February 5, 2009
A line so good they put it on a book.
Given the grim climate in Chicago (the weather, the economy, the government), I’m thinking it might be high time we celebrate the unheralded but quality work coming out of our city’s many agencies.
We hear a lot about what’s wrong with the people, places and things as it relates to the Chicago advertising community. I want to go another way. Hold to the good, as our pastor likes to say.
In this spirit, every day this week, I’m going to feature a campaign from a local shop that deserves praise… not punishment.
Chicago sports teams are a passion for our city often beyond reason. The Cubs seem to attract fans without even playing good baseball. Currently in a freefall, the Chicago Bulls still manage full houses. Bears fans are a frustrated lot but, come hell or low temperatures, they’re there, freezing ass in Soldier’s Field.
Chicago’s other teams need help filling seats. And for that, they turn to Chicago’s ‘very own’ advertising agencies.
Right now the resurging Blackhawks are riding high behind Oglivy & Mather’s “One Goal” campaign. In stark TV spots, the team’s young stars skate up to a lone microphone and state their goals for the season. Low budget but effective, I admire these commercials for what they’re not. File footage of players scoring goals is better suited for Sports Center. These moving portraits bring the players to life, making them user-friendly. Not “lovable” like the Cubbies, rather they come across as ambitious, unwilling to lose. It’s a fresh face for a team (if not a sport) that needs it.
I also like the tag line: “One Goal.” You don’t have to see Lord Stanley’s Cup to know what that goal is. It reminds me of the Raider’s “Just win, baby!” Only more understated. As a copywriter, the obvious wordplay makes me smile.
Though no longer the theme for the Chicago White Sox, I am still a huge fan of the popular “Grinder Rules” from local agency, Two by Four.
I remember going to the World Series in 2005. Seeing these grinder posters along the stadium walls really captured that team and its winning season. Fans were stopping to have their picture taken in front of them, kudos for any ad campaign. I believe the term grinder was pulled from comments made by irascible coach, Ozzie Guillen. This tells me the agency did their homework and got it right.
In 2006, having won it all, the White Sox went “back to the grind.” And it was a perfect sentiment. Unfortunately, the team did poorly and, as is the case in advertising as well as sports, changes were made. Energy BBDO now has the account. But “Grinder Rules” is still the best campaign I’ve seen for a Chicago sports team in a long, long time.
Score two for the home team of Chicago.
February 2, 2009
Given the grim climate in Chicago (the weather, the economy, the government), it’s high time we celebrate the unheralded, quality work coming out of our city’s many agencies. We hear a lot about what’s wrong with the people, places and things in the Chicago advertising community. I want to go another way. Hold to the good, as our pastor likes to say.
In this spirit, for the next few days, I’m going to feature campaigns from local shops that deserve praise… not punishment.
They may not be famous or ground breaking. But they are good. Join me as we give a warming hug to the City of Big Shoulders!
Let’s start with Chicago’s landmark agency, Leo Burnett. Having worked there 16 years, it’s also my “alma mater.” LBCO has been in the news for the same kind of struggles besetting most agencies and their clients: shrinking advertising budgets, layoffs, and turbulent change in business practices.
Still, the work they have done on Allstate deserves kudos for its great sureness during these worst of economic times. Actor Dennis Haybert calms and guides we jittery consumers, looking us right in the eye. He is a patriarch in the best sense of the word. Indeed, when he asks if we “are in good hands,” I know I/we could be with Allstate.
I’ve secretly admired this iteration of Burnett’s long running “Good Hands” campaign for some time now. Secretly, because I know it’s not a creative showcase. But I’m being childish. This advertising deserves a medal of honor for it’s steady hand, especially in this climate. Take a look at the attached commercial about surviving a recession. The voice over says it all: “It’s back to basics and the basics are good.” So is this campaign.