If an ad prompts you to buy a lamp, all you need do is take the thing home and plug it in. Selling you wallpaper is trickier because spending the money is the least of your worries. You also need to get the paper onto your wall, a process that turns your home into a shambles for heaven knows how long. Even if the pattern in the ad looks prettier than the pattern now on your wall, is that reason enough to endure the hassle? It’s not for nothing that wallpapering mishaps are a staple of vintage slapstick film. People spend money to imagine their homes as the settings for refined comedies of manners, not as settings for Three Stooges routines. Reducing wallpaper to a miniature, manageable objet d’art, this campaign soothes such fears. It also has the virtue of
making wallpaper seem fun. That implicit claim is so counterintuitive that one’s natural sales resistance isn’t ready to reject it.
Agency: Adworks, Washington, D.C.
Client: York Wallcoverings, York, Pa.
Creative Director: Mark Greenspun
Art Director: Kai Fang
Copywriter: Keith Quesenberry
Production Manager: Cheryl Breeden
Origami Artist: Joseph Wu
Photography: Chuck Pittman
“When I hear the word ‘culture’,” Joseph Goebbels infamously remarked, “I reach for my gun.” Not that he was speaking of yogurt cultures. And the rest of us are apt to react more calmly. But when you come on the word unawares–especially in proximity to the word “dead”–it does take you aback for a moment. Such is life amid the “culture wars.” That reaction aside, the ad exerts a wry charm. Without explicitly knocking the competition, it prompts a consumer to wonder: Are other yogurts palming off dead cultures on me? The down-home visual (including Tilly, the brand’s bovine mascot) helps position Tillamook as the natural, unadulterated choice. The potential downside of the ad’s emphasis on cultures is that it offers food for thought about yogurt’s production process. Like sausage, yogurt may be one of those foods best enjoyed when one doesn’t dwell on how it’s made.
Agency: Cole & Weber, Portland, Ore.
Client: Tillamook County Creamery Association, Tillamook, Ore.
Creative Director: Walt Burns
Art Director: Sharon Barrett
Copywriter: Hart Rusen
Print Producer: Sally Myers
Photography: Bob Waldman
At a time when tobacco companies are depicted as merchants of death and smokers scorned as the dregs of humanity, this ad is audacious. (Maybe some people buy a Zippo to light Girl Scout campfires, but it’s basically a cigarette smoker’s accessory.) Can a lighter insinuate itself into the wholesome company of baseball and apple pie? Zippo is the only brand that could get away with even trying. In fact, the very attempt underscores Zippo’s one-of-a-kind image. Where many brands market themselves to guys as a badge of individuality, Zippo presents itself as the product everyone and his brother has used since the Year 1. For consumers weary of faux individuality, it creates an oddly appealing aura. In any case, not every young man wishes to brand himself as a bad-boy outsider. You can get quite rich selling products that give people a sense of belonging.
Agency: Egan/St. James, Pittsburgh
Client: Zippo Manufacturing, Bradford, Pa.
Exec. Creative Director/Art Director: Lee St. James
Creative Director/Copywriter: Bill Garrison
Art Director/Designer: Megan Adomaitis
Photography: Craig Guyon
Banish the humdrum housewife from commercials and some bizarre creatures can take her place. Consider this new campaign for Whirlpool–a series designed, explains the agency, “to personify female empowerment in the 21st century.” The personification includes a woman in a red evening gown who breathes fire as the voiceover emotes about “baking with perfectly even heat for perfect results”; a woman (also in a sparkly gown) whose operatic voice sheers icicles as the voiceover speaks of “usable freezer space”; and a woman (full-length gown, check!) who summons laundry from the deep. The characters look as if they showed up to film a fragrance spot and wandered into this campaign by accident. Did Whirlpool fear that true-to-life homemakers would be too ghastly a sight for the Modern Woman to endure? That’s hardly flattering to the women (careerist or otherwise) who use appliances without putting on sequined gowns or glittery makeup. The themeline, “Just Imagine,” compounds the problem by implying appliances loom large in the inner life of the viewer–i.e., that women do have production-number reveries in which pyramids of refrigerators and washing machines rise out of the sea. That’s empowering?
Agency: Publicis, London and Chicago
Client: Whirlpool Home Appliances, Benton Harbor, Mich.
Creative Director/Copywriter: Joel Machak
Worldwide Creative Director/Art Director: Martyn Marler
Producer: Zoe Howard
Production Co.: Patricia Murphy Films, London
Director: Patricia Murph