The Big Impact of Small

August 18, 2016

Advertising is an industry of “big.” We’re always on the lookout out for big ideas with big impact. After all, our goal is to get the most attention for our brands. And we have the same mindset when it comes to our causes. We want to do huge campaigns to support marriage equality, wage equity and animal rights. Or whatever cause is in our hearts. Because those kinds of spots have a big message to carry. They reach a big audience. And they can effect change in a big way.

Big is important. We need it. We need even more of it. But there is a lot to be said for small, too.

Small like an Instagram post for a 30% off sale at Old Navy featuring an interracial couple. Which you probably only heard about because it caused a big controversy this May among people who still haven’t come to terms with the 1967 Supreme Court decision or the concepts of love and equality. 

And I say that it is a small thing not because it’s unimportant. Rather, it’s small because it wasn’t meant to be a statement. It’s not part of a bigger campaign for equality. There’s no angle, no agenda. It was simply a casting decision. They didn’t cast an interracial family. They cast a family

We need more of that. More “small” things like a Target catalog with a child in a wheelchair. Or a Swiffer commercial with an amputee. Or a Lowe’s commercial where a little girl is interested in tools and woodworking.

Big says, “This is a problem that needs to be fixed! It’s a cause you need to notice!” But small says, “This is normal. This is what life looks like.” And that difference is exactly why it’s so important to do the small things along with the big. To cast a woman as the boss. To show same-sex parents. To include other religious and cultural celebrations in our holiday commercials. To let little boys be ballerinas and little girls be action heroes. It’s time to stop seeing diversity as a box we have to check, but as a reflection of real life. It’s time to push our clients to start making choices out of conviction instead of fear.

So let’s keep doing the big things. But start doing the small things as well. You’ll be surprised what a big impact those small statements can actually make.

Posted By: Sara Kuhs

Forbes Applauds World's Biggest A--hole

August 07, 2016

Donate Life Boldly Launches Powerful Film About 'The World's Biggest A--hole'

Forbes | August 5, 2016 | Will Burns, Contributor

I have a treat for you. It’s a new film from Donate Life America with the mission of convincing Millennials to become organ donors. Not a small challenge, but one met with a controversial, compelling, creative and strategically brilliant film. And a film that took real guts to approve.

Give it a watch and I’ll break it down. 

A strategy of contrast.

What I love most about this film is the strategy. By exaggerating how bad a person can be in life, yet still be considered a hero by donating organs, Donate Life dramatically magnifies the appeal of organ donation.

It’s this contrast between Coleman Sweeney’s “asshole-ness” and his supremely kind act of donating his organs that makes the film so compelling and watchable.

Further, this same contrast makes the viewer more open to the well-trodden altruistic message of donating organs. To think that this “asshole’s” liver is now allowing that nice father, Stan, to be around for his wife and kids. To think that this “asshole’s” heart is now allowing that teacher, Miranda, to teach for 25 more years. To think that this “asshole’s” tendons went to a wounded warrior, Sgt. Donahue, allowing him to walk again.

To think.

I suspect it would have been tempting for the client to start the argument with the altruistic message. That donating your organs can breathe new life into people. Even use examples like the ones above. But it just wouldn’t have been as compelling as having viewers ponder this “asshole” now living inside all these good people, allowing them to continue to live.

Even an “asshole” can be saved.

There is a subtext to this film that I believe makes it even more powerful. That is, no matter how bad you are in life, you can still be saved. Donate Life positions organ donation as at least a form of character-salvation, if not spiritual.

And let’s admit it. There’s a little Coleman Sweeney in all of us, right?

Consider Millennials. They’re out of school, they’re finally free, they’re having fun, sometimes too much fun, relationships, regrets, craziness, learning, cheating, growing, everything.

We’ve all been there.

Of course, no one (including Millennials) has ever been quite the “asshole” that Coleman Sweeney was, but we can still relate. We have all made mistakes, sinned, or done thoughtless and stupid things we regret.

And it’s in that emotional empathy that this film swirls.

If “the world’s biggest asshole” can be redeemed by donating his organs, then just imagine my redemption, being only some small percent of the ”asshole” Coleman Sweeney was.

The film’s final super says, “Even an asshole can save a life.” But to me the subtext is, “Even an asshole can be saved (if he donates his organs).”

A much bigger and more motivating message. But there’s one more question.

Would you have approved this film?

To me, the real lesson here for CMOs is this: if the creative idea is on strategy, then by god approve it no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel.

This film says “asshole” five times. Six if you count the super at the end. The name of the spot is “The World’s Biggest Asshole.” We’ve got a main character who steals candy from kids, throws coins at strippers, beeps at old ladies crossing the street, and countless other offenses.

Plenty of reasons to kill this puppy (literally). And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Donate Life is getting piles of complaints from offended folks with too much time on their hands, donors, maybe even board members.

But this client believed in the strategy and wisely saw it through. Yes, I’m sure there were discussions about how important it is to be edgy with Millennials. But that’s not the only reason this particular film is this kind of “asshole edgy.” It’s edgy because the film needed massive contrast (from “asshole” to “hero”) to magnify the message of organ donation for Millennials.

Took courage.

Fortified likely by this client’s belief that this film, with this strategy, would motivate people to save lives through organ donation.

Hats off.

Will Burns is CEO of Ideasicle - see our new divisionIdeasicle: She for marketing to women. Will is also the owner of Tini Grails, an online martini store. Follow him @Twitter @WillOBurns.

Continue to Forbes.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

"The World's Biggest A**hole" Adweek Features New Donate Life Campaign

August 04, 2016

The 'World's Biggest Asshole' Teaches You About Organ Donation in This New Campaign

The Martin Agency's new inspirational work for Donate Life 

By Katie Richards

What comes to mind when you picture the world's biggest asshole?

Maybe it's a guy peeing into a beer bottle while driving, throwing said urine-filled bottle out the window, grinning as it crashes and splashes on a car behind him. Or maybe he's the creepy guy with a bumper sticker that reads "Caution! I can go from 0 to horny in 2.2 beers" tacked to the back of his pick up truck.

According to a new campaign for Donate Life from The Martin Agency that person, that enormous asshole, is Coleman F. Sweeney. In life, Mr. Sweeney, played by actor Thomas Jane, exhibits all of the worst characteristics of a person. After he dies, one action amidst a lifetime of being a jerk turns him into a hero. But how?

Click here to read full story on Adweek.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

NEW GEICO Campaign Featured on Creativity

July 25, 2016

Geico Taps 'Big Name' for Latest Funny Spot

Insurer Leans on Marco Polo, Real Customers in New Martin Agency-Created Ads

By Adrianne Pasquarelli.

Editor's Pick Geico has tapped a big name for a spot in its newest campaign -- Marco Polo, the Middle Ages explorer famous for traveling Asia. In a humorous ad that stays true to the insurer's quirky humor, an actor appears as Mr. Polo in an outdoor swimming pool as children play the popular Marco Polo discovery game. Mr. Polo continues to say "Si, scusi," as he believes the kids are looking for him. A voice-over says, "Playing Marco Polo with Marco Polo? Surprising. What's not surprising? How much money Amanda and Keith saved by switching to Geico," as the camera shows real-life Geico customers holding a sign asserting $645 in savings. Meanwhile, a llama noses around the pool. 

The commercial, which will appear nationally in 30-and 15-second versions on Monday, is part of Geico's new "It's not surprising" campaign and is one of several spots breaking this week. The Martin Agency, which has worked with Geico for more than two decades, created the marketing. 

"We are never sure if a campaign will resonate with our audiences, but we have a pretty solid track record," said Ted Ward, VP-marketing at Berkshire Hathaway-owned Geico. "The use of testimonials is a tried and true technique." 

Click here for full article.

Posted By: The Martin Agency

MediaPost Features Latest GEICO Campaigns

July 14, 2016

NEW! Geico Launches Pirate, Beachy Campaigns

By Amy Corr

Geico launched a pair of TV under different brand taglines. The first ad falls under the "It's What You Do" message and stars a pirate about to make an enemy walk the plank. Whatever the pirate says, his faithful parrot mimics. The parrot then went off-script, reciting things his master has said before, about hiding gold from his unintelligent crew. The crew soon turns on the pirate and some lucky soul avoided the plank walk. The next ad falls under "More, More, More" and features two dads building sandcastles with their kids. One dad switched to Geico to receive more benefits and his sandcastle becomes a work of art. The other dad must have regular insurance because his sandcastles look like mine, humps of sand from an overturned bucket. The Martin Agency created the campaign.

Link to full article. 

Posted By: The Martin Agency

Calling All Manbassadors

July 11, 2016

Better Gender Diversity Requires More Male Sponsors

Beth Rilee-Kelley | July 8, 2016 | Advertising Age

I first heard the term "manbassador" at the 3% Conference a few years back.

And it resonated with me.

Manbassadors are men who are particularly tuned in to the roadblocks women face in business and do all they can to mentor, encourage and promote women in the workplace. In essence, they're sponsors.

There's a very important conversation going on right now about gender diversity and respect (or sometimes lack thereof) of women by men in our industry. But in the midst of this discussion, I want to acknowledge the men who elegantly served as manbassadors long before the term was coined and who played instrumental roles in the careers of women like me. And perhaps more importantly, I'd like to ask more men to step up and carry the manbassador torch for the aspiring female leaders of tomorrow.

Several weeks ago, I was named president of The Martin Agency. I've worked at this great company for 33 years and it's a wonderful honor to be named president. And yes, it's even more wonderful to be the first female president.

So, a moment like that naturally spurs a great deal of personal reflection. As I thought about what I might want to say to our staff following the announcement of my new role, I reflected on the most influential people in my career.

That's when it struck me. They were all men. And of course they were, because early in my career there simply weren't very many women in leadership positions in our industry.

Here are three lessons I learned from my "manbassadors:"

Continue to Advertising Age.

Posted By: The Martin Agency