Computer-generated blizzard makes for a much easier “snow shoot”
MINNEAPOLIS – Winter suddenly storms into Campbell Mithun’s idyllic “Snow Globe” spot with a shake, shake, shake – and is quickly put in its place by a Toro snowblower. The spot conveys how universally victimizing a blizzard can feel and, for those with a suitable snow machine (Toro brand, of course), the joy of restoring control. It all happens in just 30 seconds and without the use of one real flake of snow.
“Our daily routines get upset when we get blasted with a snowstorm – look at last year,” said Reid Holmes, executive creative director for Campbell Mithun. “So in a lighthearted way, we wanted to remind people to be prepared, a Toro will make light work of the inevitable snowstorm.”
Typically, snow sets must be heavily dressed or require a large investment to move a crew and product to snowy locales – and a budget must plan for unpredictable weather and snow conditions. Other than the product shot done on site at Toro’s in-house studio, all creative and snow production in “Snow Globe” were developed with computer-generated imagery. Campbell Mithun partnered with Gravity for the CGI work.
“Not only is the snow globe an effective creative approach,” said Rob Little, director of marketing for Toro’s Residential and Landscape Contractor Businesses, “but it solved a huge logistical challenge for us: how to control the costs of filming a snow-throwing spot, which actually is very technical and, not surprisingly, subject to weather factors beyond our control.”
Instead of demonstrating an actual snowblower throwing snow, the spot presents the product’s power with the sound of the “snow plume” hitting the globe’s interior glass (yes, we’re talking about a snowblower inside a snow globe). The sound works in contrast to the initial calm, music-box-like sound treatment that opens the spot.
“Snow Globe” will run through mid December in major markets located in the nation’s heaviest “snow belt.”
Chief Creative Officer: Heath Rudduck
Executive Creative Director: Reid Holmes
CD/Copywriter: Joe Stefanson
CD/Art Director: Randy Gerda
VP/Director of Integrated Production: Kathy DiToro
Producers: Bill Smallacombe
CGI Partner: Gravity
CEO/Chief Creative Officer: Zviah Eldar
Director/Head of CG: Yuval Levy
Head of Production: Karen Bianca Bisignano
Producer: Russ Dube
Production Coordinator: Kelly Benenati
VFX Editor: Marc Steinberg
CMO/Executive Producer: Bob Samuel
The Toro Company is a leading worldwide provider of turf and landscape maintenance equipment, and precision irrigation systems. With sales of nearly $1.7 billion in fiscal 2010, Toro's global presence extends to more than 80 countries through its reputation of world-class service, innovation and turf expertise. Since 1914, the company has built a tradition of excellence around a number of strong brands to help customers care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields. More information is available at www.toro.com.
Agency builds substantial health practice with recent account wins
MINNEAPOLIS – After a competitive pitch involving nine agencies, Campbell Mithun has won the opportunity to develop brand strategy and cross-platform integrated creative for Wellmark, a health insurance company serving more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. The win adds an insurance client to the agency’s deep health-related client roster.
“Wellmark’s brand strategy and creative needs fall right in our sweet spot,” said Rachael Marret, president of Campbell Mithun. “And with the increasing disruption of communications conventions in the category, there are huge opportunities for a brand to differentiate itself. We’re honored to lead them forward.”
“With all the change we have experienced and still expect in our industry, it’s more important than ever to be certain our brand communications align with our identity and mission,” said George Hanna, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Wellmark. “We’re looking forward to working with Campbell Mithun to assist us as we guide our members and communities through this shifting landscape.”
Campbell Mithun’s roster of health-industry clients includes Airborne, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, The Mayo Clinic, Scott and White Memorial Hospital, and Sonovion brands (Xopenex, Lunesta). Former clients include Easter Seals, Eli Lilly, Kimberly-Clark, Novartis, Pfizer and UnitedHealth Group, among others.
Announcement of the Wellmark win comes on the heels of Campbell Mithun announcing its selection as AOR by KeyBank.
Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Note: this post presents content from a speech given by Steve Wehrenberg at Augsburg College on November 17.
Some don't believe it, but "truth" and "advertising" do belong in the same sentence. Even though the general public and many in the business community itself disagree, you can find truth in advertising. And more importantly, there should be more truth in advertising. Because, actually, in advertising nothing works better than the truth.
Your skepticism is documented: Surveys show that nearly one third of people "don't trust the information in any kind of ads" (Mintel Attitudes Toward Traditional Media Advertising and Promotion, Sept. 2010) and that 38 percent of folks would rate as "very low" the honesty and ethical standards of ad industry professionals (Gallop Honesty and Ethics Ranking, 2008).
But truth – universal truth, human truth and not lying for a higher truth – actually shapes really great advertising. You know what I'm talking about. You've been affected by a truth-tapping ad yourself. It's what makes brilliant creative work so brilliant.
Steve Wehrenberg presents “Can you find truth in advertising?” at Augsburg College Strommen Executive Speaker Series. (Video courtesy of Augsburg College.)
Before we talk about how that kind of truth lives in advertising, and how advertising captures truth, let's start with a basic definition. Webster defines truth as "fidelity, constancy; sincerity in action or character; fact." The definition appears rational.
But in the real world truth is much more complex, because people are complex and truth is personal. One person's truth is another's lie. People constantly frame and re-frame truth. We marketers call this "positioning" – the presentation of something based not on objective external factors but, rather, on selected factors chosen to shape a reality.
Language gives marketers power to construct positioning: consider the difference between using the following terms to describe the exact same house: "executive home" or "McMansion." The descriptors shape a relative interpretation and even can deliver a value judgment.
All this relativity provides lots of fodder for creativity. So back to truth in advertising. Let's explore three manifestations:
|1.||Universal Truths = Myths|
Myths live as those dreams, passions, values and beliefs that swirl around in our collective unconscious. They're part of storytelling and tapped by advertising. Archetypes represent true characters in myth: the Hero, the Magician, the Ruler, the Explorer, the Outlaw.
Brands often tap these myths to tell their stories. Think of Jeep: the Explorer. Harley-Davidson: the Outlaw. Or Disney: the Magician.
|2.||Human Truth = Insights|
An "insight" for advertisers is a truth hiding in plain sight. Galileo put it well: "All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered. The point is to discover them."
Great advertising makes these discoveries; it finds these insights. And a lot of intuitive people in the business dig deep into our culture, attitudes and product benefits to uncover insights.
The famous "got milk?" ads are based on the insight that people drink milk with things: cookies, brownies, PB&J. Our recent Toro "Snow Globe" ad is based on the insight that "winter comes fast" and people enjoy conquering the chaos of a heavy snow. Very true for us in Minnesota.
|3.||Not Lying for a Higher Truth = Ethics|
In spite of universal and human truths, the industry often seems slippery and weasel-ly. Why? Because some in the business choose to lie for a perceived "higher truth": the bottom line, a quick sale, a flash of attention.
These breaches of trust are bad for all of us. Consider the recent ads pulled in Great Britain: Lancome, for too much airbrushing of Julia Roberts; and, more recently, Marc Jacobs, for presenting minor Dakota Fanning too provocatively.
In our industry, we constantly face three big ethical issues: deceit vs. accuracy, profit vs. protection, and obfuscation vs. transparency. The marketplace today values credibility as much as creativity. A high ethical standard is a business imperative. We must lead the way.
Advertisers and marketers, we can hold our heads high when our work taps truth, shares truth and sticks to the truth. When we are truth-telling leaders, our work and our industry will prosper.
One hundred years ago, advertising legend H. K. McCann linked truth to everything that matters in our business with his agency slogan: Truth Well Told. Our own positioning statement at Campbell Mithun is a version of that: Everything Talks.
When Everything Talks, and everyone talks, the story should be true.
-- Steve Wehrenberg, CEO