Screen Time with a Launcher

Ad agencies can be quite the production. Good thing our office manager knows what it’s like to star in a play.

Alicia Douglas is the Clark Kent of Launch Agency. By day, she keeps our office in check as our office manager. After work hours, she co-owns a production company with her sister specializing in photography and film. A true quadruple threat, she’s an actress, producer, director and Launcher.

How did a musical theater major find herself in the ad industry? We asked Alicia to share some of her story.

What inspired you and your sister to start Paris Marie Productions?

What inspired us to start Paris Marie Productions was storytelling. We wanted to help uplift voices of women of color and those stories that needed to be heard about not just their struggles but also their victories. Unfortunately, there aren’t many black women in the industry that are behind the cameras, so placing myself and my sister there, we are pushing to be the change we want to see. Representation is important!

Alicia (right) and her sister Jessica (left), owners of Paris Marie Productions.
Photo by Erica Marie Photography

What drew you to advertising?

I was drawn to the creativity and influence it could have on people’s lives in a very positive way. Advertising to me is looking at people and understanding how art as a medium can reach out to them and use it to promote our client’s products to the best of our abilities. It is a blending of art and business that I find that unique and amazing!

How do you think your creative role outside of work influences your job at Launch?

I think it helps me appreciate this company more as a creative outlet itself for others and myself. Not many people get the opportunity to work for a job that lets you creatively express yourself in meaningful ways, and having my own production company has let me express myself how I want to, and so I know that Launch Agency is allowing me the same freedom, even in my role as office manager.

Alternatively, how has working at Launch influenced your work with Paris Marie?

I have been able to see the brilliant minds of my coworkers and how they demonstrate their styles and creativity, allowing me to evolve my own style and pick up on techniques and skills I would have otherwise not been able to learn. It truly is wonderful that I can coalesce with the art and design of my colleagues to elevate ourselves and our creative minds!

Where can we find your work?

You can find us on Instagram and Facebook with our name Paris Marie Productions. We also have our website,

What’s next for Paris Marie? Anything exciting on the horizon that we should keep an eye out for?

We have a lot of projects coming down the pipeline! We not only have photoshoots and films scheduled to be shot for our clients, but we are also ramping up production on a project centered around telling our own stories and the stories of those that have had similar issues. We will also be producing another photo series that will focus on the beauty of black men along with some short films coming your way. So please keep an eye out for those!

Paris Marie’s next showcase is this Friday, June 26th

Meet our 2020 student stars!

It’s our favorite time of the year–Launch Scholarship Season! Every spring, we proudly honor two rising design students from UNT Communication Design with a $1,000 scholarship. And while 2020 has sent many students into the virtual world of studying, creating, designing and working from home, that didn’t stop this year’s recipients from coming through with an amazing lineup of inspiring work.

After an online portfolio review of selected junior design majors, we have selected Taylor Hill and Hana Snell as our 2020 Launch Scholarship recipients. Both were honored on May 17 at the first virtual home graduation ceremony in the history of the College of Visual Arts and Design. Taylor was recognized for best art direction and Hana was awarded for best design portfolio.

Launch established the annual scholarship in 2007 to inspire creative excellence and make a positive impact on the caliber of graduates who will, inturn, positively impact our design and advertising community. 

Hana Snell – Winner Design Portfolio

Taylor Hill – Winner Art Direction

Congrats to Taylor and Hana! May their talent continue to soar!

Launch takes off at Addys

Every year, AAF Dallas hosts the American Advertising Awards honoring the best in TV, digital, print, OOH, experiential and more. This year’s celebration did not disappoint! We’re still buzzing from a great night highlighting outstanding work created by all our favorite advertising friends and family around Dallas.

Our “Much Better” TV spot for Baylor Scott & White Health won Judge’s Choice Award.

Our Baylor Scott & White Health “So Much Better” TV Campaign racked up several awards, including the coveted Judges Choice Award for Film, Video & Sound, as well as a bronze in the regional/national TV campaign category, individual TV category and sound design. Special thanks to Director Jaci Judelson and our friends at Charlie Uniform Tango for helping us bring these beautiful spots to life.

Astrid Andujar from Droga5 gives Launch the AAF Judge’s Choice Award for TV, Video & Film.

Our Baylor Scott & White Health “Drive-Thru” Radio took home a bronze Addy.
Launchers Richard Wezensky, Alexa Perez and Macy Barbee show their Addys love .

Our Park Place “My Place” Campaign also took home a bronze in the online category. This campaign really gets to the heart of what makes clients say “Park Place is My Place.” High fives to Director Andrew Ryan Shepherd and the talented crew at Lucky Post for helping us create these lovely spots.

The “My Place” Campaign features real Park Place clients, like award-winning gospel singer, Kirk Franklin
Launchers proudly display their Addys hardware!

High fives to AAF Dallas for hosting such a wonderful party honoring all the talented ad agencies, production houses and clients that make Dallas great!

Rallying The Troops For Your Brand

Timelapse video of a war room build. (Never let the account team set up the camera – leave that to the art directors.)

The advertising war room – far less aggressive than it sounds (although there are occasional battles within) – is Strategy Central at Launch. It’s here we conduct a full brand audit and assessment of “enemy” territory. What are our client’s greatest strengths? How well does their product or service differentiate itself in a sea of sameness? Vital insights are drawn here, insights critical to informing the planning process.

We discussed the role and history of the war room with Launch partners and Creative Directors Diane Seimetz and Dave Wilgus:

What exactly is a Launch War Room?

It’s one of the few truly private places in the agency…no windows, a real door to close. We find this helps our squirrel-prone brains to focus. Inside, the walls are covered with pinnable material, which becomes home to a wide variety of our client’s and their competitors’ marketing, brand and social media assets, online reviews – almost anything digital and physical we can unearth. In the end, it’s a 360-degree deep dive, providing a unique, all-in-one glimpse into the customer experience.

A recent Launch War Room built for our client, Norwex.

What led Launch to establish this practice?

Surveying the competitive landscape has always been intrinsic to our discovery process. While we think we know what the others in the category are saying and doing, our recollections can be dated, confused or just not the case. Things change quickly in the world of consumer brands, and there’s really no substitute to ensure you’re working off the latest information than gathering it for yourself. We felt that designating a dedicated space to collect, view, compare and share this intel would encourage and facilitate this key effort.

What do clients gain from this process?

A date with the War Room is always a highlight of the brand strategy process. Our clients are extremely busy, and they appreciate this unique glimpse into their customer’s journey – all under one roof. It’s immersive, interactive, and has impact.

How does a war room get built?

It really does take an army to locate/source the large amount of content required to outfit the effort. A typical war room can include everything from website pages, Instagram feeds, video, print and promotional samples, menus, packaging, paid digital, search. We have people who have become expert at organizing this content on the walls in an easy-to-understand way.

Do you have any tips for building an effective War Room?

The key is to represent all relevant channels, so you get a really good idea of each brand’s story, who they are targeting, how they are attempting to position themselves, how they talk about their company, mission, unique benefits. It also helps to have at least one tall person on your team to pin things nice and high on the wall:)

How else does Launch fight the good fight for clients?

Spending time learning what’s going on in the competitive space is just one of the many ways we prepare to go to war for our clients. It’s part of our four-stage Launch Sequence® that combines strategic process with creative prowess.

Building a powerful brand starts with insights as the foundation, which inspire work that’s relevant, engaging and meaningful. Often highly entertaining, too. Creativity used in this way is the marketer’s ultimate trump card, prevailing over clutter to cut-rate pricing.

Memorable, shareable ideas not only differentiate a brand, they drive its success. 

Bonusly gift card rewards

Can’t Launch without a Boost

Recognition in the workplace comes in many forms, a high-five or simple thank you. Here at Launch, we show our appreciation by giving “boosters” with our own Bonusly program that invites team members to give each other booster points whenever they’ve created outstanding work, had a great presentation or simply helped to do something outside the norm. When Launchers post a Bonusly booster “shout out” via Slack, everyone in the agency sees it and piles on the praise.

Account Supervisor, Megan Lucy, thanking her team for their hard work.

Principal Diane Seimetz tells us how the program was introduced to the agency and what it has done for the culture.

What gave you the idea to introduce Bonusly to the agency?

My daughter was working for a company that offered a similar program. I could see how excited she was to receive appreciation from her peers and management, and I started looking into something similar for us.

How many different options did you look at before deciding on Bonusly?

Three different programs were considered. The one we ultimately went with was a start-up at the time, and I’m always drawn those. I reached out to the CEO, and we had a really good conversation about the company mission, and his vision for the organization.  They aligned closely with our own, making us a good fit.

What do you like most about Bonusly?

The ability to customize is a great feature. We were able to name the program, “Boosters,” in keeping with our rocket/Launch theme. The company offers a catalog of rewards (Starbucks cards, big-box retailers, specialty stores, etc.), but we are also able to modify to include local favorites as well as charities, where employees can donate their points. The program also integrates perfectly with Slack, our collaboration software platform.

Use Boosters to redeem Australian Red Cross donations, Starbucks and Amazon gift cards, and more.

What do you think Bonusly has done to the culture at Launch Agency since being introduced?

Launch is already a family culture; people genuinely care about each other and want to make the agency a better place together. These small tokens – “micro-rewards” – have cultivated the practice of “noticing” extra efforts or a job done especially well and providing the opportunity to show meaningful appreciation for them. It also allows leadership to recognize those who go above and beyond in real time, versus waiting months (or years!) for a performance review.

A last-minute scramble to get our work submitted to the ADDYs resulted in several Bonusly shoutouts.

Summin’ up the Summit

Earlier this week, Launch sent two of our brightest young stars, Alexa Perez and Alejandro Hernandez to Digital Summit Dallas, one of the biggest digital marketing gatherings in the country. They came back full of tips and insights from some of today’s most talented digital marketing leaders and visionaries.

Summit Keynote Speaker: David “Shingy” Shing, Australian futurist & digital consultant

Topics covered not only encompassed trends in our industry, but also ways to improve productivity. Workshops focused on everything from “Moving Prospects through the Consumer Journey with Solid Content and Digital Marketing Strategy” to “How to become a Pop Marketer.”

“This event emphasized that you always have to stay on top of the trends. The digital world is moving faster than we can imagine, you have to break the rules to set yourself apart,” said Launcher Alejandro Hernandez. 

Alexa and Alejandro plan on sharing all these inspiring new insights and learnings with the agency at one of our upcoming Launch & Learns.

Alex Slotkin

A Writer Unblocked

Writer’s block was just the excuse Launcher Alex Slotkin needed to join National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For Alex, this month-long experiment to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days turned into an eight-year project. We recently asked him to tell us about the novel he’s been working on for the past several years and elaborate on what inspires his writing in and outside of work.

What inspired you to start writing your novel?

I’ve always enjoyed creative writing, and have tried to pen the Great American Novel several times, only to give up after a few chapters. Several years ago, I heard about NaNoWriMo and the idea of writing 50,000 words in 30 days as a way to get unstuck. I thought it was the perfect excuse to give it another go.

How do you fit writing outside of work into your schedule?

I’m not going to lie, it’s tough to fit writing in outside of work. I usually just steal whatever time I can, whether that’s at a coffee shop before heading into the office in the morning or holed up at home in the guest room after my kids go to bed.

What keeps you going?

I love to write. It’s one of the few things I’m actually pretty good at, and when it’s going well, it brings me a lot of joy. There’s nothing quite like being so deeply engrossed in a writing project that time seems to stop and everything else just drops away. It’s like a runner’s high, but without all that inconvenient exercise.

How do you think writing outside of work influences your job at Launch?

It sounds like a cliché, but I view the act of writing as akin to flexing a muscle. It gets stronger and more versatile the more you work it, and employing different modes of writing can only strengthen everything you do.

What does the future of your creative writing look like?

Right now, I am deep into the revision process on my novel—which is taking considerably more than a month to complete! I’ve learned that writing a first draft isn’t nearly as challenging as shaping it into something truly satisfying. I hope to get this novel finished and out into the world soon. In the meantime, I have had a short piece published in a zine and also produced a series of roleplaying game supplements. I have a few other projects in the works as well.

Which writers/authors inspire you?

My reading tastes tend toward the fantastical side of the spectrum. I’m a huge fan of Tolkien, Poe and Lovecraft, as well as more “literary” writers, like Steven Millhauser, George Saunders, Vladimir Nabokov and Italo Calvino.

What does NaNoWriMo mean to you?

NaNoWriMo is all about imposing a rigid constraint on your time in order to silence your inner critic and free yourself up to create. As Gustave Flaubert put it: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

Soap Star Spotlight

Over 16 years ago, Diane Seimetz opened her own advertising agency with Michael Boone and David Wilgus. In 2016, this little entrepreneur decided she wasn’t done entrepreneur-ing just yet, so she launched a soap and skincare company called A Joy Forever Bath + Body. This business, along with her agency, continues to thrive today. Hear how Diane runs a full-time business and a side business without missing a beat.

Diane Seimetz at the Texas Veggie Fair with Mayra Gaytan of OMG Vegan Tamales

How did your first business encourage you to start the second?

As an employee for more than 20 years, I never saw myself as business owner.  But the thrills, occasional spills, and unique kind of satisfaction that come with creating something from scratch turned me into a bit of a startup junkie.

What inspired you to start your recent side hustle?

I’ve always loved to make things. Whether it was tiny cakes with an Easy-Bake oven; knitting with my mother’s old clackety metal needles; Mod Podge plaques and popsicle stick Christmas ornaments – you name it, my hands were in it. Ultimately, my professional career led me to advertising, where I could be a maker, too.

Why bath and body products?

I have an incurable condition where my immune system attacks my own cells. The resulting inflammation causes an array of symptoms, most commonly joint pain and rashes. So, I decided to take my health into my own hands becoming vegan and reducing everyday toxins by making my own personal care and cleaning items. Within two years, I was off all medications, and experienced few, if any, symptoms. As an unexpected side-benefit, I found crafting my own soaps and skincare to be enormously satisfying. Just taking in the healing fragrances of the essential oils infused into my creams, balms and butters inspired me to attempt more challenging, intricate creations.

These caught the attention of family, friends and coworkers, who began asking for the same products I prepared for myself. By 2016, I decided to formalize the arrangement and turn my healthy hobby into a small side business. This past year, I expanded to add a men’s shave and shower line, Tumbleweed+Thyme, and pet care products as well.  All are Leaping Bunny-certified cruelty-free and part of the GoTexan program supporting native Texas businesses.

Where can we find your wares?

I love handmade markets, because they provide the opportunity to really talk with people. That’s hard to do in an e-commerce environment. I am particularly fond of the Boho Market at the Dallas Farmer’s Market and The Shacks in Plano, as well as V-Market pop-ups – held at cool venues around DFW throughout the year. It’s always gratifying to see customers – many of whom have become friends – drive a fair distance to buy my products and share their experiences with me. That keeps me going and growing in my work. But if markets aren’t your thing, I also happily take online orders at

Get the recap

Launchers Dean Oram, Michael Boone and Alejandro Hernandez at AdEdge 2019

Launch was proud to co-host the first-ever AdEdge 2019 event last Friday, November 1, 2019. This all-day event, held at the Statler Hotel, was developed by Dallas advertising agency professionals who were hands-on at the event, speaking, advising and mentoring soon-to-be-college graduates.

“This ambitious event was a way to give students a giant step forward in their careers and spotlight leading agencies in the area. Professionals from various agencies and job disciplines shared their POV on how to break into the field of advertising,” said Michael Boone, principal of Launch Agency and 4As Dallas Council Chairman.

Topics covered included everything from “A Day in the Life of A Typical Ad Person” to “Understanding Which Aspect of Advertising is Right for You” to “What Agencies Are Looking For In A New Hire” as well as discussions on the impact of technology on our industry. Students also had chance to “Ask the Ad Execs” during several round-tables in the afternoon.

“This was beyond a job fair. It was chance to start a dialogue between current and future ad professionals,” said Boone. “Initial feedback from students and faculty has been very positive. Many found the first-of-its-kind event to be extremely helpful and informative.”

Special thanks to participating agencies: Launch Agency, Javelin Agency, Loomis Agency, Moroch, Publicis Hawkeye, Tandem Theory, VMLY&R, The Richards Group, TracyLocke and Southwest Media Group

And big thanks to our students from out of town and out of state! Baylor, Collin College, Dallas County Community College, Oklahoma State University, SMU, TCU, Texas State, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas at Arlington and The University of Texas

Luxury & Supercar Showcase Hero Image

A Car Show in a Higher Gear

In 2017, Launch and longtime client Park Place Dealerships collaborated on the first-ever Luxury & Supercar Showcase—the region’s only all-luxury dealership car show and lifestyle event. So in 2019, the third year of this now-annual tradition, the time was right for a campaign that pushed the limits.

We worked with acclaimed illustrator Stephen Selzler to create a distinctive look. This energetic and modern style was the perfect reflection of the sleek, sophisticated cars on display and the high-end vibe of the event. We brought it all to life across a wide range of materials—everything from print ads, billboards and digital executions to the official event poster and program.

But not only did this year’s 2019 Luxury & Supercar Showcase campaign look fabulous, it also drove incredible results. Park Place shattered all attendance records, welcoming over 4,500 guests and completely selling out of VIP passes. They also raised over $140,000 for the event beneficiary, Baylor Scott & White Irving Foundation.

Take a look at how this year’s creative work brought a new level of excitement to Park Place’s iconic car show.