Intern-For-A-Day Series: Old Guys Are Clever

Editor’s note: This is the first post in the Fast Horse Experience Intern-For-A-Day program series. We put out an open call for guest blog posts a few weeks ago and announced that our favorite one would be published here and its author would be rewarded with one-day paid internship at Fast Horse.

The deadline passed and we were left very impressed by the thought and creativity the applicants put into their posts. So much so, in fact, that we chose not to bring in just one intern-for-a-day, but five. For the next five Tuesdays, we will publish the posts submitted by these talented young folks. And be on the lookout here and on Facebook next month to see how their internships went.

Before we kick this off, let’s get to know a little about the blogger and one of the first-ever Fast Horse Experience interns-for-a-day, Nate Knox:

Meet Nate Knox

  • Nate graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire with a degree in journalism and marketing
  • His interests include: writing, musical instruments (notably his banjo), reading, baseball, bourbon and his wife’s auction business
  • You can find him on Twitter, LinkedIn, his blog and covering the St. Paul cocktails beat for Examiner.


Now, without further ado, the first post in this ongoing series:

Old Guys Are Clever

By Nate Knox

Someone on VH1 once said, “Being a rock star is hard.”

If that’s hard, then being a rock star who is older than my dad is certainly harder. Resurrecting that wilted has-been has got to be nearly impossible. The unbelievable part is that a band from a haunted fashion era has actually done it and marketed their new album in quite a savvy and creative way.

The band that sported red, cylindrical, cone-ish things as hats and played “Whip It” has reached new generations through clever marketing. What’s the big deal? DEVO, a group of guys who are older than my dad and Fast Horse’s own John Reinan – maybe – have delivered “Something for Everybody.”

A few burnouts “giving it one more shot” isn’t cool or even respectable; the incredible thing is they jumped over a target demographic of old, former fans, and reached communications professionals and cat-lovers of all ages. They may not be the people who thought, “We should do an intern-for-the-day project,” but they are the guys who caught the eye of millions with the thought, “We should throw kittens in a room with our new record playing and put a webcam on them.”

The critically acclaimed “Cat Party” instantly became one of the best, and cutest, campaign ideas anyone has ever seen. It was shared across social media channels, as well as traditional media, and seen by millions. It was simple, creative, fantastic and cheap!

DEVO + Shirts = WOOT!

Most marketers would ignore the avenue, but DEVO was obviously up for anything to promote the record coming 20 years after its most recent sibling. While seizing social media with the Cat Party, they snagged a second medium with a two-pronged audience:

  1. Young influencers
  2. People who wear fun t-shirts

DEVO teamed up with to launch a design tournament, called a Derby. The DEVO Derby received more than 100 designs and the winner stole more than 600 unique votes. Three designs went to press and tons of shirts were sold. Assuming the buyers are not shut-ins, they wear those shirts in public and show off the DEVO-oriented designs. I know from experience, shirts like these eventually lead to conversations.

While I’m not a fan of their music, I do appreciate the way they marketed their new album. DEVO’s new shirts say something about their personality, what does your wardrobe say about you?