Get the Message

By Beth Luberecki Photography by Neal Alfano June 1, 2011

The American Advertising Federation—Suncoast held its 50th annual ADDY Awards this winter, honoring the best advertising campaigns in the region. We asked five of the top honorees to tell us the thought process behind the magic. All of these campaigns have won Amy Awards (an award given to an entry receiving the highest score in a particular category), a Judge’s Choice and/or Best of Show. Applause, please!

Speaking the Language


CAP Brand Marketing

Client:1st Guard Corporation

Awards: Amy and Judge’s Choice

Project:To create color advertisements for trade publications

Challenge: To reposition the company and help it compete against bigger firms with bigger budgets


Solution: Venice-based 1st Guard Corporation sells insurance policies to owner/operators who lease trucks to big companies. To best reach potential customers, 1st Guard needed to speak truckers’ language. “We went to truck stops and hung out all day, talking to truckers and observing what was going on,” says Sam Stern, partner and CEO at CAP Brand Marketing.

Doing so helped CAP come up with a whole new message and look for 1st Guard, everything from a tough-looking mastiff guard dog logo to a tagline (“the trucker’s insurance company”) to the eye-catching ads that ran in the publications Truckers News, Overdrive and Custom Rigs. (One read, “Why should I have to pay extra because some joker doesn’t understand the concept of slippery when wet?”) Stern says CAP realized that 1st Guard needed a new attitude. “If you want to play with the big boys, you’ve got to look the part,” he says. “The client hadn’t advertised in a few years, so we had to redo everything.”

The makeover took three months and generated buzz at 1st Guard’s first trade show following the face-lift. “They had their best trade show ever,” says Stern.

The campaign was a big winner at the ADDYs, too, racking up six ADDYs locally and three at the district level, and is now on its way to the national ADDY competition in San Diego this month.


Providing Shelf Life

Clarke Advertising and Public Relations

Client: ClosetMaid

Award: Amy  

Project: To create a 30-second TV spot

Challenge:To launch a new product line available exclusively at The Home Depot and generate sales in tough economic conditions

Solution: Clarke Advertising and Public Relations introduced ClosetMaid’s new ShelfTrack Nickel wire shelving at The Home Depot through a 30-second spot on channels such as HGTV and DIY Network that attract home décor groupies. Since viewers watch HGTV’s House Hunters and check out closets in featured homes, says Kevin Hawley, creative director at Clarke, they’re primed to think about the lack of room for their own belongings.

“We built the TV spot around that,” says Hawley. “We showed a small and inadequate closet and a larger but still inadequate closet with things all over the place. Then we showed the ‘after’ solution using ClosetMaid products. People already store their stuff, but storing it isn’t organizing it. A combination of those two things is what ClosetMaid allows you to do.”

The commercial aired for four weeks in May 2010 and was part of a larger, integrated effort to raise awareness of the new nickel finish for the company’s shelving systems. A national media relations push wound up scoring ClosetMaid coverage in 17 national consumer magazines, 19 newspapers and on several shows on the DIY Network. And the company saw $5 million to $9 million in incremental sales at Home Depot over the three-month period from May to July 2010.

It was tricky promoting the ClosetMaid brand overall and at the same time driving traffic to one specific big box store, says Bill Pierson, CEO/principal at Clarke Advertising and Public Relations. “We think we accomplished both and showed some pretty significant results for the relatively short burst of media we did nationally,” he says.


Fresh Ideas

Odato Marketing Group

Client: Noble Juice

Award: Amy

Project: To create a specialty advertising newspaper insert

Challenge: To position Winter Haven-based Noble Juice as a distinctive brand and to entice people to purchase the company’s juice at Central Florida Publix stores


Solution:Noble Juice had been an impulse buy, says Bruce Downing, vice president/general manager at Odato Marketing Group. If you happened upon it in the produce section of the store, you might buy it, “but nobody was going in with Noble on their shopping list,” he says.

To help change that, Odato focused on Noble’s distinctive qualities, from the fact that it’s a family-owned business to its use of tangerines in its products. Odato Marketing Group created a newspaper wrap—a sleeve that wrapped around the length of the paper—as part of a larger campaign that included television and online ads, all of which appeared throughout Central Florida in November and December 2010.

The newspaper insert caught people’s attention with a new slogan, “Try the juice, do the dance,” and offered a $1 coupon as further encouragement. “We really wanted to focus on the idea that the flavor of tangerines is going to be something really different and more interesting,” says Downing.

After the first week of the campaign, many of the Lakeland division Publix stores were sold out of the juice. And juice reorders from those stores were from 190 percent to 300 percent above reorders during the same time in the previous year.

The campaign proved so successful, Odato Marketing Group and Noble Juice ran a similar one in the Atlanta area this past April and May. “We were obviously ecstatic about the results in Central Florida; it really sent people into the stores,” says Downing. “The Atlanta area stores double ordered ahead of the campaign to make sure they had the juice in stock.”


It’s About Jobs

Ringling College Design Center

Client: Ringling College of Art and Design

Awards: Amy and Judge’s Choice

Project:To create a poster for Ringling College’s admissions office

Challenge: To destroy “the myth of the starving artist” and to change the way people perceive art and design


Solution: The Ringling College Design Center created a poster for 2010/2011 that “focused on the hundreds of career opportunities for artists and designers that people don’t even think about,” says Jennifer Mumford Brady, director of the Ringling College Design Center.

While the back of the poster features a laundry list of job possibilities for those in the creative field, the front consists of colorful illustrations of everything from a Smart Car to an Eames chair that showcase the fact that design is everywhere. “All of these objects around us in everyday life, whether it’s a telephone, computer, billboard or T-shirt, somebody along the line had to design them,” says Cody Maple, advanced designer at the Ringling College Design Center.

The 24-inch-by-36-inch poster was easy to mail and had the potential to make a big impact.

“The audience for the piece is really high school art teachers,” says Mumford Brady. “If art teachers like the poster, they’ll put it up on the wall, and then the students will see it.”

Ringling sent the piece—printed on eco-friendly paper, of course—to every public and private high school in the United States and to hundreds more abroad. It’s proved a major hit. “Our litmus test for judging if something is liked or not is if we get emails asking for more,” says Mumford Brady. “And we have gotten tons and tons of requests from teachers, principals and school administrators asking for more copies. They’re using them not only in the classroom but also to defend arts programs from budget cuts.”


A Moving Solution

Ann Putney, student at Ringling College of Art and Design

Client: The professor of her art direction studio class

Award: Best of Show (student category)

Project: To create an advertisement for nontrade media

Challenge: To design an attention-grabbing ad in an untraditional location


Solution: Forget the usual media like print, television and radio. For her class at Ringling College, Ann Putney was faced with designing an ad that would be placed on an escalator. “Someone else got an elevator, and another person got a fire hydrant,” says Putney. “We could do whatever we wanted, as long as we found something that worked for that medium. It helped teach us how to think beyond paper.”

Putney first considered what kind of product would prove a natural fit for an escalator, and’s Kindle jumped out as a creative possibility.

“An escalator is a never-ending staircase,” says Putney, an advertising major who recently finished her junior year at Ringling. “I wanted to play on that. The Kindle is also something that’s never-ending because of the nonstop availability to books it provides.”

In Putney’s advertisement, she created the sensation of actually entering into a Kindle by placing a mock-up of the e-reader—large enough for people to walk though—at the bottom of the escalator. Once they entered the portal, people would walk onto stairs covered with images of books. “I didn’t want something that would [be annoying] and get in the way,” she says. “I wanted something that would make people say, ‘That’s smart’ and think of the product in a new way.”

Since it was strictly an assignment for class, Putney’s idea might never get beyond the drawing board. But Putney will gladly add her Student Best of Show ADDY award to her resume, in the hopes of moving up the ranks in her chosen field. “Simple ideas can sometimes get you further than over-thinking something,” she says.

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