Friday, February 22, 2008
'65 Chevrolet---See The USA The No.1 Way---Newspaper Campaign
The title says it all. This was the first ad in the campaign. There is a story behind this series of ads that is worth telling. If I had had my way this would have been a different campaign. I had prepared a bunch of ads and took them to review with our ad committee. Ted Little, our Chairman, sat as the head guy and he was accompanied by Colin Campbell, the man who was in charge of the Chevy account, Jack Thornhill his chief assistant, and a couple other account guys. My two bosses, Pete Booth and Jim Hastings, were there too. They had seen the stuff I had and thought it was fine. The meeting was always held in "Big Daddy's" conference room which was on the small side so that the presenter (me) was on one side of a long table and the tribunal--I mean the other guys were on the other side. We never called the Chairman anything but Mr. Little to his face and I have often wondered if he knew about us calling him "Big Daddy". Anyhow I showed all the ads and explained why we had done them and what result Chevrolet might expect from them. Some of the account guys made comments and the meeting moved right along but with not much comment from the head guy. When I had finished there was what seemed to me like a very long silence while everybody waited to hear what the boss would say. He finally cleared his throat and said "I thought I was going to see some retail advertising." ( Pause while he gets up from his seat and heads for his office)" Here I am Chairman of the Board and I still can't get the damn advertising the way I want it!" And with that he left. It was pretty quiet in the room as others began to leave and I started to gather up my ads. Boy, I had just been blown out of the water by the chief. I retreated to Pete Booth's office along with Jim Hastings. What do I do now I asked? How are we supposed to do retail ads when there is nothing retail about what we can say? After some thought they agreed that I should try some ads with big type. Big type? Are you kidding? No, just try some. So I limped back to my office and asked Bill Graefen, our head copy guy, to come to my office. I explained what had happened and that I wasn't sure what we should do. Lets take a little time to think about it. We were way behind our schedule now that we had to start over. I began to think about big type. There is really nothing wrong with big type. It just depends upon what you do with it. Now then, if we use a leadership theme, maybe we can make the ads seem more retail like. The first ad I tried was the second in this series--the one with the really big No.1 in it. That's where the idea for big type being part of the picture came from. Then I tried the See The USA theme with four cars and big type. Bill Graefen got the idea of what I was suggesting and began to come up with one or two word headline thoughts. I think Bill wrote perhaps all the copy for the campaign and made it all as retail oriented as possible by orienting it to the Chevy dealers. We got it through Mr. Little and the Chevrolet clients loved it. I guess that's why he was "Big Daddy".