I grew up in a small business family and, like most kids, a Muppet enthusiast. So I completely dorked out when this project crossed my desk. In a partnership between Digitas and Facebook Creative Shop, we chronicled the shopping habits of the Muppet characters in support of AmEx’s Small Business Saturday.
One of the most exciting things about this project was the opportunity to put pen to paper, which doesn’t come around as often as it should. I led a writer’s workshop with creatives from both Facebook and Digitas that resulted in six videos that were strategically targeted to interest-based audiences on Facebook. An anthemic spot aired on broadcast prior to the release of the News Feed videos.
Writing for these cloth-and-feather characters was more exciting for writing for various celebrity spokespeople. Matthew McConaughey’s got nothing on Janice.
Esurance is Insurance for the Modern World. They use technology and efficiency to make people’s lives better. In a wild demonstration of purpose, Esurance bought the last spot after the Super Bowl, saving $1.5MM (or 30%). They then passed the savings along to the people, as they do.
Using the hashtag, #EsuarnceSave30, people could enter to win this amazing amount of money just by tweeting. In turn, they were thereby spreading the word of just how much you could save by switching: 30%. Take that, cavemen.
This program was the last thing we sold before I left Burnett. The spot Jesse and Travis made was killer.
The Curiously Strong campaign is one of my favorites of all time. As a college student, I adorned my workstation with a couple poster-sized Altoids ads. They served as the standard by which I measured each piece in my portfolio. They may have also been covering hole in the drywall or some stray pizza sauce. Needless to say, it was exciting to actually work on the brand when I got to Burnett.
In 2007, we made these posters. They were the first in an effort that strayed from that signature mint green background for the purposes of enhanced storytelling. Called "The Initiation" campaign, the goal was to dare younger users to try the curious confections. We successfully maintained our brand character even though we walked away from a decade-old convention.
There are two kinds of car insurance companies: The big companies with agents and the price tag to match, and the discount, talking-animal companies with who might not be around when you need them.
And then there’s Esurance. They did for insurance what Zappos did for shoes: use technology to give people a great product and service at a fair price.
It’s a little thing we call Insurance for the Modern World.
Want to hear something scary? Testosterone levels in men have fallen nearly 1% per year for the past 20 years. What does that mean? Well, if the current trend continues, men will eventually become androgynous. Or hermaphroditic. Or something like that. Look, I’m not a scientist, but I am crossing my legs like a girl as I type this so there is definitely something going on here.
The Dockers brand, like men, had lost its way. The category was in decline and khaki was had become the uniform of the neutered male. So Dockers pressed the reset button. The product changed as did the message. We issued a worldwide call to manhood, challenging men to Wear the Pants.
If you have a few minutes, watch the video to see how all the parts and pieces worked together. If you’re too busy to be amazed, then at least read the manifesto. It took a very long time to write.
The assignment was to make a thirty-second spot for the Esurance Star Trek sponsorship. We brought them serial comedy. These are the voyages of the USS Not-the-Enterprise, assigned to wander the most boring parts of the galaxy, boldly going...nowhere. This series of our misfit Starfleet crew were used as content for the Facebook page to keep our fan base engaged throughout the promotional period.
We had the pleasure of producing these videos with Bad Robot, J.J. Abrams’ production company. He even weighed in on the set design and the edits. J.J. and Travis, the agency art director, had a fundamental disagreement about the position of the alien’s forehead protrusion. Travis won. Way to stand your ground against the most powerful man in film, Travis.
Here's a little case study we put together, followed by the entire first season of USS Not-the-Enterprise.
Every man has a dream. Not like a Martin Luther King dream, but just something they’ve always wanted to do. Sadly, very few of these dreams are ever realized. Want to know why? Because it’s tough to achieve your dreams when you spend all day working a job you hate.
Guys are underachieving and they know it.
As part of our global call to manhood, and brand purpose to awaken the latent masculinity in men, we set out to help men everywhere make a plan and get it done using their hard-wired “man-skills." The Wear the Pants Project inspires and enables men to put those skills to work and finally do something great. After all, there’s more to being a man than just being a man.
We launched the campaign by seeding films featuring influential guys with inspiring stories.
One of the ways we enabled men to reach their goals as to pay one grand prize winner a year's salary, or $100K, to pursue his dream. The big announcement happened during the Super Bowl pre game show.
The message lit a fire under our audience. The Dockers Facebook fanbase quintupled in two months' time. The Wear the Pants Project app served as a forum for thousands of participants to share dreams and vote for one another's plans. The top vote getters will make up a group of five finalists who will be asked to expand on their plans.
We also launched a smaller program called Man Grants. Awarded weekly, Man Grants funded the best ideas of the week with $2,000 worth of resources, from mentorship to airline tickets.
My plan to start a Mall Santa University wasn't quite as greathearted as Ryland King's man plan. He ended up winning the $100K to fund his organization, Environmental Education for the Next Generation. The money will go to fund efforts to teach 1st and 2nd grade students on relevant environmental issues. This was one of those rare instances in our business when feel like you actually did a little good. Ryland was a man determined to make his mark.
W+K authored a soulful, but somewhat controversial commercial for the Super Bowl called “America is Beautiful”. And it is. However, this film was not your typical depiction of this great country. Some folks aren’t used to seeing this diverse of a cross section of America. Or, hear the song, “America”, sung in any language besides English.
Coca-Cola wanted to lead a positive conversation on Facebook to offset the inevitable hate. We did so by taking a piece of media meant for mass consumption (the Super Bowl commercial) and serving it to audiences in ways that were relevant to them, using a little creativity and the power of Facebook.
Take a look.