AllBusiness Ads Are Anything But

Butler Campaign for Small Business Resource Has a Comic Touch
SAN FRANCISCO–Dot-com ads are often laden with over-the-top humor meant to leave an impression strong enough to get people to a Web site. Sites promoting traditional small businesses, though, haven’t been known for edginess–until Butler, Shine & Stern’s new $10 million campaign for
Three TV spots and an accompanying print campaign comically show the degree to which people are committed to business. One print ad, for instance, shows an employee getting a tattoo of Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan.
The tagline is, “We’re very, very dedicated to business.”
Agency principal and creative director Mike Shine said the TV spots focus on the dot-com’s staffers and their passion for small business instead of Web features. “It was a leap for a client to focus on themselves,” he said. “But it comes off as a company that has a lot of personality in a way that’s relevant to the businessperson.
“A lot of dot-com ads are just funny for the sake of being funny. … This is relevant,” Shine added. is a multifaceted Web site that allows users to download business forms, post items on business exchange boards, read columns from financial advisers and pick up business news.
In the first TV spot, titled “Intensive Care,” a man is shown sitting on a hospital bed, clinging to life. Slowly, he starts making his way off the bed, removing the life-support machines. He finally gets to a TV and turns on a financial news station.
In another spot, titled “Donation,” a man visits a sperm bank and is given a stack of adult magazines as he heads to a private room. Before entering, he swaps the magazines for a copy of a business publication.
Shine said the spots have generated numerous e-mails from viewers. “It’s been pretty popular,” he said. “I think it’s pretty unusual for a business-to-business commercial to drive people to a site and get people to send e-mail.”
The spots are airing on financial stations throughout the country.