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Striking Creative Gold: The 2023 One Club Awards Denver

January 11, 2024

Written By:

Emily Blanchard

At Karsh Hagan, we believe in moments, and some of our favorite moments of the year are when we get to display our hard work to the rest of the industry and find out what our creative friends have been up to as well. To kick off awards season, The One Club for Creativity Denver held their annual show. For over 60 years, The One Club Awards Denver has recognized the best conceptual creative work in advertising, interactive, design and branded entertainment in the Rocky Mountain Region. The show is judged by creative leaders from across the country with winners from each category taking home gold, silver or bronze. Alongside some of the best and brightest minds in advertising, a group of Karshies sporting their Western best represented the agency as we struck creative gold for our client, The Mountain Collective, alongside 6 silver awards, 3 bronze awards, and 2 merits. See below to learn more about our 12 winning entries.

Gold: The Mountains You Dream Of

Client: The Mountain Collective

Category: Craft / Art Direction

How do you show people that the Mountain Collective isn’t just another ski and snowboard pass? Turn it into a passport to dream-like places. That’s what our art direction brings to the forefront — the dreamy state you aspire to achieve with your skiing and riding. The use of light, design, and color is intentionally ethereal, and there’s an element of surrealism with the mountainscapes. This represents the dream-like qualities of the Mountain Collective’s 24 resorts. Photography hones in on the aspirational experience one has while navigating the runs, channeling a sense of “This is where I want to be”. We also implemented portal-like shapes to house the photography, subtly reflecting the pass’ means of transporting you from mountain to mountain.

Silver: Forever 605

Client: Travel South Dakota

Category: Integrated Branding Campaign

Saying you care for a place is one thing. Walking the walk is another. How could we turn a state stewardship campaign into a source of real pride that people actively want to be part of? Named after South Dakota’s single area code, a local point of pride, Forever 605 is a program that provides simple yet impactful ways to be a better state steward. The campaign focuses on initiatives like building awareness for lesser-known visitor experiences, promoting South Dakota as a year-round destination, educating residents and visitors on the importance of responsible travel practices, preserving cultural heritage, and supporting local businesses. The look and feel were inspired by vintage collegiate aesthetics and classic Americana design with bold colors and graphics — a style where people can rally and get behind their state. Hand-drawn illustrations and letterpress-inspired type also provide a nostalgic spirit that humanizes the campaign without losing the state’s balance of grit and grace. Not only has the campaign sparked local pride and accrued thousands of pledge signatures, but it’s inspired over 8,000 in-state trip bookings in the first 30 days alone—all on a media budget of less than $50,000.

Silver: Karsh Hagan Rebrand

Client: Karsh Hagan

Category: Branding/Identity System

When you’ve been around for 46 years, moments start to matter. And instead of waiting for those moments to happen, we can make them happen on our own. This was the driving force behind our agency rebrand — from our fresh design to our bold new identity as Moment Makers. The design is a dynamic blend of our 1970s Colorado roots and our footsteps into the future of creative media. Vintage rainbow-striped ski jackets, epic snow-capped Rocky Mountains, Colorado wildlife, notes of Western heritage, AI, and futuristic graphics & flairs are just some of the design elements that cohesively bleed together. We even created composites from different MidJourney AI renderings, each inspired by these elements listed, and incorporated those into our design. It’s a statement on how moments of the past, present, and future all live together as one system.

Silver: Karsh Hagan Rebrand

Client: Karsh Hagan

Category: Promotional/Collateral Items

Living beyond the bounds of our website, our rebrand included new collateral like screen-printed tees, stickers, phone & laptop wallpapers, letterhead, and even a snowboard was created to inspire employees and partners to find unique moments of their own. The entire system of design elements cohesively tells our unique visual story.

Silver: Hi South Dakota Barbie

Client: Travel South Dakota

Category: Social Post/Real-time Response

Astronaut Barbie. Beekeeper Barbie. What about South Dakota Barbie? Two weeks before the release of 2023’s Barbie film, BuzzFeed made a post showing what AI envisioned each state’s doll to look like. The article got lots of buzz, but we thought their South Dakota Barbie failed to embrace and represent everything the state has to offer. So, we too had AI create a South Dakota Barbie but with more accurate results. We generated all sorts of fun interpretations, showcasing a variety of true South Dakota personalities and activities. Not only did it make for fun content, but it made some noise on social, too.

Silver: The OG-HD Rally

Client: Travel South Dakota

Category: Social Post/Campaign

How do you remind riders that Sturgis is the OG Harley-Davidson bike rally and that everything else is just a tame gathering? With our ads, we brought their legacy and attitude to the forefront. The rules are lax, anything goes, there’s no big-city posh, and it’s been that way since ‘38. We used vintage photography of riders as a nod to their longstanding roots and added thought bubbles that take fun jabs at other rallies’ non-OG standing.

Silver: Using Lighthouse Ranch to…. Paint the Fields?!

Client: Lighthouse Foods

Category: Television, VOD & Online Video/Single

What goes better together than football and ranch? An entire football field painted with Litehouse Ranch Dressing, that’s what. To show that Litehouse Dressings are the MVP of football season, we painted a football field with their delicious homestyle ranch. Our campaign was featured in AdWeek as one of the best “Super Bowl-adjacent” ideas, meaning Super Bowl hype without Super Bowl commercial costs. Even better, after our initial 12-week campaign, we saw a sales lift of Litehouse Dressings in our key market of Seattle.

Bronze: Brave Bison Typeface

Client: Travel South Dakota

Category: Typography / Typeface Design

Suppose a traveler wandering South Dakota were to jot down their experiences as they happened. What would we see on paper? What would their writing look like? "Brave Bison" is a custom handwritten font that answers these questions. The font is named after one of South Dakota’s most iconic animals and taps into the mindset of those who explore the state: brave. The font's characteristics feel real and authentic, as if you can see the enthusiasm for new discoveries bleeding out of each pen stroke. The font reflects the fast energy of trying to see, do, and experience as much of South Dakota as possible.

Bronze: Karsh Hagan Rebrand and Interactive Website

Client: Karsh Hagan

Category: Websites

When you’ve been around for 46 years, you begin to ask yourself- why wait for moments to happen when you can make them happen? This was the inspiration behind our agency rebrand and accompanying interactive website — pushing boundaries and making moments happen. Our website is a testament to these points. The site immerses users in a 3D experience that leans into the future of the metaverse and the moments we’ll make within it. At every step, we’re engaging users with micro-interactions that draw them in, while the cursor guides them through the experiences. We also created immersive, video-driven case studies that show the agency's work instead of simply talking about it. It’s all kept simple, with intuitive navigation. We even supported the website launch with a blog that shares real insights on how Karsh Hagan makes moments of their own in advertising.

Bronze: Lighthouse Ranch Cave

Client: Lighthouse Foods

Category: Television, VOD & Online Video/Single

Where does the world’s number-one ranch fan live? In their custom ranch cave. Duh. For our winter campaign, “The Ranch Guy” gave us a look inside his ranch cave and shared how he uses Litehouse dressings to compliment his tailgating and football party routines.

Merit: So Much South Dakota, So Little Time

Client: Travel South Dakota

Category: Craft/Illustration

When developing a new look and feel for Travel South Dakota, we knew we wanted bold colors and striking photography — but we wanted to inject a little fun, too. So, we created a full hand-drawn iconography set that encompasses all of the mystery and surprise that South Dakota has to offer. Our illustrations not only accent the handwritten type in our print and display tactics, but also add some charm to the South Dakota social channel through Giphy stickers that visitors can apply to their own Instagram stories. The drawings have garnered lots of love from Travel South Dakota and visitors alike, and we are continuously growing the collection to represent all things South Dakota.

Merit: There’s Only One

Client: Bank of Colorado

Category: Craft/Photography

How could we break the myth that banks only care about profit and not their customers’ personal stake in life? For Bank of Colorado, it’s by showing that they’re not just established bankers, but established Coloradans. Just like their customers. “There’s Only One” is an ode to the Colorado spirit and pioneering attitude shared by the bank and those they serve. In order to stay true to Colorado and the people who call it home, we utilized a local photographer to capture stills and cinemagraphs of real, honest, hardworking Coloradans. Paired with a trustworthy VO, the spot paints a moving picture of the Colorado spirit and what it means to different people.

"Its not wether you get knocked down"


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If you could be anyone you wanted to be, who would you be? How exciting is it to think that you could start a new chapter in your life in a whole new world? Without the limitations of the physical world and human constructs that have been created around you?

Well that’s where the Metaverse comes in. There are whole new worlds being created out there that will remove the physical limitations of life and allow you to chase your dreams and be who you want to be.

Sounds pretty exciting right? Let’s dig in a little more to understand what this might look like.


Simply put, the Metaverse is the convergence of all the digital things you do online into one virtual experience.

In a sense, it already exists. We sit on Zoom calls, research on the web, talk on social media, buy things on Amazon, watch streaming events and online video, and play games. The Metaverse is already here.

But think of tying all of it together and removing some of the limitations that still exist in your physical life when you access the web.

But how is this all of the sudden now possible?

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