White Forecasts Summer of Fun

E. James White Communications pokes fun at TV meteorologists in its first work for Pepco Energy Services.

For the summer campaign that breaks May 14, the Herndon, Va., shop put weatherman “Dave” outside the studio to report on just how hot it is.

In one commercial, Dave cooks a steak on the sidewalk. He pulls a baked potato from a mailbox in another spot. “I’ve got the sour cream, who’s got the chives?” he chirps. Another ad finds Dave wearing fire-resistant gear. “It’s volcano weather out here,” he says. Unfortunately, his unprotected cameraman passes out.

In each spot a voiceover reminds consumers, “This will be the day your central air stops working.” A discount promotion offer is the close.

“People don’t think about their heating and cooling systems until they break down,” said agency executive creative director Bill Puckett, who developed 11 spots with copywriter Scott Collin and creative director Patrick Harrington. “We wanted an engaging way to remind them that Pepco is there to help if it does.”

Agency president Matt White hopes Dave will become a local icon.

“We’ll use him later in the year to sell heat,” White said.

Pepco also sells windows, roofing and siding. Dave, played by North Carolina actor Scott Stuart, will appear in all advertising.

Campaign spending is undisclosed, but, according to White, the broadcast work is set for heavy play in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., markets. The media buy, also handled by E. James White, includes spot TV, radio, print and the Internet.

The agency won the account last month, besting RTC Direct in Washington and Doner Direct of Baltimore in a review.

“They challenged us on our assumptions, they did work on their own and they presented in a day’s turnaround,” said Don Lintvet, vice president of marketing at the Washington-based provider of energy and power-related products.