What started as a casual conversation among three Draftfcb Chicago creative executives has turned into a new consumer product line with a visually arresting advertising campaign.
John Bleeden, VP, executive producer, conceived the idea to create a high-end line of quality room spray that feature manly scents with VP, creative directors Todd Durston and Berk Wasserman in the fall of 2011. By April of 2012, the trio had created prototypes of Archer Air Superiority that they began shopping to independent Chicago-area retailers.
Seven design and men’s shops had agreed to carry the indie brand and were aboard for the company’s launch in August 2012. It didn’t take long for bloggers to get a whiff of the new product and begin to ignite social conversations. The three amigos had hundreds of orders just days after launching. Sales quickly began to outpace what the founders could handle, so they secured a fulfillment company to deliver on their promise.
“Archer finds its inspiration from hunting lodges, bourbon barrels and 1970s Maseratis -- and is housed in a boldly designed WD40 can,” Bleeden said. “As admitted OCD cleaning freaks, we were tired of using floral and tropical-scent smelling products our wives were bringing home. So we decided to crack the billion-dollar industry and infuse it with options that are guy-approved.”
They’ve succeeded. Archer’s three fragrances – European Sports Car, Distillery and Hunting Lodge – are now sold in more than 35 retailers in the U.S., Canada, and Hong Kong. The company is working on distribution in Spain. It is also currently developing new scents and new products like Archer Dish Whiskey and hand soap.
The three creative executives also played a hands-on role in the creation of the ads under the direction of Draftfcb Chicago Chief Creative Officer Todd Tilford. The vintage-looking ads broke earlier this month in the UCLA student newspaper (with more college papers to follow), and are now being printed for Point-of-Sale use. They have an edgy, tongue-in-cheek feel. “The inspiration came from 1960s James Bond posters,” said Wasserman. “The collage of photorealistic illustrations harken back to a time when it was cool to be über masculine.”
Tilford said he and partner Michael Fassnacht, president of the Chicago office, have worked diligently to foster an environment that recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit of the troops. “A lot of people at the agency have interests outside of their day jobs and we want to be receptive to that,” said Tilford. “We want to assist our troops and support their efforts.”
The effort has benefited the agency too. “I guarantee we’re the best smelling agency in the country,” added Tilford. For more information on the company, visit http://www.archermen.com/
and follow the company at @archermenwords.