Thinking Outside of the Box: What Good Ad Agencies Do

Thinking outside the box is often a good thing, especially when it comes to advertising and marketing and presenting your brand to a consumer who is frequently overwhelmed with messages that say the same things -- over and over and over again.

Thinking outside the box is often a good thing, especially when it
comes to advertising and marketing and presenting your brand to a
consumer who is frequently overwhelmed with messages that say the same
things -- over and over and over again.

In the case of Riddell, Sollitt & Partners (RSP), a Wyoming-based
advertising and communications agency, that kind of thinking has won
the company national acclaim and its client, Maxim climbing ropes,
double its typical ad response at a time when Maxim had cut its ad
budget in half.

The ad showing a rope formed into the shape of a brain -- click here to view
-- has been selected by Graphis, the international journal of visual
communication, to be published along with 299 other ads in this year's
annual featuring examples of what the magazine feels are "the most
innovative ads in the world" for 2001.

goal was to create an ad that looks dramatically different than the
'jocks on rocks' standard that is used by so much of the industry. It's
been great to prove that even in the outdoor industry, different is
better when it comes to advertising," Dave Sollitt told SNEWS®.

The agency, which also represents Yakima, Marmot, Wyoming Wear, and the
Outdoor Industry Association, created the "It's all we think about,"
campaign for Maxim despite reservations from the company.

"When we started with RSP, we weren't sure we could afford to work with
an ad agency," said Howard Wright, director of marketing for Maxim.
"Now we realize we can't afford not to."

Indeed. Another company, which also had a small ad budget, but learned
the value of well-spent marketing dollars was Wasatch Beer, a Utah
micro-brewery. The company turned to Park City, Utah-based Kirwin
Communications to create some buzz.

Paul Kirwin, owner of Kirwin Communications told us that they worked
with Wasatch to establish a vision of who the company wanted to reach
with the advertising.

"We helped them see we needed to target Generation X and Boomers with
money because those are the people who drink microbrews," says Kirwin.
"Then, we went way outside of the box by ignoring print advertising and
large media. Instead, we placed two billboards on the major commute
corridors in Salt Lake City and complimented those with radio ads that
aired during the commute. In essence, we had a captive audience who
were listening to and viewing our message."

And what a message it was. The first billboard -- click here to view
-- was near the LDS headquarters and, with its tongue-in-cheek message,
"The other local religion, baptize your taste buds," lit up the talk
show lines and Internet chat rooms. As the buzz grew louder, Kirwin
followed the first Wasatch billboard with yet another one, this time
for St. Provo girl -- click here to see.

"We were so far out of the box that we took something that was
originally thought to be sacred -- a part of Utah culture -- and
exposed that part and laughed at it, and said, 'Isn't that funny,'"
says Kirwin. "What happened is that the beer drinkers came forward and
said, that is great and very funny."

Not only funny, but motivating when beer drinkers then spoke with their
wallets. Sales for Squatters and Wasatch combined in 2001 were up 139
percent, with sales increases for 2002 already on track to surpass that.

And the buzz spread globally, with hundreds of articles appearing in
the publications such as the London Economist, USA Today, and the Wall
Street Journal. Even Good Morning America paid homage to the campaign
Feb. 7 of this year and CNN Headline News had both Kirwin and Wasatch
beer owner Greg Schirf on live that same evening.

The story doesn't stop here. Kirwin, which also represents Lowa, Head
worldwide, Tyrolia, SuperFeet, Kole Sport, Conservation Alliance, and
Brunton, has been nominated for two Addy Awards.

Best of all, the advertising message continues to gather steam as the
Squatters/Wasatch web site is now reeling in $50,000 dollars a month
from sales of T-shirts that carry the advertising slogan. Now that's
brand recognition.

SNEWS® View:
Take note of the above, especially if you think spending money on an ad
agency is money wasted. Good advertising agencies do think outside of
the box on behalf of their clients and, when done successfully, can
generate market recognition and brand recognition response that will
amaze -- and sell. Marketing crafts the brand story, positions the
company and its story as different and interesting to both dealers and
to consumers and, if done very well, spins that brand story into
advertising that shouts the message. So what is PR and how is it
different from marketing? Public relations is working the media to get
play on products and companies and, at times, to be a quick and
efficient information liaison and story-generating machine for the
media. One does not exist well without the other. "Ideally you need a
symphony with sales, marketing and PR all singing the same tune, a tune
whose first notes were composed through the creation of a brand story
and that begins with an agency specializing in branding," says Kirwin.
Words to profit by, no matter what industry you're in.


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