Smugglers' Inn started as a theme restaurant in Blaine, Minnesota and has become, if not a legitimate advertising agency, then a viable agency alternative with two dedicated ad employees, Carol Henderson, art director and Jarl Olsen, copywriter. Read the whole saga in these posts or click the pirate to follow the entertaining tweets of our dishwasher, Pongo. Who may or may not be an orangutan.!/PongoTryHard

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Smugglers’ Inn named agency of record for the 2016 Olympics!

"Luge?  Yeah, we got one of them."

Incredible, isn’t it?  Our humble little shop from Blaine, Minnesota assigned the entire marketing, advertising and social media for this important international sporting contest?

To clarify, we are talking the winter Olympics and not the somewhat sexier summer Olympics.  To clarify further, our Olympic committee is not the same one that has worry about building a world-class speed skating pavilion out of environmentally friendly materials and then has to worry if terrorists will blow it up, even the restrooms with toilets that flush with grey water that the athletes have previously showered in.  This is the Para-Olympics. The 2016 Winter Paralympics in St. Paul, Minnesota to be exact. 
OK, the Paralympics isn’t as big a piece of business as Coors Light or some of the other accounts that we’ve gone after recently.  But it is a genuine win.  Have you, friends of this blog, noticed that it’s been an extra-special long time since Smugglers’ Inn announced a new business win?  You think the reason for this is some sort of Midwestern modesty?  Have you ever heard of a modest ad agency? The sad truth is that it has been ages since Smugglers’ Inn won a pitch--28 months, if you’re counting.  (We certainly were).  It’s a good thing that we retire half the contents of our salad bar each evening otherwise, we might have had to boil our shoes.   Sure, we  had some fun pro-bono assignments during that time.  Strewing bullet casings stuffed with message across London to promote action movies at the Raindance Film Festival comes to mind.    But “pro bono” is a lot of “bone” and not much “pro”, if you catch my drift. But I bitch.  We’ve got a new client who pays.  Happy we are, Smugglers’ Inn.

Predictably, the timing is challenging.  Our best marketing mind, Pongo, has gone back to his native Sumatra.  His English was rudimentary, but the man (?) had incredible powers of empathy and his minimalist briefs—“Don’t say fun, have fun,” (Cliff’s Amusement Park), “Kid beat-up nobody care; dog beat-up everybody care,”(Park Nicollet Clinic), “It just a boob,” (Femara post-mastectomy drugs), invariably led to work that was both effective and much talked about.  Kat, our seating hostess and the person who  misses Pongo more than any of us, has clearly been trying to channel our hairy Yoda, but naïve genius is hard to fake.  “How skate with one foot?  Check it out!” was her suggestion in today's brainstorming session.  Needing some work, this one is. 

We have a month.  Meanwhile, I’ve organized a recce to Afton Alps for later in the week.  St. Paul, like most of the prairie, is topographically challenged and the four-lift Afton Alps is the closest thing the area has to a mountain resort, if one can call 200 vertical feet a mountain.  (We can, of course—and will.)  Kat has invited her cousin to come along with his camera.  The guy assures me that with the right lens, he can make Afton look like Chamonix without snow.  If he can’t, maybe we’ll swipe some pictures of the real Chamonix, 1924 Olympic village and all.  Heck, who's gonna sue the Paralympics? 

There are upsides to being an ad agency with a liquor license.  Tonight, after closing, we will lock our doors and celebrate our long-overdue victory with several bottles of good wine and a keg of Coors Lite beer.  

Which is terrible.

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