Thursday, February 20, 2014

On Firsts: Manipulating the Media – the first in a series of firsts

Case Study: Oak Farms Luxury Ice Cream – Southland Corporation (7-11). At first it may not seem like much of an innovation, but when you look at how the creative idea bends the media towards its own purpose of owning the space, it's quite the trick. 

Coupon ads for retail food clients at advertising agencies do not normally present themselves as award winning opportunities. In fact, they're generally considered as the assignment no creative wants. But that shouldn't stop anyone from making a little lemonade once they've got the lemons.

In the ad on the left the specified size, purchased by the media department, was a standard quarter-page ad, represented by the blue box.  And this is where, in the creative mind, one confuses which came first, the headline, the visual or the change in ad size.

But once one has the image of an ice cream scoop, it seems only logical to use the most vertical space possible and take ownership of the page from top to bottom without spending any more money than was allocated in the first place. And this was the first time that had ever been done – at the agency, at the newspaper and also in the New York Art Directors Club annual where it was awarded and became the first of my works to be featured in that show – 30 years ago. Being first scares a lot of people. The phrase, "We've never done it that way" is a popular one among companies that have grown comfortable making money in the way that they do. But it's also been the kiss of death for a few as well.

As this series progresses we'll highlight some of our firsts and demonstrate how they've benefitted our clients in unexpected ways. When a company is very young, almost everything it does is a first of some sort – but to keep that pioneering spirit alive as an organization grows older can be a real challenge of survival. Hopefully, we'll be able to shed a bit of light on how to keep that happening.