner at Manny’s Steakhouse.

Finally made it to a show at The Brave New Workshop.

My dad’s 52nd birthday.

Volunteered as a mentor with The BrandLab. It was a great experience working with students with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, and eye-opening for me from a professional development perspective.

Spent a lot of time catching up with friends, and using my remaining PTO. :)

Here’s to high hopes to all of you for the next year. Onward and upward!


The best solution can be the easiest.

A few weeks ago my-fiance-though-she-dislikes-being-called-my-fiance and I moved in to our new apartment.

Lots of packing, un-packing, hauling, organizing… you know, the fun stuff.

One oh-so-fun task with moving is having to update your address with everyone: friends, family, work, banks, credit card companies… mundane, but necessary.

We each updated our address with the postal service to handle any mail forwarding, and after a few days, we realized that I was the only one receiving any mail. So upon looking at the namecard in the mailbox the mailcarrier uses to identify whose apartment is whose, it only said:


Figuring there must have been a simple glitch that would eventually be fixed, I shrugged it off.

A few more days went by, yet I hadn’t received any mail during that time. Now however, my fiance was receiving hers. So, I went back to the mailbox and now the namecard showed:



Now the USPS thinks I must not live here anymore and thus chose to stop delivering my mail (even though I had just listed this residence as my permanent address only a few weeks ago).

Rather than try and call the post office (because customer service and government agencies go together like lamb and tuna fish), or re-update my information online (as then in all likelihood, we’d prompt a neverending cycle of lost mail), I did something very simple.

Thinking that our mailperson must be getting rather confused about who actually lives here, I wrote them a note.


I think she appreciated my attempt at clarifying the matter:


We should all strive to help make other people’s lives easier, whether they’re family, friends, teammates, co-workers, etc. Going an extra step, doing a little more than is asked, or simply just writing someone a note can help make their day a little better, which will benefit you in return, even if it’s as simple as finally receiving your mail.

I must think like an ad person…

You’ve likely heard by now that AT&T has offered to acquire T-Mobile for roughly $39 billion. The move would position the new AT&T/T-Mobile as the largest wireless carrier in the U.S.

What was the first thing you thought of when you heard the news?

If you’re like me, it wasn’t “I wonder if my current data plan will be cheaper on a larger network?” or “Sweet! More iPhones that don’t need to be jailbroken!”

The first thing that popped up in my mind was T-Mobile’s latest ad campaign, which directly slams AT&T, and puts T-Mobile’s agency behind the campaign (Publicis Seattle) in a rather awkward position.

The tough part about being an agency for a company going through a major transition is the uncertainty of what will happen when the dust settles. Taken in to account that T-Mobile’s latest campaign is direct attack on AT&T’s endlessly criticized data network, Publicis must be sweating bullets…

It’s an old story: corporate mergers, agency shakeups, media dollars getting moved around…  I just found it interesting that while the first thing that many people might think of would be the merger’s impact on products or data plans, my first thought was the ad campaign and the agency that will have their work cut out for them on clean-up duty.



Chrysler facing a moral decision…

Yesterday, the news broke on Adweek that Chrysler is suing Pure Detroit, a three-store retailer that sells Detroit-inspired, Detroit-specific merchandise, over the use of Chrysler’s Super Bowl-made famous trademarked tagline “Imported From Detroit” on their merchandise.

I’m not debating the fact the tagline is trademarked – the article goes on to explain Chrysler applied for the trademark for various applications, including branded clothing, and that Chrysler is selling their own “Imported From Detroit” clothing – nor am I debating that Pure Detroit is “legally” in the wrong for using the trademark on their clothing, or that Chrysler is in the wrong for taking Pure Detroit to court to settle the matter.

I’m more interested in the moral decision Chrysler is now faced with pending the outcome of the suit. The gravity of this situation carries with it the sense of pride the tagline has instilled in the hearts and minds of Detroiters, and the test of Chrysler’s conviction to the betterment of Detroit.

On one hand, Chrysler can use the lawsuit as a way to earn a quick payday by squashing a small local retailer.  Chrysler claims to have prompted Pure Detroit to donate a portion of the proceeds from sales of their merchandise to local charities, but where would the money Chrysler would get from the lawsuit go? If the answer isn’t “100% to charity,” then Chrysler might want to rethink this.

On the other hand, Chrysler can recognize the true goal of branding is to cultivate and empower communities around your brand’s ideals. Since this tagline has seemingly revived the sense of pride to be Detroit, Chrysler could take great pride in the fact that it has prompted local retailers to further their message at a grassroots level.  I didn’t major in economics, but it seems to me that when local businesses do well, it benefits the surrounding community.

So, my question to Chrysler, why not partner with Pure Detroit instead of suing them? You appear to be entrenched in the battle to better the Detroit community, so let’s see you do that.



EpicMix :: An Interactive Brand Experience from Vail Resorts and Crispin Porter + Bogusky

Hat-tip to CP+B for this one… Vail Resorts in Colorado recently announced EpicMix, a application touting a clever blend of RFID technology and social interaction enabling skiers and snowboarders to – in the simplest of explanations – track their progress on the mountain. Through an RFID chip on a user’s lift ticket that can be read by RF scanners at each chairlift, the EpicMix app is enabled and accessible online or via the user’s mobile phone. The system works by tracking data, such as vertical feet traveled and ski runs taken, each day a skier (or snowboarder) is on any of Vail Resorts’ five mountain resorts. The integrated application allows users to share stories and message their friends, receive terrain and weather information, and even earn badges (much like Foursquare) for particular accomplishments. This level of interactive technology, blending RFID, GPS, and social networking into the form of a game, has undoubtedly become the norm for the way we interact with the everyday world, as seen by the success of Foursquare. Pretty cool, eh?


Facebook: Doing What It Will, Forgetting What ‘Social’ is All About

The following was originally posted to the Spyder Trap Online Marketing Blog

Last week, Facebook dropped a bomb on social media marketers, small businesses and developers alike: Facebook Pages need to be “authenticated” in order to have landing tabs.

What does this mean?

Any new visitor to your Facebook Page will not able to land on a custom tab, unless your Facebook Page has greater than 10,000 fans or the Page administrator has been working with an ads account representative. The problem with this is that it requires Page administrators to spend money on Facebook ads (and you need to spend a pretty penny to get an account representative), or have a large traffic base to build a large following.

Less than 24 hours later, and after a frenzy of disapproval from the marketing and developer communities, Facebook removed the “authentication” requirement for setting custom landing tabs on Pages. The following was posted to the Facebook Developer Forum at 10:44 a.m. the following morning:


As of last night, we’ve removed the recently-added authentication requirement for setting custom landing tabs on Pages. The requirement was instituted as part of a Pages quality initiative, and we apologize for the inconvenience this caused to our developer and business community. We are re-investigating the situation, and will not make any further changes without first giving our community standard notice and lead-time.

Thanks for all your feedback,
Matt Trainer

The problem that Facebook continues to inflict upon itself is that they fail to be transparent with their audience regarding changes to their platform/services/privacy. This Facebook Pages incident isn’t the first time Facebook hasn’t acted in a social manner. Also, given that Facebook has more than 400 million active users and it is the 2nd most popular global website (according to Alexa), I’d think Facebook might think twice about doing whatever it pleases and forcing the community to obey its will.

Facebook, like any other social destination site, is not impervious to being abandoned by the community it helped create. Continuing to roll out drastic changes as they please, they may realize this sooner rather than later.

Passion 2010 Series: My Interview with ‘Girl Meets Geek’

Passion 2010 Series: Brad Wellman

Recently, I sat down with Kate-Madonna Hindes of Girl Meets Geek for a discussion about social media and the necessity of relationship marketing, the Minneapolis advertising and marketing climate, and the future of us all (us advertising and marketing folks, that is).

Little did I know that our conversation would lead to me kicking-off her ‘Passion 2010 series.

I’m truly humbled by her kind words in the article, and I honestly think she did a phenomenal job making me sound smarter than I am… :-)

If you haven’t met Kate or stumbled upon her Twitter feed, she is a prominent national public speaker and writer on Social Media, and is never short of a good conversation over coffee.

Thanks again, Kate for the lively conversation and the well-written article. I look forward to the rest of the Passion 2010 series.