A penny for our thoughts?

Rise above the holiday marketing cliches


As the holidays approach, most organizations have shifted their marketing efforts to reflect the season. This can be a wonderful way to show your organization in a different light, or have some fun with your messaging. And for many businesses, this is the most important time of year.


Holiday ads can be a lot of fun. But they can also be full of cliches -- which will make your audience cringe. Let’s take a look at some companies who get it right.


Some companies are known for their holiday-themed ads but are taking a different approach this year due to the pandemic. Coca-Cola, for instance, is incorporating familiar elements from its 100 years of holiday ads into a cinematic ad about a father trying to fulfil his daughter’s Christmas wish. Others have opted for a more lighthearted approach, like Pizza Hut’s “The 55 Days of Christmas Pizza,” or The American Egg Board’s “The Gift of Eggs.”  


Keep in mind, holiday ad campaigns don’t suddenly take on a new message -- all of these examples are continuing these companies’ main campaigns, or building on them. They also all acknowledge something lurking in the background of their advertising and build on that, rather than try to ignore it. For Coca-Cola, it’s the pandemic. COVID-19 has prevented many families from gathering this year, and strained resources for millions. Rather than issue a tone-deaf ad that simply celebrates the magic of Christmas and encourages people to drink a Coke, the company acknowledges that most people just want to be with their families this year. 


On the other hand, Pizza Hut’s commercial subverts the “Christmas creep” complaints -- holiday promotion efforts that start earlier and earlier each year -- by acknowledging it, and making light of themselves. The American Egg Board takes two pretty common Christmas advertising cliches -- diamond rings, and vehicles waiting in driveways -- and turns them on their heads. 


What all of these commercials do well is avoid cliche. The holidays can be an excellent time to refresh your marketing efforts, but it is easy to fall into tropes and easy outs. And please, we beg you -- no more versions of “The 12 Days of Christmas.” (We’d also request no more remakes of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”) It’s not that we don’t understand the appeal. But they’ve been done -- and redone -- so many times, your audience will tune them out. Some other cliched phrases we’d recommend avoiding:

  • Deck the halls 

  • ‘Tis the season

  • 12 Days of …

  • Nothing says Christmas like …

  • Christmas comes/came early …

  • Give the gift of …

  • Jingle all the way


Basically, if you’ve heard it 100 times, so has your audience. Whether you’re aiming for a campaign that makes your audience belly laugh (like the proverbial bowl full o’ jelly) or something a bit more heartfelt, the main thing is to stay on message.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!

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PDG+bootcamp Lesson 1: Understanding your brand


For the first time ever, we decided to host a PDG+bootcamp: an exclusive, eight-week course that will give your marketing representative a crash course in branding, design, marketing and more. If you couldn’t make the course, we have good news! Not only will we have additional cohorts this year, we’ll highlight the major lessons from each week here on our blog. Lesson 1 was all about the brand. 

Understanding branding

Think about your favorite company. It can be a restaurant, clothing store, car manufacturer, entertainment group. When you think about them, as a company, what is one of the first images that pops into your mind? 


We’ll go first. We’re big coffee drinkers, so we frequent Starbucks. (Yes, we know, it’s cheaper to make our own, but c’mon.) When you think of Starbucks, what image pops into your mind? Maybe it’s a product (looking at you, pumpkin spice latte) but you also probably see their trademark logo on a sea green background. Maybe you’ve never stopped to ponder what their logo is — it’s a combination of the siren and mermaid, sometimes called a melusine — but you definitely recognize it when you see it.


That’s branding. 

You are your brand 

We don’t usually look at a logo or a business and consciously think, “That is a cool logo therefore I would like to shop there.” We do, however, unconsciously choose things that stand out to us. So, as a brand, you want to stand out. Our first lesson gives great detail on how to do that. Here are the highlights:

  • Communicate with your audience. A key part of your brand is your logo. Poorly designed or irrelevant logos will communicate that your organization is either sloppy or out of touch with its audience. An overly generic logo can even make you look untrustworthy. Your logo is your organization’s introduction to your target market. Think of it like a visual handshake when a customer walks in the door. You only get one chance to make that first impression. Your logo should answer three questions: Who you are, what you do and what you value most. 

  • Build up your brand equity. The effectiveness of a logo is dependent on brand equity. Some things build in value the longer you own them. So do brands. But, just like a house or a classic car, you have to take good care of your brand for it’s equity to build. Prime examples for brands are Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola. They are three of the most recognizable brands in the world, but that didn’t happen in a day or even a month. You build up brand equity with frequent exposure, rigid consistency and time

  • Your brand is more than your logo. It’s your logo, color pallet, typography, really anything associated with your organization’s identity. You have to choose your branding elements and stick with them. Consistent use of all of those items together is essential to building up your brand’s recognition. 

  • Defend your brand. You need to come up with specific brand guidelines, and become a fierce defender of your brand. Any abuse or misuse of your brand needs to be taken seriously and promptly corrected. 


Anything with your name on it is your brand. Period. That means it reflects on you and your organization. You want to take pride in every representation. Use high-quality design, photos and printing to sell yourself as a top-notch, professional organization. In the end, presentation is everything.


And that’s a wrap on Lesson 1. Stay tuned for Lesson 2: Marketing vs. Advertising.


Want to learn more? Try ordering a copy of “Isn’t” our in-house guide to branding and marketing, available here

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Market when you’re hot (and when you’re not)


It can be tough to know the right time to market your business. A common mistake of businesses and organizations is to put off marketing until the situation is dire. It might seem like it makes sense to save money on marketing and advertising when business is rolling in, but you don’t want to wait until you’re in a slump and desperately need the business. 


Michelle Singer, growth and development strategist here at PDG+creative, says marketing while you’re already doing well is smart for a number of reasons.

You can make better decisions

One of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t wait until times are desperate, Singer said, is because you can make better decisions. 

“People make bad decisions when they’re in desperate need,” she said.

Panic can cause people to offer steep discounts or big promotions that might actually hurt their business in the long run. On the other hand, you can make decisions with confidence and a clear mind when you market during good times. 

As with any good marketing plan, you can identify what people like about your business or organization, what they want from you, then promote yourself based on that. It provides better value for your customers, and provides you with peace of mind. 

You have the budget

Another reason not to wait is money. It’s easier to allocate part of your budget toward marketing when business is booming, rather than try to scrape something together when times are hard. It’s kind of like not getting your car fixed until you only have a few dollars left in the bank. The chances of running into bigger, more expensive issues only grow the longer you put off routine maintenance. Taking care of your business should be proactive, not reactive.

You have more leverage

Singer said if you plan out your marketing budget and needs for the year, you have more leverage to negotiate deals. For instance, if you sign a contract for a year’s worth of TV, radio, internet or newspaper ads, you’ll probably get much better rates. That stretches how far your dollars go across the year, giving you more bang for your buck. 

“The more you can buy and commit to, the better the deal and better leverage you have in negotiating the prices,” Singer said.

There are a lot of details for each type of media, which is where professional help can be a lifesaver. A media agency can help you know which media to choose, and can help you read the fine print to know exactly what you’ll be getting.


If you’ve already waited until crunch time, it’s OK! Singer said the most important thing is to not panic. 

“Take a deep breath. You don’t want to make desperate decisions,” she said. 

She strongly recommends getting a professional media agency (like PDG+creative) to help get you back on track. It might seem like you can’t afford it, but ask yourself if you can afford not to.

“It is worth the money to get some marketing consulting,” she said. “At least get some direction and an assessment.”

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PDG wins two Summit Creative Awards


Remember how we just won some awards not too long ago? Well, guess what? 


We won more!


Last month, we won two awards from the Summit International Awards, and we are pretty excited about it. 


Summit International is a U.S.-based organization that conducts judging events to spotlight outstanding marketing by companies and individuals. It is for small and medium-sized agencies, with annual billings below $30 million, and has 86 categories in nine main segments. 


Every category is judged a little bit differently, but Summit said, overall, it grades its Summit Creative Awards on originality, execution and effectiveness. Winning entries are ranked Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Best of Show. 


For this year’s Summit Creative Award, we won two “medals,” one bronze and one silver! 

The bronze medal

First, we got bronze in the Outdoor Campaign for our OKM Festival billboard series, which we created for OK Mozart’s music festival. 


This campaign introduced the new brand for OKM Music, formerly Oklahoma Mozart. They wanted to show they had expanded to a wider array of music. We developed a tagline for the campaign, "It’s More than Classical, it’s OKM Music," and visually reinforced that concept with images of non-classical musicians a jazz player, rock player, etc. We also found some unconventional ways to advertise, like hanging giant banners from their three-story building. 

The silver medal

Second, for Logo Design - Consumer, we won silver for the logo we created for Tactical Male, a men’s care products company. 


Tactical Male is a grooming product designed for men who are also passionate about their Second Amendment rights. In designing the logo, we did a lot of research into who these people are and what different groups of them look like. We kept noticing how many of them had beards. So, rather than overthink it, we designed a logo that looks like a beard comb. 

Andrew Oleson, PDG+creative owner, said it’s a testament to the talent of the team here. 

“I'm so proud of my team. I know the work they do is exceptional, and seeing it put against other agency work, run through the gauntlet and still come out with a win speaks volumes,” he said. 

Thanks to everyone who helped make these awards possible. If you’d like to learn more about our award-winning team, give us a shout. 

In the meantime — stay tuned!

For more PDG+creative updates and information, check our website, or follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

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How to improve your Quality Score


In our last blog, we talked about the importance of a good Quality Score for digital marketing campaigns. 


To recap, a Quality Score is a Google Ads metric that provides an overall assessment of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. It’s reported on a 1 to 10 scale, 10 being the best. 


Quality Score plays a role in your ad’s position, and how much you pay per click. And in our view, it’s a better metric on which to focus versus cost per click (CPC). A better Quality Score will result in more sales, better organic traffic and better ad rankings at no extra cost. So, how do you improve this magic number? Here are 4 ways to improve your Quality Score. 


Write better ads

As the name suggests, the quality of your ad plays a big role in your Quality Score. One of the biggest ways to improve the score is by improving the ad copy. Make sure your keywords are relevant and targeted. Make sure the ad text is relevant. Basically: write better ads. 


People are bombarded with information all day every day, and nearly every website is filled with advertising. To make your ad stand out, focus tightly on one or two very specific products or services. Adding visual elements, like symbols and exclamation points, can help draw the eye. You want to clearly explain your product or service, but you don’t want to have too much text. (This is where a marketing professional’s input is invaluable to help you find that balance between eye-catching and over-the-top.) 


Be intentional with your keywords and how ads are grouped

Targeted campaigns are more effective than a scattershot approach. Each group of ads should have its own relevant keywords. If not all of your ads fit with some of the keywords, break up the ads into smaller groups so you can really hone in on the group you want to reach. So, for instance, if you’re trying to sell pens, you might want to do several groups for the different kinds of pens you offer. Novelty pens, like a unicorn or a Christmas tree, attract a different audience than office pens, which attract a different audience than someone looking for a high-end engraved pen. 


As for keywords, do your research so you know which ones are going to have the best reach. Make sure they are relevant to the product you’re trying to promote. (Ad Relevance is one of the biggest factors Google considers for your Quality Score.) Again, make your keywords match each of the groups you’re trying to target.


Improve the expected Click-Through Rate (CTR).

This ties in with keywords. Basically, Google tries to predict how likely people are to click on your ad when it shows up in a keyword search. If your ad text doesn’t immediately show the person searching why they should click on the ad -- they probably won’t. Let’s use pens again as an example. If someone searches for something like “unicorn pen,” and you have that in the keywords but the ad text that shows up in the search just says “Pens 50 percent off,” the person searching is likely to skip over your ad and go straight to the ad text that has “Unicorn Pens” somewhere in the ad text. It goes back to targeted ad copy, because it all ties together. You can also bid on brand terms, because branded keywords have high click-through rates. 


Have a high-quality landing page

Chartbeat, an analytics database, estimates you have about 15 seconds to grab someone’s attention. If your landing page is confusing, glitchy or slow, it will take less than a minute for most people to give up, no matter how interested they were in your product. When people click on your ad, does it take them to a landing page that makes them want to stick around? If you’re selling something specific, does the ad take them directly to that product?


Another thing you can try is ad extensions, like Google ad extensions and Google sitelinks. These features make the ads more prominent at no extra cost to you. Keep in mind your past performance plays a role in your score, as well. (Kind of like your credit history.) So, the more you improve, the more momentum you’ll have to keep improving and expanding your digital marketing reach. 


Have questions on how to improve your ad copy? Want to learn more about keywords? Give us a shout, we’d love to help! 


For more PDG+creative updates and information, check our website, or follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter

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Here’s why you need to rethink your search engine marketing focus


It’s the Information Age, and the internet is the information superhighway. For companies trying to keep up with everyone else cruising along at top speed, search engine marketing is a valuable tool. Marketers typically call these “pay-per-click” (PPC) campaigns, and it’s the start of the ad spend discussion. But are you focusing on the right thing? 


In our experience, probably not. Here’s why you need to rethink your search engine marketing focus.


Whether you do it yourself or buy digital media services from a pro, the true value of any campaign is how it’s managed.


For a long time, companies have focused on impressions and cost per click (CPC) to evaluate the success of their text or display advertisements. CPC is the actual price you pay for each click in your campaign. While CPC can still be valuable (no pun intended), it’s far more beneficial to focus on your Quality Score and Cost Per Acquisition (CPA). 


First, some definitions. Quality Score is a Google Ads metric that provides an overall assessment of the quality of your ads, keywords and landing pages. It’s reported on a 1 to 10 scale, and includes things like your clickthrough rate, ad relevance and landing page experience.


CPA (also known as cost per action) is when an advertiser pays for a particular “acquisition,” or what is sometimes referred to as a “click-through.” Basically, when someone clicks on what you want them to -- like filling out a form. (Think your “contact us” page or a newsletter signup form.) 


Improving your overall Quality Score will result in more sales, better organic traffic and will lower the cost in the Google bidding system to give your ads premium placement. It can even lead to your ad ranking above others who are bidding more than you. So, you save money in the bidding process, and you make more money in the marketing campaign. Seems like a no-brainer. 


So how do you improve your Quality Score? So glad you asked! Check out our next blog, where we’ll break it down in more detail. 


Stay tuned!

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PDG+creative wins Bartlesville Small Business of the Year


Exciting things are happening at PDG+creative.


What sort of exciting things? So glad you asked. One of the biggest thrills is that earlier this month, we were named the Small Business of the Year by the Bartlesville Regional Chamber of Commerce during their annual gala. The award also came with special congressional recognition.


So what does that mean?


Every year, the chamber recognizes local people and businesses who make a big difference in our community. To qualify for Small Business of the Year, a company must be independently owned, have fewer than 30 full-time employees, and have been in business for more than 3 years. You must be nominated to even be considered for the award.


Also, according to the chamber, the business will stand out “for their sustainability, job growth, contribution to our local economy, and the overall progress of the Bartlesville area.”


Wow! To know that our community sees those qualities in us is an incredible compliment. We truly are honored.


Andrew Oleson, owner of PDG, called it a humbling experience, particularly because we were nominated by an outside person. To whomever nominated us, thank you. We can’t express how our gratitude.


“I stood on stage with some real legacy giants,” Andrew said. “If those are the shoes I have to fill, it will be tough but it will be rewarding.”


He credits the company’s culture, which values work ethic and quality, along with community involvement. Those qualities have helped us grow, and as we grow, we’re able to do more -- like our Back the Blue campaign for police officers. We are proud to support our community, and are thrilled that our community continues to support us back.


“I’m extremely humbled to be recognized by the community in such a unique way. PDG wouldn’t be where it is without such an incredible team killing it every day,” Andrew said. “They’re the ones the deserve the high fives and recognition.”


Thanks, boss! And thanks to everyone for supporting us, and helping us to win this honor. We’re excited, and we’re already using that excitement to propel us toward the next big thing.


Stay tuned!

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Kansas City or Bust


BBQ, Country Club Plaza, Power & Light District, Worlds of Fun, The Royals, The Chiefs and PDG+creative.  Just a few of the places that come to mind when you think about Kansas City, MO.  

Wait!?!   PDG+creative is in KC?  When did that happen?

I know, right?!?  Like you, when I found out about PDG expanding to Kansas City, I had many questions, so I sent said questions to PDG Owner, Andrew Oleson and as they say in the media world, here's the scoop...
What made you decide to open a branch office?

  Growth.  Both in terms of of clients and team culture.

Why Kansas City?

Through a few acquaintences I have had the pleasure of making some great connections in KC.  Most recently I was asked to help with the marketing for Rise Fast,  which is a conference that teaches millennials how to grow within their company by bringing value to the place they work.  On top of that, the market in KC is just absolutely exploding.  There are new start ups every day and we have the opportunity to help them grow.  

When is your official start date in KC?

Our soft opening was August 15 and our official opening is set for September 15.  

Do you already have clients in that area?

Yes!  They are definitely a big part of our ability to grow in KC by helping us spread our established reputation through introductions and word of mouth.  Honestly, it's been a bit like a bigger Bartlesville.  The people are very warm - it's refreshing!

Do you plan to hire staff in KC?

Yes.  For sure a couple of sales/account manager positions.  However, our main focus will be to increase our staff in Bartlesville to handle the majority of the workload.

How often do you see yourself going to KC?

At the get go, once a month.  As traffic increases I will need to devote more time there.  

What can we continue to expect from PDG?

This last year has been the most transformative since I began my role in leadership at PDG.  We've completely changed our approach to the way we engage with our clients.  All Access has given us the ability to serve clients in ways we never thought possible.  We will continue to excel and grow.  We are definitely far from perfect, but each day we are presented with challenges and opportunites to learn new lessons and exceed expectations.

Well, there you have it.  After 20+ years in Bartlesville, OK, PDG+creative has expanded its walls to Kansas City, MO!  Stay tuned for more updates as we settle in and don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you might have.  On September 15th, check out the relaunch of our website and find out more about PDG+creative!  Don't forget to keep up with us on Instagram and Facebook as we begin our journey in KC!  Go Royals!  Go Chiefs!  Go PDG+creative!

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Never Look Straight Into the Sun (AKA Solar Eclipse 2017)


Since the beginning of the 20th century (1900) there have only been 14 total solar eclipses visible from the United States.  Of course, that doesn't count all the times it probably happened before anyone started documenting them.  On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will again be treated to a total eclipse of the sun.  Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature's most awe inspiring sights.  According to our source at NASA, the path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona, can be seen, which will stretch from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse when the moon covers part of the sun's disk.  Sadly, Oklahoma is "outside the path", but we still hope to see a good portion of the "total" eclipse.  Since Kansas City, Kansas and St. Louis, Missouri are both in the path, we are hoping that Bartlesville, OK will be able to ride their coattails and get a good view.  It is scheduled to hit Kansas City at 1:09pm and St. Louis at 1:18, so we are planning for somewhere around 1:05pm.  Click here to view the countdown for yourself.  


The Point of this Article -

As most people are aware, looking at a partial eclipse is very dangerous for your eyes and not recommended unless you are wearing protective eyewear.  PDG is so excited about this phenomenon, that we decided to order 100 pair of solar eclipse sunglasses that are CE and ISO Certified and we are super excited to share them with YOU!  If you stop by our office August 14-21, 8:00am-5:00pm, we will be happy to give you your very own pair!  We are located in the Pioneer Building in downtown Bartlesville at 319 S. Dewey, Suite 200.  They will be available to anyone who stops by (while supplies last).  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at 918-337-0414.  We look forward to seeing the sun disappear (and reappear) with you!


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Watch Where You Step


When I was given the task of writing a blog for the 2nd Annual Doggie Dash, I quickly assumed that it would be a brief overview of the event that included time, place and a few details of the event along with a link to the website to find out more information.  Boom, done!  Like any decent writer, I wanted to make sure I had the correct details before I began the project, so I emailed a few questions to the organizer of the event, Robbie Haxton.  His response back to me began with, "Hi, Kathy.  I'm never very good at these sorts of things, but I'll take a stab at it."  Excuse me, Mr. Haxton, I would have to disagree with your statement.  Your response to me was very detailed and I could sense the passion you have for this topic through the words you wrote.  I not only immediately realized that there was more to this "Doggie Dash" than I initially assumed, I now want to go and support the program.  So, in the words of Mr. Robbie Haxton, here is the run-down on the 2nd Annual Doggie Dash.

How long has the Bartlesville area been involved in the Doggie Dash?  
"While there are several Doggie Dash events around the country, this one isn't connected with any other.  This is the 2nd year of the Doggie Dash in Bartlesville."

Who does it benefit?
"The Doggie Dash benefits the Animal Rescue Foundation of Bartlesville (ARF) and the Washington County SPCA (WSPCA).  

Why do you personally participate?
My wife is a veterinarian with Arrowhead Veterinary Clinic in Dewey. She had been looking for a way to help out local animal welfare organizations in the area. Since I have been runner for years I am always looking for opportunities to be part of a race. I guess starting one was my way of jumping in with both feet (pun intended?).  2016, our first year, was a success. Everyone had a great time, we raised a lot of money for the welfare organizations and we saw an opportunity to create something magical each year. Since May of 2016 we were able to create Arrowhead Charities, a 501c3 organization, in order to have more giving opportunities."

Where can interested folks go to get more information/sign up to participate?
"Our website is always the easiest place to start: The 5K registration site directly is Our volunteer page is . Our Facebook account is and it offers the Doggie Dash as an event that can be followed."

Can folks sponsor the event without actually participating?
"We have formal Sponsorship levels that businesses and individuals can participate in. Sponsorships will be taken at any time but in order for them to have their logo/name on the event shirt they must contact us by the end of April. Individuals that don't want to participate in the event can make donations on the website or via the race registration site. For a minimum donation individuals can still receive an event shirt."

Robbie's passion for the event really began to shine through when I asked him to send me any other information he would like to have included in this blog.  

We made the decision to move the location for the 2nd annual Doggie Dash.  Last year we utilized the south pathfinder course that starts and ends at the Bartlesville High School. While that course is fun and challenging, there are half a dozen courses that utilize it.  During the winter we designed, measured and certified our very own course.  The race this year will start and end at Lee Lake (across from Lowe's) next to Cooper Dog Park on our newly certified USA Track and Field course.  So, individuals that particpate in the race this year will be part of the inaugural race and hold "Course Records" for at least a year!  Also, we will be the first race in the area (to the best of my knowledge) that will offer a choice in race shirts to each participant.  We have the normal, every day t-shirt as well as the option of a tank top.  I also want to point out that we will be offering 2 dog walks that consist of leisurely strolls around Lee Lake.  One begins at 8:30am and the second at 1:00pm.  The schedule will allow for individuals to take part in the 5k as well as the Dog Walks.  

Since we became a full-fledged non-profit last year, this has opened the door for us to do so much more, and we are!  We originally talked about bringing in some food trucks and possibly a couple vendors to make the Doggie Dash more of an event.  Well...that idea has taken on a life of its own.  On May 20th (overlapping the Doggie Dash), we will have our first annual Canine Carnivale from 8am-3pm to celebrate pets and the people that love them.  What a better way to a shine light than to create an event within an event that brings people together who normally wouldn't attend.  The Carnivale is FREE and open to the public.  We plan to offer a massive vendor area at the Carnivale.  Businessess invited to participate will be pet product vendors, general business promotional booths, flea market vendors, food vendors and anyone else that would like to be part of this all day, family friendly event.  The Carnivale will benefit Cooper Dog Park and vendor application fees will be donated to the park for maintenance.  Doggie Dash spnosors will be invited to set up a promotional booth at the Carinvale in addition to promotional benefits.  

Kudos to Robbie, his wife Erin and the Doggie Dash team!  If you have a love for animals and would like to support this event, I encourage you to take a moment and visit the website for more information.  After all, everyone running will see your name/logo on the back of the t-shirt in front of them, alongside PDG+creative and other supporters.  Unless, of course, they are in first place and then all they can see is a trophy.  If you aren't in the position to sponsor but would still like to help out, you can sign up for a volunteer position here.  Don't miss your opportunity to support this worthwhile organization while enjoying a family friendly event!  I would actually love to participate in the afternoon doggie walk - would someone please loan me a dog?

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PDG+ Operation Christmas


Do not judge my story by the chapter you walked in on.  - Unknown

"Maybe Christmas", he thought, "doesn't come from a store.  Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!" - The Grinch

Christmas 2016 is a mere 6 days away and many of us have finished our shopping and are settling in and readying ourselves for the onslaught of travel, food, relatives, football, more food, presents and, hopefully, fun.  We have our traditions to follow which typically include our favorite food, games and sometimes even down to particular stocking stuffers.  In our family it is tradition to attend the Christmas Eve service at our church, then go home and open gifts from each other.  On Christmas morning we anticipate waking up to whatever Santa has left under our tree and in our stockings, enjoy some breakfast and then settle down to a football game on the TV with the smells of Christmas dinner wafting through the house.  Other families have their own traditions and we all tend to pass them down through the generations.  

Unfortunately, sometimes our traditions come to a screeching halt.  For the residents at the Lighthouse Outreach Center in Bartlesville, the traditions they grew up with probably will not take place this year.  For whatever reason, they find themselves away from home and family and will be spending Christmas with new acquaintences at The Lighthouse.  This Christmas the team at PDG made the decision to spend a morning cooking and serving lunch for these folks as part of our team Christmas event.  Once lunch had been served, we took the opportunity to sit down and visit with several of them.  Their stories aren't that different from our own, life just threw them a hardball and they are spending some time at a Christian based shelter who chooses to be a beacon in the dark and bring light to those in need.  in fact their mantra since opening in 1992 has been "Helping the Least, the Lost and the Lonely".  This message continues today under the leadership of Pastor Errol Hada, who has been serving as Director since 2013.  

I could regurgitate some rhetoric here about how spending time at The Lighthouse helped me see how fortunate I am and how much more I appreciate where I am in life, opposed to what we saw and heard from the Lighthouse residents.  While that does hold some truth, I also want you to know that not one person there whined or lamented on where they are in life, but rather sat and visited with us telling us stories of where they have been and sometimes what brought them to where they are in life. They expressed thanks to us many times for the meal we prepared and served to them.  They helped set the tables, helped clean up afterward and insisted on helping carry in the groceries when we arrived.  One of them using a crutch, but still managing to carry a few bags and came back for more.  They are thankful for where they are.  They are thankful for being taken in and provided 3 meals a day and a warm bed to sleep in.  They are thankful for a place to do laundry and clothes to wash.  They are thankful.  So what did I take away from our few hours spent at The Lighthouse?  I learned that I take too much for granted.  That I complain too much and I need nothing.  I learned how blessed we are as a community to have this ministry available to those who need it and I was reminded that we should look beyond ourselves this Christmas and find someone to talk to who is truly thankful for where they are in life - even if the world sees things differently.

Be more than thankful this Christmas -  Be aware of those around you and be reminded that to keep Christ in Christmas we need to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty and welcome the unwanted.  

To donate or for other ways you can help support The Lightouse, visit their website.

Merry Christmas from PDG+creative!

(pictured above from left to right:  Ben Phelps, Johnathan Warlick, Andrew Oleson, Natalie Turner, Kathy Lindquist and Travis Shepherd) Permalink to Post »

Bartlesville YP Christmas Crawl


Throughout the calendar year the Bartlesville Young Professionals continually brainstorm for ways they can contribute to the community of Bartlesville.  Coming soon on December 16th PDG+creative is pleased to join YPB and others by sponsoring the much anticipated Christmas Crawl benefiting the Bartlesville SPCA.  A festive and fun evening is promised as you spend time with friends, make new friends and support a worthy cause all at the same time.  An Apple Watch Series 2 will be given away as well as costume and door prizes.  The venues included are the HIlton Garden Inn, Shorties Grills, Painted Horse and Angelo's Tavern.  Tickets are limited, so plan to arrive early to insure a spot.  Starting time is 7:00pm at the Hilton Garden Inn and tickets are $10/per person.  

While cash donations will be accepted, if you would rather save your cash for the crawl, donations to the SPCA will be accepted via the Venmo App using the handle @pdgcreative.  

For more information please contact:  

Sponsors for this benefit evening include CNB, Arrowhead Veterinary Clinic, Bartlesville Print Shop, Recognition Place and Young Professionals of Bartlesville.  


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Inside PDG+creative


On the 2nd floor of the historic Pioneer Building (c. 1910) in downtown Bartlesville, OK you will find a team of warm bodies and creative minds being fueled within a serene, art-deco work space.  If you have never had the opportunity to visit us, we invite you to take a minute and step inside. 
More often that not, you will be greeted by the delightful aroma of coffee and/or freshly popped popcorn before you even open the door.  Once you have walked through said door, you are welcomed by an innovative design furnished with straight line wooden & metal chairs, exposed brick walls and groovy orange accents.  An offer of coffee, water or soft drink is made and the tour begins.  

Just to the east (right) of the reception area is the conference room which showcases the many awards presented to PDG+creative throughout their 23 year history.  In addition to a few PDG Team Taco Tuesdays, it is also host to brain-storming sessions, team meetings, client meetings and random discussions.  

Once you leave the conference room and walk back through the reception area, you will have now entered the room where all the PDG+creative magic takes place.  The west (left) side of the room hosts (see what I did there?) the Interactive Team who are respsonsible for website development, <coding>, html, CSS, JavaScript, SQL and other nerdy stuff the mere human mind can't even begin to understand.  The brain power that sits in these chairs could seriously produce enough wattage to power an entire city block.  As you turn around and enter the east (right) side of the room you are now in the presence of design inspiration.  The PDG Creative Team has a passion for designing the perfect product for each and every client.  The terminology flowing from these minds consists of words such as marketing, art development, print production, bleed, pixel, alignment, branding, texture and transparency, just to name a few.  The creative juices that flow from this team results in  masterpieces that will leave you in a state of awe and astonishment.

As we reluctantly take our leave of the PDG interactive/creative area, we find ourselves facing a whiteboard wall that is regularly covered with results that are conceived from working out loud and have spilled over from the minds we just introduced you to.  I like to call it the "regurgitation wall".  Take it or leave it.

Just down the hall from the aforementioned area is the break room where the previously referenced coffee and popcorn are brewed and popped.  I would guesstimate that it takes a minimum of 5 pots of coffee each day to fuel the innovative brain power and I'm also pretty sure that popcorn is often served for breakfast.  The break room serves as the area for lunch breaks, cookie breaks and random talk breaks, which are often hard to break away from. 

Areas not shown in pictures, but worth mentioning are The Michael Scott Paper Company (paper closet) and eBay (supply closet). That alone gives you a little insight into the PDG+creative team.

And that ends our tour of PDG+creative.  Thank you for walking around our office space with us - please stop by in person any time you are in the area and we will be sure to have a fresh pot of coffee ready for you, and perhaps a bit of popcorn.

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Who's the Cutest of Them All?


Since the dawn of time Mom's and Dad's, Grandma's and Grandpa's and the world in general have been under the assumption that their precious child is the cutest, most perfect baby ever born.  This is a very natural occurence and I will admit that I felt the same way with my kids and now my grandkids.  However, in all reality the only parents able to stake this claim were Adam and Eve.  When Cain was born he was, uncontestedly, the cutest baby ever born.  Then Abel came along and was probably even cuter and, well, we all know how that turned out.  However, perhaps, just perhaps your little angel is, indeed, the cutest, most photogenic baby in the Bartlesville area, and, possibly even in NE Oklahoma (and the world).  On top of that, you are so confident of this fact that you choose to enter said gorgeous baby in the Sixth Annual Baby New Year Cover Contest hosted by the bMonthly magazine.    PDG+creative, along with Truity Credit Union, is sponsoring the contest this year and we are looking forward to seeing all the entries and meeting the most adorable baby in NE Oklahoma for 2017.  To find out more details and complete the registration for your beautiful baby, visit the bMonthly website.  

Best of luck to each of you!  The odds are in your favor since my kids are now way too old to enter and my grandkids live in Michigan, otherwise they would totally win.  
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Bacon - Everyone's Hero


"Either you love Bacon or you're wrong." 
 "Bacon is going to save the world.  I don't now how, but it will."
"You don't realize how much you love bacon until you have no more bacon."  
"Bacon. Admit it.  For a second there all your problems went away." 

"Everyone is entitled to an opinion except people who don't like bacon."

These are all quotes found on the internet, none of which lists the source from which they came and all of which are about - bacon.  For the sake of this writing, I'm going to say that #3, "You don't realize how much you love bacon until you have no more bacon", is my favorite, because today when talking about bacon, we are referring to our local police officers, particularly the Bartlesville Fraternal Order of Police, and the first annual Chasin' Bacon 5K held on October 15.  

Bartlesville Police Officer, Tyler Lee, had started the process of creating a logo for the FOP's upcoming 5K when he became aware of the "Support the B'Ville Blue" decals created by PDG and made the decision to stop by our office and see if we could offer some assistance in completing the process.  Our creative team, lead by Natalie Turner, worked with Officer Lee and came up with the logo shown at the top of the page and Chasin' Bacon was officially born.  Officer Lee and his committee worked hard to pull together the first Chasin' Bacon 5K and, in my opinion, were very successful.  They ended up with right at 160 runners and netted close to $8000 to be used for community events.  I had the opportunity to sit down with Tyler (Officer Lee) and ask him a few questions about the event -

How did you come up with the name Chasin' Bacon?
   "I was sitting around one evening with a buddy and we were tossing names out and nothing worked.  I finally told him that I just wanted to invite folks to chase us or follow our example and run with us.  He then threw out Chasin' Bacon and that was it."  

Do police officers or others consider this name offensive?
  "Not that I am aware of.  I haven't had anyone mention it to me.  As a whole, police officers are not that easily offended.  The word "Cop" was once considered offensive, but that's what everyone says now."

What is the purpose of the Chasin' Bacon campaign?
  "Bottom line, community service.  Whether that be helping families around the holidays, rebuilding bikes/buying new bikes for kids or the Shop with a Cop initiative at Christmas.  One example is that recently a Bartlesville Police Officer and his family lost everything they owned in a house fire and before insurance could kick in, the FOP helped out by putting them up in a hotel.  We also contributed  to the BPD canine program.  Helping with needs in our community is how we want the funds to be used."

Are you aware of other Cities who have this event?
 "Not that I am aware of.  However, some area communities have shown interest after hearing about ours.  One even hinted at using our brand/logo.  Nope.

Do you have plans to make this an annual event and when do you anticipate that happening?
 "Yes.  We hope to have even more participants next year.  We are shooting for fall, a date hasn't been set yet."

What one thing would you want to say to the Bartlesville Community?
 "Join us next year.  We are part of the community just like you are and would love to have you join us, run with us and Chase some Bacon!"

So, Bartlesville, keep your eyes and ears open for this event next fall and plan on participating, whether you stand on the sidelines and cheer for the participants or actually jump in and Chase some Bacon!  In the meantime, support your local Bartlesville Blue and when you think of Bacon (and I know you will), think of and pray for our local heroes!
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PDG Supports the B-Ville Blue


Amidst all of the negative commentary surrounding local police officers across our nation, PDG+creative made the decision to host a campaign showing community support for our own B-Ville Blue.  Not wanting to just throw something together without thinking it through, our creative team created this decal which includes five stars across the top signifying the five officers who were killed in Dallas last July.  The decals were made available to any and all Bartlesville citizens who would like to show support for their local men and women in Blue.   The Community response has been overwhelming resulting in Chief Tom Holland and the Bartlesville Police Department showing their appreciation by donating a Bartlesville Police Department throw to be given away as an additional incentive for citizens to participate and display the decal. 

As a result of the B-Ville Blue campaign, Mitchell Antle, CFM, Commissioner, District 1, with the Washington County Board of Commissioners reached out to PDG about creating decals showing support for all Law Enforcement in Washington County.  "The elected officials of Washington County, through the Board of County Commissioners, have agreed to support a "Back the Blue" campaign to be inclusive of all Law Enforcement entities in operation in Washington County. Furthermore, the Board recognizes and thanks all Law Enforcement, throughout our great Nation, for their continued efforts in providing public safety in our communities."  Those decals can be picked up at the Washington County Commissioners office in the Washington County Admin Building at 400 S. Johnstone, Room 201.

If you have not yet had a chance to pick up a Support the B-Ville Blue decal, we still have some available and would love for you to stop by and pick one up.  Or two or three.

Here at PDG our hope and prayer is that each of our men and women in blue return home unharmed at the end of each day



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The Value of a Good Website


This week, I presented our web team with the following questions: what is value of a good website? Why not utilize the freebie website services available online? In talking to them, I learned a couple of things. Simply put, free websites lack customization and strategy. Throwing text at a template is comparable to throwing your unique selling point out the window.  Like the stitch in a satchel or the secret ingredient of a culinary masterpiece, artistry is in the human touch–someone who builds with his or her audience in mind. See how our PDG artisans put it:

"It's a wrong mindset to look at the cost of developing a strategically grounded, purposefully developed website as an expense. A website is an investment that can bring an ROI far beyond the initial cost of development. For example, if you bolster your web presence and increase user engagement with a $10,000 redesign, and you see a 50% boost in revenue for the year as a result, did it really cost $10,000, or did you actually earn money? This perspective helps you see how a custom designed website with a strategic purpose can actually be less expensive than a poorly thought out, cheap template website that brings negligible—or even negative—bottom line results. It's true that you get what you pay for."
- Lead Developer, Johnathan Warlick

"Improve credibility - '…tell potential customers what you are about and why you deserve their trust and confidence. In fact, many people use the internet for pre-purchase research so that they can determine for themselves whether a particular supplier or brand is worthy of their patronage, and won't take them for a ride. The Internet also allows for viral marketing where your website visitors spread positive word-of-mouth about your business - your customers do your marketing!' (John Simms, Internet Marketer for Eiledon Solutions) Plus, reach beyond geographical barriers and become accessible and available. Lisa Barone made some good points in her article, '5 Benefits of Having a Website for Your Small Business', even if that was three years ago. Danielle Bullard explained some similar points in her article '5 Ways a Quality Website Can Benefit Your Business.'"
- Web Developer, Travis Shepherd

"Software is a technology that benefits mankind almost as much as agriculture; the website is how to harness some of that for yourself."
- Web Developer, Tyler Hammond
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Meet PDG+natalie


As PDG+creative's Senior Designer, Natalie Turner has not only developed a keen understanding of the advertising industry, but has figured out how to have fun with it. While we all know she rocks at Adobe Creative Suite, not everybody gets to see the person behind the ad, poster, or billboard. I got the opportunity of hanging out with Natalie after hours (fishing at her suggestion) to find out more about her role as a graphic designer, some of her favorite hobbies, and more.
In one sentence, tell us what inspired you to become a graphic designer.
I wanted to tell stories and design gives you a voice.
As a designer with seven years of experience, where have you been and where are you going?
Somewhere in the middle of my degree, I realized the power that lies in graphic design. Marketing reflects the culture you live in, able to influence what is funny, what people think of themselves, what is morally acceptable…At PDG, we're a part of that influence, and my ambition as a designer now is to advance positive ideas and give my worldview a platform.
Apart from work, what do you enjoy most?
Well, aside from hunting and fishing, I get to do what I feel like I was put on this earth to do. I lead my church's youth group in worship twice a week. Not only do I get to teach kids, but I get the chance to serve with them and learn from them!

What are your favorites…movies, bands, food?
I usually have a top ten or twenty for those kind of things. I love Braveheart, Gladiator, and Hunger Games. If by favorite you mean the last concert I went to or most frequently played on my iPod, then Rend Collective Experiment. Food? Can I just say meat? I really like Southern food, Indian, and Greek food is really good too.

What kind of advice would you give to an aspiring graphic designer?
Never put yourself in an environment where you're afraid to fail. Everybody fails, and it's healthy! Don't stop learning, push yourself, and most importantly, stay true to who you are. How do you stay honest? There are jobs we haven't taken, because I could not have done it in good conscience. Serve your clients while clinging to what's true, and while it may sound like a fine line, it really isn't.
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A Playlist for Full-Time Creatives



We've picked some solid favorites to keep you plugging away all day long.

Eight hours worth of handpicked tunes = productivity without interruption.

You're welcome.

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Behind the Brand: Tate Boys



Instead of perpetuating the stigma of "routine" associated with purchasing new tires, PDG+creative sought to develop an emotional connection with the consumer. For Tate Boy's 2012 in-store poster series, PDG+creative accomplished just that.


The bright color palette, targeted visuals, and tagline, "We Know What Drives You," were not used to focus on the tire product, but rather how the product enables consumers to engage in their favorite activities.

To find out more about Tate Boys Bartlesville, click here.
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Don't Underestimate These Sources of Creative Inspiration


Most artists hate to create anything less than groundbreaking work, but at some point everyone is lulled by the ease or convenience of making ordinary work. It's hard to maintain your creative voice when you may have used all your ideas or lost your rhythm. Don't let the secret to an inspired lifestyle elude you: take what is commonplace and infuse it with creative vibrancy. At PDG+creative, we do our best to to take several what-would-be mundane routines and keep things interesting, year after year.


Plastered walls with bits of exposed brick, a dry-erase wall full of project ideas, and a massage chair for the creative team sitting in the breakroom…if our office goes above and beyond to serve and inspire, why shouldn’t we?


Coffee is our preferred creative stimulant. (Although, Dr. Pepper takes a close second with the print team.) We choose whole beans over instant, fully aware that there is nothing more invigorating than the aroma of freshly ground coffee.


Yes, we creatives have a dress code. And yes, the dress code somehow permits outlandishly green pants. We love structure, but also celebrate that a person's idiosyncrasies work to afford them the most recognition.

"We love structure, but also celebrate that a person's idiosyncrasies work to afford them the most recognition…"


Nothing dampers the mood more than a symphony of mouses clicking, keyboards tapping, and employees clearing their throats. In our resolve to be creative, the music never stops playing. Tailor it to the project if you will, but generally we like the 1975, Vampire Weekend, and when the occasion calls for it, a bit of Queen.

Walk It Out

In order for our designer and director's relationship to work, afternoon walks are a must. When they consistently brave the Oklahoman weather conditions and return with conclusive work solutions, it leads the rest of us to believe these walks are vital to the branding process.
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Behind the Brand: Dwight Mission


Dwight Mission Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center asked PDG+creative to redesign their brand identity, taking the Dwight crest into consideration. PDG+creative's strategy was to enhance the meaning of each crest element by means of reduction. Not only was PDG+creative able to simplify the number and overt nature of the crest elements within the logo, but also created it to be incredibly flexible in regards to re-sizes, vertical/horizontal orientations, color, and loss-prevention in print applications.

Behind the Logo

- A cross shape lies within the logo’s negative space, making its presence delicately subtle.
- The feathers honor Dwight’s historical mission to the Western Cherokees.
- The four leaves resemble a butterfly, symbolizing Dwight Mission’s transformational work.
- The open book represents the Bible, central to Dwight Mission’s identity.
- The circular badge encloses all of the elements, signifying the connected, haven of Dwight Mission.

In the former logo, the quantity of elements created division, not reaching its full visual impact on the viewer. With multiple entry points and fewer elements, however, different people can now identify separate aspects of the logo, and still gain a sense of the overall unified message.

To visit Dwight Mission Camp and Conference Center's website, click here. Permalink to Post »

The Newcomer



As I learned how to walk, talk, and develop motor skills, PDG+creative was taking its first steps too. Through the healthy affection and boundaries of our parents, the two of us have learned plenty of the "Do’s and Don’ts" of life. Do say please and thank you; don't be afraid of greatness. I grew physically and mentally, while PDG+creative grew organically from one visionary to seven. 

We have more in common than two decades of growth.

​I find myself shopping for slacks and button-ups, rather than browsing summer flip-flops. PDG+creative is also strategically donning a new wardrobe this year, re-vamping its logo, website, signage and office entryway. It's our way of saying: the old is good, but the new is better.

We now stand with our feet planted on the horizon of the lifetime ahead of us, hungry for what time will permit us to create. We admit our failures and accomplishments, allowing these to stand as our guide towards future successes. With all the wide-eyed ambition of a young adult, and all the practical wisdom handed down from generations before us, we've found a refreshing balance.

Cheers to a blooming and harmonious friendship.


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We APPlaud you



To the Compulsively Busy,

You don’t need another app; you need one single app. A catch-all, if you will. This app needs to do some heavy lifting: documenting your diet plan, grocery list, bursts of creative inspiration, and photos too. PDG+creative has identified several of the best, because we believe every detail matters.


So that you needn't always remember everything at once.
Awesome Notes - $3.99 for iPhone, $4.99 for iPad. Awesome Notes is the dream app for the task-oriented. It functions as an all-in-one organizer, with user-friendly tabs. Each tab is labeled distinctly to separate groceries from your personal diary, or work from your marriage. Every flighty thought can now be tucked away for good, making Awesome Notes pretty awesome.

30/30 - Free for iPhone and iPad. We think this task manager works better than others because it functions on the underlying concept: time is money. 30/30 has built-in timers, notifying you when to move on to your next task. This sets you up to confront your time-management style, identifying where you lose time and where you ought to be investing more. A full hour jogging? Feel the burn of real-time.

Everest - Free for iPhone. Did you check off all the items on your last bucket list or forget you even had one? Fruitless moments of inspiration end here (no pun intended). Everest not only acts as a sanctuary for goals that really matter to you, but it helps you actually work towards your dreams one "to-do" at a time. 

Evernote - Free for iPhone and iPad. For lack of better terms…duh. Evernote is the obvious do-it-all app, allowing you to store notes and images under any notebook label you'd like. Condense scattered recipes and literary essays into two different notebooks, then sync them from your phone to computer (or vice versa). Easy as that.


So maybe you're done with catch-alls, having renounced "multi-purpose anything" for lack of efficiency. We get that too. Here's a list to keep your categories from breaking out of their neat little boxes; we know you hate that.

Current Events

NPR newsFree for iPhone and iPad. If you're the type that craves intellectual stimulation, particularly while performing mundane work or house chores--here's a way to do both. NPR news provides audio articles and a five-minute daily newscast, to update you on all major news highlights, hands-free. Go ahead and sweep the kitchen, fully impressed with your ability to handle a broom alongside big ideas.


HomeBudget with Sync - $4.99 for iPhone and iPad. We've learned to accept that budgeting isn't easy. There are so many loose ends to keep track of; so many unforeseen repairs (who would've guessed you'd get into that fender-bender at Disneyland?). HomeBudget's got your back. With this app taking into account all of your expenses, income, and bills, you might just break even at the end of the month.


MyFitnessPal - Free for iPhone. This little guy stores an impressive archive of brand-specific calorie counts and takes into account the general amount burned during various exercises. As if documenting every piece of food you eat doesn't make you health conscious enough, this app brings you the support of a nutrition-oriented community. If you opt to use this as a social network, friends can encourage you when you haven't logged in for a few days, weeks, months…now that's just embarrassing.


Songza - Free for iPhone and iPad. Nothing is worse than a Phil Collins slow jam throwing off your intensive cardio, yet you can't help but belt out "Your Song" later in the shower. Songza allows you to categorize your music playlist by activity. With Songza, find the perfect beats so you never have to hit the skip button again.


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The Creative Formula for Non-Creatives



C = A + B

Creative equals the sum of two unlike variables, Point A and Point B.

There you have it. The greatest deception in the creative industry is that abstract thought is the guiding element to all things artistic. At PDG+creative, we believe that logic and creative not only co-exist, but enhance the other. 

Not convinced? Let the following examples demonstrate the validity of this argument.

Ex. 1
Throw it back to Mozart. Old Wolfgang is forever remembered as a brilliant musician, but what about mathematical genius? The complexity of his work took him to the hall of fame, not the way he strung pretty notes together.

C = A + B  → Symphony #40 = Music + Math

Ex. 2
Steve Jobs, Apple inventor extraordinaire, became famous for pairing technological advances with suitable creative partners. He took the iPhone's technical capabilities, and upped its standing with the mark of exclusivity

C = A + B  → The iPhone = Technical Ability + Psychology

Maybe you're not Mozart or Steve Jobs, but you're not limited to one side of the brain either. So if your palms start sweating at the sight of a brush and canvas, let the above equation be your silent mantra.



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