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Secret No. 1: Look beyond the obvious
The guys who run of the Wexley School for Girls, an advertising agency in Seattle, go out of their way to be wacky. But there is actually a highly effective method in their madness. The agency's first rule of thumb? Just because you’re a fast-food joint doesn’t mean all your ads have to feature a burger and fries. Wexley's breakthrough spot (above), "Winner Take Steve," which was made for Nike, featured a couple of nerdy kids at summer camp--definitely not your typical poster boys for athletic gear. And yet, by virtue of its cognitive dissonance, it spread over the Internet and was shown at more than 20 film festivals. "People are spending more time getting branding messages than ever before," says Cal McAllister, Wexley's co-founder. "To reach them, it just takes a marketing department to think entirely differently."