Tuesday, June 30, 2009

And the winner is…Wrangler?

This years Press Grand Prix winner at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival was “We Are Animals”, a Wrangler campaign from Paris hot shop Fred & Farid. A stark contrast, to the Wrangler we all grew up with, is what propelled this campaign to the top. Wrangler has always brought to mind images of cowboys, lassos and something our father wears (or at least mine). This campaign basically gives a big “F.U.” to that stereotypical view that has been ingrained into us over the past quarter-century.

This campaign while simple is also simply brilliant in its thinking and execution. If this campaign was to ever roll out around the world, I think it could be a very good thing for Wrangler. Clothes are all about emotions and the way they make you feel. A simple label can say sexy, tough, rich, trendy, rugged, confident or cool. This campaign’s emotion or theme is that at the essence of humans, at the core of our DNA, we are animals and we are primal and we are sexual in nature. Remove all the glitz, the technology and escape to be human again, to be the animals that we are.

The images are models in animal-like poses in nature. Whether it’s the “deer in the headlights” caught by society and normalcy or the “animal by the lake” going for a drink before the noise of humans pollutes the serenity and peace, these images hint, not so subtlety, at our Darwinian roots with three simple words, “We are animals.” Indeed we are.

Is it just another case of “sex sells”? Are you asking yourself “But where’s the product?” and “Where’s the call to action?” Or do you get it? Do you understand that in today’s world, with every ad and tv commercial and radio spot yelling at us to buy this or do this and think this, that an ad like this breaks through the noise and clutter not by making the logo bigger or using bright colors or flashy lights but by being simple and letting the consumer do a little bit of thinking. Sometimes we want to tell the consumer everything in our ads. But sometimes by saying nothing or little at all, we say it all and more. And that can make all the difference in the world. Just ask Fred & Farid.

David Lubars, the president of the Cannes Lions press jury, said the campaign had won because the idea could work globally to change the US-centric view of the Wrangler brand.

"It is a very emotional campaign, you can see how it can go into all kinds of areas," added Lubars. "The theme is we are animals, a very primal, sexual approach. Before the brand was about middle-aged cowboy jeans from America. Now it takes a whole different look overnight."

"It grabbed me by the gut," said Gerry Graf, chief creative officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, and a jury member. "I felt what they wanted me to feel. A simple image and a few ads worked on four or five different levels for me. It changed my image of Wrangler. It's talking about primal urges."

US judge Gerry Graf, the chief creative officer at Saatchi & Saatchi, said the campaign "screams raw sex". "That's what you want when you put on some jeans. That's what I want," Graf added.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Customer Service – How a Small Beer Company from Colorado Gets It.

By Aaron Whitaker, MZD Sr. Copywriter

In today’s world, it seems everyone and anyone is talking about social media and “Twitter this” and “Facebook that.” And while, I am not about to downplay the power of social media, I was pleasantly reminded yesterday of something way more important. Beyond social media and advertising and pr and cool guerilla ideas, all of it doesn’t matter if your brand or product is backed by less than spectacular customer service. And while we can all recall from memory stories of terrible customer service, this is not one of them. This is a story of a small Colorado brewery that went way beyond the call of duty in order to help a wife give her husband (that would be me) one of the coolest Father’s Day presents ever.

As I write this, it is not yet Father’s Day, but my wife decided to give me my Father’s Day present a little early (she’s awesome). Yesterday evening I came home to my wife and daughter sitting waiting for me in the front yard with the garage door down. My two-year old daughter gave me a Father’s Day card that she made herself with finger paints. Inside the card was a picture of her standing and smiling in front of our old, yellow garage fridge with its door opened. The fridge was packed full with New Belgium Fat Tire Ale cases and tall bottles of Fat Tire and New Belgium’s other beers. Being that I love Fat Tire, I was a very happy man. I couldn’t have asked for more. The end, so now let’s go to the beginning.

New Belgium started selling Fat Tire in Indiana in April. I had heard this news through Twitter and was excited to finally be able to get it. It had always been this cult beer ever since I heard about it in college. It was a beer that people who had it couldn’t stop praising it. but it was a beer that had a small distribution and was no where near where I lived. It was this cult beer, almost a myth. But years later, on that fateful day in April, I was able to buy it in Indiana. It was like Christmas Day for a guy for loves good beer.

Realizing my new infatuation with this delicious beer, my wife wanted to surprise me with a fridge full of Fat Tire as a Father’s Day gift but there was a problem. She couldn’t find it. So, she went online to their website www.newbelgiumbrewing.com and sent them an email. She told them her plan and how she was panicking because she couldn’t find it and she asked them if they knew where she could get a bunch. Within a half-hour they not only replied to her but they had their “Indiana Beer Ranger” reply with links and directions to liquor stores. The “Beer Ranger” helped her find a liquor store close by, but it didn’t stop there. Most companies could have called it a “job well done” but not New Belgium. Our “Beer Ranger” told my wife that he would drop off some items at the liquor store for her to pick up. He could have left a simple beer coozie and I would have been impressed but instead he left four cool posters of their beer label art and a really nice Fat Tire ball cap (something I would have gladly have paid money for). Through the whole process, our “Beer Ranger” has made sure she got all the beer and has also kept her up-to-date on a new beer that should be out today called Skinny Dip Ale. He has been more than helpful and it has impressed both my wife and I.

So what is the lesson learned? Customer service is golden.

If you go beyond the call of duty and provide great customer service, your customers will then spread the good news, just like I am right now, on those social media things everyone and anyone is talking about. Thank you New Belgium for providing unbelievable customer service, I can only hope others will follow in your direction.