Crazy New Cicada Invasion Campaign

Every 13 years, Nashville is invaded by billions of noisy, flying red-eyed critters that emerge from the ground when the temperature reaches 67 degrees for a week. The cicada grubs tunnel up from the deep, climb trees, split out of their shells, sprout wings, and then make an infernal racket for about 4-6 weeks. Their sole purpose is to sing, fly, mate, lay eggs, and then die. This year, experts say it will happen around the end of April or early May. 


The last time this happened was 1998—and it was truly apocalyptic. At that time, Joel Anderson (founder of Anderson Design Group and the Spirit of Nashville) wanted to do something to celebrate the historic and creepy event. But by the time he had a few t-shirt ideas hammered out, the plague was over. So he’s had 13 years to get ready for what is about to be another monumental natural phenomenon.

Joel and his team of artists at Anderson Design Group have created an entire line of Music City Cicada Invasion Survival Gear. Starting with limited edition posters and postcards, the collection has grown out of control with the creation of guitar-shaped cicada swatters, beer mugs, coffee mugs, stickers, magnets, t-shirts, even Anti-Cicada ear plugs! Andy created 3 limited edition silk screen prints—the series is called the Great Southern Brood. Liga created a stylish coffee mug and postcard design. Edward created a hip t-shirt. Dawn sourced a full range of products to adorn with our nutty designs. We even added a shirt and print design to our line up from Ryon, one of Joel’s students from Watkins College of Art & Design. 

As Designers, it’s a lot of fun to tap into the psyche of popular culture and create art and products that will help everyone come together during a crisis, or laugh in unison as a community. This cicada outbreak has given our designers a chance to create funny and practical things that will serve as keepsakes—souvenirs of an amazing and bizarre natural event that will (thankfully) not happen again for 13 more years.

This campaign is also a great exercise in branding and marketing. (See other examples of our brand development work at : We do this all the time for our clients, but hardly ever do we go this far in such a short time (and with our own money!) Developing the colors, fonts, logos, illustrations and materials to create, launch and market a new brand—all in the span of 45 days—this was truly daunting challenge to undertake! The resulting web site, social media campaign, blog and product line will be a great way to inform and entertain Nashville during the cicada invasion. It will also be an effective way to showcase our design and marketing services.

Watch informative videos, get answers to frequently asked questions, and see the full line of whacky prints and gifts at:

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