Each week, The Examiner showcases an advertising campaign by a local company.
Client: Ruffino wines
Job: Consumers take Ruffino too much for granted. Need to grab and remind them that the 150-year-old brand is not only the best-known Italian wine in the United States, but the best, by reminding them of its thoroughgoing Tuscan authenticity.
Principals: Robert Duncan, Parker Channon, Andy Berkenfield
Other clients: Hard Rock International, Sega, Ubisoft, Tishman Speyer, Birkenstock, Clos du Bois, Working Assets
Creative team: Anne Elisco-Lemme, creative director and art director; Robert Duncan, copywriter and executive creative director; Liddy Parlato, account supervisor
The theme: A day (or two) in the culinary life of a typical town in Tuscany
The concept: It’s actually a serial story, to be continued in future ads, featuring a succession of small-town Italian characters animatedly debunking the stereotypes of Italy and proclaiming their special insight into its culture, cuisine and, of course, wine. The series kicks off with the white-mane mayor, a lovable blowhard who stares sternly at the camera and insists that what you typically read about Italy in ads is “nonsense.” The unexpectedly confrontational picture and headline should seduce readers into the flavorful long copy and into revisiting Ruffino wines.
Position: Executive creative director
Education/background: Former editor of the rock magazine Creem, author of three books about pop culture, ex-VP/creative director at FCB, member of the Skulls gang in the movie “The Warriors.” Duncan co-founded the agency in 1990.
What drove your development of the concept? Other than wine? We always take a contrarian position. Wouldn’t it be fun to have an unfriendly guy telling readers the ad is rubbish? And wouldn’t that be so authentically Italian? (And Anne, creative director on the account, is Italian, so she can say that.)
Working on next: Revamp of www.hardrock.com that will finally bring their jaw-droppingly comprehensive collection of memorabilia to the Internet.