For those who have never walked through the creative process of making an ad, Harmon Brothers has happily pulled back the curtain, and it did so for the winner of a contest it hosted to produce a free video campaign.
Back in May, the Utah-based agency announced a competition to give away a Sprint video advertising campaign at $100,000 value, free of charge. The giveaway’s goal was to boost businesses hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and it called the campaign the “Poop to Gold” contest, a reference to Harmon Brothers’ lauded work with such odorous-themed companies as Poo-Pourri and Squatty Potty.
The winner ended up being GoTreads, the maker of foldable tire traction mats made to get any stuck vehicle out of mud, snow, sand or dirt.
GoTreads was invented in 1975 and had a decent market share, including with the military and its heavy-duty vehicles. But the company relied heavily on trade shows and conferences, which Covid-19 all but wiped out. So, it had a definite need for another advertising outlet.
In addition, the winner had to have a clear problem-solution—if you get stuck, putting GoTreads under your tires will get you unstuck. The winner also needed to keep up with demand if the campaign was a hit, a problem that previous clients have had after getting the Harmon Brothers treatment.
With this campaign, Harmon Brothers shares its secret to creating award-winning internet ads. It documents the process of working with GoTreads in a three-part docuseries that includes interviews and behind-the-scenes clips.
Letting people in on the process isn’t new for Harmon Brothers, as the agency has been educating people on its formulas and strategies with its Harmon Brothers University program. “We’ve been basically opening up our entire playbook for years to the public to be able to do the things that we do. And it’s really cool to see the companies that are able to apply that successfully,” Daniel Harmon, chief creative officer of Harmon Brothers, told Adweek.
What is new is the behind-the-scenes approach, which shows the team’s authentic method for making this campaign. It even included a visible yawn on a Zoom call. The first two videos in the series show the process, while the third is the actual social video.
Harmon Brothers put GoTreads through market testing to find out what messages resonated most with consumers. Specifically, it was the universality of how it can work with any size vehicle, from motorcycles to tanks. Another was durability.
“I think we tested 30 messages in cascading order [of strength], and we literally just let that write our scripts for us. And once that script is done, those visuals came very easily behind,” said James Dayton, creative director at Harmon Brothers.
For production, the team knew they had to legitimately show vehicles getting stuck and unstuck, so they ventured to rodeo grounds near the Harmon Brothers office with various cars and trucks. While they all passed the unstuck test in deep sand, the team knew they needed something over 50,000 pounds.
“Unfortunately, this isn’t the greatest time to get a tank, during Covid. Luckily, we were able to find a fantastic local who owned their own private firetruck,” Dayton said. “The GoTreads did exactly what they advertised. And we were able to see that the market voted that they wanted to see that strong battle test.”