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Tuesday, 11 April 2017 14:18

Vaxt on books, advertising and some more

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At Vaxt, we are an eclectic bunch with varied experiences and skills. Being a ‘creative’ shop, this is a huge asset. I love the energy, passion and interesting tangents we sometimes launch into.

Rob Siltanen, former TBWA/Chiat/Day's creative director, perfectly summarizes it in his “To The Crazy Ones” campaign for Apple: “Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

On this thread of thought, I asked our team what some of their favorite ads and books were. This is what they said:


Jonathan Tuttle, founder and President/New Business Director (also a passionate sailor, photographer and soccer dad):

Books: The Bible.

Advertising: I've always like clean, simple messaging so the “Think Small” campaign for the Volkswagen Beetle is one of my favorites. Created by DDB in the 1960s, this campaign also turned out to be one of the most recognized campaigns ever.

Julia Hoag, DVM, VP/Medical Communications Director (also participates in triathlons, loves showing her Morgan mare and training her Aussies):

Books: I guess the book I have read the most times is “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues”, by Tom Robbins because he writes fictional prose as if it were poetry. Second would be anything in the series “Dragonriders of Pern”, by Ann McCaffrey and the “Outlander” series, by Diana Gabaldon. Both are fantasy writers that weave wonderful story lines in which the readers get lost in other worlds. I have read “Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer easily 12 times – his telling of the tragedy and human struggles on Mt. Everest are so emotionally moving. Finally, I read “How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” by the Monks of New Skete at least annually in my quest to understand the mind of the dog.

Advertising: Some of my favorites are the Nike “Charles Barkley of Seville” and EDS “Cowboys Herding Cats” . I also love the entire WWF “Give a Hand To Wildlife” and the cheeky, yet hilarious, Axe “Wash Your Balls” campaigns.

Robert Giblin, VP Operations/PR Director (also an avid bicycle rider, hunter and a certified Barbeque judge):

Books: Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn”, by Mark Twain, and “To Kill a Mockingbird”, by Harper Lee. I first read each in the second grade.  Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn inspired a lot of my activities in younger years, though I spent much of my time on the Oconomowoc River, and not the Mississippi River.  All three are full of fun, warmth and humor, while touching on some serious, timeless issues.  I try to re-read at least one of them every year.  In 2015, I was thrilled with the release of Harper Lee's other book, “Go Set a Watchman”.

Advertising: Sunsweet “Finicky Prune Eater”: This ad sticks out because of the way it addressed how Sunsweet improved a product to overcome a negative, and addressed it in a funny way.  The commercial featured British actor Ronald Long, being interviewed by off-camera announcer Stan Freberg. 

Shiseido Olive Soap “Bath Time”: It was a CLEO award winner.  I also remember it from my advertising classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

I’ve also always liked the Coca Cola ads from the 1970s.  The classic “I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing” still resonates as a classic. At the time, it was the most expensive commercial ever filmed, at a cost of about $250,000.  The commercial also has a fascinating history, and has been remade several times.  While the commercial stands on its own, it also strongly reinforced the company’s “It’s the real thing” product positioning.  I’ve also always admired Coke for making some gutsy moves with commercials, including commissioning, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, which first aired in 1965.  It also had an interesting history and some controversy, yet still stands the test of time. 

Melissa Cusumano, VP/Creative Director (also an avid equestrian, proud mom and dog owner):

Books: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt, and “Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden.

Advertising: The Apple, “Get A Mac campaign: I love the simplicity and the witty writing. For some interesting trivia, in 2010, Adweek declared it to be the best advertising campaign of the first decade of the new century.

The Mini Cooper campaign is another one where simplicity really stands out. The out-of-home pieces are brilliant. The use of the actual car makes for a great emphasis on the small size.

The P&G “Thank You Mom” Olympics campaign: It has run for years now and each commercial brings it to a new level, but I enjoy one of the first the best.


Me (Lavanya Seetamraju), Manager, Client Relations (also a nature and outdoor enthusiast who is passionate about recycling, reading and her kids):

Books: Welcome to Advertising! Now, Get Lost, by Omkar Sane, is an exaggerated but hilarious take on life in advertising. I have a copy and love recommending it to anyone who is contemplating a career in advertising. The “Shopaholicseries of books, by Sophie Kinsella, is an all-time favorite read.

Advertising: Honda Accord The Cog”, by Wieden+Kennedy, for its sheer attention to detail. It also turned out to be one of the most expensive commercials ever made. HappyDent “City Light TV”, by McCann India, just because the end is so unexpected, and so unlike an ad for a tooth whitening gum.


Are any of these your favorites too? What are some of your favorite ones?


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