Below you’ll find a few selections of projects that I’m incredibly proud of. Not solely because of their successes in the ad-world award circuit, but for reasons that go beyond shiny metal objects. There are plenty of ways to speak about a brand or a product, however, it’s rare that an ad makes you feel something. I’m not specifically referring to what many people call “sadvertising” either. When a brand can stir your emotions and show you what they believe in and stand for in a very real way, kudos to them. When a brand can show you what you believe in and stand for, that’s when it gets really impressive. In a time where we’re bombarded with messages and targeted with an ad for a product that we mentioned to a friend over lunch, it’s pretty rare to come across branded content that makes you smile, or laugh, or cry, or even more shocking, think.
I believe that people buy products, but invest in brands. Not with money, but with emotion. People don’t always buy a particular burger because it makes them feel full, sometimes buying that burger, from that place, makes them feel like a better person. And I’m certain that theory can be applied to any product – from cars, to tech, to chewing gum.
WHAT CAN A WHOPPER JR. TEACH PEOPLE ABOUT BULLYING?
Burger King is a brand that celebrates individuality and encourages people to be their way, no matter how "different" their way is. Bullying someone for being different is the exact opposite of that. So while at first, it may seem pretty bazaar to try and compare a smashed Whopper Jr. to a child who has been bullied, it winds up making a lot of sense. The goal for the Bullying Jr. experiment was to encourages people to stand up against bullying the same way they stand up and complain when something is wrong with the food they ordered. And in this case, that food is a bullied fast food burger.
Having a mother who is a preschool teacher and two younger siblings, I have been a witness as well as a victim of bulling a few times myself. It isn’t easy to stand up to it. It isn’t easy to say something because most of the time people are afraid they’ll become a victim too. But the more ways we can teach people how to prevent bullying or put a stop to it, the less of a problem it will continue to be.
To view the case study for the experiment, click here
LET’S NOT PRETEND YOU DON’T STUFF YOURSELF AT THANKSGIVING.
You love having Thanksgiving dinner with your family and friends. But after seconds, thirds, or fourths, you feel restricted in your uncomfortable jeans, khakis, or slacks. It has happened to all of us and finally a brand that can be held somewhat responsible for getting stuffed did something about it. This is an example of inserting a brand back into pop culture in a very relatable way. Stove Top doesn’t do much advertising at all. They spend most of the year baking bread and letting it get stale so that consumers can stock up on it come fall. So we applied a small budget and some insight to a product innovation and helped boost sales 4%, earning 1.1 points market share, making it the most successful Thanksgiving Stove Top had seen in many years.
To view the case study, click here
WE HACKED FACEBOOK’S ALGORITHM (THE LEGAL WAY).
“ESTRELLA JALISCO TRICKS FACEBOOK'S SEARCH ALGORITHM TO ERASE NEGATIVE SENTIMENT ABOUT MEXICANS.”
That’s a pretty bold headline and it was 100% true. Facebook is the second largest search engine in the world, getting some 3.5 billion searches per day. And many of those searches lead to some not-so-friendly results auto-populated into the search bar. When we received the brief to launch Estrella Jalisco, a never-bitter Mexican beer that was recently acquired by AB InBev, we decided to take a little inspiration from the Russians and “hack” Facebook. When someone searched the term “Mexican’s are…” words like rapists, animals, lazy, loud, ugly, and other hateful terms were the first to appear. So we took the bitterness out of it. When you search it now, it populates with terms that more accurately describe what Mexican’s truly are – inspiring, passionate, creative, funny, artists, and more. As you’ll see in the video, it took a lot of work to figure out the right way to make this happen, but we succeeded all the while without Facebook knowing what we were up to.
THE ROOF IS ON FIRE. ALONG WITH THE RESTaurant.
Browse Google with the search terms Burger King and fire and some interesting image turn up of Burger King restaurants ablaze. Besides encouraging people to be “your way,” BK also believes in fire. And since they claiming flame-grilling as a USP for most of their offerings, the really like to lean into it. Oddly enough, even though “Flamed-grilled since 1954” is written in DIN Bold on the side of every location, over half of the younger population doesn’t know that BK cooks their burgers over an open flame. However, that stat didn’t make the Burning Stores print series any easier to sell through to legal or franchisees. But when it finally came to life, it performed even better than expected. The three pieces that originally ran in a publication in South America were immediately picked up by additional publications and news organizations globally. The takeaway was very clear – Burger King flame-grills their burgers. And while fire may make their burgers taste delicious, it has its risks.
A LITTLE HELP FROM A BUD.
Online dating use to be an innocent and fun way to meet new people, but with 10% of sex offenders using online dating apps, women (mostly) can easily be put in harm's way. With most of these dates happening at bars, Budweiser wanted to do something to create a safer environment for women. So we went to bars and installed a series of posters that spoke directly to women who faced potential danger. The posters had a code that could be personalized by each bar for women to discreetly ask for help.
There wasn't any press about this. We didn't reach out to a PR firm to help us get "buzz." We just did it because it felt right.
THE CAMPAIGN SEEN ‘ROUND THE WORLD.
For a few years, Burger King was all over the place with their spots. There was no one campaign that celebrated their customers, their products, and the brand at the same time. In 2015, we created the Crown Campaign. The concept is to use real customers from all walks of life and hero them for being their way, all while highlighting a new Burger King product or offer. Each guest earned their crown and BK sold more products. Perfect. Over the past three years, the Crown Campaign has been adapted by almost every country where you'll find a Burger King and brand recognition has soared.