St. Louis Most award agency, 2018 St. Louis Addys


Rodgers Townsend, a St. Louis full-service advertising agency, was the most awarded agency at the St. Louis Advertising Club’s ADDY Awards last night, taking home 50 ADDYs, including 32 golds and Best of Show for The Black Rep poster series.

In addition to the Best of Show, Rodgers Townsend received the Best of Out-of-Home & Ambient Media Poster Campaign for their work for the Pianos for People organization, and 32 gold ADDYs for work in a full breadth of categories including print, out-of-home, ambient media, social media campaigns, websites, film and elements of advertising.

“Last night’s St. Louis ADDY Awards Show was proof our city’s creative product and the people who make it can compete and shine on any stage. We’re proud to be a part of this community of agencies, collaborators, organizers, students and client partners,” said Michael McCormick, Chief Creative Officer. “To our team, and to our clients – thank you for daring, and thank you for caring.”


Here to Dare & Delight, Rodgers Townsend is a creatively-driven, results-obsessed agency headquartered in St. Louis. Relentlessly strategic, we produce highly-effective advertising, design, 1:1, CRM, digital and social content, brand identity and websites. With a disciplined, hyper-targeted approach we’ve been helping brands like AT&T, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Luxco Spirits, Schnucks Markets, Spectrum Brands and St. Louis University achieve more with less for more than 20 years. Part of the Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) and DDB global network.


Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE – OMC) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.


Carrie Muehlemann

VP/Director of Talent and Agency Relations


Influencer Marketing: How an Instagrammer sold me a couch.

Influencer Marketing: How an Instagrammer sold me a couch.

I just bought a couch from a company I’ve never heard of – without seeing or sitting on it.

In this case, I follow a popular DIY couple on Instagram with the handle Chris Loves Julia, and listen to their podcast every so often. By developing a long-term, win-win relationship with an influencer, the custom furniture retailer, Interior Define, reached me in-app and sold me a couch. That’s it. This isn’t an unusual scenario: Influencer marketing has proven its ROI again and again over the last 10 years, with some reports showing 11x the ROI of traditional marketing. The recent Facebook algorithm changes announced on January 11th, de-prioritizing brands’ organic posts in favor of creating meaningful connections, will make influencers even more influential within the platform, particularly when targeting millennials.

Some Dos and Don’ts we live by at Rodgers Townsend:


Define goals and KPIs

As with any initiative, brands need to define and set expectations for the overall program, and then specifically with each influencer engage in a contract. Clarity is critical, be clear about what the brand should expect in way of outputs, posts, and measures of success. KPIs may include earned impressions, video views, view rate, engagements (comments, likes and shares), even conversions or sales.

Define a process for finding and vetting influencers within your organization

There is no one-size approach to identifying the right influencer. At RT we work differently with different clients based on objectives and investment levels.

Audience size is important, but it would be a mistake to judge an influencer solely on their stats. Beware of profiles that show a large audience, but a low engagement rate. This can suggest the audience is not real or not really engaging in a meaningful way. Contextually, the influencer should be well-aligned with the brand and product or service. Likewise, a good influencer will be selective about the partnerships they form to maintain the integrity of their own community.

Established networks or platforms such as BrandBacker, Revfluence or Hello Society can be used for identifying and outreach. Alternatively, free services like Social Blade provide multichannel rankings, engagement rates and growth trends.

Consider whether long-term or short-term relationships are best

Influencers and brands are beginning to seek longer term relationships, which many believe seem more authentic and drive deeper engagement with target audiences. For example, Band Aid built a relationship with Joy Cho of Oh Joy! by incorporating her own playful, colorful designs into their products. It resulted in a delightful product design and fun, engaging content for her followers.

However, short-term relationships may make more sense for brands just entering the market, or as a means to test various approaches, personalities or forums.


Try to control everything

At its best, influencer marketing is all about authenticity. The more a brand exerts control and standards into the content creation, the less authentic it will feel within the influencer’s native environment. Of course, critical guidelines need to be established during contracting and initial phases, but outside of that, let it go. If the influencers were properly vetted, they will know what will resonate best with their audience. This is where micro and macro influencers really shine. We see a lot of clients struggle with this, especially those that are heavily regulated. This may be a bit of heavy-lifting with the legal team, but determining a workflow that doesn’t stifle creativity will benefit everyone.

Ignore FTC guidelines

We watched last spring as 90 letters were sent out to 45 celebrities and their respective agents and brands with the intention of reminding them to be transparent about endorsements. The FTC will continue to increase enforcement of this in social media, but it’s up to the brand AND the influencer to responsibly indicate if a post is #sponsored. Pro tip: This one is considered a shared responsibility of the brand and influencer, so get clear on this up front and follow through to make sure the influencers are checking the box.

Assume you can pay in product alone

Don’t assume that every influencer only wants a boatload of product. Brands may need to also negotiate a payment depending on how popular they are, the depth and breadth of the content, or how time-intensive creation will be. Payment could also include a value-add experience that lets the influencer see/taste/feel/experience the brand in a totally unique way.

As consumer trust weakens, Influencer Marketing will continue to grow and become an important part of every brand’s digital strategy. With research and planning, brands and agencies can architect successful programs to reach the elusive millennial audience in a contextually relevant way. And maybe if you’re like me, find the perfect couch while you’re at it.

When Santa is a millennial minimalist

When Santa Is a Millennial Minimalist

Following the Millennial Money

You’ve witnessed the trend: Millennials are calling BS on following their parents’ lead in creating a well-stocked house of stuff. Instead of cars or electronics, young adults are prioritizing travel, dining and recreation. A study by Harris Group found that 72% of millennials prefer to spend money on experiences rather than material things. And now that older millennials are coming of age as parents, the generation’s aversion to conventional consumer accumulation is being put to the test this holiday season.

Fulfillment over Frenzy

Traditionally, having children has meant succumbing to a heap of colorful plastic and plush on Christmas morning. Whether it was the impossible-to-find Furby of 1998 or the infamous Cabbage Patch Kid of 1983, kid gift-buying has always been a hype-laden contact sport, culminating in the acquisition of a thing. It begs the question: how will millennials’ values impact modern kid Christmases? This year on Black Friday, Americans spent a record $5 billion in 24 hours.1 Then two days later on Cyber Monday, consumers spent another $6.59 billion – the largest U.S. online shopping day in history.2 So we know parents are spending – but on what? Is this the juncture at which millennial parents relinquish their well-intentioned ideals of “less stuff?”

Unpacking Memories

Though it may seem as if subscription boxes have had their moment, they fit perfectly into a kid-friendly, anti-stuff holiday. According to Forbes, subscription box shoppers in the U.S. over-index for having children ages 3-5 in the household. Not only are most subscription box contents consumable in nature (like craft supplies or snacks), but they’re experiential – both in the moment of the “unboxing” itself and through the activities they promote. Little Passports is a company that specializes in kids’ subscription boxes, ranging from monthly science experiments to cultural learning activities. Even though the boxes contain – yes, stuff – consumers are really buying the cadence and experience of improving daily life with their kids.

Once Upon a Purchase

Even for retailers in the business of selling durable goods, there’s an opportunity to prove that the experiential touchpoints of their products reign supreme. One brand living this mantra is the American Girl empire. American Girl isn’t in the doll business – they’re in the business of girlhood, storytelling, play and companionship. Kids can visit The American Girl Store to design their doll’s clothes, have her hair done, and learn the stories behind the historical doll characters. Kids can even subscribe to the magazine to access kid-friendly advice columns, stories and crafts.

Gifts that Keep on Giving

A number of parents are choosing to prioritize pure experiences as gifts, such as sports tickets, zoo memberships or movie theater gift cards. Just Google “non-toy gift ideas,” and you’ll find that just about every parenting blog or website out there has cultivated a list of experience-based gift ideas – classes, activities, tickets, gift cards and memberships are among the most popular. The retailers that stand to benefit most from experience gifts are those that offer products that enhance those experiences. Think – sporting gear, specialty clothing or hobby supplies. Show consumers how your brand fits into a valuable, quality family experience, and you can prove worthiness amongst a bombardment brands that represent little more to parents than a financial transaction.

Moments Matter Most

Time will tell whether millennial parenting styles will have a lasting effect on how families experience the holidays and thus, retail as an industry. But in the meantime, their generation is valuing gift intentionality – choosing quality over quantity. And “quality” equates to gifts with a story, a purpose, a lesson or an experience.



1: CNN Money

2: Forbes

Humans and Robots: Better Together

Humans and Robots: Better Together

At the recent AT&T Business Summit, experts in artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and big data extolled the virtues of all that advanced technology provides us. Thermostats order groceries, trucks tell drivers when to take breaks, and the CIA mines social media data in the name of national security. Or so they claim. This discussion got us thinking about how people fit into the proliferation of robots and machines.

With every technology update, it seems there’s an accompanying push back. Automation replaces jobs as Facebook reads our minds. We dream of and dread the impending robot dystopia we’ll be forced to endure. The more machines learn to learn, the greater the chance they’ll eventually turn on us, right? Regardless of a person’s connection to IoT, AI and the like, it seems humans and machines are opposing forces meant to replace one another. But that’s not necessarily the case.

As marketers, we can help businesses understand how to use both effectively, including within our own walls. There are lessons to be learned all around. Specifically:

Optimizing repetition

Advanced, connected technology has a place in virtually every business. The key to successful implementation is determining what processes are repeatable, and where data can be collected. Those are the areas IoT and AI make the biggest difference. Machines can quickly learn and execute specific steps, as with real-time bidding in media placements, automated marketing systems and retargeting ads to consumers. These processes save time and eliminate errors people are more prone to making.

Mechanizing information

As they carry out these processes, machines are masters at collecting massive amounts of data quickly and accurately, outpacing human capability. This provides businesses, and especially marketers, access to increasingly rich and extensive data sets. They can also scour them quickly in search of trends or abnormalities. Any deviation raises a flag that warns of a potential issue.

However, the data sets machines can build and parse quickly are susceptible to noise. Robots can’t always tell when a data point is acceptable or a sign of a larger problem. Automated ad purchasing may suggest sites quickly and efficiently, but if they’re at odds with a brand’s positioning, or explicit and elicit, only people can step in to ensure a mistake isn’t made. A major retailer even sent targeted coupons to a customer who fit the profile for expectant mothers – but the customer was a teenage girl, revealing to her family that she was pregnant. The oversight created a backlash from people upset that their use of data went too far. As consumers accept the reliance on digital automation, the personal touch and human filter from a brand becomes critically important.

Driven by data, delivered personally

Robert Cardillo, Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, was asked how he balances incorporating machine capabilities without detracting from his employees. He noted that automation needs to elevate an analyst in order to amplify the analysis. That can only happen when a human is in charge. Often the answer lies in what isn’t in the data. What’s missing is often as important as what is there. A robot or algorithm can’t figure that out. But it’s intuitive for a human.

Applying nuanced problem-solving to rapid, efficient processes allows for the greatest production at the highest level of skill. Machines can help us recognize potential issues faster, giving people more time to diagnose situations and offer solutions. But relying too much on the robots subtracts the value of logic that only a human can provide. Because while people accept and understand the role of machines and big data in their lives, they’re still more likely to trust another person.

Rodgers Townsend, a St. Louis advertising agency attend The AT&T Business Summit.

Fanning the flames of desirability

Team RT had the privilege to attend The AT&T Business Summit recently – joining a couple thousand of the brightest business folks around. All of us were in search of sights and trends to better inform and infuse into our work.

The Summit let us immerse ourselves in technology, big data and innovation across industries. However, shortly after the commencement ceremony, the conversation quickly pivoted away from business capes and value props, and toward a deeper and renewed focus on the single-most critical factor for success in business:

Not just the customer – but the ongoing, ever-changing customer relationship.

John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, noted how the smartphone revolution forced us to rethink how businesses work and consumers interact with them. No longer could businesses dictate inflexible, longstanding, contractual terms of the relationship. This shift continues in a market where customers decide what they want, and companies either keep up or risk being discarded for a competitor.

It’s here where the most interesting conversations at The Summit were kindled. And the burning questions probed how to actually do so.

As one attendee noted when he called upon an old Bill Gates book, “business now moves at the speed of thought,” especially as it relates to a customer’s needs. If a business or customer has an idea, there must be an immediate action following it in order to meet the need. Any hesitation or delay increases the likelihood of falling behind.

Knowing this, here are three ways marketers can sharpen what they do every day:

  1. Listen More Intimately

 Businesses need multiple lines of communication in close proximity to the customer. It’s not enough to have employees act as gatekeepers while the rest of the organization remains hidden, which wastes time and hinders accuracy. Opening up the organization so more people hear feedback directly makes them better able to find solutions for unexpected or unforeseen problems.

  1. Respond Emphatically and Empathetically

It’s not news that the pace of change in business is accelerating. But it was discussed as a factor that stimulates advancements and innovation. Messaging and media that enable quick response and brand personality to shine, like social, play a huge role in this. If customers see the business in a more human way, then evolution feels natural, and quick changes can be welcomed. Not doing so leaves a business vulnerable to competitors who are ready to react with purpose and passion.

  1. Create and Cultivate Desirability

When businesses optimize what they can best create and deliver, they prioritize feasibility and viability. Namely, they capitalize on what the business is good at (feasibility), and that adds to the bottom line now and moving forward (viability). But once we know what pains our customers, what drives them and what gets them to believe, we must find an emotional reason for them to act. It’s desirability that turns a good idea into a solution to propel a business forward.

Focusing on the customer simply isn’t enough. We must listen more intimately, respond more empathetically and make our customers actually feel something – to want, need and desire engagement. And perhaps most importantly, we must do it all at the swift and decisive speed of business, focusing our response to customer need above all else, rather than what we want to sell them.

Friendsgiving has become more than just an excuse to party.

Friendsgiving Is Officially Having Its Moment

There’s a new holiday in November that you may not have heard of, unless you were born between 1982 and 2002 – the unofficial age brackets that define the millennial generation. Similar to Festivus, Friendsgiving was born out of the desire for a better holiday gathering. One devoid of family drama, political squabbling or awkward conversations. Where the host chooses who gets a seat at the table, and guests can focus on having fun instead of thinking of good excuses for Aunt Carol about why they haven’t settled down yet.

Millennials across the country have hosted Friendsgiving celebrations for the past few years to supplement their own family gatherings. While the holiday has grown organically, brands are starting to take notice and invent novel ways to participate. The days leading up to this year’s Friendsgiving offer three lessons for marketers looking to make meaningful connections with a millennial audience.

  1. Use Unexpected Data to Uncover Organic Relevancy

While the unofficial holiday is popular, no one had been able to agree on what the actual date should be. That is until McCormick Spices used Google Data to formally put Friendsgiving 2017 on the calendar. According to McCormick, Google searches for classic Thanksgiving recipes like “Turkey Recipe” and “Stuffing Recipe” are relatively stable the week of Thanksgiving, but increased more than 300% year-over-year the week before. That makes Saturday, Nov. 18 the most likely day for Friendsgiving 2017.

In addition to tapping into millennial culture, the McCormick story is also a good lesson for brands to mine and market data in unexpected ways. Think about what data, internal or external, your brand has access to. Consider using it not just to target or sell more, but to uncover insights that lead to more relevant, surprising and meaningful conversations with consumers.

  1. Bake Social Good Into Brand Experiences

This new holiday isn’t just about escaping your relatives; it’s taken on a social-good component. Earlier this month, Aldi and Venmo announced a new campaign with the goal of helping Americans give one million meals to families in need in honor of Friendsgiving. Venmo, the preferred millennial peer-to-peer payment method, has created a custom “Turkey Hand Friendsgiving” emoji that consumers can use in the app. For every Turkey Hand emoji in a Venmo payment note, Aldi will donate 10 meals to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization.

  1. Make It Easy; They’ll Participate

Besides being altruistic and lending purpose to the brands, the Venmo/Aldi promotion is also beautiful in its simplicity. Whatever the category, consumers are far more likely to engage if brands make it easy for them. Buy a pair of TOMS, and they give another away. Reorder an item with Amazon’s “One-Click” button – no searching necessary. It’s all easy and automatic. All things equal, it’s far easier to remove friction than it is to increase motivation. What are the points of friction consumers experience with your brand? Start by making changes that minimize those pain points to encourage engagement and participation.

While undeniably fun, Friendsgiving has become more than just an excuse to party. The rising popularity of the holiday provides insight into what millennials value: authenticity and relevant experiences, social good and brands with purpose, and table stakes of ease and usability.

When shopping lists go bot

When Shopping Lists Go Bot

One of our account directors, Laura, has been ordering dog food through her thermostat. Yes, you read that right. Apparently, her Nest is connected to her Amazon Prime account, or something equally nerdy.

Amidst 21st century methods of buying dog food at home, and simultaneously diving ever-deeper into the world of “connected retail” on behalf of our AT&T and Schnucks client teams, we’re noticing an exciting comingling of high-tech retail trends – voice-assisted shopping among them. The technology is adding a new, unique element to the customer journey – transforming retail in unprecedented ways.

“Alexa, Add Milk to My Grocery List.”

Consumers first started talking to computers in the 1990s, when AT&T used early voice recognition software to route customer calls. But today, chatting with Alexa or Siri isn’t clunky – it’s natural. Over a third of Amazon Echo users are using Alexa to maintain a shopping list. And 17% of them use Echo to add items to an online shopping cart. So what are people asking Alexa to buy? The top categories include household supplies, pet supplies, and packaged goods and snacks. (Source: Field Agent, “Shopping on the Cutting-Edge: Shopper Attitudes Toward 3 Trailblazing Retail Technologies”)

The premise seems futuristic, but the logic is simple. If you’ve ever logged in to Amazon and purchased, for instance, Bounty paper towels, then Amazon has a record of that purchase and assumes Bounty is your preference. So a few days later, after a kid’s particularly messy milk spill, Echo users can simply say, “Alexa, buy paper towels,” and the tech gears start turning.

It’s not just the online-retail behemoth Amazon that’s onto the game, though. Target and Google recently announced a new partnership enabling Google Express customers to order from Target using Google Assistant. It’s safe to assume that more technology is on the way, and existing channels will become smarter and more intuitive. Welcome to the future. Here’s what it means for marketers:

“Top-of-Mind” Overtakes “Front-of-Shelf”

The easily visualized image of a customer standing in an aisle of wall-to-wall laundry detergents, comparing labels and weighing the merits of stain remover versus color protector is becoming less of a “given.” In the world of voice-assisted shopping, being top-of-mind is more important than being front-of-shelf. With a marked decline of in-the-aisle research, a consumer’s unaided, mental consideration set is more powerful than ever.

Brand Loyalty or Brand Stickiness?

For challenger brands looking to upset category leaders, the Alexa factor raises the bar. Instead of making a deliberate, recurring choice to purchase Bounty over Brawny in the aisle, shoppers are digitally automating the choice by defaulting to the brands of past purchases. The challenge lies in upsetting consumers’ status quo choice.

Bringing Brick-and-Mortar Touchpoints to Digital

For brands that market physical products, it’s easy to think of the physical store as the holy grail of consumer-to-brand interaction. But as consumers increasingly turn toward e-commerce platforms for shopping, marketers must ensure that a consumer’s online experience with the brand aligns with the brick-and-mortar experience.

For instance, ensure that consumers can see fabrics and textures close-up. Make sure SKU descriptions and product details align. Make it easy to compare claims across brands. The task is daunting, but essential to creating a digital experience that offers the benefits of brick-and-mortar experiences.

No matter which retail evolution happens next, the heart of retail’s digital transformation lies in creating smarter and simpler, streamlined customer experiences. It’s important to remember that retail begins long before customers enter the door, and transcends basic transactions.


Paycor acknowledges the people that make the difference

In a world of cloud-based recruiting, hiring and payroll solutions, we sought to bring back the human side of human resources. Our new campaign for Paycor introduces the latest technology and innovation in applicant tracking, benefits management and electronic on-boarding solutions, through a personal, emotional brand film.

The spot illustrates the impact one HR manager has made across her entire company, thanks to intuitive and intelligent tools from Paycor. Shot by up-and-coming director Elle Ginter, a 2016 New Directors Showcase and DGA / AICP Commercial Directors Diversity Showcase selectee, the film was produced in partnership with Sanctuary Films L.A. and 90 Degrees West in St. Louis.

The cutting-edge recruiting and applicant technology frees up H.R. professionals to identify and connect with the best candidates—the special individuals that create culture and build companies over the long haul. As an agency recognized for our culture, we couldn’t agree more.

Check out the spot here:

Andrew Dauska, CEO of St. Louis Ad Agency Rodgers Townsend

Andrew Dauska Joins Rodgers Townsend as Chief Executive Officer

August 21, 2017 | Rodgers Townsend, part of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE; OMC), announced today the appointment of Andrew Dauska as Chief Executive Officer. Effective August 30, Dauska will partner with Michael McCormick, EVP and Chief Creative Officer, taking over from Tim Rodgers, one of the agency’s two founders, as he enters retirement.

Dauska joins from Omnicom’s TBWA\Chiat\Day where he served as Managing Director and lead client partner for Nissan North America. Previously, Dauska helmed Wunderman’s Minneapolis office and led accounts including Allstate, Delta Air Lines and Heinz for Leo Burnett and as Director of Account Management at Carmichael Lynch where he served on the agency leadership team and was a principal architect of the Effie-award winning, “Love” campaign for Subaru of America.

Reporting in to Wendy Clark, President and Chief Executive Officer of DDB North America, Dauska and McCormick will lead top clients such as AT&T, The Hartford, Spectrum Brands, and others.

“Andrew’s experience, creative intuition and Midwestern sensibility made him a stand-out recruit to lead Rodgers Townsend,” said Clark. “I’m excited to see all that Andrew, Mike and the team will accomplish in this exciting, next phase of RT’s journey.”

Dauska added, “In RT, I found a commitment to craft, an amazing partner in Mike, and a unique inflection point as we prepare for Tim’s retirement and to broaden our footprint. It’s a true honor to continue living out the vision he and Tom created for how an agency can put the interests of its clients, the work, and our people front and center.”

After 41 years in the industry, 21 of those at the company he founded with Tom Townsend, Rodgers is handing over the reins.

“When you leave a group of people and a company you love, you hope you’ll be able to find someone you know in your heart feels right. With Mike, we knew we had someone who understood what matters, and with Andrew, I knew we’d found someone who would build on and surpass what we’ve started, and be someone our clients would want to look to for marketing counsel,” said Rodgers.

Clark continued, “Today’s announcement comes with mixed emotions. We bid farewell to one of ad-land’s greats, honoring Tim, and welcome Andrew sure to be among ad-land’s future greats.  The gift with both Tim and Andrew is that they are both genuinely authentic, smart and kind people that all of us are fortunate to work with.”

The appointment of Dauska adds to the agency’s recent move to a new space in the St. Louis Place building and follows the selection of a Cannes Young Lions Cyber team and Cannes shortlist at the recent Cannes Festival of Creativity.


About Rodgers Townsend

Rodgers Townsend is a nationally acclaimed, full-service marketing communications agency located in St. Louis, Missouri. The agency provides strategic planning, advertising, digital, social and direct/one-to-one marketing, and design services to a wide range of clients both nationally and regionally.

Current clients include: AT&T, The Black Rep, The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Enterprise Holdings, Great Circle, The Hartford, Luxco Brands, Missouri Baptist Medical Center, St. Louis University, Schnucks Markets and Spectrum Brands.

For further information on Rodgers Townsend, please visit

About Omnicom Group Inc. 

Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE-OMC) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.

For further information on Omnicom and its brands, please visit

Dare to be Mysterious

I’m feeling all inspired by The Mysterious Package company. They sell “stories you can touch” with multimedia narratives you ponder and piece together over a series of mailings; the final mailing is always a crate with an artifact to memorialize the experience. The Mysterious Package Company taps into the delight people feel from a good surprise, the resolution of anticipation and suspense.

The experiences tend to be supernatural, horror or adventure themed. They aren’t for everyone. But over 500,000 people have signed up to send snail mail ranging in price from $29 to $299. They won’t give you many details and are actually quite stubborn about it. They swear you to secrecy and make you wait for your membership application to be approved. The whole process is frustratingly compelling.

“People tend to over-communicate or explain too much.”

Jason Kapalka, cofounder of The Mysterious Package Company

I recently sent The Lost Treasure of John Augur to a friend for her birthday. The month-long production lead time built anticipation and I waited impatiently for the experience to start. I finally got an e-mail from The Curator saying it had begun and freaked out like it was Christmas morning. I found myself obsessively checking the tracking number to see when it was delivered. I Facebook stalked my friend to see her reaction: “This is the coolest thing ever!” Then there was the psychological torture (and glee) of secret-keeping under persistent questioning: “Is it you? I know it’s you. Confess. You did this, didn’t you?” I could neither confirm nor deny. The Curator sent me updates along the way. He claimed to be my humble servant, but true to the brand, he was more entertaining than helpful. And I loved every minute of it.

The Mysterious Package Company is a great reminder that …

1) Mail is a great medium for pure storytelling.

2) A little mystery leaves room for the audience to engage.

3) It’s OK to be stubborn and uncompromising to create delight.

PSFK Conference in New York

Searching For Purpose at PSFK

At the end of May, I headed East for the PSFK Conference in New York. The theme for 2017 was “Innovation with Purpose,” and focused on “the importance of purpose in our work and the personal, communal and global impact that such an approach could have.” The day felt like a series of mini, easily digestible TED Talks. Which I think I prefer to the full-length TED Talks. Presenters included film-maker Morgan Spurlock, chef Nicholas Morgenstern and speakers from Facebook, Google, Peloton, Alfred and Dame Products.

I came back inspired, energized and with every intention of writing a recap immediately afterwards. But the big office move, Memorial Day and life got in the way. Now that we’re settled into the new space at 200 N. Broadway (and Laura is hounding me), I thought I’d share a couple links to the speakers and topics from the conference that really stood out to me.

  1. What Three Words

This blew my mind. It’s based on the insight that an overwhelming amount of places on this planet lack a formal, physical address and the problems that can cause. Think disaster recovery or emergency services in remote villages or crowded urban centers without permanent street addresses. To solve this challenge, the organization has mapped out the entire globe into 3m x 3m squares, and given each square a unique three-word address. Go ahead, discover the three words for your little corner of the world here:

  1. Ginkgo Bioworks

“Have you ever really looked at plants? They’re insane!” proclaimed Christina Agapakis, Creative Director of Ginkgo Bioworks. Christina’s enthusiasm and sense of humor were infectious, and the work she does reminds me of our clients at the Danforth Plant Science Center. Ginkgo Bioworks is a team of organism engineers who “learn from nature to develop new organisms that replace technology with biology.” Christina joked that “biology is nanotechnology that actually works.” She also said, “thinking about poop as technology is really interesting.” I totally agree.

  1. Con Body

Coss Marte was the last speaker of the day and arguably the crowd favorite. He shared his amazing story of growing up poor in New York City, running one of the Lower East Side’s biggest drug rings, spending four years in prison and ultimately creating a prison-style boot camp so popular it has an outpost at Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s an emotional, uplifting story about the power of perseverance, ingenuity and the importance of second chances. To read more about Coss’ journey, check out this NY Times article:

Rodgers Townsend work for Magic House, 'Remember to Play' awarded



June 22, 2017

St. Louis Children’s Museum’s “Remember to Play” Campaign, Created in Partnership with Rodgers Townsend and Bruton Stroube Studios, Receives National Silver ADDY

ST LOUIS (June 22, 2017) – The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum’s “Remember to Play” TV campaign recently received a National Silver ADDY from the American Advertising Federation, the industry’s largest and most representative competition. With over 40,000 entries nationally, the “Remember to Play” campaign was recognized as the only Silver winner in the Local Television Commercial :60 Seconds or More category.

The Magic House campaign was created in partnership with two of St. Louis’ most influential creative companies, Rodgers Townsend, who created the overall creative concept for “Remember to Play,” and Bruton Stroube Studios, who produced it. The campaign shares a community-wide message stressing the importance of play.

“Play is an important part of child development; but today, children’s free and unstructured playtime is declining due to the demands of homework, extracurricular activities and hours of screen time,” said Beth Fitzgerald, President at The Magic House.  “As a children’s museum, we felt a responsibility to be an advocate for play and share this important message with families. The teams at Rodgers Townsend and Bruton Stroube Studios helped us bring our vision to life; to be one of the only local organizations recognized nationally for our efforts demonstrates the unsurpassed talent we have right here in our community.”

“We were delighted to represent St. Louis as the only local agency to win National ADDYs, but we’re most proud to help raise awareness of the importance of children learning through play in support of The Magic House, a great St. Louis organization,” stated Laura Duplain, VP/Account Director of Rodgers Townsend.

The “Remember to Play” campaign launched during the summer of 2016 and included messaging at The Magic House as well as on billboards, radio and television. A video appeared in movie theaters and was also accessible through a variety of social media sites.

Video Link: Remember to Play.

About Rodgers Townsend

Rodgers Townsend is a St. Louisbased integrated communications agency, expert at helping marketers achieve market share that far exceeds their share of voice. RT’s services are holistic in nature and tailored to meet each client’s need, with specialists in strategy and brand development; digital, traditional advertising and direct marketing; social media strategy and management; brand identity, sales support and employee engagement. Rodgers Townsend clients include: AT&T, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Enterprise RentACar, Great Circle, The Hartford, LouFest, Luxco Spirits, Mayflower and United Van Lines, Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Saint Louis University, Scottrade and Spectrum Home and Garden and Pet Brands. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, RT is part of the Omnicom Global Agency Network. To learn more, visit

About Bruton Stroube Studios

We are an independent studio of creative collaborators working together to create beautiful imagery through still photography and motion – all under one roof. We have a squadron of more than 30 full-time employees. Our 55,000 square foot work space was originally built in 1896 as a Beethoven Music Conservatory on the outskirts of downtown St. Louis. It houses three shooting spaces (each with a full kitchen), a retouching/3D department, five editing suites, audio engineering and custom composition, an entire floor dedicated to prop and wardrobe storage, and an Elton John-themed pinball machine. Check out what we make at 

The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum

The Magic House is a not-for-profit participatory museum that provides hands-on learning experiences for children and families and encourages experimentation, creativity and the development of problem-solving skills within a place of beauty, wonder, joy and magic. Regular Museum admission is $11 per person. Children under the age of one are free.

The Magic House is located at 516 S. Kirkwood Road, one mile north of Highway 44 in historic downtown Kirkwood, Missouri. Summer hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; Friday, 9:30 am to 9:00 pm; Saturday, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm; and Sunday, 11:00 am to 5:30 pm. Parking is always free at The Magic House. For more information, please call 314.822.8900 or visit The Magic House online at

#LearnToPlay #PlayToLearn #TheMagicHouse


Black Rep Posters, National Award - Silver

Rodgers Townsend brought home six awards from the National ADDYs, which took place this weekend at The Roosevelt in New Orleans. The awards stretched across four different clients in multiple categories.

The Black Rep Season 40 posters, pictured, were the most awarded, winning three Silvers across various categories. The Chevy Show poster series took home the Gold. Check out the full list below:

  • Chevy Show Poster Campaign – Gold
  • The Black Rep, Miss Julie Poster – Silver
  • The Black Rep Poster Campaign – Silver
  • The Black Rep Poster Campaign – Silver
  • Magic House TV Spot – Silver
  • The Hartford Brad Snyder Video – Silver

“Very proud that six of our favorite St. Louis creations paddled down river to shine in New Orleans,” said Michael McCormick, chief creative officer. “And some of our favorite people were there to soak it in.”

11 Things I’d Tell My 22-year-old Self, by Mike MicCormick, Chief Creative Officer

11 Things I’d Tell My 22-year-old Self

Since it’s graduation season, some advice. Not guaranteed keys to success or rules to live by. Just humble guidance and personal philosophy from the kid I am today to the kid I used to be.

1 – It’s not a sprint.

Took me a long time to find advertising, but when I did I sure was in a hurry. Why’d it take me so long? I was too distracted. Too curious. Too stubborn. All the character traits that led me here tripped me up along the way. Initially, I was also too sensitive, couldn’t handle a hard critique or objectively listen to what others thought of my writing. But there were two moments. A high school English teacher saw something and encouraged me to channel it. Then an undergrad instructor saw enough to offer me an internship (in my fifth year of college). Embrace your own journey. Whatever it is, it makes you unique.

2 – You can’t change culture.

At least not right out of school. I landed at my first real job in advertising with a small collection of CAs, One Show annuals and Archives thinking I was going to light the place on fire. The reality shocked me and shook me. I witnessed blatant manipulation of ideas. Motivation by fear. And a hostile environment that just didn’t seem conducive to creation. So when you’re still figuring it out, don’t forget that fit matters. Trust your instinct. If it’s not right for you, keep searching.

3 – Don’t dwell in the morgue.

Get used to dead ideas. Because ideas are fragile, especially when they’re freshly hatched. They can perish for so many reasons and oftentimes for no good reason. I used to neatly stack the bodies and visit them often to reminisce about what could’ve been. But what’s the point? Good ideas die. Your job is to make more. And when those die, make more. This can go on for months. But you can’t quit. Your last idea has to be your best idea because it might be the one they buy.

4 – Admit it, you’re in sales.

I fought this for the first decade of my career. I’m not in sales. I’m not some schmuck, pressing flesh and yuking it up at happy hour or picking up the tab on the 19th green. But at some point you realize, we’re all in sales. You’re selling yourself every time you present an idea. You’re selling your ability, talent and work ethic to your partners. You’re selling your understanding, your inspiration and your loyalty to your clients. And like any good salesman, you’re building trust—not with strip steaks and martinis—but with unexpected thinking and inarguable results.

5 – If there is no wind, row.

Make your own breaks. Be the one who starts in the mailroom if you have to. Good luck with a self-promotion piece, but anything is possible. There’s simply no right way in. No guaranteed path. Do what it takes wherever you are. Find the best shop around and throw yourself on their tracks. And however long it takes, keep working with people to improve. It’s a connected world. Find talented people willing to take the same risks in pursuit of the same dream. Fall in love with your own voice, even as it’s still developing and trust where it leads.

6 – Sleep around.

This is all an experiment. So don’t get locked into one way of doing things or the same people you’re doing it with. Different ingredients lead to different cocktails. Our creative department doesn’t have a single exclusive team. Sometimes being hitched absolutely works, but not for us right now. And it shouldn’t work for you right now. Seek diversity. A collision of backgrounds and talent leaves unpredictable and occasionally beautiful wreckage.

7 – Writers write.

Whether you’re a planner, an account person or creative director, writers write and rewrite until it’s right. Some days I think our best writer is an art director. Title doesn’t dictate behavior. Inspiration can come from anywhere. But you can’t be afraid to bleed all over the page. Let it out. Long copy is rarely the end result, but glints of gold are never just lying around on the surface. You have to move some earth if you ever hope to move the Earth.

8 – Every day is Birke Day.

One of my most special partners was Dave Birke. Cancer stole him from his friends, his family and his fiancée at 29. But knowing him and losing him taught me so much. Befriend your inner child. Plant tomatoes. Learn to fly. And when you make ads, make little kid faces. Dave was never afraid to make sound effects and act out his ideas. Nor afraid to crinkle his nose when an idea smelled funny. Fear is learned. Try not to learn it.

9 – Don’t chase it, make it.

Quitting is easy. Taking your ball and going home is loser talk. Some drift and new experiences are a good thing, don’t get me wrong. But while you’re here, don’t waste time with one foot out the door. How can you build anything of quality if you keep taking your eyes off the workbench? So when you find a fit, throw your heart over the fence. Stick around and make it something special. Everyone plays a part in culture.

10 – Nice guys don’t always get crushed.

Life’s too short to work with jerks. 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of Rodgers Townsend. Started by two of the nicest, smartest and most competitive guys I know, our little shop in St. Louis has been a salt marsh of sorts, protecting and nurturing talent recognized from South City to the South of France. People like transparency, honesty and a seat at the table. Find a place that invites you to sit, debate and create, then challenges you to do it better next time.

11 – Care.

You can forget everything you’ve read, but don’t forget this. Care. Arrogance and apathy will get you nowhere in this business. Never be too cool to care. It’s too easy to rant about everything you’re up against. Or how stupid clients or lack of budget sank your battleship. But if you care enough, most times you’ll find a way to still make something that moves the needle. Just care. If I interview someone, there will be questions and I’ll look at her work or talk about where he went to school and so on, but what I want to know more than anything is DO YOU CARE?

You cared enough to read beyond the first 140 characters. That’s a good start.



RT Wuz Here - by Tim Rodgers, Jr.


Dear 1000 Clark,

I’m not good with breakups. But I wanted to see how you’re doing. Maybe, I don’t know, I just wanted to see if you’ve thought of us? I’ve thought a lot about you. I think I just … needed to say something … to pretend this isn’t really over.

I took the long way home yesterday, turning down Spruce to see how you’re holding up. Not sure if you saw me (I wasn’t crying), the sign (not important), or heard the horns (those cars were jerks). I drove off, letting the words I wanted to say disappear in the exhaust. Side note: I still need to get that emissions test.

I know I’m rambling. I’ll try to hold it together.

My friends thought you were the one. They told me every time they saw us together. You were a beautiful, modern throwback. We made memories. Happy hours, late nights, early mornings. The silent elevator rides with strangers from other floors, our glances darting between phones and buttons.

During the day you came alive, but at night you really shined. You were there when we needed you, there when we didn’t. I never said this before, but I also thought you were the one.

But anyway.

We’re at our new building now, and we can even see you from our new space. We’ve unpacked boxes; maybe soon it’ll feel like home as we make new memories. We’re happy, really. Maybe this was for the best. You’ve come so far since we first met youI don’t think you know how great you are. We had to grow up, and you needed someone new. 

I’ve found myself looking toward you often. I hope that someday, when you’re ready, we can at least be friends again.  

💖 you,

Tim Jr.

P.S. Can you check and see if we left any beer? If so, please forward to 200 North Broadway, 12th floor.


Rodgers Townsend - inspiration from #ThinkContent

Here’s that C-Word again

“If you’re not creating meaningful content that drives business, you’re only contributing to the noise.” – Shafqat Islam, Co-Founder and CEO of NewsCred

Content. The word is everywhere. That’s because content is everywhere. And that won’t be changing anytime soon.

Recently, we were invited to attend the NewsCred #ThinkContent summit on behalf of our client, AT&T. It was a full day of inspiring brands sharing their success stories through the content they have developed – both internally and with agency partners. Below we present our top 5 highlights from #ThinkContent 2017.

  1. Relevance is fleeting; culture is the connection that makes us hang on.
    Creating continuous moments isn’t easy. When developing content, determine what defines the brand and bring it into sync with your audience to make the brand’s personality shine. Influencers are also impactful, which can further define the content journey and story hook. Occasionally, disregard the numbers. It’s not an easy one to swallow as a brand or an agency, but it takes a lot of work and time before results may be seen.
  1. Building a brand takes long-term vision. You can’t hack growing trust.
    Many brands, National Geographic for example, have been around for 129 years and still have to grow trust within their audience. The trust has now spilled over into social media and has made National Geographic the most followed brand across all channels.Trust is more than awareness and likes. When creating content, we have to think like a customer and ask ourselves the question, “is this going to help build trust with my customers?”
  1. Everyone can create content. But not everyone can create value.
    Content is at our fingertips whether we want it there or not. That’s why it’s crucial to focus on developing valuable content. While trust is a necessity, creating work that puts the audience first is key.
  1. Recognize the responsibility to the people’s stories we tell.
    The truth matters, and authenticity is key. We all know exceptional storytelling performs. It elevates the emotional priorities of the audience and demonstrates the brand understands what their worlds are really like. Ask yourself these three questions when you are planning content: Does our brand fit in this story? Where does it fit? How can we reveal it in the right way?
  1. Create meaningful content: Be the thing they are interested in vs. interrupting the thing they are interested in.
    Authenticity is the new authority. With authentic content, we create value for our audiences. But we’re up against a lot of content out there – some noise, some inspiration and some filler. To stand out from the crowd, you have to truly understand your customer, their mindset and motivations, and deliver something that resonates with them culturally and contextually.

For even more inspiration, check out these content pieces. There it is again. That C-word.

National Geographic

Photo used with permission from NewsCred.

2017 Winners of the U.S. Cannes Young Lions cyber competition

Rodgers Townsend creatives Angela Bode and Erin Holcomb have won the U.S. Cannes Young Lions cyber competition. Out of all U.S. entries, Bode and Holcomb took the prize in the cyber category and will be representing Team USA at the 64th Annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June. 

The team was tasked with creating an innovative campaign for Brave Beginnings, a program that provides healthcare professionals with life-saving neonatal equipment for premature babies within the U.S.

To check out their winning entry, click here.

“One of the proudest achievements we’ve ever announced. These two are ferociously talented and proof that a roar can be heard from anywhere,” said Michael McCormick, chief creative officer at Rodgers Townsend.

The Cannes Young Lions awards celebrates the next generation of creative stars, and highlights some of the best talent in advertising. To view the full list of winners, click here.   

ST. LOUIS, APRIL 20, 2017 – Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24. And 90% of those who died by suicide had an underlying mental illness.1 To reduce these startling statistics, it’s imperative to eliminate the stigma of mental illness and start the conversation that could save a life.

Project Wake Up, a federal and Missouri state 501(c)3, is working to eradicate the stigmas of mental health and suicide. The organization was started by Alex Lindley in September 2014 after he delivered a eulogy at the funeral of his close friend, Ryan Candice, a University of Missouri student who took his own life that same year. Candice was the second friend Lindley lost to suicide.

Today, Project Wake Up launched a brand new commercial to create awareness around the current climate of mental health in the United States. The spot depicts a high school student, David, who goes through his day with a large wound on his side. The wound, completely unnoticed by David’s family, peers and even the school nurse, is later revealed to be representative of David’s struggles with mental illness, demonstrating that mental health issues often go unseen before it’s too late.

“Nobody just wakes up one day and decides they want to have a mental illness,” said Lindley, founder of Project Wake Up. “The only difference between a physical injury and mental illness is the ability for people to actually see an injury. If we start perceiving mental health in a different light, we can shift the conversation and those struggling can begin to receive proper treatment.”

The commercial is not the first endeavor that Project Wake Up has created to increase awareness. Two years ago, the organization started its journey with this 13-minute short that shed light on the impact suicide has on loved ones. “To my knowledge, Wake Up is the only mental health organization to tackle the issue from both a documentary and drama standpoint,” Lindley said. “With our initial 13-minute teaser, we proved that we have the ability to do something special. This commercial solidifies that and shows we have the knowledge to talk about mental health from a wide range of angles.”

Project Wake Up intends to continue this important conversation by creating a documentary that dives deeper into the effects of mental illness and suicide. Earlier in April, Wake Up held their second annual silent auction and trivia night and raised an additional $67,000 towards this endeavor. They now plan to begin production on the documentary this winter.

“It would be irresponsible for us to not thoroughly study the many industries that have a hand in the current mental health climate before moving forward,” said Danny Kerth, vice president of Project Wake Up. “We constantly remind ourselves we only have one shot at doing this, so let’s make sure we do it in a way that has a true, lasting impact on everyone affected, as well as those who determine how mental health is treated.”

Rodgers Townsend, an advertising agency in St. Louis, developed and created the commercial. Nate Townsend, a director/editor at Rodgers Townsend, is the director of Wake Up’s 13-minute short, the commercial and the upcoming documentary.

“I’ve seen PSAs and spots that cover mental health in the past, but this takes the conversation to a whole new level,” Townsend said. “Too many families and friends have experienced the harsh realities of suicide, but things still aren’t changing. That’s why this piece is so gripping and real; like the rest of Project Wake Up’s work, it’s rooted in the experiences of the people who are a part of the organization.”

Michael McCormick, chief creative officer at Rodgers Townsend, said, “In many ways, the era of social media has given us more ways to disguise how we really feel about ourselves. We form surface-level social connections. With this film, we are proud to put something out into the world that starts a deeper conversation. Where we can look one another in the eye and really, truly ask ‘how are you doing? I want to know.”

Suicide and mental illness are topics no one wants to talk about—but they need to. It’s time to start the conversation. Visit and donate today.

About Project Wake Up

Project Wake Up is a nonprofit mental health organization created to expose and eradicate the stigmas behind mental health and suicide. Created in 2014 after the loss of two friends to suicide at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Wake Up aims to change the tone of the conversation around mental health through a feature-length documentary that will highlight inadequacies in treatment, funding and overall perception of the issue.

Project Wake Up is a federally recognized 501(c)3 and is also registered in Missouri. To learn more, visit or their Facebook page at

About Rodgers Townsend

Rodgers Townsend is a St. Louis‐based integrated communications agency, expert at helping marketers achieve market share that far exceeds their share of voice. RT’s services are holistic in nature and tailored to meet each client’s need, with specialists in strategy and brand development; digital, traditional advertising and direct marketing; social media strategy and management; brand identity, sales support and employee engagement.

Rodgers Townsend clients include: AT&T, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 39° North, Enterprise Rent‐A‐Car, Great Circle, The Hartford, LouFest, Luxco Spirits, Mayflower and United Van Lines, Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Saint Louis University, Scottrade and Spectrum Home and Garden and Pet Brands. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016, RT is part of the Omnicom Global Agency Network. To learn more, visit


1 – Statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health,

Rodgers Townsend is awarded 13 District ADDY Awards

RT brings home 13 District ADDY Awards

Today we’ve been honored with 3 Golds, 9 Silvers and 1 Judges’ Special Citation in the District 9 ADDY Awards. The awards span across 5 clients—local as well as national. Here’s the complete list:



The Black Rep – Miss Julie – Poster

The Black Rep – The Black Rep Poster Campaign

Museum of Transportation – Chevy Show Poster Campaign



AT&T – #AgilityIs Integrated Campaign

The Black Rep – Lines In The Dust – Poster

The Black Rep – Seven Guitars – Poster

The Black Rep – The Black Rep Poster Campaign – Illustration Series

The Hartford – Brad Snyder Video

The Magic House – Magic House TV


Judge’s Citation:

Museum of Transportation – Chevy Show Poster Campaign


Thanks to our clients who empower us to do our best work every year. Next up: Nationals.