Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Some principled work

I have a confession to make: I am a whore.

Sure, I work in advertising and that goes with the territory. But sometimes the shame is too much to bear and the only way to cleanse myself is to come clean.

The little cartoon character pictured above is named Eddie.

I know this because on several occasions I was asked to work on the Principal Financial Group and make ads with Eddie. It was never something I enjoyed. And as an old mentor once wisely said, "This is work. It's a job. It doesn't have to be enjoyable." Plus I had two kids in out of state colleges, each with a proclivity for expensive cold brewed coffee.

So I stuck my oversized aquiline nose to the grindstone -- I laid on my back in the vernacular of prostitutes -- and did my best.

Eddie holding logo as a shovel.
Eddie using logo as a snowplow.
Eddie flying logo as a kite.

I should've doubled my day rate, because let's face it doing bad work is twice as difficult as doing good work.

I bring this up only because I was so caught off guard by the new campaign for Principal. It's the kind of work I'd actually enjoy doing. Moreover, it's the kind of work I suspect we'd all enjoy doing. And viewing.

It's thoughtful, concise, impactful storytelling that manages to hammer out some real estate in the consumer's minds. In other words, it's everything Eddie wasn't.

Maybe it's because I'm 44 years old and have to start paying more attention to the inevitable retirement phenomena, but these two spots hit home.

And because I've recently taken on the role of a senior care giver, this one hit a nerve:

Is this going to sweep up the awards at Cannes? Probably not.

But it is, as my friend George Tannenbaum has often noted, refreshing to see work that is authentic, intelligent and respectful.

We now return you to your regular diet of pedantic banner ads, annoying e-mail blasts and Super Bowl commercials featuring talking armadillos.

1 comment:

James Ward said...

these made me take notice, too. Real done right. Reminded me a little of the John Hancock approach that put Hill Holiday front and center. It's not all about boats and vacation homes in retirement, it can be about hard choices. I think this stuff is great. Almost as good as Eddie flying logo like kite....