It’s All in the Delivery

Trucker Drives Office Furniture USA Spots
ATLANTA–CadmusCom of Richmond, Va., launched its initial campaign for Office Furniture USA last week, introducing a down-to-earth spokesman in a trilogy of television commercials the agency hopes will drive the effort for years to come.
Airing nationally on CNN, the spots seek to brand the company as the right mix of high-quality products and affordable prices. Or, in the plainspoken words of Ben Hopkins, “Before Office Furniture USA, you only had two choices: real expensive or real junk.”
The campaign hinges on the homespun credibility of Hopkins, a fictional OF-USA truck driver played by New York actor Dan Ziskie, who has appeared in several soap operas.
Each ad is set in a homey, golden-lit diner, with Hopkins employing honest, self-deprecating language blending bemused and amused. “My friends ask me, ‘Why’d they choose you as their spokesman?’ You got me,” he says, by way of introduction.
“When we tested with [the client’s] target audience . . . they were very positive about honesty and straightforwardness,” said agency president Kelly O’Keefe. “Our audience does not like hype.”
Hopkins talks about the importance of punctuality and notes that if he doesn’t make a delivery on time, “It’s my butt.” A pause. “Sorry I mentioned my butt. A good spokesman probably wouldn’t have said that.”
O’Keefe said Ziskie’s ability to connect with viewers as an original player in their TV lives was crucial.
“It was important that we find somebody who hasn’t been overplayed,” said O’Keefe. “That was a big concern of mine: that [television viewers] would see him and associate him with something else. We want this character to be convincing, because we hope to continue with him for several years.”
Early response indicates Ziskie is convincing. According to O’Keefe, when the Hopkins spots were introduced to retailers, one dealer said he was proud they chose “the driver who delivers for us.” He literally thought Hopkins was their truck driver.
Individual credits include creative directors O’Keefe and Robin Konieczny, copywriter Brian Fox, art director J.B. Hopkins, account managers Sheila Fox and Karen Smith, account planner Meredith Davis and director Ali Selim.