OLSON, Best Buy and #Trends – Oh my!

Being on the go is something I am very used to putting many things on my plate including volunteering for nonprofits, keeping up with the digital and creative trends and currently looking for a JOB all while trying to maintain some sort of personal life-family-friends and maintain and grow my network. The average MN gal right?
In just 1 week, I had participated and learned about 3 totally different topics in 3 totally different locations. Let me share.

OLSON: Ford Center: Ryan Murray Photo

Ryan Murray Photo: Ad 2 Olson

Starting off with the last Ad 2 agency event of the season! The Ad 2 Programs event I have planned and dreamed about for the MSP community for a while. It was at OLSON in their new space at the newly remodeled Ford Center Building in Minneapolis. 260+ pre-registered attendees making it the most pre-registered and attended Ad 2, Ad Fed event thus far (not counting the SHOW folks). The hands-on tour given by OLSON employee volunteers started the night off was a great way to greet guests entering on the 10th floor. Then moving to the 9th where there was much to taste and drink and of course people to network with. The agency has the 7,8,9 and 10, while 6th they share but have a fabulous photo studio in. Christina Clawson, Senior Brand Manager at OLSON, and I had known each other for handful of years and been planning this event for almost 3. Knowing the space would be a great way to bring the Advertising community in to enjoy, learn and explore.
Interactive Director and Vice President Paul Ratzky got to share some great influential case studies that have paved OLSON to be one of the top agency’s.

OLSON: Ad 2 : Ryan Murray Photo

OLSON : Ad 2 Ryan Murray Photo

OLSON Speaking : Photo by Heather Rudloff


Full House I snapped after giving opening announcements.

A unique piece of this event was the portfolio reviews that were going on for anyone that had signed-up ahead of time where 6 OLSON creative were giving one-on-one reviews for 15 minutes. This is another way Ad 2 has put the plug into education and also being different within our programs. Thanks Olson!

I announced to the 200+ guests about our 1st Place National Award that American Advertising Federation had rewarded Ad 2 with for the 2011-12 Programs. It was another way to create awareness of the National partnership with have with AAF and Ad 2.

The night ended up a quick clean-up by a few savvy volunteers including creative director and past Internship hirer Randall Herrera, then over for a few celebratory drinks next door at Darby’s. Cheers to a successful night!


@mndesigngal Instagram

The weekend of Easter had approached and I found myself with 1200+ ultra-cool-geeks including developers, programmers, designers and IT influentials at the minne*bar conference at the Best Buy Headquarters. I arrived early to make sure to get my trendy t-shirt and began the day with a presentation on fundraising in Minnesota. It gave me insight on Angel funding, crowd funding and start-up funding in general. Also advice such as, “sell to your family but never sell the control of your company to them”, (at least not right away).

Above is a @mndesigngal Instagram from the day

What's Your Why

I then moved to a segment on “What’s Your WHY?” which involved reflecting on oneself’s track through childhood goals to current job’s and the combining of them. Also a super great topic of why culture creates a sustainable competitive advantage.
A past Apple employee spoke about working on the same team as Steve Jobs and even asked us the question “When did the first iPhone come out?” —- Do you know? 2007! It’s strange because you think it’s like 2001 or something, but that is what is so great about technology, we ask why then there is change and innovation happens.


Can you Read This?

Can you read this? I can. So strange how our mind works even online now.

I then met Drew Fleck who presented a segment on Expanding your Entrepreneurial Social Capital. He hit it home for me on this topic; not only learning more about location and the diversity of groups but taking it to the next level in evolving one’s network. I ended up having lunch with Drew and got to learn even more one on one.

The Day wasn’t even half over yet after those 3 sessions! What was pretty ironic was being at Best Buy then just a few days later… Brian Dunn CEO of Best Buy resigns. It has nothing to do with me I swear.


Then the week wrapped-up with an amazing Ad Fed breakfast speaker from JWT New York, Ann Mack. She shared with nearly sold-out event, the Top 10 Trends for 2012. She did stress that trends can be shaped, and that these were from her perspective.

Here are my brief notes and the exciting TOP 10:

1. Navigating the New Normal
Smaller Scales… such as 50cent bubblegum and affordable clothling from high-end designers

2. Live a Little
Without giving up a lot.

3. Generation Go
Redefining what success is. (Was she talking to me directly here?)

4. The Rise of the Shared Value
Drivers: Opportunities in growth can be found in problems of needs.

5. Food as the new Eco-Issue
Fans of the part-time diets, “Meatless Mondays”, Vegan until 6pm etc.
Chipotle commercial— who has seen it?

6. Marriage Optional
60% of Bachelor degrees are Women. The new thought of test-driving a marriage for two years. (For real) More marketing is being done to the single woman.

7. Reengineering Randomness
People don’t want to be told- they want to discover.
Brands such as : Livingsocial “infuse the new”, daily lives, Lollihop and pop-up stores.

8. Screened InteractionsTweets Touch screens have been tapping into our lives slowly… ATM’s to… Bus stops, retail stores and more.

9. Celebrating Aging
Marketers need to look at the life-stage rather then the age of the consumer.
You have the right to be young at any age.

10. Objectifying Objects
CDs, Cash, a book… don’t need them anymore but something about holding it can be a status symbol.
Vinyl records seen a 41% increase in sales over last year!


What can I say? A busy gal likes to keep a busy mind. Can’t believe I had to put these 3 very large and influential events into one post. But this gal is busy, and I will continue to write in 12 PT for you like I have promised.

Your MN Design Gal and so much more!

Instagram follower

1 word: mono

Many of us have been in Uptown and walk by a really cool looking blue door and wonder what is inside. Some may try to open it thinking it’s a new trendy little shop, other may look inside the window to find nothing but a large black staircase and a really cool tall-person made motorcycle.

Mono_doorLast night, Ad 2 members and friends got to experience mono and what happens behind the blue door.

With over 100 attendees and several walk-ins, this unique agency let us rowdy ad folk come and learn a bit about their work, space and who they really are. The keg was tapped and included Blue Solo cups (duh) and red and white wine along with a variety of after work appetizers, that of course I didn’t get to try. Why is when hosting events you never get to go pee or eat anything? 

mono’s co-founder and owner Michael Hart got everyone’s attention by banging on a beer glass and lead the night away with being genuine, funny and quite charming without trying. Of course I had to bring to their attention after his announcement the very large “Best in Show” award that they won on November 11, 2011 from the Ad Fed advertising awards aka the Addy’s.

There were 5 rooms with different speakers on case studies from Blue Dot to Virgin and the crowds made their way in to listen, question and enjoy.

Anne Mahoney (now Deanovic) and I had been planning this little get together since this summer actually. She wasn’t familiar with how the events went, but she surely nailed it with the casual atmosphere and the challenge of space that could have arrived. The fire alarm was only going off just for a few minutes before the crowd came and luckily no police or escorts needed to arrive.

blue solo cup

Instagram @mndesigngal

The kegs were gone at 7:30; which meant that it surely was a good time had by all.
Being able to come into an agency, approach then with an idea and get them excited about hosting people they don’t know and have it all be taken place in their house, can be a challenge, but once again a thrill and enjoyment. Shout-out help: also from Zach Zutler our Ad 2 membership chair (and a friend of mine who used to tend bar together back in the day) who interned at mono and then was hired!

Another successful event. [Check]

Thanks to Jay Larson and Sunny Chang for having their lens with them. Along with my random twitter friends and members with their #ad2mono tweets and mentions. Ad 2 volunteers Anita, Matt and Tim for ID’ing and being yourselves.

See you at Olson April 5th, this event has been in the making since my first year as Programs Director for Ad 2 back in 2008. (For reals)

Keep networking your little hearts out,

Job leads from last night? Yes. One really good one. Are you reading this? I can start April 9, better yet I can start April 2 and be trained in that first week in April.
Also another surprise visit by a social media manager who I have been talking with and admire, I hear he likes cats though.

Creative Branding @ #SXSW

How many time have you said to yourself “why didn’t I think of that?

SXSW just finished up this week, which hosted some of the most creative brands, social people and more. Business Insider (which I read weekly) inspired me by their post 10 Creative Startup Promotions at SXSW.

I had to highlight a few of my favorites I saw from friends and colleagues tweets over the weekend.

What: The Owl mobile was out and there were Owl-Sightings all over instagram and Twitter this weekend.
Why: The Owl was a hoot! Did anyone ride inside that though? That is the real question.

American Express
What: Hosted the Amex Sync Show with Jay-Z (#JAYZsyncshow), featuring a live demo of the new Twitter hashtag promotion Amex launched last week that enables card members to save when they tweet customized hashtags for a group of launch partners.
Why: American Express has put its money where its mouth is when cozying up to tech companies. In addition to Twitter, it has entered into significant partnerships with Facebook and Foursquare in the past year.

Real-life example of the #JAYZsyncshow.

What: Kraft is applying the wisdom that the way to the heart is through the stomach by hosting Oreo-branded ice cream socials. Kraft Mobile, an interactive experience, will feature a mac-and-cheese truck, games, Wi-Fi hotspots and charging stations.
Why: Mr. Bough’s SXSW plan is to “connect with developers, entrepreneurs and startups.” And frankly just have some really good hang-over-food. Saw many pictures of the mac and cheese mobile.

Loosing power? Plug-in at people wearing chargers!
FedEx is trying to come back from the boring brand to something that is hip and shows their users that they care and get it. Why not? This was for sure one of my favorite ideas. I had to ask Brittany “Was he hot?”

NikeFuel Lot, which seemed from the many pictures through instagram and on twitter it was just a really cool light display? Not attending the SXSW, I couldn’t tell you what the sound was like or how strong the drinks were.
Why: Nike had to find somewhere they would have their logo in a simplistic way right?

Me Like!

Overall the #SXSW feed was entertaining all weekend, and it made me very jealous of the colleagues that were out there learning and experiencing these brands. Just another reason for me to be with a brand that needs a networker, educator, like me representing them at South By Southwest and taking notes to expand our clients and get their brand in the middle of the action. Maybe not at SXSW but taking that and pushing the envelope at the local conferences and conventions that always need some re-inventing creativity.

Visit SXSW.com to learn more overall on the conference. Three highlights for the conference website for me were:
Start-up Village
(One of my favorite categories that make an entrepreneurial like me smile.)
Interactive Parties (Your invited to all?!)
Also did you see you can make your own conference schedule? Thank you! How many times have you been to a conference and have to circle and mark-up your print-out?

This concludes my #SXSW wrap-up on the creative promotions by some brands that stood out in my mind; along with some things that I look forward to when attend my first interactive conference. I’m actually heading to Austin in June for the National American Advertising Federation conference representing Ad 2 Minneapolis and social media; but I don’t think they will touch the experience from this past week. Or maybe it has to do with Austin, Texas and I can’t wait to find out!

Enjoy Conference-Season,
mn design gal

AdAge.com Top Brand Article

Welcome 2012

It is officially two-thousand-twelve folks. Start writing it on your checks– wait– who writes checks anymore?

Looking back on the laughs and memories that happened the last week, I really have to say that 2011 was the year of great change.
Great times with family and close friends and even got to ring in the new year with Steve and about 10 of my closest college friends.

Today I tweeted a quote from Mark Twain Keep away from people who try to be little your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great.”

I linked this tweet to my linked account, (which I do rarely) but thought this quote really showcased the values of surrounding yourself with positive people who believe in you and want some of them to know. If that means within your friends, family members, co-workers and even your boss (if you can help it). When volunteering make sure the energy is also positive always (you don’t get paid for it must enjoy it) and don’t let those small people get in the way of you doing great things.

Enjoy a few instagram thumbnails I took over the Holiday week:

Welcome 2012, let’s make this year positively memorable,

your mn design gal

I rarely kiss in public, but this is the one occasion we did. Cheers!

Busy Beaver

Yes, I have been that busy beaver and have not been blogging.

Wanted to tell you Happy Thanksgiving and I’m thankful for your interest, sharing the love, likes and most of all comments and encouragement!

Enjoy my instagrams over the this November month!

Beaver at work, not just a Bemidji State University graduate.
mn design gal


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