Here's The Team Behind Those 'Artisanal' Bodega Ads

Pair of Admen Win Media Attention In New York With Small Business Campaign

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Jesse's Deli in Boreum Hill will likely shut down because of rent increases.
Jesse's Deli in Boreum Hill will likely shut down because of rent increases. Credit: Tommy Noonan

Do you have a hankering for some "House Cured Salami Tubes" or "Slow Roasted Wild Cow" with a side of "Tomato Reduction Dipping Sauce?"

You can thank ad veterans Doug Cameron and Tommy Noonan of Brooklyn for these, which are part of the team's "Artisanal Landlord Price Hike Sales" campaign hitting delis and bodegas throughout New York.

The "sales" come as a part of #BilldeBodega, a pro-bono campaign to raise awareness for small New York businesses facing closures because of rent increases that has gained a lot of local media attention. The campaign is centered on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, a proposed bill to protect small businesses and calls attention to these shops' plight using exaggeration and irony.

The campaign started after Mr. Cameron and Mr. Noonan learned that their beloved local deli, Jesse's Deli, in Boreum Hill, Brooklyn, was facing a 250% increase to its rent and would soon close. The effort also serves as a launch point for Mr. Cameron's recently established agency, DCX Growth Accelerator, where Mr. Noonan is a freelance creative director.

The strategy, said Mr. Cameron, is "Cultural Instigation," which he said he and Mr. Noonan learned in their early advertising days at Cliff Freeman & Partners and Amalgamated, the later of which was renamed Silver & Partners in 2012 and closed earlier this year.

"We like doing these mass cultural pranks and making big cultural statements, and we both have a very similar, absurdist sense of humor," Mr. Cameron said.

A sign advertising a sale at a Washington Heights store.
A sign advertising a sale at a Washington Heights store. Credit: Tommy Noonan

The "media" used are the shops themselves, which are covered with colored posters designed by Mr. Noonan featuring the new product names and prices. So what was once known as The Punta Cana has been rebranded as Casa de Campo in Washington Heights, where a single "Hand-Cut Seasonal Summer French Fry goes for $8.99.

And at Jesse's Deli in Brooklyn, for just a mere $33.50, a six-pack of "Air Chilled Budweiser Beer Flights" can be yours.

Mr. Cameron said the effort has been a good springboard for DCX, which has already worked on several ad campaigns for smaller brands and has conducted brand strategy for companies like Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch.

Cameron and Noonan said the consumer exposure from #BilldeBodegahas sparked a lot of awareness for the cause, with more tourists and new and old customers visiting the local shops after the burst of publicity.

"It really proved that something small like putting 50 posters in the window of a deli could actually change things and make people start thinking, and get as much press as it is," said Mr. Noonan.

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