Creativity Trumps Dumb Rules

Rule 40 Campaign

As a way to protect the investments of the official sponsors of the Olympic Games, the IOC instituted Rule 40, prohibiting athletes from mentioning or even pointing out any supporters who were not paying sponsors of the Games. But some of these “non-sponsors” weren’t too happy about the ruling, especially those who had been supporting some of the athletes for years.

Brooks Running Co. took their frustrations to the next level in an all-out Anti-Rule 40 Campaign, beginning at the Summer Olympic Trials. Using a simple, type-only treatment, they conveyed intentionally-generic messages such as, “Good luck, you know who you are, on making it to you know where.” The sign-off was simply “”, a site created to rally like-minded athletes and other non-Olympic sponsors to join in on the protest.

Guess sometimes the great ideas come about by merely pointing out the ridiculousness of rules. So hats off to Brooks Running Co. for getting their message across with a very simple, yet undeniably memorable approach.



Posted in Advertising, Celebrities, Celebrity Endorsements, Controversy, Creative Thinking, Legal, Gvt, Media Creativity | Leave a comment

Redefining a Modern Spokesperson

Celebrities have been tapped as marketing spokespeople for brands since the end of the Depression era. But with today’s increasing demand for transparency, honesty, and straight shooting, that role is taking on a new form as well. Meet the new face on the Wild Turkey Bourbon Team: Matthew McConaughey, Creative Director.

Not just the typical eye-candy. Not just the big name to get attention. Instead, Mr. McConaughey will write, direct, and star in the new brand campaign, as well as recording music for the spots. Add in his role in new product development and a possible licensing deal, and you’ve almost got a full-on Marketing Veep, not just a Creative Director. Hands-on participation. Real. Immersive. (Not “so-li-ci-tus”, as he would drawl.)

Wild Turkey isn’t the first brand to benefit from greater, more legitimate, celebrity involvement than just being a pretty face (note Jessica Alba’s Honest Company, Derek Jeter’s Brand Ambassador work for Luvo frozen foods, among others.)  But they do seem to be charting a pretty unique course. Will be interested in watching this campaign unfold.  And, hey, McConaughey did intern at an Austin, TX ad agency during college, so he must be good.



Posted in Advertising, Branding, Celebrity Endorsements, Lifestyle Marketing, Spokespeople, TV Commercials | Leave a comment

How To Get Your Brand In The Conversation

Avery's Soda at Stew Leonard'sFamed grocery marketing sensation, Stew Leonard’s and small batch local soda maker Avery’s Beverages, are getting their brands into the conversation in a pretty “tasteful” way. Known for their extensive, sometime crazy flavor variety, Avery’s actually produced two special flavors — #HillaryHooch and #TrumpTonic — available at Stewies, tracking sales to help take their own “straw poll.” They will even have “Write In Labels”  for those who are “SODAscusted” with the other flavor choices! Labeling the Hillary Hooch flavor “confidential” and the Trump Tonic “Make America Grape Again,” they sure are are showing their creative side.

Politics aside, got to give them kudos for finding a clever way to become a part of the contemporary conversation, a way in to shoppers’ lives, without alienating anyone. Sure, you say, something a local or small batch producer can do– produce one-offs.But I’ll bet if more marketers thought along these lines, they’d be able to do something just as relevant.

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Re-Imagine Your Boundaries. It Works!

BubbleLick for All


A little lighthearted new product Reality Check in honor of the carefree days of summer: Creativity can re-imagine great ideas in countless contemporary ways! Even the seemingly simple summertime kids’ favorite, BUBBLES.

Bubble Lick has created a mixology product that actually lets you transform any cocktail, or drink for that matter, into edible bubbles, bringing out the inner child in all of us! Bubble Lick Edible Bubbles are non-toxic and are created by simply adding your favorite beverage to the bubble solution. What a simple and clever way of updating an old favorite. Because, after all, adults like to play, too.

And as you get ready for the way-too-early Back to School Sales to hit, check out Crayola’s color-your-own socks! Looks like they got the “re-imagine your boundaries” memo too. Enjoy!


Posted in Branding, Creative Thinking, New Products | Leave a comment

The Most Patriotic Brands

Most Patriotic BrandsAs the July 4th holiday approaches, thought this was a fitting commentary on the power of BRANDING.  Defining “Patriotism” as “pride in one’s country and a willingness to defend it,… It is courage, it is freedom of speech, it is liberty. It is ultimately a set of values that people admire… Real patriotism is the quiet and steady dedication of a lifetime’s work, whether you’re a brand or a person,”  take a look at the list of the MOST PATRIOTIC Brands. The top dogs have worked hard for this honor for a long, long time (Jeep being a personal fav of mine.)  But some of the high rankers are a bit surprising (Gatorade? Amazon?), and some of the lower ranked are probably pretty disappointed (John Deere and Craftsman Tools).

But what an interesting look at what a Brand can accomplish if it is sincere and actually tries.

Happy Birthday, America!


Source: Media Post Marketing daily 6/27/16

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Would You Push Limits to Prove Your Point?

Curious if your probiotic is really doing anything to improve your gut health? Finnish probiotic brand Gefilus was determined to prove the effectiveness of their brand and they did so in a way that is definitely not for the squeamish. Viewer OR Marketer!

“The Lick-Hikers Guide to Inner Strength” sends typically outrageous travel TV host Ian Wright (known for eating just about anything) to all ends of the earth armed with a germ-measuring meter. While on his journey, he drinks thinks like gross river water and slides his tongue across some of the germiest surfaces he encounters – all while taking a steady dosage of Gefilus to boost his immune system.

Despite everything he licked, the dirty water he drank and all the things he touched during his travels, his post-travel blood work shows that he is no worse for wear after his germ fueled travel than he was before left on his journey.

Whether or not it is the Gelifus that kept Ian healthy or he just is lucky enough to have an iron clad immune system, we will never know. And that is one of the major challenges probiotics face – it is difficult for the “patient” to really know how well their probiotic is working. But after watching The Lick-Hikers Guide, I am convinced that probiotics are a good thing.

GWH Reality Check: Even for notably “out there” European advertising, this brand went to an absurdly funny place to make its point. Bet the decisions to get here were not slam dunks, or without risk. How far will most of us go to create super effective break-through messaging?





Posted in Advertising, Beverage Marketing, Celebrities, Celebrity Endorsements, Content Marketing, Health Marketing, International Marketing, Video | Leave a comment

Can hip humor fight Drugged Driving?

The recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado has prompted a new $450k PSA campaign  targeted at drivers who may not be aware of the level of impairment that marijuana can cause, or the legal ramifications of being caught while stoned.

Statistics since 2012 show an increase in both the number of drivers who test positive for drugs, as well as the number of resulting fatalities. To combat this, this pretty direct campaign uses a little bit of hip humor digitally, coupled with blunt creativity in billboards, to show how marijuana can lower reaction times, as well as how marijuana usage compares to the horrific car crashes. The campaign not only gets the point across, but offers links and info about using Lyft and Uber instead.

CO Drugged Driving PSACO Drugged Driving Billboard

As more states legalize marijuana for medical use (it is of course illegal to drive under the influence even if you have a prescription), as well as recreational use (though that flies in the face of Federal laws), you should expect to see more PSAs dealing with “buzzed” driving. This current campaign in Colorado is doing a good job of getting the point across without being too preachy, therefore dismissed. And that’s effective advertising. Kudos.

Posted in Advertising, Billboards, Health Marketing, Lifestyle Marketing, Social Responsibility and Philanthropy, Video | Leave a comment