Pip Pullen – An Agency

Author Archive

Mary Dowling Bourbon

Our client Rabbit Hole came to us with an outrageous-but-turned-out-it-was-true-after-all story of a woman with nine children, a distillery, and an international bootlegging operation. Mary Dowling was the first female distillery owner and operator in the US, but she had the ill fortune of coming to prominence at the very worst time, Prohibition. Her legend and the bourbon it inspired live on in this fine whiskey, a testament to the woman we subsequently and appropriately dubbed the ’Mother of Bourbon.‘

Mary Dowling website
Mary Dowling in-store

Tall Advertising People Suck.

Let them eat cake.

It’s been said that I have a Napoleon complex. That, being of compromised height, I’m quarrelsome, too challenging, a bit too extra. That I’m always spoiling for a dust-up.

However, and in the words of the late Dame Edna Everage, this is a phallus I want to explode.

I don’t dispute that I’m a passionate person; I think most creatives would lay claim to that, and with pride. But the reason for this isn’t my limited distance from the ground. Nor is it from being born a gadfly. Rather, it‘s driven by a spirit of righteousness.

For better or for worse, and as a professional consequence, I like being with people who want to defend the high ground. I want to work with advertising people who believe that what we do is meaningful and worth standing up for. 

I particularly want to work with people who cherish imagination and endeavour, and who, as a result, understand that bending a knee to safe, predictable, thoughtless practices isn’t what any of us signed up for when we first got into the business. 

We didn’t imagine a world where we’d have to stop working on a project because a timesheet said so . . . or that winning creative awards wasn’t evidence of excellence. And we most certainly didn’t imagine working in a world where processes were consciously, deliberately, and happily embraced by management as ways to suffocate any possibility of expressing ideas or developing creative messages.

Sod that.

I’m at An Agency because there are more people like me. Maybe not as righteous or as short, but like me. 

They’re agency professionals who come in every day excited about the chance to create something remarkable. Built on real brand strategy and burnished by years of experience and craftsmanship. Agency professionals who go home every evening weary but proud, exhausted from doing their best, and braced by the knowledge that they’re only allowed to stop when the work is ready.

These are my people. These are the people we court as clients, as creative partners, as advocates, and as allies. This is why I work here.

Or as Napoleon said: Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.

Pip Pullen
Advertising Guy

Better with Age.

Better together.

I was searching for inspiration while working on a recent financial service assignment. I visited the Bain, Boston Consulting, and McKinsey & Company websites searching for inspiration — and I found an interesting piece Bain published about the growing importance of older workers. You can read it, here.

America has long had an obsession with youth, particularly in the advertising agency business, in which 40 has long been the new 70.

Reading the Bain white paper, I began to reflect on why professional life after 60 is anything but a death sentence. Rather, it’s a time when the fog fully lifts, allowing the expertise gained over decades of repetitions to shine through.

As your team evolves to fully reflect today’s workforce, make space at the table for those whose life passion fuels their daily work product. We choose to work because it’s what we love to do.

And you know what else we choose? We choose to work for you.

Give me a ring. Send me an email. Text me if you must. Let’s go. Time is wasting.

Michael
CEO

First Breckinridge Bancshares

How do seven community banks gain market share in the shadow of too-big-to-fail? By working together. With well in excess of $1 billon in assets, First Breckinridge Bancshares serves banking communities across the state, boasting seven distinct bank brands in its portfolio. In keeping with FBB’s commitment to honoring every location’s individuality, each bank had its own identity system. Campaigning on the phrase ’Where we come from,’ we leveraged FBB’s Kentucky roots. By emphasizing the banks’ fealty to their clients and their values, we developed a shared position with a joint-but-differentiating system of aesthetics.

Belle of Louisville
River City Bank print ad.
River City Bank brochure.
FBB Bank logos.
River City Bank home page.
Bank of Lexington home page.
Meade County Bank home page.
First State Bank outdoor board.
Meade county Bank outdoor board.
Bank of Lexington outdoor board.
Westpoint Bank outdoor board.

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

Santa at the keyboard

Those of us who’ve been in advertising a while were raised to appreciate that nobody actually wants to look at ads. Because an ad is selling you something, and unless you specifically want that thing, or want to be reminded that you want that thing, then an ad is just one more assault on your eyeballs. So our job, as ad people, used to be to create messages that people enjoyed receiving. Gifts. Things that made people smile. Or think. Or just made them glad to encounter.

Nowadays, of course, the world of advertising has changed. Now it’s all about highly targeted, measurable offer-driven selling. We know who you are, where you are, what you want, when you want it, and how you want to hear about it. There’s no longer a need to entertain you or beguile and seduce you. We can just feed you specific information with a high likelihood that it’ll be relevant — and that you’ll bite.

But here’s what’s abandoned in the race to the bottom for those thin-sliced leads: The power of a brand. Famously, brands are what make products and services meaningful to the folk who seek relationships with them. It’s why we’re willing to sacrifice more when we choose between two almost-identical products . . . one simply holds more value in our hearts, regardless of facts and information. And it’s a value we’re happy to pay for.

Which brings us back to those ads that make people happy. See, great brand advertising tells stories. Great ads provoke us, tease us, intrigue us, cajole us, urge us to engage with them for longer. To appreciate them for their wit or their insight or their gut-punching ability to stop us in our tracks. Their power to evoke a reaction is the gift we alluded to earlier. By moving us, by stirring our hearts, they’re giving us something special. A reward. A small thank you for letting them in.

These are the kind of ads we make at An Agency.

So sure, we do all the left-brained-data-drenched-information-rich-media-facing stuff our peers do, but we wrap it inside something magical — a brand’s power to enchant our clients’ customers.
We love creativity and passion and courage. We love working hard to mine the pictures and words that communicate a feeling, and we love clients who have the pride to stand up and — as importantly — the moxie to stand out.

If you’ve got something wonderful that you believe the world needs to hear about, and if you want the right people to not just hear about it but to tell all their friends about it too, think about summoning your brand’s power to electrify and attract people. Think about hitching your wagon to a place that’s still smitten with that ol’-fashioned notion about creative ideas and the most powerful ways to express them.

Let’s chat.

Wild Eggs Restaurants

Breakfast in the south is a very serious business. So cue: Wild Eggs, a large, rapidly growing breakfast-food restaurant chain, which over the last decade has become one of the premier players in the marketplace. The interiors reflect their casual-but-fun-and-fresh take on cooking, an aesthetic we were asked to emulate in our social media work for them. Families, smiles, lots of light and color . . . and of course eggs.

Man enjoying a coffee.
Happy boy at table.
Loaded breakfast platter.
Boy with pancakes.
Overhead shot of fully loaded breakfast table.
Potatoes.
Hash.
Waffle.
Carousel ad on mobile.

Kykeon Coaching

Once upon a time, a successful senior executive said to himself, ‘Screw all this. I want to help troubled young adults not only find their purpose in life, but equip them with the personal, social, and even professional tools to make a go of it.’ And so he embarked on transforming this passion into a reality, retaining us to help him name, brand, and communicate his company’s value into something that has now grown into a nationally recognized coaching platform.

Sample of a Kykeon webpage
Sample of a Kykeon webpage

Queer Kentucky

When the 2023 Kentucky legislature started making ominous noises about limiting the rights of transgendered people with SB 150 — known as the ‘Anti-Trans Bill’ — we realized it threatened to drive marginalized communities out of the Bluegrass to seek security elsewhere. Working with a small group of partners, principally Queer Kentucky, an LGBTQ+ non-profit that champions queer culture in the commonwealth, we developed the ‘Stay Here’ campaign, built on supportive messages, rather than incendiary ones.

Two females holding hands on rainbow flag.
Outdoor board 'If You're Queer Stay Here.'
Outdoor board 'We're Queer for You.'
Outdoor board 'Keep Louisville queered.'
Three Queer Kentucky Posters.
T-Shirt 'Keep Louisville Queered.'
T-Shirt 'If You're Queer Here Stay Here.'
Home page from Queer Kentucky website.
Queer Gear page from Queer Kentucky website.
Page from Queer Kentucky website.