That's What Stacy Stoerkel Wanted The Stern Agency To Tell Her
ATLANTA--Advertisers congratulate themselves when they create a spot in which consumers recognize themselves and their lives, but usually not literally.
Unless you are Stacy Stoerkel. The Arlington, Va., resident did a double take when she saw the recent ad campaign for Sunny's, a discount outdoor goods store in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C., region.
The young woman in the ads shops at Sunny's with a boyfriend from her high school biology class who has a crush on her--just like Stacy Stoerkel once did. She has big brown eyes--just like Stacy Stoerkel does. People describe her as "bodacious"--just like Stacy Stoerkel is.
And her name is Stacey Starkel.
"When I first heard the ads, I just dismissed it. I thought I didn't hear right," Stoerkel said. "But then friends, lots of friends, started asking me questions like, 'Are you the bodacious Stacey Starkel in those TV commercials?' and 'What's the deal with you and those Sunny's [ads]?' "
To make matters worse, the Stacey in the Sunny's spots is never fully revealed. There is a glimpse of her smile here, the touch of a well-manicured hand there, an occasional glance askance at her curvy figure.
When the real Stacy's husband became suspicious that the ex-school flame had landed a job as a copywriter somewhere, Stoerkel started playing detective and, after calling Sunny's, traced the ads to the Stern Agency in Columbia, Md.
Agency executives convinced her that it was coincidence, not conspiracy. The campaign--and Stacey Starkel--sprung from the imagination of copywriter Sean Krause, who based the character on a dream girl from his youth, albeit a different one.
"There was this absolute drop-dead, knockout girl who lived down the street from me when I was growing up," said Krause. "Her name was Tracy Starkel, but that didn't cut it, so I went in search of a new name. Our receptionist's name is Stacey, so I didn't have to look far. Stacey Starkel. Now that's a name. You put the word bodacious in front of it, and you've got a name for the big screen."