Our theme for this year is “We the People.” For the 2018 American Advertising Awards we are introducing five unsung heroes of advertising. Read their stories below.
Josiah “Pop” Livingston
Even though Josiah “Pop” Livingston’s beard was white and on his nose rested a pair of square spectacles, his grandfatherly appearance was not why people called him “Pop.” As a boy, Josiah’s favorite part of 4th of July celebrations were confetti poppers. He loved the anticipation, the surprise burst of colors, and more than anything the sound. POP! He grew up, became a business man, but never forgot the joy of a confetti popper.
Josiah’s company needed to advertise their deluxe party supplies and hired an advertising company. He went to meeting after meeting of dull pitch ideas which left him with a silent, gray feeling. Then came that fateful meeting. He had had enough of bland advertising. Josiah stood up, slipped a shiny wrapped tube out of his pocket, and pulled at the edges of the wrapper. “Can we just make it…” Josiah said with another tug at the wrapper. There was a loud “POP” and a rainbow of confetti fluttered around the room. From then on Josiah was known only as “Pop.” Since that day, a client’s request to make something “pop” is like nails on the proverbial chalkboard to any creative.
Henrietta C. Stars
BREAKING: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports @MsBetsyRoss may not have sewn the stars on the flag
The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that Betsy Ross, Chief Sewing Officer of The Ross Revolutionary Sewing Company, did not actually sew the stars on the flag herself. In fact, it is being reported, it was not even her idea. As it turns out, the branding genius behind the stars and stripes was none other than Miss Henrietta C. Stars, Ross’s long-time shop assistant.
Late Friday evening, three minutemen heading home after a long day of duty reportedly saw Stars leaving RRSC HQ well past shop hours. “Everyone knows it was unsafe to work past dark due to the recent demonstrations around Boston Harbor,” stated one of the minutemen. Concerned about her safety, the minutemen offered to escort her home. Stars proceeded to inform the men that she was working late to sew the final few stars on the new American flag.
Despite the fact that Ross was widely regarded as an OG #girlboss, it was Miss Stars who was truly responsible for the work that came out of Ross’s shop. For years, Henrietta’s tell-tale signature had been to sew a small star on the underside of her finished work. So when Betsy’s shop won the bid to create a new flag for America, Henrietta decided that this was the perfect opportunity to showcase her #hustle. It was a no-brainer. She would sew one large star for each of the colonies right on the front of the flag. One afternoon while Ms. Ross was busy “networking” at the local pub, Henrietta created her masterpiece, combining clever branding and superior artistry into one of our country’s most infamous symbols, the Stars & Stripes.
“Is he in?” “Have you seen him?” “Where is he?” Mr. White’s secretary was #overit. The same questions day in and day out had turned her once-friendly demeanor – let’s just say – less-than-pleasant. It was because of this that everyone in the office was quite reluctant to venture into the northwest corner of the building where Mr. White’s office was located. But today, Sam the intern drew the short straw.
Everyone agreed that Mr. White was one of the most talented ad men at the advertising firm of Lexington & Concord LLC despite the fact that it usually took an act of congress to find him. With new clients in the conference room anxiously awaiting a pitch meeting and design review for their upcoming Common Sense campaign, intern Sam found himself burdened with the unlucky task of finding Mr. White or, perhaps more importantly, his pitch presentation.
After sweet talking the sour secretary out front, Sam began to rifle through the papers on Mr. White’s desk in an attempt to have something to show the clients, growing impatient downstairs. After all, they could only consume so many artisan pastries and matcha lattés before wondering if they should take their business elsewhere. Desperately, Sam grabbed the only thing he could find that even seemed appropriate: a mostly blank 8.5×11 piece of paper with one sentence in the middle and the client’s logo at the bottom. It would have to do. Sam snapped a photo and messaged it to one the overly-caffeinated account execs in the conference room.
When projected onto the big screen, the single sentence and black and white logo surrounded by nothing else had a huge impact. It required little explanation and was so different from what their competitors were doing, the clients went wild! On the fly, one of the execs extolled the virtues of simple elements on an otherwise blank canvas, a once revolutionary – but now common – practice affectionately referred to as “White space.”
The Minutemen & Famous Amos Stanley
Budding entrepreneur Rufus Alexander took a stroll one day through the town square while he contemplated on how he was going to get his new company, Macaroni Hat Feathers, off the ground. Passing by the popular Famous Amos Stanley Barbershop he could hear the smooth sounds of the Minutemen Barbershop Quartet singing “Yankee Doodle come on in; We’ll make you feel so manly; Get your hair cut or a trim; By the Famous Amos Stanley”. The “jingle” of the coins in the mens’ pockets waiting to get in the door along with that melody were hard to ignore. Alexander had never been so woke. He rushed home immediately and frantically wrote down, “Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on his pony, stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni”.
“Yes! I can hear the jingle now…its straight fire,” he exclaimed. All his other attempts at catchy advertising had failed, but this was going to be unlike anything he had done before. He could see the ad now! A dapper fellow with a quality Macaroni turkey feather riding into town on a stallion and making all the women swoon.
He hired the Minutemen to sing this jingle at his shop opening where crowds gathered in anticipation of new Macaroni hat feathers. His feathers were sold out in minutes! After Alexander’s success, many other businesses starting using “jingles” to bring in new customers.
Liberty, Orr, Death, & Association
You may know the first American advertising agency Liberty, Orr, Death and Associates from their infamous 1775 “The Shot Heard around the World” campaign, but two years earlier they were a just small, struggling agency upon whom fortune was about to smile.
Brothers Thomas and William Orr, founders of LOD and Assoc., were having dinner at the local pub to discuss how to drum up business. The British Parliament’s recent monopoly on tea hit them hard and things were looking grim. That is when they over heard some Sons of Liberty at the next table. These men, too, were low on funds and steamed with King George. Suddenly, William Orr had a #revolutionaryidea.
“Men, allow us to introduce ourselves,” said William to the table of underground revolutionaries. “I’m William. This is my brother Thomas. We’re owners of Liberty, Orr, Death and Associates, a marketing agency and the answer to your royal-tea woes.” Orr proceeded to charm the men with his idea for a coordinated colonial demonstration to throw all the tea from the anticipated shipment into the Boston Harbor, complete with matching costumes (of course). The Sons of Liberty were enamored and inspired by this pitch. “What a gorilla of an idea!” one of the men exclaimed, to which William replied, “this is guerilla warfare my good man.” This lit a fire under all in the pub.
This Par-tea was a rousing success and Liberty, Orr, Death and Associates became the go-to agency for these unconventional “guerilla” marketing campaigns.