How do you market a client that is perceived as too expensive, but wants to be accessible? You simply explain why they’re worth it. The tagline, “Right from the Start,” says it all. You want something done right, you do it correctly from the beginning — with high-end craftsmanship and the best materials available. (Sometimes the best marketing is the simplest solution.) Combine that with some serious humor and graphic images of homes being built and you get a campaign that stands out.
WAYNE TOWLE MASTER FINISHING & RESTORATION
We presented three very different campaigns to our client, a husband and wife duo, and restoration specialists. They were happy with all of them, and weren’t sure which to choose. (A very good problem to have.) As we discussed the options, they recalled when a client brought in a piece of lingerie as a color sample. Wayne searched a box in the corner of his office and pulled it out. We all howled with laughter, and immediately knew which campaign to choose! Featuring the client’s exceptional talent of being able to refinish a floor or wall in any color, we used examples of objects and had our client actually refinish the wood in the background of the ad, to match the object. Humorous copy tells the rest of the story. This campaign got the client a lot of attention, and us, a couple of Ad Club Hatch awards.
Custom House Draperies didn’t have any marketing, wanted to grow, and was ready to compete with some of the bigger drapery and bedding showrooms out there. They needed a website, but when we saw their outdated logo, we asked if they might be up for a name change, too. They agreed and a complete rebrand of the company began. Renaming them “Thread” with a killer logo and tagline, “Where Designers Have it Made.” put them on the map. With no available product photography, we decided to shoot artistic shots that focused on their fine workmanship. Playful headlines and copy focus on the company’s attributes. Their growth was award enough for us, but a New England Ad Club Hatch Award didn’t hurt either.
What better way to get the word out that you’re teaching a Concept and Copy course than to do your own advertising? We did a series of “Before taking our class” and “After taking our class” posters, featuring humorous visuals. We hung them around the school and our class roster was full before we could even say “strategy.”
Designer Bath & Salem Plumbing had an absolutely gorgeous showroom, but they didn’t have a distinctive brand personality. Since it’s a family business, and they were known for having long-time employees that they treated like family, we decided to start there. We chose black and white lifestyle visuals of families we thought consumers with kids would relate to, and paired them with headlines and copy that focused on the owner’s family. We also tweaked the logo and created the tagline “The Products and the People.” And yes, we not only presented the “number one and number two” ad, we got them to buy it.
How do you get younger consumers to believe that a beautiful home and kids can actually live together? By showing our client’s very big family (including triplets), doing just that. All of our advertising centered around being able to live with antiques and high end furnishings, no matter who you live with (including the dog). It worked and sales went up.
NEW ENGLAND WEATHERVANE SHOP (CAMPAIGN I)
Who doesn’t love an offbeat product? This client’s hand wrought weathervanes, got us plenty excited. Our strategy was to let people know that weathervanes had come down from the roof and could now be used inside homes as art, on the porch, or in the garden. With close-up shots and copy that read from the weathervane’s perspective, these quirky and colorful ads couldn’t help but get attention.
Think outside the cupola.
BACK BAY SHUTTER COMPANY (CAMPAIGN I)
If you’re listening, sometimes the client makes it easy to figure out what the strategy should be. Our client, a high-end shutter company, had never hired an agency. In the course of getting to know them, we were struck with how detail-oriented, passionate and finicky they were about their product. These guys really cared about their handcrafted shutters and lost sleep over making sure every one of them was made perfectly. We realized they were actually a little bit crazy, in fact. And so our campaign focused on our clients being “neurotic perfectionists,” (which is also their title on their business cards). Positioning Back Bay Shutter as being completely consumed with making shutters, designers, architects and consumers paid attention to these ads, which stood out in the visual-heavy shelter magazines. They also stood out in the design community, winning an AIGA Best of New England award. While we’ve changed the campaign over the course of time, the strategy has always remained the the same — these people are passionate about shutters.
Totally passionate about shutters.
BACK BAY SHUTTER COMPANY (CAMPAIGN II)
Our second campaign for Back Bay was to the trade. We wanted to engage designers directly, so we hopped into their world, where there are always 1,897,365 things that can go wrong, to tell them that one thing would always go right. A good way to set up a client. Copy driven, the fonts get the mood across.
A designer’s best friend.
BACK BAY SHUTTER COMPANY (CAMPAIGN IV)
Sometimes our clients can say it better than we can: “Uturn Design elevates our company’s image. They put together a brilliant campaign for 2020 that got the message out and it’s a game changer for us — we’re already seeing an 80% increase in sales because of the first ad. We’re so grateful because they know us, and they nailed it. Perfection.” Bill Morton, President, Back Bay Shutter Company
A designer’s best friend.
BAY POINT BUILDERS
It seemed to us that nobody ever has a good story when it comes to working with a contractor. So, when our client, a mid-sized builder, told us that their thorough pre-planning process keeps a project on budget and on schedule, we got an idea. Our campaign shows visuals of iconic childhood moments — splashing in a puddle, eating ice cream, jumping into a pool — and asks the consumer to imagine if this is how it could feel when they did a building/renovation project. We made the tagline “Shouldn’t it be Fun? ” because when you’re spending the kind of money you have to spend on a home project, it should be.
Shouldn’t it be fun?
OPTIONS, OPTIONS, OPTIONS: A CREATIVE PRESENTATION
We always make sure we love everything we present to a client, because if we don’t, it’s Murphy’s Law that they will choose the one thing we don’t like. Sometimes we produce such strong creative, even we don’t know which we like best. That was the case when we presented to Wayne Towle Master Finishing and Restoration. The winning concept is above (scroll up to the lobster) but we had some other great options, too.
In the “we treat wood the way wood should be treated” campaign, we played with type and wood grain and used humor to stand out. We knew these would be inexpensive to produce and that with great headlines — and attitude — we could keep the campaign going indefinitely.
The “it’s all about the wood” campaign was our attempt to visually bring the sophistication level up. There was something really nice about treating the trees as if they were people with goals and emotions.
Each of our campaigns positioned our client as the best in the business, and each focused on wood in a different way. It’s always our mission to look at a project from all sides and make sure that we are providing a range of creative thinking. We believe having too many options is a good thing!
ANOTHER ONE THAT BIT THE DUST
Here is one more creative presentation that is worth sharing. Our client had been spending money on advertising, but it was unfocused and looked outdated. With 40 years of experience, these guys knew what they were doing – selling, designing and installing audio visual systems that were not only comprehensive, but very easy to use.
Our knowledgeable client, as well as our own research, told us that frequently, home technology companies have little experience behind them. We also learned that it wasn’t uncommon to have companies install systems that were so complicated, they practically required clients have a Ph.D in engineering to be able to use them.
With the competition’s advertising lackluster, we set out to focus on our client’s 40 years of expertise, in which they have seen and done it all.
The tagline, The Home of Home Technology, gave the company a proprietary feel, which we knew they could own. They were the real deal, so we wanted to set them up as the experts. The campaign took a humorous direction, asking the consumer to closely assess the competence of who they were hiring.
Our client liked the bright colors and conceptual nature of the campaign that featured silly visuals of people (and a monkey!) who might be working as the competition. We were confident these ads would stand out, especially in the shelter magazines, where so many campaigns feature beauty shots of homes and furniture.
After much discussion, they decided not to proceed with the campaign, but we still continue to mourn the loss! This is the nature of advertising. You win some, you lose some.
SPLASH CREATIVE PRESENTATION I
Here is a perfect example of bridging strategy and creative. Splash opened their new showroom and it was BIG! We understand the consumer market because we are part of it (in this case, athletic, fit women, with a disposable income) and added some humor. This is what we mean by the Compelling Emotional Truth. Of course the buyer is not going to jog around the store — but no doubt, they would be getting all their steps in.
SPLASH CREATIVE PRESENTATION II
We are just going to keep showing the good stuff. This core message of this campaign was that Splash turned 90 (also note the 90 anniversary icons which we presented!). Actually one of these did run, but we just had to include the whole shebang, because, well why not. Again, marrying strategy and creative. Happy belated birthday, Splash!
USA 500 SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
When we were asked by the prestigious business networking group, USA 500, to write some creative blogs, we got to work. But then Covid hit and they all needed to be re-worked to fit within our new reality. As we began to crawl out of isolation, our strategy of networking during a pandemic led to a Tips Series on a more meaningful kind of networking—relationship marketing—which was posted weekly on LinkedIn. Here are a few.