WITH THE RIGHT MARKETING, IT'S EASY TO PICK SIDES.
One of the most fertile lands with many “traditional” (read: “a little late to the fiesta”) clients is their relative unawareness of the digital space. And that’s not to say it’s to be exploited, moreover, you can push boundaries and be (gasp) creative in your execution, with less need to defend the idea.
That’s exactly where we found ourselves with agency client, Long John Silver’s. We were relaunching their brand from toes-to-nose – new logo, tag, ads, packaging, website, you name it. And while it was all strong work – we wanted to do something a little more witty for online content.
Enter Pip and Hobart, the Carson and McMahon of their own late night online talk show. Animated by our friends out at Yankee Peddler, Pip and Hobart were the animated online avatars of myself and my art director partner, Chase Ramirez – me the semi-neurotic, angst-riddled type and he the doughier, slow-ier Stimpy to my Ren. (Yes, we voiced them ourselves)
After two episodes, we found ourselves already thinking beyond the trappings of their well-appointed studio, showing some drama behind the scenes and Hobart’s hallucinogenic daydreams. We created original music, Hollywood trailers and all manner of just general weirdness.
In the wake of some of Long John Silvers’ terrible, no-good, horrible very bad PR year (novel forthcoming), we had our toys taken away – mostly out of concern that the same special interests groups taking them to the mat for The Deadliest Meal In America would also accuse us of marketing to children. Though that was never the plan, we joined Joe Camel in the scrap heap of good intentions and bad perception.
We did some fun stuff along the way as well. I’ve got enough Pip and Hobart coffee mugs to serve a fire department – and we did a really cool online game to go along with NCAA March Madness where the highest scorer could win free LJS for a year. (Having helped design it, I had the top score but there’s that whole “employees and affiliates” disclaimer on every sweepstakes.
Was this the pivot point for their brand? Certainly not. But my at-the-time six-year-old thought there was nothing cooler. It’s never a small victory when you can get your own child to be for once impressed with what you do.