I started off my career at Leo Burnett in Chicago. One of the first clients I got to work on was Reebok. Having grown up playing sports, I knew that parents were just as much a part of an athlete's story as the athletes themselves. We shot several spots for this campaign but I think this one was my favorite. It's called "Eric Wynalda's Mother's Patio Furniture Blues."
Hey, no big deal. Just one of the most famous, award winning campaigns in beverage history. It was an honor to work on this campaign and just another amazing opportunity I got as a young creative in Chicago.
I was working on Cadillac in Detroit when Frank Sinatra died. We were at lunch that day and it was literally one of those cocktail napkin moments. I took the sketch back to the agency. We sold it to the client later that day. The New York Times held the presses for us so we could get the ad into the paper the day of his funeral. And Barbara Sinatra wrote our client a thank you letter for doing the ad.
GM asked us to come up with an ad for their Memorial Day Sales event. We did some research and found this amazing high school student who had started an organization called A Million Thanks. Out of her parents' garage, she collected and wrote thank you cards to send to troops serving overseas. We decided to shine the spotlight on her and take her grass roots organization national by turning every GM Dealership into an A Million Thanks drop off center. We collected hundreds of thousands of thank you cards for men and women serving in the military. We also created an avalanche of foot traffic into GM dealerships and broke every Memorial Day sales record in the GM book.
This is actually one of my favorite pieces. It was one of those assignments that nobody wanted to work on. The client wanted a video for their sales meeting that told the history of the company. We convinced them to have some fun with it and take some liberties with the story. We shot this ourselves starring our agency's CMO as the main character. The lesson here is to never say no to an assignment. It just might be the one you end up having a blast on.
This was a really simple idea we came up with for Kroger. Let the products on the shelves tell a fun story. I spent hours walking up and down the aisles of the grocery store with a little notebook writing down brand names and coming up with lines. I got a few funny looks from the stock boys. But we got a good campaign out of it and that's all that matters.
The casual dining segment is a cluttered, competitive space and a sea of sameness. We got Perkins to take on a dry sense of humor and stop shouting the LTOs at their audience. Did we change the world? No. But I do like the understated performance by the actor in this spot.
Bush's Beans is probably one of the nicest clients I've ever had the pleasure to work on. They're a great company and fantastic people. But let's be honest. Their ads have been the same Jay and Duke formula for the last 20 years. We got them to step away from their Secret Family Recipe strategy and explore a different message by talking about the variety of their offerings. We also managed to get them to do an ad without a talking dog.
But that's not to say I never used Jay and Duke during my tenure on Bush's Beans. We made a Jay and Duke video game for the App Store. And people actually loved it.
These days, my partner and I run the Smithfield account. They are the world's largest producer of pork. The account is the agency's largest social and digital account. We don't do much broadcast for Smithfield but they are in NASCAR so this documentary on legendary race car driver and company spokesman, Richard Petty, made a lot of sense and captured a lot of attention for the brand.
Thanksgiving is all about turkey. But my client sells ham. So how do you insert yourself into the holiday conversation? You teach Alexa a new skill and make ham the solution for when people screw up their turkeys. Oh, and you're gonna need a Hambulance. Not tracking? Just watch the video.
I believe that the most important thing for an ad to have is news. It's got to tell the audience something they didn't already know. So how do you make the importance of eating breakfast into something new? You tell that message to the reader in a way they weren't expecting.
When a fashion brand with a cult following steals your logo for a run of hats in it's new line, many brands' first reaction would be to call the lawyers. And 99% of the time they'd be right. But we saw an opportunity to engage and hack into a whole new audience along the way. One that would grow our Instagram by over 14K new followers over night, garner 75 MM impressions for the brand and wind up as Creativity's #1 Brand Idea for the week.
It started with a tweet.
Then we took the party to Instagram.
We delighted our new fans with our very own Supreme inspired Lookbook.
And wound up getting some serious press from Adweek, Adage, Esquire, Complex and Creativity.