Dak’s been setting records with his arm. But last night, all eyes were on his feet.

As part of the annual NFL My Cause My Cleats initiative, Dak teamed up with sneaker designer Jake Danklefs of Dank & Co and Baylor Scott & White Health to raise awareness for early cancer detection and encourage people to get screened.

His cleats were inspired by the heartwarming story of a young woman, Sydney Benton, who narrowly avoided colorectal cancer thanks to an early screening. Sydney’s story struck a chord with Dak because of his own mother’s passing in 2013 to colon cancer, and he wanted to help tell her story to inspire other people to follow her lead.

So, we invited Sydney for an interview to talk about her experience with early detection. However, she had no idea that her favorite NFL player was waiting eagerly to meet her, or that he would be featuring her story on his cleats during primetime Thursday night football. The surprise reveal was an incredibly moving moment, which directors Andy Mahr and Ashton Rodgers captured beautifully.

Watch the story

What’s really remarkable about this initiative is seeing how much power a single story can have. Sydney has already started inspiring others to get screened, such as her mom and her older sister. And with the help of Dak and the Dallas Cowboys amplifying her voice, her story has the potential to impact many, many more.

Client: Baylor Scott & White Health

Director: Andy Mahr & Ashton Rodgers

Post Production: Charlie Uniform Tango

Photographer: Andy Mahr, Mahr Images 

Principal/Creative Director: David Wilgus, Launch Agency

Principal/Creative Director: DianeSeimetz, Launch Agency

Group Creative Director/Copywriter: April Steinbach, Launch Agency

Creative Director/Art Director: Brian Dedering, Launch Agency

Associate Creative Director: Caleb Alba, Launch Agency

Copywriter: Isaac Swedlow, Launch Agency

Account Director: Jason Giles, Launch Agency

Account Director: Cortney Fly, Launch Agency

Account Executive: Lucy Galloway, Launch Agency

Producer: Jaime Roderer, Launch Agency

Director of Creative: Ben Day, Baylor Scott & White Health

Brand Manager/Sports Sponsorships/Digital: Tyson Stuart, Baylor Scott & White Health

Director of Consumer Marketing/Brand Strategy & Planning: Kristn Owens, Baylor Scott & White Health

Brand Planning & Strategy: Robin Kraase, Baylor Scott & White Health

Marketing Producer Creative & Brand Management: Megan Doss, Baylor Scott & White Health

Senior PR Marketing Consultant: Eric Keese, Baylor Scott & White Health

We are extremely honored to be shortlisted by The Clio Awards for our Motivotter campaign for Baylor Scott & White Health and the Dallas Stars. The work was recognized in two categories: Social Media Influencer and Augmented Reality. The campaign leveraged the partnership between Baylor and the Dallas Stars to create an AR experience that motivated fans to engage with the brand in a fun, unexpected way.

The activation featured Stars’ goalie, Jake Oettinger, only it wasn’t actually Jake: it was his inner voice, which we named Motivotter. Fans could place Motivotter in places where they needed a little extra motivation. With 70+ million impressions, a 95% social positivity rating and an over two minute average filter engagement time, Motivotter scored big.

As always, we couldn’t do any of this without our incredible partners. High fives to our brilliant dream team:

Client: Baylor Scott & White Health

Director: John Suits

Production Company: Natural Selection Productions

Executive Producers: Nicole Flores, Amanda Mortimer

Producer: Gensho Tasaka

DoP: Will Stone

Editor: John Suits

Sound Mix: Joe Barrucco, Timeline Audio

Color: Parker Jarvie, Company 3

VFX: Joshua Lester

Photographer: Andy Mahr, Mahr Images 

Principal/Creative Director: David Wilgus, Launch Agency

Principal/Creative Director: Diane Seimetz, Launch Agency

Creative Director/Art Director: Brian Dedering, Launch Agency

Creative Director/Copywriter: April Steinbach, Launch Agency

Associate Creative Director: Caleb Alba, Launch Agency

Copywriter: Isaac Swedlow, Launch Agency

Account Director: Jason Giles, Launch Agency

Senior Account Supervisor: Bailey Troutt, Launch Agency

Senior Account Executive: Megan Robertson, Launch Agency

Assistant Account Executive: Lucy Galloway, Launch Agency

Producer: Jaime Roderer, Launch Agency

Producer: Kerstin Fredrickson

Strategy Lead: Dan Ferguson, Groove Jones

Creative Director: Dale Carman, Groove Jones

Producer: Eduardo A. Gonzalez V., Groove Jones

Developer: Carly Siciliano, Groove Jones

3D Team: Jeannot Landry, Elliot Johnson, Chris Fisher, Groove Jones

Animation: David Aguilar, Groove Jones

Graphic Design: Bip, Groove Jones

Production VP: Monte Masters, Groove Jones

Audio: Andrew Carman, Groove Jones

Production Coordinator: Khoi Tran, Groove Jones

Director of Creative: Ben Day, Baylor Scott & White Health

Brand Manager/Sports Sponsorships/Digital: Tyson Stuart, Baylor Scott & White Health

Director of Consumer Marketing/Brand Strategy & Planning: Kristn Owens, Baylor Scott & White Health

Brand Planning & Strategy: Robin Kraase, Baylor Scott & White Health

Marketing Producer Creative & Brand Management: Megan Doss, Baylor Scott & White Health

Senior PR Marketing Consultant: Eric Keese, Baylor Scott & White Health

Holiday Ads: The More the Merrier

Now that we’re a few weeks into the new year, it’s safe to say that this past holiday season was unlike any other (perhaps maybe last year’s). But at Launch, we used that time to work together to create a very special holiday card to share with our friends, families, and clients.

We had a blast making the video, but the best part was knowing we were able to bring a smile or a chuckle to people who needed it. If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely check it out. And if you have seen it, feel free to watch it a second time!

As we were creating our own holiday card, we couldn’t help but reminisce about our favorite holiday ads that have stuck with us over the years. The ones that made us laugh and cry and that are packed with nostalgia. So, we asked the Launchers to share their favorites, and here are some of their top picks. Do you recognize any of these classics?

Man on The Moon (John Lewis 2015)

“All the John Lewis Xmas spots are great, but this one in particular strikes an emotional chord.” -Alex Slotkin

Snow People (Tim Hortons 2020)

“This one I saw earlier this year is my new favorite.” -Alexa Pérez

The Long Wait (John Lewis 2011)

“Best Christmas ad of all time. No one can convince me otherwise.” -Brian Dedering


Christmas Bells (Hershey’s 1989)

“I still love the Hershey’s Kiss ad. So simple but such a classic.” -Richard Wezensky

Time to Come Home (Edeka 2015)

“I love this one.” -Megan Robertson

Melting Snowman (Campbell’s Soup 1993)

“Now I want soup.” -Andrew Reimherr

Believe in the Wonder of Giving (Macy’s 2018)

“Hands down favorite holiday commercial ad.” -Alicia Douglas

Click Here to Watch

Meet the bosses that give Launch its boost.

It’s 2021, and Launch has made its way into Uptown, nestled in an office building overlooking the bustling shops and restaurants below. It outgrew its location in Carrollton, TX, and has found a new home in the heart of Dallas. Years of expertise, successful campaigns, and busy days have molded the agency into what it is now.

National Boss’s Day is coming up this weekend, and we figured there was no better time to dig into Launch’s history and learn more about the people who created it. We can trace our culture, workflow, and success back to the founding Launchers and principals – Diane Seimetz, David Wilgus, and Michael Boone.

Prior to Launch’s formation, these three were off on their own, making a name for themselves in the ad industry.

Diane was working on brands such as Frito-Lay, American Airlines, and Match.com. Dave worked at TracyLocke, where he met Diane. He completed work for Bank of America, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, as well as many others. Michael, who previously worked at TracyLocke, Puskar Gibbon Chapin, and The Maxfield Group, came into the picture once Dave and Diane moved to Temerlin McClain, and the rest is history!

They formed Launch in 2000 within Temerlin McClain, and GroceryWorks was their very first client.

Some of the projects completed by Launch for GroceryWorks

These OG Launchers gave some insights into their passion and the work they do:

David Wilgus

What was your mission when first starting Launch?

“We wanted to take our experience working on big brands at large advertising agencies and apply it to launching startups and relaunching brands that needed help gaining momentum. In 2003, we left the world of big agencies and holding companies to start our own ‘startup’ and reshape what an ad agency looks like. We adopted the characteristics of the startups we were working with – lean, scrappy, creative innovators.”

What’s a source of inspiration for you?

“Our local arts community helps feed my creative spirit. Austin seems to always get the center stage, but Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Denton offer a wealth of talented artists, musicians, photographers and filmmakers.”

Diane Seimetz

At the agency, what is one major thing that has changed over the years?

“Embracing technology and leveraging consumer insights resources to help level the playing field for our clients and the agency. We’ve been using Slack, for example, since 2015 – less than two years after it launched. We also invest in several enterprise-caliber research tools to help understand our clients’ customers better and inform the work.”

What’s a source of inspiration for you?

“People-watching 😊 I love to observe how consumers think, shop, express themselves – it’s a wellspring of great ideas. I also like to immerse myself in creativity in many forms, whether it’s fine art, podcasts, crafting, music. The more diverse, the better.”

Michael Boone

What do you think is the biggest contributor to your or the team’s success?

“For Launch, it’s been a three-pronged approach. Start with talented professionals passionate about doing a good job, infuse a collaborative and creative culture, and finish with trusting clients.”

What’s a source of inspiration for you?

“I’ve always loved advertising. As a kid, I was impressed by unique, compelling ads and almost equally fascinated by terrible ones (what was that?). I first learned of ad agencies – and that they could be a career choice – from watching the old Bewitched TV show. In fact, I referenced that when I got my first agency job. I’m not sure whether they hired me in spite of that comment or partly because of it!”

When starting the agency, Michael mentions his desire to “create great work […] and have fun doing it without layers and bureaucracy to muddle the message.” This is the reason there is an air about Launch that asks people to notice it – to ask why it stands out. It’s more than an agency. To Diane, this is due to the “special culture of people who genuinely care about our clients and each other.” Because of this, the agency and those within it have made a name for themselves in this big Texas city. “The strong entrepreneurial spirit and business culture of Dallas is a perfect fit for Launch and it’s at the heart of who we are,” Dave writes.

These specific characteristics and elements have come together to forge a small-sized yet mighty advertising agency with equally tough team members.

Interning at Launch: The Inside Scoop

Mentorship and learning are key to adapting and refining one’s skills in the advertising industry. At Launch, we are able to offer internships to young professionals and students who want to learn more about what working at an ad agency is like. Whether it’s creative, account services, copywriting, design, or another area of interest, Launch aims to see interns grow and achieve their goals throughout their time here. Several of our past interns have gone on to work full-time at Launch, as well. We interviewed current and past interns to get an insider perspective on experiences and work they have been involved in.

Megan Robertson, past Intern and current Account Executive

Megan is an Account Executive at Launch, previously interning in the Summer of 2020.

What led you to intern at Launch in the first place?

I was in the interview process my senior year and attended a career fair at SMU. I had the best conversation with the Launch team. I remember feeling an instant connection and sense of ease. I continued to meet more members of the Launch team via zoom interviews throughout the Spring and was offered a full-time account management internship after graduation.

What’s the most important lesson you learned while interning?

The most important lesson I learned while interning was how to adapt my communication style in the workplace. In advertising, you work with many people across multiple teams, brands, and clients. Learning someone’s preferred communication style is a game-changer. Taking the time to understand who might prefer phone calls to emails, or who prefers to chat before meetings vs. diving right into a presentation is crucial. Learning how to effectively communicate with different clients and team members facilitates greater collaboration and builds rapport more quickly.

How have you grown since your internship?

Interning at a smaller agency allows one to wear many different hats and interact with multiple clients. I’ve had the opportunity to reach beyond my account management duties and try my hand at social media content creation, new business development, consumer research, and Google Analytics. Each one of these challenges presents a chance to grow and flex different muscles. Trying new things has instilled a greater sense of confidence in my abilities as I have transitioned from an Intern and Assistant Account Executive to my current role as an Account Executive. 

How would you describe the company culture?

The company culture at Launch is one of my favorite things about my job. The stereotypes you hear about ad agencies simply don’t apply to Launch. Everyone is kind, hard-working, and intelligent. It’s very much a work hard, play hard environment. Many of our team members have been with Launch for 5, 10, 15+ years! It’s a true testament to the amazing culture we have at Launch.

What’s a tip you would give to young professionals/new interns?

Be proactive!! Actively looking for ways to be helpful not only increases your value to the company but also allows you to learn new things you may not have experienced otherwise. Look beyond your to-do list and take initiative. You won’t regret it.

Isaac Swedlow, past Intern and current Copywriter

Isaac is a Copywriter and interned during the Summer of 2021.

What led you to intern at Launch in the first place?

I applied to the summer internship at Launch in 2020 right before the pandemic took off. I interviewed over Zoom and got to meet some of the lovely people on the team. Sadly, the creative internships were canceled that year and I was disappointed since I really liked everyone I talked to during my interview. That’s why I was so excited when I saw that Launch was bringing their internship back in 2021. I immediately reached out and sent them my website and resume, and I heard back in just a few days. I feel like I was drawn to Launch because I had missed out on the opportunity to intern there in the past, and I knew I would get great opportunities and be able to work with really amazing and talented people. I ended up getting the internship and the rest is history. 

What’s the most important lesson you learned while interning?

The most important lesson I learned during my internship was to not be afraid to ask for help or advice. It doesn’t make you look unknowledgeable or inexperienced, instead it shows people that you are constantly trying to understand the world around you and get better at what you do. It’s a crucial lesson, especially in creative advertising which is such a collaborative field. It can lead to much better work and more fulfillment overall.

How have you grown since your internship?

One of the biggest ways I’ve grown since I began interning is being more comfortable presenting work and ideas, both at internal meetings and during client presentations. When I was in school, I presented work all the time to my professors and the rest of my class, and I got used to it quickly. It feels different though, presenting real work to an actual client. But that’s one of the coolest parts about the internship: I was trusted to present my own ideas to the client and speak for myself. It’s not really something you can learn in a classroom; you just have to learn by doing it. Having the opportunity to practice and develop my presentation skills really helped me grow over the course of my internship, and it’s helped me become a better creative.

How would you describe the company culture?

The company culture at Launch is wonderful. Everyone is friendly and mostly everyone is pretty funny (except Jason, who tries too hard). Besides that, you get the sense that everyone wants to see you succeed and grow, not only at work, but also in your personal life. Everyone feels very close to each other because a lot of them have been working together for a long time. As someone new, that’s one of the clearest signs to me that the culture here is exceptional. Everyone wants to stick around, and even some of the people that leave end up coming back. During my time at Launch I’ve never heard anyone say that they “feel more like a family than a company”. They don’t have to say that because you can just feel it. Also, they’ve got great taste in movies/TV shows. I’ve got a nice long list of recommendations to get through.

What’s a tip you would give to young professionals/new interns?

To any young professionals or new interns, I would say don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. You have the advantage of a fresh perspective that many people may not have if they’ve been in the industry for a while. It might take a new point of view like yours to find new solutions, or a new, more efficient way of doing things. Just because you’re less experienced doesn’t mean you’re wrong. Not to mention you’re probably more in tune with what will resonate with younger generations, which brands are increasingly trying to focus on. Even now, you can start shaping the industry into what you want it to be in the future.

Taya Caligiuri, current Account/Project Management Intern

Taya is a graduate student that is currently an Account Services intern at Launch.

What led you to intern at Launch in the first place?

I discovered Launch through a course in my graduate program. After hearing people from the team talk about the agency and the internship opportunities, I was interested in learning more later on and ended up applying! It seemed like it would be a great place to learn more about what working at an ad agency is like. Plus, the Uptown Dallas office location and company culture I witnessed from their presentation to my class were very unique and attractive. From what I saw then, I had a feeling that the agency aligned with my goals perfectly.

What’s the most important lesson you learned while interning?

The most important lesson I have learned so far is to be proactive. As an intern, I want to learn firsthand from industry professionals as much as I can. Everyone here is willing to mentor and I want to take advantage of that – I try to initiate conversations and go out of my way to see what is needed of me and learn whenever I can.

How have you grown since you began your internship?

While it has only been a month, I believe I have grown in my accountability and flexibility. Launch gives interns real work and values the insights that we can offer the team. I also am given a variety of projects and tasks. Owning my responsibilities while remaining flexible with the scope of work I am given has let me become even more helpful and efficient.

How would you describe the company culture?

Launch’s culture has been amazing to witness and participate in as a young professional. The team really wants to watch you succeed and grow. They are willing to go out of their way to answer questions and help you out. Being able to shadow and learn from these successful people has been very educational. It also is such a fun and engaging environment to be a part of. While the work these people do is extremely professional and serious most of the time, they don’t let it change who they are as people. It’s been so great to get to know the team and have fun in the office together.

What’s a tip you would give to young professionals/new interns?

Remain open to a variety of opportunities! It can be hard to try something out of your comfort zone, or something that you hadn’t previously imagined for yourself. If you are willing to apply to a job or internship in a new area or industry, it could lead you down a really interesting and successful path you never knew could happen!

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, www.parismarieproductions.com.

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!

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.

Diane Seimetz on What It Takes for Female Ad Execs to Succeed

The advertising industry has made great strides from the early Mad Men days, especially when it comes to gender equality.  Even so, some of the challenges that women faced in the 1960s still remain.  According to Adweek, only 11% of creative director positions are held by women.  Women can experience difficulty in rising to the top, and face unequal pay, discrimination, and harassment along the way. However, there’s reason to be hopeful.  Female leaders like Kat Gordon, founder of the 3% Conference, are making it their mission to create more leadership opportunities for women.  Other creatives have been inspired by the 3% Conference to start their own initiatives. Mara Lecocq, encouraged by the movement, created the online database “Where are the boss ladies?” to assemble a list of ad agencies with female executives. Diane Seimetz, co-founder and owner at Launch Agency, is no stranger to the issues many female executives encounter, but she also knows the joys of a well-crafted pitch and an afternoon brainstorm.  And at the end of the day, there’s no other industry where she’d rather flex her creative muscles.   Diane Seimetz  Diane Seimetz As a child, Diane was always creating things and showed an early interest in writing.  She would make cookbooks, write three-act plays, enter poetry contests, and even enlisted the help of her father to send promotional ideas to companies (winning 10 free ice cream cones from Baskin Robbins as a result). She graduated from college with a Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Theater but knew that her passion for plays wasn’t necessarily a career path.  She worked several jobs post-graduation to make ends meet – making eyeglasses in an optical factory, clerking at a dress store, working for a professional babysitting service – before picking up a writing gig at an ad agency. The advertising industry was a godsend for Diane. “I felt like an equal in an industry where talent reigned and leveled the playing field,” she says.  “I didn’t find out until many years later that I often earned less than my male counterparts.  But honestly, I loved what I did so much, I usually couldn’t believe I was actually getting paid to do it.  My late husband was a CPA, and when we talked about what we did at the end of a long day, I recognized how very fortunate I was to have a creative job, and hugely talented, inspiring, often hilarious people alongside me.” One of the biggest aids when Diane was first starting out was her mentor, Diane Fannon of The Richards Group.   Diane Fannon of The Richards Group  Diane Fannon of The Richards Group She took a flyer on me, and I will always be grateful for her,” says Diane.  “She was (and still is) a tireless advocate for great work, an incredible strategic thinker and killer presenter. She also tells a dirty joke like nobody’s business.” Mentorships like the one Diane experienced early in her career are crucial for preventing women in middle management positions from leaving the ad industry altogether. The Advertising Club of New York (ACNY) created a mentorship program design to explore and combat this drop-off, teaching women how to gain confidence and network more effectively.  At the end of the program, participants reported that they felt much more confident in general and more comfortable with networking.  An added bonus – they became very close with their fellow mentees. Strong bonds like these can help prevent some of the dissatisfaction that women in the ad industry experience. That mentorship and the other strong bonds she formed during her career gave Diane the confidence to launch her own ad agency.  She was working with her partner Dave Wilgus on a friend’s new grocery delivery service when she got a taste of how exhilarating business ownership could be.  Together they created the strategy, marketing campaign, and executed all the creative for Groceryworks.com while holding down full-time jobs at Temerlin-McClain (TM Advertising). “Even logging 75-80 hours a week, it was one of the most exciting professional experiences of my life,” says Diane.  “We both caught the entrepreneurial bug, and subsequently started Launch in 2003.” Being a female businesswoman can be a challenge all on its own, but add to that the responsibility of motherhood, and things get even trickier.  Advertising can sometimes come with long hours and tight deadlines, which can be more difficult for mothers to navigate.  Indeed, an IPG study revealed that 49% of women in the ad industry think their family responsibilities prevent them from advancing in their careers. “I had both of my kids while at TracyLocke; keeping up with all of the mom/wife duties on top of long days, all-nighters, working weekends, and traveling on shoots was crazy and sometimes super stressful,” says Diane. But it’s not all stress and sleepless nights:  being a woman in advertising can come with perks.  For Diane, she relishes representing a prime target audience of advertisers, taking the personal aspect of the business to a new level. “I have also forged some of my strongest, most enduring friendships with women being in this business,” she says.  “I think the long hours, client antics – general roller coaster ride we’re all on – bond you in a unique and special way.”   Diane and some of the Launch team trading stories at the 15th Launchiversary dinner.  Diane and some of the Launch team trading stories at the 15th Launchiversary dinner. In order to increase the number of female leaders in advertising, it’s also important that women take stock of their own approach to the job.  Diane believes that transferring your innate passions to your work is the most important skill a woman in business can have and that this transfer takes time and practice. “Most of us have strong emotions that are deeply felt and powerful gut instincts,” she says, “but they can only be used to make great work and transform a client’s business if they are applied and shared.”