Bubble Surprises in Regional NORA Review

NEW YORK Just two weeks after a group promoting oil heat awarded its $10 million account to The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., a small Philadelphia shop has wrested away a $1 million regional portion of those billings.

The National Oilheat Research Alliance’s Delaware Valley region will launch its own television and radio campaign created by bubble, an independent agency with just one full-time employee, president Kelly Simmons. While NORA chose Martin based on its reputation and the promise of what it could deliver, Simmons got the job because of the specific concepts she presented, said industry consultant Roy Patterson, a member of the Delaware Valley regional council.

Two radio spots slated to break in March feature a couple in the midst of renovating their home. When they tear down a wall, they find a family of leprechauns living inside. The spots then make a leap to sell oil heat by saying, “Here’s another surprise,” oil heat is clean and delivers permeating warmth, Simmons said. Another spot features the Boogey Man and Easter Bunny and makes the same leap. Both end with Martin’s tagline, “99 percent clean, 100 percent warm.”

“There is significant public opinion that oil heat is dirty and historically is has been dirty, so the message has to be extremely convincing,” Patterson said. While Martin’s ads would work well for more conservative NORA memberships, the Delaware council wanted something with more flair, he said.

“She had a total grasp of what we were trying to do,” Patterson said. “She is cutting edge and her humor lends itself very well to what we’re trying to deliver.”

If the radio ads are successful, television work will break in the fall, Patterson said. The council, however, may choose to return to Martin when it comes time to produce television spots.

Bubble won the account after a one-month review, besting Elkman/Alexander & Partners Advertising and Weightman Group, both of Philadelphia, and Leylan Advertising in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Incumbent Fallon did not participate. The regional review ran concurrently with the national review.