Right on Ad Campaigns

Two new ad campaigns debuted recently, both from Leo Burnett, my alma mater. Both campaigns are the product of a creative group headed by Jeannie Caggiano, with whom I worked, and who is a really smart and insightful person.

One campaign, for DeVry University, captures the lives and mindsets of its target really well. It then positions DeVry as not only understanding where they’re coming from, but where they want to get to. How do I know that this campaign is spot on? Because I did a project for DeVry and Leo Burnett back in 2010: ethnographies.

We went into people’s homes, saw how they lived, and talked at length about their lives, their dreams, and their education. Each interview began with me asking “So, tell me about your life.” In one person’s home we sat on the floor in the living room because there was no furniture. In another’s, we sat on the tiny back porch because inside the small apartment were lots of people – the student’s wife, two small kids, brother, sister and her kids – all of whom lived there. These students and others all had gone through and overcome a lot in their lives so far, and were trying really hard to get an education that could lead to a career better than pumping gas or bagging groceries. Yes to the ad campaign that gets it, and gets them.

Then there’s the campaign from United Healthcare. Brilliant. The ads get people’s attention, keeps them watching and interested, and then delivers some relevant, actually interesting information about United Healthcare and what it can do for you. It’s sharp, fresh, and really different from the traditional way healthcare companies have been advertising.

I’m all for great insights coming from research. But that means nothing without brilliant creative that brings those insights to life. And marketers who approve the work that’s fresh and insightful and different. When I see campaigns like this, and Esurance’s “Sorta You,” and Always “Like a Girl,” I feel proud of what we all do.



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