Creative Focus: Richmond, VA

This month, Adweek’s CREATIVE FOCUS travels to the capital of Virginia, where the first name to surface in advertising circles is The Martin Agency. But that shop isn’t the only game in town. Featured campaigns include print ads from; Edelmann Scott; Siddall, Matus & Coughter; and Work, along with TV spots by Just Partners. Also, meet Cabell Harris, Work’s idea-driven founder (see page 22).

There is a lot of talk about the New South, but when it comes to selling tourism in Virginia, images of the Civil War are still vibrant. Siddall, Matus & Coughter created a tourism ad featuring a Union soldier with the headline: “Never put blue and gray together. They clash horribly.” The body copy makes a quick point about how powerful witnessing the state’s Civil War reenactment can be, while offering the caveat that a “nice, hot, bubbly jacuzzi in a comfortable hotel room” is waiting at the end of the day. “[The Civil War] was just a given for this campaign,” says art director Shari Hindman. “History is one of the things that people come here for. We wanted to make it fun and hipper.” Other print ads in the campaign promote various state attractions, such as its beaches and white-water rafting.
Art director SHARI HINDMAN
Copywriter JIM DAVIMES –Jim Osterman

It’s easy to be edgy with distilled spirits or sports cars, but the assignment gets a bit more complex when peddling something as potentially boring as bricks. faced this challenge with client Tarmac America, a Norfolk, Va.-based manufacturer of concrete products sold under the name Demaco Block. Targeted at style-conscious architects, the print business-to-business campaign dramatically makes the point that the company not only has the products, they can offer them in any color. To make the case, the print ad illustrates that the hue of a brick was pulled from a lush color photograph of a flower petal. The headline promises: “If it’s a color found in nature, you can find it at Demaco Block.” “Even though these are people who design things like Burger King [restaurants] and Exxon [gas stations], they have fine-arts training,” says art director Susan Walsh. “They are the people who will specify the material used in a building. So we made our approach from a fine-arts standpoint.”
Art director SUSAN M. WALSH

Much was riding on the inaugural effort from Just Partners for Crestar Financial Corp. After all, the Richmond-based client had not used the services of an ad agency in five years. So instead of sticking to the warm-and-fuzzy commercials many banks use to lure customers, Just Partners created advertising for Crestar that used those images to make a frank pitch that showed a little respect for consumers pondering where to put their money: “We’re a bank. Banks need customers.” Featuring fast cuts of Crestar employees, three spots emphasize that Crestar offers a different kind of consumer understanding. One spot conveys that Crestar staffers are not”stupid”; they are aware of “other banks” and “other choices.” Another makes the point that “friendliness is not a special offer.” “When it comes to understanding what is really on the minds of consumers, banks just don’t get it,” says creative director Carolyn McGeorge. The campaign took home half of the awards given in the broadcast category of the ’97 Richmond Show–and was selected as “Best of the Best” in the 1998 International Monitor Awards.
Art director CABELL HARRIS –J.O.

Deregulation in the utility business has sent companies scrambling to establish a brand for themselves, lest they get trapped in a low-price rate war. Evantage, the energy services division of Virginia Power, hired Edelmann Scott to let major corporations know that turning on a light is only a sliver of what they need to consider when it comes to selecting a power company. So, the agency created print work that listed the virtues of working with Evantage, a company that “understands the bigger picture.” One ad shows a pair of dark buildings, with a light switch turned off. The next shot shows the same buildings, with the switch turned on. The headline: “If only managing your company’s energy could be this simple.”
Art director ANDY SHEMETA

It’s one thing to do an agency selfpromotion piece; it’s quite another to design something that the most critical creatives in the business will all have their hands on–the cover of “The One Show Annual.” However, that didn’t faze Cabell Harris at Work, or keep him from having a sense of humor to go with the assignment. The results won him best of show honors at The Richmond Show in March. Harris’ cover looks properly official and dignified on one side, a simple gold sleeve with the name of the annual on it. But a descriptor on the flyleaf hints of more to come: “The First Theft-Proof One Show Annual.” Flipped over, the cover reads, “The Giant Encyclopedia of Spores,” a book not likely to get pinched. For added fun, Harris listed his father, Jack Shelton Harris, as the author. “So many times, award-show covers are not a concept, just a graphic treatment,” Harris says. “Graphics alone are not what get the awards. That’s why I like seeing a cover that has more of a concept.” This is the second time Harris has designed the cover of “The One Show Annual”; his first effort showed a silver One Show pencil being spray-painted gold.
Art director CABELL HARRIS
Copywriter DOUG DEGROOD –J.O.