Creative Director’s Choice: The Many’s Damien Eley on Amazon’s ‘Maisel Day’ activation

'Maisel Day' in LA

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the work they think is the best out in the ad world — the spots and campaigns they believe are making a difference.

This week, Damien Eley, executive creative director and founding partner at The Many, talks about the ‘Maisel Day’ activation all over Los Angeles that transported fans of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel back to 1959.

What’s one way for a brand to get attention in Los Angeles? Mess with one of the freeways and add to the already brutal traffic situation. ‘Maisel Day,’ Amazon’s activation for its original series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, did just that, while also transporting people back to the rich era of 1959.

For one day, ‘Maisel Day’ took over 28 locations across the city of LA to roll back pricing to 1959. Some went even further and transported patrons back to 1959 styles. Iconic restaurants, such as Canter’s Deli, were serving a ‘Maisel’ Pastrami Sandwich for 99 cents, while Drybar offered the ‘Mrs. Maisel’-inspired look for only $2.

What I love about this activation, which was part of the show’s larger Emmy campaign, was how simple, but big, the idea was. Traveling back to 1959 would have worked with just one or two small-but-really-well-executed experiences, but the idea could also obviously inspire a really big, disruptive approach.

This approach seemingly challenged the media and production partners even further to really add to the overall experience. For example, (this was, perhaps, my favorite) the Chevron gas station selling gas at only 30 cents a gallon was right at the off-ramp of one of LA’s major freeways. Cars were lined up for miles down I-10, waiting hours to fill their tanks for only $4-$6, which caused huge traffic disruption (added to, in part, by the many local broadcast news trucks trying to park there).

I experienced that impact first-hand as it was right around the corner from our agency.

I hope things like that location and the disruption factor were deliberate decisions, because if they were, that’s really edgy and subversive thinking.

As I tried to deconstruct the line of thought that went into solving this brief, I was impressed by the observation that everyone involved in the concepting and producing of the idea didn’t settle for just an activation. They turned it into a city-wide event.

It seems like every brief these days includes the entirely unreasonable demand for the creatives to conjure up that elusive alchemy that adds up to the holy grail that is genuine ‘earned media’. These guys nailed it.

Damien Eley is executive creative director and founding partner at Los Angeles agency The Many.

See the work by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien.

Amazon Prime: Maisel Day

Added 10 October 2019
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