Thom Fountain is a copywriter, strategist and journalist working out of the upper Midwest.

Volume One
Over the course of five years and positions from freelancer to managing editor, I’ve written over 200 articles, blog posts, and content pieces for the Chippewa Valley’s arts and culture publication. This is a sampling of some of the best pieces I wrote and/or concepted.
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Son of a Printer Man

Printer’s Son opens with a rising tide. Strings and woodwinds slowly build on each other, culminating first in a loose soundscape, then a subtle melody. This opener – “In Chicago” – is a chameleon. It’s winsome and hopeful, or lonely and sparse. It’s the soundtrack to a pivotal scene, rise or fall. It takes your emotions and expectations and delivers them back to you.

It’s fitting, because Printer’s Son isn’t an album made out of just joy, or just sadness, or just anything. It’s an album that was made out of a years-long journey of rising and falling.

Shane Leonard – the brain and brawn behind Kalispell – started work on Printer’s Son as a record about family, but then his family began changing. He lost his father to cancer, then his grandfather. He moved home to live with his mother and saw the end of a relationship. He put his record on the back burner and went on the road with local standouts Field Report. Then he found love, got married, and just had his first child. All the while, Leonard was slowly building a record, working with his band, inching along what became Printer’s Son.

“Playing the songs now, with a band, I’m in a place I never imagined I’d be in,” Leonard said. “It’s like reading your teenage journal. It’s completely legitimate, just changed.”

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I Tried the New Leinenkugel's Restaurant in Kansas City. It Was Fine.

To get this out of the way upfront, the Kansas City Leinenkugel’s is not a full blown taste of home. But it's also definitely not a failure. I moved down to Missouri a couple years ago and was beyond excited for the announcement that the Pride of Chippewa Falls was opening its first ever restaurant just a few blocks from my house.

Some background: Last fall, Leinenkugel's announced it would open its first establishment in Kansas City's Power & Light District, an area downtown mostly renowned for drunken DJ nights and US National Team soccer games. It was surprising, but Leinenkugel's is incredibly popular 500 miles south of its origin.

Walking in, it's definitely the swankiest place in which I've ever drank a Leinie's. The white brick and clean wood is stark and minimalist – a nod to the cabin with a modern twist. The giant, red Leinenkugels sign sits above the 15 mixed company taps, but that's about the only way the space reflects its name. I was surprised by the lack of kitsch pieces from the Leinie Lodge, which would have gone a long way to warm up the space.

But back to the important stuff: Those tap lines brought a little disappointment. There was no Original (though we were assured it was on its way), and no Red or Honey Weiss (which didn't seem likely anytime soon). The sweeter collection was the centerpiece, with the Summer Shandy, Grapefruit Shandy, Berryweiss, and Sunset Wheat. I drowned my sorrows in a Creamy Dark (as delicious as I remembered) and the other Wisconsinites with me went with the Big Eddy, which was a nice, local touch.

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Life In The Slow Lane

I recently started running again. Not from anything in particular, though maybe I’m fleeing from a bit of my winter weight and lackadaisical ways. I used to think of myself as an avid runner. I was on the cross country team in high school (though to be completely honest, that might’ve had more to do with a potential romance than the elation of your feet hitting the sidewalk with a rhythmic pace) and dating even earlier than that I’d run 5Ks and 10-milers with my dad.

But that was an old me. When I moved to Eau Claire in 2008 I quickly forgot about running, first replacing it with biking around town and the occasional game of hoops on campus. Then fitness just became something that simply didn’t exist in my life. The only endurance exercise I was putting in was making it from happy hour to bar close on a Friday.

Now that I’m back on the ol’ wagon (or, well, not on the wagon because I’m on foot? I don’t know – let’s run with it), I’ve discovered that Eau Claire is a lot different when you’re not buzzing through the streets on car or even bike. The slow (and my particularly slow) pace of a distance runner gives you time to observe, focus and take things in. It forces you to really see the city as it is. And it’s a welcome distraction to focus on anything other than the terrible throbbing in your thighs and your gasping breath.

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Campaign
Babe Ruth Baseball
Concept + Copy + Content
Youth baseball is in decline and what’s left of community programs are being decimated by expensive, elite, private teams. So we tied the appeal of baseball back to its grounded roots through a showcase TV spot and backed it up with a social campaign and content-heavy minisite.
Social
We Did The Math
Concept + Copy
The LE Phillips Memorial Public Library Endowment Fund has a long name and a complex system to grow money, so we built them a campaign that played on that math. We built a series of GIFs, each playing on a complex math problem that no one really needed to know the answer to.
Editorial
Eau Claire Sound
Concept + Writing + Video
Every scene has a defining sound: the somber grunge in Seattle, the bizarre, noisy folk of North Carolina, the atonal experimentation of Brooklyn. So as Eau Claire grew into a hotspot of nationally-bound musicians, we tried to find that thread through an immersive web and print experience.
Marketing
CygnetLake.com
Concept + Copy
It’s hard to beat the pull of jealousy. So when we were tasked to build a new site for a forested Canadian lake resort, we played to the fact that everyone wants to imagine themselves up in the great North and personalized the message with a robust database of dynamic copy.
Branding
Draft Design House
Name + Voice + Manifesto
When a couple of former coworkers were starting their own business, I helped to name and brand the company. We needed to create a forward thinking voice without going too far – most of their clients were small business owners who didn’t want to sort through technobabble or buzzwords.
Editorial
Volume One
Writing + Reporting
Over the course of five years and positions from freelancer to managing editor, I’ve written over 200 articles, blog posts, and content pieces for the Chippewa Valley’s arts and culture publication. This is a sampling of some of the best pieces I wrote and/or concepted.