Small agency, big Idea: Tiny victories are a big deal for middle-aged bodies

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Ahead of Ad Age's Small Agency Conference in L.A.--right around the corner!--on July 17-18, we're turning the spotlight onto standout work from the industry's tiny but mighty creative players. We continue with New York City-based Walrus, which created this poetically comedic integrated campaign for Avrio dietary supplement Slow-Mag, targetting men confronting the body woes of middle age.

They say 40 is the new 30, but those with creaking bones and aching joints disagree. Which is why, says Avrio Health, activities can feel increasingly difficult, making small victories more meaningful.

In its new integrated campaign, "Feats of Middle Age," from Walrus, things such as clambering out of a swimming pool and exiting a ground-skimming car with a modicum of grace are treated as great feats of strength. The spots end with a spirited, old-fashioned "brought to you by Slow-Mag" magnesium and calcium supplement.

According to Walrus Founder and Chief Creative Officer Deacon Webster, Avrio research showed that "there was a real opportunity with 40-something active men in terms of supplement use. They also had a good deal of intuitive sense as to how middle-aged men were feeling, physically." The agency then conducted its own research, including asking men to write "letters to aging." That yielded lines, the shop says, like "Dear aging , please slow down" and "Dear aging, FU."

"We knew we wanted to comisserate with these guys and let them know that we understood that middle age is not all tandem biking and rolled-up linen pants on the beach, like most supplement ads would have them believe," Webster says.

In addition to the spots, the campaign includes podcasts such as "The Art of Manliness," "Stick to Football" and "Good Dad Project." There's also programmatic audio on Spotify and Pandora. Print-wise, the agency created cover-wraps for magazines in physiologist offices depicting simple tasks as Herculean achievements.

For online, Walrus also conceived a purposefully over-the-top Outbrain ad that shows users "How to use your feet to pick stuff up" (or recommends just using Slow-Mag instead). And Slow-Mag is sponsoring four Slow Pitch real-world softball leagues in its key markets of New York, Rochester, Denver and Grand Rapids, for which it's providing T-shirts, signage and more.

Slow-Mag packaging before and after
Slow-Mag packaging before and after Credit: Walrus

Walrus was able to overhaul the packaging, too, which previously looked "like something from the bottom shelf of a '70s health food store," Deacon says.

The campaign runs through the end of the year and the agency is currently planning more work on it for 2019.

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