Tops in Tourism

Our recent win of Colorado Tourism was huge for us–we cemented our 37-year tourism track record by successfully defending the Colorado Tourism Office account using a mixture of expertise, powerful creative, data and insights.

Karshie Collage“We are grateful to everyone that participated and had an impressive pool of submissions to review, yet Karsh Hagan really stood out,” said Al White, director of the Colorado Tourism Office. “The Come to Life campaign, now beginning its third year, has proven to be one of the most successful campaigns the Colorado Tourism Office has ever launched thanks in large part to the efforts of the team.”

“Travel to Colorado, and spending by visitors has never been higher than these past few years, and though 2013 numbers aren’t in yet, we anticipate it will be another record year for visits, and visitor spending,” said White.

Since the agency was established in 1977, Karsh Hagan has continued to build a reputation for travel and tourism expertise. For nearly 40 years, the agency has helped grow travel and tourism brands including the last three years with the Colorado Tourism Office, and a 20-year partnership with VISIT DENVER. Other hospitality and travel brands over the years have included The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa, Inspirato, Exclusive Resorts, Portico, Best Western International, Colorado Ski Country USA, Deadwood South Dakota, and the Steamboat Chamber. Karsh Hagan has also worked with numerous ski resorts including Aspen, Steamboat, Loveland, and Beaver Creek.

“We firmly believe that it is our experience and commitment to our client relationships, great ideas and media strategies that enable us to continue achieving better and better demonstrative results for the State. It’s something we do for all of our clients,” said Karsh Hagan Co-President, Kathy Hagan Brown.

 “We aren’t just telling Colorado’s story, we’re writing one of our own. Bringing locals together to tell the world how it feels to visit our home state. Now, we have a great opportunity to extend the Come to Life platform,” said Matt Ingwalson, Creative Director at Karsh Hagan.

“Our commitment to trends, data and a highly customized media strategy and plan for Colorado Tourism has helped us maximize results for the State. I couldn’t be more proud of the work we do together with a tremendously talented client team,” said Tracy Broderick, VP Media at Karsh Hagan.

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37 Years and Counting–Still a Great Place to Work

Karsh Hagan is a great place to work. Ask our employees. And to confirm it we were recently recognized as one of Denver’s Top Workplaces. There were a series of questions answered by our team and evaluated by a third party. All good stuff.

But what do we think it takes to create a good workplace? 37 years ago, Karsh Hagan’s mission was established. Have fun. Do good work. Make money. (And we try to accomplish one, two or all three of these on any given day.)

Over the years not much has changed, we are still true to this mantra.

However, there are a few other considerations which I believe are as important as pay, passion and people.

We’re transparent.
We tell it like it is. We tell the truth.  And we always try to do the right thing.

We laugh out loud.
If you can’t hear laughter in the office, something’s off.  Laughter is the cure for most things. Mistakes, a bad day or a challenging client.

We come and go.
Our team has the freedom to work the hours that work for them and their families.

We’re appreciative.
We work to ensure the team at Karsh Hagan feels valued and respected every day.

No matter who’s evaluating our culture this is how we measure ourselves.

Post by: Kathy Hagan Brown, Co-President

Pocky, Kathy, Tom and Phil

Pocky Marranzino, Kathy Hagan, Tom Hagan and Phil Karsh

Take 2

Take 1

Take 1

Take 2

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Being a Good Digital Parent

It hit me when I was in the middle of counseling some of our interns about their personal brands. At the time, my son and daughter were 6 (yep, twins). I realized in that moment that I needed to help my kidlets protect their own personal brands by not only teaching them good digital habits asap–they were already well versed in i-speak–but I also needed to do a digital land grab. So @dberkowitz I agree, you should get your baby a Twitter handle and then some–let’s just hope our kids like our choices. Big if.

I’m assuming they’re going to need and want these as soon as they’re tweens or when they’re ready to look for a job.

  • with their name in it and not some bizarre combo of words or .crazy
  • @Twitter
  • @Instagram (they’re 8 now and see me on it all of the time + they’re already asking for it. The answer is “no” so far)
  • Mac and Gmail accounts

Or they might end up trying to live off the grid and shun their e-childhoods. I would probably still keep everything, just in case.

My kidlets, now 8, in full i-mode

My kidlets, now 8, in full i-mode








Post by: Rachael Donaldson VP New Business & Consumer Insights

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Redefining Banking: The New Pinnacle Bank Site

Pinnacle Bancorp is family owned and community-operated with more than 160 branches across eight states. For them, a staple in places like Abilene, Kansas and Sioux City, Iowa, they constantly need to express their approachable and grounded attitude—a core component to the bank’s philosophy. So when we tackled the launch of a new, seamless and congruent digital experience we knew we needed to highlight Pinnacle Bank’s down-to-earth vibe.

Pinn bank site Karsh hagan

The New Pinnacle Bank Site

A Beautiful Balance

The brief: Maintain authority without appearing “stuffy.”

As senior copywriter, Bradley Hein explains, we approached the site as if you were having a conversation with “your uncle who happens to be banker.”

We also wanted the site to emulate the way you feel walking into a physical bank—welcomed, at ease. A huge part of achieving that was the language we used. No banking jargon. Period. We substituted a lot of conventional bank phrasing like “setting up a savings account” for real-life situations like “putting money aside for a vacation.”

Karsh Hagan

The Masterminds: Darren Brickel, Steven McKenzie, Andrew Baker

Steven McKenzie Darren Brickel and Andrew Baker designed the site based on what Pinnacle Banks really look like—modern yet reliable, sturdy. It was important to us that the site was easy to navigate so we used clean, simple animation to illustrate action. They used beautiful Google web fonts like Lato and a warm color palette. They also wanted to use imagery that reflected the brand values—so they drew from 100s of photos taken from a six-month content-road-tour across the country where they asked people from Cody, Wyoming to Lincoln, Nebraska what community means to them.

Darren says, “We wanted to use real people for the site. Not stock photos or models. We wanted the site to be as real as the customers.”

The launch: The agile design process allowed us to remain true to the core values of Pinnacle Bank and disrupt the stuffy banking tradition in the process.

Just launched today, see for yourself.

Written by Sammie Clifford, Social Media Intern






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Karsh Hagan Welcomes New Client: Southern Land Company


We are excited to announce a new partnership, Southern Land Company. Southern Land Company builds mixed-use single and multifamily communities that provide enduring value and life changing experiences for their residents. To do this successfully, they craft communities that incorporate beauty and sustainability to promote a better quality of life that has been proven to make their residents and owners excited and proud to call their communities home.

Tim Downey

Tim Downey

In 1986 Tim Downey, CEO, founded Southern Land Company after having seen many communities fall short of their potential. Development teams were failing to focus on many critical aesthetic and design elements, causing a much higher turnover in the market than what he thought should be. Downey saw an opportunity to build a full-service multi-faceted development company that focuses on building and maintaining the developments around the founding principles of Southern Land Company – architecture, horticulture, design, and sustainability.

For example, they have a horticulture staff dedicated to researching the local area and planting native, sustainable landscapes that reflect the beauty of the region. The result is a stunning community that blends with the local scenery.

Their crowning achievement, Westhaven near Nashville, Tennessee, exemplifies this focus and passion.



Their beliefs on sustainability are integral to their values. In the words of Ben Crenshaw, Director of Sustainable Development:

“Sustainability is not a concept – it’s an action step. Developers will make the biggest impact on how communities evolve. That’s an honor, but it’s coupled with intense responsibility. The days of sprawl and unchecked growth are over. It’s time to prioritize sustainable design and practice.”

It’s these kinds of beliefs that make us so proud to be their partner. We are looking forward to this relationship and all the great work we will do together!

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Expanding Interactive

Due to its breadth, the term “interactive” has become meaningless. It’s sort of like the word “creative.” I can call myself “creative,” but these days anyone with a Macbook Pro and a Fred Perry scarf can say the same. And, as the realms of technology and social media continue to evolve, the term “Interactive” is getting stretched to capacity.

After the introduction of user-friendly microcomputers like the Arduino and the Raspberry Pi it is now possible to think of objects, not websites, when the word interactive comes up. These low maintenance, iPhone sized computers, with processing power that rivals the 2006 iMac, can be custom programmed to mediate all sorts of experiences that you not only click, but feel, smell, and dance with as well.

The London based firm rAndom International  has been revolutionizing installations for years now with MOMA quality creations like the Rain Room, a room that rains on you but doesn’t get you wet.


Or how about this awesome project designed to get people to use the stairs more?

Historically, interactive experiences like these have stayed distant from the marketing world due to expense vs impression value. However, we’re starting to see advertisers  utilize things like microphones and video cameras to facilitate memorable sensory experiences that static advertisements can’t touch.

As these digital goods get cheaper, I’m certain marketers will continue to utilize them to create more physically encompassing experiences that transcend not only the traditional definitions of interactivity, but also that of impression value. The combination of a visceral experience offered by projects like the Rain Room and current trends in earned media foreshadow shifts not only in definitions, but perhaps process as well.

Written by Jeffery Trayer, Creative Intern

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B2B Storytelling with Real Impact

Arrow Mobility Video

Five-Year-Olds on Five Years Out Video

From Daedalus to Newton, the innovator speaks a different language—sees the world through a remarkably different lens. For our client, Arrow Electronics, and their “Five Years Out” platform we wanted to harness that aspiration, that drive, that desire to create and link it to their core being in a memorable way. And we wanted our solution to shatter category conventions as well as client expectations.

The Mission:

Create a piece of video content that can deliver the “Five Years Out” inspiration to innovators for years to come.

Demonstrate Arrow’s commitment to technological advancement without featuring technology itself.

 The Solve:

Karsh Hagan partnered with LA and Chicago-based motion graphics company, Flavor, because we admired their work and commitment to the creative process to create eight entirely unique videos, featuring everything from stop-motion to cell animation, that defined Arrow’s business sectors.

For each of the eight, unique narratives we developed we envisioned a thousand different artistic treatments necessary to embody a true innovators spirit. So having a different style of animation per video was a key creative element and Flavor had the range of capabilities to deliver. They used stop motion, cut paper, pencil, CGI and more.

Ad-Age quoted Creative Director, Matt Ingwalson, saying “You look at all they do and [Arrow Electronics has] lots of stories to tell, so we helped create the stories and [Flavor] helped with the animation…These stories are going to work in any medium you want to choose; it’s all about making sure the Arrow message gets out there.”

The Result:

Unveiled to a standing ovation at Arrow’s Global Strategic Summit in January, on a new microsite and recently featured in Ad Age [AdAge link/article requires subscription] and Screen Magazine, we crafted a vehicle for Arrow to expand, grow and put itself out there as a company and as a resource for innovators around the world.

Check out one of the finished videos here:

Arrow Aerospace & Defense Video

Aerospace & Defense Video

Huge thanks to the KH Team:

Account Director: Lauren Curler, Account Manager: Brooke Berry, Associate Creative Director: Darren Brickel, Copywriter: Megan Cohen, Creative Director: Matt Ingwalson, Director of Broadcast Production: Becky Ferguson, VP Brand Strategy and Creative: Charlotte Isoline, Director of Digital: David Stewart, Senior Experience Director: Andrew Baker, Associate Creative Director: Hugo Meyer, Copywriter: Bradley Hein

Written by Sammie Clifford, Social Media Intern



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