Small Agency Conference and Awards

Small Agency, Big Idea: Baldwin& makes over Old MacDonald

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Ahead of Ad Age's Small Agency Conference in L.A. on July 17-18, we'll be turning the spotlight onto standout work from the industry's tiny but mighty creative players. We begin with 28-person Raleigh, North Carolina shop Baldwin&, which recently refreshed an old spot for tractor brand Kioti by putting a "human" face on Old Macdonald.

Sometimes, bright ideas are just a simple tweak, which is what Raleigh, North Carolina-based small agency Baldwin& made for its new client, tractor brand Kioti.

The company had been running a charming product-focused spot that depicts a variety of farmers driving its bright red vehicles against lush green landscapes, set to a classic, folksy recording of the nursery rhyme "Old MacDonald." The endline goes, "If Old Macdonald had a farm, he'd have a Kioti tractor for sure."

Baldwin& is in the midst of prepping a new brand campaign for the client to debut in the fall, but instead of going silent until then, Kioti wanted to continue running its old spot. The 28-person agency had an idea to liven up the ad's message while putting the product in sharper focus--through just a slight twist on the music.

Instead of the Old MacDonald we knew as a kid, the protagonist described in a new track produced out of Beacon Street Studios is more human, and a lot more modern:

Old MacDonald had back pain. Owie owie ow.
Cuz he had the wrong tractor on his farm. Owie owie ow.
With a Kioti there he never would have sweared.
Here a (bleep) there a (bleep).
Coulda boughta woulda boughta shoulda bought a Kioti.
(Extra long bleep)
Old MacDonald had back pain. Owie Owie ow.

A new voice-over also offers a different read on the ol' farmer: "Don't make the mistake that Old MacDonald did," it says.

"Kioti's goal with their new brand work is to breathe new life into the tractor world by doing provocative work that breaks free from the category's 'insert tractor brand here' formula," says Baldwin& Executive Creative Director Russell Dodson. "Knowing that our clients had been pushing us in the pitch to do things different and get them talked about, we saw a low-investment opportunity to apply that same approach here and proposed leaving picture as is and simply rewriting the lyrics to the song to give it a little funny and some talkability."

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