Richards Group

Why the Ad Industry Job Market Is Tougher Than Ever for Senior Employees

The advertising industry has a diversity problem.

Firehouse Combines Business Consulting With Advertising Work

Specs Who (l. to r.) Tripp Westbrook, partner, executive creative director; Steve Smith, partner, planning insights; Mark Hall, president, founder; Doug Miller, partner, finance and options What Advertising agency

To Catch a Pest, the Orkin Man Thinks Like a Pest in New Ads

Roaches, rats and other pests had the starring roles in Orkin's campaign from The Richards Group in recent years. And while those spots were amusing, in a creepy way, it's the Orkin man himself who takes center stage in the new campaign, which broke today. And a resourceful man he is. Each spot shows a different Orkin man in some kind of undesirable position—wedged into a crawlspace with rats scurrying around; hanging from a tree above a parade of ants; suspended halfway up a wall to see cockroaches inside an air vent. "To catch a pest, you've got to think like a pest," he says in each ad. And then, you pretty much have to act like a pest. As this campaign suggests, that's not something most people want to do, or would even be able to do. The tagline is: "Pest control down to a science," which makes it seem even less DIY—a sly way of getting people to call Orkin instead.

The Humiliating True Story Behind Bridgestone’s ‘Reply All’ Super Bowl Ad

Remember that 2011 Super Bowl ad for Bridgestone Tires with the guy running all over town to keep people from reading an errant "reply-all" email? Turns out it was inspired by a nightmare that actually happened to the spot's creative director—while he was concepting an ad for the big game.

Prestone Saves Your Car from Evil Grim-Reaper Tow Truck

The Grim Reaper is always a solid standby in advertising, and now he gets auto-pomorphized in this new Prestone campaign from The Richards Group in Dallas. In the new spot, the Reaper is an imposing black tow truck, biding his time in his rat-infested hovel for the next stalled engine or ice-covered windshield. Prestone products, the ad says, help drivers cheat the death of their cars by keeping them running in top condition. "The Reaper is humorous, fun work that shines a light on Prestone as the hero of the auto industry," says Chuck Schiller, brand creative at Richards. "It's incredibly relatable to today's consumers and the real threats they face on the road. We're excited to help solidify Prestone's reputation as the leading antifreeze/coolant." brightcove.createExperiences(); Credits below.

Ad of the Day: Fiat

Remember that Fiat ad with Jennifer Lopez? The one where Jenny From the Block drove through her old Bronx neighborhood in a Fiat 500 Cabrio? Except she never actually set foot in the Bronx to film it? Yeah, that one.

Two More Super Bowl Ad Teasers: Kia and Bridgestone

Super Bowl XLVI advertising teasers keep flowing in. Now we can add Kia and Bridgestone to the mix—and they're bringing a pile of celebrities with them.      First up is the Kia spot, "Drive the Dream," from David&Goliath (and Noam Murro, who also directed last year's Kia Super Bowl spot). Kia goes to such great lengths to describe the 60-second ad in the press release that you wonder why they didn't just put it on YouTube. We won't spoil it by revealing the exact plot, but the ad does feature all of the following elements: a woman sprinkled with fairy dust, a man sprinkled with even more fairy dust, a Fabio-like hunk (who is apparently not actually Fabio), Mötley Crüe, Adriana Lima, UFC fighter Chuck Liddell, champion bull rider Judd Leffew, an "extreme dream sequence," thousands of bikini-clad fans, bursts of flames and fireworks, a pair of lumberjacks sawing a massive sandwich, and a Snow White Pearl Optima Limited. The full ad will start airing in cinemas next Thursday, Feb. 2, with an extended version breaking the same day on YouTube. In the meantime, Kia will run the 15-second teaser ad below, starring Lima, on TV and in cinemas beginning Friday. brightcove.createExperiences();      Bridgestone's spot, from The Richards Group and director Erich Joiner of Tool, will humorously reveal how it plans to change the world of sports with a new football, basketball, bowling ball and puck made from the same materials and technology as Bridgestone tires. There's all manner of teasers leading up to the spot, which will star Tim Duncan, Deion Sanders, Steve Nash and Troy Aikman, among other athletes. In a bit of inspired casting, it will also feature Jerry Lambert—aka, Kevin Butler from the PlayStation campaign, as a Bridgestone scientist. He'll probably steal the show. See that teaser after the jump.

Summer’s Eve Pulls Controversial Talking-Vagina Videos

Summer's Eve pulled three videos off its website and YouTube on Wednesday following claims that they were racially insensitive.

Summer’s Eve Talking-Vagina Ads Aren’t Racist, Says Agency

In addition to its 60-second anthem spot, Summer's Eve released three other videos this week featuring talking hand-puppet vaginas, as part of its new "Hail to the V" campaign. The campaign is meant to be about empowering women and rejuvenating the brand following last year's disastrous print ad telling women to douche before asking for a raise. But these three ads have created a new controversy, with some saying the voice work in the African American and Latina versions promotes racial stereotypes. The black woman is "Pam Grier and Lil' Kim all wrapped in to one," writes MoxieBird, while the Latina woman opens with the cry, "Ay-yi-yi." Everyone from Consumerist to the Daily News has weighed in on the withering critiques.      Watch for yourself below and decide. The larger problem for Summer's Eve is that many women see douching products themselves, and any marketing of them, as anti-woman—i.e., creating a feeling of shame around the issue of cleanliness, then selling the antidote to the shame. Casting the process as female empowerment, it seems, is particularly galling. Given the hangover from last year's ad, the racial element of the new spots is just one more thing to get upset about, if you're already opposed to the brand.      For its part, The Richards Group is defending the campaign. Agency founder Stan Richards offers this statement to Adweek: "We have a wonderful client that recognizes no matter what they do, marketing in the feminine hygiene category is going to provoke a reaction. After listening to thousands of women say they want straight-talk and lighthearted communication on a historically-uncomfortable topic, Summer's Eve gave us license to be bold, irreverent and celebratory across a multitude of mediums and to different audiences. We are surprised that some have found the online videos racially stereotypical. We never intended anything other than to make the videos relatable, and our in house multi-cutural experts confirmed the approach. The more important mission is to get women talking about taboo topics and we hope these negative sentiments don't overshadow that effort." 

How Summer’s Eve Learned to Stop Insulting People and Love the Vagina

Summer's Eve has turned its penance from last year's horrible and much-hated douche-more-earn-more print ad into an actual semi-provocative new direction for the brand. Last year's ad couldn't have been more out of touch—its suggestion that women douche before asking for a raise came off as weird at best. Now, following an apologetic nationwide "listening tour," the brand is launching new ads from The Richards Group that dispense with the decorous innuendo and inadvisable workplace tips in favor of a celebration of the vagina as the central human organ in the history of the world—the cradle of life, the center of civilization, the cause of innumerable major wars over women (see: Cleopatra and Helen of Troy) started by horny men. Check out the new Lord of the Rings-like TV spot below, as well as a couple of print ads. There's also a new online quiz called ID the V, in which women are challenged to identify the various details of their private parts. These ads follow an earlier, very funny teaser (also below) in which a posh cat on an airplane honored the vagina via a poster presentation.      The gap between last year's work and this is actually pretty remarkable, even if it feels like a bit of retread. Love of the vagina—both the organ and the word—has been pioneered by many others, including tampon brands, long before this. And if being able to simply say the word vagina without embarrassment is the point, it's hard to know why they went with "Hail to the V" as the tagline. The teaser video's "That's vaginal" was better—but keeping that isolated to a "viral" clip would seem to indicate that the client isn't actually that interested in risk taking after all.      But it's a decent step forward anyway. Whether or not the world needs douching products, it certainly doesn't need archaic and insulting advice for when to use them. And Summer's Eve has clearly learned its lesson there.  brightcove.createExperiences();