We often host what we call a Creative Uncovery session with clients to dig deep into their business, asking necessary questions to search for information potential new customers need to hear. This allows our team to offer suggestions on how to best build a branding campaign and NOT sound like an everyday commercial. We like to say, ”The best ads are ads that do not sound like ads.”
Most of the time, these casual, yet significant sessions become more of a discovery meeting. What I mean by that is this. Some tiny particle of thought floats around the room and then like a meteor dropping to earth…BANG! A nugget of creative gold tumbles into our laps and we’re off and running developing a concept.
One such epiphany happened with a very well-known and established dealership wanting to increase brand awareness for their main used car location. Tom Zimbrick won’t mind if I mention Zimbrick Fish Hatchery Used. One of many Zimbrick locations we have successfully assisted over the years! Seated around our conference table, behind closed doors, were members of Zimbrick’s marketing team, our strategy team, myself, and my partner at the time, Sales Manager for Midwest Family Madison, John Hunt.
As discussions delved deeper and deeper into the “Why Factor” a few thoughts bounced around the conversation until I finally asked, “Well, why do people shop at Zimbrick Fish Hatchery Used?”
Someone mentioned warranty, another brought up inspection. Someone else said, “They have ASE Certified technicians!” Then a shout from the far end of the table, “They know they’re not going to get screwed!”
I’m thinking, “Hmmm. I certainly would never suggest using THAT word”. I did write it down in my notes. Then we talked about solving the issue of the auto business term ASE. Most consumers are not familiar with what it means! I rolled up my sleeves and faced my next creative challenge with vigor and a sly grin.
Back at my desk, I began to juggle words in my head not as offensive as “screwed.” First thought, “hosed.” No, no, no, hosed sounds too much like screwed. What about a word no one else is using? What about a word that has enough rhythm in its pronunciation it will jump out of the radio and into the minds of the listeners? BAMBOOZLED! Yes! So let it be written! So let it be done!
The next step was casting a voice talent who could deliver the message in a believable tone. A priest? A nun? A sweet little old lady? I immediately began my search. A co-worker declared, “I know a sweet lady who sings in the church choir!” Perfect, we set up an audition, I wrote the first episode and into our facility steps Beverly. Beverly stands all of four feet, wears a smile that melts your heart, and carries an attitude that screams, “anything can be accomplished!”
Off to the recording studio we went. I adjusted the dangling microphone to her diminutive height, handed her the script, and began the session. Beverly delivered the lines as if she studied stage and screen acting. In other words, she nailed it! Our first episode introduced our listeners to “Bamboozled” and the issue of saying, “ASE Certified Technicians” in a consumer-friendly manner.
Here’s the script from one of the first ads:
“Here’s another reason to shop Zimbrick Fish Hatchery Used. Did you know that every vehicle is safety inspected by a bunch of handsome young men with awards on the wall and everything? Zimbrick Fish Hatchery Used – because nobody likes to get bamboozled!”
All future episodes were written through the eyes of the sweet little old lady. Beverly became so accustomed to the studio process she would belt out half a dozen at a time. The audience warmed up to the idea of buying a safe, reliable used car as presented by the Bamboozled Lady. I felt like I knew Beverly all of my life. I knew she was a widow. I knew she and her husband owned a bar for many years. I knew after her retirement she continued to visit the bar where her memories and friends gave her strength and comfort. One day in the studio we joked how she had found fame by playing the role of “The Bamboozled Lady”. She responded in that determined voice of wisdom, “Well, actually, when I was younger, I worked for a manufacturing company in California. I built these mechanical pieces I never gave any thought to. It was a hush-hush project so the boss never mentioned what they were or where they were going. One day I picked up a copy of LIFE magazine and there they were, right on the cover! Here’s this giant photo of the Apollo Lunar Module and my hard work was before my very eyes. The parts I built were the arms that held equipment on an Apollo Lunar Module!”
Okay, Beverly wins the success and fame conversation. Together we delivered success to the client in a very clever way that started with an enthusiastic Creative Uncovery Session. Or was this a Creative Discovery Session?
Paul Blair serves as our Creative Services Director writing and producing many award-winning branding and public service campaigns for clients such as Zimbrick, Settlers Bank, Gunderson Funeral and Cremation Care, Carpets Plus, Chalmers Jewelers, Saint Vincent de Paul, The Healthy Place, Genesis Painting, Benjamin Plumbing and many, many more. His successful career at MidWest Family Madison spans over thirty years.