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 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.”

2017 Launch Scholarship Awards Announced at UNT Communication Design Graduation

The 2017 Launch Scholarships were awarded at the UNT Communication Design graduation ceremony on Saturday. Based on a portfolio review, these scholarship awards of $1,000 each are given to the top portfolios for junior design and art direction majors. This year’s winners were Emma Pattison for graphic design and Kim Hanson for art direction. Both are being recognized for having achieved an outstanding body of creative work. Launch established the annual scholarship in 2007 to inspire students to creative excellence and make a positive impact on the caliber of graduates who will, in turn, positively impact our design and advertising community.  A big “congratulations” to this year’s recipients!

Welcome Launch’s Latest Hires

The new year is already in full swing – projects are underway, invoices are being pulled, and we have not one, not two, but three new faces to welcome to the Launch family.

 First up is Alexa Perez, our new Project Manager.  Alexa comes to Dallas by way of San Antonio, where she was an Account Manager at Giles-Parscale, a local web design and marketing firm.  She’s a proud Bobcat (Texas State School of Journalism and Mass Communication), and “my favorite meal is breakfast. Breakfast, brunch, and brinner, please.”

IIf you were a toaster, what would you toast, and to what degree?

A blueberry frosted Poptart, and to the point right before it burns so it’s nice and gooey hot in the middle.

There’s a zombie apocalypse. What do you grab?

Hmm- well I have one of those flint & steel fire starters so that, jerky for sustenance, and of course my dog for moral support. He wouldn’t hunt or anything, he’s basically useless. See photo for proof:

Favorite boy band?

*NSYNC, of course.

If you could dis-invent one thing, what would it be?

Those tennis shoes with toes.

If fat, calories, cholesterol, etc. were not an issue, what two foods would you feast on?

Tacos with lots of salsa, and chocolate. (Can margaritas count as food?)

What has been the highlight of your experience at Launch so far?

The team! Everyone is so kind and willing to help, it’s awesome.

What do you hope to learn in your future at Launch?

I’m eager to further hone my project management and communication skills as Launch’s Project Manager. 🙂


Next up is Amy Woods, Account Supervisor.  A marketing professional with over 25 years of experience working at both advertising agencies and in the corporate world, Amy lives in Plano with her wonderful husband, 5 children, 3 cats…and lots of dishes.

If you were a toaster, what would you toast, and to what degree?

Toasty warm. never burnt, multi-grain bread. Sublime.

There’s a zombie apocalypse. What do you grab?

My family, running shoes, and a fearless friend with a big gun.

Favorite boy band?

Any boy band no longer performing.

If you could dis-invent one thing, what would it be?

Squatty Potty.  We received one as a gag gift for Christmas. Will give away to the lowest bidder!

If fat, calories, cholesterol, etc. were not an issue, what two foods would you feast on?

Since a martini is not technically food, I vote for hot pizza from Pie 314 or a burger from Mooyah.

What has been the highlight of your experience at Launch so far?

Working with super talented and nice folks.  Also, the office music is fantastic!

What do you hope to learn in your future at Launch?

I am always learning.


And last but certainly not least, meet Zach Deutsch, Account Executive.  Zach was born and raised in Houston, TX and graduated from Texas A&M in May 2012. After graduation, he moved back to Houston, where he started his career at a digital marketing firm until moving to Dallas in October and joining the Launch Team. In his free time he enjoys traveling, trying new cuisines and exploring his new home city.

If you were a toaster, what would you toast, and to what degree?

Bagels – level 3 setting

There’s a zombie apocalypse. What do you grab?


Favorite boy band?

Backstreet Boys

If you could dis-invent one thing, what would it be?

Those shoes with built-in roller skates

If fat, calories, cholesterol, etc. were not an issue, what two foods would you feast on?

Canes and red velvet cupcakes

What has been the highlight of your experience at Launch so far?

Getting to help with the Panamera event [for Park Place Dealerships]. It’s been a great experience to be a part of the process and see it come to fruition at the event.

What do you hope to learn in your future at Launch?

I hope to learn how to continue to be at the forefront of the marketing industry and to learn to successfully coordinate all the parts that go into great brand campaigns.

Crafting a Brand From the Bun Up

Sometimes there’s really nothing that hits the spot quite like a good old-fashioned burger.  Here at Launch, we like burgers as much as the next guy, and we were more than happy to partner with Texas burger chain Chapps Burgers to relaunch their brand.  We sat down with Dave Wilgus, Launch Principal, to learn more about the rebranding process.


Chapps Burgers, family-owned and operated for 34 years, spans 7 restaurants in the DFW metroplex and has a history of making great-tasting hamburgers. The family owners wanted to franchise their business and came to Launch to help them re-launch the Chapps brand. Our goal was to create an engaging brand story and cohesive brand experience that would attract new customers and franchise investors alike.


Customers told us that Chapps’ amazing burgers, quality ingredients and fair prices kept them coming back for more. Chapps’ long history of doing things right and treating people like family made them a Texas burger institution. The simple traits that made Chapps successful became our inspiration.  We created a brand that embodied their strong work ethic and passion for making a great tasting burger. We started with a graphic look and feel we call “Blue Collar Cool.” Classic and industrial in tone, the design direction takes its cues from an era of vintage craftsmen, when baseball tickets, painted signs and union logos were works of art. The voice of the brand is a common sense, no B.S. attitude delivered with likable, relatable wit and humor.


We try to use all customer touch points to get people to engage with the Chapps brand and tell our unique story. Starting in-store, we took advantage of every available square inch, down to the napkin holders. The new restaurant interior design incorporated the primary brand colors and graphics direction – modern industrial tone with a touch of vintage warmth. We used a white brick wall behind the order counter to hand paint brand graphics that tell the Chapps story and communicate our brand values. The new menu hanging above the counter reflects the modern vintage graphic look and feel of the brand with language that speaks to the quality of our ingredients and long history.

 Chapps Burgers Wall Mural

Chapps Burgers Wall Mural

We created five eye-catching posters with bold photography and smile-worthy headlines to help people understand what makes a Chapps burger so special.

 Chapps Burgers Poster Art

Chapps Burgers Poster Art

Packaging is another important way to tell our story in and out of the store environment. We used simple, recycled materials to make bags, boxes, and cups that continued the vintage graphic look and fun, memorable messaging.

The Chapps website gave us the opportunity to give people a big picture overview of everything the brand stands for starting with our history and the belief of the family patriarch that “we can make a better burger.” Mouth-watering photography paired with humorous headlines and copy feels warm and welcoming. Even if you’ve never visited a Chapps in person, you’ll understand how we became a Texas Burger Institution.

 Chapps Burgers Website Homepage

Chapps Burgers Website Homepage


Our limited budget was somewhat challenging but we were able to find ways, including more affordable printing techniques and materials, to communicate the brand story in-store and online.


Seeing the final results of all our work in the first Chapps remodeled store gave us all great satisfaction. And hearing that store sales were up – even better!