A HIGH FIVE THEY'RE SMALL, THEY'RE FUN AND THEY DON'T HAVE BIGTIME REPUTATIONS-AT LEAST NOT YET. HEREWITH, A HANDFUL OF SHOPS WHOSE WORK WE USUALLY LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING: WOOLWARD & PARTNERS

By Published on .

IF IT CLOSED ITS DOORS TOmorrow, Woolward & Partners, San Francisco, would still go down in the annals of advertising as the agency that created the peeing-baby ad.

The infamous ad for computer peripherals maker Logitech presented side by side shots of baby boys to compare technologies: on the left, a diaper-clad tot and the competitor's mouse underscored with the line, "Feels good"; on the right, a photo of a naked boy doing his best water fountain impression and Logitech's more advanced left- and right-handed and cordless mice, headlined, "Feels better."

"We think advertising should be an event," says Iain Woolward, the 45-year-old creative director, who was looking for an image that "personified comfort" to a predominantly male audience. "It should have creatives whooping with delight when they come up with the idea, and consumers whooping with delight when they see it."

If not whooping than at least talking about it, which is what a more recent Logitech ad in the "Feels Good/Feels Better" campaign has also managed to achieve. On the left, a photo of a stern-looking trio of nuns stand with their hands folded outside a church; on the right, the sisters are rejoicing at the beach, romping through the surf holding hands. This comparison technique continues in an for VideoLogic software (seen here) that features photos of a naked man who is "wearing" computer monitors that picture fig leaves of vastly different sizes.

The tag: "Full motion video accelerators. Yet another instance where size is everything." And in yet another ad that illustrates W&P's seeming obsession with the naked body, Global Village fax/modems uses a shot of a guy with his head in the ground and his bare butt in the air to show that "there's always somebody who buys another brand," says Woolward.

"If we're yelling 'sex' to sell a product, we're doing it on behalf of the client," he insists, noting that the peeing baby increased Logitech's corporate awareness by 50 percent. "All of the images in our ads are directly relevant to the products we're trying to sell." Of course, it doesn't hurt that the agency's clients are primarily risk-taking Silicon Valley start-ups, according to Woolward, who opened his doors after leaving Saatchi & Saatchi/San Francisco in 1989.

Until the peeing baby ad broke in '91, Woolward, who left Saatchi with the Logitech account, worked mostly on a project basis for more than 30 clients. Three years later, the now 20-person, $27 million shop has added more California computer-biz accounts: Oracle Software (its largest client); Digital Pictures; Software Publishers Association; Delphi online services; Bolle & Babbage software; and several under-$1 million accounts like VideoLogic and Dantz software.

As for their deepening computer ad niche (W&P's reel consists mainly of low-budget trade show videos), Woolward says it's "silly to walk away from an industry that's growing." And he feels his shop's edgy brand of advertising probably wouldn't go over big with large package-goods clients. "We're just paddling our own canoe."

In this article:
Most Popular