New Campaigns

Client: Simmons, Richardson, Texas
Agency: Knape, Dallas
Creative Directors: Les Kerr, Paul Brandenburger
Copywriter: Brandenburger
Art Directors: Kerr, Dan Birlew, Pat Jones
As the agency itself admits, sometimes a client’s message may sound too good to be believed. That was the problem facing Simmons in introducing a radically cheaper, radio-based monitoring service for underground fuel storage tanks at gas stations and truck stops. Who would believe that the company’s Wilco system, ticketed at about $1,000, would do the work of conventional tank-gauge monitors costing a total of $35,000 to install and maintain? “We felt the only way to convince people would be to help them understand that Wilco is a radio-based system,” with no need to interrupt business or tear up concrete to utilize it, said agency president Susan Knape. The way to get the attention was to place a double-truck ad in trade publications that would draw more than the usual visual attention. Upon opening up to the ad picturing an infantry soldier on the battlefield, a talking chip embedded in the fold unleashes sounds of machine-gun fire and exploding grenades. The voice of a soldier then warns that his unit is under attack from Environmental Protection Agency regulations regarding underground tank monitoring, and the platoon has a mandate to comply. “Roger Wilco,” comes the response. –Glen Fest

Client: Furr’s Cafeterias, Lubbock, Texas
Agency: Levenson & Hill, Dallas
Creative Director: Bill Hill
Art Directors: Braden Bickle, Jerry McPhail
Copywriter: Bickle
Producer: Christian Hill
Director: Tom DeNoff
Last year, Furr’s returned to television advertising for the first time in five years, highlighting its buffet offerings. The follow-up work for 1998 shows that like its customers, the client still has a taste for its all-you-can-eat selections. The three new 30-second spots from Levenson this time showcase how some people build up appetites worthy of a Furr’s smorgasbord. In “Mother,” a pregnant woman is driven to the hospital by her husband as text appears to describe their dilemma: “8 months . . . 2 weeks . . . 5 days . . . 3 hours . . . 10,000 confused taste buds . . .” As they discover it’s a false alarm and overcome a flat tire, they head to Furr’s at her request, we presume. “Movers” features two workers transporting over “2,000 knickknacks . . . 5 tons of furniture . . . [and] 15 broken dishes” belonging to a retired–and relocating–Rockette who regales them with tales of her dancing days. In “Scouts,” a den of campers have their outdoors trip ruined by torrential rains, but they turn into “12 happy campers” when their sponsor takes them to Furr’s. Each ad ends with the tagline, “So good, so much for so little.” The work will continue throughout 1998 in Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Iowa. –G.F.

Client: Parkinson Coalition of Houston
Agency: McCann-Erickson Southwest, Houston
Creative Director: Mark Daspit
Art Director: Cindy Kemble
Copywriter: Vicki Carpenter
Producer: Stephanie Murdoch
Director: Alex Turner
With the help of funds raised through a recent Houston event sponsored by boxing legend Muhammad Ali–himself a victim of Parkinson’s–the client and McCann have set out to raise awareness for the disease among minorities there. The pro bono work by the agency has yielded two spots aimed at African-American and Hispanic audiences, which have not comprised a large number of memberships in the coalition thus far. One spot features jarring images of an elderly African-American man struggling to play and hold his guitar, as he narrates in a voiceover his difficulty in playing music: “Man, I used to lay the bluest blues you ever heard. Now, these hands of mine don’t listen to me. Livin’ in slow motion. That’s how I feel.” In a similar 30-second spot, a Latino man has trouble putting on his shoe. “I still feel young, but my body has a mind of its own . . . This disease took away everything I used to take for granted,” he says. The latter is dubbed in both English and Spanish. Both men are actual Parkinson’s victims, and the commercials are airing on Houston’s nine broadcast stations urging viewers with relatives suffering such symptoms to contact the coalition for answers to questions about the disease. –G.F.