Wieden + Kennedy Keeps the ‘Free’ Going With New One-Word TurboTax Ads

By Doug Zanger 

Some things in life are acquired tastes: Perrier. Haggis. Nicolas Cage.

The same could be said for TurboTax’s latest campaign from Weiden + Kennedy. The ads are certainly very good, but we were just waiting for a little extra “oomph.” And here it is in two new ads that drive home the idea of “free,” in an incredibly overt way: by using only that word throughout the ads.

Campaigns like this can be like an onion (see: Geico, and look what happened there), peeling away layer after layer to reveal—well, it’s still an onion, but you get the point.

The two latest chapters of the series feature an older couple working on a crossword puzzle (hint: all of the words are “free”) and a 70s-style gameshow in the same vein as the $25,000 Pyramid (again, nothing but “free” as the clues and answers). You’ve gotta give the brand and agency credit for somehow making a single word work, and it will be interesting to see where it all goes from here.

Adding to the fun, the brand published the “free” crossword puzzle across the New York Times in print (cleverly, adjacent to the real crossword puzzle), on the web and in the app.

“With TurboTax Free tax preparation, now in its fifth year, taxpayers can file a simple tax return and feel confident that they’re getting all the money they deserve, absolutely free . . . free, free free free,” said Mary-Ann Somers, Intuit Consumer group chief marketing officer.

Yeah, we get it. It’s free. And this campaign is starting to grow on us.


Client: TurboTax
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland

Creative Directors: Kevin Jones, Jason Campbell
Copywriter: Jonathan Marshall
Art Director: Derrick Ho, Helen Rhodes
Executive Producer: Molly Tanen
Producer: Jennifer Fiske
Strategic Planning: Amber Higgins, Bruno Frankel
Media/Comms Planning: Kim Sizemore, Destinee Scott, Annie Yuen, Paige Weber, Kennedy La Nier
Account Team: Brooke Stites, Corey Woodson, Madeline Parker, Estevan Palomino
Business Affairs: Laura Caldwell, Brian Cook
Project Management: Laurie Holtz, Amy Streger
Executive Creative Directors: Eric Baldwin, Jason Bagley

Production Company: Biscuit
Director: Steve Rogers
Executive Producer: Jeff McDougall
Line Producer: Karen O’Brien
Director of Photography: Daniel Landin

Editorial Company: Arcade Edit
Editor: Geoff Hounsell
Asst. Editor: Laura Sanford
Post Producer: Cristina Matracia
Post Executive Producer: Crissy DeSimone


VFX Company: Kevin VFX
Senior Executive: Sue Troyan
ECD/Partner: Tim Davies
VFX Producer: Jami Schakel
VFX Coordinator: Andrew Cowderoy
Flame: Tony Petitti
Head of CG: Mike Dalzell

Color Correction

Telecine Company: Company 3
Colorist: Sean Coleman
Senior Producer: Matt Moran


Mix + Sound Company: Stimmüng
Sound Designer: Gus Koven
Mix Company: Lime
Mixer: Loren Silber


Created by W+K


Big Kick and Lawyer: Original music from Butter
Credits: APM
Game Show: Killer Tracks and Noah Woodburn/Joint

VO Talent: Jonathan Marshall