Creative Focus: Hartford

This month, CREATIVE FOCUS travels to Connecticut, home of the former “insurance capital of the world” and UConn, whose men’s and women’s basketball programs enter the new year in the top 10. Featured campaigns include TV spots from KGA; Cronin & Co.; Mintz & Hoke; and Keiler & Co., as well as print work from O’Neal & Prelle. Also, meet Mel Maffei and Mike Scricco, the longtime creative team at Keiler.
To help dramatize the “magnitude” of Ames department stores’ one-day sales events, Mintz & Hoke, Avon, chose to go over the top. The 30-second “Opera” spot opens with a scene that could have come from the stage at the Met, as subtitles reveal that the warbling woman is pulling away from her beloved. It’s not due to any crisis of the heart, but because she has to go to a sale. Another ad features two harried shoppers tugging on the arms and legs of a man in a deer costume.
“Trying to stretch a buck this holiday season?” inquires the voiceover, adding that Ames’ bargains are the solution to a shopper’s woes. Copywriter Dik Haddad calls creating ads for the sales “the most dangerous advertising in the world.”
Art director: DON CARTER
Copywriter: DIK HADDAD
-Sarah Jones

Accounting ain’t sexy, yet in a series of visually arresting spots, Keiler & Co. in Farmington manages to elevate Deloitte & Touche professional services to near majestic proportions. With original, operatic music booming in the background, images of Deloitte & Touche’s clients appear one by one: MetLife’s giant blimp soaring over a field of windmills, a John Deere tractor, a steaming cup of coffee and glistening beans from Starbucks, and a child, happily munching away on Nabisco animal crackers. “We could go on and on about our clients, but you get the idea,” says the voiceover. “For professional services, the answer is Deloitte & Touche.” “We wanted to demonstrate in a graphic, memorable way the high-quality clients that Deloitte & Touche has on its roster,” says art director Wayne Waaramaa. “The hard part was trying to involve all these different companies; we’re talking about vastly different images. The challenge was to make all this work together seamlessly, so it didn’t look like eight different commercials in one.”
Art director: WAYNE WAARAMAA

Against the haunting strains of a child singing Gershwin’s “Can’t Take That Away from Me,” images of men and children float on the screen. They represent those left behind when breast cancer claims their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. Cronin & Co. in Glastonbury created the emotional spot with the help of actress Meryl Streep, who loaned her vocal talents to the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s campaign for breast-cancer awareness. In September, the Ford Foundation aired the spot nationally on an episode of Murphy Brown, when the lead character learned she had the disease. With a “Care enough to care for yourself” message, the spot targets an audience of uninsured and underinsured women, who tend to put their families before themselves. “If you were to [die] because of breast cancer, who really is the victim?” asks creative director Steve Wolfberg. “It’s the people you leave behind.”
Art director: MAUREEN GAWRON

GEARED TOWARD THE last-minute traveler looking for a weekend getaway, a series of print ads touting the Nutmeg State as a surprise-filled oasis was crafted by O’Neal & Prelle in Hartford. Each execution is constructed around a specific niche: adventure, relaxation, family fun and culture. One ad, headlined “Looks like you could use a little R&R. ASAP,” is aimed at stressed-out adults. Body copy laid out around a head shot of an exhausted-looking man claims there’s “no more relaxing state than Connecticut” and continues to regale readers with promises of “quaint inns,” “world-class resorts” and “moonlit cruises down the Connecticut River.” The state is known for its antique shops, but the copy tosses in another surprising factoid: the number of outlet stores. The campaign’s tagline is “Connecticut. We’re full of surprises.” The campaign has been running in Outside magazine and The New York Times.
Art director: STEPHEN MARTIN
Copywriter: BRAD LONDY

IT’S A harsh world when people get arrested for wearing un-hip clothes, but that’s the setup of Bob’s Stores’ four-spot campaign created by KGA Advertising in Middletown. Viewed through the lens of a handheld camera, an unsuspecting teen-or in a recent holiday version, Santa Claus-strolls along the road. A police cruiser pulls up and two officers briskly whisk the “suspect” away to Bob’s, a discount clothing and footware store, for a makeover. “All your life, you’ve heard about the fashion police,” says creative director Michael Hammond. “Fashion is one of those things some people take too seriously, so we thought we’d bring it to life in a way that would poke fun at itself.” The spots conclude with the former fashion victim driving off in a convertible filled with goodies from Bob’s and a beautiful companion seated beside him. All names, the voiceover intones, have been changed to protect the “fashion deficient.” What was originally intended to be a single spot in between campaigns turned into a campaign, Hammond says. Moreover, he says, many partygoers were seen masquerading as fashion police on Halloween. “So I guess you could say the cultural response has been good.”
Art director: ROBIN SOUSA