Peterson Milla Hooks Wants to Put the Joy Back in the Retail Experience

Founder Dave Peterson fears transactions of today can be a little cold

Dave Peterson, founder and lead creative, and Courtney Vincent, creative director Courtesy of PMH
Headshot of Diana Pearl

For nearly three decades, Peterson Milla Hooks (PMH), the agency behind Target’s iconic bull’s-eye, has worked with blue-chip retailers such as Gap, JCPenney and Sephora. Today, it counts Kohl’s and Estee Lauder among its clients, recently creating a humor-filled campaign to promote the beauty brand’s partnership with Google Home. Headquartered in the Twin Cities, PMH provides strategy, creative and production services, with a focus on retail clients. PMH also has an almost entirely female creative team, which creative director Courtney Vincent said serves as an advantage when it comes to marketing retailers. “Most of the time in retail, the audience is women,” she said. “Having the voice, the style and the understanding kind of goes a long way.”

That understanding is also helping the PMH team funnel a bit of happiness back into the retail world. “There was a time where retail was sort of a joyful thing. But it can feel like a transaction, it’s not an experience,” Dave Peterson, founder and lead creative, said. “It’s our job to figure out how to build joy back into that transaction.” No matter the project, Peterson says that they like to get their hands dirty. “We’ve got our own studio, we’re constantly shooting stuff for our clients,” he said. “It’s passion projects, because we’re passionate people.”

This story first appeared in the July 23, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.