Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beautiful Siberia

Years ago, I had the distinct pleasure of working for Steve Hayden, the writer of Apple's "1984" and just all around Ad Legend. Steve is professorial-smart. And has the unique ability to walk into a meeting, stone cold on the subject, and within minutes be the brightest guy in the room. He also has a cutting sense of humor.

Sensing my displeasure working on the Apple Computer account (during the rudderless days when Steve Jobs was not the CEO), Hayden threw me a bone, a choice assignment that was right in my wheelhouse.

Somehow he had met some "businessmen" who were in the import game. These "businessmen" wanted to launch a new vodka in the U.S. They didn't have a lot of money and were going to pay the agency in trade,  I'm assuming a couple of missing trucks of vodka. I didn't care. I was just chomping at the bit not to be writing about bits and bytes.

The product was called Baikalskaya because it was bottled with the pure, fresh water from Lake Baikal in Siberia. This was before the time of the Internet so a trip to the library was in order. I steeped myself in the lore of this strange frozen outland and the deep lake that accounts for more than 1/5 of the world's fresh water supply. Two weeks later (in those days we had time to actually do the work) I came back to Hayden with a campaign he loved.

I wish I could conjure up some of the work, but sadly when the "businessmen" mysteriously vanished so did the work.

Of course with a natural foil like Siberia, I'm sure you can imagine the direction we took. One ad featured a picture, much like the one above. The headline was something to effect of: When your women look like this, your vodka better be good. The same could be said of their food, their houses, their winters, their schools, their herring-based desserts, anything and everything that made Siberia, Siberia.

My favorite component of campaign was a point of sale contest.

I forget what we were asking people to do, but I do remember the reward for entering.
The 1st place prize was an all expense paid week in Siberia.
The 2nd place prize was two weeks.

1 comment:

geo said...

Steve is my hero and mentor. A unique mensch.