From sports promos to tourism campaigns, Richmond’s ad output in 2022 covered a lot of ground, and included a bit of controversy.
A state tourism video starring Virginia’s governor came across to some observers as a political ad, while a brand identity campaign for the city had some observers questioning its nearly half-million-dollar price tag.
But those weren’t the only memorable marketing moments from the area’s creative scene over the past 12 months.
These are our picks for this year’s standout locally produced ads and campaigns, in no particular order, pulled from The Pitch and other BizSense coverage:
West Cary Group – Richmond Real campaign
The City of Richmond’s latest branding campaign had some observers scratching their heads when it was unveiled in June. Called “Richmond Real,” the brand identity campaign from West Cary Group featured an “R” logo designed to represent different parts of the city, as well as the tagline: “Real people, real places, real stories.” The campaign was rolled out over the summer, and swag with the new logo has been spotted at various city events since.
Poolhouse – Virginia Tourism ‘Welcome to Virginia’ video
This 60-second clip from political ad agency Poolhouse drew controversy when it dropped this fall, as well as an investigation from the state inspector general’s office into how the project was bid out. Critics claimed it blurred the lines between a tourism promo and a political ad, as Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who’s featured prominently in the clip, had worked with Poolhouse in his election campaign.
Poolhouse was selected for the gig by Virginia Tourism Corp. in what local news reports revealed to be a non-competitive bid process. The clip is being played in Virginia welcome centers and airports.
JMI/Martin Agency – Virginia Tourism ‘Heart & Soul’ campaign
A collaboration between JMI and The Martin Agency, this campaign for Virginia Tourism Corp. spotlighted black creators and artists shaping culture in Virginia with monthly city guides highlighting their favorite places. Called “Heart and Soul,” the campaign kicked off with a collaboration with rapper Pusha T’s Heir Wave Music Group on a track highlighting emerging Virginia musician Kingna Scott.
Familiar Creatures – Mercy College ‘You Can’ campaign
The Scott’s Addition-based agency said it shaped this campaign around research of the New York college’s MBA program, which found that its biggest competitors weren’t other MBA programs but rather fear and insecurity holding prospective students back. The campaign centered on the phrase “You Can” paired with the slogan: “The Most Life-Friendly MBA.”
The Idea Center – Henrico CASA ads
The Idea Center received a silver in the 43rd annual Telly Awards for this 30-second ad created for Henrico CASA. Filmed locally with volunteer actors connected to the nonprofit, the clip was one of a series of ads produced by Idea Center’s Maurice McNeil highlighting the role that court-appointed special advocates play for children experiencing domestic violence.
Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU – ‘Wonders Within’ ad
While it technically dropped late last year, this animated spot for Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s Wonder Tower got TV time throughout 2022. Called “Explore the Wonders Within,” the 30-second ad was produced by Miami agency Markham Yard and received two golds at the American Advertising Federation’s 2022 Miami Addys in television and digital video categories.
Arts & Letters – Constant Contact ‘Serious Business Relationships’ spots
These ads from Arts & Letters Creative Co. were the agency’s first work for new client Constant Contact. Called “Serious Business Relationships,” the campaign for the online marketing company included three spots portraying business owners and their customers as if they were in personal relationships with each other. The 15– and 30-second spots were directed by David Shafei of L.A.-based World War Seven, and the campaign included TV, radio, digital, social and out-of-home ads.
The Martin Agency – LegalShield ‘Some Laws Are Stupid’ spots
Martin’s first campaign for LegalShield came via a collaboration with New York agency MediaHub. Called “Stupid Laws,” the campaign consisted of multiple spots and involved satellite navigation software alerting drivers to certain laws on the books in different states, from traffic tickets for driving with unsecured animals to others involving estate planning, home and property issues and wedding contracts.
Owen Design Co. – Har-Tru ‘Play On’ spot
Owen Design’s campaign for Virginia-based Har-Tru supplemented the tennis equipment supplier’s sponsorship of the WTA Credit One Charleston Open tennis tournament. The multi-channel campaign included two TV spots that aired during the tournament, as well as digital stadium motion graphics and court displays, an event booth, merchandise, social media ads and updates to Har-Tru’s website.
Arts & Letters – ESPN presents Fifty/50 promo video
Arts & Letters does a lot of work for ESPN, but this 30-second promo for its Fifty/50 initiative highlighting the 50th anniversary of Title IX stood out. Other work included designs for a related merchandise line and mural art that was displayed in July at Seaport Square in New York City.