Cream of Dallas Ad Agencies – Moving Brands Forward


The Super Bowl as Entertainment Extravaganza: Why tens of millions don’t tune in to watch the game.

On Sunday, millions of people around the world will watch Super Bowl LII.  And while the game remains U.S. consumers’ favorite part of Super Bowl Sunday the commercials are not far behind. When asked ‘what was your favorite part of Super Bowl LI?’ in 2017, statista survey takers ranked the game at 58%, commercials at 46% and social gathering at 26%.  So, knowing that nearly half of those watching the big game are really into the commercials, and doing what we do, we thought we’d take advantage of #throwbackthursday and travel back in time to revisit three of the most impactful Super Bowl commercials in history. 

It Really Started in 1973 With A Shave Cream Commercial

Before 1973, ads shown during the Super Bowl were just regular ads. And because networks and advertisers were not totally comfortable with ratings, ads for the first few Super Bowl games were sometimes sold at discounted rates.  That all changed in 1973 with a 30-second spot featuring Super Bowl III MVP (and future Hall-of-Famer) Joe Namath and pre-Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett.  Noxema Shave Cream unleashed “Let Nozema Cream Your Face” to rave reviews.  With a flawless blend of football lingo and sexual innuendo, the spot was entertaining, but more importantly it generated conversations the day after it aired.  Super Bowl advertising would never be same.

Pulling Heartstrings Through Celebrity Endorsement

In 1979, Coca-Cola created one of the all-time best Super Bowl commercials when they presented Mean Joe Greene in a new light.  Shedding his tough guy persona, Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Steelers trades a coke for his game-worn jersey with a young boy in a stadium tunnel.  Former McCann-Erickson copywriter Penny Hawkey explains how the script came together. “We wanted a boy and an intimidating man – someone who needs and someone who rejects – and to have plenty of tension and relief when the Coke was handed over,” said Hawkey.  Fans and non-fans alike that were moved by its heartwarming message applauded the ad.  Nearly 40 years later, the ad stands the test of time as an example of sharp, effective and dramatic storytelling.

1984: The Spot That Broke All the Rules

As the Redskins and Raiders game planned for the second half of Super Bowl XVIII, the rest of the world watching the game had no idea they were about to see the most famous commercial in Super Bowl history.  Inspired by George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, Sci-Fi director Ridley Scott created a 60-second film to introduce the original Apple Macintosh and introduce the idea that the new age of home computing would ensure that “1984 won’t be like 1984.”  Steve Jobs and Chiat\Day’s brilliant idea of elevating a television commercial into a short film redefined what Super Bowl commercials could be – from this point forward, Super Bowl commercials were expected to be elaborate and plot-driven.

—Erik Herskind, CEO



Authenticity Rules | The Inn at Arch Cape

Tucked into the coast of Oregon sits The Inn at Arch Cape, a 6-unit inn run by Heather Newman and Chris Anderson (formerly of Dallas). When the couple bought the inn in May 2017, they looked to greenlight to help rebrand the inn and consult on the guest experience.

[I should first lay my cards out on the table – the owners happen to be my sister and Erik’s lifetime friend. We were pretty much given carte blanche on this dream project.]

While all destination-driven businesses should strive to be as local as they can, it’s especially important that hotels embrace and reflect their local culture in all they do. Branding, partnerships and packages should be authentic and give their guests an authentic taste of what the location has to offer.

The branding of the inn drew inspiration from historic images and textures of the inn, the community and pristine coastline.

Coming into the small community of Arch Cape (pop. 242), it was important the inn connect with as many of the local artisans and craftsman as we could. We needed to get a feel for the community, the guests who came to visit and the talents of the incredible people who chose the Arch Cape area as their home. Through this understanding, we are able to communicate and produce moments, landmarks and comforts that reflect the culture of this special town.

-Olivia Cole, COO



how to turn a simple meal into an experience

I’ve hosted Christmas dinner since my oldest son, now 12, was born. The “big meal” in itself seems to provide an unnecessary stress for most people, but I’ve managed to find a way to create an experience that brings joy to just about everyone – including me!

How do I do it?

  1. Prep all meals the day before (or buy pre-made dishes!). This really is the number one rule because it keeps you calm, cool and collected on the most joyous day of the year!

  2. Share the responsibility. Every dinner party needs a mixologist, a table decorator, cooks and dish washers. So let your guests help! This will free you up to be more engaged with your guests, and to ensure that they’re going to remember the experience that you designed for them.

  3. Let the music set the mood. Prepare your playlist before anyone arrives and pick at least one song for each guest. People will sing along - and nothing can make someone more comfortable than hearing the sound of a familiar song.

  4. Assigned seating. Sitting around a table with family and friends should be fun, not stressful. Find connections between people and sit them near each other. In addition, our family has a tradition of Christmas Crackers at each place setting, and the games inside typically help any lulled conversations along.

  5. Let them know how happy you are to have them there. Time we have with our loved ones should be time that we cherish. Your dinner party wouldn’t be what it is without the people who are there. Whether it’s a note the next morning or a small takeout container of cake, find a way to express your gratitude for the time they spent with your family in your home.


We captured the first night’s meal from our annual retreat and I’m excited to share it with you. So from our table to yours, we wish all of our friends, clients and family HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Take a peek:

-Olivia Cole, COO



ABC: Always Be Connecting

Networking. It’s a thing, y’all. And, if you’re serious about your career, it is the thing that you need to pursue passionately, continuously, and head on.

It’s what brought me to greenlight. As the newest addition to this family, I have to share this valuable piece of wisdom I’ve acquired in my professional career.

Here’s a real-life example. I recently took the plunge and decided to change careers. I knew what I wanted to be doing and the type of company I wanted to be a part of, but had no idea how to get there. So where do you start when you’ve been out of the “job hunting” game for 8 years? You bite your lip and send an email to 86 of your closest friends, family members, professional colleagues and acquaintances seeking help and professional connections.

Fun fact: 85% of all jobs are found via networking.

From that one ballsy email, I scored 18 coffee meetings, six interviews, two job offers, and my final destination at greenlight (insert all celebratory emojis).

I didn’t let it stop there. Why? Because I learned that networking challenges you and forces you to stay sharp when most folks are looking to get comfortable.

So keep connecting, keep learning, and always return the favor by helping others on their career path. As your circle grows, so does your inner peace of mind.

Now get out there and seek new perspectives! I hope to shake your hand one day.

-Cory Elford, Account Coordinator



When Service is an Honor

There is something about the calendar rolling over to November that feels different. Shorter days and earlier nights. Finally being able to light a fire in the fireplace. Looking ahead to the end of the month’s Thanksgiving holiday. For me, November feels like family. For all of us at greenlight, November is the month we support our clients’ military initiatives through Military Family Appreciation Month.

In our 11 years in business we’ve been fortunate to work with some inspiring people and companies. And while we genuinely appreciate every client and project we’ve served, we have a special place in our hearts for the military-focused initiatives we’ve led and supported. Back in 2012, we helped La Quinta Inns & Suites develop a platform for embracing the military through an enterprise-wide approach that has become a model for successfully supporting the military community. A significant part of this approach involves recognizing and honoring the military family. Military families know what it means to serve. They know the risks, but accept this life of service nevertheless.

Through our work with La Quinta, we were introduced to the Fisher House Foundation – a non-profit organization providing military families housing close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury. Since is inception, the foundation was saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $360 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation. Our agency has been fortunate to work with this amazing foundation through its partnership with La Quinta. Every November, members of the La Quinta Returns loyalty program have the opportunity to donate Returns points to the Hotels for Heroes program which allows family members to stay at hotels near medical centers when a Fisher House is full.

These two truly inspiring companies going above and beyond to support military families each November makes this month every more special for us.

-Erik Herskind, CEO


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hobbies = productivity & creativity

You might have heard that greenlight HIRED A BAKER. Well, that’s me! Nice to meet you.

As the new director of brand experience for the agency, we created an interactive branded activation that gave a nod and a wink to my last name while also delivering greenlight’s message that brand experiences are the agency’s future. However, little did the greenlight team know that I actually love to bake.

I have tasked myself with baking a treat once a week for my greenlight fam and in return have had family and friends state, “How do you have time to do that? I don’t have time for a hobby!” But honestly, you don’t have time NOT to have a hobby. Studies show spending more time doing things you love results in more productivity at work and an overall higher level of happiness.

It’s been shown that people who are overworked and feeling run-down are nine times out of 10 neglecting themselves personally. Keeping your mind and body in shape (hello there, cookies) are crucial to perform at the top of your game. Having a hobby, whether that is reading, SoulCycle, calligraphy, or cooking up a storm can help energize you, provide new creativity, and ultimately flex muscles that help your personal growth and prevent you from burning out.

So go dust off that soccer ball, pick up a camera, find your old leg warmers and invest in yourself. Taking time to participate in a low-risk and low-pressure labor of love will make you happier, healthier and more productive. Now let’s eat some cake!

-Alex Baker, Director of Brand Experience

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20 (or more) events. 4 days. 1 whirlwind trip to NYC for Advertising Week.

Advertising Week New York was a whirlwind of panels, networking and dodging the crowds of Times Square. It was a jam-packed four days and I learned so much from the 20+ events I attended that I could write a book. For this Go Deep, I want to focus on one of the most memorable for me.


Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever, gave a talk titled “The Future of Marketing: Driving Growth in a Digital World” the opening day of the conference. It was the perfect event to kick off the week and inspire big thinking. The future in Weed’s eyes is mobile combined with artificial intelligence. Consumers want instant information and have zero tolerance for waiting. Brands have to create a frictionless experience. He argued that we need to move on from digital marketing. There has been a flip to marketing in a connected world. In this world you don’t have to have a big TV budget or connections with major retailers to be successful. There are diverse brand categories and no barriers to entry. However, where we need serious improvement is in cross platform measurement. On Weed’s “Report Card” he gave measurement reliability an F. Today there are 600 million people ad blocking and the digital supply chain is unclear. We need measurement reliability now more than ever.

All of this talk about the future was enlightening but what really stuck with me was how Unilever goes about crafting brands for life. Weed outlined the three components for success. Number one, above all, is put people first. You have to understand people and move from mass marketing to customization. Understand the customer journey inside and out. Number two is to build brand love. Give people an idea to buy into. The fastest growing brands are purpose brands that align with consumer’s values. Weed sited that brands that moved to progressive ads saw a 25% increase in performance. Building content around consumer need and passion is the difference in advertising as interruption and advertising that consumers seek-out. Finally, unlock the magic. As Weed said, “winners don’t do different things, they do things differently.”

-Clara Seddelmeyer, Account Executive

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designing with purpose

When Harvey made landfall in Houston on August 25, we knew two things. We knew the devastation would be like nothing Texas had seen in our lifetime and we knew that Texans from all around the state would rally around our Houston family. Texans are some of the most resilient, compassionate and creative people in the world. This is apparent in the droves of T-shirt designs benefiting hurricane relief that have come out since the Hurricanes and subsequent flooding.

Sometimes a simple design is what it takes to make a difference. It’s incredible to see local businesses and designers use their craft for something so good, without any hesitation.

Purchase one (or all!) of the T-shirts we gathered below and you will be making a donation to help aid the victims of the hurricane and flooding (and you’ll also get a badass tee your friends will want to steal, so maybe buy some for your friends, too).

Have we missed any? Send them our way and we’ll add to our list.



failure as a goal

Photography is hard. When you’re trying to get better on your own time and your own dime, sometimes you just have to make a big old expensive and intentional mistake to “level up,” as the kids say. The following is how I learned a little about photography, but more so that one’s own time, money and failure are often the best education.

After perusing various photography and travel history books from greenlight’s very impressive semi-public library, I decided to shoot a “road trip photography” project, with full knowledge I wouldn’t come back with a gallery show, but not knowing why yet. On the route from Texas to Colorado for my annual mountain camping trip, I planned to capture dilapidated, outdated service buildings, diners and gas stations from the endless peripheral scroll of the highway, shot on instant film to show the contrast between analog and digital spaces via analog means. Simple enough! Well. It turns out you don’t just tack on a photo assignment to a well-planned road trip with a set arrival time. You must account for time to stop, frame and scout angles, constantly making micro-evaluations passing cluster after cluster of roadside shacks and signage at 75 mph. After a few of these stops, I realized that not only was this a project worthy of its own road trip, but after burning a few packs of discontinued Fuji instant film I was hitting my limited supply.

While I got a few cool prints, the experience of doing something like this blind was the real value. I learned that calculating cost, time and appreciation for a variety of subjects are processes with inherently measurable consequences, and are things I can account for in the future. Sure, I could’ve Googled “how to take a photography road trip,” but A) that’s no fun, and B) I like to learn things in ways that stick with me. Time and money happen to be some of the most effective teachers in life.

-Aaron White, Sr. Production Artist



keep laughing.

After reading a few go deeps, you probably realize that this is not your ordinary office. We could go over several reasons why, but one in particular is the amount of humor we incorporate into each day. It keeps us going, encourages relationship building, and relieves stress. Plus, health professionals have found that laughing lowers blood pressure, boosts T-cells, and triggers the release of endorphins. Simply put, LAUGHING is good for you and your office culture. I mean, y’all, we have now spent two consecutive Thirsty Thursdays talking about going Big Foot hunting on our fall retreat. (This was aided by a few beers.) These lighthearted conversations help to remind us that we are all human, even in the workplace.

So, if you find yourself in need of some positivity, crack a joke… and a few cold ones.

-Kaylee Caldwell, Account Coordinator



be a teacher. stay a student.

Last night was a cool evening for our agency. We hooked up with our friends at Café Momentum to mentor an art project about Racial Justice. What does a 39-year old white woman living in North Dallas know about feelings of racial injustice? Not much. But I listened and learned. I worked with Christina on bringing her emotions to life in a mural. Christina didn’t feel confident in her ability to communicate her feelings with pictures, so it was a pretty awesome dialog. We both shared our points of view and experiences and created a pretty cool piece of art. The idea was all hers, I just followed her direction.

Being a mentor is one the most rewarding things you can do for yourself. Not only will you learn about yourself, your community and your gift, you will…

  1. Connect with someone on a level that’s honest and raw. So good for the soul.
  2. Be asked questions that you can’t answer, and will be pushed to be (and do) more.
  3. Provide someone with a confidant, a place to go for guidance when they feel off course.

I always tell our greenlighters to “Be a teacher. Stay a Student.” Set up monthly check-ins with your mentor, talk about setbacks and successes. LEARN from them. And pass it FORWARD. Just as good as chicken noodle soup.

-Olivia Cole, COO



working like a mother, without the guilt

“Life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The piña and the colada.” -Ellen DeGeneres

The best thing that happened to me was being laid off 18 months ago. I found my happy place here at greenlight. Not only is the work that we get to do amazing. But it’s the culture that makes it worth it. It was on our annual retreat last year when I finally learned how to let go of my working mom guilt.

We had a group session led by Rocky Garza of Staff Retreat Co. where I was able to tell myself how lucky I am to be mom to two amazing young men and that all this guilt is coming from me.

This isn’t a new problem, though; it’s a common feeling in working moms everywhere. Literally. Of course, I am not resentful of stay-at-home moms. I actually did that when my second son was born and stopped working for 5 years.

In 2010, my time to go back to work and single mom it came without a choice. My oldest son took it in his stride, but my youngest, just about to start kindergarten? That’s a lot for one kid to experience all at once. I could not help but feel guilty about the changes going on in their world.

As a newly single mom, the struggles were real and made me feel that I wasn’t doing well at work or home. But after years of perfecting the balance (and thanks to Rocky and greenlight retreats) one of my favorite things my youngest ever said to me couldn’t have happened if I wasn’t making it work. I asked him what he thinks about when he thinks about me and he said, “your personality.” To which I asked, what about my personality? He said you're sweet, kind, loving, funny and hard working. Hard working. He knew this at 10.

-Alex Liesner, Account Director



creating more with less

Making a box is expensive. A package design project can take anywhere from months to even years worth of research, design and execution to accomplish. We know that the design of the product is important to draw the consumer in to purchase. But, what about manufacturing the product? How does the total cost of a package impact the design? Sometimes we wish it didn’t, but of course budget plays a role in what we can ultimately produce. What’s great as a creative is that gives us the opportunity to explore alternative methods and materials to produce a box.

As an example, lets look into the cost of building an MDF (Multi-Density Fiberboard), hinge top style box (I know, but stick with me). Say our creative team has designed a genuine leather-wrapped, metal-hinged box with a foil paper interior. The client loves the design and wants to produce 25,000. It turns out, that’s about $20/box, leaving the client to invest $500,000 to produce and ship. Knowing this client doesn’t want to spend no more than $250k of their investment, but also doesn’t want to sacrifice design to the packaging, this raises several problems with the original design materials. Now we get thinking. Instead of using MDF, use cardboard as your base. Genuine leather is expensive! Try heavy paper with a leather pattern press. Exploring alternative ideas has the potential to dramatically drop the cost per box, while maintaining a luxury aesthetic. With these switches in materials and production methods the cost of the box was dropped from $20 to $10/box – cutting the investment in half!

This is pretty much how we work over in the creative department. And as a designer this process teaches you how to effectively collaborate with the client, sales teams and manufacturers to produce a profit-making product ready for distribution. What it comes down to for me is that budget is an important factor in how we creatively concept and execute any project.

-Kreyton Polka, Senior Designer



how design live

Last week I got to go to Chicago for HOW Design Live for my “Employee Enrichment Program.” What is that you ask? Well, every two years that you work for greatest agency, greenlight, you get to pick a conference you would like to attend and they send you! This conference not only brought in people from everywhere around the world but also from all different positions in the creative world. I learned so much from all the speakers, so I couldn’t wait to get back and share with the team! Today, I thought I would share some of my favorite pieces of advice I gathered:

  1. Don’t be afraid to be weird
  2. Don’t confuse fear with discomfort
  3. Be the expert in the room
  4. Fall in love with the process
  5. Believe in your flyness, conquer your shyness
  6. Make Things, Inspire People and Create Change
  7. Live Purposely (not purposefully), Live Generously and Live Intentionally
  8. If you’re playing it safe, you’re not playing at all
  9. Keep bringing your ideas to the table even when the “big guys” aren’t asking for them
  10. Critique is at the core of collaboration

What am I going to start applying to myself today? Definitely believing in my flyness, conquering my shyness and falling in love with the process. I hope at least one of these pieces of advice inspires you and that you will share with your own team!

-Celeste Randall, designer



office style

When I wake up in the morning my first conscious thought aside from “Where’s the coffee?!” is “What am I going to wear today?” I grew up believing that what you wear matters because what you’re wearing is one of the first impressions someone is going to have of you. Even to this day my mom tells me to always dress up to get on an airplane because you never know whom you’re going to meet. Turns out, there’s some science to back up that what you wear actually does matter. Recent studies have shown that breaking out of your normal status quo of attire can boost your confidence, help you focus and give you an edge into bigger-picture thinking. I’ve found that when I’m in an outfit I feel confident in, my energy and optimism skyrockets. So how can you achieve this same high? Break out of the norm, browse fashion blogs and use the excited feeling you get looking at an outfit as inspiration to put together an outfit of your own that will give you the same feeling!

-Morgan Montague, Account Executive



find your fit

Go with your gut. That’s the only way you can find an internship that’s right for you. Well any position really, but for our right now, it’s an internship. As we open up our call for summer interns, it got me thinking about what really goes into that decision process, from the intern side. It’s nerves, it’s mass emails with copy and pasted notes, it’s sending the wrong cover letter, it’s paying attention to detail. What it should be, though, is showing who you are, being loud, spellchecking an email three times and being selective. We want to find young pros who are passionate about where they work because that’s how you get great work. And it’s more fun. So take your time, don’t forget what you stand for, and make sure the agency you choose stands for you. We hope that’s greenlight!

If you think it is, get on over here ( and apply. We can’t wait to hear you roar.

-Claire Higgins, Brand Strategist




As creatives we are often left staring at a blank page or screen waiting for inspiration to strike, and we know all too well that that is simply not how it works.

So how does inspiration work?

Inspiration is defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” It is a process that I believe is constantly happening in the back of our minds and in order to tap into it we must occupy our brain with something other than the task at hand. Listening to music, walking in nature, looking at a painting, cooking a meal, conversing with someone who has a completely different outlook on life than you, these are all ways that can spark inspiration.

I truly value stepping away from a creative problem and looking at beautiful and inspiring images for even a few minutes each day (ahem, I have over 11 thousand pins on Pinterest). When thinking of inspiration this phrase comes to mind “A watched pot never boils.” Yes I know this is a cooking term, but it applies to design as well. When we sit looking at a creative problem for too long it seems like we may never find the solution. But if you step away and occupy your mind with something else…That’s when the ideas start boiling over.

-Kaitlyn Coffee, Art Director



millennials in the workforce

Jason Dorsey, co-founder of The Center for Generational Kinetics, spoke at La Quinta’s annual conference here in Dallas. Jason’s focus is on solving generational challenges for companies and leaders through his unique research with an emphasis on millennials and Gen Z.

His session was an interesting experience for me. He was specifically speaking to the Gen X and Baby Boomers in the room about the challenges of hiring and retaining millennials. Being one of the few millennials there, I agreed with most of what Jason was saying about my generation. We are brand loyal, and out of any other generation, we have serious spending power. And there are a lot of us. Millennials make up the highest percentage of the workforce (45%) and have the most college degrees (and college debt!) of any generation. I agreed that, in general, we are an entitled generation. So much so that we introduced a new life stage called “delayed adulthood” because of it. However, there were a few points that I did not personally agree with, such as entitlement in the workforce. But then he explained – and this is what really resonated with me – that for the first time ever the millennial generation is splitting. Now, we have two kinds of millennial. There are those that feel entitled and those that can’t stand the entitled ones.

I realized I am a little bit of both. On one hand I completely fit with my generation and those in the “delayed adulthood” stage. I want the freedom of being an adult, but I’m not that excited about the responsibility of being an adult. However, when it comes to my job, I think more like a Baby Boomer (likely because I was raised by two of them). I believe there are no short cuts to success. My work ethic and determination to go above and beyond are what will bring me success in my career.

-Clara Seddelmeyer, Account Executive



"helpers high"

Words like helper and helpfulness have always followed me around – they would pop up in every personality quiz I took. At first, I resented it. Don't get me wrong – I love to give back. It just seemed like a trait that would be a burden to carry around. But once I gave in and embraced this helpfulness, I began to realize how rewarding the simple act of helping out felt. Then I found greenlight. Helpfulness flourishes here, regardless of title, because greenlight thrives on being a team, collaboration and being part of something bigger. Helping others triggers the "mesolimbic system" or portion of the brain that releases feelings of reward. It's that feeling after a day spent volunteering for a foundation you're passionate about or simply getting the door for someone who can’t. These sometimes even instinctive actions are proven to boost self-esteem and give you a greater sense of belonging.

A couple ways you can trigger this "helpers high" at work? Offer to contribute on a tough problem-solving brainstorm or lend a hand on a coworker's project. Proof read an email or offer to take something off someone’s seemingly never ending to-do list. I guarantee the reward is worth the extra effort to help out – just ask any greenlighter.

-Jamey Molberg, Agency Operations Lead



Mental Health in the office

Mental health in the office – Start the conversation

Have you ever noticed it’s difficult to work when you have the flu? Between the sneezing fits and exhaustion, it’s hard to focus on the job at hand. Now, imagine feeling just as terrible but every day and without the ability to take extended time off. This is common for people living with a psychological disorder. While perceptions are improving in society as a whole, in the professional realm the topic of mental health continues to carry a negative connotation.

Here’s a fun fact: 1 in 5 adult Americans suffer from some form of mental health disorder. That’s 42.5 million people who walk into work silently battling an inner storm their colleagues may know nothing about. It’s time to start the conversation and talk more about mental health. Office culture is more important than ever, so with that in mind, this taboo subject is something worth exploring. Open dialogue in the office fosters understanding and acceptance, and it benefits the company by boosting productivity and employee retention.

Companies like greenlight have found a way to create an open, inclusive culture. Each employee is like a member of the family. We are valued individually, just as much as the business. What better way to cultivate a collaborative work environment than by promoting self-assurance and support just like a family. We are all creative, and Sylvia Plath said it best, “the worst enemy of creativity is self-doubt.”

-Lauren Rasins, Creative Coordinator