Second Stop: Fairly Painless Advertising

By Courtney Lang

Our second stop of the day was at Fairly Painless Advertising, which was just down the street from Next Creative Co. The overall learning experience we gained from this tour was a lot different than the other ones, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Here’s what happened:

The Environment

When we walked into the room, the bright yellow accent wall stood out, as well as the frisbees and figurines on the desks. They were all about letting your personality shine through and embracing the weird, which is one of the reasons why I love this industry.

The Presentation


Ryan Lockwood and Drake Evans led us through a short presentation of their HopCat campaign by showing us their videos, outdoor advertisements and more. They later discussed how agencies can advertise themselves, as well as the importance of having hobbies unique to you.

HopCat Campaign

What stood out about their HopCat campaign was their overall video concept of receiving Good Advice From An Inappropriate Cat. Videos like these are what helps establish a positive brand image for a business because it doesn’t try to sell the product, rather it focuses on establishing a stronger voice.

Another tactic they implemented was when they made flyers for a “missing cat” and placed them all over the Chicago area. What made these flyers unique is that they had pieces of paper that people could rip off and get a discount at HopCat. This was in place of the phone number that people would usually contact if they had seen the “missing cat”. 

If only we were there during the brainstorming process for either one ideas. They mentioned that a lot of their ideas seem crazy at first, but those are the ones that end up being the best. They told us that no matter how crazy it may seem in our head, just throw all of our ideas at the wall and see what happens. One of your insane ideas might become legendary.

Advertising your own agency

Advertising your own agency can be difficult because people expect a lot from you. If you want to gain high-end clients, then they will want to see your work in action. From your presence at major events, like ArtPrize, to your overall website design, they are watching you. 

Art Prize

One year ago ArtPrize was right around the corner, and Fairly Painless had to find a way to stand out and let everyone know that they were coming to town.

So, what did they do?

They did what everyone would have done in their position…They had someone pretend to be an artist and go around in their building pretending to be in the mix of creating a masterpiece, even though they had no idea what they were doing. They called it, the “unfinished office”.

Their website

If you go to their “People” page you’ll notice a theme kind of strange, but beyond clever. They have animal heads on each one of their bodies. Each member of the team had the opportunity to choose which one they wanted. At the top of that page, it says, “looks alone can’t tell the whole story.”  

This animal theme is included throughout their social media pages, which establishes the idea that they are outside the box thinkers. And that’s exactly how they want to be perceived.

Be unique

If you do ever struggle to come up with those crazy yet brilliant ideas, they suggested to go outside and do something. Try something new that’s weird, just because you want to. All of those new experiences will end up enhancing your overall creativity by sparking ideas that are unique to you. This uniqueness is what Fairly Painless Advertising looks for when they hire employees.

When they look at applicants for an internship or for a full-time position, they want to see that you have hobbies that are different as well as unexpected.

So, what sets you apart from everyone else?

Don’t be afraid to tell your story. They want a crew with a variety of backgrounds. Not only education wise, but also when it comes to their interests. Remember, great ideas come from great, as well as weird experiences.

Grand Valley’s Advertising Club and PRSSA members would like to extend a huge thank you for allowing us to tour your agency.


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