Leaders with Thoughts: MONO

Leaders with Thoughts

Breaking down award-winning work of the Twin Cities advertising + marketing community.

MONO is a three-time winner of Agency of the Year from the 4A’s. They have been named small agency of the year by Ad Age. The Uptown shop has impressed with creativity rooted in intent, including launching Peroni's first national campaign, introducing a unified payment platform in Google Pay, creating two films providing sincere messages of unity and togetherness for Walmart, and breathing life into Propel to compete once again in the fitness beverage space.

MONO Cold AF Supply



As brands descended upon the City of Lakes and became the epicenter of consumerism for two weeks, standing out amongst the onslaught of media elbowing for attention during the 2018 Super Bowl hoopla wasn't easy. MONO broke through the noise with a simple idea to gain visibility for the Operation Warm initiative. Simple. Powerful. Impactful. I think you'll agree that the Cold AF campaign was cool AF.


Gold ADDY - American Advertising Awards - PUBLIC SERVICE CAMPAIGN

Silver ADDY - American Advertising Awards

Silver ADDY - American Advertising Awards

Best of Public Service - AdFed MN The Show 2019

Gold Pin - Integrated Media Public Service Campaign - AdFed MN The Show 2019

Gold Pin - GPS & Location Technology - AdFed MN The Show 2019

Gold Pin - Mobile Interaction - AdFed MN The Show 2019


thoughts from

Adam Ridgeway and Brett Lakanen, Creatives

THE CLIENT Operation Warm

A nationwide non-profit organization dedicated to providing warmth to children in need. Through fundraising efforts, the organization brings hope and happiness to children with the gift of a brand-new winter coat.


The Minneapolis chapter of Operation Warm serves families earning less than $25,000 a year, for whom deciding between food, rent, heat, and medicine takes priority, meaning children may be without a coat during the bitterly cold Minnesota winter.

The Super Bowl is the icon of American consumption, commercialization, and capitalism. With the game hosted at U.S Bank Stadium, MONO brought the heat and capitalized on the opportunity for eyeballs by delivering a message of goodwill to visitors of the Twin Cities while rallying our proud Minnesotan community.


  • Leverage the potential of a national audience to gain visibility for Operation Warm by creating something worth talking about.

  • Create a new brand and bring it to life with a unique product experience.

  • Design it to be shareable.

  • Rooted in the insight that many Twin Cities visitors would be unprepared for Minnesota in February.

MONO launched the service February 1st — three days prior to Super Bowl Sunday. 


Create an attention-grabbing press and influencer outreach kit containing a Cold AF hat delivered in a pizza box.

76 Cold AF Press Kit.jpg

Distribute coasters and wild postings within the delivery area.

76 Cold AF Coasters.jpg

Create teaser videos, gifs, and images shared via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat.

And because where else would you go to bitch about the weather besides Twitter, MONO created a bot to direct crabby commenters to coldaf.supply in real-time.


Unless you're from the Midwest and it doesn't matter where, one won't appreciate what cold means until it is experienced.

History has shown that when the Super Bowl is played in colder climates, the weather is a massive part of the media coverage and the subject of social media talkers. I call that #TrendingNorth.

That same intense cold is the enemy that Operation Warm is fighting against. MONO created a brand: Cold AF Supply, providers of on-demand hot-hat delivery service to out-of-towners who didn't realize what they were getting into.

The focus was one product that most demonstrated the heartiness necessary to endure the winter's chill: the classic red plaid trapper hat.

MONO created a mobile platform that allowed frigid fans to order online. A toasty warm hat was delivered via bike messenger within 45 minutes of downtown Minneapolis, and just like tracking your pizza delivery, heatseekers could track the whereabouts of their toasty hat en route to their heads.


If the idea couldn’t be explained in five words or less, it wouldn’t engage people effectively. They had to create a brand and experience so unique that people would be moved to share it. MONO created a seamless and simple mobile platform to demand real-time engagement. Finally, and most importantly, clear communication of what was the core of the initiative and brand story: supporting children in need.

They created a connection and communication strategy that garnered over 72 million media impressions, generated an organic reach of 275,000 via our social channels, and achieved over 16,000 engagements.


The response to the campaign blew away any expectations.


NBC, CBS, The Weather Channel, Ad Age, Adweek, Mediapost, Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine and more, garnering 72 million+ media impressions. 

Demand was so fierce that hats were sold out in under 24 hours of operation and received 1,200 additional requests from around the country.

16,000+ engagements.

275,000 people reached.

1,200 email requests. One request via fax.

530 hats sold (every single one of 'em).

530 coats given to kids in need.



This idea was exceptional in understanding how shareability is how an epidemic spreads. Supporters listened and took action because MONO told a clear brand story worth paying attention to. The way one participated was experiential. It filled an internal need and solved an external problem. Press coverage was earned and the initiative trended in the social conversation because of a big idea — not a big budget.

It stuck, and it spread.

Leaders with Thoughts