A Fairly Painless Creative Crawl

By Evan LaVigne

Creative Crawl 2018 wasn’t the typical agency crawl this year due to the nature of advertising’s busy scheduling. Yet thanks to Fairly Painless, we still had the opportunity to pick the brains of some of Grand Rapids most creative minds.

Located in the heart of downtown, Fairly Painless’ second office is a newer addition to the agencies grasp on the West Michigan area. The exposed wood ceilings and brick facade cradled a small workspace where APR students from GVSU gathered to speak to the pros. The evening started with a presentation on some of the agencies newest award-winning work, “Good Advice from the Inappropriate Cat.” A campaign put on for Grand Rapids own HopCat restaurant & pub.


A lot of Fairly Painless’ campaign mimicked HopCats strong focus on giving each chain restaurant its own unique atmosphere and vibe. The quick video ads put on display to the group were brash in a purposeful manner that really embodied the individuality of HopCat. Along with the “in your face” styling, the Fairly Painless team echoed the sentiment that through research they found that the quality of food and drink was the main factor to market the chain to its audience.

They found striking the balance between this and showing off the restaurants other great qualities such as its commitment to recycling a majority of its waste was a tricky line to walk, but one done with thought with creative prowess. The campaign proved potent with multiple Addy awards given to the incongruous cat at the begging of the year.

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The group of Students had the opportunity to dig into some questioning with the two of Fairly Painless’ finest. Aside from running through some basics on what the agency looks to create in a creative brief and how they approached the creation of the Inappropriate Cat campaign, students got the chance to run through some questions that burgeoning professionals tend to have.

Discussion centered around what does downtown Grand Rapids have to offer as a hub for advertising agencies and what type of talent it can attract. Another topic of interest was both the creative process and what is needed to start the spark in an advertiser’s mind, and time-frames that tend to compact the process down. Their creative process is a culmination of talent and practice that delivers highly creative business-building solutions with as little pain as possible.

We want to thank Fairly Painless for allowing us to tour their downtown office and pick their brains for the Creative Crawl 2018!

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