Wednesday, March 4, 2009

CP+B Creative Just Inspires

Well the kids at Crispin Porter + Bogusky are at it again.

This week they hit the media with some new and outstanding work. If not inspiring then what?

First up. The Reality Coalition

Set up by five environmental organizations to debunk the notion that there is such a thing as "clean coal". The organization is introducing a new ad spot directed by the Coen Brothers, to be introduced in broadcast and online media this week.

CP+B employed the Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joel to direct and produce. I think we all loved the Big Lubowsky, The Dude. Long live the White Russian. And what can I add about the pure perfect beauty of redhead Julianne Moore. Add to that Fargo, and the wood chipper, Marge, and wintertime in North Dakota. It's encouraging to see the Coen brothers lend their cinematic talents to the cause, in this case the U.S.-based Reality Coalition.

The brothers have been backstopped by Crispin Porter + Bogusky is doubly encouraging: CP+B's anti-tobacco "Truth" campaign is still cited as a social marketing classic, especially that cold New York morning when they dumped 1,200 body bags outside the offices of a major tobacco company.

Joel and Ethan Coen agreed to do the spot after the coalition's Boulder, Colo., based ad firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky sent them the script and knowing their creative social messages.

The coalition is fighting what they call a "misinformation" campaign by the coal industry to convince the public that there is such a thing as "clean coal," or that it is possible in the near future, as a way to divert attention from the need to curb carbon emissions.

But even President Obama mentioned clean coal in his speech before Congress on last Tuesday. He pledged to invest "fifteen billion dollars a year to develop technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and more fuel-efficient cars and trucks built right here in America."

The Coen Brothers said in a statement, "We were excited to be part of this important project and tell another side of the 'clean' coal story."

See the Spot Here:

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See The Making of the Spot:

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New work for Old Navy, the "SuperModelquins"

CP+B that helped revive Burger King with the mute, slightly creepy, plastic-headed King and gave Volkswagen the talking Beetle Max has created for Old Navy the SuperModelquins — Old Navy mannequins who talk about their faux celebrity lives as Old Navy models.

Old Navy is getting back to its roots: campy marketing and value fashion for its core customer.

"We got away from our target customer," says Tom Wyatt, Old Navy president. "We spent most of 2008 getting our target consumer right. Then we (developed) product that we thought was appropriate for the target customer."

The target is a mom named "Jenny" who's 25 to 35 years old (Jennifer was a popular name for that age group). Jenny shops on a budget, but doesn't want her apparel or that of her family to be frumpy.

"Old Navy switched their focus to twentysomethings, and now, they are switching back to being a family store," says retail expert and analyst Jennifer Black, president of Jennifer Black & Associates. Black says that by keeping teen, tween and basics, Old Navy should still appeal to younger buyers.

Touting the switch is a multipronged marketing effort by CP+B, no less campy than the 1990s Old Navy ads with Morgan Fairchild and "Magic the Dog" and former fashion editor Carrie Donovan, known for her big, black-rimmed glasses.

"We're taking a poke at fashion," says Alex Bogusky, chief creative officer with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the edgy agency that made the ads. "We're doing it in an entertaining way with some characters that are having fun and feeling good."

The "SuperModelquins" have been given personalities, whose profiles and videos are on social-networking sites such as Facebook, include women such as "newly single" Eva, 33, whose style is "saucy and feminine," and "troublemaker" Amy, 25, whose style is "fun and funky."

The group also includes couple Wesley and Michelle, who have two kids, dating couple Josh and Heather, and more women. In TV ads that began last week on women-oriented shows including Grey's Anatomy, the mannequins talk about Old Navy styles and prices.

In Web videos, they banter about whether jeans make their "butt look bigger" and plan an engagement party for Heather and Josh.

Each character has a lengthy back story about where they were manufactured. They talk about their tastes and styles to try to get viewers to identify with them.

Starting this week, they'll go on display in stores and will be in all of Old Navy's 1,000 stores by the end of April. They will be featured on a set in the store, and Old Navy marketers are considering have them talk.

"We're bringing back that fun, value and quirky spirit in which the brand had introduced fashion to the masses at incredible values," Wyatt says. "It's something unique to Old Navy, and when we did it well, we got paid for it."

The TV spots will be followed by circulars, in-store promotions, direct mail, online ads and a microsite. A dozen distinct, custom-made mannequins will begin appearing in-store at 200 Old Navy locations. In addition, Old Navy, is launching a new ad campaign Thursday with a flier patterned like a celebrity magazine featuring the "SuperModelquins" and a renewed focus on its target market of young moms. The microsite will feature humorous Webisodes of the mannequins discussing and modeling the brand's looks. The campaign returns to the retailer's roots of "irreverent advertising," said Louise Callagy, a rep for Old Navy's parent company Gap Inc.

So, this new effort from CB+P is supposed to be fun rather than what adjective you might be thinking of - creepy, off-putting, mistimed, etc., etc. However, when asked if the agency was going to start sourcing more fashion clients Alex Bogusky told AdAge that: "It could be fun. But right now it's more of a matter of doing a good job with these guys. ... It's hard not to love the idea of making something available to more people [who] in December maybe decided they can't afford to spend on certain things this year."

Old Navy is a challenging case, a well-loved brand that has lost its way, and Crispin comes to the table with successes at clients including Burger King to its credit. Other Crispin clients, including Coke Zero and Volkswagen, are holding up well, despite a tough economy and the struggling soft-drink and auto categories.

"We really wanted to do something in fashion," Alex Bogusky told Ad Age. "And back in the day, Old Navy was, to us, one of the gutsier and more interesting fashion advertisers."

Amen.

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