Advertising rooted in the Common Ground

In the thousands of advertisements, labels and messages people see every day, there are relevant products and services that make our lives better and our businesses more profitable. We are how those brands break through the noise and get noticed. We are how brands connect through strategic campaigns and relevant content across traditional, digital and social platforms. We are clear, focused and relevant brand experiences that compel people to pause, consider and engage.

We are marketing and advertising. We are Popskull.

 
$5,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2009
Show all +
Chicago, IL
headquarters

Portfolio

Key clients: 

SkinnyPop Popcorn
Lyft
Mossy Oak Pursuit Energy
Tramontina 
Stolen Rum
Swedish Covenant Hospital
Devil Dawgs
Wynnchurch Capital
Crowe Horwath
Galter LifeCenter
John Michael Kohler Art Center
Spice Note Tequila
Sustainable Modular Management

Reviews

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UI/UX Design for Gaming App

"They respond quickly, listen carefully, consult thoughtfully, and never fail to produce impactful results."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Dec. 2018 - Oct. 2019
Project summary: 

Popskull provided UI/UX designs for a gaming company. The team also assessed fundraising pitch materials, branding, and marketing strategies for the client.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Michael Schulte
Founder & CEO, PickFun
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The engagement led to a valuable brand partnership for the client. Popskull facilitates a seamless workflow through effective communication and collaboration. The team is attentive, easy to work with, and talented.

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

Founder and CEO of a gaming app startup.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire Popskull?

Popskull helped me to articulate the UI / UX for alpha version of the app. They also assisted with assessment of fundraising pitch materials and approach with respect to brand / marketing activities.

What were your goals for this project?

Primarily to source capital for alpha buildout.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

Popskull was recommended to me by a well-respected professional investor who had used the firm's services himself.

Describe the project and the services they provided in detail.

The project was to take wireframes of a live event-based gaming product and bring them to life. Elements critical to telling the full story included user flow (from login to contest completion), realtime / non-disruptive advertising inventory, and gameplay. Popskull delivered all the above while at the same time creating a branded experience that enabled my business's core function (a publishing system) to coincide with branded contests and narrative-driven advertising (our revenue sources.) Put simply, Popskull has been critical to my company's development.

What was the team composition?

It was mostly a two person team on Popskull's side: the company's founder / Account Executive and a UI / X + graphic design expert.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Can you share any information that demonstrates the impact that this project has had on your business?

Thanks to Popskull's work, I'm now working with a sports ownership group that controls over $2B in franchise value across NHL, MLS and NBA.

How was project management arranged and how effective was it?

It was always effective and carefully organized by Popskull. I was always in the loop on timing and understood strategy behind all procedural decisions on their end. The communication between our sides was simple and efficient.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

Everything. Popskull is amazing. They respond quickly, listen carefully, consult thoughtfully and never fail to produce impactful results. On every project, they help me to define what success should look like and then deliver that vision in a collaborative, communicative, fun environment.

After years of working with Popskull, what continues to amaze is the speed with which they can synthesize a wide range of variables (pricing, competition, operations, etc.) to help me make critical decisions. This group not only executes as well as (if not better than) large agencies but also serves as a trusted advisory cohort unafraid to tell you the truth about what’s best for you and your business. I’m lucky to be their client.

Are there any areas for improvement?

None

5.0
Overall Score Popskull is fantastic
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Always easy to schedule time!
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Fairly priced, without question.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Always on time and high quality. All interactions with this group were excllent - a pleasure to work with.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Already have and continue to do so.

Branding & Advertising for Food Company

“They’re not just an advertising agency, but a partner that is helping us grow our brand.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Dec. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

After pursuing market research, collecting consumer insights, and developing a brand strategy, Popskull redesigned product packaging. Soon, they’ll redevelop a website and do direct-to-consumer marketing.

The Reviewer
 
Chicago, Illinois
Alexander Laios
President, Marathon Healthy Foods
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Internal stakeholders responded favorably to their high-quality deliverables, leading to more work for Popskull. Receptive and amicable, the team is committed to the long-term, like developing the brand and growing the company. They expedite delivery and handle last-minute changes with ease.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the president of Marathon Healthy Foods, a small family-owned company specializing in chicken burgers. Our products are in a few grocery stores, and we’re working on expanding into new ones as well.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Popskull?

We needed to professionalize our marketing and advertising, such as packaging and POS materials.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We initially focused on brand strategy development. Popskull pursued research on our market and competitors. They also organized customer focus groups to determine what made our brand and products stand out in the market.

Based on this market and customer research, along with our newly developed brand strategy, Popskull redesigned the packaging for our three main products.

Popskull is about to begin website redevelopment. We also have plans to do direct-to-consumer and social media marketing.  

What is the team composition?

PJ (Managing Partner, Popskull) is my main point of contact. Around 3–4 other team members have contributed to our project.

How did you come to work with Popskull?

A friend who works in private equity and has portfolio companies that have worked with Popskull recommended them. In addition to this recommendation, we chose Popskull because they had experience in consumer packaged goods and the food space, which I thought would be helpful. When I met with the team, it didn’t feel like they were there just to bill me; they were there to be a part of our team, develop our brand, and grow our company.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent somewhere in the range of $20,000–$50,000. Over the next couple of years, that amount will probably double.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began working on the brand strategy in December 2017, and that lasted about eight weeks. We then started the packaging redevelopment, which was a longer-term project that we completed in mid-2018. We’ve had to make a few more changes to the packaging this year due to issues with the USDA. Our relationship with Popskull is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

My team is thrilled with the work they’ve done so far. Based on the metrics they’ve shown me from some of their social media work, I’m expecting great results.

How did Popskull perform from a project management standpoint?

The Popskull team is very personable, responsive, and available. They hit every deadline, including some that have probably been a bit unreasonable. They do whatever they can to get everything done by the time we need it. They’ve always been willing and able to complete last-minute changes that we request. We communicate via text message, phone, and email.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The high-quality of their work sets them apart. Popskull has a very professional team of creative people. They’re not just an advertising agency, but a partner that is helping us grow our brand. PJ feels more like someone who works with me than for me.

Are there any areas they could improve?

At this point, I don’t have any constructive criticism.

Any advice for potential customers?

You should definitely hire them.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Video & Display Ads for Houseware Products Manufacturer

“The quality of work they provided exceeded our expectations.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
Sep. 2017 - Aug. 2018
Project summary: 

After clarifying a brand strategy, Popskull scripted and produced two 30-second ads and two six-second ads for YouTube. The team also provided two sets of Google display ads.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
Houston, Texas
John Steen
Marketing & Strategy Manager, Tramontina
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The campaign performed extremely well across several key metrics including view-through rate and brand awareness. Open communication, emphasis on intentional messaging, and a deep knowledge of creative strategy were key in the success of the project. Everything was delivered on time and on budget.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the marketing and strategy manager at Tramontina. We’re a cookware and housewares supplier that sells to large retailers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Popskull?

We had just engaged with Google directly on our first consumer-facing marketing campaign, which required creative materials including videos and photography. We also needed help structuring the direction of the campaign.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Once we got in touch with their team, we determined the specific scope around our goal of creating a cohesive campaign. They started by helping us clarify our brand strategy. This involved identifying our target audience, our desired impact on that audience, and how to most effectively communicate with our consumers via messaging and overall positioning. The team then started brainstorming video content. The final deliverables for this campaign were two major 30-second spots and two six-second spots on YouTube, as well as two sets of Google display ads. They also wrote the video scripts, coordinated production efforts, and helped us incorporate this campaign into our overarching brand strategy.

What is the team composition?

I worked primarily with Anwar (Executive Creative Director, Popskull) and PJ (Managing Partner, Popskull). PJ managed the project, Anwar led the creative process, and they worked together on strategy. I also worked with Beth (Creative Director, Popskull) and Maddie (Strategic Planner, Popskull), who wrote the scripts, supervised the production process, and provided feedback on how the specifics would feed into the larger strategy. Grace (Copywriter, Popskull) also assisted with refining copy.

How did you come to work with Popskull?

While Google doesn’t recommend specific agencies, we found out about them while searching for Google partners.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve invested about $185,000 this year, while last year was closer to $30,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working together in August 2017 and planned all the creative by October. This first campaign concluded at the end of December 2017, but we continued running it with a lower ad spend through March 2018. We're currently running a second campaign, which launched in early August and will continue until the end of this year.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our main objective was to increase brand lift and organic search traffic, and the campaign we ran resulted in success across several key metrics. After 90 days, Google reported a 39.2% view-through rate, 48.1% brand awareness, and a best-in-class result of 90.5% Purchase Consideration. These were above-average outcomes and significant achievements for our first campaign.

The quality of work they provided exceeded our expectations. We never had to go back and forth with edits on the creative material, which was a welcome change of pace from agencies we’d worked with in the past.

How did Popskull perform from a project management standpoint?

The Popskull team was exceptionally organized, and communication was always clear and timely. We’ve worked with vendors in the past that lose sight of deadlines or deliver inconsistent results due to a lack of planning, but this wasn’t the case with Popskull. Everything was delivered on time and on budget. We primarily communicated via phone and email while sharing files on Dropbox, which worked well for us. We had a very open line of communication and got along very well.

Any advice for potential customers?

Coming in with a strong brand vision and strategy will expedite the creative process dramatically. Identifying your target audience is critical to their understanding of your brand and desired messaging.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They effectively maintained our original timeline.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were able to cut costs for this project since it was our first campaign.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Advertising and Design for Transportation App

"They worked with us to make our ideas better."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Aug. 2016 - Mar. 2018
Project summary: 

Popskull coordinated a series of advertising and design campaigns to increase awareness of an existing app. Services included strategy development, creative direction, and engagement planning.

The Reviewer
 
10,001 + Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Jean-Paul Biondi
Marketing Manager, Lyft
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Popskull capably delivered all creative materials according to schedule and within budgetary guidelines. Their openness regarding project direction led to a collaborative atmosphere, which fostered enhanced ideas and increased engagement. 

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am a marketing manager for Lyft, the ridesharing company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Popskull?

We’ve done several projects with them, largely focused on advertising and design but also including product packaging and engagement services.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We would generally present our marketing challenge and our marketing problems to them, and they’ve been able to work with us to determine what other assets and channels we can leverage to push our brand out a bit more. Our meetings usually involve strategy development and creative direction.

What is the team composition?

I am directly in touch with the creative director, the account services team, the planning and strategy teams, and the copywriters.

How did you come to work with Popskull?

Our offices are in the same building. We have an internal creative team, as well, but the first time we used Popskull, it was a rushed project, so we asked them for some assistance. They performed well, so we continued to utilize their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

Our first project began in August 2016. Our most recent project was completed in March 2018.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We have generally been pleased with the results that we’ve seen as a result of their involvement. For example, we co-branded and launched a beer with a brewery in Chicago. On that front, we achieved increased ridership to and from the bars in which we launched.

How did Popskull perform from a project management standpoint?

All of the projects have been completed on time and within our budget. They have been open to all feedback, changing their procedures, and digging in to make sure we are achieving what we need to do. As an example, we bought a vehicle for our region and developed a car wrap for it. We went through rounds of feedback to make it edgier and match what we wanted.

What did you find most impressive about them?

We appreciated their honesty and openness in telling us their opinions. They were straightforward about their perspective on the work rather than delivering exactly what we asked for with no creative initiative. They worked with us to make our ideas better.

Any advice for potential customers?

When I hired them, I wanted a professional firm to offer their professional opinion. I wanted them to challenge my thinking in case I’m wrong. I would recommend laying out your problems and having an open discussion.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer