When in Utah, do as the Utahns do. 

Last Saturday morning I visited the Downtown Farmers Market in Salt Lake City to get my fix for local flavor--literally. The SLCDFM (as I just decided to call it) is a big deal here. There weren't open parking spots nearby and the sidewalks were packed. And, man, was the food good. There's nothing like a taste of fresh fruits and veggies. Or Utah Honey Butter made with raw local honey. I didn't buy any of that because I would have drank it by the bottle. And you would have too so don't judge me. 

But to me, the Salt Lake City's Downtown Farmers Market (pictured above) is more than a block party of delicious foods from local growers. It's a study into marketing and branding for companies big and small.

Think of these big time brand names: Nike, Toyota, McDonald's. I bet you've got a few of their campaigns, slogans, products in your head right now. They're big and memorable and spend a lot of time and money on their branding. 

But what do you do when you're a local farmer with no budget to spend on marketing?

That morning at the market I was on the prowl for some kale (Drizzle olive oil and sea salt on it, cook it at 350-400 for about 15-20 minutes. You're welcome.) I visited one stall run by a father-daughter team. Above their booth was a sign that read "Someone Someone Garden Summer Project." And it was written in .... Papyrus. With Comic Sans subtext.

Put yourself in my shoes: Do you judge this product by its brand?

Well, in this case, you better say "no" because, really, it's a child and she's growing kale and you're going to buy that kale and ask for double because you're not a jerk.

But stroll down the path and you'll see homemade salsa packaged with clashing colors and strange design elements accented with grammar mistakes. In any other market or environment, would this product stand against the giants with their professional packaging and well-known status?

Maybe. Maybe not. There's a lot to think about here.

But I can vouch for that salsa. It was caught somewhere between "crazy" and "good." 

So, point of my story, you've always been told never to judge a book by its cover. Let's all do the same with the little guys and their branding, yeah?

After any big game, fans and players often want commemorative t-shirts. To meet the demand and to cash in on the 'We're #1" euphoria there are often two sets of shirts designed declaring each team the Champs…you know, just in case.

I've been a designer a while now and over the years I have designed a lot of these championship t-shirts. I've alway been curious as to what happens to the losing teams shirts, jackets and hats. I mean that’s a lot of misprinted items that can’t hit store shelves.

Well, recently I found out  about a group called World Vision. These guys save the items from certain doom by sending them overseas to people living in disaster areas and impoverished, third world nations which is great. Of course, there are people right here in America who could desperately use a fresh, clean t-shirt or jacket. I'd actually prefer that these items be donated to local charities. However, overseas distribution is part of an agreement between the pro leagues and World Vision. The I guess the leagues want to avoid any donated items popping up on eBay or appearing on TV.

 From a branding/marketing stand point I guess I can understand that decision. But it does make me wonder if the leagues are really interested in helping people in third world countries or if they're more concerned with not offending losing players and heartbroken fans…

Two subjects today...



I love Amazon.com.  LOVE IT.  I despise going to malls and stores to buy things.  And Amazon has made me so much happier because it prevents me from having to do that.  And they keep doing more and more to make me my ability to never leave my desk or house a reality.  There's this specific type of granola bar that I like that I can never buy in stores.  Amazon has 'em!  And they offer a subscription service so once a month they just automatically send me some.  I never run out!  Sunday night my sons and I were wanting to watch a movie.  They had never seen Cheaper by the Dozen but Netlix doesn't have it.  Amazone Prime does!  Within seconds we had paid $2.99 to "rent" it and were snuggled up watching a great family movie together.  And if you're a member of Amazon Prime, you get free 2-day shipping on everything.  WTF?!  How could life get any more convenient than this?

Well that brings me to my story about yesterday when I realized just how spoiled Amazon Prime has made me.  My mouse broke mid-morning.  The little scrolling ball on the top stopped scrolling as these Apple mouses (mice?) tend to do.  I already had my browser open so I went to amazon.com and typed in Apple Mouse, clicked on the first result, placed my order and in less than 30 seconds, a new mouse was on its way to me.  So while Speedy Gonzales might be the fastest mouse in all of Mexico, I undoubtedly got the speediest mouse in all of America.



Entirely different subject here but since I rarely (if ever) blog about design, I decided to post a quick tribute to one of my favorite forms of design... Brick Wall Advertising.  I love me some old brick wall advertising.  The more worn and vintage looking, the better.  I grew up in a town full of old buildings that had this stuff painted on the sides.  Maybe that's where I developed my affinity for it.  But if I could figure out a way to hang giant brick walls around my house and office featuring these old ads, I would.  Here are some of my faves that I found from a quick google search.

is wedding season! For the past five days I have been in Louisville, Kentucky visiting family and friends while preparing for my sister's wedding this fall. The trip included finding the bridesmaids shoes, altering dresses, going over rehersal dinner and wedding day logistics and convincing my sister and her fiance that they need to play the Wobble to get everyone on the dance floor! 

Over the weekend a few friends of mine were at a wedding in Columbia, South Carolina. I received this text below, moments before this article was written. 

My sister isn't a sports fan, so sports won't play a role in her wedding. But as someone who has sports consume their personal and professional life, seeing this is pretty cool!

What do you think? Will/did sports play a role in your wedding? Share your story below!

Busy season has officially started here at Old Hat, but the past month and a half, I've been in my own busy season.  I've been traveling around the past couple of months to weddings, funerals, and visiting friends. 

I spent June in Norman painting and moving into my new house, and winning the kickball leauge championships. 

Then, I got to go to the zoo, play golf and climb trees in Portland, visit the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and watch two cousins get married.  I also made a trip to St. Louis and Kansas City in one weekend for different events. I think I have FINALLY caught up on sleep and am feeling like my life is becoming normal again. 

June was so busy, I'm taking a break from traveling the rest of July, then I'm headed to Denver in August, and then it's football season! Already planning on going to a couple different games! 

What about you? Where have you been this summer? 

Do you ever get bored of your day to day workout?



Last week Hannah and I started talking about different types of workouts other than running. Both of us had thought about joining a gym or a dance studio to mix things up. That is when I came across a free CrossFit class on Saturday mornings to try out the program. Hannah and I signed up right away to try it out thinking that other people in the office would join but to our surprise it was just Hannah and I....

Both of us were nervous on Saturday morning because we heard how intense CrossFit can be. We pulled up to the parking lot and sat in the car for five minutes rethinking our decision. There was no turning back now!

The warm up was so nice and easy that both of us thought this will be a piece of cake...we were wrong! The next 12 minutes consisted of running, over-head squats and toes to bar. The one thing that we both saw very quickly was CrossFit works for people of all different age groups and athletic ability. 

Hannah excelled at toes to bar which made me hate her.....since no one else in the group could get their legs past his or her chest. Being a former gymnast she made things that a professional athlete would struggle with easy. So long story short everyone in the group hated her.

Well we survived our first Crossfit session and now the question was do we sign up again? Not so fast....I found another gym in town and decided we needed to try both before making a decision. So after our first ever CrossFit experience on Saturday we were back at it last night. BAD DECISION!!!

The gym we went to last night was more intense than the previous gym. As we entered everyone told us we picked a horrible day to start...great! The warm up was hard, the workout was extreme and the cool down....well we just sat there. Hannah and I made it through last night and decided to join the gym that was more intense!

Look for us at CrossFit games next year! Also pray we survive....


Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July weekend. The past 4 days have been great here in Norman. Not only was the weather PERFECT (a cool 70 at night), but I spent a lot of time with friends from Murray State (Go Racers!), watched America's favorite pastime at the OKC Redhawks game and enjoyed some delicious food at Zac's 4th of July party!

Saturday night was the big finale of my 4th of July weekend as I had the opportunity to work the Toby Keith Twister Relief Concert at OU's Memorial Stadium. The 65,000+ tickets sold went to help those affected by the May 20th tornado in Moore Oklahoma. Last football season, I worked with the Sooner Club in the suites. My contact reached out to see if I'd like to volunteer for the concert and I jumped on the opportunity because I love country music and in a small way, it was a chance for me to give back. My responsibilities for the concert were to check tickets and answer questions on the club level (where there was air conditioning :)), but for the most part, I was able to sit out on the deck and enjoy the concert. 

While watching the concert, I captured the experience on the new Instragram video. Below you can watch 15 second clips of the cheering crowd and segments of songs from a few artists (my phone died before Toby Keith's preformance). 

Video of Garth Brooks leaving the stage and the crowd of 65,000 fans!


I finally saw Willie Nelson!


Ronnie Dunn singing Red Dirt Road! 


In case you haven't heard (like the weather here in Oklahoma), it's July already. WOAH! Where did the time go? Seems like just a few weeks ago it was the New Year and all of a sudden, last week I'm celebrating my 1 year anniversary at Old Hat. IT'S CRAZY STUFF. But, with the start of July comes two things: our busy season and Independence Day (the actual day AND the movie, so I guess that's actually 3 things? whatever.)

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays - there's no stress about getting everyone the perfect gift, no excessive holiday traveling, no worrying about if all the food will get done at the same time, etc. It's all about pyrotechnics and stuffing your face with unhealthy things like beer and hamburgers and my absolute favorite - hotdogs. WHAT CAN BE MORE AMERICAN THAN THAT?! In case you couldn't think of anything, I've already got something for you - one of the lesser-known and under-appreciated sports out there: Competitive Eating. More specifically, Nathan's Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island.

I'm sure most of you have seen or at the very least heard about this crazy awesome spectator event. I first became interested in the sport when I saw one of those MTV True Life documentaries about competitive eating. They even followed around Takeru Kobayashi, who is one of the greatest to ever eat a bunch of food really, really fast. At the time, I thought this guy looked unbeatable. Before him, the record was 25 hot dogs, and in his first year, he DOUBLED that number and took home first place in the Hot Dog Eating Contest 6 years in a row. That was UNTIL American great Joey Chestnut came along and has won every contest since 2007. This year, he's going for 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes. He's finished 68 in two previous years, so I definitely think he can do it.

This morning, I was thinking of what an intro video for Joey Chestnut would look like... Do we focus on his EIGHT World Records? Maybe the fact that he's going for his 7th Nathan's title this year, to surpass Kobayashi? Or even throw in a VO from a previous interview, "I will not stop until I reach 70. This sport isn't about eating. It's about drive and dedication, and at the end of the day, hot dog eating challenges both my body and my mind."? This guy is hard core, but ultimately, I came to the conclusion that making a minute-long intro video for a 10 minute eating contest may be a little excessive. What do you think? Are you going to join me on the Fourth in cheering for our hometown (err, country) hero? Either way, I hope you have a fun (AND SAFE) holiday!

Social Rewards or game day rewards seem to be the buzzwords around college athletics at the moment.  In fact, they have probably been the buzzwords for the last year.   Fans are social, they want rewards, and it all seems simple enough.  

When I was in grad school at Ohio University, I was forced to talk about my undergrad alma mater often.  Forced, is probably not the correct word.  Turns out I do not mind talking about Texas A&M.  Specifically, I was always asked to talk about was 12th Man Rewards.  I was a season ticket holder at TAMU for one season.  Before that, I had relatives who had tickets and went to a lot of games.  12th Man Rewards was not the reason they went to games, but they participated anyway.  When my aunt would give me tickets to a soccer or baseball game on campus, they would also come with her 12th Man Rewards card so it could be swiped when I walked into the game.  She always tallied a lot of points and got quite a few prizes. 

This is the model that college athletics is attempting to copy.  Incentivize people to come to the game through arbitrary points for different swag.  It works for some but is not always as successful for others.  What often gets missed in these discussions is the uniqueness of TAMU.  The fans at that school are going to games regardless of the rewards.   As a student, you went to sporting events or you sat in your dorm by yourself, but rewards do help.  Being one more game away from a cool jacket will get the fan out to softball game on a rainy spring day. 

Not all rewards programs are created equal.  Every fan base is similar, but there are always characteristics that differentiate them a little bit.  Which is why, even though there is a lot of copying in athletics it never works the same as it did for the other guys.  You have to understand your fans.  Figure out what their habits are and how they enjoy a game.  Do they have their phone in their hand the entire time?  Do they use apps to follow the game?  Are they on twitter throughout the process?  What is the age demographic? Does your infrastructure have what it takes to handle 30,000 people on the phone at once?  Will they download apps or would they rather visit a website through the browser?

Understanding your fans behavior will help you pick the right way to reward them.  Fans in there fifties may be on Twitter, but they don’t want to have to deal with their phone throughout the game.  If they use the phone, it will be once or twice but probably not to tweet out their experience.  Younger fans are more likely to be on their phone throughout the game.  

The end goal, regardless of your fan base, is most likely to get people into the stadium and enjoying the game.   Requiring a check-in at the game is a quick process and can be done many ways.   A small booth outside the stadium can get fans into the habit of doing it every game.  Texas A&M was great about this.  The same people worked the rewards booth at most games and the fans got to know a familiar face.  It was more like they were greeting a friend at the game, not someone from the marketing staff.  With the advent of smart phones, that process became even easier.  Native apps on a phone have a major advantage in this arena.  The phone can tell the app where the user is and if it is close enough to the stadium, they only have to click a button to check in.  It can be done at any point and from anywhere in the stadium.  It is minimally invasive and is simple enough it can become a part of their game day habits. This is something that is more difficult to do on a website.  Even if fans have a smart phone or mobile device that could visit the site during the game it becomes much harder to know their location.  HTML5 can be used to get a general location, but if your campus is close enough together, you will not be able to tell if they are in the stadium or driving by.  It all comes down to knowing your fans and their habits.  How can you become a part of that habit?

Another option for social rewards is to reward for social media activity.  It can give you hundreds more for your marketing staff and helps spread the word.  This can be a great way to incentivize fans into pushing your message for your team.  Websites and apps can be built to track fans social activities and reward them points.  If your fans prove time and again that they are Twitter 24/7 then this could be the best way to go.  However, it does little to get people to the game.  Fans don’t need to be there to win; they can win every prize you offer from the comfort of their living room with the HD TV showing every angle of the game.  One of the biggest issues I see with this type of rewards system is that three or four people can easily dominate.  Some people are just more active on Twitter than others.  Those that are active can quickly rack up enough points to discourage others from playing.  If you are late to the game (rewards program) and you see that first place already has 1,000,000 points, it is very easy to get discouraged.  Why participate in something they will have no chance of winning?  Yes, there are other prizes you can still win, but when you come to the site everyday you are reminded you can not ever be in first, it is discouraging.  

My rambling has a point, I promise….

It comes down to understanding your fans and keeping YOUR goals in mind.  Understanding what they want and need out of a rewards program will help you achieve your goals.  Are you trying to increase your attendance or just the amount of people tweeting about you?  How will you measure your success in the end?  It starts with researching and understanding your fans.  You have to know what makes them tick and what really gets them excited.  

At Old Hat Creative we are always talking about how many people in our office used to work in an office like you.  We were apart of those marketing meetings trying to figure out what makes fans go.  We have had experienced the ups and downs of failed rewards programs.  Now, we are here to help you.  We want to get to know your fans as well as you do.  We want to figure out what will get them to the game and then offer a solution that will help you achieve that goal. We have done rewards websites and we have done rewards apps, each to varying degrees of success.  One way or another, we want to help you figure it out, help you become the school that the next buzzword is written about. 

Two weeks ago you met our new Director of Sales, Andy Simon, but this week we want to introduce you to our NEWEST Old Hatter, Justin Wollard.

Justin was born and raised in Missouri, but he packed his U-Haul with his 2,000+ movies and all that other stuff you need to make a successful transition from one state to another, and made the move to Norman, Oklahoma to join our talented team of graphic designers! Watch this video to find out more interesting facts about Justin. 



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