Mainstreet Marketing

ABd’s Chris Birt has a personal passion for helping small, family-run businesses grow. He frequently helps out friends he knows through personal connections with “semi-bono” creative work. In 2022 he picked Willow Creek Insurance of Barnesville, MN.

Family run insurance agencies have to compete with large national brands. Ironically, they all try to position themselves as “local.” The reality is that only local agents serve local communities well. That is when we hit on idea of comparing small-town Barnesville with a big-city suburb called Burnsville, 300 miles to the South, with which it is frequently confused. And “Barnesville, Not Burnsville” was born.

We launched the campaign with an online serial featuring iPhone movies, inspired by “Parks and Recreation.” This live spot was taken at the State High School Football Championship (which they won!). The acting is, bad but the locals loved it.  




We attracted media attention to the series with a three-dimensional press kit that included a t-shirt that was sewn in two halves with one side reading “Barnesville” and the other half “Burnsville”. The liner copy explains the purpose of the campaign, which followed around a slightly confused Burnsville native.

“For over 60 years, Willow Creek Insurance has been based in Barnesville, Minnesota. Some people still confuse our small-town with the big-city suburb of Burnsville to the South. There are many fine agencies in the land of the Burnsville Blaze, but if you want a local agency right here, it’s Willow Creek. So, we hope you’ll indulge us by watching our new online serial “Barnesville, Not Burnsville” about the misguided adventures of a man who lost his way and found his soul – in Barnesville. Then call Jack Foster for insurance, right down the street.”