Title: Positive Wins

Slug: newswire/positive-wins

Sort by Date: 2022-01-18

Short Description: Avoiding Negative Media Environments Doesn’t Mean Sacrificing Sales

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Author: Dana Lytle

Author Title: CEO / ECD / PRINCIPAL

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Let’s all conspire to make sure what we say and how we say it doesn’t get undermined by where brand messages show up.”

I’m a positive guy: as a business leader, a husband, a parent, a friend, and in every other aspect of my life. There’s been plenty of doom and gloom to go around lately, but despite the odds, I’ve done my best to keep the sense of optimism and positivity that’s always helped me stay productive and happy (most of the time).

As a design and advertising guy, I also think the power of positivity is underrated when it comes to where brands choose to show up. When I stumbled upon this Pinterest research report "It Pays to Be Positive," I was glad to see some serious data backing up my belief. 

The research found that negative environments make people less likely to remember, trust, and purchase from brands. In a world of negativity, especially online, brands should look for bright spots when it comes to ad placements. 

While the research is a nice proof point, this is another case of common sense being good enough for me. I’ve been around long enough to notice an increasing trend toward the negative. Social networks that start as fun places to share family updates, vacation photos, and funny dance challenges somehow always get sucked into a vortex of political fighting and click-bait disinformation. 

By a stroke of bad luck (or Silicon Valley “genius”), those same platforms now dominate the advertising world. Brands are practically forced to advertise dream vacations, fishing boats, and ski gear amid all the bickering, trolling, shaming, and doom-inducing headlines these platforms earn their eyeballs from. It’s hard to imagine a worse environment for making a good impression on an audience.

The current state of affairs really has me thinking about the role that context—and a positive environment in general–can have on how audiences receive marketing messages. Planet works with high-integrity passion-based brands—primarily the products people use while enjoying their free time. And we take a lot of pride in the work we create for our partners. We labor over every little detail of our final product, making sure design, copy, music, and talent are all perfectly in tune. I hate to see one of our “ad babies”—so thoughtfully nurtured along the way—get thrown into negativity-laden environments. If Facebook were a preschool, would you send your toddler there?

If you’re a high-integrity brand leader, I hope you’ll join me in trying to make more mindful decisions this year. We can all clearly see the problem, but we’ll need to act together to create a solution. 

A few things to consider as you face some tough choices:

TRUST YOUR GUT

Like me, you probably don’t need fancy research to know that you’re better off sticking to more positive environments when telling your brand story. You already believe your brand deserves better. But you can rest easy knowing that your customers want you to do better, too, and that by prioritizing positivity, you’re earning their respect and hopefully their patronage. That Pinterest research I mentioned earlier found that 2 in 3 adults agree it’s a brand’s responsibility to advertise in safe, positive places and avoid negative content.

DON’T CHEER ON A RACE TO THE BOTTOM

I don’t want to come across as pollyannaish here. Despite their flaws, there are lots of big platforms that can efficiently deliver results even if there’s a veil of negativity attached. Just be more open-minded and thoughtful of where you’re spending the bulk of your media budget.

You still need to achieve reach and scale, and premium, positive, brand-safe environments don’t come cheap. But consider how you’re balancing things out. Rather than always opting for the cheapest solution (like low-quality, low-control programmatic inventory), start by allocating a portion of your budget to more mindful placements. You might be surprised by the results. And you might find value in prioritizing the long-term perception of your brand over the short-term allure of cheap CPMs.

STICK UP FOR YOUR BRAND IF NO ONE ELSE WILL

You can’t fault your Media partner for wanting to guide you towards quick win, value-priced inventory. But no one will advocate for your brand’s hard-won reputation the way you can. 

Explain your intent to find more positive environments and tactics in 2022, and challenge your team to build a plan with that in mind. But also rethink your own measures of success. Show them that you understand you’ll likely have to sacrifice some short-term efficiency to gain long-term brand trust and relevance. (I wrote a piece for AdAge that digs a little deeper into the pitfalls of short-termism, too.)

And if you find that your Media agency’s not on the same page, we’d be happy to introduce you to like-minded Media pros who take a more mindful approach.


If you’ve read this far, I’m confident you’re a high-integrity brand leader who got into this business to make your customers’ lives better. And I believe you know it hurts your chances to earn their trust and lifetime loyalty if you don’t protect the positive image you’ve worked so hard to build. Let’s all conspire to make sure what we say and how we say it doesn’t get undermined by where brand messages show up.


Title: Sage Santa Speaks

Slug: newswire/sage-santa-speaks

Sort by Date: 2021-12-22

Short Description: We’ve tapped the Oracle of the North Pole for Some Words of Wisdom

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This year for the holidays, Planet wants to share some sage advice from the wisest sage of all, Santa.

Each day through Christmas Eve, we’ll release a pithy new video with Santorian advice ranging from naughty to less-naughty. Santa’s pearls of wisdom are recited by veteran stage actor James Ridge* from our longtime client American Players Theatre. Every video reveals new depths of well-earned insight for making your season a little merrier.

Click to Receive Wisdom

*with full script approval from the bonafide big guy himself


Title: Tapping into Streaming TV Ads for Home Improvement and Hobby Brands

Slug: newswire/tapping-into-streaming-tv-ads-for-home-improvement-and-hobby-brands

Sort by Date: 2021-12-20

Short Description: Discovery+ offers new shoppable ads and high-context targeting

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If, like most marketers, you’re concerned about the ongoing consumer data crunch, you’re likely looking for more contextually-relevant ways to get in front of the right folks. For home improvement and hobby brands, partnering with interest-based streaming networks is a great way to reach highly-engaged and inspired DIYers.

As TV becomes increasingly like the internet, shoppable streaming ads are becoming more common. Fashion, beauty, and home decor brands were naturally among the first to jump on the trend, letting consumers buy featured items directly from their smart TVs.

But brands in the home improvement and hobby space are also a natural fit to take advantage of the energy and inspiration viewers feel while watching their favorite DIY content. Recently, the Discovery+ streaming service (home to HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, and others) announced the launch of shoppable ads. “For the first time, Discovery will allow viewers to purchase products that align with its library of food and home programming through their TV screens.” (source)

These placements will provide a rich contextual opportunity for brands in the hardware and kitchen tool spaces, tapping into DIYers while they’re consuming their favorite inspirational shows.

The Case for Investing in High-Context Streaming

We know from our recent custom research (full report here), that DIYers are very influenced by their favorite how-to shows. The projects they see on-screen often inspire them to take on new, unexpected endeavors, and they also value product recommendations from the experts on these shows. Many DIYers want to achieve those professional-level results and want the best tools for the job.

We also believe that context matters in ad placements, especially for passion-based brands. It’s common sense that consumers are more likely to be excited and compelled by ads when they are in the right mindset for the message. And research reinforces the conventional wisdom: 69% of consumers are more likely to engage with ads contextually relevant to the content they are viewing (source), and contextually-aligned ads are 93% more memorable than misaligned ads (source).

You can inundate consumers with ham-fisted ads that follow them around the web on low-cost, low-quality sites, but to reach a DIYer when they are watching their favorite home improvement or cooking show just hits different. (That same ‘inspiring context’ effect is why you’ll drop $30 on olive oil at a vacation town cooking store, but bristle at the $12 bottle sitting on a jumbled shelf at the neighborhood Kroger.) These new ad products on Discovery+ and similar networks are one way to leverage premium, thematically-relevant content. Todd Alchin, CMO / Partner at leading independent Media company Noble People says, “The tradeoff for context is often scale. But as streaming platforms continue to provide new scalable options that preserve the value of context-rich placement, it provides potentially effective new avenues.”

How Your DIY Brand Can Leverage These New Opportunities

Magnify the Power of Product Placements

DIYers are devoted to their favorite on-screen personalities—from talented renovators to meticulous bakers—and brands have partnered with home improvement and cooking channels on product placements for years.

Shoppable ads are a great way to close the loop during shows featuring paid placements, offering an easy way to drive an immediate sale. This type of full-funnel experience was historically only available online, but the hybrid qualities of streaming TV bring conversion-driving units into the traditional living room viewing experience, too. Soon clicking your remote will be as easy and intuitive as clicking your mouse.

Look for hyper-contextual opportunities

While shoppability is great for consumers who are poised to buy now, Discovery+’s new ad products also include the opportunity to run spots during commercial breaks when certain words and expressions appear in the show itself.

Since viewers often choose specific episodes of a given show based on their current interests (like landscaping, basement renovations, or holiday baking), your brand can reach them at a relevant time in their project-planning cycle. It’s the perfect chance to make an impression and play up your product’s features and benefits while consumers are still highly-inspired and motivated, but before they’ve stocked up on the necessary supplies.

If you’re selling battery-powered weed whackers, your ad is more likely to catch an interested eye during an episode focused on landscaping projects than one featuring bathroom rehabs.

….

As Google and Apple continue to protect data privacy and further limit advertisers’ ability to behaviorally-target consumers online, marketers will need to find innovative ways to utilize other platforms to stay ahead of the curve. Streaming TV can be a highly-relevant, influential, and trusted place to showcase your home improvement or hobby brand for a category-engaged audience.


Title: A Gift Guide for the Go-getters on Your List

Slug: newswire/a-gift-guide-for-the-go-getters-on-your-list

Sort by Date: 2021-11-30

Short Description: Planeteer Picks for Pastime Pursuers

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At Planet, we like to say “our work is our play.” We partner with brands that sell the products we love to use once we’re off the clock and enjoying some freetime.

You’re bound to have some dedicated pastime pursuers on your holiday gift list, so we’re sharing some picks that pass muster with discerning Planeteers, in hopes that it’ll make your holiday shopping a little less hectic.

FOR MAKING THE MOST OF OUTDOOR TIME

Laura, Designer + Nature Lover:

If someone you know is part of the bar soap club, Matador’s FlatPak Soap Bar Case is a life-changing way to transport it for camping trips or travel. It's waterproof but also breathable so the soap bar dries between uses.

Paul, Digital Creative Director + Seasoned Flyfisher:

If you want to give the ultimate gift to a flyfisher and money is no object? Split-cane bamboo fly rod. While 70–80% of my fishing is done with graphite, I reach for the grass rod when I want it to be special. There is a cadence and feel that can’t be matched by any modern material. While there are quite a few good rod builders, I hold no one in higher regard than Sweetgrass Rods in Butte, Montana. Glenn Brackett has built several rods for me over the years and he also makes a wicked grilled wild duck.

Flyfishers tend to be a literate bunch, and Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It is the most outstanding book that has fly fishing in it, and it's one of the best books ever written. Period. At an agency I worked at back in the ’90’s a coworker of mine who was a non-fisherperson asked me if I heard of this book. After I made him feel stupid for asking, he said that his professor at the University of New Mexico stated this book was "more relevant than the Bible.” Nuff said.

Jayson, Senior Content Producer / Director + Hunting Dog Dad:

I would always grab a dog collar from the local Farm & Fleet and not think twice. Then I wanted to treat my dog to a nice collar for his birthday, not that he knows what that means except a yummy steak. I found these awesome leather collars that come with a stamped name plate for under $25. My dog never got so many compliments on what a dapper dude he was, plus his ID tags were no longer clanking against one another. It is a small business that ships within a couple days with a handwritten ‘Thank You’ note.

BRIANNA, Senior Copywriter + Style Maven:

I love all David Shrigley. You really can’t go wrong. But imagine showing up at the lake or pool party with this disturbing, aptly-named Ridiculous Inflatable Swan-Thing.

FOR TINKERING IN THE WORKSHOP

Tommy, Director, Business Development + Cabin Creature:

Leather work gloves (like these from our client Duluth Trading Company) are aces for log splitting and kindling-making up north. It’s cold and we need to protect the meat mittens while creating some fuel for the fire.

Jeremy, Communications Director + Greenish Thumb:

If you’re into composting and don’t want to ruin your kitchen’s aesthetic vibe, try this visually appealing bamboo countertop bin, for storing scraps between trips to the outdoor compost pile. Bonus that the bin itself is compostable if and when you’re ready to dispose of it.

Client Plug (we work with these folks):

Wisconsin-made Thorogood work boots have been around for generations, and outperform much pricier brands. And of course J-B Weld Twin-Tube epoxy is a great stocking stuffer for the DIYer in your life who’s never seen a broken object he or she can’t fix.

FOR KICKING IT UP A NOTCH IN THE KITCHEN

Corinne, Account Executive + Adventurous Cook:

Somewhere along the way I lost my small mortar and pestle that I’d use occasionally to grind up herbs. Then last year I tasted Joojeh Kabab (Persian chicken kebab with saffron and lemon flavors) and knew that I needed to grind my own saffron or wipe my memory so I would stop craving it. Happily, I have some lovely foodie relatives who understand that kind of need and they gifted me a solid and functionally attractive Gorilla Grip granite mortar and pestle. Now I can properly grind the saffron and then bloom, using this technique.

Holly, Strategist + Apartment-dwelling Gardener:

An Aerogarden hydroponic gardening system is the most foolproof way to get someone with a black thumb started with gardening. Zero effort, just sit back and watch your fresh herbs thrive.

Client plug:

There’s no better gift for gracious hosts than Nutkrack—the Madison-made candied pecan that completes any holiday snack spread. We love the classic and spicy firekracker versions, but the brand new “everything”-seasoned variety is chef’s kiss as well.

FOR KICKING BACK OR VENTURING OUT

Andrea, Operations Director + Intrepid Explorer:

NEOS Overshoes are modern day galoshes for those of us on the go. They have traveled many miles with me. Easy to wear, ridiculously light, waterproof, and cover the full calf—because no one wants damp clothing sticking to their calves.

Emily, Managing Director + Known Wayfarer

My husband and I love to travel and we just got Monos suitcases earlier this year. We took them to Iceland and asked for additional sizes for Christmas because they were so great. I love them because they are a really simple modern design, have TSA-approved locks, are easy to clean with a magic eraser, are durable / light and have really thoughtful storage and compartments. I also love the color selection and I am a sucker for their overall aesthetic and vibe.

Client Plug:

If you’ve got a patron of the arts on your gift list, this is the perfect year to give them a gift certificate to their favorite cultural institution. It’s been a rough couple of years for theaters and museums, and those that remain could use your support. If it makes geographical sense, we heartily recommend two of our clients: Wisconsin’s beloved American Players Theatre, and Seattle’s boldly-ambitious ACT Theatre.

FOR GENERAL SELF IMPROVEMENT

Kris, Motion Director + Man-in-Motion:

I would highly recommend any of these home fitness devices: Wahoo Kickr Direct-drive Smart Trainer, Concept2 SkiErg, and Concept2 RowErg. They are much more fun than a treadmill or other old style cardio machines (e.g. ellipticals) and are comparatively easy to move around / stow.


Title: The Rundown from the National Hardware Show 2021

Slug: newswire/the-rundown-from-the-national-hardware-show-2021

Sort by Date: 2021-11-22

Short Description: What’s New and Noteworthy in Home Improvement

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External Link: https://sixclicks.planetpropaganda.com/presentation/the-rundown-from-the-2021-national-hardware-show/title


Title: Know Your New DIYer

Slug: newswire/know-your-new-diyer

Sort by Date: 2021-11-12

Short Description: How Home Improvement Brands Can Reach “Exacting Engineers” and “Ambitious Artisans”

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To get a clearer picture of the emerging group of COVID-compelled home DIYers, we surveyed 400+ folks (A21–45) who increased their DIY activities in the past year. Along the way, we found that there were two distinct groups of DIYers who gravitate toward different types of projects and methods. We’ve named them Exacting Engineers and Ambitious Artisans.

If your brand is in the home improvement business, it’s important to understand the differences and similarities between these two groups, and how to appeal to each of them in your marketing, positioning, and product innovation.

Who They Are

Exacting Engineers relish finding problems and creating solutions that optimize the home’s function and organization. They are most excited by planning and problem solving, so they thrive during the research and preparation phases. While they tackle more challenging projects than the norm, they are also harder on themselves. They are less confident in the progress of their skills, and more hesitant to use skills they are not confident in. They are more likely than average to be college-educated white men.

Personality + Mindset

  • Methodical, tenacious, precise, prepared, logical

DIY Journey

  • Started young and learned the ropes: 55% did their first DIY project while living with a parent, and 60% were assisting someone on their first DIY project

Priority Product Categories

  • Power tools and accessories

  • Building materials and hardware

  • Storage and organization

  • Smart home devices

Top Channels

During all phases of preparation, they gravitate toward sources that are more research-based than inspiration or creative-oriented—think Youtube and Google, not Pinterest and Instagram. Online video is their top source for every phase.

HOW BRANDS CAN CONNECT WITH EXACTING ENGINEERS

These DIYers put a lot of research into their process and shopping list. Consider emphasizing online reviews and optimizing your place in search results. These shoppers also appreciate thorough instructions and other helpful tips that can help them stay efficient. They are also interested in life hacks and are receptive to hearing about other new tools and techniques that would help them streamline their efforts.

WHO THEY ARE

These are creative visionaries who enjoy finding inspiration and transforming their personal aesthetic into a home environment. They thrive during the ideation phase of a project. Since they tend to not be as detail-oriented or invested in the research phase, they are prone to experiencing frustration during their projects. But when they see their skills progress, it fills them with passion and inspiration. Their favorite projects include gardening / landscaping, painting, and decorative projects. This group is more multicultural and has more women represented than average.

Personality + Mindset

  • Creative, inspired, self-starter, impatient, passionate, emotionally-invested

DIY Journey

  • Often started DIY when they moved into a rental from a desire to update / improve features. They are more likely than average to work on projects alone.

Priority Product Categories

  • Wall paints & materials

  • Gardening and landscaping tools

  • Decorative items and fixtures

  • Adhesives

  • Live and artificial plants

Top Channels

  • During all phases of preparation, they gravitate toward sources that are more inspiring and creatively-oriented, like Instagram, Pinterest, and HGTV. Online video is their top source for every phase.

HOW BRANDS CAN CONNECT WITH AMBITIOUS ARTISANS

The Ambitious Artisans are fueled by their inspiration and vision. Consider engaging with the influencers and TV programming that these DIYers turn to for ideas. Present your materials in a way that helps DIYers envision how your materials can fit into their home and help them express their personality.

These DIYers are interested in making the maximum visual impact using the least amount of materials and effort, and are receptive to recommendations for products and techniques that will help them accomplish that. They tend to invest less of their overall attention into the planning and preparation phases of their projects, and therefore are more likely to show up at the store in need of guidance and product recommendations. Make their shopping process easier by offering clear communication at the point of sale about different ways that a product can be used.

For a deep dive into these two important shopper segments, take a gander at our full report—How Home Improvement Brands Can Connect with the New Generation of COVID-Compelled DIYers—right here.


Title: Building Bonds

Slug: newswire/building-bonds

Sort by Date: 2021-11-03

Short Description: Takeaways on Family DIY Projects for Home Improvement Brands

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Two people holding paint brushes

A key takeaway from our recent whitepaper, How Home Improvement Brands Can Connect with the New Generation of COVID-Compelled DIYers, is that many home improvers engaged in family projects, rather than solitary endeavors during COVID. This provides a number of opportunities for brands to tap into this more communal approach to DIYing, and form connections with an emerging generation of home improvers even before they set out on their own.

Of the 400+ U.S. DIYers (A21–45) we surveyed, 45% did their first project with a parent / guardian. This legacy prompted them to include their own children (and significant others) as they embarked in home improvement projects while stuck at home.

Beyond just sharing concrete skills, working on projects together gave parents opportunities to teach their children about work ethic, and show them how rewarding it can be to overcome obstacles.

“The DIY process is full of unexpected surprises and challenges to deal with, and we treat them as teaching opportunities.”
— Male, Age 34

Looking back on the finished product becomes a reminder of those shared experiences, filled with memories and emotional meaning.

“We were full of Hallmark moments. There was definitely blood, sweat and tears. It’s the project that has taken the most out of us, but given us the most reward. There were funny times. There were adventures."
— Female, Age 43

The Takeaway for DIY Brands

We encourage you to celebrate those who collaborate.

Consider showing projects in a way that prioritizes teamwork, such as giving parents ideas for roles that their kids might be able to play within the project. And instead of presenting DIYers as loners tinkering in the garage, show couples, families, or friends working together

For more insights and brand takeaways from our research, read and download our whitepaper How Home Improvement Brands Can Connect with the New Generation of COVID-Compelled DIYers here.


Title: MediaPost: Duluth Trading Promises to Keep ‘The Funk Far From Your Junk'

Slug: newswire/mediapost-duluth-trading-promises-to-keep-the-funk-far-from-your-junk

Sort by Date: 2021-11-03

Short Description: Our first full-color animated TV for Duluth Trading Company

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External Link: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/368141/duluth-trading-promises-to-keep-the-funk-far-from.html


Title: Our Newsletter Has Arrived

Slug: newswire/our-newsletter-has-arrived

Sort by Date: 2021-10-29

Short Description: Subscribe to our monthly missive covering workshop & weekend brands from Planet's POV

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External Link: https://newsletter.planetpropaganda.com/newsletter


Title: AdAge: Don't Be Seduced By the Siren Song of Retailer Ad Platforms

Slug: newswire/ad-age-don-t-be-seduced-by-the-siren-song-of-retailer-ad-platforms

Sort by Date: 2021-10-20

Short Description: Our CEO speaks out about the pitfalls of short-termism and the value of building a differentiated brand

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Author: Dana Lytle

Author Title: Founder & CEO

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Walgreens App

Published on AdAge.com, October, 20, 2021:

Last week, Lowe’s Home Improvement announced that it was joining the crowded list of retailers offering an advertising platform to brand marketers. Amazon may boast the most successful of these (arguably predatory) services, but Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Kroger, Best Buy, and Home Depot are among the many players who have taken this route.

Almost no consumer brand category is safe.

This trend should worry any consumer brand that hopes to make a dent at retail, online or in-store. With 85% of brands planning to move more marketing dollars to retail networks, it is time to reconsider what’s at stake.

Read the full article on AdAge, or download a PDF here.


Title: I Bought a Disc Golf Basket

Slug: newswire/i-bought-a-disc-golf-basket

Sort by Date: 2021-10-19

Short Description: Favorite Weekend Splurges

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Author: Holly Lang

Author Title: Strategist

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Disc Golf

Two things about me are quite well-known: I am a textbook introvert, and I am outrageously clumsy (I dare you to search my closet for one shirt that hasn’t earned itself a coffee stain).

It naturally follows that my Sunday afternoon porch reading would be interrupted by some strangers (new neighbors) yelling out to me to join them for frisbee. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, but I say yes to life. And let me tell you, nothing makes a better first impression than forcing someone to run sprints because you somehow have the power of making a frisbee operate more like a boomerang.

While my first attempt was an extravagant spectacle, I also discovered some magic that day: following the animal instinct to chase a small flying object has a great ability to quiet my overactive mind. It also forced me out of my shell, as I learned that I enjoyed tossing that chunk of plastic even more than I enjoyed being reclusive. My new neighbors could not keep up with my appetite for it.

So I bought a disc golf practice basket.

The simple ownership of this basket seems to be a calling card for my kin. Nearly any time I set it up in a nearby park, a specific breed of forest-dwelling bearded fella who looks like he should be busy kicking a hacky sack materializes out of thin air. It has scored me phone numbers, and led to many summer afternoons romping through the woods chasing down rogue discs.

As it relates to my clumsiness, owning this disc golf basket has reinforced an important lesson: most conditions of my life are within my power to change. Sure, it applies to improving my dexterity. Just put in the reps, and you will improve. The recipe can truly be that simple for so many things: your fitness, your mental health, your artistic skills, and even making friends.

It was because of new friends that I discovered the great escape of disc golf. And now it is because of disc golf that I have numerous more new friends, and as a side-benefit, even the ability to throw on-par.


Title: When DIY Meets “Heal Thyself”

Slug: newswire/when-diy-meets-heal-thyself

Sort by Date: 2021-10-18

Short Description: During COVID, DIYers saw the power of hands-on to improve general well-being

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”Connecting with tools to create things offers us a compensation that no electronics can bring... Seeing the results of our labor creates something that feels solid in a world of impermanence.”

— Master woodworker Gary Rogowski
(Author of Handmade: Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction)

When DIY Meets “Heal Thyself”

While researching our recent whitepaper, How Home Improvement Brands Can Connect with the New Generation of COVID-Compelled DIYers, we were surprised things got so deep so fast. Sure, there were practical reasons they took on new projects, but many of them quickly realized that there were deeper rewards to their hands-on endeavors.

Creativity and working with one’s hands have long been known to reduce anxiety, boost self-esteem, calm mood disturbances, and boost a person’s overall feeling of life quality, as backed by numerous studies including one from early 2020 by BMC Public Health.

During the pandemic, a period marked by anxiety and uncertainty, the mental health benefits of DIY could not have come at a better time. One cause of the mental health boost is that the problem-solving and focus required during a DIY project encourages a state of mental flow—a state shown to increase happiness, and boost emotional regulation, creativity, and internal motivation and reward.

Speaking with these COVID-compelled DIYers, we found that they derived a number of these much-needed benefits from diving deep into their projects:

DIY Gave them Purpose

“Our screen time went through the roof. We tried to figure out a good balance of doing other things outside of that to be productive... Being home 24/7 gave us that push to work on the house.”
— Female, Age 36

DIY Brought Them Calm

“For me, it’s more that I want to do something that I’m pleased with and can walk into and be calm and happy. It doesn’t necessarily [need to] be perfect.“
— Male, Age 42

DIY Gave Them Confidence

“The pandemic brought out some real hidden talent in me, and now if there’s anything I think I could do myself, I would not pay someone to do it.”
— Male, Age 29

DIY Brought Them Together

“We were full of Hallmark moments. There was definitely blood, sweat and tears. It’s the project that has taken the most out of us, but given us the most reward. There were funny times. There were adventures."
— Female, Age 43

DIY Built Memories

“Seeing [the final product] makes me feel great as a mom because it alway reminds me of how we did this together. There’s a part of us in it.”
— Female, Age 43

…..

The Takeaway for DIY Brands

To make the most of the goodwill for DIY that these folks have developed over the past nineteen months, home improvement brands should remind folks of their DIY high points. These new DIYers will now look back on their projects—and by association, the products they used—as bright spots in a dark era, so use messaging and marketing that plays on this sense of near-term nostalgia.

For more insights and brand takeaways from our research, read and download our whitepaper "How Home Improvement Brands Can Connect with the New Generation of COVID-Compelled DIYers" here.


Title: Planet Whitepaper

Slug: newswire/planet-whitepaper

Sort by Date: 2021-10-11

Short Description: How Home Improvement Brands Can Connect with the New Generation of COVID-Compelled DIYers

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DIY

Last March, our previously-packed calendars were wiped clean of potlucks, pro sports, and spring break getaways. To fill the void, many folks turned to home improvement projects, trading in their concert tickets for cans of paint, and dinner reservations for drill bits.

In fact, 77% of people in 2020 took on at least one home improvement project—everything from light gardening to full-scale remodels—up from 68% in 2019.

For DIY brands—retailers / hardware and CPG manufacturers—it is imperative to understand what to expect from consumers as things slowly return to normal. While the DIY surge may have been sparked by a specific, temporary historical event, we may be witnessing the emergence of a new generation of DIY enthusiasts who plan to continue their DIYing—if their newfound passion is properly nurtured.

This summer, we surveyed 400+ of these newly-energized DIYers and then spoke to a subset of them to understand their behaviors, motivations, and future plans. In our new original research report, we pull back the curtain on some surprising learnings about the COVID-compelled home DIYer, including:

  • Their shift away from projects spurred by necessity or cost-savings

  • The personality types of the DIYer, and how they shape their approach, choice of projects, category opportunities, and future intentions

  • The pace of growth in skills and project complexity that keeps DIYers motivated (and buying!)

  • The role DIY plays in relationship development and self-expression

  • The factors that could reverse this DIY boom if brands don’t adapt post-COVID

To discover a lot of good news for brands in this sector, some challenges that lie ahead, and strategies you can employ today that will help your brand continue to grow for years to come, view and download our report here.


Title: Little Black Book: High Five USA

Slug: newswire/little-black-book-high-five-usa

Sort by Date: 2021-09-28

Short Description: Group Creative Director Teddy Brown shares 5 powerful recent projects

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External Link: https://www.lbbonline.com/news/high-five-usa-11?mc_cid=8fc47bc119&mc_eid=c46a7cc10f


Title: Maxwellcome

Slug: newswire/maxwellcome

Sort by Date: 2021-09-27

Short Description: Announcing an Art Director Addition

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Max Franklin

Max Franklin, Detroiter-by-birth and current Chicago resident, has joined our Creative team as a senior art director. He recently spent time at Dentsu’s Chicago office, working on brands like Famous Footwear, the US Open, Marriott, Brita, and a bevy of beloved KraftHeinz brands like Kool-Aid, Planters, Oscar Mayer, and Lunchables. His good nature and great ideas have made it easy to welcome Max to our creative crew.

As with all Planeteers, Max’s non-9-to-5 endeavors fuel what he does on-the-clock for our weekend and workshop clients. To wit:

If you won $500 but you had to spend it on one of your hobbies, what would you buy?

I’d probably get some new hockey equipment. Mine is so old I can’t wash the smell out.

How about $10,000?

I’d put it towards building an art studio/woodshop. I think I might need to take out a loan to finish it though.

What’s your favorite productive hobby?

It varies from time to time. Right now, I’d say restoring old furniture. I just restored an old drafting table that was sitting in someone’s barn for 30 years.

What’s your favorite non-productive hobby?

Wondering what animals I could beat in a wrestling match… so far the list is pretty short.

What’s your favorite sport to play?

Hockey and golf

What game did you play most during the pandemic?

Rocket League


Title: Why Now is the Time to Solidify Your Restaurant Branding

Slug: newswire/why-now-is-the-time-to-solidify-your-restaurant-branding

Sort by Date: 2021-09-21

Short Description: We shared some thoughts with QSR Magazine.

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External Link: https://www.qsrmagazine.com/outside-insights/why-now-time-solidify-your-restaurant-branding


Title: J-B Weld's 'Alter Egos' Encourage DIY Repair Projects

Slug: newswire/j-b-welds-alter-egos-encourage-diy-repair-projects

Sort by Date: 2021-09-16

Short Description: Featuring our first campaign work for the World's Strongest Bond

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External Link: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/366495/j-b-welds-alter-egos-encourage-diy-repair-proje.html


Title: The Rundown From Outdoor Retailer 2021

Slug: newswire/the-rundown-from-outdoor-retailer-2021

Sort by Date: 2021-09-16

Short Description: What’s New and Noteworthy in Outdoor Rec

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Last month, Planet’s intrepid Tommy Cottam braved the convention floor at this year’s Outdoor Retailer convention. Since the show was nixed in 2020, this was the first time many folks in the industry had a chance to reunite and share their experiences of a year that was one of the most successful ever for the COVID-friendly Outdoor Recreation sector.

Though it’s hard to aptly summarize three days of panels, happy hours, and general convention floor hobnobbing, we’ve collected some interesting intel on the outdoor business and what’s waiting around the next bend. Whether you were on-site in Denver, or skipped this year’s show, head over to our streamlined report: 6 Clicks on What’s New and Noteworthy in Outdoor Rec. You’ll almost certainly learn a little something.


Title: Jayson a Dream

Slug: newswire/jayson-a-dream

Sort by Date: 2021-09-16

Short Description: The new guy is slinging content, taking names

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The multi-talented Jayson Moyer has joined our team as Senior Content Producer / Director. Though he most recently worked in-house at Vortex Optics and Discover Media Works, before that he hopped around the world as a commercial director for brands like Nike, Ford, Chevy, McDonald’s, and Hasbro. Jayson’s passport is teeming with stints in Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, England, and France, plus he’s called stateside locales like LA, Nashville, and Chicago home. We’re awfully glad this Baraboo boy has returned to our backyard.

As is typically the case with Planeteers, Jayson spends his off-hours on a range of recreational pursuits. A sampling:

What’s your favorite active hobby?

Adventure Cycling, the kids like to call it gravel cycling, I can go anywhere pretty much on my bike.

What’s a skill or hobby you picked up as an adult?

Fly fishing

What’s a DIY skill you learned during COVID?

Analog music production and recording

What DIY skill do you admire most that you don’t have?

The ability to tell what certain plants are and if I can eat them.

What’s your favorite sport to watch?

Westminster Kennel Club


Title: Lytle's List of Long-standing Partnership Lore

Slug: newswire/lytle-s-list-of-long-standing-partnership-lore

Sort by Date: 2021-08-24

Short Description: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Partners

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Author: Dana Lytle

Author Title: Founder / CEO / ECD

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As part of AdAge’s Small Agency Conference, I recently had an invigorating discussion with longtime client and friend Ricker Schlect from Duluth Trading Company.

Since I know only about 80% of you tuned in live, I want to share my answer to the question: “What are some lessons for others who want to build a long-lasting agency relationship?”

Strong partnerships and long-lasting relationships are the stuff that makes Planet tick, and I’m always eager to help others pursue that path as well.

Without further ado…

Lytle’s List of Long-standing Partnership Lore

Work with good people that you give a shit about.

I truly care about Ricker, Steve and their family. And I personally want the best for the business, the brand and their family.

Don’t get sucked into the daily clicks and conversions trap.

Sure they are mandatory in the short-term culture we live in now. But you also need to generate conversations that truly connect with your core. It takes a visionary strategy combined with the right message to truly build a legacy. Duluth has done that IMHO.

Stay entrepreneurial!

Both sides need that fire to keep things interesting after a long relationship. Another brand that we work with likes to describe themselves as a 50-year-old startup. I LOVE THAT! Duluth has that same spirit in them even after all of this growth.

Be good with change. When the company goes from $60M – $700M there is going to be a lot of it.

Swing for the fences every now and again.

And push each other not to forget that.

Believe in disruptive work.

Just don’t bet the farm on it.

Make your partners tacos (or bratwurst, or other delectable grilled meat) every once in a while.

We can all get caught up in our own worth and trying to push the business (which is a given) but remember there is a human side, too.


Title: Planet Propaganda Hires Veteran Creative Technology Team of Paul Lackner and Baird Buckingham

Slug: newswire/planet-propaganda-hires-veteran-creative-technology-team-of-paul-lackner-and-baird-buckingham

Sort by Date: 2021-08-02

Short Description: Former LacknerBuckingham Owners Will Lead New Full-Scale Digital Department

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Planet Propaganda has hired industry veterans Paul Lackner and Baird Buckingham as Digital Creative Director and Senior Creative Technologist, respectively. The pair have worked together for 12 years, and were founders and principals of boutique digital design studio, LacknerBuckingham, from 2010 to 2018.

While Planet Propaganda has a decades-long history in digital design and development, the bulk of our work was in web design. Lackner and Buckingham bring a broader range of expertise to the agency, from app development to ecommerce strategy/design/development to AI/machine learning. These new capabilities will let Planet support current clients in more areas of their business—and engage new clients looking to stay ahead in digital.

Lackner has been an illustrator/designer/art director/digital director/creative director with the last 25+ years focused on digital storytelling. After working at the likes of Campell-LaCoste, HBG New Media, Pike & Co. Design, Hellman Associates, and Moomey Ward, he co-founded LacknerBuckingham in 2010 with the goal of producing fully bespoke digital experiences for clients worldwide. His work has been recognized by National AdFed, Regional AdFed, Communication Arts, German Art Directors Club, AWWWARDS, German Web Awards, CSS Light, and New York Society of Illustrators.

Buckingham is a full-stack developer and lead software engineer—and a creative technologist at his core. For the past 12 years, he has specialized in blending creativity and technology to create innovative digital experiences. Buckingham is credited with establishing the framework for the first platform for independent publishers on the iPad. He also coded the first album-as-an-experience for the iPad for Labrador Records (Sweden).

As a team, Lackner and Buckingham have worked across CPG brands Oscar Mayer and Miller Brewing; entertainment brands Kinfolk Magazine, So It Goes Magazine, and Labrador Records; and outdoor brands Rapala fishing, Tommy Armour Golf, Norönna Sport, Cabela’s, and Outside Magazine, among others.

“Coming to Planet is such an amazingly great fit, since we share the same values for design, function and storytelling. We also share the same passion for ambitious ‘weekend’ brands, and because our lifestyle revolves around our partners’ products, our enthusiasm translates into genuine digital experiences across any touchpoint,” said Lackner. “With the incredible talent Planet already has, we are going to build some great things together.”

“I’ve known Paul and Baird for many years, and was always drawn to the similarities between their approach to creative tech and Planet’s craft-focused DNA,” said Dana Lytle, Partner/CEO/ECD. “They’ve done an incredible amount of innovative work from their studio in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, and their focus on outdoor lifestyle, recreation, and entertainment categories is perfectly aligned with Planet’s tradition of building legacies for weekend and workshop brands.”


Title: Adair-ing Debut

Slug: newswire/adair-ing-debut

Sort by Date: 2021-08-24

Short Description: An Account-Managing Hoosier in the (Virtual) House

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We’re elated to introduce Adair Dorsett, our new Senior Account Exec. She’s a lifelong Hoosier, but also, wisely, a Packer fan.

Before landing on Planet Propaganda, Adair worked at Indy’s Young and Laramore, most recently as a Senior Account Manager, on clients including Brizo, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis, ClusterTruck, Merrell, Gainbridge, and Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance.

Like all Planeteers, Adair’s passionate about her pastime pursuits, so here’s some off-the-clock info on her:

What’s a skill or hobby from childhood you still keep up with (and how)?

Music. That’s since transitioned from playing the drums in gradeschool to songwriting and singing and releasing an original album senior year of college. I’m terrible at reading music, but still determined to one of these days learn more than a few piano and guitar chords.

What’s a hobby you picked up as an adult?

Beach reading (admittedly scandalous romance novels…the "beach kind").

What’s a DIY skill you learned during COVID?

Landscaping, although I can’t take all of the credit. It took a village to lay that weed barrier, plant those hostas, boxwoods, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons, and then lay that mulch.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Tickets (for concerts and air travel).

What’s your favorite sport to play?

Tennis. It’s been a while, but if my memory serves me correctly, I think I went 17-0 in the regular season of my freshman year (though I don’t have anything to technically back up that brag). I also attended a two-week tennis camp at Notre Dame back in the day. It was awesome, but the blisters were not.


Title: The Truth Is Out In There

Slug: newswire/the-truth-is-in-there

Sort by Date: 2021-08-17

Short Description: Building On A Brand’s Inherent Truth

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Every successful brand is built on an Inherent Truth – something that’s both real to the company and relevant to buyers. It needs to be rare, too, or it won’t stand out among the competition.

Every brand marketer’s gone through it. The Brand Discovery Process. It’s an undertaking that goes by many names:

The “What is it we stand for again?” Process

The “Let’s see what the new guy comes up with” Process

The “Our agency says they need eight months to divine our essence before we can start on the campaign that airs in eight weeks” Process

The “Dear God, Never Again” Process

We’ve all been there. Intentions are good. The need is real. All hands are held and all kumba’s are ya’d. But still. Somewhere along the line things can go astray. Although the initial steps of the process feel productive (the stakeholder interviews, the customer surveys, and so on), the end results can feel uninspired…or even worse, random. As in: oh, I see, we’re repositioning ourselves as the sassy and carefree brand of compound miter saws.

In our experience, the problems are often due to a lack of consensus: between founder and CMO, between marketing and sales, between old guard and new. The old guard might be looking to get back to some earlier form of the brand. Meanwhile the new guard wants something zippy to appeal to Generation du jour. With no common ground in sight, recommendations get muddy. Going all-in on one direction would only satisfy some of the decision makers, while frankenbranding a compromise would satisfy none. Instead of a new platform for the brand, all that comes of the process is a fresh coat of paint. New deodorant over old.

Once the “final reveal” is revealed (and the tentative golf clap subsides), the overstuffed presentation gets thrown on a server where it’s archived and then forgotten until someone decides to exhume it as part of the next brand discovery process. Old brand decks are typically reviewed with a wrinkling of noses: all those layers of deodorant don’t age well.

But that brand truth is still there – somewhere inside the tangle, waiting to be rediscovered. Finding it isn’t easy; it takes hard work. But the journey doesn’t have to be as convoluted as past experience might suggest.

How Two Rights Make a Right

So where’s the rub, between the old guard and the new? As it turns out, more often than not, they’re both right.

The first place we look when we begin evolving a brand is to the past. If it’s survived more than a few years it’s doing (or at least at some point, it did) something right. There’s a reason a company was started. There was a vision, whether articulated or not, that buyers came to believe in. Those principles are easily forgotten over the years, crowded out by more short-sighted urgencies. “Let’s get back to who we were,” says the old guard. It’s real.

The new guard is looking forward. They know brands need to be reinvigorated for the modern consumer. Any brand that fails to continually replenish the customer pipeline isn’t long for this world. “Let’s move to where we need to be,” says the new guard. Let’s be relevant.

Yup. Both are correct.

The Inherent Truth: Real, Relevant and Rare

Every successful brand is built on an Inherent Truth – something that’s both real to the company and relevant to buyers. It needs to be rare, too, or it won’t stand out among the competition. In our Simplify >< Amplify process, it’s a brand’s Inherent Truth that serves as the critical lynchpin between the two halves.

When we started working with Jersey Mike’s Subs, we began by helping them uncover their Inherent Truth: A Sub Above. It’s Real in that it reflects the quality of their product as well as their commitment to making a difference through their philanthropic efforts. It’s Relevant to (especially) Millennials and Gen Z because they’re actively seeking better meal options. And finally, it’s Rare because it positions Jersey Mike’s at the previously unoccupied top of sub mountain. Jersey Mike’s whole-heartedly embraced A Sub Above and used it as a measuring stick for all aspects of their business, from how they treat customers, employees, and community, to which tomatoes are worthy ingredients for A Sub Above. Following the rollout, they were named America’s Fastest Growing Restaurant Chain for five consecutive years.

A Sub Above isn’t something we concocted for our client. It’s not an aftermarket bolt-on. Rather, A Sub Above is who they’ve always been. Our job was to help them capture it and then convey it to the world as clearly and concisely as possible.

Every brand has an Inherent Truth. Some of them get dumped or desecrated over the years. Or more commonly, they were just never documented in a memorable, easily articulated (and therefore scaleable) way.

But that brand truth is still there – somewhere inside the tangle, waiting to be rediscovered. Finding it isn’t easy; it takes hard work. But the journey doesn’t have to be as convoluted as past experience might suggest. To that end, an objective and sure-handed outsider can go a long way to keeping the route to discovery on-track.

Again and again, we’ve seen that the strongest brands are the result of a simple, streamlined discovery process. Makes sense – the strongest brands are simple and streamlined themselves. No loose ends, no fine print, no hedging of bets. Just a crystal clear statement of purpose, position and point of view. “A Sub Above?” There’s no wiggle room: everything they do needs to be top-notch. That’s the holy grail, right? A clear and compelling brand that sets the bar? Indeed. Preferably without all the BS some folks try dragging you through to get there.

We’ve seen it work, again and again: Simplify your brand. Find your Inherent Truth. And then Amplify it in a way that can’t be ignored. A stake in the ground, a rallying cry, call it what you will. Brands and businesses can be entirely transformed by just a few short words. In the end, and largely without exception, the strongest brands are built on a singular inherent truth. The quicker and more clearly yours is identified, the sooner your business can start reaping the rewards.


Title: From Me Time to We Time

Slug: newswire/from-me-time-to-we-time

Sort by Date: 2021-07-29

Short Description: How the Dating Boom Can Boost Your Bottom Line

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Author: Jeremy Cesarec

Author Title: Communications Director

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One might imagine that a highly contagious deadly virus put a hamper on the dating scene, and one would be right. Through early 2021, 40% of Tinder users under 30 hadn’t gone on an in-person date during COVID. Remember, that’s A) people who are actively on Tinder, and B) young folks who aren’t super high-risk for serious complications.

For those who continued dating, habits changed a lot. With most indoor activities, private or public, out of the question, they moved to virtual dates or cautious outdoor meetups.

Of course, that had a huge impact on businesses that rely on a dating clientele—bars, restaurants, or movie theaters. Luckily for those that survived the worst of the pandemic, nightlife seems to be bouncing back in Roaring Twenties fashion. (Shame on me for thinking I could make an anniversary dinner reservation only five days ahead.)

But other brand categories have an opportunity to reap rewards, too. There’s a Brood X-sized group of singles waiting to re-emerge and descend on the dating scene, and they’ve taken up new hobbies and habits. Whether you’re peddling paddle boards, pasta rollers, or even PlayStation, now’s the time to put yourself out there to capture those stimmy dollars America’s singles have been socking away for the post-vaxx summer.

CAN RECREATIONAL BRANDS BE A CATALYST FOR LOVE CONNECTIONS?

As an agency that focuses on “weekend” brands—things like outdoor rec, and hobby and workshop supplies—we were curious to explore a few questions related to daters and their “down time” pursuits:

Will the many singles who’ve taken up new interests and hobbies during the pandemic want to explore those pastimes on dates?

Will singles prioritize potential partners who share their new interests?

And if so, how can brands who cater to those pastimes make hay while the sun continues to shine?

What we heard from singles across the country suggests that many of them have new priorities and pursuits, which will affect who and how they’ll date. While not everyone became a master chef or Iditarod champ, many singles, especially those who lived alone, had to find novel ways to pass the time, and after picking up new hobbies, interests, and skills, they’re eager to find sympatico partners.

“[I’ve been doing] LOTS of hiking. Exploring parks, camping, all those things became (even more) prominent in my life and it'll be important to me that a future partner wants to enjoy some of those things with me.” — Kasey, Female, Idaho

“During COVID I started getting much more experimental with my cooking, and that's a fun thing to do with a partner because you're simultaneously sharing a project, being a little adventurous, and hopefully discovering something new that you like together. I also increased my video game time, and that can be a fun activity to share because it's ready-made entertainment and it can provoke conversation without ‘requiring’ involved conversation in order to enjoy yourself.” — Rachel, Female, Wisconsin

We spoke to Erika Kaplan, a professional matchmaker, who’s picked up similar vibes among her clients, “We’ve definitely noticed that COVID allowed people to date themselves—and come to the table as more dynamic people (and in turn, daters) as they re-enter the dating world,” she said.

The idea of doing something other than just sitting at a cafe table trying to make small talk is quite appealing. FODA (Fear of Dating Again) is a real thing for lots of out-of-practice singles, and doing an activity together is a way to avoid prolonged periods of awkward eye-contact.

“[I] forgot how to interact with humans, everyone's gonna be super awkward” — Simon, Male, New York

Kaplan, the matchmaker, has seen a post-COVID evolution toward experiential dates as well. “We definitely are seeing a shift toward more activity-centered dates—even just walks or outdoor picnics,” she said. “Regardless, we’re seeing a shift away from the dark, crowded wine bar date, and probably for the better.”

THE UPSHOT FOR WEEKEND BRANDS

All this is good news for companies and brands—both goods and services—that facilitate these newfound hobbies and endeavors. Encouraging shared activities among re-emerging daters is both a chance to solidify these habits (so they don’t go the way of ZOOM happy hours) and build a connection between nascent couples that they can turn into a shared lifetime pursuit.

A few approaches for your brand to employ:

Build Connections Through Newfound Passions

The zeal of the converted is real. For these new hobbyists, money can flow freely as they gear up from scratch, and they are primed to influence others, too. Help position your brand as a way to make new co-adventures better, by showing that when couples play together, they stay together. In your creative assets, you can highlight lots of couples enjoying your product or service (and per the next point, be even more pointed when you’re talking directly to singles).

Target Accordingly

Use audience targeting (programmatic/paid social) to identify actively dating singles who partake in your pastime. Create hyper-targeted mini campaigns that illustrate how your brand can help avoid some of those FODA jitters. Whether you take a bold approach—juxtaposing the awkwardness of first dates at an intimate wine bar—or just subtly show the advantages of an activity-based first date—your brand will look like sweet relief to anxious re-emerging daters.

Consider the Two-fer

You can broaden beyond just new daters into a broader “couples activity” angle by encouraging multi-buys. Create bundle promos that incentivize both parties to invest in new gear or workshops (online or in person) to hone their skills. There’s also value in targeting your new COVID-era buyers with messages that underscore how fun it is to use your product with a partner (and even include a promo code to help their new significant other take the leap).

…..

Just like the rest of us, brands are facing a fresh start and renewed optimism right now. Re-emerging daters represent a unique opportunity for recreational brands that can position themselves as the key to the perfect bonding experience. As all those singles who explored new hobbies this past year start to couple-up, make sure you hold on to a little piece of their wallet heart.


Title: I Bought a High-End Cooler

Slug: newswire/i-bought-a-high-end-cooler

Sort by Date: 2021-07-06

Short Description: Favorite Weekend Splurges

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Author: Laura Gang

Author Title: Designer

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When it comes to pastimes, we’re a passionate bunch. We regularly write about the brands and products that help Planeteers level-up our pursuits.

I love camping. My personal philosophy is that every summer must have a few tent & campfire & hiking excursions or it’ll have been a bust.This fascination began with trips to state parks with friends during high school & college. To make the trips more economical (and save more money for snacks) the gear we brought was crowd-sourced. We’d pack up a couple of cars with tents, sleeping bags, cards, pie irons, lawn chairs, way more food than necessary, and a couple of dingy coolers someone inevitably dug out from a shadowy corner in the basement or garage, and off we’d go.

These coolers, though, were always a major pain. In the heat of summer, every few hours they’d need to be topped off with ice, or risk melty chocolate bobbing in a lukewarm bath with hot dogs, Spotted Cow, & shredded cheese. Every trip inevitably ended with the dump & drain ritual.

After college the camping continued. The groups would change, but the desire to cook in the woods remained the same. I’ve been slowly amassing my own gear, (and racking up decent REI member rewards, unfortunately for my bank account). But my rec splurges always seemed to lack any sort of cooling equipment.

Until I got a high-end cooler.

At first it seemed excessive: 3 inches of PermaFrost insulation & a $300 price tag to transport glorified breakfast burrito ingredients?

But now I’m in love.

No more frequent ice refills. No more soggy. I’ve taken it everywhere. Day-drinking and transporting chilled wine & charcuterie? Check. Weekend camping at a local park? Check. Week-long trip at a site along the Mississippi? That too. Whether camping near or far, the satisfaction of cracking the lid post a day of hiking, and discovering the contents still in their frosty state, never gets old. It’s a relief to finally put those annoying dump & drain disasters behind me.

I now have a vast canvas for my burgeoning sticker collection

Plus, fully-embracing the cliche for all it is, I now have a vast canvas for my burgeoning sticker collection. Perhaps the true reason for the splurge. Although I still fully intend to take it on the Great Smokies hiking trip I’m working up to.

Someday.


Title: How Belligerent Ignorance and Epic Procrastination Led Me to a Dream Job I Didn't Know Existed

Slug: newswire/how-belligerent-ignorance-and-epic-procrastination-led-me-to-a-dream-job-i-didn-t-know-existed

Sort by Date: 2021-05-26

Short Description: Copywriter Anna White shares her "falling up" origin story.

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External Link: https://musebycl.io/failing/how-belligerent-ignorance-and-epic-procrastination-led-me-dream-job-i-didnt-know-existed


Title: Private Parts Get Smacked Around in Duluth Trading Undie Ads

Slug: newswire/private-parts-get-smacked-around-in-duluth-trading-undie-ads

Sort by Date: 2021-05-29

Short Description: In our new spot for Duluth, animated torture devices demonstrate the pain of bad briefs.

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External Link: https://adage.com/creativity/work/private-parts-get-smacked-around-duluth-trading-undie-ads/2338916


Title: Planning for the Best: Michelin Morals with Cheyenne Langkamp

Slug: newswire/planning-for-the-best-michelin-morals-with-cheyenne-langkamp

Sort by Date: 2021-06-09

Short Description: Our Senior Brand Strategist shares some wisdom.

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External Link: https://www.lbbonline.com/news/planning-for-the-best-michelin-morals-with-cheyenne-langkamp


Title: How Thinking like a Direct-to-consumer Brand Can Improve Customer Relationships

Slug: newswire/adweek-D2C

Sort by Date: 2018-06-07

Short Description: Our Strategy Director shares his thoughts with Adweek.

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External Link: https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/how-thinking-like-a-d-to-c-brand-can-improve-consumer-relationships/


Title: Desk of Brian

Slug: newswire/brian-hucek-workspace-muse-by-clio

Sort by Date: 2018-08-08

Short Description: The story of Planet Creative Director Brian's Hucek's workspace, as told to Muse by Clio.

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External Link: https://musebycl.io/workspace/whats-brian-huceks-desk-planet-propaganda


Title: Planet Propaganda Celebrates Highly Capable Women for Duluth Trading Co.

Slug: newswire/duluth-trading-co-highly-capable-women-campaign

Sort by Date: 2018-09-19

Short Description: Our latest work for Duluth Trading Co. is featured on Agency Spy.

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External Link: http://www.adweek.com/agencyspy/planet-propaganda-celebrates-highly-capable-women-for-duluth-trading-co/148966


Title: Jersey Mike’s Keeps It Honest in New Campaign

Slug: newswire/jersey-mikes-keeps-it-honest-in-new-campaign-QSR-Magazine

Sort by Date: 2018-11-01

Short Description: QSR Magazine covers our latest campaign for Jersey Mike's Subs.

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External Link: http://www.qsrmagazine.com/sandwiches/jersey-mikes-keeps-it-honest-new-campaign


Title: Traditional CPG Brands Must Adapt to Survive

Slug: newswire/traditional-cpg-brands-must-adapt-to-survive-campaign-US

Sort by Date: 2019-06-07

Short Description: In a piece for Campaign US, our Strategy Director offers advice for legacy brands that are feeling the heat from digital natives and private labels.

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External Link: https://www.campaignlive.com/article/threats-lurking-around-every-corner-traditional-cpg-brands-adapt-survive/1582567


Title: Crafting an Elevated New Hard Seltzer Brand

Slug: newswire/stray-forth-crafting-an-elevated-new-hard-seltzer-brand

Sort by Date: 2019-08-31

Short Description: We're pleased as spiked punch to announce the launch of Stray Forth Craft Hard Seltzer with our partners at Ale Asylum.

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External Link: https://www.commarts.com/exhibit/stray-forth-packaging


Title: Why I Sold My Soul to Brands

Slug: newswire/why-i-sold-my-soul-to-brands-Holly-Lang

Sort by Date: 2019-10-01

Short Description: Planet Strategist Holly Lang reflects on her lifelong relationship to brands.

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External Link: http://musebycl.io/obsessed/why-i-sold-my-soul-brands


Title: What HBO’s “Succession” Can Teach Us About Advertising

Slug: newswire/what-hbos-succession-can-teach-us-about-advertising

Sort by Date: 2019-10-15

Short Description: Our Strategy Director shares some branding and advertising lessons learned and reaffirmed by his "Succession" obsession.

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External Link: https://adage.com/article/opinion/what-hbos-succession-can-teach-us-about-advertising/2206226


Title: Real-life Tough Guys Star in These Spots for Alaskan Hardgear

Slug: newswire/planet-propaganda-alaskan-hardgear-adage

Sort by Date: 2019-12-19

Short Description: AdAge Creativity highlights our latest work for Alaskan Hardgear.

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External Link: https://adage.com/creativity/work/alaskan-hardgear-sunshine/2217836


Title: 5 of the Most Impactful Advertisers of 2019

Slug: newswire/5-of-the-most-impactful-advertisers-of-2019

Sort by Date: 2019-12-24

Short Description: Forbes and YouGov/BrandIndex included our work for Duluth Trading Co. in their list of the 5 Most Impactful Advertisers for 2019.

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External Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brandindex/2019/12/18/5-of-the-most-impactful-advertisers-of-2019/#7135c1b22e67


Title: Duluth Trading Company Celebrates ‘Wayforging’ Real-life Women in This Gritty Fashion Ad

Slug: newswire/duluth-trading-company-celebrates-wayforging-real-life-women-adage

Sort by Date: 2020-04-30

Short Description: Our new campaign for Duluth Trading Company, celebrating wayforging women, featured on AdAge Creativity.

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External Link: https://adage.com/creativity/work/duluth-trading-co-wayforgers/2251421


Title: Outrider Foundation’s #voteitoverwith Campaign Motivates and Educates Young Wisconsinites

Slug: newswire/outrider-2020-voter-campaign

Sort by Date: 2020-10-09

Short Description: Little Black Book touts our partnership with the Outrider Foundation to get young voters to cast a ballot this fall.

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External Link: https://www.lbbonline.com/news/outrider-foundation-urges-youth-to-make-2021-better-than-2020-with-clever-voting-initiative


Title: Duluth Trading Highlights New Functional Clothing Line for the Most Basic of Needs

Slug: newswire/duluth-trading-company-40-grit-branding-launch

Sort by Date: 2020-10-29

Short Description: Little Black Book covers our latest project with Duluth Trading Company: the launch of 40 Grit.

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External Link: https://www.lbbonline.com/news/duluth-trading-highlights-new-functional-clothing-line-for-the-most-basic-of-needs


Title: Adhesives Brand J-B Weld Names Planet Propaganda as Agency of Record

Slug: newswire/jbweld_planet_propaganda_advertising_agency

Sort by Date: 2020-11-19

Short Description: We're over-the-moon that the good folks at J-B Weld recently chose Planet as their new strategic and creative partner.

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External Link: https://www.adweek.com/agencyspy/epoxy-brand-j-b-weld-famous-for-nick-offerman-campaign-names-planet-propaganda-as-aor/


Title: Duluth Holiday Campaign Reimagines Mrs. Claus

Slug: newswire/duluth-holiday-campaign-reimagines-mrs-claus

Sort by Date: 2020-11-30

Short Description: MediaPost tells the tale of our new campaign for Duluth Trading Company, featuring the original wayforging woman, Mrs. Claus.

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External Link: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/357776/duluth-holiday-campaign-reimagines-mrs-claus.html


Title: A Delicious Holiday Schtick

Slug: newswire/agency-holiday-gift-blitzenschticks-sausage

Sort by Date: 2016-12-10

Short Description: With help from our friends at Underground Butcher, we've created a merrily meaty holiday gift that gives back to our Willy Street community.

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We wanted to do something different to celebrate the holidays this year so we reached out to Underground Butcher with a merrily meaty idea.

Through this Willy Street collaboration, Underground Butcher and Planet Propaganda present a limited edition holiday treat: BlitzenSchticks. Hand-crafted and sold at Underground Butcher, BlitzenSchticks are seasonally-seasoned polish pork sticks created to celebrate the holidays and benefit Madison’s Luke House.

Starting today, BlitzenSchticks are available for purchase just a few blocks from Planet at Underground Butcher (811 Williamson Street). Proceeds from every package sold will benefit the Luke House community meal program, which brings together people of all races, religions, and social spheres to share a table, some time, and a meal. That’s what we call a good schtick!

While Underground Butcher handled the literal sausage-making, the Planet team spent our time grinding out some branding, packaging, posters, and BlitzenSchticks.com.

So join us in a neighborhood holiday celebration by spreading some cheer and grabbing a pack of 100% reindeer-free BlitzenSchticks, in-store or online.

Happy Holidays from the folks at Planet Propaganda!


Title: How the Sausage Was Made

Slug: newswire/blitzenschticks-agency-holiday-campaign

Sort by Date: 2017-01-20

Short Description: See how our agency holiday campaign went from a germ of an idea to 1300 merrily-seasoned pork sticks sold for charity.

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Play

Maybe you heard that this holiday season we helped create a limited edition, 100% reindeer-free treat: BlitzenSchticks. If you’re really lucky, you even got to eat a Schtick or two. We’re pleased to say that we sold 1300 of these merrily-seasoned pork sticks via Luke House community meal program right down the street from our office.

What you haven’t seen is how this endeavor came about in the first place. We’ve managed to capture the whole shoot and bang in just 94 seconds, and we hope you’ll watch.

If you’ve never worked at an agency, you might be surprised how the conceptual sausage gets made—it’s not for the faint of heart. And if you’re an agency pro, we think you’ll sympathize with the conceptual sausage making that, in this case, ended up producing honest-to-goodness edible sausage.


Title: Namadu Yoga

Slug: newswire/namadu-yoga-pro-bono-projects

Sort by Date: 2017-02-08

Short Description: Planet stretched our creative muscles to help a local school yoga program get off the ground.

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At Planet, we have the privilege of working with clients from all over the country – Ohio, Tennessee, Chicago, New Jersey, and every now and again, in our own backyard. In the case of The Studio Yoga, “local” means close enough to have a conversation in the hall of the historic Machinery Row building on the shores of Madison’s Lake Monona that we both call home.

Planet’s relationship with The Studio – and its owner Kathleen Slattery-Moshkau – goes way back. Since then, Planet’s Senior Account Executive (and all-around good egg) Sarah Koler has deepened the ties through her own intensive yoga study. While The Studio has always drawn people through its doors looking to use the practice of yoga to change their lives, Kathleen wanted to turn outward and make yoga more accessible to those who might not typically be exposed to its benefits. When the time came to follow-through on the idea she had dubbed “Street Yoga,” Kathleen turned to Sarah to help bring the program to life. In turn, Sarah convinced Planet to brand the effort.

After narrowing the program’s focus to school-aged children (who are generally open to new experiences and are happy for any opportunity to release energy), Sarah asked Planet Writer Joel Thomas (who’s since moved on to a happy new home in Chicago) to name it, which started by riffing on a cornerstone of Yoga culture, “namaste.” From that root, Namadu Yoga was born. By leaning into something at once familiar and fresh, we brought some soul and grit to the brand.

Next, we produced a “mantra” meant to put a fine point on what the program is all about. It begins, “Namadu is a community of students who learn, play, and recharge through the practice of yoga in a laid-back, supportive environment. It isn’t about judging or being judged. It isn’t about doing something because it’s easy. And it DEFINITELY isn’t, ‘who can stand on their head the longest?’ Namadu is about turning boredom on its head. It’s being who you want to be and empowering others to do the same. It’s, ‘Wow! I didn’t know I could do that.’” Simultaneously, Planet Designer Katie Garth went to work on a logo design and graphic direction to convey the funky nature of Namadu while appealing to the playful nature of the young audience.

At the same time Planet was digging into branding, a pilot was offered through MCSR ‘s after-school program at Georgia O’Keefe Middle School. Taught by Tiffany Hurad, the pilot was vital in gathering the information needed to understand what worked and what didn’t, what was possible and what wasn’t. As Sarah noted, “Without Tiffany, we wouldn’t know what we know.” The main takeaway was that while the afterschool program was great, it needed to reach more kids if it was going to make a difference. With that insight in-hand, Kathleen suggested that a pitch be made to include Namadu Yoga as a unit in Madison Metropolitan School District’s Physical Education program.

With the learnings from the pilot program in-hand, Sarah was able to get the MMSD on-board. Namadu Yoga is now being offered as a unit in the 5th grade P.E. curriculum. The program launched on November 4, at Lowell Elementary, and was taught by Jessica Winkler. Jess was joined by assistants Jennifer Peshek and Kristy. Namadu will launch at Schenk Elementary on March 1, taught by Tiffany Hurad.

Planet Propaganda welcomed the opportunity to lend our expertise to help Namadu Yoga, our neighbor, and Sarah Koler do a world of good.


Title: Casey the Artful Badger

Slug: newswire/new-hire-casey-christian-art-director

Sort by Date: 2017-07-01

Short Description: Put your hands together for Planet’s newest Art Director and sandwich fiend, Casey Christian.

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Put your hands together for Planet’s newest Art Director and sandwich fiend, Casey Christian.

While Casey may be new to Planet, Planet is not new to him. He says he has been aware of Planet’s work since he was old enough to realize that advertising and design were real jobs. He’s done time in agencies in all of the M-based Midwestern advertising cities – Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and now Madison. His work with Planet clients like Pancheros Mexican Grill and World of Beer has been thoughtful, fresh, and impactful. He’s also doing yeoman’s duty on our internal social media initiative, which requires deft cat-herding skills.

Casey comes from Cascade, Wisconsin, population 617 or 618 depending on which direction you roll through town. He displays a similar comfort with shifting cultural landscapes as his hometown does with its census information – he indulges in the supreme Wisconsin arts of Packer Backing, supper clubbing, and bear hunting, while also embracing the most Madison of activities like marathon training, Bucky Badgering, and food cart eating. Though in one regard, he bucks cultural expectation: Casey prefers Monona Terrace to The Memorial Union Terrace. Proof that there’s a first for everything.


Title: Planet Pork Sticks: Part Deux

Slug: newswire/up-nort-poles-pork-sticks-holiday-project

Sort by Date: 2017-12-20

Short Description: We’re continuing our neighborhood collaboration with Underground Meats this holiday season with limited edition Up Nort’ Poles: a meaty treat for youse and yours.

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We’re continuing our neighborhood collaboration this holiday season with limited edition Up Nort’ Poles: a meaty treat for youse and yours.

https://upnortpoles.com/

Last year, pork lovers across the land awoke to stockings stuffed with 4-packs of Blitzenschticks, and we’re happy to say that proceeds from the 1,300 schticks sold helped support the Luke House community meal program right in our Willy Street neighborhood.

This year, thanks to the wurst wizards at Underground Meats, we’re sticking with the time-honored pork stick recipe, but we’ve given the name and packaging a 2017 refresh. Though rest assured, proceeds this season will again support all the good work being done at Luke House.

Every pack of Up Nort’ Poles is perfect for holiday hobnobbing, supper with the in-laws, or stuffing the youngins’ stockings n’ such. So head over to upnortpoles.com to order online, or mosey on down to Underground Butcher to stock up on these darn tasty Polish pork sticks.


Title: Daniel Shickles, New Employee Edit-ion

Slug: newswire/new-hire-daniel-shickles-video-editor

Sort by Date: 2018-03-17

Short Description: We're doing a lot more live action video editing within Planet's walls these days, thanks to new hire Daniel Shickles.

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Introducing Video Editor and Eagle Scout, Daniel “Boone” Shickles.

Since graduating from Full Sail University in 2008, Daniel has worked with a number of agencies (including Campbell Ewald), and put his serious chops to work for clients ranging from Cadillac, to UNICEF, to Remington. His hand is at work for a wide range of Planet clients, including Duluth Trading Company and Jersey Mike’s. He says that Planet spoke to him because of our location and his desire to work with smaller groups of dedicated creatives.

Daniel has led something of a nomadic life, having lived in Missouri, Michigan, Florida, Oklahoma, Virginia, and now Wisconsin. Perhaps as a way to combat this concerning trend, Daniel wins the award for “Stays Seated the Longest.” With as many happy distractions as Planet provides, this is noteworthy. At last count, his max time without leaving his desk was 49 days. In addition to a facility for staying seated, Daniel enjoys golf, video games, and playing with his kids. Welcome, Daniel!


Title: Here’s the Story, of 8 New Planeteers

Slug: newswire/new-hire-compilation

Sort by Date: 2018-06-19

Short Description: We've hired lots of great folks in the not-too-distant past. Read all about 'em.

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When the new hire announcement backlog hits the two year mark, it’s a good and bad sign. Good because it means that a steady stream of client work has kept us busy; bad because we haven’t had a chance to make proper introductions of some fantastic new Planeteers.

We hope you'll excuse us for cheating a little. While all of these fine folks are more than worthy of lengthy odes to their achievements, they’re going to have to settle for the Brady Bunch treatment this time around. Behold a borderline mind-blowing fact or two about our latest, greatest eight new Planeteers.

Top Row (L to R):

Garrett Robers, Account Coordinator: Though he doesn’t require us to call him Captain around the office, Garrett has the distinction of working as a captain and mail jumper on the world famous Lake Geneva Cruise Line & Mail Vessel. We do think his experience delivering important correspondence to lakeside residents while entertaining a boat load of tourists instilled important account service skills like punctuality, flexibility, and congeniality—all of which Garrett has in spades. Something else he has in spades? A striking resemblance to Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper.

Karmin Arnold, Senior Account Executive: After growing up on a farm in rural Wisconsin, Karmin then worked on the Wisconsin Cheese and the American Butter Institute accounts in her past role. We detect a theme here. To really seal the deal as Planet’s most-Wisconsiny of Wisconsonites, her favorite Madison spot is the Capitol Square, because she never tires of gazing up at our majestic Capitol building.

Sarah Lorenz, Producer: After honing her production skills on Hollywood blockbusters—like Mission Impossible 3, Wedding Crashers, and Iron Man—Sarah returned to her native Wisconsin to focus on small screen productions. She's already played a big role on projects for a broad range of Planet clients, notably Duluth Trading Company, EatStreet, and Jersey Mike’s Subs—bringing a much-needed producing capability in-house for Planet. When not traveling for work or pleasure, Sarah’s an avid cook and cookbook collector, though her appreciation of gastronomy hits a snag when it comes to the smell of tuna fish from a can. We all have our limits.

Middle Row (L to R):

Holly Lang, Account Planner: This strategist, with a background in design, geeks out over lots of stuff—most notably scoping out ideal hammock spots, exploring the intersection of design and nature, and furiously keeping a journal of her latest revelations and observations. Given a free afternoon or a long weekend, Holly will set off on a road trip with camera in-tow, to document the forgotten landmarks of back road America. Her curiosity about what makes people tick, even off the beaten path, is key to her ability to uncover insights that help brands connect deeply with their audience wherever they may be.

Maggie Brennan, Senior Account Executive: Before she joined Planet, Maggie worked on the Culver’s account, Saris, and Doctors Without Borders. Now she’s working wonders with Jersey Mike’s Subs and Pancheros Mexican Grill, but sadly, she’s yet to bust out the marginal dance moves we’ve heard (from her) about.

Bottom Row (L to R):

Ben Golden, New Business Development Coordinator: After more than a year as a distinguished Planet intern, Ben joined us full time following his spring graduation from UW Madison. He brings great insights and strategy chops to the team, which will come in handy for finding the best brands for Planet to partner and conspire with. Not to mention he always has a good pop culture recommendation—from bingeable TV to local rock shows—which helps us all keep up with what the young folks are doing these days.

Laura Gang, Designer: With training as a studio artist and writer, it’s no surprise that Laura was drawn to graphic design, where her two passions intersect. Besides her obvious interest in creating beautiful things, she also likes to admire nature as well—something she traces back to her childhood days working in the family greenhouse. As someone who’s drawn to craft and compelling design, Laura felt like Planet would be a good place to create great work, while enjoying a collaborative culture that values humor, fun, and wit.

Sally Zepp, Office Manager: All you really need to know about Sally is that she recently got a random (real) tattoo from a design that came out of a gumball machine in Brooklyn. But you should also know that she has the experience, attention to detail, and, most importantly, the patience to keep Planet on the rails. Oh, and if you should bump into her after a trip to the tooth doctor, please be considerate of her unusual fear of hearing other people’s dental work stories.


Title: Refreshing Pancheros with a Remixed Campaign

Slug: newswire/pancheros-remix-campaign

Sort by Date: 2019-05-25

Short Description: Our new campaign for Pancheros Mexican Grill provides a propulsive start to an ambitious 2019.

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We’ve just launched a new campaign with our longtime client Pancheros Mexican Grill, as they ramp up for growth and expansion in 2019.

The Remix campaign — running on TV, online video, social and digital — uses a high-energy mixed media approach to spotlight Pancheros’ main differentiators of fresh-pressed tortillas, perfectly mingled ingredients (thanks Bob), and superior queso. It was built to thrive online first, since that's where most of the brand’s audience passes the time.

Check out two additional TV spots and learn more about the Remix campaign on Little Black Book.


Title: A Nutty Collaboration

Slug: newswire/krampus-kibble

Sort by Date: 2018-12-12

Short Description: This holiday season, Planet Propaganda brings special edition Krampus Kibble to the masses, through a neighborhood partnership with Nutkrack.

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This holiday season, Planet Propaganda brings special edition Krampus Kibble to the masses, through a neighborhood partnership with Nutkrack (owned by friend-of-Planet Chef Eric Rupert) and inspired by the Krampus of folklore: the mean to Santa’s merry and punisher of ill-mannered munchkins. Furthering the neighborhood spirit of the partnership, the profits from each tin of candied pecans sold will benefit The Goodman Community Center’s Fritz Food Pantry.

If you made some missteps this past year, and worry that Krampus may be delivering well-deserved discipline to your doorstep, we’ve got some good news for you: the Krampus Kibble website offers a chance to disclose your tastiest transgressions to Krampus and he just might show you mercy. Better yet, if your plea amuses Krampus, he may grace you with a response on Instagram and, more importantly, a can of Krampus Kibble. So confess with impunity here.

Half-pound Krampus Kibble tins will be on-sale for $15 at the Nutkrack retail store at 2086 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI, December 10th through December 23.


Title: Giving Madison’s First Professional Soccer Team a Forward-looking Identity

Slug: newswire/forward-madison-football-club-soccer-logo-design-flamingo

Sort by Date: 2019-05-02

Short Description: We created a visual identity for Madison's first pro soccer team that speaks to insiders and intrigues everyone else.

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Since Madison is several thousand clicks north of the nearest natural flamingo habitat, we can’t blame non-Madisonians if they do a double-take when seeing the logo we created for our city’s new Forward Madison minor league soccer team. Locals, though, catch our drift right away, and that was our goal all along.

We’re proud to see our work getting noticed in places like Little Black Book and Madison Magazine (where you can read more about the history of Madison’s flamingos, and the many Easter eggs hidden within the team crest), but we’re equally fired-up that the soccer community worldwide has vocally embraced this unconventional new crest, to wit:

Let's go Forward!


Title: The Roach Approach

Slug: newswire/new-hire-katie-roach-executive-producer

Sort by Date: 2019-07-10

Short Description: Our new executive producer Katie Roach is changing the game with her unflappable ways.

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What do Jeep, Jack Daniel’s, Boeing, and Clorox have in common? Katie Roach... Planet’s new Executive Producer. Katie’s experience working with mega-brands at FCB, BBDO, and McGarryBowen has been a huge boon to our production team in the last few months, as she tackles Duluth Trading Co. shoots & post-pro with expert poise. But, that’s not the only reason we hired her. No. We hired Katie for the tackle-toughies-without-batting-an-eye-yet-also-almost-concerningly-kind aura that follows her wherever she goes.

Outside the office, you can catch Katie kicking up her feet at the Terrace or sipping on bourbon at The Village Bar. Yet, despite this apparent love of the laid-back, she openly admits her celebrity crush is none other than DJ Pauly D from Jersey Shore. And while we haven’t seen much of her inner Snooki, Katie’s sunny disposition and constant butt-kickery have certainly made for brighter days here at Planet. (She also claims to be able to talk like Donald Duck, but so far we’ve failed to coax out that fowl rendition. Someday, Katie. Someday.)


Title: Anna White. Anna Write.

Slug: newswire/anna-white-copywriter

Sort by Date: 2019-08-21

Short Description: We're quite happy that Copywriter Anna White arrived at Planet with a penchant for punch and chops for word-stuff.

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Anna White. New Copywriter. International human of mystery. Her favorite food? We’re not sure. Where she went to school? Who knows. Her least favorite smell? Your sandwich… Anna’s an enigma. An Annagma, if you will.

So… what DO we know? We know that Anna’s one helluva writer, and we know Anna’s one helluva new friend at PP. With a flair for the maximalist and a stack full of band t’s, she rode her pink & yellow bicycle onto home Planet with a penchant for punch and chops for word-stuff. And after discovering that neither fast food, taxes, nor nonprofit management were her calling, Anna proved once again that years of trudging through agencies isn’t the only way to hone creative moxie. What you really need is a little fairy dust, a little electric guitar, and a whole lotta hunger to kill all things drab.


Title: A Juneteenth Statement of Recognition and Commitment

Slug: newswire/juneteenth-commitment

Sort by Date: 2020-06-19

Short Description: We resolve to hold ourselves accountable for making change at Planet, in our community, and beyond.

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This Juneteenth is a time for reflection and dedication. A time to pause and take stock in the midst of a much-needed moment of national consciousness raising about the unjust treatment of Black Americans.

Our agency has been having many necessary (and often difficult) conversations over the past several weeks, and there are a wide range of opinions, emotions, and resolutions being shared among Planeteers. Most importantly, we recognize that as a group of overwhelmingly white professionals, in an overwhelming white industry, we must examine and correct a system that has long rewarded some groups at the expense of others and continues to do so today.

We also recognize that actions speak louder than words, and the time for action is now. There’s a tremendous amount of work to do: there are no overnight solutions to centuries-old injustices. But we can no longer use the magnitude of these challenges as an excuse to stay silent or sit on the sidelines. We need to use our privilege to support those who are advocating for change, and to be active participants in that change.

Accountability is key, and that is why we’ve taken concrete steps to ensure that our efforts don’t fade as soon as the recent round of headlines recedes.

This past month we have provided financial support to several Madison-area organizations that are working on the ground for social and racial justice. Planet has always been proud to be a part of the Madison community, but we recognize that the welcoming and vibrant city that we cherish has overlooked and marginalized entire groups of people. As beneficiaries of an inequitable system, we must support its evolution.

Our agency has also started an internal task force to tackle several elements of injustice in our industry, our community, and within our own walls. We are heartened and inspired by our team’s engagement with the taskforce and their general support for launching and exploring future initiatives.

The task force’s three key areas of focus are employee education, internal operations, and outward action. Though we’re still in early planning stages, we’ve highlighted several potential efforts within each, and are currently exploring and prioritizing our next moves:

Employee Education: A more just world starts with confronting and overcoming our own blindspots and biases. It requires listening to people with different experiences, and responding to their concerns. It requires an empathetic approach to problem solving where we don’t jump to prescribing answers, but rather support those who have been doing this work for decades. We intend to invest in resources—like diversity and inclusion training, guest speakers, and self-directed learning—that will help improve our collective understanding of the challenges at hand, and will provide additional perspectives and roadmaps for making change.

Internal Operations: In an industry that has fallen short, we will modify how we think and work internally and with clients to reflect the diverse world we live in, and hold ourselves responsible for improving persistent inequities. From recruitment efforts to employee support to client expectations, we intend to go above and beyond in ways that meaningfully change the face of our organization and the type of work we produce.

Outward Action: As professional communicators, we want to use our influence and platform to amplify more diverse voices and to support groups in our local community and industry who are seeking partners. We intend to follow the direction of the qualified leaders who are fighting for those whom we as a society have often neglected and underestimated.

For now, these are areas for exploration, but the end result of the taskforce’s efforts will be a concrete plan for improving diversity and inclusion with quantifiable and definable goals. We have room for substantial improvement in all three of these areas, and we are committed to creating an atmosphere of encouragement and opportunity for all Planeteers to join us in this journey.

Today we reflect, and tomorrow we continue to work for change.


Title: Promotional Post

Slug: newswire/planet-promotions

Sort by Date: 2020-09-10

Short Description: Announcing a recent round of employee promotions and new roles here at Planet.

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Good news is scarce as hen’s teeth these days, so we’re happy to share it when we’ve got it. We’re pleased as punch to announce a recent round of promotions and new roles here at Planet, effective immediately.

Emily Steele is Planet’s new Managing Director: a role that’s new to her and new to Planet. As our agency grows and evolves, Emily will play a crucial role in supporting the financial and spiritual health of Planet, while continuing to serve in her current role as Account Director.

After joining Planet as an Account Supervisor five years ago, Emily quickly became a trusted colleague and moved into increasingly impactful roles. This latest move will give her the opportunity to lead, manage, and nurture a team of directors across several departments, with a focus on building the next generation of Planet leaders.

As Planet founder and CEO Dana Lytle says: “Put simply: Emily sees things as they are, she says it like it is, and she gets shit done.” We all look forward to lots of great shit getting done.

Katie Roach is our new Head of Production, after serving as our Executive Producer for almost two years. Katie has been a force in her short time at Planet, bringing a sense of calm, professionalism, energy and smarts to all the productions she has touched. She is a wealth of knowledge and has a ton of experience as FCB's Executive Producer prior to walking through our doors.

Andrea Slotten is stepping into the role of Operations Director, handling agency operations, resources, agency culture initiatives, and overseeing all departmental efficiencies and processes. Her warmth, accessibility, ability to multi-task and selfless dedication will position her to shape Planet’s culture and make sure that our invaluable team of Planeteers are well-supported.

Mckenzie Halling is moving from Account Coordinator to Account Executive. Mckenzie has shown some serious chops not only on the Duluth Trading Company account, but also on projects for Chazen Museum and others. Her smarts, insight, drive, and communication and organizational skills will continue to buoy Planet’s success.


Title: Gen-zie

Slug: newswire/mckenzie-halling-new-hire

Sort by Date: 2020-11-17

Short Description: We finally added a Gen Z-er to Team Planet, Account Executive Mckenzie Halling, and we're ever so glad we did.

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In pre-COVID times, Mckenzie Halling, account executive (and Planet’s first Gen Z hire), was known for all sorts of enviable in-office traits: bringing a box of morning donuts even after a late night at work, packing impressive lunches that put our PB&Js to shame, and just being a kind co-worker who cheered us up with a well-timed smile. We’re confident all of that will hold true once office life resumes in earnest.

Mckenzie’s done such a great job shepherding clients like Duluth Trading Company and Chazen Museum of Art, she was promoted before getting her official introductory blog post. Before coming to Planet, Mckenzie ran through a smattering of ‘ternships and spent 6 months abroad in Bangkok. This led to perhaps our favorite thing about Mckenzie, that she had 1 of 2 reported Dengue fever cases in Wisconsin in 2018 (we’re really grasping at straws to find flaws here, people).

But on a more genuine note, Mckenzie has a determined mind and can-do spirit, and we can’t wait to be back in the building with her before too long, even though her pampered pandemic kitten Pete Souza will have to adjust to less face-time.


Title: It’s Tommy Time

Slug: newswire/tommy-cottam-new-hire

Sort by Date: 2020-12-14

Short Description: New Hire. New Business. New Tommy.

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Let me paint you the picture of a man. A man from Milwaukee. A man who enjoys a nice fatty ribeye. A man who yearns for the smell of the Pacific ocean, specifically. A man by the name of Tommy Cottam.

You see, when Planet set out to hire a new director of new business, we knew it couldn’t be just anyone. And Tommy, well, he’s definitely someone. Before joining our crew, he worked on the account side for some seriously heavy shops (Cramer-Krasselt, TBWA\Chiat\Day LA, CP+B LA, and Publicis Italy) for some seriously heavy clients (Gatorade, Old Navy, and Heineken's Global ad business among them). Now he’s our matchmaker-in-chief, playing an integral role in our recent partnership with J-B Weld. Tommy says he saw the opening at Planet as an opportunity to flex a new ad muscle, but we’ve all seen the picture of his Ultimate Warrior Halloween costume at this point. He’s got plenty to flex as is.

Unfortunately due to the pandemic, we only got a few short months with Tommy in person before we all scurried to our own socially sequestered abodes. Still, we’ve grown to love and await his constant positive presence in our little digital Planet. From now on, when you see we’ve won some new business, remember: Tommy Cott’em.


Title: Clairvoyant Corrisa

Slug: newswire/corrisa-new-hire

Sort by Date: 2021-01-24

Short Description: We see greatness ahead for our newest account supervisor, Corrisa Terrien.

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We’d like everyone to give a warm and hearty welcome to the newest member of our Account team: Corrisa “I was actually pretty cool in middle school” Terrien. Corrisa joins us from a bevy of other Wisco shops, including Shine United and Madison Avenue Worldwide, where she worked up all the necessary skills to do some serious account supervising on our Jersey Mike’s account.

And what else does Corrisa supervise? Well, for one, her landing on Planet Propaganda raised the official Planeteer Cat Count to 14 with the addition of Ruby, a frequenter of our #puppies-n-kitties Slack channel. When Ruby’s not causing distractions with her adorableness, Corrisa enjoys arts & crafts, spending time with friends & family, and also being literally psychic, apparently. We’re not sure how that affects the job, but we’ve gotta assume that’s a win for us.

Corrisa claims tacos and ice cream are her favorite foods, but tends to include the disclaimer, “separately”. Which begs the question: Corrisa, are you sure you don’t want a choco taco? (If you’re reading this just let us know.) Corrisa may have said answering our new-hire Q&A was her toughest task to date here at Planet, but for the rest of us, making a new friend in Corrisa has been truly the easiest.


Title: 10-Gallon Teddy

Slug: newswire/teddy-new-hire

Sort by Date: 2021-01-30

Short Description: Talented Texan Teddy Brown has landed in the GCD seat.

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~Weewoo Weewoo~ High profile hire alert! That’s right folks, we’ve picked up Teddy Brown as our new Group Creative Director. Texas-raised Teddy comes to us direct from FCB after a long stint as EVP Executive Creative Director. With a client roster rivaling, well, basically no one (the dude helped launch “Live Mas” for Taco Bell, like c’mon) Planet has been beyond excited to welcome a new heavy hitter to our global Propaganda Machine.

In his short tenure here Teddy has already brought untold value to the team— his first week alone, he managed to over-boil corn by nearly 2 hours, despite listing “above average domestic skills” on his new-hire Q&A. Domestic skills aside, Teddy runs a TikTok channel that has been surpassed in followers by his daughter’s own account by the tens of thousands. Add that to the fact that he also adopted a wonderful pair of yet-unnamed finches, which he now appears to be breeding for fun, and you’ve got one helluva family man.

Playful post aside, Teddy brings an incredibly fresh breeze to Planet’s sails. Hopping aboard to take the creative helm in the midst of a pandemic — especially when you haven’t even met most of the team in person — is no easy feat. Yet his unmatched ability to win people over with a sharp wit, deep pocket of stories, winning smile and (genuinely) caring heart have quickly made him a welcome addition to our ministry of truth.


Title: Planet Joins Independent Agency Group to Launch Blac: Building Leaders and Creators

Slug: newswire/planet-joins-independent-agency-group-to-launch-blac-building-leaders-and-creators

Sort by Date: 2021-02-09

Short Description: We’re excited to help launch a new cross-agency internship program aimed at bringing more Black people into advertising.

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We’re excited to help launch a new cross-agency internship program, BLAC, aimed at bringing more Black people into advertising, further preparing them to thrive and lead. Applications for Summer 2021 are due by March 5.

BLAC is an eight-week, paid, remote internship for creative thinkers that takes place at independent ad agencies across the country, including Planet. The first week is an immersion into agency life—a time for interns to learn more about the industry, get inspired by creative thinkers from a variety of places, and connect with fellow interns from across the collective. After that, they’ll work within individual agencies to do portfolio-worthy work for real clients.

If you or someone you know is a creative talent who might be interested, there’s more information about the program at blacinternship.com. We know talent comes from everywhere, and everyone is welcome to apply, regardless of background or age. Our camp week is designed to help interns get up to speed and ready to jump into the workflow of an agency for the rest of the program.

We thank the other participating agencies, the program facilitators, and program sponsor Proctor & Gamble for providing an opportunity to effect change at our agency and throughout the industry.


Title: Cheyenne, Senior Schemer

Slug: newswire/cheyenne-langkamp-new-hire

Sort by Date: 2021-03-22

Short Description: Our new senior brand strategist is a schemer in the best sense of the word.

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What does it mean to scheme? What is propaganda without a proper strategy? What is the funniest thing you’ve seen on Twitter in the past 30 minutes? These are all questions you’ll have to ask our new senior brand strategist, Cheyenne Langkamp. A journalist-turned-propagandist, Chey comes to us from a slew of agencies including Madison’s Hiebing and Nelson Schmidt, as well as St. Louis’s HLK and We Are Alexander. With brands like AB-InBev, Treehouse Foods, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Culver's... you get the point. She knows what she’s doing.

So who is Cheyenne really? Is joining Planet another one of her schemes? Here’s what we do know:

Likes: reading, gaming, running, hiking, cooking, local politics, beer, beer smell, Fleabag, Little Women (like, the movie).

Dislikes: Teriyaki, the words moist and package (and presumably their combination), the fact that Anthony Bourdain is no longer with us.

We also know that Cheyenne claims her doppelgänger is Avril Lavigne. Considering the rumors swirling about of a fake Avril Lavigne replacing the original, we’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled for any suspicious humming or Sk8r Boi vibes. All that being said, Cheyenne has been another pandemic hire who we haven’t spent much time with in person yet, but a short stint has already solidified her as a new force to be friends with. So Cheyenne, here is your cold welcome for now. We’ll have to have a warmer one soon.


Title: Two First Names. One New Face. It’s Emily Kelly.

Slug: newswire/new-hire-emily-kelly

Sort by Date: 2021-03-25

Short Description: Three cheers for Emily Kelly, senior account exec, former sandwich artist, and booster of all things Wisconsin.

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Introducing Emily Kelly, the second Emily on Planet Propaganda, but the second-to-none senior account executive ready to help manage the Duluth train (among other accounts) with some serious people chops. Emily comes to us from a four-ish year stint at Shine United and a three year stint at Acumium. There was an additional four year stint as a Subway Sandwich Artist somewhere before then, which is arguably more impressive—we’ve seen those tuna scoopers. As a longtime Wisco local, Emily’s lived in Fond du Lac, Rhinelander, Sheboygan, and now Madison, a testament to how motivating cheese and family can really be.

In fact, in order to properly convey Emily’s feelings about her love for Wisconsin, as well as take a healing moment for all of us, we will be airing this direct quote from EK about the Dane County farmers’ market, unedited:

Okay, deep breath everyone. Vaccines are coming.

On another note, the whole team was excited to have Emily hop aboard, but we’re especially excited to eventually christen our new coworkership in an office setting. She’s told us she loves a nice dark stout, which is great news for the one, maybe two other dark-beer drinkers at Planet who consistently ask for ample supply in the Planet beer fridge. A slight cause for concern, she’s also mentioned her fear of stairs—unfortunate timing considering we just built a flight in the office.

Another fun fact Emily shared is that she can’t swallow pills. Emily, we hate to break it to you, but here’s another tough pill to swallow: we like ya, so you’re stuck with us, and all our dumb jokes. And we’re excited to explore this midwest wonderland with a wonderful new face.


Title: The Wavering Weekend

Slug: newswire/the-wavering-weekend-part-2

Sort by Date: 2021-07-28

Short Description: How Leisure Brands will Flourish (or Falter) when Free Time Habits Change Post-Pandemic

Subhead: Part Two: Outdoor Recreation

Author: Jeremy Cesarec

Author Title: Communications Director

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Without question, the pandemic completely upended every routine—work, home, pastime, or otherwise.

Over the past few months, we’ve been considering the inevitable reorganization of recreational pursuits as life creeps back towards normal. The brands we work with are built for weekends and workshops: the products and services people turn to when the office lights go out, or they’ve hung up their hardhat. Since recreational habits are many and varied, we’re watching trends across a wide range of categories, from outdoor rec, to DIY, crafts, hobbies, cooking, eating, drinking, travel, and more.

Some categories and brands actually posted big gains in the past year—naturally outdoor rec benefited from many folks playing outside when they couldn’t play inside. We’ve honed in on some meaningful predictions for the unique year ahead that can help your brand take advantage of the ongoing recreational reordering.

Now that It’s Safe(r) to Be Indoors, Will We Still Play Outdoors?

My first social event after the March 2020 lockdown was a 40th birthday party on a cold Wisconsin evening. The celebration was tentative and a little fraught, but my buddy’s birthday gift, a new Solo Stove Bonfire, caught my eye while it kept our small socially-distanced crew warm. I wasn’t the only one. Within weeks, me and about six of my neighbors had ordered Solo Stoves, too; the prospect of months of chilly spring evenings ahead justified the splurge for a smokeless fire pit.

The rub? By the time I ordered, Solo Stoves were backordered several weeks. The rush to find outdoor distractions was at an all time high, and manufacturers were backlogged. Soon sidewalk chalk was nearly impossible to find (I saw a price-gouging pack going for $30 online). As the pandemic stretched on and summer travel was suspended, boats and bikes were sold out, too. By late fall, snow shoes were the new back-ordered bonanza and backyard sauna kits had a three-year waiting list (if my neighbor is to be believed).

Brands in the outdoor recreation space are asking themselves: are these changes permanent (or at least somewhat enduring)?

It was clear that behaviors were changing: indoorsy folks of all ages were stepping out, either as a way to safely socialize or just venture beyond their claustrophobic homes. Even as we inch our way out of solitude, some delightfully quirky trends are still popping up: pickleball, once reserved for retirees, is now catching fire with younger folks, and adult hula hooping is hot.

The call of the wild, previously muffled by Disney World and air conditioned matinees, came through clearly in summer 2020. Last summer, fishing license applications in our home state of Wisconsin jumped a bunch, and by the time the initial lockdowns subsided, some National Parks like Yellowstone and the Smokies saw increased late-summer traffic over 2019 visits.

Brands in the outdoor recreation space are asking themselves the same question as DIY brands: are these changes permanent (or at least somewhat enduring)? Will a reopening of cinemas, restaurants, music venues, and gyms mean a big drop in snowshoe and fire pit sales come 2022? More Sunday afternoons as the sports bar means fewer on the hiking trail; yet there’s cause for optimism.

First, we’re already seeing an unprecedented short-term demand for all of the indoor entertainment that’s been on hold, everyone’s flocking to the indoor venues we’ve all missed so much, there isn’t room for all of us at once. Since many of the 110,000 restaurants and bars that shuttered in 2020 won’t reopen (plus countless music venues, cinemas, theaters, and entertainment complexes), folks might have to pare back their expectations of a post-COVID Roaring 20s for a couple more years. Pastimes with fewer capacity constraints—including outdoor sports and rec—will likely reap the rewards of long lines and inflationary prices at theme parks, cocktail lounges, and NBA arenas. The fact that some National Parks (and surrounding towns) are already getting overwhelmed this summer suggests that some 2020 travel preferences are sticking around.

Another plus is that in many cases, folks have now made significant investments in equipment and hardware for their newfound outdoor activities. Whether it’s fishing rods, kayaks, or kettle smokers, they’ll want to make the most of the money they’ve sunk into their new hobby. And as any hobbyist knows, you’re always just one more purchase away from the perfect arsenal: new road bike owners will be looking for roof racks, novice golfers will want to upgrade their putters, and beginner skiers will want that 900-fill-power parka they regret not buying last season.

Another advantage for outdoor rec, one not enjoyed by the DIY sector, is that outdoor activity isn’t something you’d outsource. These are pure leisure pursuits with intrinsic rewards. They provided head-clearing solace during an emotionally tough year. While some folks will certainly return to their pre-pandemic pursuits, a lot of us are reflecting on the benefits we’ve seen from slowing down, spending more time in nature, sharing deeper connections with family, and other merits that outdoor activities deliver.

"I don’t want to return to days that unfold like a race to the bedtime finish line."

While a return to a pre-pandemic world will be a boon overall, there are some new habits that we’ll want to preserve, as Manoush Zomorodi so eloquently expressed in her a Medium essay, "I don’t want to return to days that unfold like a race to the bedtime finish line."

Will these new perspectives persist? It’s hard to predict. Maybe after a year plus of home cooking, lounging in sweatpants, and self haircuts (or skipping haircuts altogether), there will be an equal and opposite reaction to this simpler life. But it’s just as likely that frivolous materialism won’t return quite as strongly as before.

41% of Millennials and Gen Z saved more than usual in Q1 to prepare for increased spending as the country reopens. (Mass Mutual)

Younger generations were already prioritizing experiences over things, and a year of minimal options seems to have heightened that desire. In March, 30% of Gen Z and Millennials said the financial lesson they’d impart to younger generations is: “spend money on experiences rather than tangible purchases.” Plus Millennials and Gen Z have saved more money than older generations on average during the pandemic, with 39% saving $1000 or more and 41% saying they saved more than usual in Q1 to prepare for increased spending as the country reopens.

The Upshot for Outdoor Rec Brands

If you’re in the outdoor rec business, we have several recommendations for how you can tip the scales in your favor as the post-pandemic era begins:

Highlight Complementary Products

Brands that acquired lots of new fans last year should be thinking about the next step along their customers’ journeys. Whether it’s accessories or a newfangled major product launch, give folks a reason to feel the excitement they felt the first time they splurged on your product. For example, this spring and summer, Solo Stove’s been heavily promoting their charcoal grill, hoping to attract some of its fire pit fanatics to migrate to their outdoor cooking products. (If your trusty writer hadn’t sprung for a Santa Maria Weber attachment last summer, the Solo grill would probably be on my wishlist.)

Make Hay While the Sun Is Shining (Figuratively and Literally)

The goal should be to reinforce newfound outdoor hobbies ASAP. Turn what may have been a COVID-necessitated blip into a lifelong obsession.

Despite vaccination progress, the world won’t be fully open this summer, and indoor options will still be limited for more cautious folks. So don’t let up: stay connected with your audience via newsletters, special promotions, and other incentives. That’ll help your audience resist the considerable pull to return to their old shopping habits once the world gets back to normal. Soon your biggest competition won’t be the other brands in your category, but the dozens of unrelated things consumers have forgone these past many months. Don’t miss this chance.

Inspire with Lifestyle-focused Content

Stay connected with new enthusiasts by underscoring that you’re not just selling products, you’re selling a better life. Your products allow buyers to enjoy the invigorating effects of the great outdoors. It’s important for your fans to see your offerings as part of a new identity they’ve forged.

Consider an unexpected tactic for some good old fashioned storytelling: print. Our client Duluth Trading Company’s exceptional catalog has been winning over fans with entertaining and engaging brand storytelling for decades, and the printed catalog as a whole has mounted a comeback in a digitally-saturated pandemic world. Even some digitally-native brands like Away luggage have created lifestyle-heavy magalogs in the past few years, showing that what’s old is new again when it comes to highlighting a lifestyle that your fans can aspire to.

On the flip side, digital newsletters are seeing a huge boom, and innovative marketers are using sponsorships and ads to reach highly-engaged, niche audiences. Now’s the chance to get in on the ground floor before increased competition drives up ad rates (as it has for every previous hot new digital tactic).

Play For Keeps

In a year when many sectors will struggle to crawl back from pandemic decimation, outdoor rec brands have an enviable, but still considerable, challenge: don’t get too comfortable. While external conditions favored this sector, there’s no guarantee that consumers won’t revert to pre-pandemic habits and hobbies quickly. Staying vigilant these next couple of years is crucial.

The brands that harness the current energy and turn their fans into lifelong devotees can look back on this period as a springboard that led to great things. We look forward to helping our partners in the “weekend brand” space stand out and win in the years ahead, and we hope to join forces with even more like-minded makers of passion-based products.


Title: The Wavering Weekend

Slug: newswire/the-wavering-weekend

Sort by Date: 2021-04-22

Short Description: How Leisure Brands will Flourish (or Falter) when Free Time Habits Change Post-Pandemic

Subhead: Part One: DIY Brands

Author: Jeremy Cesarec

Author Title: Communications Director

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Without question, the pandemic has completely upended every routine—work, home, pastime, or otherwise.

Over the past few months, we’ve been considering the inevitable reorganization of recreational pursuits as life creeps back towards normal. The brands we work with are built for workshops and weekends: the products and services people turn to when the office lights go out, or they’ve hung up their hardhat. Since recreational habits are many and varied, we’re watching trends across a wide range of categories, from DIY and workshop brands, to outdoor rec, crafts, hobbies, cooking, eating, drinking, travel, and more.

Some categories and brands actually posted big gains in the past year—naturally home improvement / DIY brands reaped the rewards of a nation stuck at home staring at peeling paint and under-tended gardens, and streaming entertainment enjoyed a bull market. Others, like dining, gyms, travel, and performing arts sustained a massive (and ongoing) hit. In this article, we’ll focus on workshop / DIY, a pastime category that got a significant pandemic bump. In Part Two we explore the impact of another thriving category: outdoor recreation.

We’ve honed in on some meaningful predictions for the unique year ahead that can help your brand take advantage of a recreational reordering that’s mere months away.

From DIFM to DIY...and Back?

As a new(ish) homeowner with Do It For Me (DIFM) tendencies, I saw my own habits change once a deadly virus could accompany a plumber or painter into my domicile. With professional assistance off the table for a year, some of the projects my wife and I tackled were out of pure necessity.

But we also spent time, and plenty of money, on DIY supplies for more enjoyable home and yard updates. Resources that in past years would have gone to dining out, traveling, and day care. We weren’t alone: my neighborhood was full of homeowners with time on their hands and plenty of projects to tackle. Our street’s tulips had never been better-tended, nor its backyards more barbecue friendly.

But will this renewed DIY spirit lead to continued growth once competition for recreational dollars returns to normal?

Collectively, that led to a banner year for the DIY category. Not only did our workshop clients like Duluth Trading Company and J-B Weld see solid growth in a tough economy, Home Depot and Lowe’s stocks hit all-time highs in 2020.

But will this renewed DIY spirit lead to continued growth once competition for recreational dollars returns to normal?

Conventional wisdom suggests that there will be some slowdown: it’s much easier to spend a Saturday afternoon refinishing an end table when you aren’t shuttling kids to basketball tournaments. And might those tulips get a little less love once a long weekend trip to Palm Springs is back in the picture? Plus many office workers who had more post-dinner puttering time will be returning to long daily commutes and business travel, leaving lots of half-finished house projects in their wake. This period of abnormally ample free time on weekends and evenings is about to expire.

Even if the home improvement boom doesn’t maintain its torrid 2020 pace, though, there’s certainly some room for optimism. First, many folks’ finances remain shaky, and hiring professionals is expensive. Nearly three-quarters of Americans expect their spending in the next three months to be the same or less than the previous three months. Financial caution could persist, and DIY remains much more affordable than DIFM.

While overall spending habits might stay conservative for a bit, projected home improvement spending looks healthy: consumers expect to spend more post-COVID on DIY home improvement projects, tied with “Eating Meals Out” for the #1 spot.

Those home improvers who are willing to invest this year may also have a bit more swagger walking down the hardware store aisles thanks to all the recent projects they’ve aced. Having built more confidence, they’ll be ready to build on those foundational skills. We may even see more people making and crafting holiday decor and gifts this year, following a 2020 when traditional crafts like sewing drove a big uptick in craft and hobby supply sales. With the recent launch of the Discovery+ streaming network, which includes HGTV and will include Chip and Joanna Gaines’ new Magnolia Network in 2022, there’ll be lots of fodder for renovation envy that could spark them to action, too.

Add in the hottest real estate market in 15 years, including lots of thrifty first time Millennial homeowners entering the market, and we see an opportunity to capture these folks while their energy and enthusiasm are high. Record high home prices mean buyers aren’t going to get everything they hoped for, so updates and renovations will be priority number one. Today’s burgeoning DIYer is a potential lifelong brand believer, so capturing them early is key.

The Upshot for Workshop and DIY Brands

If you’re a DIY brand looking to make sure the luster doesn’t fade as COVID impacts recede, consider these approaches:

Be an Empathetic Educator

Confidence is key. Don’t let new DIYers be intimidated. Be an ally who imparts wisdom and advice they need to step up their game. Houseplant D2C brand Leon and George publishes an engaging online magazine that includes how-to articles for budding indoor gardeners, plus lifestyle inspiration and user generated content. How can your brand be a mentor and inspire your customers to get the most from their projects, too?

Build Authentic Connections with Enthusiasts

When their typical social lives were upended, people moved online and connected with other like-minded folks, often uniting over shared hobbies and interests. Your brand can find ways to intersect with eager audiences, like Miracle-Gro recently did, with a recent promotion aimed at the houseplant obsessives who engage with the #plantparenthood hashtag.

Use Influencers to Broaden Horizons

Influencer partners are great at expanding customers’ idea of how and where they can use your products. In traditional print or TV ads you can only show a limited number of use cases, but influencers can generate a ton of approachable and inspiring lifestyle content, without the production costs of dozens of locations and set changes. Our longtime partner Duluth Trading Company uses their Wayforging Women ambassadors on their website and social channels to tell a richer tale of how their workwear performs in a wide variety of real world scenarios.

Create Milestones that Trigger Purchase

We’re already seeing brands in the DIY space looking to keep the magic alive. Stumbling into an unforeseen category boom is one thing, sustaining that momentum once the tailwinds taper is another. Coming off a record Q4, Ace Hardware engaged DIYers with a branded holiday promotional event. Ace dubbed April 3, “Some Day,” in honor of all the house projects people vow to do “someday,” but never get around to. By helping customers overcome the inertia and incentivizing them to tackle that project ASAP, Some Day helps further empower DIYers to see their skills as a lifetime pursuit, not a one-and-done endeavor.

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With diligence and ingenuity, there are plenty of near-term opportunities for workshop and DIY brands. In Part Two of this series, we’ll unpack the landscape for another COVID-era beneficiary: the outdoor recreation category.