A Chicago Bank makes itself useful at Element 79.

February 4, 2009


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.

G-whiz, f you’re like me, you’re scratching your head over Gatorade’s first campaign from their new agency, TBWA. While not bad, the “G” work seems (to me) like a diluted version of Element 79’s deservedly famous “Is it in you?” campaign. Proof that clients leave agencies for reasons having little to do with the “work.” Speaking of Element 79…

On a decidedly smaller stage is their charming campaign for Harris Bank. “We’re here to help” was a decent concept when it came out but it is especially relevant now. Prescient even.

However, like the Burnett work for Allstate, it’s not likely to win many, if any, creative prizes. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t special. It is. Print and outdoor executions offer practical solutions to various mundane predicaments, juxtaposing a bank-related solve in clever ways. Synergizing the media enhances the campaign’s playful potential. The word jumble execution pictured here shows how much fun you can have being helpful.


Element 79 beat my agency for this account in a hotly contested pitch. Had they not, our campaign would have been, if I’m being honest, seriously reviewed and most likely scrapped by now for its brazen confidence and pride. “We’re here to help” is a humble message, which I’m sure resonates with jittery consumers.

While Gatorade may have been intercepted by another agency, Element 79 holds its own with this small but decent effort for Harris Bank.


8 Responses to “A Chicago Bank makes itself useful at Element 79.”

  1. jc said

    what a classy thing to say about a competitor. bravo.

  2. SRP said

    Thank you, JC, however I have a selfish motive. The Chicago advertising community needs and deserves respect. We are far stronger together than we are apart.

  3. Speaking of outdoor advertising, have you heard about Windvertising? A company called WePOWER is leading the way…


    “For the first time, outdoor advertising will help to save the planet by reducing carbon emissions and will save money for businesses through tax incentives, energy rebates and carbon credits. It is truly a win-win situation for consumers and corporations.” So sayeth the CEO.

    May never happen, but I’m so glad that developers are looking forward to days when all the cool kids are green.

  4. Jim Ferguson said

    You were always a classy guy. But come on, this isn’t the Steffan Postaer I have grown to know and love over the past 25 years. You are best when sarcasm flows from you mouth like the drunken drool of a sailor on three day leave. Come back!

  5. SRP said

    Sorry, Jim…
    The drunken sailor was court marshaled!
    I’m just doing my bit to help out the Chicago advertising community. It ain’t the same beast we grew up in. I need it more than it needs me.

  6. Thank you.
    At the risk of sounding obsequious, I have to say you are a good-hearted man Steffan.
    Certainly to us, but more importantly, to the industry people in the city.
    We’re all sick of the non-stop death knells. And we all want to do something about it.
    Thanks for taking the first step.
    Screw it: pandering or not, I just bought your book…thanks brother.


  7. SRP said

    Thank you for your kind words, Dennis.
    Speaking of “kind words,” the fact that mine are getting such emotional responses suggest how much they are needed and, in turn, how much we need each other.
    It sounds corny. It is corny. But that doesn’t make it less true.

  8. jmgroth said

    You know what? You’re right. I really like this campaign. My guy and I found ourselves comfortable enough to hit them up for a mortgage a few months ago. We scrapped our home-buying plans for now, but they’re still tops on our list when our search resumes.

    Great campaign, perfect for the times.

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