Super Bowl, Phoenix Open and Haboobs

We learned a fun fact about our Creative Director Troy Pottgen on Friday: he’s a bit of a naturalist. When local NPR affiliate, KJZZ 91.5 FM, asked for Troy’s thoughts on Phoenix hosting two major sporting events concurrently, he managed to teach us something about…the weather. Here he explains why the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Super Bowl XLIX reminded him of haboobs.

Locals know there are lots of little quirks about living in the desert—poisonous scorpions, jumping cholla, Sheriff Joe. But the occurrence of two of sports’ most entertaining events this past week had me thinking about perhaps my very favorite desert oddity: the freakish dust storm known as the “haboob.” Here’s why.


A haboob starts with strong winds that move in quickly from different directions to create a giant thunderstorm in the heart of another pesky summer. It’s not unlike fans of two vastly different sports who sweep into the valley to experience golf’s biggest party and football’s best game in the heart of another perfect winter.

When the cool winds of the haboob’s thunderstorm combine with the desert’s hot summer air, the storm collapses and starts to release precipitation. Much like a Phoenix Open golfer whose poor tee shot on the 16th is met with loud boos from the gallery until he collapses and starts to cry. Or like a certain football team, whose last cool victory is blasted with media hot air until the team “deflates” and starts to cry.

When this downdraft of cold air reaches the ground, it stirs up a massive wall of sediment more than 60 miles wide and moving as fast as 60 miles per hour. This is coincidentally exactly how far (and precisely how not fast) your commute to either sports venue felt like this weekend, no matter how close your VRBO description may have claimed.

I should mention that a haboob’s precipitation is rarely felt on the ground, since it usually evaporates in the hot, dry air beforehand. Because if there was ever a reason why all of us—locals and visitors alike—love the valley for golf, football and everything else right now, a similar lack of precipitation is it. Sure, we saw a bit of rain at the end of the week, but I promise you’ll never read a headline that has “Arizona” and “historic, crippling snowstorms” in the same sentence.

For people new to a haboob, it’s advisable to seek temporary shelter, especially during a strong event. Likewise, for people new to the Valley, it’s understandable to want to seek permanent shelter, especially after a spectacular week at the Phoenix Open and the Super Bowl. Just remember, sports fans—there are 51 other weeks of the year, and I cannot promise that following our beloved Coyotes, Diamondbacks, Suns and Cardinals won’t have you throwing lawn chairs into your backyard pool soon enough. But I can promise you that in the 11 years since the dust settled on my move to the Valley of the Sun, I can finally admit…I love this weird state we call Arizona. Yes, even in the summer when it’s 110° in the shade…and a huge haboob starts blowing in—like massive crowds flocking to golf’s craziest party, or to football’s biggest game.



News from Islita Reserve | New life at the RIESTER Reserve in Costa Rica

RIESTER Foundation President Gary Kaasa and Reserve caretaker Norman Quiros.

RIESTER Foundation President Gary Kaasa and Reserve caretaker Norman Quiros.

The RIESTER Reserve is a riparian conservation program located within Islita Reserve, a Costa Rica development located in the Provincia de Guanacaste, Canton de Nandeyure, Distrito de Bejuco.  Supported by the RIESTER Foundation, the conservation effort focuses on habitat restoration for native flora and fauna, reforestation and a plant nursery of native Costa Rican trees. The program is the manifestation of RIESTER’s concern for this planet’s natural resources, particularly the depletion of habitat that is essential to sustaining threatened species.

January is the beginning of the dry season at the RIESTER Reserve in Costa Rica. The rainforest is blooming with brilliant yellow and red flowers. Large streams are beginning to dry up and local animals collect around the small springs and pools that remain.

RIESTER Foundation President Gary Kaasa and his wife Connie visited Islita Reserve this winter and have recently returned with exciting updates on recent reforestation efforts by Reserve caretaker Norman Quiros.

“Since my last visit in June, Norman has planted 400 cacao trees in shaded areas on the Reserve property,” Kaasa said. “Most will survive the summer dry season, and in a number of years the plants will be ready to produce cacao seeds for chocolate and cocoa,” he said.  Besides being a haven for the native habitat, Kaasa said the cacao produced by the trees will also aid in the long-term sustainability of the reforestation effort and that the RIESTER Foundation will work with Quiros on a marketing plan to promote the cacao.

Kaasa was very excited to see new life at the Reserve.

“We saw seven Scarlet Macaws flying over the property,” Kaasa said.  “Norman planted 60 Almendro trees to attract macaws from a release site near the Reserve.”  Kaasa said no macaws have been seen landing on the Reserve, but flying over is “an important development.”

“When the Almendro trees become mature, the macaws will be enticed to land and enjoy the almond nuts produced by the Almendro trees,” said Kaasa. “Macaws are crazy about almonds,” he said.

Besides spying an armadillo indigenous to the area, Kaasa and Quiros heard the echoes of Howler monkeys in the nearby trees and saw a lone Capuchin monkey – an unusual sighting as the small white-faced monkey usually travels in troops.

Kaasa said probably the most exciting sighting was when he spotted two coatimundis, or “coatis,” high in a tree at sunrise one morning.

“Coatis look like a cross between a raccoon and a large house cat and are similar in size,” Kaasa said. “They sleep high up in the trees safely away from local predators.  Once the sun came up, we watched them climb down and begin their day.”


 At RIESTER, we are thankful that we are able to maintain the Foundation and support efforts like Islita Reserve.  None of it would be possible without the people we serve each and every day. Thank you.


RIESTER’s Top 10 Marketing Recommendations for 2015


  1. Don’t just talk about your brand’s true purpose, show it.

    The Millennial generation offers the greatest opportunity for customer growth in most businesses today, however they represent the most well-informed and skeptical consumer in history. They don’t want to be ‘marketed to’ instead give them a lot of reasons to believe in your brand through ‘storytelling’ and ‘selfless’ content. To authentically win over this audience, brands must now demonstrate their purpose both by what they say and do.

  2. Integrate branding consistently across all media channels.

    The proliferation of media options and fragmentation of customer audiences makes it vital to build frequency of message and consistent imagery across media platforms.

  3. Build for a mobile audience.

    With Internet searches on smart phones and tablets now surpassing total search activity on desktop computers, it is vital for businesses to have digital and email marketing programs designed to adapt to the visitor’s device. Building responsive websites and emails that adapt to mobile devices should be central to all new campaigns.

  4. Use analytics to measure and guide your marketing program.

    Free web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and campaign tracking tools in programs like AdWords make it possible to quantify success and calculate ROI in real time while you are implementing your marketing program.

  5. Conduct qualitative and quantitative research about your customers and potential customers.

    The abundance of new data, social listening tools and access to affordable customer databases for surveys make it easier and quicker than ever before to add certainty to message creation and media channel selection for the marketing of your brand.

  6. Publish a brand guideline for your employees.

    Having an onboarding curriculum for new employees is critical to ensure they understand what you stand for and how to represent your brand to your customers. Remember, more and more of your employees will be Millennials. The same purpose-driven messages that attract Millennial customers to your brand will make Millennial employees authentic advocates for their employer.

  7. Create content your customers will actually use.

    The deluge of content marketing from brands during the past two years has created the clutter that advertisers hoped to avoid. Focus your efforts on only giving your customers timely, relevant content that helps them in their daily lives. They will reward your brand with both their attention and their wallet.

  8. Staff for social customer service.

    Understand your customers are now choosing social media channels for customer comments, questions and complaints. Consider social media the new telephone room for your customer service department and have them quickly respond to customers online. The result will convey incredible respect to your customers and convince them to more frequently purchase your products or services.

  9. Collect customer data and use it to more effectively engage them.

    Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs assist marketers in collecting and storing useful data about customer preferences. Focus your marketing on moments in the customer’s path to purchase and the lifetime value of your customers will increase.

  10. Although the Internet provides global reach, all marketing is local.

    In 2015, even brands with thousands of locations in the world will be focused on generating customer traffic at the local store level. With a majority of customers now using mobile devices, data collection such as location services and geo-targeting will make it possible to identify potential customers near every store and invite them in with relevant and immediate offers.

RIESTER Celebrates Innovation!


Creativity leads to great opportunity – at least that’s how we feel here at RIESTER and this week we celebrate one of the greats – Herb Peterson.

Who’s Herb? This one-time ad man (another reason we like him) saw a problem, a breakfast problem. He owned the first Santa Barbara franchise of McDonald’s in the late 60s. Back then McDonald’s just served lunch and dinner but Herb changed that! He took his love of Eggs Benedict and reinvented it to create the Egg McMuffin. This little sandwich revolutionized the face of the food-service industry and literally changed the eating habits of millions of Americans as no other quick service restaurant offered breakfast.

Herb would have been 96 this week.

RIESTER had the privilege to work with Herb and today works with his son and seven other local owner/operators of the Central Coast McDonald’s co-op providing integrated advertising and public relations services. We’re proud to help support his legacy and all the great work of the co-op restaurants.

Hats off to innovation!

RIESTER Selected as Advertising Agency of Record for the Park City Chamber/Bureau


This holiday season brought extra glad tidings as RIESTER was selected to be the Park City Chamber of Commerce/Convention & Visitors Bureau’s new advertising agency of record to assist in promoting Park City, Utah as a preferred destination for tourism. With our extensive experience in the tourism marketing industry and a personal love of Park City – we live, play and have an office here – we are looking forward to the new partnership that starts in January.

After reviewing presentations from several agencies, the Park City Chamber/Bureau’s Marketing Council unanimously chose RIESTER to handle all the creative and digital advertising​ and media ​buying/planning needs.

As a unique mountain destination with so much to offer year-round, we look forward to applying our proven strategic and creative skills to communicating these benefits in memorable ways that resonate with domestic and international travelers.

Plus, it is not often that we have the opportunity to share professionally a place that has been such a treasured part of our lives and means so much to our families.

Keep an eye out for work on behalf of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, and we hope to see you visiting soon!

RIESTER Leads Phoenix Business Journal List of Top Ad Agencies

Our sincere thanks to the Phoenix Business Journal for its efforts to compile and share its annual list of top ad agencies.  We are honored once again to lead this prestigious list of companies.  Together, we are all working to build the City of Phoenix’s reputation as a hot spot in the marketing industry.

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A business defense for caring about climate change

islita reserve coasta ricaRIESTER has always believed that caring for the environment is a business issue.  That’s why we created the RIESTER Foundation as a vehicle for our company to assist with conservation.  This weekend, the New York Times published an interesting editorial written by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. applying lessons he learned from the 2008 Recession to the situation we face now with climate change. 

Read Mr. Paulson’s case for a business response to climate change here.

The LA VICTORIA® brand knows that great taste is all about fresh ingredients

For more than 90 years, the makers of LA VICTORIA® salsas have been using tomatoes harvested and grown in California’s Central Valley. The tomatoes are picked at the peak of ripeness and bottled within 24 hours, sealing in the freshest taste every time. That commitment to fresh ingredients is the focus of a new campaign that RIESTER developed for its client, the LA VICTORIA® brand.

“This was a chance for us to get to the heart of the LA VICTORIA® brand,” said Tom Ortega, Chief Creative Officer at RIESTER. “Through radio, print and digital we are bringing this amazing process to life: from growing and harvesting the tomatoes in lush farm fields, to using them to create the best tasting salsa – all within 24 hours.”

Digital banners that are part of the brand’s new campaign capture the field-to-jar in 24 hours message:

field to jar

The LA VICTORIA® brand is committed to fresh ingredients because they know that fresh not only tastes better, but it’s also better for you. The brand takes this to heart with their new campaign. The newly redesigned offers locally oriented consumer information that is all about eating fresh and providing tips for growing fresh vegetables at home. Visitors will also find recipes that use fresh ingredients and step-by-step recipe videos from Chef Jamie Gwen.

The brand takes it one step further by offering a Garden Kit giveaway on the LA VICTORIA® brand Facebook page. Fans can learn useful tips and participate in “Fresh Friday” trivia for the chance to win a Garden Kit with tomato and pepper seed packets, gardening gloves, a garden kneepad and more.

The LA VICTORIA® brand believes every garden is a victory. As part of the campaign kick off, the brand is committing to helping refresh a California school’s garden. Schools are invited to apply online between now and April 30, 2014 to receive a “Garden Makeover” on their campus. In early May, one California school will be selected. The winning school will receive gardening tools and supplies, expert guidance on growing a successful garden, help with maintaining their garden through regular visits, plus learning materials and recipes using fresh vegetables courtesy of Chef Jamie Gwen.

For the latest information about LA VICTORIA® brand and its new initiatives, visit


RIESTER wins 11 Addy Awards

RIESTER team at the 2014 Phoenix Addy Awards

RIESTER team at the 2014 Phoenix Addy Awards

While the world has been watching the Sochi Olympics for gold, silver and bronze, RIESTER looked to the ADDY® Awards this past week for its medal haul of 11 total awards!

The ADDY Awards salute some of the best campaigns and tactics produced by the advertising industry the last 12 months.

RIESTER extends a special round of applause in appreciation of our incredible clients. We don’t win, if you don’t win! Thank you for the opportunity to do great work on your behalf!

Without further ado, the medals were awarded to the following:

Gold ADDY Awards

  • MidFirst Bank Business Express Mailer
  • Short Leash Posters

Silver ADDY Awards

  • Arizona Department of Health Services’ Counter Strike Video
  • Idahoan “Eggahoan” Facebook game
  • Mirabella Website
  • RIESTER “We’ve Landed in Park City” Announcement
  • Utah State Fair Campaign

Bronze ADDY Awards

  • Hearst Castle Website
  • Arizona Department of Health Services’ “Call It Quits” App
  • RIESTER Texting Ad
  • RIESTER “Red & Yellow” Ad

Visit our 2014 ADDY® Awards page to see all of RIESTER’s award winning work.


CVS leads retailers in the right direction by stopping sale of tobacco

CVS quits selling tobaccoToday, CVS put its mission statement before profits when it announced that all of the retailer’s 7,600 stores would stop selling tobacco by October of this year.  The decision is expected to cost CVS 2 billion dollars annually in sales, but it lifts the company’s brand reputation and image well beyond that dollar mark.

RIESTER enthusiastically applauds CVS’s decision to stop the sale of tobacco products. As communications’ experts in reducing tobacco consumption in America for more than 18 years, we’ve seen smoking rates drop significantly over the decades, but we also understand how much more work remains to be done. As 4,000 teenagers try their first cigarette every day, selfless and strategic decisions such as this are required to further reduce tobacco prevalence in our communities.

CVS president and CEO Larry Merlo issued a video and written statement about the company’s decision, stating, “Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is simply the right thing to do for the good of our customers and our company. The sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose – helping people on their path to better health.”

This was a superb branding decision by Merlo and CVS, not only protecting the company’s mission but also expressing its brand claim in a way few organizations do. CVS is taking a stand for what it believes is the right thing to do and it is gaining a powerful brand association few Super Bowl commercial accomplished this weekend. CVS is leading retailers in the right direction by stopping the sale of tobacco. We hope others will follow.