Monroe Shocks and Struts has launched a fully integrated campaign, "Save the Squirrels," created by Cramer-Krasselt, the third-largest independent advertising agency in the U.S. The campaign is built on the humorous premise of reminding consumers to check their shocks from the vantage point of road-crossing squirrels.
The first in a pair of offbeat Web shorts centers on the world of static squirrel figurines. Directed and edited by Cutters’ John Dingfield, "Acceptance" brings viewers into a squirrel-eye view of the roads. With the tagline, "Squirrels Make Bad Decisions," the spot gives consumers a unique reason to always be sure their shock absorbers are up to par: Squirrels that can be smart enough to get into college are also quite foolish when it comes to crossing the street.
The Webisode begins with a young squirrel that has just learned he has been accepted to the fictional "Acorn State." He starts to cross the street to share the news with his mother and father squirrels, but does not look both ways. A car comes to a screeching halt, coming dangerously close to ending the young squirrel«s bright future. Thankfully, this smart driver had his shocks checked after 50,000 miles.
"This is a great example of what we’re always trying to do: come at things from an angle that creates a fresh, new kind of relevance," said Marshall Ross, chief creative officer, C-K. "Shocks are easy to forget about, and their importance is easy to underestimate. But putting the story through the mouths of squirrels, even if they’re stuffed squirrels, suddenly makes the conversation something worth engaging in."
The videos were shot under the premise that human actors had originally been cast, but at the last minute the casting director swapped them out for the stuffed squirrels. Consequently, the approach to the shorts was serious and melodramatic.
"We embraced the absurdity of seeing stuffed squirrels in human situations, engaging in realistic conversations," said Dingfield. "We let the humor come from there."
Additional elements to the campaign include: outdoor boards that encourage motorists to "Save a Squirrel" by replacing their shocks at 50,000 miles, radio spots featuring translated interviews with squirrels and a micro-Web site, Monroesavethesquirrels.com, which will house the webisodes,