Joe Alexander of The Martin Agency – making advertising great | Metro Business

Early in his 26-year career at The Martin Agency, Joe Alexander was on a team working on an advertising campaign for children’s clothing company Healthtex when he suggested they try something different.

The children’s clothing market was dominated by competitors OshKosh B’gosh and Carter’s, remembered Martin Agency president Beth Rilee-Kelley, who was an account executive at the time. The competition’s ads usually showed cute children in cute clothing.

“What (Alexander) thought was important was that we needed to be talking more to moms and acknowledging what moms are going through every single day,” Rilee-Kelley said. Alexander was a senior copywriter at the time.

The advertisement that the team came up with had a lot of text on the page, which was unheard of at the time, Rilee-Kelley said.

It was different and wordy, but had a cute and catchy headline.

“One of the things we talked about was new moms had so much on their plate, would they even read long copy?” Rilee-Kelley said.

“What we learned … was that moms loved the copy, and it endeared the brand to them. It was a home run. He wrote it from a mom’s perspective,” Rilee-Kelley said.

The headline? “When you’re bald and toothless, you’d better wear cute clothes.”

That willingness to take risks is one of the traits that has landed Alexander at the creative helm of the Richmond-based but internationally recognized advertising agency.

As chief creative officer for The Martin Agency, it’s his job to lead efforts to come up with advertising for clients that have included national brands such as GEICO insurance, Oreo cookies and Benjamin Moore paints, among many others.

The Martin Agency in the past seven years alone has won 60 awards at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, company officials said, including the Grand Prix in…

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